Iran’s Pace of Enrichment

There was some suggestion following the IAEA’s Iran report last week that Iran might have made a political decision to not expand its enrichment capacity as quickly as it might have. The argument centered around roughly 1500 new centrifuges that had been installed but not yet put into operation. But in yet another essential ACW post, Jeffrey Lewis presents a compelling case for why the centrifuges might be evidence of an acceleration in, or at least a maturation of, Iran’s enrichment pace. Essentially, Lewis argues that Iran’s halting, small-batch installation process in the past reflected its lack of expertise. Now that the technicians have a better idea of how to go about installation, they are instead engaging in mass assembly. So the next IAEA inspections might reveal a step function increase.