In an expected move nonetheless seen as a political signal to Washington, Iran said it stepped up its uranium enrichment program Friday, even as a divided UN Security Council became bogged down over a European draft resolution to impose sanctions on Tehran. [...]
Iran’s injection of gas into a second network of 164 centrifuges, reported by the Iranian Students News Agency, marked the country’s first known uranium enrichment since February.
To hear the neos tell it, you’d think they were seconds away from a nuke. Here come the facts…
Doubling Iran’s capacity would mean it still is nowhere close to churning out enough uranium to fuel a reactor. Tehran has said it plans to install 3,000 centrifuges at its pilot complex in Natanz by year’s end, but it would take 54,000 centrifuges to fuel a reactor.
In addition, Friday’s ISNA report said the second cascade, like the first, would produce enriched uranium at a 4.5 percent “research” level. Enrichment levels can be an indication of the use of the uranium. The usual level of enriched uranium fuel is 5 percent for reactors, but 90 percent enrichment is needed for a bomb. (emphasis mine)
According to this, Iran isn’t even close to having enough uranium for a nuclear reactor, let alone building bombs, and at this pace would need years to get to either point. So why did Bush say this?
Asked about news accounts that Iran had taken a new step in uranium enrichment, Bush replied: “It says to me that we must double our effort to work with the international community to persuade the Iranians that there is only isolation from the world if they continue working forward on such a program.”
We all know the answer…