Jeffrey LewisTunnelDiggin' (Iran)

Der Spiegel reports that Iran is constructing a secret tunnel project near the uranium enrichment facility at Esfahan (Isfahan). Here is the relevant portion translated by World News Connection:

According to an intelligence dossier, which Der Spiegel has obtained, at the beginning of October revolution leader Ali Khamene’i himself gave the order to build a clandestine tunnel in the immediate vicinity of the uranium enrichment facility in Isfahan, which is being watched by the United Nations.

In the new subterranean facility—constructed by a military unit under great secrecy and impossible to detect by spy satellites—large amounts of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) are to be produced soon. UF6 is the basic substance for uranium enrichment in gas centrifuges—an important step toward the nuclear bomb.

The tunnel project is headed by a task force, which was founded exclusively for this purpose and is directly subordinate to Khamene’i. Caption: Uranium enrichment facility in Isfahan [Original is in German]

The venerable New York Post, with its typical decorum and subtle wit, screamed “LIE-RAN HIDES NUKES.”

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman called the report was “baseless”and ridiculed Der Spiegel: “The ministry of roads and transportation builds lots of tunnels in Iran. But this news is baseless. In the world today, with all the radars and spy satellites which see everything, how can we hide a tunnel?”

He has a point there … impossible to detect by spy satellites? John Pike at has a nice photograph of at least one tunnel under construction near Esfahan.

Now, I am not saying this is the tunnel, but Der Spiegel’s reporting raises a question: If the tunnel is so secret, how come it’s in THE DAMN NEWSPAPER?

It seems to me that it would be prudent for the IAEA to check out the tunnel on its next visit to Esfahan (Isfahan). But the proximity of the tunneling project to a declared facility, the existence of publicly available satellite images of at least one tunnelling project and the vague nature of the reporting make me very suspicious of this report.

That’s why they sent me… I am an expert …” (Thanks)


  1. Mark Gubrud (History)

    Some tunnels, or whatever those things are in that photo, are observable by satellite. Others might not be.