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August 9, 2005
4000 Centrifuges Later ...

A leading Iranian dissident with well-established ties within the Iranian nuclear program claims that Teheran has built 4,000 centrifuges, far more than the IAEA suspects, making Iranian claims of peaceful motives behind their nuclear power efforts appear less than honest:

Iran has manufactured about 4,000 centrifuges capable of enriching uranium to weapons grade, an exiled Iranian dissident who helped uncover nearly two decades of covert nuclear activity in 2002 said Tuesday.

Alireza Jafarzadeh told The Associated Press the centrifuges which he said are unknown to the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency are ready to be installed at Iran's nuclear facility in Natanz.

Jafarzadeh, who runs Strategic Policy Consulting, a Washington-based think tank focusing on Iran and Iraq, said the information which he described as "very recent" came from sources within the Tehran regime who have proven accurate in the past.

The IAEA only knows of 164 centrifuges at Natanz, its spokesman said in response, a paltry fraction of what Jafarzadeh says will shortly begin production. He also says that the IAEA has missed the facilitation of this production through the use of front companies buying disparate parts that have yet raised no concerns, because only one company performs the integration needed to complete their construction.

Despite this information and the recent resumption of uranium processing by the Iranians, the IAEA does not plan on reporting the situation to the UN Security Council for a resolution. It has considered, it says, sending a formal warning to Teheran. That warning will mean little to the mullahcracy except as evidence of the uselessness of the IAEA in enforcing non-proliferation treaties. They have already come to that conclusion about the EU-3, snubbing the latest offer from Britain, France, and Germany ostensibly because it did not meet their requirements. Apparently, however, the Iranians have built their centrifuges and have no more need of stall tactics.

Will either the EU-3 or the IAEA ever refer this situation to the UNSC? No one has any illusions about that body's willingness to do much except bloviate, but at least it will show some progress in the process of enforcement. The fact that neither will even go that far shows how little courage the West has in confronting rogue regimes, especially those with whom they have significant trade interests. At the very least, they could shut up and get out of the way. Hopefully, they will do that before the mullahs decide to turn Tel Aviv into a glass parking lot overlooking the Mediterranean.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 9, 2005 7:18 AM

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