- By Eric HundmanEric Hundman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science and a Toyota Dissertation Fellow in the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago.
Recent reports from European diplomats have revealed a worrisome development: Iran is testing a new, more sophisticated type of centrifuge for enriching uranium. On a technical level, this demonstrates the skills of Iran’s engineers, who appear to have applied “considerable technical creativity” to solve problems caused by manufacturing limitations along with export controls and sanctions. Politically, it demonstrates that Iran has, for now, no intention of bowing to U.N. Security Council demands and ceasing its enrichment activities.
Dubbed the IR-2, Iran’s new centrifuge model is an Iranian-designed variant of the P-2 centrifuge used in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. The original P-2 design, obtained by
Even though the IR-2 appears to be easier for
While not proof that
That said, relatively little concrete information on this development is in the public domain. Watch this space for more detailed commentary when the IAEA releases its next report, hopefully at the end of the month.