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Sunday, March 18, 2012

USA Dependent on 2003 Intelligence Assessment of Iran Having Nuclear Capabilities

Nadene Goldfoot
Iran got into the nuclear program in the 1950's with the USA's help which sponsored the "Atoms for Peace Program." 

The USA and the Western European government were involved in their program until 1979 when the Shah of Iran was toppled by the Iranian Revolution that put the Ayatollah in power.  The atomic program was temporarily halted and revived with some Western assistance.  They then created several research sites, 2 uranium mines, a research reactor and uranium processing facilities including 3 known uranium enrichment plants.

Bushehr I reactor was finished with major assistance from the Russian government agency "Rosatom" and opened on September 12, 2011.  Iran announced it is now working on a new 360 MW nuclear power plant located in Darkhovin.  It will be seeking more medium-sized nuclear power plants and uranium mines in the future. 

By November 2011 the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors had rebuked Iran following their report about how Iran had undertaken research and experiments geared to develop at nuclear weapons capability.  Their report outlines in depth their detonator development, multiple-point initiation of high explosives and experiments involving nuclear payload integration into a missile delivery vehicle.  Iran rejected the report as it does with all things such as the Holocaust and accused the IAEA of pro-Western bias and threatened to not cooperate with them. 

The United States is saying that they are depending on a 5 year old intelligence assessment from 2007 asserting that Iran stopped secret work in developing nuclear arms way back in 2003.  From everything they have been threatening, like the destruction of Israel, the little Satan, and the USA, the big Satan, this sort of thinking is just plain unbelievable! 

Just in the past 3 months, Iran has almost tripled the amount of devices that produce 20% uranium.  They had 700 centrifuges strung together in 4 separate series.  Currently they are running 9,000 centrifuges, a jump from 8,000 one month ago.  Now they are churning it out at a rate of about 14 kg, or nearly 30 lbs  a month.  This comes from the International Atomic Energy Agency  (IAEA).  The IAEA has reported these increases. It is a part of the UN, reporting to the UN General Assembly. It has a staff made up of 2,300 from 100 countries with a 35 member board. 

Of course their weapons-making is not being confirmed by the UN.  The UN is top-heavy today with Middle East countries who are not about to cross Iran while they all vie for power.  Iran is not made up of Arabs but Persians, and they have had their disagreements in vying for power, such as the Iran-Iraq War back in the 80's.   Anyway, they realize that Iran's goal in life is to destroy Israel and they also back that goal  Next would be the USA and its Western culture which is the opposite of their goal in life. The UN is not taking the IAEA's word, at least not for public consumption.

Aluf Meir Dagan, recently retired Mossad chief has commented on a TV news interview that Iran possesses many sites for their nuclear work.  The newspaper sites 3 major ones this morning.

1.Main Natanz Site in central Iran, 25 feet underground, protected  by 2 concrete walls.  This is where the enrichment centrifuges are all concentrated, it is believed. 

2. Fordo facility, 40 miles south of Tehran, Now shifting some operations dug into this mountain site south of Tehran that is more heavily fortified, protected by 330 feet of rock, surrounded by anti-aircraft batteries, other defenses run by Revolutionary Guard.   Has 800 centrifuges enriching to 20% level.  They have about 2,000 more centrifuges partially assembled. 

3. Parchin military compound SE of Tehran where high-explosive tests happened when simulating blasts needed to set off nuclear chain reaction.  To have a working nuclear warhead, highly enriched uranium or plutonium is only part of it.  Tests are needed to make sure containment casings and triggers are working.  The IAEA has asked to see this site and have been denied.  They suspect that high-explosive tests happened here from blasts known about. 

Britain, France, Germany, Israel and other US allies are suspicious that activities have gone past 2007s assessment but not the USA.  Our allies all feel that isolated and sporadic activities may be ongoing as the IAEA has already reported.  I'd bet that Israel feels it's been happening even more than that.

Many fear that Iran will have a nuclear warhead in less than a year.  They've stockpiled 5.5 tons of uranium already enriched to 3.5% levels, enough to power reactors and at least 90% is needed to produce material for a bomb.  They've created about 250 lbs of 20% enriched uranium needed to fuel a medical research reactor in Tehran.

3.5% enriched uranium is enough to turn into cores for 4 warheads if further enriched.  To enrich a single warhead, 4 months with centrifuge equipment is needed says David Albright, nuclear expert.  Their stockpile of 20% is half the amount needed for a warhead.  At the pace today, they will reach that goal by the end of the year.  20% material can be converted to weapons-grade faster than lower level uranium.  It would be a crude device with no means of delivery.  Mounting it on a missile would take another 6 months to a year, he told AP.  Has he considered that another group might be working on this goal? 

Israel feels that there is just one window available to bomb these sites.  Dagan disagrees with Netanyahu in that he would rather the USA do the bombing.  He would like to see a regime change so they wouldn't keep the same goal to destroy Israel-and accept a Jewish state in the Middle East.  It's chancy.  Is the glass half full or half empty?  Iran already has had one try at changing and the people were put down quickly with the USA staying out of it.  Dagan sees it as a futile task for Israel with terrible repercussions.  The USA is also saying not to bomb these sites. 

Oh yes, Iran is the 4th largest oil producer in the world.  It is OPEC's 2nd largest with Saudi Arabia being the 1st.  They certainly do need atomic energy in their country, don't they? 

Resource: Oregonian newspaper page A13, Iran weapons-making not confirmed by U.N. by George Jahn AP 3/18/12

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