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Iran Maneuvers as More Sanctions Loom

Wednesday, 19 May 2010 08:34 AM

The fourth round of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran, which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Tuesday, is only the beginning of forthcoming economic, diplomatic, and political pressure on the Iranian regime, a senior French official told Newsmax in the French capital.

Although the latest sanctions appear to be significantly tougher than the three previous ones, an arms and missile technology embargo could be too late to have any real impact on Iran's weapons programs.

“Iran already has developed a missile, the Sajjil, that has only one purpose — the delivery of a nuclear warhead,” the official said. “And when you look at that missile's range, which goes way beyond Israel, it shows that Iran has much larger ambitions and sees itself as a regional if not even a global power."

Once the U.N. Security Council adopts the text developed in consultation with the P5, including Russia and China, the United States and its closest allies will take additional measures aimed at restricting the ability of the Iranian regime to use the international banking system, and to cut off supplies of dual-use technologies.

The additional steps are necessary because of Tehran's ability to get around previous U.N. sanctions, which have been notoriously weak, the official said.

On Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced with great fanfare in Tehran a deal with Turkey and Brazil ostensibly modeled on a U.S. offer last October to remove Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium and supply Iran with fuel packages enriched to 20 percent to use in a research reactor in Tehran.

But Monday's deal only served to anger the French, who had not been consulted ahead of time.

"Turkey is making committments in our name," the official told Newsmax. "Besides that unacceptable fact, we don't have the capability of providing four reactor loads of fuel for the Tehran reactor in one year's time," as called for in the Turkey-Brazil-Iran agreement.

"Besides, why does Iran need four reactor loads of fuel?"

The Europeans believe that Monday's deal was just another Ahmadinejad attempt to wriggle out of sanctions at the last minute with false concessions.

"That so-called agreement doesn't address the question of where Iran will get the 20 percent enriched fuel packages, nor does it call for any suspension of enrichment by Iran," the official said. "Furthermore, since the original proposal in October, Iran now has twice as much low-enriched uranium as it did then, so the whole thing is a non-starter."

The French government remains "deeply concerned about Iran's nuclear intentions. "What is Iran doing with the equipment they were planning to install in the [previously secret] Qom facility? Since it was revealed, all construction there has stopped, so the equipment must be going somewhere else," the official said.

A former Iranian intelligence officer who maintains close contact with senior officials in Tehran told Newsmax that the regime has three factories where it is manufacturing third generation uranium enrichment centrifuges, "but only one of these is declared and known to the International Atomic Energy Agency."

The two undeclared plants are "working 24 hours a day, in three shifts, producing third-generation centrifuges," the former intelligence officer said. "For this, the Iranians are receiving equipment and material from companies in Italy."

Iran also was working with renewed intensity to complete its heavy water production facility at Arak, near Ahwaz in southwestern Iran.

The French official noted that the technology needed to complete the heavy water plant was "commonly available and nowhere near as complicated as building working centrifuges."

According to published reports, Iran has had difficulties with the centrifuges it has installed in its main declared enrichment plant at Natanz, some of which could be due to sabotage.

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