Iran believes that once its formerly secret nuclear facility at Fordow becomes fully operational, threats of military attacks by the West will become harmless and other nations will have to lift their economic sanctions against the Islamic regime.
In an interview Tuesday on Iran’s state-owned television network IRIB, Mehdi Mohammadi, an international affairs and nuclear program expert, said the full operation of Iran’s Fordow Nuclear Enrichment Plant “will change the strategic equation of Iran’s nuclear issue” and create a new environment for negotiations with the West.
An account of Mohammadi’s television appearance was described on the independent news website IranNuc.ir, which has quoted several Iranian authorities this year on matters concerning the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.
In the Tuesday interview, also mentioned more briefly in other Iranian news outlets, Mohammadi said the most important tools for the West in confronting the Iranian nuclear program are military threats and sanctions.
“Sanctions became the cane under the arms of the seditionists,” he said. “Their goal was to put pressure on the [Iranian] people, but the regime did not allow it to have such an effect.”
Since Fordow is immune to a military attack, he said, its full operation will make any military threat irrelevant and therefore will cause the West to lose motive for continuing sanctions.
Other experts told The Washington Post last month that the heaviest U.S. bunker-buster bombs could, in fact, breach the Fordow plant.
Last month the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, reported that 900 centrifuges have been installed at Fordow. Those centrifuges allow Iran to enrich uranium to the level of 20 percent purity, which is 90 percent of the level required for nuclear weapons. The IAEA also said another 2,000 centrifuges could be installed at the Fordow facility.
While the West believes a military option and sanctions will make the leaders of the Islamic regime change course, the Iranians believe a more aggressive nuclear program will convince the West to give up its threats and accept a nuclear Iran.
Mohammadi referred to a recent report by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that claims Israel had destroyed Iranian nuclear sites six months ago, stating that the Israelis currently are psychologically unbalanced and distressed. “The occupier of the Quds [Jerusalem] is very worried that it will be left alone in confronting Iran and that even America and Europe will not buy its logic.”
Mohammadi said the current geopolitical situation in the Middle East is a big shock to Israel. The Islamic regime sees the uprisings in the region as an “Islamic Awakening” that will ultimately result in the defeat of Israel and America.
The West, he added, did not believe Iran would be able to install working fuel rods in a nuclear research reactor, and expected Iran to accept the terms of negotiations at the 2011 “five plus one” meeting in Istanbul.
But Mohammadi said that not only has Iran increased the number of centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility to 9,000, but it also has installed a new generation of centrifuges that enrich uranium faster.
He said the goal of assassinating the Iranian nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari in 2010 was to stop Iran’s advancement in nuclear fuel rods, but “the enemy did not succeed in stopping Iran’s achievement.”
The IranNuc.ir website described Mohammadi’s characterization of Israel as “psychologically unbalanced and distressed.”