By Amir Rapaport
Israel has been collecting the incoming information from Iran and exploding with frustration...
Translated by Viktoria LymarEdited by Steven Stenzler
10 June 2013
The Israeli expectation was that on the election eve, the sanctions on Iran would be tightened, impeding its progress to the nuke. However, the reality is far from that.
The announcement on the activation of the heavy water facility at Arak proves that Iran keeps laughing all the way to the bomb. The news has enormous importance first and foremost due to its timing: immediately after another round of intensification of economic sanctions on Tehran, and just a few days before the presidential elections.
The press release defiantly conveyed that the outgoing president Ahmadinejad attended the inauguration of the facility – meaning, the American deterrence in the region is zero (which is also reflected in the huge Iranian involvement in the warfare in Syria).
Israel is collecting the incoming information from Iran and exploding with frustration: there was the expectation that on the eve of the election, the sanctions on Iran would be strengthened, hindering its progress on the nuclear project. It’s just that the reality is far from this.
To the crux of the matter, there is actual importance, rather than only symbolic, in the launch of the heavy water facility. In fact, what has gone operational is an installation inside the Arak reactor (200 km from Tehran) that generates the nuclear fission.
We’re talking a very important stage on the Iranian route of manufacturing an atomic bomb by means of plutonium production, and not merely through the path of uranium enrichment by centrifuges located mostly in the vicinity of the city of Qom. The enrichment pathway is what’s drawing most attention worldwide.
Just like regarding uranium enrichment, Iran has been claiming all along that the Arak reactor is designed for research purposes. Western intelligence bodies do not buy this story. Formerly with the intelligence community, physicist Dr. Rafael Ofek has recently revealed* that in 2004, the IAEA learned about Iranian contacts abroad to procure manipulators for "hot cells" in the Arak reactor. Such cells, meant for handling materials with high levels of radioactivity, are shielded by cement sides and especially thick lead glass windows.
Initially, the Iranians declared that the equipment was not intended for constructing a "hot lab" for plutonium separation, but instead, for "hot cells" to be installed in the building of the heavy water reactor. This, they claimed, in order to produce radioisotopes for medical purposes, for dealing with nuclear waste and other civilian applications.
Iran further argues that the reactor is going to replace the Tehran Research Reactor; nonetheless, the reactor's technical characteristics point to the possibility of its exploitation for producing military-grade plutonium, with an output estimated at eight kilograms a year – exactly the amount required for a nuclear bomb. What a (lack of) coincidence.
A transparent fraud – and anyway, the Iranians have made yet another important step toward the bomb, whoever the next president will be.
Original Hebrew article:
Photo credit: AP/Haaretz - at the Arak heavy water nuclear facility, January 15, 2011.