Iran Confirms Installation of Advanced Centrifuges

July 19, 2011

Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced on July 19, 2011 that “the installation of new centrifuges with better quality and speed is ongoing.” The spokesperson did not specify the facility into which the centrifuges are being installed, but the announcement likely confirms the installation of two 164-machine cascades of advanced IR-2m and IR-4 centrifuges into the Pilot Fuel Fabrication Plant (PFEP) at Natanz as Reuters reported last week.

Iran previously indicated that its advanced centrifuges have three times the enrichment output as the IR-1 centrifuge which Iran currently uses at the Natanz underground Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) to produce 3.5 percent low enriched uranium. ISIS noted previously that the installation and testing of the 164-machine cascades of the advanced centrifuges at the PFEP is a critical step toward deploying the advanced machines more widely at underground facilities such as the FEP or the formerly secret Fordow enrichment facility. Iran previously announced that it intends to install the advanced machines at the Fordow site this year.

More widespread installation of these advanced machines at declared and possibly also undeclared enrichment facilities increases Iran’s capability to make weapon grade uranium quickly and perhaps secretly. The international community should immediately strengthen its calls on Iran to accept inspections of its centrifuge component manufacturing and assembly facilities as provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency Additional Protocol.

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