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Monday, August 31, 2009

Iran: More centrifuges, fewer operating

Nuclear inspectors reported over the weekend that Iran has increased the number of centrifuges it has, but decreased the number of them that are operating. Iran currently has enough enriched uranium for two nuclear weapons.
The slowdown in the enrichment of uranium — the key ingredient it would need to produce to fuel nuclear power plants or nuclear weapons — was something of a surprise. For reasons the agency could not explain, Iran has reduced, at least for now, the number of centrifuges it is actively using for enrichment, from 4,920 in June to 4,592 — a decrease of 328 machines.

The new report also disclosed that Iran had increased the number of centrifuges that were installed and ready to add to Iran's capacity. It put the new total at more than 8,300 — or an increase of more than 1,100 centrifuges since June.

"Continuing to install large numbers of new centrifuges is significant" since filling them with raw uranium "is a relatively minor step," the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington, said in an analysis of the new report.

Some U.S. intelligence officials have suggested that Iran is trying to build up enough centrifuges that it could "break out" of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at any moment and produce weapons fuel.

The atomic agency also reported that Iran, even with the work slowdown, had substantially increased its stocks of enriched uranium. In June, the total stood at 839 kilograms, or 1,850 pounds. Friday's report listed the enrichment of an additional 669 kilograms of uranium, bringing the new total to 1,508 kilograms, or 3,325 pounds.
The breakout scenario certainly sounds plausible. I doubt Iran has suddenly given up on its pursuit of nuclear weapons. But it may be trying to reduce international pressure on it by claiming that it's not enriching any more uranium.


Haaretz reports that despite the IAEA covering up some of the more damaging features of its findings on Iran, there is still plenty of evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
Among other details was an indication that a foreign scientific expert helped Iran in their efforts to develop a "metallic hemisphere," a reference to a nuclear bomb. Although the scientist was not identified in the report, Haaretz has learned that he is a Russian national. Other findings in the report include the existence of a computer containing blueprints suspected to pertain to calculations of the altitude from which a nuclear weapon should be dropped. After Iran had for years denied the existence of such a computer, and then argued that its contents were a fabrication, Tehran acknowledged its existence but claimed the drawings pertained to a two-stage missile.

The IAEA report also contains findings regarding experiments that Iran conducted on explosive materials to examine chain reactions. The organization believes the experiment was connected to research on a nuclear explosion. The report also contained information about cooperation between Iranian agencies and corporations with military contacts and foreign parties including nuclear research institutes in Russia.

The IAEA report does not, however, say that these findings prove that Iran is working to develop a military nuclear program. It does point out that Iran continues to ignore repeated demands for information regarding past activity that could indicate a desire to manufacture nuclear weapons. It also notes that Iran is ignoring United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for it to stop enriching uranium, which nonetheless continues.
And Obama still thinks that the Russians are going to go along with a sanctions regime? Whom is he kidding? Not Israel, that's for sure.


At 8:33 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

bomb them now...

do not delay...

start an intensive attack asap, and follow it up with
weekly sorties without end...

hit the most important targets 1st, followed up with any military/industrial & infrastructure that remains.

destroy all exporting and importing abilities

destroy all electric power plants, turbines & transformers

avoid civilian population as much as possible, however do not be deterred because of civilian human shields.

At 8:38 PM, Blogger StevenInBrooklynNY said...

Like we should trust any aspect of that report.

Israel, just act, and do it by Chanukah, please!

At 12:28 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

What Barry Rubin says about the PA - yes that "moderate" peace partner and its cooperation with Iran illustrates why a Palestinian state is a non-starter under current circumstances.

Does Israel really want to countenance an Iranian base just mere minutes from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv?

There's more. Read it all


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