Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Placing Iran's Enrichment Activities in Standby

| June 2006

Matthew Bunn argues that placing the centrifuges at Natanz in one of two "standby" modes offered a way out of the current stand-off over suspension. He suggests:

"One option for Iran to suspend enrichment activities without compromising its future ability to resume enrichment is to place the 164 centrifuge cascade at Natanz in a standby mode. The United States considered "warm standby" and "cold standby" options for its Portsmouth enrichment plant several years ago. Despite the vast technical differences between a large gaseous diffusion plant and a small centrifuge facility, these approaches may provide analogies that the parties could draw on to forge an approach acceptable to all sides. An acceptable approach would have to assure the United States and Europe that the standby activities would not significantly increase Iran's capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons material; by the same token, accepting such an approach would require Iran to make a strategic decision not to pursue an option for rapid production of such material."

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For Academic Citation: Bunn, Matthew. “Placing Iran's Enrichment Activities in Standby.” Paper, Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center, June 2006.

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