The latest reports from international nuclear inspectors will say that Iran has considerably accelerated its pursuit of nuclear weaponry. Iran has installed hundreds of new centrifuges and possibly begun production of nuclear fuel. The new centrifuges and accompanying machinery have been installed in the deep underground site at Fordow, in the city of Qom, which was carved into a mountain to make it impossible to attack. The report will also assert that Iran is determined to reach the enriched uranium level of 20%, which would virtually assure them the capability of producing nuclear weapons.
Last month, Iranian leaders boasted that they had installed 1,000 new machines. while negotiations with the United States and its allies have ground to a near halt, according to diplomats and experts briefed on the findings. When confronted with accusations that they were pursuing nuclear power, Iran brazenly replied that they were only attempting to build a nuclear reactor used for medical purposes.
The Obama Administration blithely claims that Iran has not made the decision to build a nuclear weapon. The Israelis labor under no such illusions. Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, believes that Iran will soon reach a “zone of immunity,” where so much equipment is installed that stopping Iran will come too late.
The difference between Obama and Mitt Romney on this issue is a stark one. Romney has indicated that Iran cannot be allowed to reach the level of nuclear weapon capacity. Obama has not said he will prevent them from reaching that level, only that he would stop them from having such a weapon.
But those in the know acknowledge that time is running out. Olli Heinonen, the former chief inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency, said, “This will stir more discussion of how much time is left for diplomacy. Even if the new centrifuges are not operating yet, a thousand new ones would represent a 20 percent increase — and an increased production level will be a red line for many people.”
Iran has been lying and stonewalling for some time. In late spring of this year, the West and Russia presented a deal whereby Tehran would be allowed some enrichment capability only if gave up its entire stockpile of 20 percent-enriched uranium – and agreed to answer questions from international inspectors.
No dice. The Iranians are not turning back; one U.S. senior official said, “For now, the talks are dead in the water.”
And Obama just keeps fiddling away. Since he took office, Iran’s stock of enriched uranium has grown from making one bomb’s worth to five. Meanwhile, Iran has been surreptitiously cleaning up its nuclear site at Parchin, even lugging away topsoil so the evidence of its nuclear testing is erased.
Iran has not altered its plans one iota because of any sanctions against it. And there is no evidence that Obama’s threats are anything more than a duplicitous ploy to win votes; he is obviously stalling for time until he can be reelected and let Iran go its merry way.