Iran Enrichment Underway, Russian Proposal Snubbed
On the day when reports emerge that Iran has begun feeding uranium gas into centrifuges for enrichment, news surfaces that Iran has also concurrently delayed talks on the Russian Proposal.
The moves coincide logically and serve as proof to the assertion that any suggestion by Iran in the past that they were interested in discussing the Russian Proposal (with or without Chinese participation) were disingenuous stalls for time. Iranian claims of interest in the proposal, as with other claims of interest in talks and negotiation, were nothing more than an attempts at delay and buying time, usually when it appeared the West was throwing its hands in the air intimating that it had done all it could do to resolve the situation through negotiation. Each time, Iran would suddenly make frustratingly well-received gestures that they were once again interested in a ‘peaceful resolution’.
Iran is effectively demonstrating today what it has insisted all along: That it will only accept enrichment on its own soil under its own control and that enrichment is seen as its right.
The Iranians began pumping UF6 uranium gas into the centrifuges of the Natanz facility, Iran’s primary (known) enrichment site, as confirmed by IAEA observers. How long those observers will be allowed to remain in place before being expelled is the next question, and the next ‘red line’ for Iran to cross.
The Iranian indigenous nuclear fuel cycle begins at uranium mines in Yazd and Gachin, where the ore is also milled and converted to yellowcake. The yellowcake then needs to be converted from its yellow solid state into a more concentrated white solid form called UH6, or uranium hexafluoride. This is the primary purpose of the Isfahan nuclear facility. The UH6 is then taken to the enrichment facility (Natanz), where it is superheated and transformed into a gas state and fed into the centrifuges and further concentrated (enriched). Further enrichment (and separation) would eventually take place to create highly enriched uranium (weapons grade), and eventually this could include using Iran’s Arak heavy water plant. The plant is still under construction and Iran tried to keep it secret. The heavy water plant will be capable of not only producing highly enriched uranium, but also plutonium, from the otherwise ‘spent fuel’ byproduct of the enrichment process. This is the most important aspect of the Russian Proposal, which reports often under-emphasize, preferring to focus on the original UH6 enrichment rather than the return of the spent fuel.
With Iran’s moves today, they have effectively ‘put up’. It is now time for the West to effectively ‘shut up’ and accept that there will be no negotiated solution and that the only way to stop the Iranian regime from developing nuclear weapons is by stopping the Iranian regime.
Whether the best course of action is strangling the regime through sanctions or blockades, funding and supporting internal revolt, direct military action or a combination thereof, a new course must be chosen decisively and then unquestioningly and fervently supported until its aim is reached.