By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Senior Analyst, Military Affairs
26 August 2006: The news today about the official opening of the Iranian heavy-water nuclear production plant near Arak in central Iran is not really new news at all. A host of western governments and international scientific organizations have made this information known - as has the Iranian government itself- since at least 1998.
The revealed plans, design specifications and outright deceptions of the plants operating parameters made Iranian intentions even more unambiguous beginning in 2002 and continuing through 2003 and 2004. Now, in the middle of the third quarter of 2006, what has been suspected all along concerning the Iranian nuclear weapons program is a virtual fact.
And the world did nothing.
To place the bottom line of this Iranian capability in common terminology for all to understand — all by itself the 40 megawatt heavy water nuclear production plant near Arak is capable of an average yearly production of 10.75 kilograms of weapons grade plutonium each year. A theoretical upper prodction limit of this plant is on the order of 12.5 kilograms per year.
What this means to all of us is that Iran can produce enough plutonium for at least 2 to 3 weapons per year. Factor in other nuclear facilities and the capability increases.
Given the rhetoric and belligerence of the current Iranian regime, it is unconscionable that the world did nothing substantial to prevent this. In contrast, the west did everything in its power to keep Hitler from getting “the bomb”.
This time the world did nothing and the Ayatollah can make his bombs. This is a very sad day for global civilization.