Nuclear Talks Will Confront Iran’s Future Capability to Enrich Uranium – David E. Sanger and Steven Erlanger
(dailyalert.org, May 13, 2014)
As Iran and six world powers meet this week in Vienna to begin drafting language to resolve their nuclear standoff, negotiators say they are finally confronting a crucial sticking point to a permanent agreement – the size and shape of the nuclear fuel production capability that Iran will be permitted to retain. Israel and members of Congress who are highly suspicious of the negotiations will say that Iran must be kept years from being able to develop a weapon.
Until now, there has been no formal discussion of how much nuclear infrastructure the U.S. and its allies would demand that Iran dismantle in return for the gradual easing of sanctions. While the Iranians would almost certainly retain some enrichment capability, Israeli officials say they expect the figure to be 2,000 to 5,000 centrifuges. The Iranians are talking about expanding their current cache, to build upward of 50,000 centrifuges. (Iran currently has 19,000 installed, including about 8,000 that are not yet running.)
“An enrichment capacity that large – indeed, an enrichment capacity greater than a few thousand first-generation centrifuges – would give Iran an unacceptably rapid breakout capability,” said Robert Einhorn, who until last year was a key member of the Iran negotiating team for the State Department. (New York Times)