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    Entries in islamic nuclear threat (4)

    Saturday
    Dec052009

    Iran ramps up the Rhetoric now wanting 20 Nuclear Installations

    AP TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's vice president said Saturday his country needs 20 industrial-scale uranium enrichment facilities, a potentially dramatic expansion of its nuclear program in defiance of U.N. demands.

    Ali Akbar Salehi, who also heads the nuclear program, told the official IRNA news agency that Iran needs the sites to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity through nuclear power plants over the next 20 years.

    The statement comes at a time of heightened Western concerns over Iran's nuclear intentions. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Iran is considering whether to scale back cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency after it approved a resolution censuring Iran over its nuclear program.

    Tehran argues its nuclear program is peaceful and insists it has a right to enrich uranium to produce fuel for nuclear reactors to generate electricity. The United Nations has demanded Iran freeze enrichment.

    Iran and the West are deadlocked over a U.N. proposal for Iran to send much of its enriched uranium abroad. The plan is aimed at drastically reducing Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium in hopes of thwarting the country's ability to potentially make a nuclear weapon. So far, Iran has balked at the offer.

    Last week, Tehran announced it intends to build the 10 new sites — a statement that followed a strong rebuke from the Vienna-based IAEA.

    It was not clear when or whether the government will approve the construction. But Iran's decision to dramatically expand its uranium enrichment program and scale back cooperation with the IAEA is widely seen as a slap to Western efforts to curtail Iran's nuclear program.


     

     

    Thursday
    Dec032009

    Ahmadinejad taunts Israel

    Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday, Dec. 2, that Iran will enrich uranium to 20 percent. His latest show of defiance, focusing on the US and Israel, follows Tehran's announcement of plans to build another 10 enrichment plants capable of producing 300 tons of enriched uranium a year in response to the UN nuclear watchdog's censure of its second enrichment plant near Qom.

    The building of two new plants will begin in two months.

    Deliberately taunting Israel, he said in a speech from Isfahan broadcast live by state television: "The Zionist regime is nothing. Even its masters cannot do a damn thing." For Tehran the nuclear issue is "over." The Islamic republic will "not back down from its rights."

    On his visit to Isfahan, site of a nuclear fuel plant, Ahmadinejad said: "The Iranian nation will by itself make the 20 percent (nuclear) fuel (enriched uranium) and whatever it needs," after threatening: "Any finger which is about to pull the trigger will be cut off."

    The western powers would not be able to isolate Iran, he said, and dismissed the possibility of a military attack.

    Tehran has turned down the international offer for Russia to convert 70 percent of Iran's low-grade enriched uranium into fuel for medical research; France was to have neutralized its possible conversion into weapons-grade material. Now, Ahmadinejad accused the Western powers and Israel of using against Tehran what he called an Iranian proposal to trade its low-enriched uranium in return for 20 percent enriched material.

    Tension between Tehran and the world powers has heightened over this controversy.

    DEBKAfile adds: The centrifuge technology that increases the concentration of U-235 isotopes up to the 5-20 percent level can also be used to increase it to nuclear-weapons grade. It is a question of intent.

    Saturday
    Nov282009

    Iranian lawmaker: Iran could leave nuclear treaty 

    (AR) TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's parliament may consider withdrawing the country from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in response to a resolution by the U.N. nuclear watchdog censuring Tehran over its nuclear program, a hardline lawmaker said Saturday.

    Mohammad Karamirad, a senior lawmaker, said parliament may also consider blocking inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Tehran has allowed such inspections so far.

    The threats come a day after the board of the U.N. nuclear agency passed a resolution demanding Tehran immediately stop building its newly revealed nuclear facility near the holy city of Qom and freeze uranium enrichment.

    Karamirad does not speak for the government but his statements reflect hardline thinking that the government usually pursues.

    Iranian lawmakers threatened to pull the country out of the nonproliferation treaty in 2006, during another time of increased pressure by the U.N. over Tehran's nuclear program. Iran backed down, and the government has said in the past that it has no intention of withdrawing from the treaty.

    "The parliament, in its first reaction to this illegal and politically-motivated resolution, can consider the issue of withdrawing from NPT," Karamirad was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency, referring to the treaty.

    "The parliament ... (also) can block the entry of IAEA inspectors to the country," he said.

    Karamirad, a member of parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said Iran was determined to continue its nuclear activities.

    Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA, also dismissed the IAEA's fresh demands, saying Saturday on state television that Iran will limit its cooperation with the U.N. agency to its treaty obligations and will not cooperate beyond that.

    "Our first reaction to this resolution is that they (IAEA) should not expect us to do what we did several times in the past few months when we cooperated beyond our obligations to remove ambiguities," Soltanieh said.

    Soltanieh stressed the resolution won't stop Iran from continuing to enrich uranium.

    He said the country's nuclear activities will not be interrupted by resolutions from the U.N. nuclear agency's board, the U.N. Security Council or even the threat of military strikes against the facilities.

    Friday's resolution — and the resulting vote of the IAEA's 35-nation decision-making board — were significant on several counts.

    Iranian officials have shrugged off the resolution's approval by 25 members of the 35-nation board, including the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. The vote marked a rare measure of unity from the six world powers on Iran.

    Moscow and Beijing have traditionally cautioned against efforts to punish Iran for its defiance over its nuclear program, either preventing new Security Council sanctions or watering down their potency.

    The IAEA resolution criticized Iran for defying a U.N. Security Council ban on uranium enrichment — the source of both nuclear fuel and the fissile core of warheads.

    It also censured Iran for secretly building a uranium enrichment facility, known as Fordo, and demanded that it immediately suspend further construction. The resolution noted that IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei cannot confirm that Tehran's nuclear program is exclusively geared toward peaceful uses, and expressed "serious concern" that Iranian stonewalling of an IAEA probe means "the possibility of military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program" cannot be excluded.

     

     

    Thursday
    Nov262009

    Iranian Nuclear Negotiations at "Dead End"

    VIENNA (AP) -- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday that his probe of allegations that Iran tried to make nuclear arms is at ''a dead end'' because Tehran is not cooperating.

    Mohamed ElBaradei also criticized Tehran for not accepting an internationally endorsed plan meant to delay its ability to make such weapons.

    The unusually blunt comments appeared to be a reflection of frustration four days before he ends his tenure leading an agency that has proven unable to overcome Iran's defiance and ease international concerns that it may be using a civilian nuclear program as a cover for plans to make weapons.

    ''There has been no movement on remaining issues of concern which need to be clarified for the agency to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program,'' ElBaradei told the opening session of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors. ''We have effectively reached a dead end, unless Iran engages fully with us.''

    ''Issues of concern'' is the IAEA term for intelligence and other information available to the agency indicating that Tehran has experimented with nuclear weapons programs, including missile-delivery systems and tests of explosives that could serve as nuclear-bomb detonators.

    Since revelations of a secret Iranian nuclear program surfaced eight years ago, much of ElBaradei's energies have been spent on trying to nudge Tehran to meet international demands that it freeze uranium enrichment and cooperate on other issues meant to ease fears of its nuclear aims.

    Iran started stonewalling the agency over a year ago over the ''issues of concern,'' saying there was nothing to investigate because the allegations were false.

    ElBaradei has emphasized the need for talks instead of threats in engaging Iran. He has criticized the U.S. for invading Iraq on the pretext that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear weapons program, which has never been proven. That -- and perceived softness on the Iran issue -- has drawn criticism from the U.S. and its allies that he was overstepping his mandate.

    But ElBaradei's comments Thursday left little doubt that -- just days before his departure -- he was most unhappy with Iran.

    ''I am disappointed that Iran has not so far agreed to the original proposal'' involving removal of most of Iran's enriched stockpile, ElBaradei told the meeting.

    Tehran's approval ''would greatly help to alleviate the concerns relating to Iran's nuclear program,'' he added.

    The plan approved by the six world powers negotiating with Iran over the past few months would commit Tehran to ship out 70 percent of its enriched uranium for processing into fuel rods for its research reactor in Tehran. That would help allay international fears by removing most of the material that Iran could use to make a nuclear weapon.

    It would take more than a year for Tehran to replace the enriched material, meaning it would not be able to make a weapon for at least that long.

    Iran says it is enriching only to power a future network of nuclear reactors. But because enrichment can also produce fissile warhead material, its program has raised concerns. Iran continues enriching despite three sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions meant to make it freeze that activity and has build an enriched stockpile that could arm two nuclear warheads.

    Initially, Tehran appeared to favor the plan. But in recent weeks it has offered modifications that have one thing in common -- its refusal to ship out most of its enriched stockpile. That effectively kills the plan, with the West refusing to accept anything else than an Iranian commitment to export the material.