Iran’s construction of a research reactor that can produce plutonium for a nuclear weapon continues full steam, according to a UN report issued this week. And the UN International Atomic Energy Agency is now convinced that Iran has increased to a dangerous level its capacity to refine uranium, a prerequisite for constructing a bomb. And, according to the IAEA, the part of Parchin, a military site the agency insisted on inspecting, has now been paved over by the Iranians.
Obviously, the Iranians have a lot to hide, and they’re hiding it. When they finally let UN inspectors in, it would be after all traces of nuclear bomb-related research have been covered by asphalt.
Judging by what the Administration has been saying—that Iran is “advancing its enrichment program in blatant violation of its international obligations”—somebody is going to start a war over these facilities.
U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters that the UN report “marks an unfortunate milestone with regard to Iran’s illicit nuclear activities.”
Ventrell added that “despite more than a decade of dedicated effort on the part of the IAEA, Iran still has not provided the requisite cooperation with the IAEA for them to complete their investigation,” and that “we’re going to continue to hold Iran accountable for its international nuclear obligations.”
According to Reuters, the West is mostly concerned about Iran’s uranium enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow. But experts suggest the research reactor being built outside the town of Arak could be used to produce plutonium for nuclear arms.
The IAEA says Iran is planning to commission that plant in the first quarter of 2014 and expects it to become operational in the third quarter.
The UN report seems to confirm—at least indirectly—Israeli claims that Iran could produce at will a nuclear weapon as early as this summer, and could certainly accumulate a stockpile of bombs next year.