Stop Fundamentalism â€“ A top ranking official of Iranian regime admitted a nuclear Iran would be able to â€œdominate 17 Muslim countriesâ€ in the Middle East.
â€œThe West believes that if we master nuclear technology, we will be transformed into a regional superpower and will dominate 17 Muslim countries in this neighborhoodâ€, Mohsen Rezai, the secretary general of the State Expediency Council, told the paramilitary Bassij forces in the south-western city of Masjid Soleiman on Friday, according to the news agency IRNA.
Major General Rezai, who for years headed Iranâ€™s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that the West was trying to prevent Tehran from making industrial and technological progress.
â€œWe have reached a very important stage and we need to pay a price for making Iran powerful,â€ Rezai said.
With U.N. negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program deadlocked Friday, the United States and Britain voiced alarm that Tehran’s uranium-enrichment program is advancing.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a telephone conversation Friday to support a Security Council statement that would call on Iran to halt its enrichment activities. They agreed to instruct diplomats to work through the weekend to try to break the impasse. The United States, Britain, and France want the Security Council to threaten Iran with tough action, while Russia and China want to resolve the crisis through continued negotiation.
IAEA officials who observed Iran’s work on the ground two weeks ago reported that the Iranians could complete the 164-centrifuge cascade by the end of March, two months earlier than predicted by technical experts in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, officials said. The Iranians could begin testing the cascade at that stage, beginning with inert gas. If that test is successful, Iran is likely to notify IAEA inspectors that it intends to begin enriching uranium.
Getting multiple centrifuges to operate together in arrays known as cascades is one of the most daunting engineering challenges in the process of developing enriched uranium.
Until now, Iran has been trying to get about 20 centrifuges to work in a cascade. The attempt to try 164 suggests that the Iranians have succeeded at the lower number.
Another report by Stop Fundamentalism internal sources indicate that Iran has already succeeded in testing the 164 centrifuges in one cascade during the past few days.