It’s about Tehran, not Gaza

Thus far, United Nations Security Council talks with Iran’s officials have produced no discernible outcome, and frankly why should they have?

IAEA's Nackaerts with Iran's Soltanieh  370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Herwig Prammer)
IAEA's Nackaerts with Iran's Soltanieh 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Herwig Prammer)
As missiles supplied to Iran’s proxy Hamas fly over the nation of Israel another source for concern hovers at the back of the minds of Israel’s leaders: Iran’s nuclear program. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency almost 3,000 machines used to produce nuclear fuel have been mounted at the underground military facility near the city of Qom.
This move doubles Iran’s ability to generate medium grade, or 20 percent enriched, uranium in the months ahead.
What is the global significance of this action? By March or April 2013, Iran’s military could possess enough uranium for one viable atomic weapon. At that point, the fanatical Muslim leaders in the country will have reached the “red line” indicated by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. It is at that point Israel’s leaders must determine not if, but when to take action to protect its populace.
This boundary could be crossed much sooner if production from the centrifuges in Natanz is added to the equation. Olli Heinonen, a former weapons inspector for the IAEA, says, “The number of centrifuges is steadily increasing, which diminishes the time for a breakout for a nuclear weapon in two ways: Iran’s inventories will increase as well as its pace of production.”
Leaders in Tehran continue to assert that Iran’s nuclear program is only for domestic use. According to sources, Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent amounts 232 kilograms of which approximately 96 kilos could be used in the production of a weapon. Knowledgeable experts assess that another 120 to 150 kilograms would be needed for the production of a nuclear bomb.
With the Qom plant fully operational, and by restructuring the centrifuges, Iran could easily convert the store of uranium to weapons-grade within months. The changes at the facility in Qom are of particular concern to IAEA negotiators, to the United States, to Europe, and particularly to Israel. It is feared that the nuclear installation in Qom is invulnerable to attacks by air.
Thus far, United Nations Security Council talks with Iran’s officials have produced no discernible outcome, and frankly why should they have? Despite the 80% drop in the value of the Iranian currency, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have seen nothing to make them believe the US or its European allies would make any move to stop Iran’s forward motion.
The two leaders continue to thumb their noses at demands for access to Parchin, a facility south of Tehran. Yukiya Amano, the IAEA’s director general, has charged that the delay is a stalling tactic to allow time to remove evidence of past nuclear activities. Amano believes that the site was used as a laboratory for the study of an implosion device to be used in conjunction with a nuclear warhead.
The organization has a team scheduled to visit Parchin on December 13, but by that time, any trace of nuclear activity will have been eradicated.
Also of great concern to the Israelis is a report that a freighter is en route from Bandar Abbas to Gaza with a payload of 220 shortrange and 50 Fajr-5 missiles with larger warheads and greater range than those Hamas possessed at the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense.
The cargo on the freighter would replace the dwindling stockpile of missiles fired into Israel since November 10. To cover its tracks, the ship has changed names and ownership several times since its launch. She departed Bandar Abbas as the Vali-e-Asr under the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
According to sources, four Sudanese cargo ships departed the Port of Sudan recently for an assignation with the Cargo Star. The missiles would then be transferred to the other vessels at sea. It is believed that the ships will either put into port in Sudan or rendezvous with a fleet of Egyptian fishing boats. From there, the arms would be transported to Egypt, and then to Gaza by way of the tunnel system between the two countries.
While at sea, the Cargo Star has been shadowed by two Iranian warships.
Intelligence sources have also revealed that Revolutionary Guard Units from Iran are serving as advisers to the Gaza terrorists.
What better way for Iran to conceal its determination to distract Israel, and the world, from its nuclear program than to begin a skirmish with the Jewish nation? The writer is a New York Times bestselling author. His latest book is Seven Days, a new fiction book telling the riveting story of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. It will be released July 20. For information, visit