“We’re watching reports that Iran plans to increase its enrichment capacity,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Thursday, June 7. “We won’t allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran is aware of our resolve.”
Pompeo was responding to the statement by Iran’s atomic energy czar Ali Akbar Salehi that the construction of a facility at Natanz to produce advanced centrifuges for speeding up uranium enrichment will be completed within a month. Salehi notified the UN nuclear watchdog the IAEA about the forthcoming opening of a new facility at Natanz for the enrichment of uranium. Pompeo also warned: “It should surprise no one if protests in Iran continue.”
DEBKAfile: The Trump administration is determined to avoid Iran’s nuclear bazaar of interminable bargaining and a constant stream of half-statements for confusing the opposition. This drawn-out process of bewilderment and attrition led the Obama administration and five other world powers into signing the 2015 nuclear deal which Trump quit on May 8 after condemning it as deeply flawed.
Pompeo therefore decided to cut short this tortuous process before it starts sowing confusion as a smoke screen for the nuclear program’s real activities. He therefore cut to the chase with an explicit warning directed against the expansion of Iran’s enrichment capacity before it goes any further. As for the “new facility” at Natanz, far from being completed in a month, as Salehi affirmed, we can report that it was built in fact four years ago – another example of Iran’s tactics of confusion. The finished building is shown in the photo at the head of this item. It is ready for activation at the push of a button.
Tehran lost no time in responding to Pompeo’s warning. Salehi ceremonially opened the “new facility” at Natanz later Thursday. After admitting that it had been standing for four years, as DEBKAfile revealed, he announced that Iran proposed to develop fast new IR8 centrifuges, which are banned under the 2015 nuclear accord. DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that meanwhile production began at 10:00 am June 7 of the primitive IR2m and faster IR6 and IR4 centrifuges at the rate of 60 engines a day.