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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Parchin’

The Artful Inaccuracies of Iran’s Foreign Minister

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

As we march towards the July 20 deadline for reaching agreement on stopping the Iranian nuclear weapons program, it is worth gauging Iran’s intentions by looking at the words of its foreign minister, Javad Zarif. On June 13, The Washington Post published an op-ed by Zarif entitled Iran is Committed to a Peaceful Nuclear Program. The op-ed is a skillful piece of propaganda aimed at dismissing skeptics of Iran’s peaceful nuclear intentions. However, Zarif’s arguments are marked by inaccurate assertions, significant omissions, and a threatening tone. The central paragraph of Zarif’s op-ed characterizes the concern about Iran’s nuclear weapons program as a “phobia.”

While reaching a realistic deal is the best available option for the West to prevent such a remote possibility, it may be instructive to take that phobia at face value. Let’s put it to a logical test. If Iran ever wanted to break out, all IAEA inspectors would have to be expelled from the country. Iran’s program would then have to be reconfigured to make weapons-grade fissile material, which would have to be converted to metal, be molded into the shape required for a bomb and undergo countless other complex weaponization processes. None of these capabilities exist in Iran and would have to be developed from scratch. This would take several years — not a few months.

In its assessment of breakout times published last October, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) argued that a breakout time of less than six months would allow Iran to develop a nuclear device undetected:

As in the October 2012 iteration, the estimates in this report do not include the additional time that Iran would need to convert WGU [weapons grade uranium] into weapons components and manufacture a nuclear weapon. This extra time could be substantial, particularly if Iran wanted to build a reliable warhead for a ballistic missile. However, these preparations would most likely be conducted at secret sites and would be difficult to detect. If Iran successfully produced enough WGU for a nuclear weapon, the ensuing weaponization process might not be detectable until Iran tested its nuclear device underground or otherwise revealed its acquisition of nuclear weapons. Therefore, the most practical strategy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is to prevent it from accumulating sufficient nuclear explosive material, particularly in secret or without adequate warning. This strategy depends on knowing how quickly Iran could make WGU.

Zarif’s “breakout time” estimate differs from that of ISIS as the former includes activities such as weaponization and the creation of delivery systems, both of which could evade detection. ISIS’s breakout time estimate addresses the production of sufficient fissile material to make a bomb. In an analysis of a dubious study that is apparently the basis for Zarif’s claim of a breakout time of “several years,” ISIS researchers observed that the methodology of the study is so systematically skewed, “that it requires all the breakout estimates to be dismissed as woefully too short” and concluded, “[t]his Iranian study is a political tool for Iranian officials to point to as negotiations unfold.”

Later on, Zarif writes, “For years, small but powerful constituencies have irrationally advanced the idea that Iran can produce enough fissile material for a bomb in months.” Thus Zarif shifts the argument from “Iran cannot produce a nuclear device in a matter of months,” which is true, to “Iran cannot produce enough enriched uranium for a bomb in a matter of months,” which is false.

Furthermore, a “logical test” could be applied the other way too. If Iran’s nuclear program has no military aspect, why is it developing ballistic missiles that could carry a nuclear payload? If Iran’s nuclear program is for civilian purposes only, why is it planning to build a heavy water reactor when a light water reactor would suffice for any civilian needs? If Iran’s nuclear program only has peaceful aims, why did Iran refuse guarantees for a steady supply of enriched uranium and instead insist on mastering fuel cycle technologies (i.e. uranium enrichment)?  And why has Iran not allowed an on site inspection of the Parchin facility, which is believed to have housed experiments for nuclear detonators? In addition, Iran has asphalted the site hiding evidence of its experiments.

Iran Nuclear Plant Progress More Worrisome than Ever Before

Friday, May 24th, 2013

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iran-nuclear-plant-progress-more-worrisome-than-ever-before/2013/05/24/

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