Back when experts were predicting 3,000 centrifuges at Natanz by the end of the July, I said I needed to see it to believe it.
There is no evidence that Iran can mass produce the components of 3,000 centrifuges. The Iranians can claim mass production, but I want to see the evidence that Iran can mass produce ball bearings and maraging steel bellows for the P1. Diplomats have been saying Iran imported enough components for about 1,000 to 2,000 centrifuges. So, my guess is that Iran can make today’s announcement with what they bought from AQ Khan; they may run into problems when they try to push past that number.
Well, it is the end of July, and …?
Reuters’ (no byline) cites “diplomats in Vienna” as saying that Iran maintains about 2,000 centrifuges—just where they were were a few months ago.
Now, Iran might have slowed down to take some of the political pressure off, but I wonder if has hit a wall. In which case, it was a good idea for them to declare “industrial scale” facilities a couple of months ago.
Related to that is an unconfirmed story that Swiss authorities seized a 500,000 Euro shipment of “parts” bound for a “nuclear plant” in Iran. Global Security Newswire and UPI cite a Jerusalem Post story, which in turn cites a sketchy Saudi newspaper, Al Watan. I haven’t been able to track down the original, or find confirmation from the Swiss. So, I’d call this “not proven” for now.