Western diplomats say that Iran’s Qom facility, the under construction enrichment plant that the IAEA inspectors visited last month, has been under construction for seven years, beginning in 2002.
The construction was not constant, however, as Iran apparently stopped construction in 2004 and didn’t start it again until 2006. Iran revealed the construction of its other enrichment site, at Natanz, in 2002, and enrichment began at that site in 2007.
The Qom facility is much smaller than the Natanz facility, and still isn’t completed. Iran revealed the site’s existence in September, leading to Western calls for sanctions against them.
There are legal disputes over Iran’s reporting requirements with respect to the facility. Iran maintains it was not required to report the existence of Qom’s site until six months before the introduction of nuclear material, while some diplomats maintain they should have reported on it the day construction began.
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