Iran nuclear program moving forward 'without challenges'

National security expert tells 'Post' that Iranian scientists have moved to "more advanced" uranium enrichment centrifuge designs.

April 14, 2011 19:06
1 minute read.
Iranian workers stand in front of Bushehr.

bushehr_311 reuters. (photo credit: Stringer Iran / Reuters)

Iran’s nuclear program is moving ahead without any significant challenges from Western powers, a defense analyst warned on Thursday.

Iranian scientists have moved from primitive first-generation uranium enrichment centrifuges to “more advanced second- and third-generation” designs, Ephraim Kam, deputy head of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies and a former colonel in the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

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This week, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoun Abbasi, announced that the Bushehr nuclear reactor, said by the Islamic regime to be a commercial electricity provider, would go online next month.

Abbasi also claimed that Iran would build four or five nuclear research reactors in the coming years.

“It’s difficult to know what is propaganda and what is real, but what is clear is that they are making progress,” Kam said. “They’ve been experimenting with more advanced centrifuges for over a year.”

Kam said a recently published American study concluded that Tehran had overcome the Stuxnet computer virus that reportedly significantly hindered the nuclear program.

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“There’s no question that progress is being made. The nuclear agenda of Iran is not on the world’s agenda at all. For months, there have been no challenges from Europe or the US, and negotiations are stalled. There is no pressure on Iran,” Kam said.

The current situation is comfortable for the Iranian regime, he said.

Additionally, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei are concerned that the upheaval rocking the Arab world could spark more riots within Iran, and hope that announcements on nuclear progress could ease internal pressure, Kam said.

“Pointing to successes like these can give them more prestige,” he said.

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