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IAEA: Iran Has Centrifuges for Two Nuclear Weapons Per Year

This article in the New York Times, Iran Has Centrifuge Capacity for Nuclear Arms, Report Says, should get your attention. Hopefully the report dispels in the eyes of some the incorrect conclusion that those of us who have been warning of the Iranian race for nuclear weapons are fear mongers and over the top. They now have the capability. It is only the desire which can be seen as debatable, even though arguing 'peaceful nuclear power' intentions requires an unhealthy leap of faith and a disconnect from logic, reason and past actions.

A week before Iran's presidential election, atomic inspectors reported Friday that the country has sped up its production of nuclear fuel and increased its number of installed centrifuges to 7,200 -- more than enough, weapon experts said, to make fuel for up to two nuclear weapons a year, if the country decided to use its facilities for that purpose.

That's 7,200 centrifuges - as you will learn later, 4,920 in production and 2,300 installed and awaiting activation.

In its report, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that it had found no evidence that any of the fuel in Iran's possession had been enriched to the purity needed to make a bomb, a step that would take months. But it said that the country had blocked its inspectors for more than a year now from visiting a heavy-water reactor capable of being modified to produce plutonium that could be used in weapons. It also said that Tehran had continued to refuse to answer the agency's questions about reports of Iranian studies obtained by Western intelligence agencies that suggest that its scientists had performed research on the design of a nuclear warhead.

Why does Iran want a heavy water plant? There is only one answer, which is its only purpose: Plutonium production, which is the process of enriching spent uranium fuel - the byproduct of all nuclear plants and the remaining left-over from the uranium enrichment process - into the exponentially more potent plutonium.

Why does Iran want plutonium weapons? Because it alleviates the delivery systems challenges, currently stuck on how to get a large and heavy uranium warhead the distances required. With a plutonium warhead being much smaller and lighter, the missile challenges the West says will take years - based on a likely false uranium warheads assumption - are reduced to nearly nill in comparison.

Keep keenly in mind that North Korea produces plutonium weapons. And that their first blast was demonstrated with its primary customer on hand: General's and scientists from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Iran is required under three United Nations Security Council resolutions to cease the enrichment of uranium and to provide answers to those questions. The Iranian authorities have vigorously denied the authenticity of the studies on warhead design.

Wold you expect any different?

The report, one of a series made quarterly to the agency's board, described how the pace of enrichment and the installation of new centrifuges is accelerating at an enormous underground bunker in the desert at Natanz. It said that nearly 4,920 centrifuges were currently enriching uranium, and that 2,300 more were ready to go. That represents an increase of 30 percent in the total number of installed centrifuges since a February report.

You got that, right? A 30% increase in Iranian centrifuges since the last IAEA report, only 4 months ago.

Since we referenced North Korea in its proper context, readers may be interested in another major item tucked away later in the article.

In a separate report released Friday, the agency said it had found new evidence to support the claim that the complex that Israel bombed in the Syrian desert in 2007 was in fact a clandestine nuclear reactor. The clue, it said, was information uncovered on Syria's procurement of "a large quantity of graphite," a material that American intelligence officials have said was central to the reactor's operation.

Not only was it a clandestine nuclear reactor laid waste by Israel's Air Force, it was a plutonium plant which was a joint venture between Syria, Iran and North Korea. Iranians and North Koreans were among those killed in the Israeli strike. Again: Plutonium, Iran, North Korea.

But wait, there's more.

The agency also reported its discovery of particles of uranium in a Damascus laboratory and their "possible connection" to uranium traces already discovered at the bombed desert site. Firming up that link, it added, would require further analysis.

Uranium traces in Damascus. Not the desert site of the Israeli strike, but in a Damascus laboratory.

But it will take more time for the UN to investigate and analyze, naturally. Surely not unlike how it has taken since 2005 for the UN to complete the cycle of investigating, analyzing and capitulating on the Syrian assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, not to mention the many other anti-Syrian Lebanese assassinated or silenced.

UPDATE: In haste, I failed to make the observation also shared in the Los Angeles Times that Iran is still having significant issues with centrifuge designs and operational breakdowns.

Curiously, the young man the LA Times tapped for the observation can't figure out why Iran won't let the IAEA into its heavy water facility at Arak.

Kemp doesn't see why Iran won't allow international inspectors into its heavy-water research reactor near the town of Arak. "That makes no sense to me," he said.

Sigh. And he was doing so well up to that point.

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