MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Pyotr Goncharov) - It seems that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad simply cannot help but shock the world with his revelations about the sensational achievements of Iranian nuclear physicists.
In February 2006, he announced that they coped with thermonuclear reactions. This time, he spoke about the most advanced Iranian technologies of the budding Iranian nuclear-enrichment industry. He was referring to the grandiose commissioning of 6,000 IR-2 centrifuges (Iranian classification) at the Natanz nuclear facility in Isfahan on the Day of Nuclear Technology.
But how new are these "most advanced technologies"?
The commissioning of IR-2 centrifuges was not a surprise for experts. In the middle of last February, Iran gave the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) all the required information about them. Indicatively, a week before, the Western press wrote that Iran had decided to install next generation P-2 centrifuges (IR- 2 in Iranian classification) at Natanz.
Experts maintain that P-2 centrifuges (prototype of IR-2) were used by Pakistan (hence, the abbreviation P), and are a copy of a model of German centrifuges from the early 1970s. Its design was stolen from the URENCO international concern by a Pakistani nuclear physicist that became famous after giving it to Iran. His name is A.Q. Khan.
It would be a great exaggeration to put a model from the early 1970s, even if it was German, into the category of today's "most advanced technologies."
Experts note that the Iranian IR-2 version is not in any way superior to the original P-2 model. It is simply cheaper to produce. Western diplomats reported that a new cascade of 300 centrifuges had been mounted at Natanz by early April. But only some of them were upgraded IR-2s, while others were the oldest models - first generation P-1s.
In this situation, there are grounds to doubt the president-announced capacity of centrifuges and their number, and to ask a general question - why does Tehran need such bubbles at all?
There are several answers to this question, and the majority of experts agree on one. The Russian Institute of the Middle East cites the opinion of Iranian political analyst Saeed Leilaz. He explains this by the appearance of completely new players in the Iranian political establishment. In an interview with Corriere Della Sera, he observed that the regime of Iranian ayatollahs is gradually leaving the political scene, and is being replaced by people with economic and military interests.
Russian expert Vladimir Mesamed speaks about the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, a powerful institution in the Iranian political hierarchy, which is rapidly turning into Iran's main economic, military and political force. He believes that as its nominee, Ahmadinejad is fully aware of this trend, and this is why after the recent parliamentary elections on March 14, he immediately announced the cessation of talks with the EU on the sensitive nuclear issue.
The majority of people in Iran are becoming tired of ambitious projects like the nuclear program. It is too expensive and questionable, and does not guarantee any economic or political dividends for the nation.
The nuclear project, which Ahmadinejad has elevated to the rank of national priority, has to be saved or adjusted without further delay. Judging by everything, neither Ahmadinejad, nor his patrons can accept the second option because it is tantamount to acknowledging a failure in domestic and foreign policies. A number of electronic media reported that the authorities had promised to pay $50 to every poor family on the Nuclear Day in order to alleviate the growing discontent on Iranian streets.
For all intents and purposes, Tehran is deliberately exaggerating the importance of the nuclear issue for Iran, or simply bluffing in order to conceal economic tensions and political miscalculations.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of Trend.