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I’ve said many times that Iran has long sought to become the undisputed leader in the region, largely through aggressive and ambitious military development.
Iran’s weapons program is of enormous concern to the United States. It isn’t only former Soviet weapons and weapons – grade nuclear material that Iran is getting its hands on – it has also actively recruited former Soviet atomic scientists. Communist China has also supplied the Iranians with nuclear technology.
It is clear Iran wants its own production capability. Under the guise of creating a civilian energy program, it is pushing to bring home whole facilities like uranium-conversion facilities – spending far more each year on nuclear hardware than would be required for mere domestic energy production. It now has two nuclear power plants. Iranian diplomats said that they were built only for energy. But nobody believes that, since their country is abundant with oil.
Iranian state television reported on Aug. 21 that Iran is moving its centrifuges to a secret site inside a mountain near Iran’s Fordo plant near the city of Qom. The Fordo plant was built in secret, and its existence was only revealed to the world in September 2009.
In August, Iran also announced that it was starting to use a new centrifuge that could enrich uranium five to six times faster than the old type. Recently, the head of Iran’s nuclear program, Fereydon Abbasi Davani, told state television that Iran was negotiating with Russia about the construction of new nuclear plants.
In recent years, the Islamic republic has announced its intentions to build research nuclear reactors and uranium enrichment facilities as well as 10 to 20 nuclear power plants to eventually produce 20,000 megawatts of electricity.
Iran is still under four UN Security Council sanctions and one-sided measures imposed by the United States and the European Union over its refusal to abandon its uranium enrichment program. That is a process that can be used to make both nuclear fuel and the highly enriched uranium needed for a nuclear bomb.
Using the Fordo plant provides greater protection for Iran’s uranium-purifying centrifuges against any U.S. and Israeli air strikes. This means Iran can move more quickly toward building a nuclear bomb. However, does it have one already?
Notice this quote from the European newspaper over a decade ago, in a front page article titled “Iran Has N-Bomb”: “Iran has obtained at least two nuclear warheads out of a batch officially listed as ‘missing’ from the newly independent Republic of Kazakhstan, formerly part of the Soviet Union.”
The article said the Russians sent a top-secret report to the CIA disclosing that several nuclear warheads vanished from a just-closed nuclear base in Kazakhstan.
“Two of the nuclear weapons were smuggled across the border from Kazakhstan into Iran last year and are now under the control of Reza Amrollahi, the head of the Iranian Organization for Atomic Energy,” the article said. “Amrollahi is also in charge of recruiting former Soviet atomic scientists. This has sharpened the West’s anxiety over Iran’s efforts to build an Islamic bomb.”
Iran is now working hard to become self-sufficient in its missile production. In July 2000, Iran announced a successful test of its own Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of more than 800 miles. Contacts within the Iranian regime claimed that the Shahab-4, with a range of 1,300 miles, was successfully tested in the summer of 2002. This missile uses Russian technology.
Robert Walpole, a National Intelligence Council official, told the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee on proliferation that, “The probability that a missile with a weapon of mass destruction would be used against U.S. forces or its interests (or Europe’s, I might add) is higher today than during most of the Cold War, and will continue to grow.”
In the hands of a country like Iran, this terrifying arsenal won’t sit idle for long. We must awaken to the unparalleled nuclear holocaust just ahead of us. Iran’s history shows that it is adept at using those means at its disposal to meet its objectives.
Former Lancaster resident Ed McAteer now lives in Port St. Joe, Fla.