Iran is blocking U.N. nuclear agency attempts to upgrade monitoring of its atomic program while advancing those activities to the stage that the country would have the means to test a weapon within six months, diplomats told The Associated Press Friday.
The diplomats emphasized that there were no indications of plans for such a nuclear test, saying it was highly unlikely Iran would risk heightened confrontation with the Westâ€”and chances of Israeli attackâ€”by embarking on such a course.
But they said that even as Iran expands uranium enrichment, which can create fissile nuclear material, it is resisting International Atomic Energy Agency attempts to increase surveillance of its enrichment site meant to keep pace with the plant’s increased size and complexity.
For Iran to amass enough fissile material to conduct an underground test similar to North Korea’s 2006 nuclear explosion, it would likely have to kick out monitors of the IAEAâ€”the U.N. nuclear agencyâ€”from its one known uranium enrichment site at Natanz. Technicians then could reconfigure the centrifuges now churning out nuclear-fuel grade enriched uranium to highly enriched, weapons-grade material.
Iran is unlikely, however, to want to do that. Such a move would immediately set off international alarm bells and could bridge rifts on how strongly to reactâ€”Russia and China, which have resisted Western calls to increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear defiance, would likely endorse more sweeping U.N sanctions and other penalties.
With the U.N. nuclear agency strictly limited in its nuclear monitoring of Iran, the existence of a hidden enrichment site that could supply the weapons-grade uranium needed for a nuclear weapons test is also possible.
nternational Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed Elbaradei has repeatedly warned that his agency cannot guarantee that Iran is not hiding nuclear activities. Iranian nuclear expert David Albright on Friday put the chances that such a secret site exists at “50-50.”
The United States has screwed around while the centrifuges at Natanz have been spinning. Then, one day, either Israel will bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, including the secret ones or Iran will kick out the IAEA inspectors and declare it is a nuclear power.
You cannot say the United States and Europe have not known about the Iran nuclear subterfuge. They have just decided to do nothing.
Technorati Tags: Iran, Israel