Israeli officials were surprisingly calm in the face of claims by the Iranian government that it now possesses 6,000 centrifuges. President Ahamdinejad’s boast was reported by an Iranian news agency which, if true, would represent a significant increase in the number of uranium-enriching machines in Tehran’s nuclear program. The claim comes a week after the United States sent a representative to participate in nuclear weapon discussions with Iranian officials. But, an Israeli official who monitors nuclear development in Iran, told the Jerusalem Post, Ahmadinejad was most probably lying. ‘Our assessment based on the latest available information and recent reports from the International atomic Energy Agency, s that the fgure of 6,000 centrifuges is unlikely. We believe a figure of between 3,400 and 3,500 is more accurate.”
The Israeli official believes by exaggerating the figure, Ahmadinejad hopes to attain two goals: First, he is trying to exert pressure on his own nuclear technicians to step up the pace of their work which is aimed at producing enough fissile material to make a bomb. Second, he is attempting to enhance his success as a leader in preparation for next year’s presidential race in Iran.
There is evidence Iranian officials are engaged in a delaying process in their negotiations with the west. Some believe Iran does not wish to allow George Bush to receive credit for halting their program of nuclear development and prefer any changes occur under a new American president.