DAVOS, Switzerland -- Iran plans to begin work next month on an underground uranium enrichment facility, as part of a plan to create a network of tens of thousands of machines turning out material that could be used to make nuclear arms, UN officials said yesterday.
The officials' comments were the first concrete confirmation that work on the facility would begin in February. A senior US State Department official warned the move would be a "major miscalculation" by Iran.
"If they think they can get away with 3,000 centrifuges without another Security Council resolution and additional international pressure, then they are very badly mistaken," said Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state.
Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, meanwhile, accused the United States of acting like a bully, with the aim of forcing Iran to "abandon nuclear energy."
In a sermon in Tehran, he said a US military buildup in the Gulf and the announcement that US forces would seek to capture or kill Iranian agents in Iraq were aimed at thwarting Iranian nuclear programs.