Surprise! Iran building better centrifuges
Do we wonder what the Iranians think of President Obama?
If they think about him at all, they are probably laughing up their sleeves. The government announced that they are constructing the next generation of centrifuges - the machines that spin uranium thousands of times a second in order to enrich the ore, turning U-235 into U-238.
Um...isn't that in violation of the agreement President Obama was crowing about a few weeks ago?
President Obama faced mounting bipartisan pressure on Friday to drop his resistance to an Iran sanctions bill after Tehran announced a new generation of equipment to enrich uranium -- a move the Israelis claimed was further proof the regime seeks nuclear weapons.
One of the president's top Democratic allies is leading the charge for Congress to pass sanctions legislation, despite the president's pleas to stand down. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., told Fox News that the "Iranians are showing their true intentions" with their latest announcement.
"If you're talking about producing more advanced centrifuges that are only used to enrich uranium at a quicker rate ... the only purposes of that and the only reason you won't give us access to [a military research facility] is because you're really not thinking about nuclear power for domestic energy -- you're thinking about nuclear power for nuclear weapons," he said.
Menendez was reacting after Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said late Thursday that the country is building a new generation of centrifuges for uranium enrichment. He said the system still needs further tests before the centrifuges can be mass produced. His comments appeared aimed at countering hard-liner criticism by showing the nuclear program is moving ahead and has not been halted by the accord. At the same time, the government was walking a fine line under the terms of the deal.
Iran, as part of a six-month nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers, agreed not to bring new centrifuges into operation during that period. But the deal does not stop it from developing centrifuges that are still in the testing phase.
On Friday, the Embassy of Israel in Washington released a statement reiterating their call for Iran to halt enrichment and remove the infrastructure behind it.
"Installing additional advanced centrifuges would be further indication that Iran intends to develop a nuclear bomb -- and to speed up the process of achieving it," the statement said.
The western powers who negotiated the six month deal with Iran fully expected Tehran to submit itself to very stringent rules governing the improvement of its centrifuge program in any long term nuclear deal. That apparently is not going to happen, which makes one wonder what else the Iranians are going to ignore.
The Iranians are thumbing their nose at President Obama and acting as everyone with an ounce of sense knew they would.