So says Newsweek, Fox News, and the LA Times, pegging the intel breakthrough as early as 2006. Why would they need a small, hidden enrichment site when they’ve already got a nice big one that everyone knows about at Natanz? Wild guess here, but maybe because there’s some ultra-secret nuclear-related project they’re working on that they don’t want anyone to know about.
I wonder what it could be.
After Iran’s secret underground uranium-enrichment facility in Natanz was discovered in 2002 — with 8,000 centrifuge machines, a stockpile of 1,400 kilogram of low enriched uranium — US intelligence expected Iran would try again to build another secret facility.
“Not surprisingly, we found one,” a senior administration official told reporters in a background briefing today…
The Qom facility is not yet operational, officials said; it’s at least a few months away from that. They estimate that the facility has roughly 3,000 centrifuge machines — not enough to “make sense for commercial use,” an official said, but the “right size” if one were looking to make a little weapons-grade uranium.
I’m going to commit conservative blasphemy here and credit The One for a hand well played. Newsweek speculates that he came clean about the secret facility this week to get ahead of Iranian spin about it being some innocuous little pilot program, but that’s nonsense. He came clean, quite obviously, to turn up the heat on Russia and China in supporting his demand for new sanctions on Iran. Remember how Medvedev suddenly and mysteriously sounded open to sanctions after meeting with Obama on Wednesday? At the time I thought that might be a payoff for our capitulation on missile defense but it turns out The One broke the news to him about the secret Iranian site that very afternoon. Nicely done.
As shocking as it is to think of him getting tough with anyone, his foreign-policy credibility rested on him being able to come through with the sort of new economic penalties on Iran that he’s been promising forever. Looks like today’s revelation is going to help him do that, which makes it an easy call — in a sense. In another sense, it’s a major escalation of the crisis insofar as it (a) destroys any remaining pretense in useful-idiot circles that Iran’s program might be peaceful or that they’ve been forthcoming, (b) creates a diplomatic standoff over whether UN inspectors will be allowed into the secret site, and (c) leaves Iran with little to lose in going public with the fact that they’ve got the bomb once they’ve got it, which will humiliate the western powers who tried to stop them with sanctions and will immediately force a crisis with Israel. None of that is The One’s fault — this trainwreck has been decades in the making — but I hope he realizes he’s taken a fateful step here. I wonder, too, how many other cards he has up his sleeve that he’s waiting to play at opportune moments. Remember, the CIA has reason to believe there are upwards of a dozen secret nuclear sites, not just one buried in a mountain near Qom. Will he spill the beans about those to give Israel political cover if and when the IAF finally makes a run at Iran?
Here’s video of the nuclear terrorist himself wearing a sh*t-eating grin, insisting that he’s quite sure he doesn’t know what you mean about any secret nuclear sites, and warning the leader of the free world to back off and apologize. The U.S. response, courtesy of Bob Gates: Get bent.