William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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ANOTHER IRANIAN ADVANCE – AT 11:19 A.M. ET:  It seems we're getting almost daily bulletins announcing still more nuclear progress in Iran:

Iran announced Saturday that it had designated 16 new sites for nuclear power plants and made a significant discovery of new uranium deposits, days before the Islamic Republic was scheduled to partake in talks with Western powers in Kazakhstan over its controversial nuclear program.

“Following months of efforts, 16 new sites for nuclear power plants have been designated in coastal areas of the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman, [southwestern province of] Khuzestan and northwestern part of the country,” Press TV quoted the Atomic Energy Organization as saying.

The agency stated that the nuclear plants were being established for electricity generation only, and were in line with international standards.

The organization added that Iran has found significant new deposits of raw uranium to feed its nuclear program.

State news agency IRNA on Saturday said the deposits were found in "southern coastal areas" and had trebled the amount outlined in previous estimates.

There was no independent confirmation but with few uranium mines of its own, Western experts had previously thought that Iran may be close to exhausting its supply of raw uranium.

COMMENT:   There are upcoming "negotiations" planned between Western nations and Iran over Iran's nuclear program.  Clearly, the regular announcements from Iran are designed to project strength.  Compare please with the Obama administration's regular projections of weakness. 

Many believe that this will be the crunch year in our relations with Iran.  Or...will Obama find a way to kick the can down the road, leaving the Iranian nuclear issue to the next administration?  My guess is the latter, but I'd like to be pleasantly surprised, for a change.

February 23,  2013