Global financial crisis can prevent Iran from establishing additional centrifuges for uranium enrichment

Iran, Tehran, Feb. 19 /corr. Trend D.Ibrahimova, T.Jafarov / Despite that Iran attempts to create the image of "nuclear power", the experts consider that the economic problems of Iran do not make it possible for it to establish additional centrifuges for uranium enrichment. However, Iranian expert is sure that Teheran hides that it constructed additional centrifuges.

The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohammed ElBaradei said that the number of centrifuges, utilized for uranium enrichment by Iran, did not increase has not increased since December 2008 and composes five thousand pieces, BBC Iran reported. According to him, in spite of this, yet Iran has not begun co-operating with the Agency and as before, hides the possible military directivity of the development of its program.

"Iran right now is not providing any access, any clarification with regards to the whole area of the possible military dimension," ElBaradei said.

"The reason that Iran has not established additional centrifuges since September 2008 can be economic problems, which the country faced," Victoria Samson, American military expert, told Trend .

Some Western countries and United States fear that Iran develops nuclear program for the purpose of obtaining weapon. However, Teheran insists on the peaceful character of its development. Official Teheran indicates that the achievements of program will be used in the sphere of peaceful power engineering.

The IAEA is the leading world international government forum of scientific and technical co-operation in the sphere of peaceful use of nuclear technology. The IAEA was founded within the United Nations in 1957 as an autonomous organization. The Charter of the Agency says that it shall strive for reaching the faster and wider use of atomic energy in support of peace.

Some experts consider that Iran does not have material possibilities to install new centrifuges because of the internal economic problems and global financial crisis.

The UN Security Council adopted five resolutions with respect to Iran, three of which contained economic sanctions, to stop development of its nuclear program. In spite of this, Iran did not stop nuclear development. According to the data, published in the report FBI "World Factbook - Iran", the currency reserve of Iran for the trade with the foreign countries since 2006 totaled $70 billion.

Iran obtained basic capital for the development of nuclear program due to oil sale, which made up 80 percent of entire export and 85 percent of the incomes of state. The drop in the oil prices due to the global financial crisis will lead to worsening in the economic situation in Iran, the report by Ezekiel Tan, fellow of Security Information Centre, says.

According to international financial institutions, to maintain budget at a previous level, Iran needs oil to cost $90 per barrels, but the price does not top $40 at the moment, the report said.

However, Iran designed additional centrifuges, but the country's government has not submitted statistic about their production to the IAEA, because Iran left the additional protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), British Expert of Iranian origin on nuclear technologies Rza Tagizade said. The ANNA's additional protocol envisages opportunities for the IAEA inspectors to check the country's nuclear properties at any moment.

 

Although Iran may design additional centrifuges, the country does not possess enough amount of yellowcake, as a result uranic gas for their work and uranium enrichment, Glasgow University Professor Tagizade told Trend in a telephone conversation.

 

Uranium ore is purified and becomes a solid product which is known as yellowcake. It is converted into gas through heating to almost 64 degrees Celsius.

Gas runs through centrifuges where its isotope is separated. The process continues until uranium is enriched. Reduced-enrichment uranium is used as nuclear fuel and highly enriched uranium can be used in warheads.

On Feb. 4 the Times newspaper reported that Iran does not have enough amount of yellowcake to enrich uranium, but official Tehran denied this report.

 

The fact that Iran hides a real number of centrifuges may be connected with that Iran will mark holiday - the Nuclear Technology Day in March and hold presidential elections in June, Tagizade said.

"Perhaps, Iranian officials hide number of centrifuges, as they want time their installation to this holiday and present it as their achievement," he said. Ahmadinejad can present increasing number of centrifuges as his own achievement which will enable him to gain additional votes in the elections to be held on June 12 in 2009.

The IAEA's further activity toward Iran and relations between Tehran and the organization will conditioned by the U.S.-Iranian relations and result of the Iranian presidential elections.

"I think that everyone right now is waiting to see what happens in terms of U.S. policy toward Iran, and of course Iran is having elections in a few months whose outcome will shape their future nuclear policy," the Center for Defense Information Senior Analyst Victoria Samson wrote to Trend in an email.

Barack Obama is the first U.S. president who intends to cooperate with Iran after 30-year diplomatic silence. Relations between Iran and U.S. were severed in 1980 when Iranian students attacked U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

 

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