[Cross-posted from European Tribune – where dissent is NOT troll rated!]
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to make preparations for enrichment of uranium up to a level of 190,000 SWU without any delay.
Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a ceremony held at the Imam Khomeini Mausoleum in south Tehran to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the passing away of the founder of the Islamic Republic while talking about Iran’s nuclear deal with the P5+1 group of countries, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“It seems from what they say that some European governments expect the Iranian nation to both put up with sanctions and give up its nuclear activities and continue to observe limitations [on its nuclear program]. I tell those governments that this bad dream will never come true,” the Leader said.
Stressing that the Iranian nation and government cannot tolerate to be both sanctioned and be put in the “nuclear custody,” Ayatollah Khamenei ordered the AEOI to take rapid steps to make preparations for starting uranium enrichment “up to a level of 190,000SWU for the time being within the framework of the JCPOA” and take other preliminary steps that the president has ordered from tomorrow.
Continued below the fold …
Imam never felt weak, nor showed weakness in the face of enemies, but always stood against them with power, the Leader said adding that when dealing with enemies’ plots, Imam Khomeini never gave in to pure sentiments, but made his moves through well-calculated plans.
Ayatollah Khamenei further noted that in dealing with enemies, the Islamic Republic of Iran gives priority to domestic potentialities and capabilities of the nation and has absolutely no trust in the enemy.
“We are well aware of the enemy’s plot and disclose it to people,” the Leader said, mentioning economic, psychological and practical pressures as three major components of enemy’s plot against the Iranian nation.
The main goal they seek through economic pressure and sanctions is not just to mount pressure on the Iranian government, but is to make the Iranian nation disillusioned with the Islamic establishment, the Leader said, adding that with God’s assistance and through efforts made by officials and people, the enemy will never achieve this goal.
Ayatollah Khamenei stated that one of the psychological measures taken by enemies against the Iranian nation is to turn its strengths into challenges in order to strip the nation of those strengths.
The Leader added that when Iran needed enriched uranium for medical purposes, enemies put all kinds of obstacles in the way of the nation to prevent it from achieving nuclear technology. However, the Leader said, Iranian youths managed to master this technology despite enemies’ efforts.
On 7 October, Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei released on his personal website an 11-point list of demands relating to the current nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 countries.
One of Khamenei’s demands – and a clear sticking point in the current negotiations – relates to Iran’s long-term uranium enrichment capability. Khamenei wants Iran to be permitted to have 190,000 separative work units, or SWUs, of uranium enrichment capacity. (A SWU measures uranium enrichment efficiency – Iran’s mainstay IR-1 centrifuge has a SWU capacity of about one; its advanced centrifuges supposedly have much higher separative capacities.) Iran’s centrifuge enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow have a combined current capacity of about 24,000 SWU.1
So why 190,000 SWU? Iranian officials state that it so Iran can provide its own nuclear fuel for the Bushehr Power Plant, once the contract for Russia to do so expires in the year 2021. (UPDATE: on 24 November, Iran’s nuclear head Ali Akbar Salehi stated that Iran will need 190,000 SWU of enrichment capacity “within the next eight years.”)
Iranian scientists have expanded collaborations with their European counterparts in areas such as nuclear safety and security, but similar work has failed to take root in the United States. That is in part because some US sanctions remained in place in spite of the nuclear agreement, and because US researchers often need a licence from the US Department of the Treasury to collaborate with government scientists in Iran, says Matthew Bunn, who studies nuclear non-proliferation issues at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Bunn is seeking such a licence to initiate a dialogue with leading nuclear scientists in Iran, with the ultimate goal of steering the country towards a safe and secure nuclear-energy programme. Trump’s decision could detract from efforts to advance meaningful scientific cooperation, Bunn says, in addition to emboldening Iranian hardliners who would like to see the country become a nuclear power. “I need to rethink what I had been planning,” he says. “There won’t be a lot of enthusiasm on the Iranian side for dialogues with Americans such as myself.”
Other research collaborations that could be in jeopardy include work at Fordow, an underground nuclear facility near Qom in northern Iran. As part of the JCPOA, Iran agreed to halt uranium enrichment at the facility. The country planned to pursue particle-physics research there, as well as to use the facility to produce medical isotopes. Russian scientists had been working with Iran on experiments to advance Iran’s medical isotope production, says Scott Kemp, who heads the Laboratory for Nuclear Security and Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
“I think that work gets mothballed, at least at the outset,” Kemp says. And if the agreement collapses entirely and Iran walks away, he says that the country would scrap the effort altogether “and go back to making enriched uranium”.
Sorooshian says the only good news is that the number of Iranian students entering US universities has increased in the past few years, which will help to build relationships between the two countries in the decades to come. But for now, he says that the outlook for scientific cooperation between the two countries looks grim. “Everybody is concerned.”
An archived diary of mine …
○ Iran’s Enrichment for the US Built Tehran Research Reactor by Oui @BooMan on March 6, 2012