New ballistic missile launch positions have been built at Iran's Khorgo, Fox News reported on Wednesday, citing satellite images it obtained.
The photos, taken by Maxar Technologies, show four shafts allegedly dug for the missiles. According to a report by The Intel Lab, three of the holes are "hardened vertical launch positions" said to be in the final phase of construction.
"Considering the geographic location as well as the existing topography, once this complex reaches full operational capability, it will not be an easy task to neutralize it by conventional means," said Chief Intel Lab Analyst Itay Bar-Lev.
🎥 Satellite images reveal #Iran’s new ballistic missile launch locations- the Khorgo facility were these structures are located sits approximately 500 miles from Kuwait, where 13,500 US troops are stationed. pic.twitter.com/UPYTRHM228— ASB News / MILITARY〽️ (@ASBMilitary) March 17, 2021
The Intel Lab previously published a video depicting in detail the ballistic missile site, which, according to the intelligence group, has been ramped up significantly since 2018. The launching positions at Khorgo can reportedly deploy two ballistic missiles each.
#Khorgo UG #Missile Base, #Iran. Since 2018 the base has undergone a significant upgrade in the shape of excavated hardened Launch Position similar to Haji Abad Missile Base. Recent #IMINT shows that excavations renewed and launch points may not be operational yet. #TheIntelLab pic.twitter.com/x3dKd9HDTQ— The Intel Lab (@TheIntelLab) February 13, 2021
Tensions are high in the region, as no progress has been made concerning the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), mostly known as Iran nuclear deal. Former US President Donald Trump abandoned the agreement in 2018, slapping Tehran with harsh sanctions in line with the so-called policy of "maximum pressure". The Biden administration has signalled a desire to revive the deal, but no significant steps have been made in that direction.
Iran has repeatedly said that it was the United States that left the deal and before any negotiations, Washington should lift sanctions against the nation. Tehran has also rejected the idea of renegotiating the deal, insisting that the original 2015 agreement should be preserved.
Meanwhile, Israel has been signaling alarm about Iran allegedly developing nukes, though Tel Aviv itself has been long suspected of possessing a nuclear arsenal, believed to be of about 90 nuclear warheads. Tehran has repeatedly said its nuclear programme is designed to serve purely peaceful purposes, while pointing to "double standards" in terms of nuclear security.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has recently shared with Fox News that the IDF was updating its plans to prepare for a potential strike on nuclear sites in Iran. He claimed that the Israeli military has already identified "numerous targets" inside the country whose destruction could potentially undermine Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons.
In response, the Iranian Defense Minister has vowed to level Tel Aviv and Haifa - the two biggest cities in Israel - if the Jewish State attempts to attack the Islamic Republic.
After Trump ditched the 2015 agreement, Tehran responded by gradually abandoning its commitments under the deal. Reuters reported, citing a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), that Iran has recently started enriching uranium at its Natanz plant with new advanced IR-4 centrifuges.
At the end of 2020, Iran adopted a law on strategic measures to lift sanctions, which involves the intensification of nuclear activities in order to achieve the lifting of sanctions against the country. In line with the law, Iranian nuclear scientists have already brought uranium enrichment to the level of 20 percent, and also limited the IAEA's inspection capabilities from February 23, 2021.
The law also stipulates the use of new generations of centrifuges.