Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran. (Xinhua/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Former Top IAEA Official Warns of Secret Iranian Nuke Sites

Olli Heinonen, former director-general for safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned at a conference in Tel Aviv that Iran could be hiding the existence of at least five secret nuclear sites. His comments came a week after he told Israeli media that Tehran could reach “breakout” capacity by producing sufficient enriched uranium to build a nuclear weapon within six to eight months. He qualified, however, that it could take Tehran longer to develop the necessary technology to detonate a bomb and deliver it via a ballistic missile, although it would be possible to do this in tandem with manufacturing fissile material. The revelation came on the same day that Arab media, citing a Syrian opposition group, reported that Iran had prepared numerous weapons caches close to Israel’s border. This would be in defiance of a tacit agreement between Jerusalem and Moscow to keep Iranian and allied Shi’ite fighters, including members of Lebanon-based Hizbullah, from operating within 60 miles of the frontier. According to the report, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has moved its headquarters from Damascus to a mountainous region north of the capital in an attempt to evade repeated Israeli air strikes.

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