U.S. intelligence estimate on Iran rocked by news of North Korean facility (WORLD TRIBUNE) Special From Geostrategy-Direct.com WASHINGTON 12/08/10)
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WASHINGTON ó North Korea´s new centrifuge plant calls into question
the U.S. assessment of Iran´s nuclear program, a report said.
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy said North Korea´s gas
centrifuge facility could bolster the nuclear capabilities of
Pyongyang´s allies in the Middle East. The institute said the
Yongbyon complex, reported to have produced up to 10 nuclear bombs,
could relay technology and expertise to Iran.
"The existence of the new Yongbyon centrifuge plant, which
theoretically could give North Korea the capacity to make highly
enriched uranium, an alternative nuclear explosive, places in doubt
current assessments of Iran´s centrifuge capabilities," the report,
titled "Centrifuges in North Korea Force a Recalculation of Iran´s
Nuclear Progress," said.
Author Simon Henderson cited a Nov. 12 tour of Yongbyon by U.S.
professor Siegfried Hecker as sparking the need for a U.S.
intelligence reassessment of Iran´s nuclear program. North Korea has
been deemed a leading ally of Teheran, particularly in the area of
ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
In the Nov. 22 report, the institute said Iran has managed to enrich
uranium to just below 20 percent with the "technically unreliable" P-
1 centrifuge. Henderson said from this level, Iran could easily reach
the 93 percent enrichment required to produce an atomic bomb.
"If Iran has access to more-advanced technology, it could produce HEU
[highly-enriched uranium] more quickly and in larger quantities than
previously believed," the report said. "For its part, North Korea is
seen to have no scruples about transferring nuclear technology."
Henderson, a director at the institute, also raised the prospect that
North Korea could be contracted to enrich uranium for Iran. Another
scenario was that North Korea could supply P-2 centrifuge technology
to Iran. (Copyright © 2010 East West Services, Inc. 12/08/10)
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