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Wednesday, Jan 17, 2007, 11:07 am

Nelson Report Claims Iran Blew Up All 50 of Its Nuclear Fuel Centrifuges

By Brian Zick

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Steve Clemons has posted the very detailed and well-informed analysis of Chris Nelson, with respect to Iran's actual nuke capacity.

Nelson reports:
Yes, it does seem to be true that Iran has accelerated its program to bring on line the 3,000 centrifuges required to generate nuclear fuel. . .but it also seems true (and not Iranian disinformation) that of the 50 centrifuges recently hooked up, all 50 blew up.

An informed friend speculates:
Could be sabotage. Or it just could be the temperamental character of the devices. Especially if they're rushing production. Supposedly they solved an earlier problem by making technicians wear gloves when assembling the devices. The grease on their fingerprints was apparently causing the rotors to tip and crash once they got spinning in earnest. That is how sensitive these things are.
Last but not least for tonite, what's the strategic implication of the recent US Navy carrier deployment announcements to all this?
This deployment is carefully calibrated. It could have been larger. Increasing to two carrier strike groups in the AOR serves as a firm signal and deterrent, reminding everyone US has bench strength; the US also still can "reach out and touch someone."
On the other hand, increasing to three carrier strike groups would be noticeably more 'robust', belligerent and suggestive of intending or anticipating attack. The difference between two and three strike groups is huge. Two ='s strong and capable, but existing offensive intent is less probable; three ='s 'we don't care about provocation, we're preparing to fight in this new dimension'.

(An indicator would be to watch for announcements about Nimitz strike group; Nimitz reportedly has completed the routine pre-deployment work-up and is in San Diego.)
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