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Iran Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with high-ranking officials in Tehran Aug. 31, 2011. (REUTERS/www.khamenei.ir/Handout)  

Iran demands right to expand nuclear program

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Reza Kahlili
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      Reza Kahlili

      Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award-winning book, “A Time to Betray.” He teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy.

Despite a softening tone from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the regime’s illicit nuclear program, the Islamic Republic is hardening its position on the right to enrich uranium.

An analysis by Fars News Agency, the Revolutionary Guards’ media outlet, said that Iran not only has the right to continue its nuclear program but to expand it dramatically to fulfill its needs.

The recent analysis comes as the second round of talks between Iran and the world 5+1 powers is to take place on Nov. 7-8.

The regime’s supreme leader said on Sunday that he is not optimistic about those negotiations and called America the most hated power in the world.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also restated the regime’s view of Israel: “We have said since the very first day (of the Islamic Revolution), and we do say it now and we will say it in the future as well, that we believe the Zionist regime is an illegitimate and bastard regime.”

Western countries are worried that Iran, which has threatened to destroy Israel, is trying to develop nuclear weapons to carry out that threat. It has been reported here on many occasions that the regime has made great strides in that direction.

The Fars analysis, titled “What we want from the 5+1,” laid out the regime’s plans for its nuclear program and demanded:

  • A recognition of its right to nuclear energy and its need to expand the program.
  • All rights of Iran under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons must be recognized, including uranium enrichment.
  • Iran must have the right to expand its nuclear power plants and have the right to build anywhere in the country.
  • To fulfill the needs of these power plants, Iran must have the right to build further facilities for uranium enrichment anywhere in the country whether in a huge desert or under soaring mountains and increase the number of centrifuges.
  • Iran must have the right to export nuclear fuel and not be required to import such for its facilities.

Iran’s previously secret nuclear enrichment facility at Fordow, revealed in 2009, was built under a mountain over 300 feet down, immune to any air strike and most bunker buster bombs.

A radical theoretician of the regime, Hossein Allahkaram, in an interview with the regime’s media outlet Kheybar Online, suggested further that Iran should enrich uranium all the way to weaponization.

Referring to recent negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program to relieve sanctions, he said, “Though to improve the economy and relieve some sanctions these matters (negotiations) are considered, the value of enriching to 20, 40, 60, and 99 percent that Iran is capable of doing is much more (important) than a good economy.”

Allahkaram, one of the founders of the radical militant group Ansar-e Hezbollah, was sanctioned by the European Union in April 2011 for human rights violations for his role in the violent crackdown of Iranian protesters in 2009.

Iran has negotiated over its illicit nuclear program with the U.S. and the world powers for over a decade, during which time it has successfully increased the number of centrifuges enriching uranium from 150 to over 19,000 today. It has also mastered uranium enrichment to the 20 percent level, which is 80 percent of the way to weaponization. It will take only weeks to further enrich from that level to a weaponization grade.

A recent report by the Institute for Science and International Security suggested that Iran with its current enriched uranium stock could build a nuclear bomb in as little as a month.

David Albright, the president of the institute and a former U.N. inspector, said that if the regime used all of its centrifuges and its stockpiles of low- and medium-enriched uranium, it would take one to one and a half months to become nuclear-armed.

Despite several United Nations resolutions and sanctions by the U.N., the United States and European Union demanding a halt to Iran’s illicit nuclear program, the Islamic regime has significantly expanded the program with enough enriched uranium for more than six nuclear bombs while at the same time is set to complete its heavy-water plant, which would give the regime a second path to nuclear weapons by acquiring weapons-grade plutonium.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and author of the award-winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).