Iran leaps from 3.5-percent to weapon-grade refined uranium
Dalga Khatinoglu, Trend Agency's Iran Service Department Chief
Iranian parliament member, close to ruling conservatives party, Allah-Verdi Dehghani's statement about the necessity of producing nuclear-fuel engines for ships because of avoidance of the U.S. allies to provide Iranian ships with fossil type fuel, are likely to increase the doubts over the final goal of Iran's nuclear program.
Earlier, in 2010, Iran started processing 20-percent enriched uranium due to avoidance of western countries from bartering 1,200 kg of Iran's 3.5-percent enriched uranium gas (UF6) stockpile with 120 kg of 20-percent enriched nuclear fuel for 5 megawatt-thermal Tehran's Research Reactor (TRR). Now, according to International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) latest report, Iran holds above 140 kg 20-percent enriched uranium, without existence of another pool-type reactor in the country, excepting TTR.
During an interview with Iranian Mashreghnews.ir website, Dehghan said that Iran should produce higher-level uranium for ships. However, Iran does not have any nuclear fuel ship, which uses 60 percent to 90 percent refined uranium, a level that can be used for nuclear bombs, too.
On the other hand, Iran has neither technology to produce nuclear fuel engines, nor higher- level refined nuclear fuel, but increasing the enrichment level of UF6 needs only the mechanical process, turning the rotor of centrifuges and a little time, maybe 6 months or so.
Earlier, Iran announced that it is preparing to produce nuclear- fuel submarines, which work with higher-level refined uranium as well.
I think Iran's these sorts of announcements are always a forepart for preparing new steps and opening new stage in Iran's nuclear program, which Iran considers as deal and a tool of pressure to force the enemies to compromise against Islamic Republic, and the West eyes a long step be taken by Iran to reach nuclear weapon. In case of realizing Iran's new plan, the conflicts over that would absolutely raise, even it can encourage the U.S. or Israel to strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
The shadow of war will remain over Iranian government's head, but with two choice: having enough raw 90-percent refined uranium, ready to be converted to solid nuclear warhead immediately, or without strategic weapon-level uranium stockpile.