Last Tuesday, after hours of broadcasting national anthems and alerting the citizens to expect important and wonderful news concerning the nuclear issue, Iran’s Television broadcast at 8:30 Tehran local time, a live speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the northeastern town of Mashad in which he declared that Iran had succeeded for the first time in enriching uranium at its nuclear facilities near the city of Natanz.
The Iranian President claimed that the Islamic Republic, thanks to the efforts and interest of its young scientists and scientific elites managed after resuming activities at Natanz, following years of voluntary freeze, to start working in the field of enriching uranium as of Monday (the day before the announcement).
Prior to the speech, the Iranian President accompanied by a number of officials from the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization and presented a quantity of the yellow cake to the museum of the grave of the second Shiite Ayatollah, Imam al-Reza in the city of Mashad.
Ahmadinejad announced that Monday morning at a meeting with military commanders and some cabinet ministers that he would break pleasant and joyous news to the people shortly, coinciding with the celebrations of the Prophet’s birth anniversary. This sparked various rumors that Iran had accepted IAEA demands, namely abandoning the uranium enrichment program for a number of years, or that Iran had actually succeeded in producing a dirty atomic bomb in Teheran. An electronic website close to the radicals claimed that Ahmadinejad would announce Iran’s success in testing its first atomic bomb. However, these rumors were short-lived particularly because the Head of the Expediency Council Hashemi-Rafsanjani had disclosed in an interview with the Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA) a few days prior to his visit to Kuwait that Iran has succeeded in operating 164 centrifuges for the first time and reached the level of industrial production.
The propaganda organs in Iran, particularly the ground and satellite channels of Iranian Television had started since Tuesday morning to prepare the atmospheres for the announcement of some important news, focusing in the orientation of its programs on fiery national rhetoric rather than the standard religious line.
According to Dr Muhammad Sadiqi, a professor of nuclear physics, it was clear to those following the activities of the Ahmadinejad Government in the past weeks that it was mobilizing all its capabilities to enrich even a limited quantity of uranium prior to the arrival of IAEA chief Dr Muhammad ElBaradie in Tehran. Perhaps the news announced by the Iranian President would be a key to solving the current standoff, so that the regime could save its face and at the same time accept the IAEA demands, considering that Ahmadinejad ‘s announcement that Iran had joined the nuclear club was coupled with a pledge that Iran had no intention of using its nuclear capabilities in producing atomic bombs.
However, a former official in the Khatami Government expressed concern over the repercussions of Ahmadinejad ‘s speech. The official pointed out that by his claim Ahmadinejad has provided the necessary pretexts for those parties in the United States and the West clamoring for a strike against Iran’s nuclear installations.
To sum it all up, the danger has become clearer now after Iran’s ability to enrich uranium at 3.5 degrees. The entire region has to brace for a crucial period ahead.