Iran har 3.000 sentrifuger som anriker uran, ti ganger så mange som for noen måneder siden. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sier Iran nå kan anrike uran i industriell skala.

Han sa dette under et besøk til Natanz, anlegget hvor anrikingen foregår. Men eksperter sier det er mest flaggvifting og symbolpolitikk. Iran er fremdeles langt unna industriell skala. Det krever titusener av sentrifuger koblet samme i såkalte kaskader.

Kunngjøringen gjør likevel inntrykk, fordi Iran viser at det holder fast på atomprogrammet, med samme dual capacity som før, dvs. de kan lage atomvåpen hvis de vil. Mange tror de vil.

Iran announced Monday that it has begun enriching uranium with 3,000 centrifuges, defiantly expanding a nuclear program that has drawn U.N. sanctions and condemnation from the West.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a ceremony at the enrichment facility at Natanz that Iran was now capable of enriching nuclear fuel «on an industrial scale.»

Asked if Iran has begun injecting uranium gas into 3,000 centrifuges for enrichment, top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani replied, «Yes.» He did not elaborate, but it was the first confirmation that Iran had installed the larger set of centrifuges after months of saying it intends to do so. Until now, Iran was only known to have 328 centrifuges operating.
Michael Levi, a fellow for science and technology at the Council on Foreign Relations, was skeptical of the Iranian claims. He said by his calculations, the capabilities Iran has just announced would provide 10 percent of the material needed to run its plant.

«To me, that’s not industrial scale,» Levi said. «An industrial-scale facility is a facility that can support your industry.»

On the other hand, «from a political perspective, it’s more important to have them in place than to have them run properly,» he explained since the announcement stirs up support and patriotism at home, and the international community has almost no way to verify how well the program is working.

«Iran looks to be moving its nuclear program along on a political schedule rather than a technical schedule,» Levi said.

Levi marveled that Iran has the power to cause such a stir with an announcement. He noted that most of the time, world leaders complain they can’t trust Iran, «except when they say something really scary, we take them at their word.»

En general i Revolusjonsgarden som står på Sikkerhetsrådets liste over personer som bør nektes innreise, har nettopp vært seks dager i Moskva. Iranske medier gjorde mye ut av dette og sa det viser at sanksjonene ikke virker.

Also Monday, Iranian state television reported that an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general who is under travel restrictions urged by the sanctions visited Russia without any difficulty.

Gen. Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr, who is also deputy interior minister for security affairs, was quoted on the state TV Web site as saying that his six-day journey to Moscow, which ended Monday, showed «the ineffectiveness of the resolution.»

The resolution urges all governments to ban visits by the 15 individuals and says that should such visits occur — presumably for exceptional circumstances — the countries should notify a U.N. committee.

Russlands UD kom med en forblommet uttalelse om at sanksjonene bare gjelder personer som er direkte knyttet til atomprogrammet.

Iran expands uranium enrichment