On Sunday, Iran announced it was “ready” to make the jump to reaching 190,000 separative work units for enriching uranium.
Currently, Iran has some 5,000 centrifuges available to enrich uranium, down from around 19,000 before the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Does this announcement, combined with recent threats to enrich uranium from a 3.67% level to around a 20% level, mean the Iran deal is over and the West and Israel must finally decide between a military option or letting Tehran posses a nuclear bomb?
Not even close.
In fact, it is a repeat threat that the Islamic Republic has wielded before whenever there are serious negotiations ongoing and it wants to pressure the other side.
It means that current negotiations between Iran and the EU over its ballistic missile program and its adventurism in the Middle East and Europe are closing in on a critical juncture.
Throughout 2014-2015 and almost all the way up to when the nuclear deal was finalized, Iran would pull out the threat that if it did not get its way, it would jump to 190,000 centrifuges.
The number is significant because it could allow Iran to enrich sufficient uranium for a bomb much faster than with its current around 5,000 or prior around 19,000 centrifuge numbers.
And it may be that in the last four years that Tehran has made progress that if it decided to break the nuclear deal, it could move faster to building a larger number of centrifuges.
Since the subject is Iran and nuclear weapons, it is true that every development must be carefully followed and taken seriously.
But some healthy skepticism, recognizing this is likely at least for now an empty threat designed to try to get the EU to back off seeking Iranian concessions, is due.
Iran has for years also periodically made big statements about developing advanced centrifuges and displayed pictures of them.
This threat would be worse than the 190,000 less advanced centrifuges threat because if Tehran could master advanced centrifuges, it would need much fewer machines and resources to enrich enough uranium to build a bomb.
However, in a recent interview with top nuclear weapons expert David Albright, he said the Islamic Republic has been bluffing and all of its advanced centrifuges from IR-4, to IR-6, to IR-8 have failed, including those it has displayed in photos for the media.
The casual observer may be failed by Iranian propaganda, but the real experts can see through it.
In fact, Iran has not decided to try to build 190,000 centrifuges, it is just warning that it says it can if it does not get what it wants in negotiations with the EU – and its claim of being able to build the machines must faster is questionable.
The last time Iran made the 190,000 centrifuge threat, it signed the nuclear deal shortly afterward, including making new concessions that it said it would never make.
So while intelligence agencies will need to follow the Islamic Republic’s activities as always to see whether there is a dramatic change, the more important lesson may be that Iran is feeling real pressure to make concessions on its ballistic missiles program and its adventurism in the region.
Source » jpost