Nuclear detector set up on Iran border

Nuclear test detection s

By HAVIV RETTIG GUR
December 4, 2009 00:39
3 minute read.

 
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Israeli officials believe the international community is "starting to come to the understanding that Iran has been lying to everybody" about its nuclear intentions, a senior Israeli diplomatic official told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. The statement followed news of a UN agency completing a nuclear test detection station in Turkmenistan, just a few kilometers from the Iranian border. The PS44 installation is the 337th facility of the International Monitoring System. It was set up by the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), a network of stations across the globe that monitors the atmosphere to detect nuclear blasts by countries secretly testing nuclear weapons. PS44 is expected to be operational by 2010, once it has been tested. There have been more than 2,000 nuclear test explosions worldwide since the Manhattan Project's Trinity trial in the US in July 1945. The last detonation occurred May 25, when North Korea said it conducted a test, an event that was detected at 61 of the CTBTO's seismic stations. While the Turkmenistan site is part of a larger network, the opening of a station near Iran may signify that "the Iranian issue is finally gaining ground in the international community," according to the Israeli official. More proof of this came when the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) voted to censure Iran, on November 27, for failing to cooperate in international efforts to verify its claims that its nuclear program has peaceful intentions. "Luckily, Iran itself is decimating the efforts of even its most vociferous defenders to help it avoid international criticism," the Israeli official said. The diplomatic fallout from the November 27 IAEA resolution continued to be felt on Thursday as the United States warned Iran that time was running out to avoid sanctions due to its nuclear program. According to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, Teheran's deadline is the end of the year for responding to international demands to halt enrichment and allow more complete inspection of its nuclear facilities . Iran has ignored a deal offered by the Western powers that would have Iran send its low-enriched uranium abroad for enriching or use in peaceful energy production. Gibbs said it was "pretty clear" that the Iranians were backing out of that agreement. Also Thursday Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said the resolution would "not stop Iran from developing its nuclear program," in the words of the state-run news agency Press TV, which was quoting a Thursday statement by Iran's foreign ministry. Mottaki said Teheran was fully cooperating with the IAEA and that the Geneva-based agency has consistently verified the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program. He accused Western powers of politicizing the issue. China, too, which voted in favor of the resolution censuring Iran, urged Teheran on Thursday to cooperate with the IAEA and to resolve the dispute with the international watchdog quickly. According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, "China's vote was consistent with its position on the Iran nuclear issue, which urged the parties involved to resolve the issue through dialogue and negotiation," the official Xinhua news agency reported. Qin added that China would push forward the process of a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear issue. On Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that his country will enrich uranium to a much higher level than previously planned - a fresh rejection of the international efforts to curb the country's nuclear program. "I declare here that with the grace of God, the Iranian nation will produce 20 percent fuel and anything it needs itself," Ahmadinejad told a cheering crowd in the central city of Isfahan. Ahmadinejad said Teheran was ready to further enrich some of its present stockpile - now at 3.5% to 20%, the grade needed to create fuel for a small medical research reactor in the Iranian capital. Meanwhile, Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili met with Hamas leaders during a visit to Syria on Thursday. The Palestinian party's deputy head Moussa Abu Marzouk said they discussed Palestinian affairs but did not provide any further details. AP, Bloomberg and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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