By Natalya Kovalenko
A uranium-enriching plant will soon start working in Iran.
This has been announced by the head of Iran’s Organization for Nuclear Energy Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani.
Experts believe that this may even more aggravate the already tense relations between Iran and the West.
According to Mr. Abbasi-Davani, the new plant, called “Fodrow”, will produce only low-enriched uranium of the 3.5%, the 4% and the 20% types.
To make a nuclear warhead, one needs uranium enriched by 75%. Thus, Iran’s claims that its uranium-enrichment program is of an exclusively peaceful character sound believable. However, it looks like Iran’s every step which has something to do with nuclear energy immediately causes suspicions in the West.
Russian analyst Azhdar Kurtov says:
“It has already become a tradition in the US and some other Western countries to accuse Iran of secretly working out, if not already producing, nuclear weapons – and it is small wonder that the construction of this new plant caused similar accusations. However, to produce highly enriched uranium which is used for nuclear weapons, one must have advanced technologies which Iran obviously doesn’t possess at present.”
In fact, neither the US nor the IAEA have any proofs that Iran really works out or produces nuclear weapons. But the fact that Iran doesn’t let foreigners inspect its nuclear facilities really looks suspicious. The West, however, says that it is ready to supply Iran with ready-made nuclear production, but Iran still does not rejects its program of enriching uranium.
To put pressure on Iran, the West keeps on introducing tougher and tougher sanctions on it. A “black list”, which includes 180 Iranian officials and representatives of several enterprises, unwanted on the territory of the EU, has already been complied. Besides, a number of Iranian enterprises will be banned from doing any business in the West, and their accounts in Western banks will be frozen.
Another sanction is that the West is stopping importing Iranian oil.
The US is introducing its sanctions against Iran as well. On New Year’s eve, President Obama signed a law aimed against Iran’s Central Bank. This law, young as it may be, has already caused Iran’s currency, the rial, loose about 12% of its value.
In response, Tehran has warned that it might undertake some serious measures, including blocking the Strait of Hormuz, through which oil from the Persian Gulf is delivered to Europe.
Recently, Iran held large-scale military maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz. It tested its new land-based and sea-based cruise missiles.
“All this speaks of the fact that Iran is ready to defend its right for a peaceful nuclear program,” Azhdar Kurdov says.
“Iran is openly acting against the West, and this means that it is ready for a confrontation. The maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz are more evidence of that. This brings to world to the brink of a new war.’
In response to Tehran’s threats, in February, the US and Israel will hold large-scale maneuvers of their own. In spring, Iran will again have war games in the Strait of Hormuz, and it is calling on the neighboring Middle Eastern countries to join them. However, while Iran’s neighbors are still thinking over this proposal, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is starting a tour over Latin America. He is planning to visit Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador.
Although is has not been officially announced that the aim of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s tour is to win the support of Latin American countries in Iran’s conflict with the US, the latter has already warned these countries that “now, it is not the best time for closer ties with Iran”.