Iran site raises nuclear stakes

2012-01-10 10:02

Vienna - Iran has further stoked Western fears about the purpose of its nuclear activities by starting to enrich fissile material in a new site deep inside a virtually impregnable mountain bunker.

The Fordo site near the holy city of Qom, 150km southwest of Tehran, has begun enriching uranium to 20% purity, the UN atomic watchdog Agency, said late on Monday.

US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that Iran's enriching of uranium to 20% at the site was "a further escalation of their ongoing violations with regard to their nuclear obligations".

"We call on Iran once again to suspend enrichment activities, co-operate fully with the IAEA and immediately comply with all Security Council and IAEA board of governors' resolutions," Nuland told reporters in Washington.

Experts point out that the process of obtaining 20% enriched uranium represents the lion's share of the work needed to get the material purified to the level of 90% or above required for atomic weapons.


Iran, which says its nuclear activities are peaceful, says the material is for its Tehran research reactor to make isotopes for cancer treatments, but Western powers believe it has a much more sinister and destructive purpose.

"This is a provocative act which further undermines Iran's claims that its programme is entirely civilian in nature," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, echoing the concerns of Washington, Berlin, Paris and elsewhere.

Mark Fitzpatrick from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said that the action brings Tehran "closer to being able to quickly produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon".

IAEA spokesperson Gill Tudor said that all nuclear material "remains under the Agency's containment and surveillance" at Fordo.

But the fear is that if Iran decided to expel IAEA inspectors and enrich uranium to weapons-grade purity, Fordo would enable them to produce enough fissile material in a short space of time.

France called the move to enrich uranium at the mountain bunker a "particularly grave violation by Iran of international law".

This, Paris said, leaves "no choice but to strengthen international sanctions and to adopt, with our European partners and all willing countries, measures of an unprecedented scale and severity".

Oil sector

Israel is already preparing for Iran to become a nuclear power and has accepted it may happen within a year, the London Times reported, citing an Israeli security report.

"Israel, which has already warned Iran that it could take military action against installations, is very very worried by this facility ... We are moving into dangerous territory," said Mark Hibbs from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think-tank.

Enriching uranium is one of three main areas needed to develop a nuclear arsenal. Iran would also need to make the enriched uranium weapons-ready in a warhead and manufacture a missile to carry it to target.

A report from the IAEA in November, the agency's hardest hitting to date, included evidence that Western powers said confirmed Iranian efforts in these other two areas.

The US, the EU and other allies have sought to tighten the screw since the report - which Iran dismissed as "baseless" - by targeting Tehran's crucial oil sector and its central bank.

But analysts said that Iran, which they say is clearly feeling the pinch from the heightened sanctions, could also be planning to use Fordo to strengthen its hand in talks with the West.

"They appear to have taken the decision to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, but not a decision to build the bomb. And that means that they can be dissuaded from doing that," said Albright, now at the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (Isis).

Death sentence

"Because of the opaque nature of leadership in Iran and the lack of deep knowledge on how the leadership is thinking, this escalation could represent an effort by Iran to stake out a tough negotiating position," echoed Hibbs.

Tensions have also been stoked by Iran showing off what it said was a CIA drone it captured using cyber warfare, while in October Washington alleged Iranian involvement in a suspected plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US.

Iran, where a judge on Monday reportedly sentenced to death a US-Iranian former Marine for "membership of the CIA", has also threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint for 20% of the world's oil.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta warned on Sunday that any such move would cross a "red line" and "we would take action and reopen the strait".

Meanwhile Nuland condemned the death sentence handed to US-Iranian ex-Marine Amir Mirzai Hekmati in Iran and said allegations that he worked for the CIA were "false".

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Tehran will not bow to sanctions, in comments broadcast on state television on Monday.

  • Kobus - 2012-01-10 10:20

    Lets face facts here, Iran is NOT going to bow to pressure to end their Uranium Enrichment programmes.

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 13:03

      Why should they, and they shouldn't. All they have to do is to look next door in Iraq and Libya to realise what happens to countriea that give up their strategic defence system. $100,000 cruise missile and tomahawks raining from the skies!

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-01-10 13:33

      Maybe because they have already expressed intentions to use them .

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 14:24

      Sorry what are you saying. Iran has called for the annihlation of the Israel political set up - like many around the world did for the RSA.. When the RSA did fall there were worldwide celebrations. You might remember several US presidents called for the fall of Soviet Russia? Which happened, but the Russians are still there. Great celebrations then too. But to commute a demand for removal of a 'regime' into a demand for removal of a state is serious deception and dangerous demagogy.

      Dirk - 2012-01-10 16:05

      Let the Cruise begin, and rightfully so.

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 18:14

      Its always those who never had a sniff of gunpowder who roar and shout the most about fighting wars. Keyboard warriors!

  • Graziella - 2012-01-10 10:24

    Brazil, Turkey, with the approval of China and Russia concluded a deal where Russia would help with the uranium enrichment process for Iran, but no this was not acceptable to the warmongers. It is required that Iran gives this business to western companies.

      Juan - 2012-01-10 10:46

      Bull feases

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 11:29

      @Juan Look it up, I did post a link but the right-wingers who moderate this site would have non of that. Read alternative media Juan and stop swallowing western government propaganda like strawberries and cream. There's an ocean of uncensored information in cyberspace.

      Juan - 2012-01-10 11:40

      Yes Graziella, there are certianly a lot of garbage on the internet, but I prefer to get my info from reputable sources, and use a little common sense as well, something you are obviously a little short of.

      Garth - 2012-01-10 11:41

      That is not the reason for the rest of the sane world's reluctance for Iran to achieve this mineral enrichment and you know it! Is Brazil not `west' enough for you? Or do you mean something else? Anti-white, much?

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 11:56

      "Reputable" is a relative word! Murdoch'news are reputable to some and neocon propaganda to some. The word you are looking for is "alternative media". Getting both sides of the political divide, that is what I did.

      Gerhard - 2012-01-10 11:57

      Propaganda does not really exist. It is just a different point of view.

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 11:58

      @Garth Since when did Brazil become "west"?

      Juan - 2012-01-10 12:10

      Yes reputable of course relative to the state run Iranian papers you so much favour

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 12:18

      I haven't read a single Iranian newspaper( I do not understand Farsi), but there are a lot of professional people from different countries in cyberspace who write political articles for both sides of the political divide. You should try it!

      Garth - 2012-01-10 12:36

      @Graziella - using a western imperialist tool, the computer, open up a world map and see where Brazil is placed. Sorta in the same line as, but way, way underneath the USA on the map. Now, if the USA is in the west, then surely Brazil is too? Or do you still mean white?

      Nosiphom - 2012-01-10 12:40

      Graziella,Garth, Brazil is "south" even though it is on the western hemisphere. But maybe it will soon be West as it has overtaken Britain as the worlds forth largest economy!

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 12:47

      @Garth Silky little argument. What about Colombia, Venezuela, etc. Don't play dumb.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-01-10 13:41

      They rejected the deal by the way

      Dirk - 2012-01-10 16:09

      Uncensored information? And it all originates from the bastions of free speech, liberty and democracy, Iran, China, Russia ? What a laugh. Your views and attitude explains the mess and chaos of Africa

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 16:58

      My views are that of a person whose people have lived under western domination for 4 centuries and now that at last there is a power that is capable of holding two fingers towards America and so you will have to excuse the rest of the world for a bit of schadenfreude.

  • Juan - 2012-01-10 10:45

    This is not good. If those bunkers can't be taken out from the air, another land based operation will probably have to happen

      ludlowdj - 2012-01-10 13:36

      Juan your gullibility is only matched by your stupidity. Please name your reliable sources for us? Also understand and realize that the US will not get off as easily this time if the try to land troops, Russia, china and Venezuela not to mention the remaining BRIC countries would side with Iran as it is financially prudent for them to do so. China although a sleeping giant at present has the military force and technology to single handedly stop the US dead in its tracks. The bottom line here is that Israel has been baying for Iranian blood for months and the US will bow down and comply with a view to taking over more oil fields which is their primary objective.

      Jaba - 2012-01-10 14:01

      Russia & China will both side with the west if a war broke out. China needs to sell its goods to the billion or so rich people who live in the west. Russia will do the same. Just because it has become fashionable to become anti-americant, doesn't mean it would feed the masses. at the end of the day religion will play the bigger part in this, and it will be Radical Islam vers the West, the East and the moderate Muslim countries.

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 14:15

      China is stalling. It needs time to develop it's own middle class.. Over the last two year the Chinese government has raised wages 20%. They are slowly weaning themselves off the U.S. consumer. Once the status of the dollar is finished as a reserve currency, America will be a feudal country. The amount of money they have printed (fiat money) in the past 3 years is escalating this demise. The Chinese are converting their reserves into property and other tangible assets.

      Dirk - 2012-01-10 16:19

      If America sneezes then the rest of the world has the flu. May God help us if and when the US gets the flu. Much is made of China, but the bubble is going to burst. And the reality is that the GDP is still only a third of that of the US, 25 % of the EEC Wake up and smell the roses. And by the way, SA was not invited to join BRICS because the size of its economy- there are US corporations with bigger budgets than that of SA. The reason was purely political. Being some of the most corrupt regimes in the world, perhaps SAs expertise in this area, was also telling.

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 17:11

      More like...... When America sneezes, the world now hands them a handkerchief and asks them to cover their mouth. The world needs to decide whether the interests of 1.3 billion Chinese comes ahead of 300 millions of Americans.

      Beetroot - 2012-01-10 17:23

      Graziella --- SHHHTTTAAAAPPPAAAT!!

  • Truthis - 2012-01-10 11:03

    The US should just nuke them. Ironic much?

  • Johan - 2012-01-10 11:07

    Iran has not invaded another country in modern history, the US is the only country in the world that has ever used "the bomb", it has the most nuclear weapons in the world, has invaded Iraq after lying at the UN about WMD's, Israel continues to persecute and kill innocent Palestinians, China and Pakistan have nuclear weapons. So who are they to tell Iran what they may do or have? The ones with the biggest mouths are also the ones who backed Iraq to invade Iran! I do not support the regime in Iran, but I do support a country's right to attain what others have.

      Beetroot - 2012-01-10 18:45

      To add, KBR were the biggest accounted financial disaster for the military having recieved the employed contracts through favourable congress individuals who benefited. They dumped the current economical turmoil on the average US taxpayer.

  • Graziella - 2012-01-10 11:23

    The decision to bomb Iran has already been made. It's better if Iran built the bomb anyway seeing as the US and Israel are so hell bent on attacking it.

      Nosiphom - 2012-01-10 11:35

      Then at least the reason to attck them will be valid, unlike in Iraq!

      Juan - 2012-01-10 11:46

      No one is hell bent on attacking Iran, in fact they are merely been asked to comply with the IAEA. The West has been engaging with Iran on this through deplomacy for a long time now. If Iran's research and developement is for the peacefull purposes as they so proclaim, then why is it such a problem for Iran to comply?

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 12:35

      A few years ago, General Wesley Clark told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now that soon after 9/11 a general in the Pentagon informed him that several countries would be attacked by the U.S. military. The list included Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. "We hope Iraq will be the first domino and that Libya and Iran will follow. We don't like being kept out of markets because it gives our competitors (Chinese) an unfair advantage," John Gibson, chief executive of Halliburton's Energy Service Group, International Oil Daily 7th May of 2003 (less than 7 weeks after the invasion of Iraq) The US have established hundreds of military bases all over the place which is the only reason they have such sway on the world stage and can force open markets for their industry. This is how the world works, all the talk of democracy and whatnot is just the way power sells what's it's doing to its citizens and simpletons. It's all about trade when it comes down to it and ensuring rules are in place so that resources and markets can be accessed under the most favourable terms possible.

      Nosiphom - 2012-01-10 12:35

      @Juan, it goes about the definition of "complying" with the IAEA. They want Iran to stop enrichment activities. If that was a requirement of the IAEA then neither USA, Russia, Britain or Israel would be enriching any uranium, but they are. They are merely saying Iran, you are not our friend stop your enrichement activities, and that is simple called Bull. They have no monopoly over the technology, that is their concern. Iran has denied building a weapon, Israel has the Weapon, so does Russia and France and the UK. Why should others run the world on our behalf?

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 13:06

      The information I've quoted above Juan doesn't get printed or discussed on your beloved reputable media that is owned by these same hawks or their friends. Wise Up!

      Deon - 2012-01-10 15:40

      The recent wars crippled the USA's economy. I don't think Obama will do anything stupid (like starting a war) in an election year.

      Dirk - 2012-01-10 16:23

      If you know/knew the politics of Clark, you would know that not to much importance can be attached to his pronouncements

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 16:50

      Why, because he developed a "conscience" and fell out with the establishment. Whose next, Collin Powell?

  • Graziella - 2012-01-10 12:21

    What happened to the other warmongering rhetoric about Iran's plan to bomb Saudi embassies in intl. capitals. A lot of idiots here were jumping up and down cheering on the warmongers.

      kiren.pillay - 2012-01-10 13:25

      America's one and only goal is to get access to oil and resources. They want the power over the oil business they had in the fifties. The Iraqi invasion happened based on falsified reports of "bunkers" being built. That was ironically a regime funded by America. They are indeed the war-mongers and bullies of the world. People have been brainwashed into thinking everything American/West is "good" everything else evil. I'm concerned where the world is going now, nuclear war is really a possibility. On a social level, smaller countries are becoming slaves to the smaller ones. I don't see this happening for too long, somethings gotta give.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-01-10 14:14

      hahaha.... really the whole of America came together at a big meeting and agreed that oil and resources is what they want (which other countries don't?) and go out of their way at great cost(Far more than any gained) to invade these countries for a questionably risky 'investment'. Strange how you can advocate further nuclear bombs to be built out of sheer animosity , ignorance and fear where in any other situation you would be completely opposed to it. This kind of simplification of complex political , historical and militarty paradigms is short of childish naivity bar the ability to put adjectives infront of statements not based on fact. The greatest irony being that this attitude poses a greater threat than anything the 'war mongerers' can produce as it predetermines the outcome (self-forfulling prophecy if you will). Please research the problems of becoming a nuclear power , the dangers of more countries achieving this and the cost in all sphere's of retaining nuclear arms. Go ahead though and support the construction of further nuclear arsnals, cold wars , further instability , death and suffering because its all them and we're perfect little puppies.Remember though that the US is probably the most open government in the world with a press who live off state scandal,they get away with very little(the president can't even get away with a blowjob from a intern ),now think about Syria who kill their own people in the street , what are they hiding?

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 14:34

      Well, their government got away with stealing billions of their money and giving it to bankers and arms corporations, $14 trillion gone since Bush came into power. They had a surplus at the end of Clinton's presidency, there's been no infrastructural improvements in that country. The US MSM spin and riff on the same inane statements by Sarah Palin or Donald Trump. They give them lavish updates on the foibles of a Mel Gibson or Charlie Sheen. America is a rougue state, it has a long history of invading other countries and sponsoring coups. Look no further than South East Asia and South America. It shouldn't be allowed anywhere near other nations. It brings only destruction and death and leaves chaos (that's when it leaves).

      Beetroot - 2012-01-10 16:21

      Yep! Graziella you are officially a total fukwit!!

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 16:43

      In cases of extreme exposure to name calling, the victim might succumb to the abuse, identify with the labels and began to wear them with pride, out of sheer identification. Now, picture that!

      Beetroot - 2012-01-10 17:38

      Really? You going to wear a shirt saying "I am SHHHTAAPAAAT!"

      Beetroot - 2012-01-10 17:41

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! I .... Ha ha ha ha ha ha .....That... Ha ha ha ha ha !!!

  • BA - 2012-01-10 13:54

    Amything Graziella writes should be disregarded. She is a Holocaust denier, an extreme racist, a denier of the Tibetan genocide by the Chinese, and a Jew-hater. She never lets the facts or a good argument get in the way of her racist, toxic rants. Don't bother reasoning with her. She is an islamist extremist who would rather see thousands upon thousands of syrians killed then allow the UN to assist. She is a sick and twisted person and suffering will come to her from the Lord.

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 14:06

      As they say, there is something called a democracy in this country, at least, I am being constantly reminded of, and in it, a freedom to express one’s thoughts. I am sorry, if my refusal to sing from the same old boring hymn-sheet does not sit well with you. Life must go-on!

      Jaba - 2012-01-10 14:15

      yet you fight for democracy in Iran or China? - no you defend the women beating, gay stoning racists, while supporting China against Tibet. i agree with BA, you are a racist Graziella , moreover your a hypocrite and a psychopath.

      Blade - 2012-01-10 14:28

      Agreed. Why doesnt she go and live in one of the mideast hellholes and see first hand how they treat women. At least we wont have to hear from her again as women probably arent allowed to use Western inventions like computers over there.

      BA - 2012-01-10 14:52

      Graziella - actually in most democratic states, freedom of speech is not completely unrestricted. In Germany, for example, the kind of Holocaust denial you practice is a criminal offence and you would be convicted and sentenced for this crime. Of course, in the countries you love to support, like Iran and China, there is no freedom of speech or access to information. That is only the priviledge of countries like Israel and the USA, which you hate. Ironic, isn't it?

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 15:05

      Germany should quit perpetuating their bad decisions and begin taking their responsibility to the international community seriously. Turning their eyes away from the racist policies and apartheid in Israel, because of their guilty conscience, is an embarrassment to the German people! I have no reason to live anywhere else but here in Mzansi, my beloved Africa....

      Blade - 2012-01-10 15:16

      Apartheid in Israel? How is that possible? Are you talking about the Palestinians? They do not belong in Israel so if they do not like the so-called Apartheid they can depart to their own country Palestine.

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 15:30

      The only foreign people there are the Polish khazars and Ashkenazi who were rejected by their European brethren after WW11. Lieberman's homeland is Moldova. The indeginous people there are the Sherpadic Jews and not the Khazars. The former lived at peace with their neighbours, the latter are terrorist who brought their racist bigotry from Europe. Remember it was you who started this debate about people's homelands and am only responding in kind.

      Beetroot - 2012-01-10 15:39

      I am 110% in agreement. Her brain is soaked in indoctrinated propaganda that she can only absorb from self pity and resentment for her being what she is. otherwise nice girl! Ha ha ha ha ha.

      BA - 2012-01-10 15:50

      You are wrong again Graziella. No-one was talking about the origins of the Jewish people or the situation in Israel. That is your sick obsession. I accused you of being a Holocaust denier, an extreme racist, a denier of the Tibetan genocide by the Chinese, and a Jew-hater, all of which you are happy to accept. It says a lot about you.

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 16:13

      @BA Refer to Blunt's comment!

      Dirk - 2012-01-10 16:27

      You omitted the fact that she is also "chairperson" of the SA brain donors fraternal.

  • Beetroot - 2012-01-10 15:11

    Thet Graziella gel shes too kleffa. Google google all day and just clogs up the forum with dimwit intellect. Get a life and stop trying to be intelligent because the 1000's of readers that consistently give you a thumbs down actually should tell you something. Go and campaign for election because you would be perfect as a politician. Talk all day and make no sense.

      Beetroot - 2012-01-10 15:33

      Ha ha ha ha ha... did you google that too? Your the first forum writer to manage to put both feet in your mouth at once! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 16:17

      You're talking to yourself now and laughing at your own stupidity. Friedrich Schiller of Germany: Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens. — "With stupidity even the gods struggle in vain." Ncincincimmmmmmmm...........

      Beetroot - 2012-01-10 16:46

      Google google Quote quote google google...... Then delete your own comments because you expose yourself to being what you are! Not just a racist but also SHHHTTAAAAAPPPAAAT!

      Graziella - 2012-01-10 17:32

      I don't delete anything ass hole, it's the stupid rightwing moderator who keeps on deleting my posts. The thing is that people like you are so used to abusing Africans and it must be a shock to you and this moderator to come accross one that is able to give as much as she can take. I see that my post on the local news are also being censored to protect your fragile egos from my missives. The time for Africans to say how high whenever you say jump is gone. As we say in the Cape, daai tyd is verby! I dare him to delete this one as well.

      Beetroot - 2012-01-10 17:56

      No, its no right wing conspiracy. Its totally normal people that report your comments for being so retarded. Its not your fault your SHHTAAPPPAAAT!!

      BA - 2012-01-10 18:03

      Lol Beetroot! :-) Right on!!!

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