The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said Saturday that the Fordo production plant would be operational in the "near future" [in February]. But, apparently, according to the latest report, uranium enrichment has already begun at the aforementioned facility.
Western intelligence sources first revealed the existence of the Fordo facility in September of 2009. According to an IAEA report, issued in November of 2009, satellite photos showed construction on the Fordo facility began in 2002.
In November of 2011, the Washington Post reported that the Iranian government had mastered the critical steps needed to build a nuclear weapon after receiving assistance from foreign scientists.
The Post went on to say:
An intelligence update will be circulated among International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] members... It is expected to focus on Iran's alleged efforts towards putting radioactive material in a warhead and developing missiles...Julian Borger of the Guardian-UK reported in November of 2009:
The UN's nuclear watchdog has asked Iran to explain evidence suggesting that Iranian scientists have experimented with an advanced nuclear warhead design...However, despite all this evidence, US defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, in an interview with CBS's Face the Nation Sunday, said that Iran was not trying to develop nuclear weapons.
The development was described by nuclear experts as "breathtaking"...
The sophisticated technology, once mastered, allows for the production of smaller and simpler warheads than older models. It reduces the diameter of a warhead and makes it easier to put a nuclear warhead on a missile...
"Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they're trying to develop a nuclear capability," said Panetta.
Heh, nice try....
During a Senate Armed Services Committee on November 15, Mr. Panetta insisted, rather disingenuously, that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and his government, were rejecting Iranian influence, despite the fact that, just a couple of days prior to the aforementioned senate hearing, Iranian and Iraqi military leaders met to discuss military cooperation between the two countries.
In February of 2007, Mr. Panetta, then a member of the Iraq Study Group, voiced strong opposition to the U.S. troop surge in Iraq and chastised Mr. Bush and Vice President Cheney for authorizing the increase in troops.
Panetta insisted that the "troop surge" would "not succeed", and said he believed Congress would likely pass a resolution criticizing the surge and would ultimately "move to focus on the power of the purse" and vote to withhold funding for the troops in Iraq. Panetta went on to say that he believed it was unlikely President Bush and Vice President Cheney would revise their strategy and back away from the 'surge' because, "they are [living] in another world."
However, in light of Mr. Panetta's refusal to acknowledge that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, his insistence that Iraq is rejecting Iranian influence, and his assertion, in 2007, that the surge in Iraq would not succeed, it is quite clear that - while George W. Bush and Dick Cheney appear to have their feet firmly planted on Planet Earth - Panetta and Obama are living in a far off galaxy, on a strange, alien planet that has no resemblance to Planet Earth.....
Flashback: VIDEO - Panetta in '07 assails troop surge in Iraq, says Bush and Cheney are living "in another world" - McCain chastises Panetta - Senate hearing.