https://www.google.com — (New York Times)
David E. Sanger and William J. Broad -
Just days before Iran enters its first nuclear talks with the West since the summer, international nuclear inspectors said Thursday that the country has begun installing a new generation of equipment that should give it the ability to produce nuclear fuel much faster. The new centrifuges at Natanz are four to five times more powerful and would make it easier for Iran to race toward making fuel for nuclear weapons, if it decided to do so. Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman, called the installation of the advanced machines "yet another provocative step" and "a further escalation."
At the same time, evidence collected by the International Atomic Energy Agency suggests that the Iranian authorities are deliberately slowing the accumulation of the medium-enriched uranium that could most quickly be converted to bomb fuel. According to a new report by the agency, Iran has diverted about 40% of its growing stockpile of 20%-enriched uranium into an oxide form that can be used to make fuel for a research reactor in Tehran.
Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, defined as a "red line" the accumulation of enough medium-enriched fuel to make a single nuclear weapon - about 240 kg. of uranium enriched to 20% purity. If production remains at roughly the same rate, it appears that the date of the "red line" will now slip from early summer into the fall, allowing more time for diplomatic progress.