The Jerusalem Post (JP) reports that satellite images taken last Sunday shows resumption of some activity at Iran’s Fordow uranium enrichment site.
JP says that in photos provided by ImageSat International it appears that the facility is reopened and activity is taking place. The images show that some new buildings have been added to the complex and vehicles are parked on the compound.
Fordow became a highly sensitive issue in 2012, when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discovered that uranium was enriched to 20 percent at the site.
In addition to that, Fordow was used as a research and development center for enrichment.
According to the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as JCPOA, Iran is supposed to refrain from any uranium enrichment and uranium enrichment R&D and from keeping any nuclear material."
But the agreement did not ban all activities at Fordow. Non-nuclear and non-radioactive research and scientific work could continue under the inspection regime of IAEA.
Based on this, it is not clear what the satellite images actually show. Is the observed activity part of legitimate work permitted at Fordow or is it of an unusual and unknown nature.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned Fordow in his April 30 televised address in which he called Iran a “liar” and called for the revision of the 2015 nuclear deal known as the JCPOA. Netanyahu said that excavations are continuing at the mountainside facility.
Meanwhile, the Israeli parliament has approved a law allowing the prime minister and the defense minister to declare war without the approval of the full cabinet in “extreme circumstances”.
Recently, strikes against military targets in Syria have increased, in what is suspected to be an Israeli effort to warn Iran, Russia and Syria about red lines when it comes to its security.
The new war declaration law was adopted hours after Netanyahu’s speech, which gives it a particular importance in relation with Israel’s tough position on Iran.
In an interview with Russian newspaper Komersant, Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Lieberman called on Russia to take Israel’s interests into account in Syria and not side with Iran.
“We have no intention of meddling in Syria’s internal affairs. What we will not tolerate is Iran turning Syria into a vanguard against Israel,” Lieberman told Kommersant.
Referring to the Iranian leadership’s calls for Israel’s destruction, Lieberman hoped for “a clear and unequivocal response” from Russia, which, he said, was very “assiduous” in remembering the events of World War Two.