Friday, February 22, 2013

Mixed Signals by Iran Ahead of Almaty Talks

Days before the start of Almaty Talk, Iran appears to be sending mixed signals on its nuclear program, speeding up production of enriched uranium while also converting part of its 20-percent enriched uranium into metal fuel plates for use in a civilian research reactor, rendering the material all but useless for weapons purposes, the Washington Post reported today.

On production side, Iran has begun installing the new IR2m centrifuges at Natanz enrichment facility. The new machines work approximately 4 times faster than the older IR1 machines, doubling the capacity to produce enriched uranium at Natanz.

The installation of IR2m centrifuges prompted Israel to issue a warning that Iran is “closer than ever” to the ability to build a nuclear bomb. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement released today that the Iranian move “proves Iran is continuing to rapidly advance to the red line that the prime minister drew at his speech in the United Nations… Iran is closer than ever today to obtaining enriched material for a nuclear bomb.” (AFP, 21 February)

But meanwhile, IAEA inspectors who visited Iran last month reported that Iran is deliberately capping its 20-percent enriched uranium stockpile by converting some of the enriched uranium into metal fuel plates. Iran has so far kept its stockpile of this form of uranium below 550 pounds, the amount that would be needed in theory to make a single nuclear bomb.

In another possible sign of deliberate slowing, IAEA inspectors confirmed that Iran still has not begun operating hundreds of centrifuges installed recently at its Fordo uranium enrichment plant, the Washington Post reported.

On Tuesday, Iranian officials are scheduled to begin negotiations in Almaty with the six world powers on the country’s nuclear program. France said today that P5+1 diplomats were preparing a “substantial” new offer to Iran.

“We want a genuine exchange that will lead to concrete results,” said a French Foreign Ministry spokesman in Paris. (AFP, 21 February)

File photo: Uranium enriching centrifuges


Anonymous said...

There is no mixed signal if for a moment you believe what Iran is saying for many years. Iran has always said its goal is to produce the fuel and it is just doing that. Why it is considered as signal when Iran converts its Uranium to fuel? It is the only natural move and consistent with what Iran claims about its goal. Boosting the production should also seen in this framework. The idea that it is a mixed signal is coming from western media who insists that Iran's final goal is to build A-Bomb. Well evidences is against their claims as you see

Nader Uskowi said...

Doesn’t quite work that way! Iran has produced more enriched uranium that it could ever use in its single nuclear power reactor. Considering that the Russians have already provided fuel for that reactor, the question was always why Iran needed to enrich so much uranium. Now with installing of IR2m centrifuges, Iran is doubling the capacity of its main facility for uranium enrichment. Why hurrying up to produce so much more fuel without any obvious civilian power reactor use, at least in foreseeable future?

If the answer is that Iran has the right to produce as much fuel as it wants, and it is exercising its right, then one can question the policy to do so. Iran has already proved to the world its capability to enrich uranium and by doubling its stockpile it does not prove anything more.

Of course at the same time, as noted in this post, Iran is keeping its stockpile of 20-percent uranium below 550 pounds, thought to be need to produce a single nuclear bomb.

The mixed signals can be a negotiation tactic for the upcoming Almaty Talks. But aside from the tactics used, at the end of the day Iran needs to have a clear strategy. If it does not intend to convert its stockpile of enriched uranium into bomb-grade material, then it is obvious that it needs to make a compromise at Almaty to limit its enrichment for removing sanctions and starting the process of normalization of its relations with the West.

Otherwise it can continue on its current course. But if its intention is not making the bomb, as Khamenei said so clearly on Wednesday, then this strategy will be under the question. It enriches amounts of uranium with no use for it, and in doing so keeps the sanctions in place. Why?

Anonymous said...

These talks are a smokescreen by the "west" and euphemism for Zionist clones so don't get your hopes up. NOTHING WILL COME OUT OF THESE "TALKS". Iran must continue on its path and follow the DPRK route. There is nothing much these losers can do that has not been done since 1979. Brother KIm is a classic example of the middle finger diplomacy under the tutelage of his celestial Chinese cousins.

Anonymous said...

I think Iran has told several times that it is ready for a acceptable compromise that accept Iran's rights for enrichment but to this moment west position was inflexible and they always asked Iran to stop enrichment completely. I think Iran policy is " Be marg begirim ta be tab razi beshan"
When Iran was not enriching Uranium (before 2000) US was explicitly against having even the busheher? Do you remember that or not?
The same is correct for Enrichment. I think west prefer that we don't have any nuclear thing at all so the strategy is to have have more than we need so we can negotiate for what we really need. So for this case if the gola was 5% Enrichment we should have at least 20% enrichment so west feel they have gained something in the negotiations. Why do you think Iran has been forced to conceal its efforts for nuclear work? I think the reason is simply related to the fact that west would prevent it from even starting the program if Iran come forward and declare it at 90s.

Anonymous said...

read this for example:

Anonymous said...

Right on cue and for the millionth times, the Zionist hasbara mules and crazy Nothing Yahoo has uttered usual nonsense again after eating $5000 worth of deadbeat US taxpayer funded ice-cream:

Israel's daily prediction: Iran closer than ever to nuclear bomb

AFP - Iran is "closer than ever" to the ability to build a nuclear bomb, Israel said on Thursday, as a new UN report said Tehran has begun installing next-generation equipment at one of its main nuclear plants.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's report said Iran started installing new and advanced centrifuges at Natanz, which would enable it to speed up the enrichment of uranium.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the report was "severe," and "proves Iran is continuing to rapidly advance to the red line that the prime minister drew at his speech in the United Nations."

"Iran is closer than ever today to obtaining enriched material for a nuclear bomb," the statement read.

Mark Pyruz said...

It's only "mixed signals" if the expectation is for Iran to surrender. Iran isn't going to surrender, Nader. That's an unrealistic expectation.

Iran has put forward a number of compromise offers, but the U.S. expectation remains for Iran to surrender. Don't take my word for it. Take the word of former Bush and Obama administration officials in both National Security and State Department.

Of course Iran is going to continue to make scientific advances with their nuclear program. Of course, they're going to convert LEU to fuel plates. No surprise, they've said all along they'd do this.

Nader Uskowi said...

Mixed signal is when Iran hurries to enrich more uranium (that it doesn't have any need for) but at the same time convert 20-percent uranium into metal that can’t be used for nuclear bomb. That’s mixed signal. If you are angry at the lack of a clear policy coming from Tehran, please contact them; don’t blame the messenger!

Anonymous said...

they needn't surrender.......

La Garde meurt ne se rend pas

tubtuilayka said...

Well said anonymous 6:35. So many brick heads here tend to swallow the propaganda and pretend to forget the whole history of the Iranian nuclear programme.
To remind you, if you pretend to have forgotten: Iran did not even want to enrich Uranium. It is only when the powers to be refused to give it enriched uranium. Now, one thing led to another.
Personally, I think the West planned all this so that it can vilify Iran. They are not afraid of nuclear Iran, after all, they should fear Pakistan even more.