Ahmadinejad inaugurates heavy water plant which can manufacture plutonium for weapons
Touring the site at Khondab near Arak, 190 km southwest of Tehran Saturday, Aug. 26, the Iranian president said Iran is not an atomic threat – even to Israel. But five days before the UN deadline for Iran to halt uranium enrichment, he boasted the Arak plant will be able to produce 16 tons of heavy water a year.
This is taken by debkafile‘s military sources as confirmation that, in addition to accelerated uranium enrichment, Iran has embarked on a second technology for producing fuel for nuclear warheads – plutonium as a by-product obtained from the Bushehr nuclear reactor.
On the uranium track, European sources in Vienna revealed last week that Iran has acquired P-2 centrifuges to speed up the pace of enrichment.
Tehran is thus doubly defying the West and the UN after sending a fudging response to the incentives package on offer for abandoning enrichment.
debkafile notes that Tehran has made no secret of these menacing advances in its nuclear program. They were openly unveiled last week. But because no hard American or European rejoinder was forthcoming, the Iranians pushed ahead with further admissions: Wednesday, Aug. 23, a senior official in Tehran forecast another dramatic announcement on Iran’s nuclear program; Saturday, Ahmadinejad pulled the heavy water rabbit out of his hat.
The United States, Europe and Israel have every reason to be fearful of the course on which Iran is speeding forward pell-mell.
debkafile‘s military sources report Tehran is taking encouragement from the quiescence of the Bush administration and Israel on two linked issues: a European force for Lebanon which announces in advance that it will not disarm Hizballah or bar its acquisition of massive quantities of war materiel from Iran and Syria; and Iran’s nuclear advances. No one is stopping the rulers of the Islamic Republic’s campaign to neuter UN resolutions, UN nuclear watchdog’s injunctions and diplomacy of any kind. They are therefore free to follow up the Lebanon war with new and aggravated attacks on Israel – conventional by Hizballah and eventually, nuclear by Iran.