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Iran: We’re Enriching Uranium to 20%. How Ya Like Them Apples?

Posted on February 9 2010 10:26 pm
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Following the West’s dismissal of Iran’s latest “acceptance” of a theoretical deal to enrich some of its uranium outside of the country, the Iranian government has announced it is enriching its current stockpile to 20 percent purity. Well, the regime needs to enrich it to 90 percent to become bomb-grade so we’ve still got plenty of time, right? Wrong, Officer Overly Optimistic.

As the AP reports states:

David Albright, whose Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security tracks suspected proliferators, said that it would take 2,000 centrifuges about a year to turn Iran’s 1.8 ton stockpile of 3.5 percent uranium into enough weapons grade uranium for one warhead. But he said it would only take 500 to 1,000 centrifuges, and half a year, to move from 20 percent to 90 percent plus enriched material.

By enriching its present 3.5 percent uranium stockpile to 20 percent, ”it would be going most of the rest of the way to weapon-grade uranium,” he said.

Get your ibuprofen ladies and gentlemen, it gets worse.

Albright’s first estimate is based on 2,000 centrifuges. The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization says they are operating over 5,000, a number in line with previous IAEA  reports.

As I’ve written, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allows Iran to complete most of the steps needed to develop a nuclear weapon, enabling them to quickly develop an arsenal. They can even do this legally if they announce with six months notice that they have to leave the treaty due to threats to their national security.

The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center writes:

“It is also legal under the NPT for Iran to make as many implosion devices (sans fissile cores) as one might want and have them ready to receive metal plutonium cores…At this point…Iran could break out of the NPT and have a large arsenal of weapons in a matter of weeks or days.”

This legal loophole allows Iran to proclaim innocence and gives countries like China some wiggle room to keep opposing sanctions. Looks like President Obama may have to form a coalition outside of the United Nations to take action. How George W. Bush of him.

Ryan Mauro is the founder of and a regular contributor to FrontPage Magazine.

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