Iran’s Nuclear Announcement

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The Iranian regime announced yesterday that a new line of centrifuges have been activated and domestically-produced fuel rods are being used. The revelations in the state media were scarier: The underground Fordo nuclear site, clearly designed for nuclear weapons production, has become “fully operational,” potentially bringing Iran only a few short months from having bomb-grade uranium.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proudly announced that Iran had produced its own nuclear fuel rods and installed them into a medical research reactor in Tehran. Iran previously bragged that it made its own rods and the site has no weapons-related purpose. Judith Miller of the Manhattan Institute described the announcement as a “photo opportunity” and “publicity stunt.”

Ahmadinejad also claimed that Iran manufactured 3,000 new “fourth generation” centrifuges for its Natanz site that will have larger and faster output. They will begin making low-enriched uranium called yellowcake next year, the regime said. Experts have serious doubts about the validity of Iran’s boasts in this area.

The announcement on Iran’s state media is of much more concern. The underground enrichment site at Fordo near Qom, built to withstand air strikes, will become “fully operational” in the matter of days. When Israeli Defense Minister warned of Iran reaching an “immunity zone” when military action is no longer viable, he was referring to this site specifically and others built underground and deep in the mountains. The U.S. and Europe point out that the structure of the site makes it incompatible with a peaceful nuclear energy program as Iran claims, but very suitable for nuclear weapons production.

Iran says it is going to enrich uranium at the Fordo site to 20% for use in medical research. A nuclear weapon needs uranium enriched to about 90% but in the words of former Revolutionary Guardsman Reza Kahlili, that 20% threshold brings Iran “9/10 of the way to weaponization.”

David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security says that it only takes about 6 months to upgrade 20%-enriched uranium to bomb-grade level using 500-1,000 centrifuges. The Fordo site can hold 3,000 centrifuges. Iran has not said how many centrifuges are at the site but an International Atomic Energy Agency report published in November said that 412 were present.

Reza Kahlili reports that Iran just completed its first trigger for detonating a nuclear bomb, a major achievement that the IAEA knows that Iran has been working on. Last year, he was told by sources in Iran that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei ordered the construction of at least two nuclear warheads by next month.

If Kahlili’s sources had accurate information, then Iran is much closer to having a nuclear missile than the West believes. The director of Israel’s military-intelligence says Iran has enough uranium for four nuclear weapons but won’t have a nuclear missile for three years. Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute of Strategic Studies says that once Iran makes enough bomb-grade uranium, it’ll still take over a year for a bomb to be assembled.

Iran is becoming more aggressive as its nuclear program advances.

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  • joy52

    The underground sites are around Qoms. Qoms is earthq uake-prone. What if it is underground testing?

  • gabe

    Jeremy Bernstein of the New Yorker wrote an interesting piece on how Iran obtained nuclear weapons. Worth reading, for those interested: http://goo.gl/RvCmG

  • Ron

    The real significance of Iran's announcements are being overlooked. They're producing 20% enriched U-238 rods for its "research" reactor. Those rods can quickly produce Pu-239 for use in a plutonium implosion weapon. Fuel rods for a nuclear power plant only need to be enriched to 3.5% consisting mostly of U-235 for sustained fission for 3 years.

    So, Iran has two tracks for nuclear weapons production: uranium and plutonium. Much quicker process to go the Pu route but Iran already has a lot of 20% enriched uranium that can be quickly converted to 80% for use in bombs.

  • elihu

    Yeah, those tough sanctions we imposed on Iran really worked didn't they? Why doesn't this wussie government just wait until they explode an EMP over Nebraska before they act? Oh, I forgot, Omama wanted to sit down with them in discussions of peace; what an A$$hat.

  • Nakba1948
    • Ron Carnine

      I went to the site you posted and what do I find? "Socialism for the 21st Century". That's what you post to try to persuade folks that America is the "Great Satan"? The article claims Iran has signed the "non-proliferation treaty" therefore we can trust them not to develop nuclear weapons. Islam ok's lying to fool the enemy so nothing that is signed can be trusted. Look at Egypt and their threat to negate their existing treaty with Israel. Israel is a nation in a sea of Islam. She again and again has been attacked by her Muslim neighbors and you think its wrong for her to use every weapon available to her? If I had a neighbor who continually swore my death, I would defend myself too. Your blogs never take these facts into account, nor is there anything you ever say that shows you are in any way a reasonable individual. Maybe you get that from Islam?

  • Jill

    DAM IT PEOPLE – GOVERNMENT – POLITICIANS !!!!
    OBAMA IS A HITLER – A STALIN…OR WORSE.

    WHY DOESN’T OUR GOVERNMENT – US GROUPS GET TOGETHER
    AND START TELLING IT LIKE IT IS.
    HE IS DESTROYING US SO QUICKLY AND
    WE SIT FOR YEARS TALKING ABOUT IT ON
    BLOGS!!!!!
    WE MUST UNITE AND STOP HIM!!!!!

    DIDN’T WE CLAIM WE WOULD NEVER ALLOW ANOTHER
    HITLER OR AN OPPRESSOR TO DESTROY THE
    WORLD ?
    HE IS INCITING THE WORLD TO KILL CHRISTIANS , JEWS, ALL AMERICANS.
    WE MUST DO SOMETHING NOW.
    STOP THE MADMAN. GET HIM TO
    SHOW UP TO COURT FOR CRIMES AGAINST THE
    US AND AMERICANS.
    IF WE DO NOTHING – IT WILL ALL BE OVER
    FOR THIS GREAT NATION BECAUSE WE DID….NOTHING !!!!”!

  • Divrr1230

    Islamists, even the extremists, would never think of hurting us in the West, no more than even wanting to harm Jews…they just say that to make us respect them more and to hide their loser frustrations. Their mullahs and imams are just anxious to eat apple pie in our homes and show their affection in order to promote peace and show their goodwill. Their televised hate parades, beheadings and terrorism are just mock-ups and staged. Obama wants us to learn to trust them for they mean us no harm. The word infidels only means needing peaceful guidance and love. The smile on that tinpot dictator in Iran is real…he's a nice guy you can trust with your life. His beady eyes reflect a heart of love.
    Destroy now, President Netanyau…while the remaining slit in the window of opportunity is still visible…and may the God of Abraham, beloved Jews and Christians be with you and guide you with power that will convince the Iranians to never dabble with destructive nuclear hardware again!

  • pyeatte

    I recall the liberals were saying Iran was at least ten years away, two years ago. I look at liberals and the left as an enemy of the state (of course they run the state right now). Which means the state is currently the enemy of a free people. There is a terrible resolve building, and where it goes, nobody knows. I hope it does not end up putting people in front of walls, but beware. This country has a history of being capable of great bloodshed as in the Civil War. Human nature never changes, and it all lies just beneath the surface, and sometimes the demons win.