Watchdog: Reported Nuclear Deal Leaves Iran With Capacity for Bomb, Not Nuclear Power Plant
If Iran is permitted to keep 6,000 nuclear centrifuges, it will not be able to create enough fuel for a peaceful nuclear program, but it will be able to build a nuclear weapon, David Ibsen, Executive Director of the watchdog group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) told The Algemeiner on Thursday.
Iran has long claimed that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
The “consensus is 6,000 centrifuges is short of the capacity necessary to generate fuel to power nuclear power plants,” Ibsen said in a written statement.
Ibsen was responding to an exclusive AP story reporting that the US and Iran had reached a draft nuclear accord that permits Iran to continue its nuclear enrichment program.
Under the tentative agreement, the US will lift sanctions against Iran, and cap Iran’s nuclear enrichment capability to 6,000 centrifuges. Iran presently has 19,000 centrifuges capable of enriching the uranium needed for a nuclear weapon. The US had previously attempted to cap Tehran’s enrichment program at 500 – 1,500 centrifuges.
The AP also reported that under the draft accord, the UN might “roll back” an arms embargo against Iran.
UANI believes that Iran can still build a bomb under such a draft agreement.
“6,000 centrifuges is not insignificant, because you can still use that to make a bomb,” Ibsen told The Algemeiner.
UANI called the draft agreement a concession by the p5+1, referring to the world powers presently negotiating alongside the US to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
“We have gone from demanding a halt to all enrichment activities in UN Security Council resolutions to a position of accepting Iran’s permanent industrial-scale nuclear infrastructure,” Ibsen said in a written statement. “This is a major concession based on a hope that the Iranian regime’s extremist behavior and commitment to acquiring nuclear weapons will change – they will not.”
In fact, Ibsen worried that Iran’s behavior might grow worse if the US permits it to keep thousands of centrifuges.
“It will lead to the emboldenment of the regime,” he said.
Ibsen also questioned why Iran even needs an enrichment program, noting that many nuclear powered US allies don’t have enrichment capabilities, choosing instead to get their nuclear fuel from abroad.