Iran nearing 'red line'
Prime Minister Netanyahu warned on Thursday that Iran is nearing the 'red line
' after an IAEA report indicated that Iran has installed 180 advanced centrifuges
at its Natanz uranium enrichment facility.
In a confidential report, the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) said 180 so-called IR-2m centrifuges and empty centrifuge casings
had been hooked up at the plant near the central town of Natanz.
operated successfully, such machines could enable Iran to significantly speed up
its accumulation of material that the West fears could be used to devise a
nuclear weapon. Iran says it is refining uranium only for peaceful energy
The report also said Iran had increased to 167 kg (367 pounds)
its stockpile of uranium refined to a fissile purity of 20 percent - a level it
says it needs for conversion into reactor fuel. About 240-250 kg of 20 percent
enriched uranium is needed for one atomic bomb if refined to a high
Iran resumed converting higher-grade enriched uranium for fuel
production in December and had since fed 28.3 kg of the material for this stated
purpose, the report added.
It further said that "extensive" activities -
an allusion to clean-up and renovations - at Iran's Parchin military site would
seriously undermine an IAEA investigation to determine whether explosives
research relevant to nuclear weapons was done there.
And Prime Minister Netanyahu's reaction
In response, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Iran is
closer today than ever before to obtaining the necessary enriched
uranium for a nuclear bomb. The White House said that the window remains
open for diplomacy with Iran but will not stay open indefinitely.
termed the report "very grave," and said it proved that Iran is moving
swiftly toward the red line he set out at the UN in September. He said
during that address that Iran must be stopped before it crosses that
line, something he said at the time could happen as early as the spring.
The Prime Minister's Office said that preventing Iran from obtaining
nuclear weapons will be the first issue on the agenda when US President
Barack Obama comes to visit in less than a month's time.
Memo to Obama: You'd better decide soon whether you're going to deal with this, because Netanyahu is not going to wait forever.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, centrifuges, Iranian nuclear threat, Natanz, uranium enrichment