Archive of secret Iranian nuclear documents draws fresh scrutiny as Tehran stockpiles enriched uranium

In early 2003, a group of Iranian scientists began scouring the country on a secret quest for a place to dig an unusual tunnel. They searched Iran’s vast Lut Desert until they finally found what seemed to be the right spot, a Mars-like dead zone regarded as one of the hottest and driest places on Earth.

Conditions in this stretch of salty desert are so extreme that almost no animal or plant can survive there. But it was ideally suited for what Iran wanted — an underground chamber for the country’s first nuclear detonation. Photos and measurements were taken and then stashed away, to await the time when the bomb was nearly ready for testing.


The tunnel was never constructed, but 17 years later the images and surveys still exist, part of a recently unearthed trove of secret Iranian nuclear documents. The records, now being studied in major Western capitals, are drawing fresh attention as weapons experts seek to answer a suddenly timely question: How quickly could Iran build a nuclear bomb if it decided to do so?


Read More: The Washington Post