Iranian officials informed the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog today that they plan to mount as many as 3,132 new-generation IR-2m centrifuges in their development of uranium enrichment. Tehran issued a confidential note to the International Atomic Energy Association’s 35-nation board saying that ‘domestically developed’ centrifuges would be used in the next stage of research. The only logical rationale for so doing would be the production of weapons-grade uranium.
Diplomatic sources in Iran have confirmed that Iran notified the IAEA of its intention to upgrade the centrifuges at its nuclear development site at Natanz. The centifruges would make the high-level enriching of uranium possible. Although the Iranian regime continues to insist that its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes, the signs at every stage of this saga between Iran, the US, the EU and the IAEA have suggested that a more belligerent aim could well be involved. This development will convince some hitherto doubtful opinion that such is the case.
The Natanz plant already uses several thousand centrifuges to purify uranium as a nuclear fuel, but none of them is capable of developing weapons-grade uranium. The ‘P5+1′ group – the United States, France, Russia, China, Britain and Germany – last held negotiations with Tehran in June 2012, but the talks broke down…as they always do, of course, when anyone from the 5+1 dares to suggest that the purely peaceful alleged nature of the nuclear development be monitored more closely by independent observers.
The clear and fairly obvious extrapolation from recent history is that Iran is taking the piss, and does indeed want to develop nuclear weapons – but is as yet quite some way off doing so…..unless there is a shadow operation somewhere thus far unknown to the West. Given the accuracy of satellite photography now, the chances of this being a reality are remote: the only game in town here is getting the Iranian project controlled before it’s too late. So we should all be rather concerned that our very own Baroness Ashton seems to be of pivotal importance, or perhaps even impotence, in the ongoing process.
“We’ve been saying to the Iranians that we want to propose dates and venues in order that we can get the discussions moving as soon as possible,” she blathered earlier today, adding that she is “confident a meeting will happen soon”. So that’s alright then.
The reality is that as long as the Tehran leadership continues to stall and tease (thus making the absence of Western balls apparent to anyone) the easier it is for Benjamin Netanyahu to whip up militarist fervour in Israel.
Earlier at The Slog: Volatility is the new norm