The Obama administration was unmoved by the IAEA finding that Iran had installed 180 advanced centrifuges had been installed at Natanz. Indeed, the White House said Thursday, Feb. 21 that “a diplomatic solution is still possible” for resolving nuclear issues with Iran.
The International Atomic Energy Agency report came out the next day: The new IR-1m centrifuges installed in Natanz were said to enrich uranium three times faster than the outdated machines used at Natanz until now, considerably shortening Tehran’s path to a nuclear bomb. The IAEA also noted faster than expected progress in setting up the Arak plant for producing plutonium.
These findings mean that the red line drawn by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu before the UN General Assembly last September – when he said Iran must not be permitted to stock 250 kilos of near weapons-grade uranium of 20 percent purity – is approaching faster than the “late-spring-early summer” deadline he set for stopping Iran before it can build a nuclear bomb.
Yet, in the response to the IAEA finding of Thursday, Netanyahu’s office said only, that the report’s findings “prove that Iran continues to advance quickly to the red line” and “Iran is closer than ever to achieving enrichment for a nuclear bomb.”