Iran: 3,000 Centrifuges are 'Working'

Iran may have just hit the magic number for war - 3,000 centrifuges enriching uranium:

Iran has achieved a landmark with 3,000 centrifuges fully working in its controversial uranium enrichment program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday. Ahmadinejad has in the past claimed Iran succeeded in installing the 3,000 centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. Wednesday's claim was his first official statement that the plant is now fully operating the 3,000 centrifuges.
A couple of things should be noted. First, the Iranians have a habit of making grandiose announcements like this which later turn out to be gross exaggerations. Last May, Ahmadinejad proudly anounced they had installed the 3000 centrifuges at Nantanz - only to have it come out later the number was closer to 1800. The Iranian President is a loud mouthed braggart about his nuke program and likes to exaggerate in order to tweak the west while encouraging his supporters.

Secondly, there is no evidence that Iran can operate these machines in "cascade" - a process necessary to full enrichment of uranium. In fact, the largest number of machines they have been able to operate in tandem has been 168 - a far cry from 3,000.

Finally, there is no evidence they have a workable design for a bomb or any way to deliver it - more time on the clock if you're counting.

Ed Morrissey is not as sanguine about this as some:

People used to say that we had years before Iran could build a nuclear weapon. Now we have months. And while they could stick it on top of a Shahab-3 missile and hit as far away as eastern Europe, don't expect them to waste it on one of their rockets when they have suicidal terrorists eager to make a big exit from this world - preferably taking thousands of Israelis or Westerners with them.
Ed makes a good point. But he is basing it on a lot of "ifs." If the Iranians have indeed been able to get 3,000 centrifuges working and if they have been able to overcome the technical challenges of getting them to work in tandem and if they have a workable bomb design and if they have a means to deliver it - then yes, they are about a year away for having a nuclear weapon.

Even with today's news, arms control experts are not likely to change their views that Iran is still at least 2 years and more likely 3 away from being capable of going nuclear.
Iran may have just hit the magic number for war - 3,000 centrifuges enriching uranium:

Iran has achieved a landmark with 3,000 centrifuges fully working in its controversial uranium enrichment program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday. Ahmadinejad has in the past claimed Iran succeeded in installing the 3,000 centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. Wednesday's claim was his first official statement that the plant is now fully operating the 3,000 centrifuges.
A couple of things should be noted. First, the Iranians have a habit of making grandiose announcements like this which later turn out to be gross exaggerations. Last May, Ahmadinejad proudly anounced they had installed the 3000 centrifuges at Nantanz - only to have it come out later the number was closer to 1800. The Iranian President is a loud mouthed braggart about his nuke program and likes to exaggerate in order to tweak the west while encouraging his supporters.

Secondly, there is no evidence that Iran can operate these machines in "cascade" - a process necessary to full enrichment of uranium. In fact, the largest number of machines they have been able to operate in tandem has been 168 - a far cry from 3,000.

Finally, there is no evidence they have a workable design for a bomb or any way to deliver it - more time on the clock if you're counting.

Ed Morrissey is not as sanguine about this as some:

People used to say that we had years before Iran could build a nuclear weapon. Now we have months. And while they could stick it on top of a Shahab-3 missile and hit as far away as eastern Europe, don't expect them to waste it on one of their rockets when they have suicidal terrorists eager to make a big exit from this world - preferably taking thousands of Israelis or Westerners with them.
Ed makes a good point. But he is basing it on a lot of "ifs." If the Iranians have indeed been able to get 3,000 centrifuges working and if they have been able to overcome the technical challenges of getting them to work in tandem and if they have a workable bomb design and if they have a means to deliver it - then yes, they are about a year away for having a nuclear weapon.

Even with today's news, arms control experts are not likely to change their views that Iran is still at least 2 years and more likely 3 away from being capable of going nuclear.