02 Februar 2007

Iran spielt weiter mit verdeckten Karten

Iran has refused to let U.N. inspectors set up cameras at an underground plant where it is set to begin installing 3,000 centrifuges for full-scale enrichment of nuclear fuel, diplomats said on Friday. Tehran is expected to announce the major escalation in its uranium enrichment drive during Islamic Revolution anniversary celebrations running until February 11, jacking up tensions with Western powers which pushed through U.N. sanctions against it.

Iran's reported refusal to allow the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to hook up cameras in the subterranean centrifuge hall at Natanz is not illegal as long as nuclear activity has not yet begun. But Tehran's move, following a ban on 38 of 200 inspectors designated to work in Iran, would up the ante in a showdown with Western powers and underline resentment over their bid to halt a nuclear program Iranian officials insist is entirely peaceful.

Vienna-based diplomats familiar with IAEA operations said Iran blocked inspectors earlier this week from installing surveillance cameras in the Natanz underground complex. ``Iran is not breaking its (non-proliferation) Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA here because nuclear activity has not begun in the plant,'' a diplomat told Reuters. ``But their behavior reflects the rising tensions. They have no incentive to be transparent since they feel the U.N. (sanctions) resolution is illegal, and they seem to want to approve these cameras as part of a negotiated settlement.''

The 3,000 centrifuges, if run nonstop for long periods in interlinked cascades that conduct the fuel production cycle, could yield enough fuel for one atom bomb within a year. The 3,000 are envisaged as the first stage of a planned 54,000. But analysts say Iran has yet to prove it can smoothly operate two cascades of 164 centrifuges each in Natanz's pilot wing, let along the many more cascades it would need to run in tandem underground to enrich more than token amounts of uranium.

Still, the United States and Israel have voiced concern that 3,000 centrifuges will bring Iran to the nuclear ``point of no return,'' and have prompted talk about pre-emptive military strikes on Tehran if sanctions do not halt its activity.

Wieder einmal läßt sich der Iran nicht in die Karten gucken und gibt zu Spekulationen Anlaß. Ob es Nationalstolz ist, der dieses Verhalten begründet, oder tatsächlich die Absicht waffenfähiges Uran zu produzieren, bleibt bisjetzt unklar.