Iran claimed today to have stockpiled 100kg of enriched uranium, enough in theory to create two nuclear bombs of the kind that destroyed Hiroshima.
A war exhibition held in Iran in 2005
The news will once again stoke fears that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime is seeking to build a nuclear weapon.
Iran would need 50kg of weapons-grade uranium in order to make one nuclear weapon equal in power to the one dropped by the Americans in 1945.
So far, the regime’s uranium has only been enriched to the level needed for generating electricity in civilian nuclear power stations.
But if Iran chooses to enrich it to 84 per cent purity, it would reach weapons-grade level and become the essential material for building a bomb.
The United States possesses conventional bombs, MOABs, that can cause massive concussion. By creating a large artificial earthquake in Natanz, it should be possible to vibrate the centrifuges there enough to send them off-balance and cause them to shatter from their own momentum. Israel might be able to do the job with more conventional bombs, but I would rather see 18,700 pounds of high explosive in one fell swoop rather than nine 2,000-pound explosions in series.
Hey! No take-backs!
Iran's Interior Ministry denied a report Friday quoting the minister as saying Iran has produced 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of enriched uranium. The ministry said he was misquoted.
The semiofficial ISNA news agency reported that the minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, also said Iran now has 3,000 hooked-up centrifuges actively enriching uranium.
The Interior Ministry later issued a statement denying Pourmohammadi made the comments reported by ISNA. The minister "only spoke about Iran's nuclear achievements and he did not mention amount of enriched uranium and the number of installed centrifuges," said the statement, carried on the Web site of the state broadcasting company. "The recently published report is denied."
Is this the old bluff-and-deny strategy? Probably not -- sounds more like the old I-showed-my-hand-too-soon blunder.