June 9, 2014
Slavin on Suggested Multilateral Uranium Enrichment Facility
As American and Iranian officials meet June 9 in Geneva, a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators, Seyyed Hossein Mousavian, and several physicists at Princeton are proposing a possible solution to the dispute over how many centrifuges Iran can retain under a long-term nuclear agreement.
A group of influential nuclear experts is suggesting that Iran be allowed to replace its first-generation centrifuges with a smaller number of more advanced machines and that these be installed in a multinational facility under tight international inspection.
Their draft proposal, prepared for publication by the magazine Arms Control Today and made available to Al-Monitor, would permit Iran to transition from the rudimentary machines it currently employs to enrich uranium to more-advanced centrifuges over the course of five years. This would reduce the numbers of centrifuges Iran would require to meet the needs of even an expanded civilian reactor program, but it still raises concerns about Iran’s ability to “break out” and produce fuel for nuclear weapons.
To deal with these concerns, the authors — Mousavian, Alexander Glaser, Zia Mian and Frank von Hippel — suggest that Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, the P5+1 nations, explore creating a multilateral uranium enrichment facility that could supply Iran and other countries in the region with nuclear fuel. Such an arrangement, they say, “could provide a long-term solution to the proliferation concerns raised by national enrichment plants in the Middle East and elsewhere.”