Iran urgently installing anti-aircraft defenses for its nuke facilities
Iran believes it has 120 days to protect its facilities from either an Israeli or U.S. air strike. As a result, Teheran has ordered a full-scale accelerated program to place air defense assets around as many as 50 nuclear facilities.
Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei formally gave such an order in July 2005. But the Iranians moved too slowly for Khamenei's taste. Teheran had sealed an agreement with Russia for its TOR-M1 short-range anti-aircraft system to defend nuclear facilities. But by December, none of the TORs had arrived in Iran.
TOR-M1 short-range anti-aircraft system
That led to a tense session in which Khamenei ordered the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to acquire the TOR and other air defense assets immediately. Teheran warned Russia that the systems had better arrive over the next few weeks or the deal was off.
As a result, Russian equipment and technicians began streaming into Teheran to install the TOR-M1 and train IRGC to operate the systems. The systems had been left over from an unfulfilled order from Greece in 2001.
But the Russian response was much slower than that of North Korea.
Pyongyang has been building a network of tunnels to allow Iran to move its nuclear weapons program at will. The tunnels are reportedly deep enough to withstand any conventional military attack.
The Iranian priority has been to protect the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan.
Here, North Korean engineers are working with Iranian contractors to construct hundreds of miles of tunnels made of reinforced concrete and doors, walls and ceilings that could resist any explosion.
"There is a veritable full-scale alert in the IRGC regarding the nuclear program," a Western intelligence source said. "This time, the Iranians are not wasting any time."