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Ear to the Ground

Ahmadinejad Orders Uranium Enrichment

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Posted on Feb 7, 2010
AP / Hasan Sarbakhshian

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a ceremony at the country’s Narantz nuclear facility in 2009.

After days of confusion over whether or not Iran would reopen negotiations regarding its nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered his country’s atomic energy agency to begin producing uranium for a medical reactor in Tehran. The United States quickly expressed disappointment over the announcement.—JCL

The New York Times:

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ordered the nation’s atomic energy agency on Sunday to begin producing a special form of uranium that can be used to power a medical reactor in Tehran, but that could also move the country much closer to possessing fuel usable in nuclear weapons.

The announcement Sunday came after several days of conflicting signals from Mr. Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials about whether they were ready to reopen negotiations about giving up much of their country’s fuel in exchange for enriched uranium from another country. The exchange would allow Iran to meet some of its energy needs, but would ease fears in the West because the fuel sent to Tehran would be in a form that would be very difficult to use in a bomb.

The deal fell apart when it was rejected by the leadership in Tehran.

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s order on Sunday may represent nuclear gamesmanship; it is unclear if the country has the capacity to enrich its fuel to roughly 20 percent, from about 5 percent, as Mr. Ahmadinejad was ordering. Doing so would require retooling the configuration of the nation’s centrifuges at a moment when Iran appears to have run into considerable technical difficulties at its nuclear plants.

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, February 8, 2010 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Someone needs a lesson in uranium enrichment.  There is no meed to retool——the same old centrifuges can do the job and the more you have the faster the job can be completed.  All you have to do is keep cascading the uranium hexafluoride gas through the centrifuges until you reach as least 80% U235, though 95% is ideal and will give you the best bang for buck so to speak!  Once you reach the desired percentage of U235 in the hexafluoride, then you convert the gas back to elemental uranium and when you get about 20Kgs of 80-95% U235——bingo——you can join the nuclear club.  However, a test is needed to assure all the other components have been properly assembled or you’ll get a dud like the North Koreans, but it was enough to show they had the technology and practice will make perfect.

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By Azi, February 8, 2010 at 11:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

...Tehran will be hosting an international conference on nuclear disarmament in three months.
for more info go to
http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=213947

my question is would US or Israel participate in the conference?

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By jr., February 8, 2010 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

Good for them.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 8, 2010 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

By Howard, February 8 at 12:51 pm #

Poor old Israel, the size of Rhode island with 200+ nukes, all undeclared and a non signatory of the NTP.

State sanctioned assassination in Dubai, overflights of Lebanon and Syria, spies operating in the U.S.

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By Howard, February 8, 2010 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

ah, yeah;  Iran threatens Israel. Over and over and over.  Here comes a story about Iran.  Imagine. Story has nutin to do about Israel.
    Iran has enuf problems with stepping and murdering its own people so the religous nuts runnin’ the country can hold power.
  But, yes let us bring up old Israel.  Little tiny Israel, size of Rhode Island is threatening Iran.  Can you imagine such nonsense.
      also Lebanon???  give us a break.  Hezballoh is bringing in hundreds of long range missles next to Israel.  They have already ruined Lebanon and now will soon start a conflict—make believe for sure—against the Israelis.
  But ah yes;  its a story about Iran.  Shall we address that?  hmmm

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 8, 2010 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

Not a week goes by without Israel making a provacative comment or threatening speech about attacking Iran.

As with Cuba, the U.S, administration cannot get over history and make amends with the Iranian people for whatever imagined misdeeds they perpatrated against the American people.

http://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/news/rumor-of-the-century/

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By dihey, February 8, 2010 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

Samson you are 100% correct and I say that based on work that I once did on U235 enrichment. Unfortunately the truth does not matter in Washington, at the New York Times, or the Washington Post as we have learned from the charade of General Powell at the UN.

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By ofersince72, February 7, 2010 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

and Iraq has nuclear weapons and the Taliban were
responsible for 911 and we need to bomb Pakistan and

We have such a screwed up Media

and don’t forget, Obama is going to end nuclear weapons,  in his next term….

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, February 7, 2010 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

I can’t tolerate this stuff anymore… 99% of the moutains of verbiage turns to compost before my tiny mind can even digest it.

Every involved is either airing his/her ignorances or just plain fabricating the “truth” as they see it. It’s all a big game to see who can outlie and outfabricate… I’m tired of it.

Call me when Iran has a nice collection of tested nuclear weapons all lined up in Israel’s direction, and Israel has all it’s “toys-that-go-boom” aimed at Tehran. One push on the big red button in each country should end all this moronic blather once and for all.

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By kambiz moridi, February 7, 2010 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ahamdinejad is not an Iranian.

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By ghostrider67, February 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

The zio masters have been itching since jesus was a baby to attack Iran and it seems its just about to happen soon.
Ahmadinejad said in his infamous speech the following;

“Zionism will be erased from the pages of history”

The Israelis convinced the willing and unwilling alike that what he actully said was that ‘Israel will be wiped from the world map’.
As if there are no books to translate simple farsi into much simpler english,most of the world chose to believe the Israeli version.or rather maybe the bigger part of the people have just accepted their fates as slaves forever to the every whim and order from the so called holocaust survivors and victims of Ant-semitism.
For the past three months Israeli defense,foreign and almost any member of their government have gone on live TV,and blatantly threatened to destroy Lebanon,Syria along with its elected president,All of Iran and not as much as a single sound of protest for such unwarranted aggression is heard from any so called civilized nations.
Even with the scandalous revelations from from the Israeli soldiers (see links) rocking most part of the Israeli top brass,still not a word of condemnation to this modern day slavery and barbaric domination on a whole nation.

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=167766

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3841480,00.html

The end of the line is that Iran is going to be attacked and of course Syria and Hezbolah are going to join the fray..so good citizens of America,England,germany and France of course,get your sons and daughters ready to send to meat grinder once more.Let oil prices balloon up again to 200 dollars a barrel so the oil barons make a killing and lets not forget the untold billions that will line the pockets of Defense industries fat cats..Feed your children well and keep them healthy as they are needed to go bring freedom and democracy to those poor Iranians that their evil and dictatorship leaders(that have never attacked any country in 200 years) are denying them,those same leaders that despite three decades of sanctions still manage to have a healthy economy and provide health care and education not to mention a decent advance in technology.

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, February 7, 2010 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

Dissecting propaganda.

“it is unclear if the country has the capacity to enrich its fuel to roughly 20 percent, from about 5 percent”

Remember that whenever the NYT is at other times trying to scare you into thinking Iran is close to the bomb.  To get a bomb, they need to ‘enrich’ to something like 95%.  So, remember that when they aren’t bothering to lie, they tell you that its unlikely they can get to 20%, and even that requires a lot of retooling of those scary centrifuges that just a few months ago they were telling you were the prelude to a bomb.

“Doing so would require retooling the configuration of the nation’s centrifuges at a moment when Iran appears to have run into considerable technical difficulties at its nuclear plants.”

That’s misleading. Iran doesn’t have any nuclear plants.  Centrifuges doing enrichment are not a ‘nuclear plant’ in any way that people would normally understand the term, ie a reactor.  But, the NYT does seem to have picked the most exaggerated and provocative term to use.

“Mr. Ahmadinejad is betting that the threat itself may force”

Wonder how they know that?  This is a completely unsourced accusation.  Probably based on ‘background’ from US Gov officials.  If the NYT was getting interviews with Ahmadinejad where he was saying this to them personally, you could be sure the interview would be on the front page.

“Until now, Iran has never enriched significant quantities of fuel beyond the level needed in ordinary nuclear reactors, part of its argument that its program is entirely for peaceful purposes. But any effort to produce 20 percent enriched uranium would put the country in a position to produce highly-enriched uranium — at the 90 percent level used for weapons — in a comparatively short period of time, according to nuclear experts.”

They tell the truth to set up a bigger lie.  After years of claiming that Iran has gone beyond 5%, now they admit they haven’t.  But then they lie in saying that reaching 20% gets them almost to 90%.  It doesn’t.  This gets progressively harder as it goes along.  You are trying to do finer and finer separations of U-235 from U-238.

“The deal announced in October would have required Iran to ship about 1200 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium to Russia, and then to France, where it would have been produced for the Tehran reactor. But that would have left Iran with too little fuel to produce a weapon, at least for a year or so.”

Since they say earlier that Iran has never enriched beyond 5%, this means they currently have zero ‘fuel’ to produce a weapon.  Zero minus zero is still zero.  That paragraph is totally misleading.

“But it became a source of huge contention inside Iran, criticized by both hardliners in the government and leaders of the opposition.”

Wonder why the CIA’s opposition leaders oppose the deal and worked to kill it?  Maybe to keep tensions high?

“The plans to increase enrichment to 20 percent fit with that leg of the strategy.

The second leg of Iran’s strategy calls for presenting itself as ready and able to negotiate.”

Again, note this is completely unsourced.  I wonder how the NYT has the details of Iran’s secret diplomatic strategies.  Quite a coup that would be on the front page, don’t you think?  More likely, they just made this up, or it came to the latest Judy Miller from the US Gov.  Pure propaganda.

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Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, February 7, 2010 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

As a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has every right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. The US, under the NPT, is arguably required to assist non-weapon states (NWS) with technology for development of peaceful nuclear power.

I have never seen a shred of credible evidence that Iran has any nuclear weapons program whatsoever. The whole mess is a Neoconservative fabrication, with the end goal of stirring up another stupid, unnecessary war.

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By dihey, February 7, 2010 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

And here is the newest Kabuki play! Several weeks ago our country and the European Union proposed that Iran send its uranium to another country for light enrichment of U235. It is my opinion that we and the EU fully expected Iran to say “no thanks” and for a while it appeared that “we” were right and could therefore demand more UN-sanctioned punishments of Iran. Then someone must have whispered into Ahmadinejad’s ears: “hey Mahmoud, they don’t really mean it” and promptly he threw a monkey wrench into the deviously clever Western plan by offering the absolutely unthinkable: to have Uranium 235 enriched elsewhere.
The reaction of the shocked West was swift. “We” stated in essence: “bastard, you lie”. Ahmadinejad’s response was equally swift and bold (see article).
This would be hilariously funny if it was not deadly serious. Exactly similar devious plays were engaged with the Taliban and Iraq in the past. President Bush demanded that the Taliban arrest and hand over to us Bin Laden fully expecting them to say “no way”. Well, the Taliban answered positively albeit with some reservations but is that not the heartbeat of negotiating? Result: the invasion of Afghanistan. The we demanded that Saddam Hussein “come clean” fully expecting the he would say “f***you”. Well, he did give some information after all. Of course we said that it was not enough and that he was hiding weapons of mass destruction under his bed in his Presidential Palace. Result: the invasion of Iraq.
True, Secretary Clinton averred today that Al Qaeda was a greater “threat to us” than Iran. Two comments.
One: it is the Department of Defense and not the State Department that decides foreign policies today. Two: when Al Qaeda is “defeated” the invasion or bombing of Iran comes next. I would not be surprised to learn that it will all begin with drones flying into Iran to kill Ahmadinejad.

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