debkafile Exclusive: Iran has crossed the point of no-return to a nuclear weapon – undeterred by international censure

The cries of outrage over Iran’s bald-faced removal of the seals at its Natanz nuclear facility have a familiar ring. They also evoked little more from the turbaned rulers of Tehran than a cool shrug.
The seals to shut down equipment for making centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium were affixed two years ago by the UN nuclear watchdog’s inspectors at the subterranean Natanz facility.
During this period, Tehran broke one pledge after another and defied every international rebuke, as diplomacy led by France, Britain and Germany, alternated with unfulfilled threats of UN sanctions, to grant the Iranians precious time to forge ahead with its atomic weapons program. Tehran cannily prepared the way for its fateful step at Natanz Monday, Jan. 10, by calling it the resumption of the innocent-sounding “nuclear research.”
Now, belatedly, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s director, Dr Mohammed ElBaradei warns that, as well as breaking the international seals at Natanz, Iran will before Wednesday remove seals on two other connected sites. French president Jacques Chirac has reacted with dismay, UK foreign secretary Jack Straw with “huge regret”, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Iran had crossed a line, Israel is tied down by its prime minister unconscious in hospital. Its chief of staff, Lt. Gen- Dan Halutz conceded Monday that the fight against Iran’s nuclearization must be an international effort in which Israel cannot take the lead. And the White House is till undecided about referring Iran’s case to the UN Security Council.
But the Iranians clearly don’t give a hoot about their EU-3 negotiating partners, the IAEA, the Americans or the Israelis. Because they have used the time afforded them by sterile diplomacy to manipulate their way to their objectives, as debkafile‘s Iranian sources reveal:
1. Thousands of P2 and P1 type centrifuges, developed under cover of the two-year purported suspension, can go into action free of international curbs. The IAEA statement said uranium hexafluoride, a uranium gas – can be fed into cascades of centrifuges to produce low-level nuclear fuel or weapons-grade material. This can happen within a week or two.
2. The intelligence consensus reaching our sources is that within six weeks to two months, the centrifuges will have produced enough enriched uranium to build a single nuclear weapon. Tehran has reached this point of no-return with no real opposition.
The Islamic Republic’s rulers are fairly sure Moscow and Beijing will veto Security Council sanctions. The Russians are motivated by their heavy investments, past and potential, in Iran’s nuclear industry. The Chinese are heavily dependent on Iranian gas and keen to expand their stake in Tehran’s oil industry, partly in order to compete with the Russians.
None of this is new; it has been going on for six years. Iran’s attempts to hide its nuclear bomb program go back more than a decade. Therefore, recurring threats to submit Iran to UN sanctions have always been hollow ones and never had the slightest deterrent effect on Tehran.

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