The recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which indicated that Iran is forging ahead with its nuclear program, has strained the tense relationship between the West and the Islamic Republic further.
The IAEA's report, released Thursday, announced that Iran has more than doubled the number of centrifuges in its Fordo facility, from 1,064 in May to 2,140 in August. The new centrifuges have yet to become operational.
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The London-based Arab newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat quoted Vienna sources as saying that the new information may accelerate the West's plans to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.
Saturday's report quoted "a source privy to the IAEA's discussions" as saying that that the relationship between the Austria-base nuclear watchdog and Iran are "plagued by mistrust."
The newspaper's sources – most probably Arab diplomats assigned to the IAEA – expressed concerns that nations vehemently opposing Iran's nuclear ambitions, will use the findings as the "necessary excuse" to strike Tehran, as they show that it is blatantly ignoring the West's demands to suspend the nuclear program.
Parchin military complex (Archives)
The report further hedged that the IAEA may choose to issue a censure of Iran, over its repeated violations of its agreements with the international body and its disregard of UN Security Council resolutions barring it from pursuing uranium enrichment.
The London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat quoted Iran's envoy to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh on Saturday, as saying that "Iran has no objections to IAEA inspectors visiting its military bases, including Parchin, as long as it is done as part of a clear plan and only after the IAEA presents the documents and evidence on which it is basing its request."
Tehran, he added, "Has no problem answering the same questions over and over again, but (visits) require a clear framework."
Iran and the IAEA have been able to make progress, he stressed, "But that doesn’t mean we are in full agreement."
Meanwhile, Iranian deputy nuclear chief Mohammad Ahmadian said Saturday that the country's Bushehr nuclear power plant "has reached full capacity of 1,000 megawatts."
The reactor went into operation for the first time last year at minimum capacity. The Islamic Republic built the nuclear power plant in the southern Iranian port of Bushehr with Russian help.
Former minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who is considered a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, commented on the report Saturday, saying that the IAEA report lends more credibility to the need for an Iran strike.
"The events of the past week have given Israel even more legitimacy to strike Iran – if and when it decides to do so," he said.
"Unless the Americans show true resolution in their intent to attack, we won't have a choice. The Israeli threat to strike Iran is not an empty one," he said.
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