A team of U.N. nuclear inspectors returned on Thursday from a visit to a previously secret Iranian uranium enrichment site, with their chief saying that they had a good trip.
The Fordo site is near the holy city of Qom. Iran revealed it was building this facility in a confidential letter on Sept. 21 to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Just days later, the leaders of the U.S., Britain and France condemned Tehran for having kept it secret.
The West believes Iran revealed the site’s existence only because it had learned that the U.S. and its allies were about to make it public. Iran denies that.
Tehran says it wants to enrich uranium only to make nuclear fuel. But the West worries that Iran wants to create fissile warhead material.
“We had a good trip,” said Herman Nackaerts, who headed the International Atomic Energy Agency inspection team. “We visited the Fordo enrichment plant.”
Mr. Nackaerts said the nuclear agency planned to analyze the data, adding that IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei would “then report in good time” on the results.
The team’s findings will be presented as part of a report to the IAEA’s 35-nation governing board. Beyond that, Mr. ElBaradei is expected to brief the six world powers engaging Iran in attempts to persuade it to freeze enrichment.
The visit was the first independent look inside the enrichment plant, which is still under construction, a former ammunition dump burrowed into the treeless hills south of Tehran and only disclosed last month. The inspectors were expected to have studied plant blueprints, interviewed workers and taken soil samples before wrapping up their three-day mission.