Iran races to expand uranium enrichment at underground plant, report

Iran's underground enrichment facilities may be built to tolerate an aerial bombardment.
Iranian nuclear facility

Iran is expanding its capacity to enrich uranium at an underground plant, according to a new United Nations watchdog report.

Iran finished installing seven clusters of advanced centrifuges over the past month at the underground Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz, according to a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency reviewed Monday by Reuters. The clusters are believed to be fully installed but not yet enriching.

As of the watchdog agency's last quarterly report, issued Sept. 7, the clusters were still unfinished or at a very early stage of being installed. 

The United States' discussions with Iran about renewing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal appear to be stalling as Tehran is creating more advanced centrifuges to produce enriched uranium — the exact thing the nuclear deal would attempt to ban.

Iran has also reportedly been adding centrifuges at its Fordow underground site. Fordow and Natanz may be designed to tolerate an aerial bombardment, the wire service reported.