Iran has enough enriched uranium — if processed to weapons grade — to make about “two to three nuclear weapons,” says Fred Fleitz, a veteran intelligence expert and Newsmax analyst.
Despite claims to the contrary, new evidence shows that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and has “probably accelerated its program,” Fleitz says during an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview.
The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran’s main Natanz centrifuge is producing low enriched uranium at levels slightly higher than the plant produced before the Stuxnet computer worm hit it.
The IAEA report also states the watchdog group remains concerned about the possible existence of activities in Iran related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.
“Iran now has about 4,000 kilograms of enriched uranium, which is enough uranium — if enriched to weapons grade — to make about two to three nuclear weapons," Fleitz says.
Meanwhile, Iran has announced that it plans to triple its production of uranium at a higher purity level for a medical research reactor and that it’s moving some of the production to a previously secret nuclear site in the mountains near the city of Qum.
“No one actually believes this is why Iran is actually building this facility. And it appears that it is the next step in Iran’s effort to move closer towards a nuclear weapon,” says Fleitz, who recently joined Newsmax after a 25-year career with the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of State, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Pointing blame at the White House, Fleitz tells Newsmax.TV that President Barack Obama naively tried diplomatically to charm Iran, which only allowed the Islamic republic to “buy time to continue to develop its nuclear weapons technology.”
Fleitz, who denounces Obama’s policy on Iran as an “abject failure,” says the United States won’t strike Iran militarily. The Obama administration has to call firmly for stronger sanctions and “make getting China and Russia on board an absolute priority,” he said.
On Wednesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev held a one-to-one meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Astana, Kazakhstan, where the Shanghai Cooperation Organization had its 10th anniversary summit. Russian officials say Ahmadinejad claimed that Iran does not have plans to build nuclear weapons and that it’s willing to resume six-party talks.
Ahmadinejad also met with Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is quoted in press reports as urging Iran to make greater efforts to “establish trust.”
As the international community is watching developments out of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit and on the diplomatic front, speculation mounts over whether Israel will strike militarily to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Ahmadinejad has said Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map.
Fleitz says Israel won’t stand for a nuclear armed Iran and “if Israel makes a move . . . they’ll make a move quickly. No one will see it coming.” The timing remains an open question as the Israelis continue to monitor the progress of Iran’s nuclear program, he says.
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