I've been wondering if the clandestine plant was intended to be a finishing plant for the output at Natanz. Natanz would enrich uranium to reactor grade (3-4% U-235) and Qom would take that to 90+% for weapons. Its 50,000 centrifuges would provide capacity for reactor fuel and a bit more. Most of the capacity is needed to get from natural uranium to reactor grade, so 3000 centrifuges would be enough for a finishing plant.
There would be a problem with accountability of the uranium hexafluoride input and output. More input would be needed, and the IAEA would be monitoring the output, so if some went to a finishing plant, they would know. Unless they were kicked out.
FAS picks up on this idea and provides a lot of other technical background.
Some good analysis of the satellite imagery of that site that everyone seems to be zeroing in on. And a bit more.
Roger Cohen agrees with me that the negotiations need to be enlarged. So do Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, I think. They're all over the field and seem to be annoyed. They weren't asked for their advice?
Steve Hynd channels Bernhard in a takedown of the New York Times's take on German intelligence claims. From what I recall, Bernhard's pretty much got it right.
Scott Ritter argues the legality of the plant. I haven't had time to work through this argument in detail. James Acton offers the opposing viewpoint. I'll stick with saying that it would have been smart strategy, particularly if Iran's program is strictly for civilian nuclear power, to get ahead of the curve and provide much more access to IAEA inspectors. If legalistic arguments are all you've got, you've got a problem. And it's hexafluoride, Scott and Guardian!
A computer-constructed view of Israel's Dimona plant, from photos and descriptions by Mordechai Vanunu. Not all of it seems likely to be accurate to me. Via.