comment by Jerry Gordon

ahmadinejad-and-centrifuges.jpgMahdist President Ahmadinejad announced today that Iran has 6,000 centrifuges whirling away ramping up production of enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. Israeli intelligence officials say, nah, it’s more like 3,500 to 4,000. Then, Ahmadinejad isn’t exactly the fount of truthfulness these days after he photoshopped the missile episode a few weeks ago that spiked oil futures prices to a peak of $147.00 a barrel of crude oil before they plummeted by $20.00. This latest gaffe was preceded by an announcement that the UN IAEA wouldn’t be allowed any more spot inspections.

Witness these comments from Ahmadinejad and his minions in Tehran and the unidentified Israeli official:

    “Today, they have consented that the existing 5,000 or 6,000 centrifuges not be increased and that operation of this number of centrifuges is not a problem,” state radio quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

    “Announcements like this, whatever the true number is, are not productive and will only serve to further isolate Iran from the international community,” said White House spokesman Carlton Carroll.

    The Israeli official explained that by exaggerating the numbers, the Iranian president hopes to achieve two goals.

    First, he exerts pressure on his own nuclear technicians to step up the pace of their work aimed at producing enough fissile material to make a bomb.

    Second, Ahmadinejad seeks conflict with the West so he can portray himself as the defender of Iranian national interests in the run-up to next year’s presidential elections.

    Ahmadinejad has failed to deliver on promises of improving the economy and creating jobs, and the nuclear issue remains his only hope of drumming up much needed domestic political support.

    “Ultimately it is not president Ahmadinejad who decides Iran’s nuclear policy but the country’s spiritual leader Ali Khamenei,” the Israeli official explained. “Ahmadinejad will not compromise because he seeks confrontation, but Khamenei or another presidential candidate may be tempted to accept a compromise package drawn up by the West in return for halting uranium enrichment.”

Whatever the truth, it looks like Bush is not going to pursue any military option to take out Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities before the end of his Administration. It may be left for Israel to do that, sometime between the US Presidential November election and January, 2009 inauguration, according to former US UN Ambassador John Bolton. Others contend that a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities could come earlier. A lot depends on whether Israel’s PM Olmert, under intense police investigation for campaign cash corruption survives a primary context and someone more effective as a leader replaces him. That is a lot of ifs on the political side of the agenda there.

by Mark Weiss and AP, Jerusalem Post, July 26, 2008

sraeli officials have expressed doubt over claims by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday that his country now possesses 6,000 centrifuges.
Iranian President Mahmoud…

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks in a ceremony at Iran’s uranium enrichment facility in Natanz.
Photo: AP
Slideshow: Pictures of the week

Ahmadinejad’s announcement, reported by a semi-official news agency, is a significant increase in the number of uranium-enriching machines in Teheran’s nuclear program. It also comes a week after the US reversed course in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program by sending a top American diplomat to participate in talks between Teheran and world powers.

But an Israeli official who closely monitors the Iranian nuclear program told The Jerusalem Post that Ahmadinejad was probably lying.

“Our assessment, based on the latest available information and recent reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency, is that the figure of 6,000 centrifuges is unlikely,” the official said. “We believe a figure of between 3,400 and 3,500 is more accurate.” (Continue Reading this Article)

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