Most of Iran’s Real Nuclear Program is Still Hidden

The visual above summarizes the main problem with Iran’s nuclear program- “What You See” is definitely not “What You Get”.

It doesn’t really matter if you are for or against Iran developing Nuclear weapons, one thing is undisputable: Iran is trying very hard to hide parts of its Nuclear program from the eyes of the world making whoever did expect transparency even more suspicious.

This lack of transparency is manifested in three main strategies: going underground, denying access, developing multiple sites, issuing repeated denials and feigning ignorance.

  • ·         Underground: Iran has literally buried, at great expense, some of its Nuclear plants underground – this includes all of the Fordow plant and part of the Natanz plant. According to the latest IAEA report, Iran is investing heavily on increasing the number of centrifuges for enriching Uranium in Natanz (350% increase over 5 years to 10,500) and Fordow [400% increase over the last 10 months (!) to 2,800]. These centrifuges are churning our enriched Uranium increasing Iran’s 20% enriched Uranium, according to the latest IAEA report, to 232.8 kg – enough for one atomic bomb when enriched to 90% – and growing.
  • ·         Access Denied: IAEA inspectors are being denied access to the Parchin military site for the past year. There have been numerous leaks which suggest that Parchin is being used as a site to test Nuclear weapon capabilities such as designing and testing nuclear warhead components. Of course, Iran has denied these allegations but then again, since access is denied, no one really knows. What we do know, from satellite surveillance cameras is that a major clean-up is being taken place in Parchin as can be seen in these pictures. 
  • Multiple Sites:  To date, Iran has 19 Nuclear facilities: 4 Uranium mines, 1 light water reactor, 2 heavy water reactors, 6 “research” reactors/facilities and 6 Uranium processing/enrichment plants. All of these, according to Tehran, are meant simply to create electricity for the Iranian people. The fact that Iran has no lack of energy as a result of sitting on one of the largest oil fields in the world is, obviously, “irrelevant” according to Tehran.
  • Denials & Ignorance: Whenever the IAEA points to discrepancies and violations, Tehran usually answers with simple denials. This is not a new phenomenon: all the way back in 2005, Ali Larijani, the current head of Parliament set the tone by announcing that  “It (Nuclear program) is part of meeting our electricity needs; it is not a secret issue.” Today, all the Iranian leaders have joined Supreme Leader in denying a military aspect to the Nuclear program by simply calling it a “sin”. Added to the denials are repeated shrugs of feigned ignorance. When reminded that NPT rules do not allow for heavy water plants, enriching up to 20% or complete transparency, Tehran simply shrugs these allegations aside. Just as they will probably deny this new diagram that has emerged, showing calculations of an atomic explosion. On top of all of this is the recently leaked document which shows Iran had simulated the “nuclear expected yield” of a potential nuclear weapon. Indeed, the IAEA had confirmed the existence of such documents.

    Iran’s nuclear explosive yield calculation

Whatever the strategies, the results remain the same – much of Iran’s nuclear program is still shrouded in secrecy causing quite a few world leaders to come to the conclusion that Iran is definitely lying about its program and that it is working hard to build a Nuclear bomb. This is obviously bad news for Israel and its Western allies who will not tolerate a Nuclear Iran, knowing full well that unlike other nuclear powers, Iran’s fundamentalist regime might decide to actually use such a bomb on its arch-enemy, Israel. To make matters worse, Iran makes no secret about transferring weapons and nuclear technology to terrorist groups such as Hamas, opening the door for the possibility of creating “dirty bombs” that can be transported in a briefcase.

Over the past year, the IAEA, the UN, the EU and the P5+1 have been trying to force Iran to “walk the talk” and keep its program peaceful. Sanctions, summits, warnings and cajoling have been stubbornly met with less transparency and more denials. Talks with Iran usually end in stalemates with promises to resolve these issues in the future and in the meantime, time is definitely on Iran’s side.

Now, Iran is trying to forge ahead with a deal which will “cap” its program to enriching up to 20%  and not more. This might sound like a good deal to people who do not understand that reaching 20% enriched Uranium is actually 90% of the effort needed to create 90% enriched Uranium required to make a Nuclear bomb. Giving Iran leeway to enrich up to 20% is tantamount to giving Tehran a green light to build a bomb beyond prying eyes.

And if you think that the situation in Iran is scary now because of the lack of transparency, think about how you will feel once Iran is strong enough to unveil its Nuclear bomb/s.

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