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Construction seen at nuclear facility in Iran

Construction seen at nuclear facility in Iran
© Getty Images

An Iranian nuclear site is undergoing construction, according to satellite images and international experts.

Images provided by Planet Labs to The Associated Press show a new or upgraded road at the Natanz nuclear facility, a change to the area observed since previous imaging in August, according to the news outlet.

One area formerly used as a firing range has also been cleared away, while construction equipment was also seen onsite, according to the AP.

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“That road also goes into the mountains so it may be the fact that they’re digging some kind of structure that’s going to be out in front and that there’s going to be a tunnel in the mountains,” said Jeffrey Lewis, an expert for the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, who reviewed the images for the AP.

“Or maybe that they’re just going to bury it there.”

The director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, an international agency that regularly inspects Natanz and other nuclear sites, told the AP that his agency had been notified about construction at the site.

“It means that they have started, but it’s not completed. It’s a long process,” Rafael Grossi told the AP.

Construction at the site comes roughly a month after the head of Iran's nuclear energy program told state media that a centrifuge site that exploded last year was being replaced underground “in the heart of the mountains around Natanz.”

Iran has increased its uranium enrichment, exceeding the limits of the nuclear deal that it remains partial to with world powers such as Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia. President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, calling the Obama-era agreement "defective at its core," according to The Washington Post