Salehi’s Arak “deal” – cover-up for 1,300 kg enriched uranium smuggled to Parchin for secret upgrade
Tehran’s trickery and tactics of misdirection were on full show Saturday, April 19, when Iran’s Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi offered “to redesign” the controversial Arak reactor so that it produces one-fifth of the plutonium initially planned and his claim that this concession had “virtually resolved” Iran’s controversy with the West. But the giveaway was his mock-innocent comment: “We still don’t know why they [nuclear watchdog inspectors] want to visit Parchin for a third time…”
debkafile: For three years, Tehran has denied monitors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to this military facility to investigate suspected nuclear explosive tests.
Of deepest concern, say debkafile’s intelligence and military sources, is the way the Obama administration and European Union members are ready to be taken in by Tehran’s deceptions in their ongoing negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear accord. They dispose of one issue after another and stay willfully blind to the true ramifications of their concessions to Iran and its program’s clandestine military dimensions.
In its latest report, the Vienna-based IAEA disclosed Thursday, April 17, that, after reducing stocks, Iran was left with “substantially less of the 20-percent enriched uranium than it would need for a nuclear warhead.”
On the face of it, therefore, the immediate danger of Iran stockpiling enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb is over and a sigh of relief should now follow US Secretary of State John Kerry’s warning to a Senate committee a week ago that Iran had enough enriched uranium to start building a bomb within two months.
That being the case, the military option for curtailing the Iranian nuclear threat should be set aside and the six world powers and Tehran can resume their negotiations on May 5 for putting the final touches on a comprehensive accord for finally putting their nuclear controversy to rest.
But only on the face of it: This scenario ignore Tehran’s duplicity and conveniently passes over the sudden spurt in Iran’s production of low, 5-percent grade enriched uranium and the covert smuggling of the surfeit to the Parchin military facility of near Tehran for its secret upgrade to 20 percent, a level which can be rapidly enriched to weapons grade.
So with one hand, Tehran has reduced its low-grade enriched uranium stocks, but with the other, has smuggled a sizable quantity of those stocks for further enrichment to a facility barred to nuclear watchdog inspectors.
debkafile’s intelligence sources reveal that 1,300 kilos of low-grade material has been transferred to Parchin and 1,630 advanced centrifuges have been installed there for rapid upgrade work.
Whenever the IAEA applied for permission to inspect the facility in the past three years, it was fobbed off with the pretext that Parchin was strictly a military base which did not host any nuclear activity. It therefore did not qualify for international inspection.
Ali Salehi continued the pretence Saturday when he remarked with mock puzzlement: “We still don’t know why they want to visit Parchin for the third time despite two visits to the site [earlier}. They say they have some information [about the site] and we have told them to pass the information to us to make sure about its validity, which they have refused to do so far.”
Well, debkafile is now putting the information out for the benefit of the nuclear watchdog. With yet another layer of duplicity stripped from Iran’s nuclear program, it is hoped that the six world powers will sit up and take notice before they face Iran’s nuclear negotiators for another round of talks in two weeks’ time.