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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Think tank: Iran using Israeli laser technology to enrich uranium; Israelis fear Iran weeks away from breakout

The Institute for Science and International Security says that Iran may be enriching uranium using Israeli laser technology, an activity that it previously told the IAEA that it had ceased in 2003. And note the last paragraph of the story....
The institute says Iran is still developing laser technology for enriching uranium. It notes accelerated construction at a site where this type of enrichment was once performed, and mentions then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 2010 statement that Iran had the ability to enrich uranium via laser isotope separation.
Based in part on images from commercial satellites, the institute notes the expansion of the Lashkar Ab'ad facility, where laser-assisted enrichment experiments have been done in the past. The facility was exposed in 2003 and later investigated by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Iran later announced that it had no intention of enriching uranium using laser technology, and IAEA agents who visited the facility said laser technology there was for civilian purposes. In February 2010, Ahmadinejad said Iran would for the time being enrich uranium using centrifuges rather than lasers, but the institute says the issue must be investigated considering Iran’s record of false statements.
The institute says Iran is taking steps to conceal the connection between the Lashkar Ab’ad facility and other organizations involved in laser technology, one of which has been subject to sanctions by the United States and the European Union. 
...
The method of enriching uranium by exposing its vapors to laser beams was developed in Israel in 1969 by two young scientists: Prof. Menahem Levin of Tel Aviv University and Prof. Yeshayahu Nebenzahl. The two sought to patent the invention, but the state forbade them.  
...
In any case, Israeli officials have said in recent weeks that the pace of enrichment in the centrifuges that Iran is now building will let it skip from 3.5-percent enrichment to above the 90 percent needed for a nuclear bomb. The fear is that within weeks Iran will overcome the last obstacle to building a bomb without Western intelligence knowing ahead of time.
 And Obama is doing nothing.... Unless he's holding Israel back.... What could go wrong?

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