Iran runs nuclear missile payload tests, moves onto 60 pc fuel enrichment
DEBKAfile Special Report September 5, 2011, 1:14 PM (GMT+02:00)
The UN International Atomic Energy Agency Friday, Sept. 2 stressed its increasing concern "about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the Agency continues to receive new information."
The nuclear watchdog was also alarmed by three disclosures made by Fereydoon Abbas, head of Iran's atomic energy agency, Monday, Aug. 29, attesting to the speeding-up of its military nuclear program and preparations for a possible attack on its installations.
1. Abbasi boasted that Iran's nuclear fuel production already far exceeded its needs. debkafile's military sources report that this first public announcement meant that Tehran was about to move on from 20 percent enriched uranium to 60 percent – the last step before the 90 percent enrichment for weapons-grade fuel.
According to several sources, Iran has already stocked 4,500 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, which would be enough for four nuclear weapons after further enrichment.
2. Abbas pronounced "dead" the 2009 proposal for the West to supply Iran with new fuel for its small research reactor in return for an end to Iranian production of the fuel. “We will no longer negotiate a fuel swap and a halt to our production of fuel,” he said.
3. The head of Iran's atomic agency also revealed the imminent transfer of its critical enrichment facilities from Natanz to a heavily fortified subterranean facility near the holy city of Qom to keep it safe from air, missile and cyber attack.
Tehran has made it clear that the facility will not be open to international oversight and will use the most advanced centrifuges – IR-4 and IR-2m - for speeding up the production of highly-enriched uranium.
Western intelligence sources estimated Sunday, Sept. 4, that Iran's advances had brought forward to the spring of 2012 the potential completion of between two and four bombs and the ability to conduct a nuclear test.
At the White House, Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council said that the Iranian plan “to install and operate centrifuges at Qom is a violation of their United Nations security obligations and another provocative act.”
While demonstrating the arrogance of a would-be global nuclear power, Iran suffered an unexpected diplomatic snub Sunday, Sept. 4, when parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani was informed at the last minute that he would not get to meet the Chinese and North Korean heads of state when he visited Beijing and Pyongyang – only low-ranking officials. He thereupon cancelled his trips.
China and North Korea appear to have decided to keep their distance from the nuclear miscreant in Tehran.
Last Wednesday, Aug. 31, French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned, "Iran's attempts to build long-range missiles and nuclear weapons could lead unnamed countries to launch a pre-emptive attack."