Iran's Nuclear Program, Charging Ahead

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From my Bloomberg View column (read the whole thing, as they say):

Stuxnet now appears to have been a more perishable virus than previously thought. Signs are abundant that Iran is accelerating its manufacture of low-enriched uranium, the necessary precursor to highly enriched uranium. The Federation of American Scientists reported in January that "calculations using IAEA data show that the enrichment capacity at Iran's commercial-scale enrichment facility at Natanz has grown during 2010 relative to previous years. The boost in capacity is due to an apparent increase in centrifuge performance."
This latest IAEA report buttresses the federation's finding, noting that inspectors who had recently visited the Natanz facility now believe Iran is producing low-enriched uranium at a faster pace than before the centrifuges were hit by Stuxnet. Various Western intelligence agencies and independent analysts think that the Iranians already possess enough low- enriched uranium to produce two or three bombs.

Also, read Bret Stephens' challenge to Seymour Hersh. And while you're at it, read this troubling news:

Iran's nuclear energy chief and Vice President Fereidoun Abbasi was quoted Wednesday by the official Iranian IRNA news agency as saying Tehran plans to soon set up the more advanced type of centrifuges, suitable for higher-level uranium enrichment, at the Fordo site near the holy city of Qom in central Iran.
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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