IAEA: Iran ramping up its uranium enrichment

posted at 1:21 pm on August 28, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

While the world watches Syria and the almost-inevitable Western strikes against Bashar al-Assad, the Iranian nuclear program has flown under the radar of late. A new report from the IAEA shifts the spotlight back on Tehran, where the Iranian nuclear effort has readied more than a thousand uranium-enrichment systems, which give the clearest indication to date that the mullahs want nukes:

The U.N.’s atomic energy agency says Iran has prepared more than 1,000 advanced uranium enriching machines to be started up. The move raises concerns among countries that think Tehran wants to make nuclear arms.

A report released Wednesday from the International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has put 1,008 of the advanced centrifuges under vacuum. Such a move is normally one of the last steps before the machines start spinning uranium gas into the material that can be used either as reactor fuel or as the core of nuclear warheads, depending on its enrichment level.

Iran has 15,000 older machines, CBS News notes, but those do not have the same efficiency as the newer systems about to be deployed by Iran.  These newer centrifuges improve efficiency by 300%-400%, which will greatly speed up the kind of enrichment needed for weapons-grade uranium. Assuming that the Iranians already have the technology for the weapon itself and to adapt it to missile delivery systems, the mullahs could have a missile ready to aim at Tel Aviv within a short period of time, although the testing necessary to refine the design might take an additional year or two, as North Korea discovered.

Interestingly, the IAEA released the report less than a day after they reached agreement with Iran to restart nuclear-proliferation talks.  They will begin again on September 27th, with the Parchin complex the main point of contention.  Iran has refused to allow inspectors access to the facility, which the IAEA suspects is being used to test the explosive design within a warhead.

That may become an acute issue, as Iran warned the West to stay out of Syria — or else:

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the country’s new cabinet that any U.S. involvement in the Syrian crisis would constitute a “disaster for the region.” He warned that “the Americans will suffer damages similar to when they interfered in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“Starting this fire will be like lighting a spark in a large gunpowder keg, with unclear and unspecified outcomes and consequences,” Khamenei said. …

The conservative speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani, was more ominous, saying that a hasty attack on Syria would result in heavy losses for the United States and its allies, especially Israel.

“If adventurous countries want to take this action, they will be plunging into an unclear situation, and the Zionist regime, specifically, will face an even more bitter doom than the 33-days war,” Larijani said, referring to the war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

This is the wild card in the Syrian standoff.  Assad is Iran’s most strategic partner in the region, and any attempt to depose him will produce a big response from a country with significant military resources.  If they decide to respond to a US/UK strike on Assad with an attack on Israel, Israel will respond — and the US will have to do so as well. That might leave places like Parchin and even the nuclear site at Bushehr open for retaliatory strikes, but this will touch off a regional war that would set the Middle East on fire, and possibly well beyond those borders.  Unless Russia and China can convince Iran to sit on the sidelines, this will get ugly, and we may see Iran’s nuclear capability a lot sooner than we expect.


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Where in the Koran does it say nuclear power or weapons are allowed? Those idiots running the country are always going on and on about their book, let’s see some evidence for this.

Bishop on August 28, 2013 at 1:23 PM

If we attack, we will end up in a mess. The folks leading the cluster fark designed ZeroCare and Porkulus. I would not trust the lot with a book of matches, never mind missiles.

dogsoldier on August 28, 2013 at 1:30 PM

I feel sorry for the next President, regardless of their party. The incompetence of this President in dealing with the Middle East will have repercussions far beyond his time in office.

Chris of Rights on August 28, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Bishop on August 28, 2013 at 1:23 PM

This might help.

Every time someone says “It is written” it just sends me scurrying all over my dog-eared copy of the Koran, which I keep in the bathroom, right next to Reader’s Digest.

Guess it is written in some kind of secret Mohammedan language or something.

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 1:32 PM

IAEA: Iran ramping up its uranium enrichment

Remember the good old days, when the IAEA told us that Iran had no nuclear weapons program, and they were merely trying to wean themselves off fossil based fuels…going green, Koran Green, to save the earth, stop the tides from rising, help out the planet…nothing to fear.

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 1:35 PM

I don’t understand how pre-microchip America was able to create a bomb in just a few years, yet Iran can’t do it with a blueprint and computers in several years.

I’m sure there’s a good reason, I just have never seen it articulated. For the record I don’t think it was stuxnet.

WitchDoctor on August 28, 2013 at 1:37 PM

There are other very quick methods of enriching Iran with disseminated uranium, but most of them include a plutonium core.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on August 28, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Bishop on August 28, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Khamenei is on record as saying that nukes are “unislamic”

That clown Fareed Zakaria, writting for Newsweek, said we should believe him.

Jabberwock on August 28, 2013 at 1:38 PM

my dog-eared copy of the Koran, which I keep in the bathroom, right next to Reader’s Digest.

Have you no respect?!

For Reader’s Digest!!

Shy Guy on August 28, 2013 at 1:38 PM

I feel sorry for the next President, regardless of their party. The incompetence of this President in dealing with the Middle East will have repercussions far beyond his time in office.

Chris of Rights on August 28, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Yep. The incompetence of Jimmy Carter gave us the Iran that we are dealing with today. He pushed the Shah out of the way for Khomeini just as the REB pushed Mubarak out of the way for the MoBro.

The incompetence and added malice of the REB will haunt America for decades to come.

slickwillie2001 on August 28, 2013 at 1:40 PM

WitchDoctor on August 28, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Been a constant theme in televisions shows and movies (before we got all PC and stuff) but ever see a street or room full of excited Mohammedans?

It is a wonder they got any of the equipment installed at all.

Articulation is not one of their cultural strong points.

Probably why they hired the North Koreans to provide technical assistance back in the mid-1990′s.

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Every time someone says “It is written” it just sends me scurrying all over my dog-eared copy of the Koran, which I keep in the bathroom, right next to Reader’s Digest.

Guess it is written in some kind of secret Mohammedan language or something.

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 1:32 PM

I keep my copy of the Koran in the bathroom as well. I find if you place it on a spool it is more convenient to dispense when you’re finishing up.

Fenris on August 28, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Is it racist for the Russians to describe Obama like this? Even if it’s true?

Harbingeing on August 28, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Shy Guy on August 28, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Well, of course, I actually read Reader’s Digest.

That other “book” comes in handy when somebody uses up the last bit of Charmin.

They don’t make Sears or Monkey Wards catalogs anymore like they did back in the day.

Life is tough out here in flyover country.

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 1:46 PM

“If adventurous countries want to take this action, they will be plunging into an unclear situation, and the Zionist regime, specifically, will face an even more bitter doom than the 33-days war,” Larijani said, referring to the war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

This statement is more correct than it isn’t. There is no reason why the United States is contemplating military action. Somebody needs to sit Obama down and tell him that just because he’s been personally insulted we can’t be waging war without a legitimate reason.

Before GWB went into Iraq, he had to build a coalition and go to the UN. The UN visit has been sneered at by John Kerry and Biden this week as unnecessary since this is a humanitarian mission or something. But what about getting broad-based support among our allies before launching any operation? What about old rat-ears going before the American people and explaining just why it worth blood and treasure to avenge the fact that he’s been insulted by Syria.

Bottom line, is this chemical attack really worth a third war in less than 15 years?

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Third? I would count Libya and Yemen as ward. And Pakistan strikes a maybe.

Nobel Peace Prize FTW!

WitchDoctor on August 28, 2013 at 1:52 PM

“ward” = “wars” bleah.

WitchDoctor on August 28, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Is it racist for the Russians to describe Obama like this? Even if it’s true?

Harbingeing on August 28, 2013 at 1:43 PM

No, but it insults monkeys.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Let’s Get Together & Work On A Logo For The New US-AQ Air Force

Resist We Much on August 28, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Simple, the Obama “O” logo in its pastel red white and blue with an Islamic cresent in green along one side of the “O” With “Above all” (USAF recruiting slogan) and “Death to the Infidel” in a banner running across the bottom.

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 1:54 PM

I’m sure there’s a good reason, I just have never seen it articulated. For the record I don’t think it was stuxnet.

WitchDoctor on August 28, 2013 at 1:37 PM

The team that developed the first A-bomb was an assembly of the finest minds on the planet, all working to one purpose, with the vast resources of the American economy at their disposal. Also, while they were working on it, they knew if the Germans came up with it first we would all be dead or enslaved by the end of the decade.

troyriser_gopftw on August 28, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Yep. The incompetence of Jimmy Carter gave us the Iran that we are dealing with today.

slickwillie2001 on August 28, 2013 at 1:40 PM

It led to Iraq as well. The reason we originally sided with Saddam is that we felt we needed a new ally in the ME after we’d lost Iran to the Ayatollahs. And he promised a secular state and free elections. We leaped at that chance after seeing what had happened in Iran.

Chris of Rights on August 28, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Resist, s/b updated, just a tad, on yer blog:

(Hey, at least, we know that the they know how to fly planes. Takeoffs and touchdowns?

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Iran?

I’m thinking Israel can take care of the Nutjob Mullahs over in RadicalLand.

Next……….

PappyD61 on August 28, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Bottom line, is this chemical attack really worth a third war in less than 15 years?

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 1:49 PM

In Obama World, it is…

“cuz ya see, ain’t been no talkin’ bout Banghazi and NSA and stuff since this Syria thing came up…and nobody is talking about the economy or jobs….so it is working.

“Besides, GW Bush got his big break what with 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq, made him look like an American Icon.

“Reagan got to end the Cold War, Bush, Sr., got his Gulf War, Roosevelt and Truman got all sorts of respect when they had WWII and Korea…and what do I got to show for these five years Presidentin?

“Sh*t, don’t even own my own house, been in public housing since I came to DC, got to depend on tax-payer funded transportation every where I go…I mean it, a Black guy can just not get ahead anymore, what with the Right Wing, bitter clingers, the Tea Party and stuff always holding him down.

“Now, kickin’ siome Assad butt…maybe work out better than Ghaddaffi or that Morsi fella…all’s I’m sayin’ is that this time, yeah, this time it’ll make me a contender. It’ll get me respect.”

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 2:00 PM

all’s I’m sayin’ is that this time, yeah, this time it’ll make me a contender. It’ll get me respect.”

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 2:00 PM

I’m betting that when the bombs are falling on Damascus, Captain Kickass is going to be on a golf course. Because, you know, it is important to give the impression of all things being normal so as to maintain the element of surprise.

The Syrians know they are in for a few hours of bombing but they don’t know WHEN they are going to be bombed!

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I feel sorry for the next President, regardless of their party. The incompetence of this President in dealing with the Middle East will have repercussions far beyond his time in office.

Chris of Rights on August 28, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Out of that incompetence comes great opportunity. Every single initiative can start with just how screwed (not my first word choice but family friendly) up things got under old rat ears. That’s why the Dems are doing all they can to make the next President somebody friendly to the current policies like Killary.

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Keep calm. A Strongly Worded Airstrike on Damascus will stop the Iranians in their tracks.

spiritof61 on August 28, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Obama’s Foreign Policy, in a nutshell. I still can’t watch this without laughing.

Harbingeing on August 28, 2013 at 2:14 PM

all’s I’m sayin’ is that this time, yeah, this time it’ll make me a contender. It’ll get me respect.”

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Let’s call it “Operation I’m No Fredo”.

slickwillie2001 on August 28, 2013 at 2:14 PM

The Syrians know they are in for a few hours of bombing but they don’t know WHEN they are going to be bombed!

What, didn’t we give them the times?

Damn Bush. Damn him to hell.

spiritof61 on August 28, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 2:06 PM

It appears ground-based aircraft are to be scrambled out of British Sovereign Base – Cyprus. There are a good number of Syrians living on the eastern side of Cyprus. The Syrians have “assets” all across the region. They have their “ears” on. The Russians are providing “technical assistance” as well. And yesterday flights from Syria carrying non-essential Russians arrived at Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo. They know we are coming…and they, too,m have “assets” all over the region. They, too, have their “ears” on.

One of the most grave errors of that Tripoli air raid back in 1986 was that fact that there were air traffic controllers at Malta who observed the incoming flights, and being interconnected with Tripoli, very close proximity insofar as air traffic is concerned, reported the same, to Tripoli, and the Libyan’s had AA fire going up before the first F-111′s crossed the beaches in Libya.

There is no element of surprise.

Apparently none intended to be employed at all.

Bluster.

Bullying.

Ego.

But, good operational security and attention to detail before deploying assets?

Not part of the narrative.

This is personal.

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 2:19 PM

But, good operational security and attention to detail before deploying assets?

Not part of the narrative.

This is personal.

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Yeah, and when aircraft enter Syrian airspace and missiles are launched against United States warships…… What’s the rat-eared bastard going to do then? What happens if one of those ships is hit with significan damage and loss of life?

In all honesty- isn’t this how WWI got started? Bluster, ego, and bullying?

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 2:27 PM

What, didn’t we give them the times?

spiritof61 on August 28, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Well that just wouldn’t be good tactics. /

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 2:28 PM

A new report from the IAEA shifts the spotlight back on Tehran

Since when is a furniture manufacturer doing inspections in Iran to determine….oh, I thought it said IKEA. I really need to get that cataract surgery done.

NOMOBO on August 28, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Since when is a furniture manufacturer doing inspections in Iran to determine….oh, I thought it said IKEA. I really need to get that cataract surgery done.

NOMOBO on August 28, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Well given that IKEA is a Swedish company and Swede Hans Bix headed the IAEA for 17 years and pretty much ignored what Iran was doing, I’d say that is an understandable mistake.

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Electricity runs centrifuges. Electricity is much more vulnerable than underground centrifuges in cities. We should have taken out the electric transmission cables and generators early in the Bush administration when Iranian nuclear weapons became a threat as I advocated the time. Neither of the last two presidents is a serious person.

burt on August 28, 2013 at 8:07 PM

If Iran wants to open the door now, I say great. Give us a reason to pound the facilities back into sand and create a power vacuum that the Iranian people are literally dying to fill. The Saudis, Egyptians, even the Jordanians don’t want a nuclear Iran. Where is the downside if we can take out their leadership and nuke facilities? Some angry smaller principalities? They already hate us, and cutting off the biggest snake’s head sounds like a nice prize for the piss-ant problems they may cause.

NeoCon_1 on August 29, 2013 at 10:18 AM