Iranian Apocalypse Update

IRANIAN APOCALYPSE UPDATE….So how is Iran coming on that nuclear bomb they’re supposed to be building? Here’s the Telegraph a few days ago:

A senior European defence official told The Daily Telegraph that North Korea had invited a team of Iranian nuclear scientists to study the results of last October’s underground test to assist Teheran’s preparations to conduct its own — possibly by the end of this year.

….Intelligence estimates vary about how long it could take Teheran to produce a nuclear warhead. But defence officials monitoring the growing co-operation between North Korea and Iran believe the Iranians could be in a position to test fire a low-grade device — less than half a kiloton — within 12 months.

Sounds bad. But here’s the Observer on Sunday:

Iran’s efforts to produce highly enriched uranium, the material used to make nuclear bombs, are in chaos and the country is still years from mastering the required technology.

….The detailed descriptions of Iran’s problems in enriching more than a few grams of uranium using high-speed centrifuges — 50kg is required for two nuclear devices — comes in stark contrast to the apocalyptic picture being painted of Iran’s imminent acquisition of a nuclear weapon with which to attack Israel. Instead, say experts, the break-up of the nuclear smuggling organisation of the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadheer Khan has massively set back an Iran heavily dependent on his network.

So Iran is either going to test a bomb in a few months or a few years or maybe never. Take your pick.

Meanwhile, in Haaretz, Yossi Melman basically confirms the Observer’s story, reporting that Iran has indeed made very little progress installing new centrifuges at its Natanz enrichment plant. However, he proposes two possible explanations:

One view is that Iran is having difficulty manufacturing, operating and controlling the enrichment process….But there is of course another possibility, whereby Iran clandestinely built another uranium enrichment facility in a secret location, where it has already installed the necessary number of centrifuges and verified that they work properly.

Again, take your pick. I think I can guess which one is likely to get more media attention.