The Corner

An Enriching Experience

The announcement comes ahead of next week’s talks in Geneva. Tehran is confident that the “5+1″ group (the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany) has accepted the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program as a fait accompli. The issue is not even on the formal agenda of the talks. Iran has announced that from now on it will discuss its nuclear program only with the IAEA, and not with the 5+1 or with any other combination of powers.

In any case, the Islamic Republic has always been suspected of maintaining a parallel nuclear program. The announcement about a second enrichment facility comes just days after another interesting revelation that went unnoticed in the Western media. That revelation came in a 5,000-word press release by Ali-Akbar Salehi, the new director of the Islamic Republic’s Nuclear Project. (He was appointed last month after Ahmadinejad sacked the veteran director, Ghulam-Reza Aqazadeh, for supporting Mir-Hussein Mussavi in last June’s presidential election.) Salehi stated that the Islamic Republic has acquired “a new generation of advanced and highly efficient centrifuges.” He did not say where these centrifuges are located, how many are there, and when were they installed. Nor did he say why Iran is using its old and inefficient centrifuges in Natanz instead of the “new and advanced” ones he has mentioned. The only logical explanation is that they are being used in a secret and parallel program — and that means Iran may already have enriched enough uranium to make a few bombs.

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