Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Iran Speeds Up Nuclear Program

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran has been installing 3,000 new centrifuges at the country’s uranium enrichment facility in Natanz. There were already 3,000 centrifuges in operation at Natanz. Ahmadinejad made the announcement as he toured the Natanz facility today, proclaimed as the National Nuclear Day.

Ahmadinejad also said that later today he would announce “newer achievements in Iran’s nuclear program.” It is expected that the new development would be the installation at Natanz of 300 advanced IR-2 centrifuges, capable of enriching uranium up to three times faster than the current P-1 type machines.

Iran says it needs the new centrifuges to accelerate the production of nuclear fuel needed to run electricity-generating nuclear reactors. The problem with the argument is the fact that Iran does not have a single nuclear reactor in operation today. The Russians are completing the construction of the country’s first reactor at Bushehr. But the fuel needed for that reactor has already been supplied to Iran by the Russians. The construction and completion of any new nuclear reactor would take years, if not decades. Hence the argument that Iran would need so much enriched uranium today for the reactors to be built in distant future simply does not hold.

With 6,000 P-1 centrifuges installed and the advanced IR-2 machines being added to the inventory, Iran should be able to produce considerable amounts of enriched uranium in the coming months.

Iran can reprocess the enriched uranium at Natanz to produce highly-enriched uranium that can in turn be processed to produce uranium metal, the core of uranium-based nuclear weapons. IAEA has confronted Iran with questions on that very process. The agency has provided Iran with the intelligence showing that it was in possession of technical drawings for reprocessing highly-enriched uranium into uranium metal and of high explosion tests required in a nuclear weaponization program. Iran has so far refused to discuss the details with IAEA, only calling the reports “baseless.”

Today’s announcement of doubling the country’s uranium enrichment capabilities and adding the most advanced centrifuges to the inventory can only increase suspicions that Iran is getting ready to produce nuclear weapons.


Anonymous said...

Iran has no intention of Using any Nuclear weapons it might make. It wants the status and protection that Pakistan - another Muslim country has. Israel stole Nukes from the US and the US just let it happen. Israel has begun this Nuclear proliferation due its insistance of being the Super Power in the middle east and the overlord of one billion Muslims.
Iran knows the US and Europe would destroy Iran if it ever used any Nukes. But Iran knows that Jewish lobbyist who want us to invade Iran and create death and havoc like Israel made us do in Iraq (WMDs? ALL lies! Bush admitted Saddam had no connection to 9/11!!!). Isreal compelled the USA to go to war with Iraq to make Israel safer. That is what 4,000 US soldiers and 700,000 Iraqi civilians have died for. Iran is terrified by Israel and its control over the USA and wants to be protected from that threat.

Nader Uskowi said...

You are offering the rationale for Iran's need to build the bomb. What I was arguing, however, was that the government’s rationale for significantly increasing the country’s uranium enrichment capacity does not make any sense. they are emphasizing that Iran needs the uranium fuel to produce electricity (same rationale was repeated today). But the fuel for the country’s only nuclear reactor that is being built by Russians has already been provided by Russia. Why an accelerated program now to enrich uranium, if not for building the bomb?

I do understand that Pakistan and Israel lrady have the bomb. Although I do not belive Pakistan is now safer becuse of the bomb, it migt be inevitable for other regional actors, such as Iran, to join the club.

The international concern with Iran's nuclear program is to a large extend due to the bahavior of the sitting government in Tehran. The government has failed to solicit international support because of its rhetoric and its erratic behavior. otherwise, people would have accepted a nuclear Iran as esily as they did with India and Pakistan.

Mark Pyruz said...

"otherwise, people would have accepted a nuclear Iran as esily as they did with India and Pakistan."-->Nader

That's not entirely accurate. India and Pakistan's leap into the nuclear arms race were both fait accompli's. Iran, on the other hand, has a relatively transparent scheme in place, with qualified respect for the NPT taken into account.

Nader Uskowi said...

Hi Mark. It’s so good to hear from you again. It’s been a while. Hope all is well.

As always, you pose the most challenging questions. I guess this is what I am trying to say. We can not blame US and the West as the only source of Iran’s troubles today. The problem starts at Marmar palace in Tehran. The government needs to follow generally accepted norms of behavior, stop supporting paramilitary groups associated with terrorist projects, not threaten other countries, cut back on the rhetoric, etc… The Islamic Republic has been in existence for thirty years now and it is part of Iran’s establishment. It can not afford to act as though it is still a young revolutionary government.

A moderate foreign policy does not mean Iran can not have its independent stands counter to the West on issues vital to its national interests. But the key is the moderation in policy. Until the government’s behavior remains confrontational and erratic, Iran’s legitimate interests will not find many supporters around the world. Most of the country's problems are internal.

Mark Pyruz said...

Thanks for the kind words, Nader. Yes, it's good to be back.

Anonymous said...

Good photos of President Ahmadi Nezhad at either the Natanz or Esfahan research facility examining some of the latest equipment, including carbon fiber rotors for the new IR-2 centrifuges.





Anonymous said...

P.S. If the URLs in the above post are cut off it's


followed by




47 pics, two are missing.