Iran has reportedly almost finished moving most of its enrichment facilities to its underground Fordo facility, situated under a mountain near Qom.
The site now 3,000 of Iran's most advanced centrifuges, the IR-2's and IR-4's. The Iranians are reformatting the centrifuges to refine uranium up to the 60 percent level, a short step before the weapons grade of 90 percent:
Iran’s progress at Fordo was disclosed by officials familiar with the findings of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency who have been to the site recently as part of their regular visits. The officials included some from European governments who have opposed taking military action to slow the Iranian program, arguing that sanctions — with a mix of covert action — are far preferable.
The Fordo plant was a secret until September 2009.when the Obama Administration outed it with the bright idea that revealing its existence would somehow get the Iranians to stop building it,or at least ewliminate its use as a secret facility.
Surprise surprise...what it actually did was to cause them to rush to complete it so as to make their illegal nuclear weapons program as secure from possible military attacks as possible.
The Fordo plant is just within the edge of vulnerability to Israel's top of the line current bunker busters, the Israeli built 500-pound MPR-500. The MPR-5000 is not only capable of penetrating four reinforced concrete walls but has relatively low weight. This increases its utility for air strikes in contrast to the 5,000-pound U.S. made GBU-28, which the Israelis also have some of on hand.
The Israelis also have lots of U.S. made U.S. Mk82's, which can use JDAM kits or Paveway for target guidance, thus making multiple hits on the same area possible.
The Israelis also have ballistic missiles capable of being fired from land, drones. or its Dolphin class submarines, and they could even take the ultimate step of using tactical nukes and making the area around Fordo uninhabitable for quite some time.
The American GBU-28's and the new 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP)could certainly do the job much easier and cleaner, but the Obama Administration has so far held off.
White House spokeshole Jay Carney said President Obama is "open to considering bilateral talks with Iran" .
"The president made clear the window of opportunity here will not remain open forever, and he will not tolerate -- if we get to the point of negotiation with Iran -- endless negotiations or negotiations that serve merely as a stall tactic," Carney said.
Well, that remains to be seen.So far, the Iranians have managed to do that quite nicely.
Fordo is expected to be fully up and running by late January, early February at the latest. This is yet another red line Iran has crossed far earlier than expected.