EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: On April 29, satellite imagery showed irregular activity at Iran’s Fordow uranium enrichment facility, arousing suspicion that Iran is preparing to resume its activities. The Iranians had indeed threatened to do this if President Trump followed through on his plan to quit the 2015 nuclear agreement (the JCPOA). However, the unusual activity might simply be steps towards converting the facility to a civil research center for nuclear energy and physics, which would comply with the JCPOA.
The Fordow uranium enrichment nuclear facility was one of the Iranian clandestine nuclear projects displayed in Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s “nuclear speech” on April 30. The day before the speech, irregular activity at Fordow was detected in a satellite image taken by the EROS-B (Earth Remote Observation) satellite. (EROS-B was manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries and is operated by Israel’s ImageSat International [ISI]).
The photos showed that the entrance gate to the tunnels leading to the plant had been opened, and about thirty private cars and four buses were in the parking lot close to the entrance. This differs from recent months, when ISI photos showed the plant gate closed and no vehicles in the lot. The new photos also showed that two buildings that had been under construction in July 2016 are now completed and ready for use. The buildings are believed to be workshops for R&D and assembly.