An attempt is made to share the truth regarding issues concerning Israel and her right to exist as a Jewish nation. This blog has expanded to present information about radical Islam and its potential impact upon Israel and the West. Yes, I do mix in a bit of opinion from time to time.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Iran's 'exercise in deceit'
Israel skeptical of Iranian announcement regarding limits in output of Arak heavy water reactor • Minister Yuval Steinitz: If Iran does not give up uranium enrichment and centrifuges, it will remain a nuclear threshold state and this is unacceptable.
Israel believes Iran's Saturday announcement regarding the redesign of its Arak heavy water reactor to greatly limit the amount of plutonium it can produce is little more than an exercise to keep the negotiations going while Iran continues to work toward its goal of developing a nuclear bomb.
While the Prime Minister's Office has yet to respond to the Iranian move, International Relations, Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Hayom that "This is an exercise in deceit on the part of the Iranians. The Iranians are prepared to make concessions, but not on the most critical and threatening issue. They are protecting the core program."
Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said on Saturday that Iran is on the brink of reaching an agreement regarding the operation of the heavy water plant. "The issue of heavy water reactor ... has been virtually resolved," state television quoted Salehi as saying. "Iran has offered a proposal to ... redesign the heart of the Arak facility and these six countries have agreed to that."
Iranian state television quoted Salehi as saying that Iran has proposed to redesign Arak to produce one-fifth of the plutonium initially planned for it. He said that will eliminate concerns the West has that Iran could use the plutonium produced at Arak to build a nuclear weapon.
Salehi also told Al-Alam, the Arabic channel of Iranian state television, that a proposal from the six-nation group was to change the heavy water reactor into a light water reactor. He suggested that Iran did not agree because a heavy water reactor is needed to produce radioisotopes to treat medical patients while light water reactor, like the one Iran has at Bushehr, is used to generate electricity.
There was no immediate comment from world powers, which include China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Russia. However, what to do with Arak, a still under-construction 40-megawatt heavy water plant in central Iran, is a key factor in negotiations.
According to Israel and the United States, the Arak reactor was designed to allow the Iranians a path to achieve nuclear weapons using plutonium, in addition to the primary plan of uranium enrichment. Salehi is quoted in media reports as saying that Iran plans to gradually increase its number of centrifuges until it reaches the capacity to enrich 30 tons of uranium per year. He added that Iran plans to maintain its current number of centrifuges, which is about 20,000, for the next four or five years.
Salehi reportedly told Al-Alam that on Apr. 12, Iran had completed downgrading much of its uranium stockpile from 20 percent enrichment to 5 percent, in accordance with the Geneva interim deal.
Steinitz, who has been leading the Israeli effort to follow talks between Iran and the world powers, said that "It was clear that the Iranians would compromise regarding the reactor in Arak." According to him, the Iranians are trying to manage risks, and decided that after U.S. President Barack Obama declared that they cannot have a heavy water reactor, they announced the limits to be placed on the Arak facility, hoping the deception will succeed.
"If the Iranians offer not to switch from heavy water to light water, but instead to lower the reactor's output, that is an unacceptable offer. Instead of being able to create a bomb every year, they will create one every two years," Steinitz said.
About a month ago, Steinitz attended the Nuclear Security Summit, where he spoke about the issue with Obama, and more recently, with French officials and with the British foreign secretary. "As long as the Iranians are not prepared to give up on uranium enrichment and centrifuges, they continue to be a nuclear threshold state and we cannot agree to that," Steinitz said. "What is this similar to? It is as if Iran is holding two guns up to the West's head and saying, 'Okay, I will put one gun down on the table.' That means nothing as long as the second gun is still threatening. This is a step that does not solve the problem."
An International Atomic Energy Agency report also pointed to a new delay in Iran's construction of a plant designed to turn low-enriched uranium gas into an oxide powder that is not suitable for further processing into highly enriched bomb-grade uranium.
Iran told the IAEA last month that the site would be commissioned on Apr. 9. But Thursday's update by the U.N. nuclear watchdog said the commissioning had been put off, without giving any reason.
However, "Iran has indicated to the agency that this will not have an adverse impact on the implementation of [its] undertaking" to convert the uranium gas, the agency said.
The delay means that Iran's LEU stockpile -- which it agreed to limit under the Geneva pact -- is almost certainly continuing to increase for the time being, because its production of the material has not stopped.
Meanwhile, in a speech in honor of Iran's National Army Day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made no mention of Israel but said Iran "will not invade any country," although it would "resist any invasion." Some of the military vehicles on display sported signs with the slogans "Death to Israel" and "Death to America."