Though Iran had claimed that they would be putting 3,000 centrifuges in at Natanz in 2006, they appear to be running into difficulty.
Some diplomats accredited or otherwise linked to the IAEA said some intelligence services believed the Natanz site could also be a front. While attention is focused on Natanz, Iranian scientists and military personnel could be working on a secret enrichment program at one or more unknown sites that is much more advanced, the diplomats said.They spoke on condition of anonymity in exchange for discussing restricted information.
Other signs point to technical difficulties at Iran’s nuclear facilities. Earlier this month, Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told reporters that about 50 centrifuges had exploded during a test.
“We had installed 50 centrifuges. One night, I was informed that all the 50 centrifuges had exploded. … Ahmadinejad called me and said: ‘Build these machines even if they explode 10 times more,'” Aghazadeh was quoted as saying by Iranian media.
Alternate explanations include:
- Iran is backing down after minimal U.N. sanctions passed last month.
- Relative moderates in the Iranian leadership might be effectively slowing work ordered by AchmediNajad.
- Natanz is a distraction. The real work is being done at one or more secret sites that nobody knows about.