ACA’s journal, Arms Control Today, remains the best in the market. Well focused. Solidly researched. Prudent.

– Hans Blix,
former IAEA Director-General

Nuclear Nonproliferation

May 14 Annual Meeting: Unprecedented Challenges for Nonproliferation and Disarmament


The Arms Control Association 2015 Annual Meeting will examine three major challenges for nonproliferation and disarmament over the last two years of President Barack Obama's final term. 


Thursday, May 14, 2015
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. Nw, Washington, D.C.

RSVP here! 

The Arms Control Association 2015 Annual Meeting will examine three major challenges for nonproliferation and disarmament over the last two years of President Barack Obama's final term: the worsening relations between Russia and the West; the uncertain future of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty; and the quest for a comprehensive deal to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. The Keynote speaker will be Ambassador Alexander Kmentt of Austria, who will also be presented with the 2014 Arms Control Person of the Year Award.

If you're a current Arms Control Association member and are unable to attend the Annual Meeting, please help us by submitting your proxy vote to Vice Chairman of the Board, Paul Walker, for the re-election of board members. For a list of candidates on this year's ballot, click here.  

Register today to secure your spot!

Meeting Agenda



Daryl G. Kimball
Executive Director, Arms Control Association


Panel 1

The Big Chill: Russia, the West, and the Future of Nuclear Arms Control 

Catherine Kelleher, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, President Clinton Administration
Matthew Rojansky, Director, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


Panel 2

Mid-Life Crisis? The Future of the NPT

Lewis A. Dunn, U.S. Ambassador to the 1985 NPT Review Conference, and Principal with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)
Randy Rydell, former Senior Political Affairs Officer, United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs
Andrea Berger, Deputy Director, Proliferation and Nuclear Policy programme, Royal United Services Institute



(Buffet Luncheon begins) 



Ambassador Alexander Kmentt, Director of Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Austria


Panel 3

The P5+1 and Iran and the Comprehensive Nuclear Deal

Richard Nephew, Program Director, Economic Statecraft, Sanctions, and Energy Markets, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University, and former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Department of State and Director for Iran, National Security Staff
Ariane Tabatabai, Associate, International Security Program and the Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard University's Belfer Center, and current Associate Professor, Security Studies Program, Georgetown University


Closing Keynote

Colin KahlDeputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President

Follow @armscontrolnow on Twitter and to talk about the Arms Control Association's 2015 Annual Meeting #ArmsControl15


To sponsor a table, or for general event inquiries, contact Shervin Taheran at [email protected]

For media attendance or inquiries, contact Communications Director Timothy Farnsworth at [email protected]

Country Resources:

Posted: December 31, 1969

New Pathways on Disarmament

Since the inception of the NPT, the United States and Russia —the world’s first nuclear-weapon states and possessors of the largest and most deadly nuclear arsenals—have been central to the success or failure of the treaty.

Since the inception of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the United States and Russia —the world’s first nuclear-weapon states and possessors of the largest and most deadly nuclear arsenals—have been central to the success or failure of the treaty.
Successive U.S.-Russian arms control treaties have slowed the growth of and then cut the massive arsenals built up during the Cold War and lowered the risks of a nuclear exchange. Nevertheless, the threat of nuclear war and global nuclear competition persists. 
Today, Russia still has some 1,780 and the United States has some 1,900 nuclear warheads that can be delivered on several hundred strategic bombers and missiles—far more than necessary to deter nuclear attack. Many of these weapons are primed for launch on warning. Since the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), further progress on disarmament has been stalled due to the severe downturn in U.S.-Russian relations and differences among key nuclear-armed states on the way forward.
In 2013, President Barack Obama said he was prepared to cut the U.S. arsenal by an additional one-third if Russia reciprocated. To date, Russian President Vladimir Putin has rebuffed the offer, citing differences over missile defense and the threat posed by other nuclear-armed states. Meanwhile, Russia and the United States are modernizing their arsenals, and China, India, and Pakistan are pursuing new ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and sea-based nuclear delivery systems. Chinese officials are reluctant to engage in talks on nuclear restraint without deeper cuts in U.S. and Russian stockpiles.
Frustrated by the impasse, more than 150 states have convened important international conferences highlighting the catastrophic humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons use. Some non-nuclear-weapon states want to begin negotiations on a ban on nuclear weapons possession and use. However well intentioned, a ban treaty involving only non-nuclear-weapon states will not do much, if anything, to halt nuclear competition or move key states to engage in multilateral disarmament talks. 
At the 2015 NPT Review Conference, which is under way in New York, non-nuclear-weapon states must press for specific actions by the nuclear-weapon states to accelerate progress on disarmament and reduce the risk of nuclear war. Russia, the United States, and the other NPT nuclear-weapon states must find new ways to get back on track or risk the fracturing of the NPT regime. To do so, the NPT conference should come together on several practical and overdue initiatives.
Accelerate U.S.-Russian New START implementation. In 2010, all of the nuclear-weapon states committed “to accelerate concrete progress on the steps leading to nuclear disarmament,” including “all types of nuclear weapons.” 
The NPT review conference should call on Washington and Moscow to accelerate the pace of reductions under New START and continue to reduce force levels below the New START ceilings (1,550 deployed strategic warheads and 700 deployed strategic delivery vehicles). 
Initiate New START follow-on talks no later than 2017. The conference should call on Washington and Moscow to begin formal negotiations on a follow-on to New START by 2017. The goal should be to cut each side’s strategic arsenal to fewer than 1,100 deployed strategic warheads and 500 deployed strategic delivery vehicles, including any strategic-range conventional prompt global-strike weapons. Such talks can and should explore options on transparency and confidence-building steps on tactical nuclear weapons and joint understandings on missile defense capabilities and deployments.
Press for global nuclear restraint. The conference must recognize that the world’s other nuclear-armed states must do their part to advance disarmament. All NPT states-parties should call on these other nuclear-armed states to freeze the overall size of their stockpiles as long as the United States and Russia continue to reduce their nuclear arsenals. 
This would help create the conditions for a series of high-level summits and serious negotiations on multilateral, verifiable nuclear disarmament involving leading nuclear-armed and non-nuclear-weapon states.
Reduce the risk of nuclear war. In 2010, all of the NPT nuclear-weapon states committed to “diminish the role and significance of nuclear weapons” and “[d]iscuss policies that could prevent the use of nuclear weapons.” Few have taken steps to do so. 
To reduce the risk of inadvertent nuclear weapons use, the presidents of Russia and the United States should, as retired Gens. James Cartwright and Vladimir Dvorkin have recommended, “decide in tandem to eliminate the launch-on-warning concept from their nuclear strategies.” This would not undermine strategic stability because both countries have nuclear forces designed to withstand an initial first strike. The NPT nuclear-weapon states should be required to make and report on specific changes to their nuclear weapons employment doctrines that reduce the risk of nuclear war. 
The nuclear status quo in unsustainable, but, at the same time, there are no shortcuts to strengthening the NPT and global security. The United States, Russia, and other NPT parties must recognize that it is time to pursue new and more-effective disarmament strategies involving all of the world’s nuclear-armed states.
What's New Text: 

Posted: December 31, 1969

Timeline of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

The following timeline provides a brief history of events related to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty from the 1950s to the present.

     The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) which entered into force in March 1970, seeks to inhibit the spread of nuclear weapons. Its 190 states-parties are classified in two categories: nuclear-weapon states (NWS) consisting of the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom—and non-nuclear-weapon states (NNWS). Under the treaty, the five NWS commit to pursue general and complete disarmament, while the NNWS agree to forgo developing or acquiring nuclear weapons. These are the first two “pillars” of the treaty. The third pillar ensures that non-nuclear weapon states can access and develop nuclear technology for 
peaceful applications. 
     With its near-universal membership, the NPT has the widest adherence of any arms control agreement, with only South Sudan, India, Israel, and Pakistan remaining outside the treaty. The treaty, which was indefinitely extended in 1995, calls for a review conference every five years to assess progress on achieving the treaties key objectives and provide opportunities to discuss new measures to strengthen the treaty. 
     The 2015 Review Conference will cover many issues including the status of disarmament, the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology, developments in the peaceful use of nuclear energy and strengthening provisions to prevent withdrawal from the treaty.  
     The following timeline provides a brief history of events related to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty from the 1950s to the present.

Skip to:  1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s


July 29, 1957: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) comes into existence with the mission of promoting and overseeing the peaceful use of nuclear technology. President Dwight Eisenhower had called for the creation of such an agency in his December 1953 “Atoms for Peace” proposal. 

October 17, 1958: Ireland proposes the first resolution at the United Nations to prohibit the “further dissemination of nuclear weapons.” Back to Top


February 13, 1960: France conducts its first nuclear test explosion, becoming the world’s fourth nuclear-armed state, after the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom.

December 4, 1961: The UN General Assembly unanimously approves Resolution 1665, which is based on the earlier Irish draft resolution and calls for negotiations to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states. The resolution says that countries already having nuclear weapons would “undertake to refrain from relinquishing control” of them to others and would refrain “from transmitting information for their manufacture to States not possessing” them. Countries without nuclear weapons would agree not to receive or manufacture them. These ideas formed the basis of the NPT.

March 21, 1963: In a press conference, President John Kennedy warns, “I see the possibility in the 1970s of the president of the United States having to face a world in which 15 or 20 or 25 nations may have [nuclear] weapons. I regard that as the greatest possible danger and hazard.” Kennedy made this statement a month after a secret Department of Defense memorandum assessed that eight countries—Canada, China, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and West Germany—would likely have the ability to produce nuclear weapons within 10 years. The study also calculated that, beyond 10 years, the future costs of nuclear weapons programs would diminish and that several more states would likely be able to pursue nuclear weapons, especially if unrestricted testing continued. The risks of such proliferation, which the existing nuclear powers sought to curtail or prevent, largely served as an impetus for drafting the NPT. Today the IAEA assesses that nearly 30 states are capable of developing nuclear weapons, but only nine states are known to possess them.

October 16, 1964: China conducts its first nuclear test explosion, becoming the world’s fifth nuclear-armed state and leading to the acceleration of India’s nuclear program.

August 17, 1965: The United States submits to the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee its first draft proposal to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union submits its first draft a month later.

February 14, 1967: The Treaty of Tlatelolco, establishing Latin America and the Caribbean as a nuclear-weapon-free zone, is opened for signature. It is the first of five such regional zones to be negotiated. The other zones cover Africa, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and Central Asia.

August 24, 1967: The United States and Soviet Union separately introduce identical draft treaties to the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Circa 1967: Israel secretly acquires the capability to build a nuclear explosive device.

June 12, 1968: The UN General Assembly adopts Resolution 2373, endorsing the draft text of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The vote was 95 to 4 with 21 abstentions. The four no votes were Albania, Cuba, Tanzania, and Zambia.

July 1, 1968: The NPT is opened for signature and is signed by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Article IX of the treaty established that entry into force would require the treaty’s ratification by those three countries (the treaty’s depositories) and 40 additional states. China and France, the other two recognized nuclear-weapon states under the treaty, do not sign it. China argued the treaty was discriminatory and refused to sign or adhere to it. France, on the other hand, indicated that it would not sign the treaty but “would behave in the future in this field exactly as the States adhering to the Treaty.” Both states acceded to the treaty in 1992. Back to Top


March 5, 1970: The NPT enters into force with 46 states-parties.

May 18, 1974: India is the first non-nuclear-weapon state, as defined by the NPT, to conduct a nuclear test. India was not an NPT member, and New Delhi insisted the test was a “peaceful” nuclear explosion to mollify international criticism. In 1997, however, Raja Ramanna, the former director of India’s nuclear program, admitted that the 1974 blast was a weapons test, stating, “I just want to make clear that the test was not all that peaceful.” Despite India’s original characterization of the test as peaceful, it raised alarms within the international community, particularly in Canada and the United States. Both countries had supplied facilities and materials to India for peaceful nuclear purposes and felt betrayed by India’s use of them to conduct a nuclear explosion. The United States reacted by leading other nuclear exporters to form the voluntary Nuclear Suppliers Group in 1975 to coordinate stricter restrictions on global nuclear trade. Originally, the NPT allowed non-nuclear-weapon states to conduct peaceful nuclear explosions. During the 2000 NPT review conference, however, treaty states-parties agreed to ban such tests in light of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was completed in 1996.

September 3, 1974: The IAEA publishes the “trigger list” developed by the Zangger Committee, identifying nuclear items that require IAEA safeguards as a condition of export.

May 30, 1975: The 91 states-parties to the NPT hold the treaty’s first review conference. The treaty members decide to hold such conferences to review the implementation of the treaty every five years.

January 11, 1978: States participating in the voluntary Nuclear Suppliers Group provide the IAEA with a common set of guidelines they will follow in making nuclear exports. The IAEA publishes the guidelines the next month. Back to Top


The decade was dominated by the Cold War superpower competition of the United States and the Soviet Union. Much of the world held its collective breath during the first years of the decade as tensions and the nuclear arms race heated up between the two rivals, leading to popular anti-nuclear protests worldwide and the nuclear freeze movement in the United States. The international community exhaled a bit in the second half of the decade as the United States and the Soviet Union earnestly sat down at the arms negotiating table and for the first time eliminated an entire category of nuclear weapons through the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The two countries also proceeded to negotiate cuts to their strategic nuclear forces, which ultimately would be realized in the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Although the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race was center stage, efforts to advance and constrain the nuclear weapons ambitions and programs of other countries played out in the wings, sometimes as part of the superpower drama. For instance, the United States shunted nonproliferation concerns aside in ignoring Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program because of that country’s role in fighting Soviet forces inside Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Iraq, North Korea, and South Africa advanced their nuclear weapons efforts in relative secrecy. In this decade, Iran began to secretly acquire uranium-enrichment-related technology from Pakistani suppliers. Taiwan’s covert nuclear weapons program, however, was squelched by U.S. pressure. Other nonproliferation gains included a joint declaration by Argentina and Brazil to pursue nuclear technology only for peaceful purposes, alleviating fears of a nuclear arms race between the two, and the conclusion of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the South Pacific. Moreover, the NPT added 30 new states-parties during the decade, including North Korea. Back to Top


April 3, 1991: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 687 requiring Iraq to eliminate its secret nuclear weapons program, which was revealed after the Iraqi defeat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Iraq had illegally pursued the weapons program despite being an NPT state-party. Following the adoption of Resolution 687, the IAEA gained a greater understanding of Iraq’s clandestine program and dismantled and sealed its remnants. The realization that Iraq pursued such a program undetected in spite of agency inspections served as a key impetus to strengthen IAEA safeguards. That effort eventually produced the Model Additional Protocol. The IAEA maintained a presence in Iraq until its inspectors were forced to withdraw in late 1998 on the eve of U.S. and British military strikes against Iraq. Throughout the 1990s, the United States expressed concern that Iraq maintained the ability and intention to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program, as well as other efforts to produce other “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD). These suspicions led to the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1441 in November 2002, declaring Iraq in material breach of its obligations to comply with international inspections and establishing a renewed inspection process. Although those inspections did not uncover evidence that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program, the United States and the United Kingdom asserted that Iraq continued to pursue unconventional arms and, on March 20, 2003, led a military invasion to topple Iraq’s leadership. Inspections afterward revealed that the U.S. and British allegations were wrong.

July 10, 1991: South Africa accedes to the NPT. Two years later, the South African government admits that it had covertly built six completed nuclear devices and then dismantled them before joining the accord. The move to get rid of the weapons was seen as preparation for the coming end of apartheid rule.

March 9, 1992: China accedes to the NPT.

May 23, 1992: Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine sign the Lisbon Protocol committing to join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states. All three had nuclear weapons when they were Soviet republics. On December 5, 1994, Ukraine becomes the last of the three to accede to the NPT.

August 3, 1992: France, the last of the five recognized nuclear-weapon states, accedes to the NPT.

March 12, 1993: North Korea announces its intention to withdraw from the NPT, but it suspends that withdrawal on June 11, 1993.

April 1, 1993: The IAEA declares North Korea in noncompliance with its safeguards obligations and refers Pyongyang to the UN Security Council.

April 11, 1995: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 984 acknowledging the unilateral pledges by the five nuclear-weapon states not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to the NPT. The move is seen as a way to win greater support for the possible indefinite extension of the treaty.

May 11, 1995: NPT states-parties agree to the treaty’s indefinite extension. Article X of the NPT called for a conference of states-parties to be held 25 years after the treaty’s entry into force in order to determine whether the treaty would remain in force indefinitely or for other additional periods of time. This conference was held in 1995 and began with considerable uncertainty regarding the nature of any extension. Non-nuclear-weapon states, particularly developing countries belonging to the Nonaligned Movement, expressed disappointment with the lack of progress toward nuclear disarmament and feared that a decision to extend the treaty indefinitely would by default enable the nuclear-armed states to hold on to their nuclear arsenals in perpetuity and avoid any accountability in eliminating them. At the conference, Indonesia and South Africa proposed tying the treaty’s indefinite extension to a decision to strengthen the treaty review process. They also linked it to establishment of a set of principles and objectives on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament to hold NPT states-parties, particularly the nuclear-weapon states, accountable to their commitments. These principles and objectives include completion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and negotiations on the cutoff of fissile material production for weapons purposes. The conference also adopted a resolution calling for establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. This resolution was intended to win support for the indefinite NPT extension from Arab states, which objected to Israel’s status outside the NPT and its assumed possession of nuclear weapons. Although only a majority of states-parties was required to approve the indefinite extension, the agreed package of decisions obtained enough support that such a vote was not required.

September 24, 1996: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty outlawing nuclear explosions is opened for signature. The treaty has yet to enter into force because not all of the requisite states, including China, India, Pakistan, and the United States, have ratified it.

May 15, 1997: The IAEA adopts the Model Additional Protocol, a voluntary safeguards agreement for a state to give the agency greater powers to verify that illegal nuclear weapons-related activities are not taking place inside that state. The protocol was developed in response to Iraq’s and North Korea’s illicit actions under the treaty.

 May 11 & 13, 1998:  India conducts nuclear tests for the second time.

May 28, 1998: In response to India, Pakistan, a nonsignatory to the NPT but a non-nuclear-weapon state by the treaty’s terms, conducts its first set of nuclear test explosions. Back to Top


May 22, 2000: The NPT states-parties agree to a 2000 review conference final document that outlines the so-called 13 Steps for progress toward nuclear disarmament, including an “unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.”

January 10, 2003: North Korea announces its withdrawal from the NPT. North Korea initially announced its intent to withdraw from the NPT a decade earlier following suspicions of NPT violations. After holding talks with the United States, North Korea suspended that withdrawal in June 1993, just a day before it would have come into effect. It further agreed to give up its nuclear weapons program under a 1994 agreement with the United States. Following the collapse of that agreement in 2002, North Korea declared January 10, 2003, that, with only one day remaining of its previous three-month notification requirement to withdraw from the NPT, its withdrawal would come into effect a day later. Although the legality of North Korea’s process of withdrawal remains in question, subsequent calls by the UN and the IAEA for Pyongyang to return to the NPT demonstrate a recognition that it is currently outside the treaty. Article X of the NPT recognizes the right of states to withdraw from the treaty if that party’s “supreme interests” are jeopardized by “extraordinary events.” States are required to give notice three months in advance before such a withdrawal would take effect. In light of North Korea’s withdrawal and subsequent development of nuclear weapons, the 2005 NPT review conference considered ways to ensure that states that withdraw from the treaty are not able to use technologies and materials obtained while an NPT state-party to pursue nuclear weapons. Discussions of these various proposals are still ongoing.

June 6, 2003: The IAEA issues a report detailing Iranian clandestine nuclear activities that Tehran failed to report to the agency, in violation of its safeguards agreement.

 December 19, 2003: Libya announces that it will dismantle its WMD programs, including a secret nuclear weapons program, and agrees to IAEA inspections and adherence to an additional protocol. 

September 19, 2005: North Korea commits to abandoning its nuclear weapons and programs and returning to the NPT and to IAEA safeguards in an agreement of the six-party talks on North Korean denuclearization.

September 24, 2005: The IAEA finds Iran in noncompliance with its safeguards obligations after nearly two years of inspections into its undeclared nuclear activities. The agency in February 2006 refers Iran to the UN Security Council, which adopts three sanctions resolutions against Iran over the next two years. IAEA investigations continue into Iran’s past and current nuclear activities.

October 9, 2006: North Korea conducts its first nuclear test explosion.

February 13, 2007: The six-party talks on North Korea’s denuclearization yields an “initial actions” plan to implement Pyongyang’s September 2005 pledge to abandon its nuclear weapons and programs. These initial actions include the shutdown and disablement of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor complex and a declaration of its nuclear programs.

September 6, 2008: The Nuclear Suppliers Group agrees to permit trade in nuclear material and technology with India, despite that country’s status as a nonparty to the NPT and de facto nuclear-weapon state.

April 14, 2009: North Korea ends its participation in the six-party talks, after its launch of a long-range rocket draws sanctions from the UN Security Council. North Korea declares it will reverse its 2007 commitments, and resume its nuclear programs.

May 25, 2009: North Korea conducts a second announced nuclear test.

September 24, 2009: The UN Security Council, meeting in a special summit-level session, unanimously approves Resolution 1887 on nuclear issues. Back to Top


April 2010: The United States hosts the first Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. At the summit, the 47 participating states commit to securing nuclear material worldwide and combatting the threat of nuclear terrorism and many states make specific commitments to bolster nuclear security.

November 2010: President Barack Obama announces US support for India’s participation in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime. In December of 2010, French President Sarkozy also expresses backing for India’s inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

February 5, 2011: The New START treaty enters into force. The US and Russia agree to reduce strategic and offensive arms. The treaty’s central limits must be reached by February 5, 2018. New START reduces the number of deployed nuclear warheads that each state can have to 1,550 each.

June 2011: The United Kingdom announces voluntary planned reductions in its deployed nuclear forces set to be accomplished by early 2015. When complete, the United Kingdom will have 120 deployed strategic warheads, with 60 warheads in reserve to support the maintenance and management of the operational force. All excess warheads will be dismantled by the mid-2020s.

March 2012: The second Nuclear Security Summit is held in Seoul, South Korea. The summit built on the commitments of the previous 2010 summit and adds new goals, such as protecting radioactive sources and increasing the synergy between nuclear security and safety.

November 2012: The conveners (Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the UN) of a conference to establish a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East announce that the conference will be postponed because not all states in the region agree on an agenda for the conference.

December 2012: North Korea successfully launches a satellite into space with a Unha-3 space launch vehicle. Pyongyang is prohibited from space launches by UN Security Council resolutions because some of the technology is directly applicable to ballistic missile development. Despite this success, experts assess that North Korea remains years away from development of an ICBM, given the many technical differences between the two types of systems.3

February 12, 2013: North Korea conducts their third nuclear test. The test was done at the Punggye-ri Test Site in an underground bunker. In a KCNA statement, issued shortly after the test, Pyongyang says it will continue testing and building its arsenal until the United States recognized its right to launch satellites and develop its nuclear program.

March 2013: Norway hosts the first Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, with participation from 127 states. The conference focused on scientific findings on the impact of nuclear weapons use on humans, the environment, and global climate. The five recognized nuclear weapon states (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) all decide not to attend.

November 24, 2013: Iran and the P5+1 reach an interim agreement in Geneva, Switzerland. The agreement creates a temporary hold on several aspects of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for temporary relief on several Western sanctions. The Interim Agreement represents the first formal agreement between the US and Iran in 34 years. The agreement laid the foundation for the on-going P5+1 talks.

February 2013: A second conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons is held in Mexico, with 146 states in attendance. The conference called for greater efforts on disarmament and an initiative to reach new international standards and norms to prohibit the use of nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapon states do not participate in the conference. 

March 2014: The third Nuclear Security Summit is held in The Hague, Netherlands to continue the goal of strengthening nuclear security and eliminating civilian stockpiles of weapons-usable material.

May 2014: All five nuclear weapon states sign the protocol for the Central Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (CANFWZ) treaty. The CANFWZ applies to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

November 2014: France ratifies the CANFWZ.

December 2014: A third conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons is held in Vienna. The US and the UK decide to attend and China choses to send an observer. Over 150 countries and several international and civil society organizations participate. Over 60 countries sign a pledge to cooperate to “stigmatize, prohibit, and eliminate” nuclear weapons.

January 2015: The United Kingdom ratifies the CANFWZ.

April 2, 2015: A tentative framework agreement is reached by the P5+1 and Iran. The agreement places meaningful limits on Iran’s nuclear program by prohibiting uranium enrichment in Fordow and constraining enrichment at the Natanz facility. A final agreement is set to be reached by June 30, 2015. Back to Top

Nuclear/Ballistic Missile Nonproliferation

Posted: December 31, 1969

Background and Key Resources on the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review


Beginning today and through May 22, diplomats from the members of the NPT, along with hundreds of nongovernmental organizations, will gather at the United Nations in New York...


For Immediate Release: April 27, 2015

Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy, 202-463-8270 x102; Kingston Reif, director of disarmament policy, 202-463-8270 x104; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 x107

(Washington/New York)--Beginning today and through May 22, diplomats from the members of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), along with hundreds of nongovernmental organizations, will gather at the United Nations in New York to discuss how one of the world's most vital international security instruments can be strengthened to address both long-standing and emerging nuclear challenges. 

Over the past 45 years, the NPT has established an indispensable, yet imperfect set of interlocking nonproliferation and disarmament obligations and standards. Reinforced by nuclear export controls and the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards system, the NPT makes it far more difficult for non-nuclear-weapon states to acquire or build nuclear weapons and to do so without being detected. Equally important, NPT Article VI commits the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China--the five nuclear-weapons states that are party to the treaty--to end the arms race, stop nuclear testing, and achieve nuclear disarmament.

Rather than the dozens of nuclear-armed states that were forecast before the NPT entered into force in 1970, only four additional countries (India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea)—three of which were never parties to the NPT—have nuclear weapons today, and the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons has grown stronger.

The 2015 NPT Review Conference provides an important opportunity for the treaty's members to adopt a balanced, forward-looking action plan to improve nuclear safeguards, guard against treaty withdrawal, accelerate progress on disarmament, and address regional nuclear proliferation challenges.

However, the 2015 conference will likely reveal tensions regarding the implementation of some of 65 key commitments in the action plan agreed to at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.  

There is widespread frustration with the slow pace of achieving the nuclear disarmament goals of Article VI of the NPT and the lack of agreement among NPT parties on how best to advance nuclear disarmament. Though the United States and Russia are implementing the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) accord, they have not started talks on further nuclear reductions. Russia's annexation of Ukraine will likely be criticized by some states as a violation of security commitments made in 1994 when Kiev joined the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state. 

At the same time, most nuclear-weapon states--inside and outside the NPT--are modernizing their nuclear arsenals. This is leading some non-nuclear-weapon states to call for the negotiation of a nuclear weapons ban even without the participation of the nuclear-weapon states; while others are pushing for a renewed dedication to key disarmament commitments made at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

In 2010, states parties decided to convene a conference on a Middle East zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, but key states, including Egypt (an NPT state party) and Israel (not an NPT state party), have failed to meet directly to agree on an agenda and to schedule the conference. The issue could lead to some of the most heated rhetoric at the 2015 NPT Review Conference.

In contrast, the April 2 framework agreement between six world powers and Iran on a comprehensive agreement on its nuclear program will likely be praised as a positive development that can, if finalized and implemented, strengthen the NPT and prevent the emergence of another nuclear-armed state in the region.

News Coverage

"Slow Progress on Middle East Zone Decried," by Kelsey Davenport, Arms Control Today, April 2015.

"Nuclear-Weapon States Discuss NPT Issues," by Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Today, March 2015. 

"Nuclear Impact Meeting Is Largest Yet," by Kingston Reif, Arms Control Today, January/February 2015.

Analysis and Interviews 

"Finding a Way Out of the NPT Nuclear Disarmament Stalemate," by Lewis Dunn, Arms Control Today, April 2015.

"Previewing the NPT Review: An Interview With U.S. Special Representative Adam Scheinman," Arms Control Today, April 2015. 

"Russia and the Big Chill," commentary by Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Today, April 2015. 

"Securing Irreversible IAEA Safeguards to Close the Next NPT Loophole," by Pierre Goldschmidt, Arms Control Today, March 2015.

"Nuclear Weapons Modernization: A Threat to the NPT?" by Hans M. Kristensen, Arms Control Today, May 2014. 

"Rough Seas Ahead: Issue for the 2015 NPT Review Conference," by Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, Arms Control Today, April 2014.

"How Divergent Views on Nuclear Disarmament Threaten the NPT, " by Amb. Alexander Kmentt, Arms Control Today, December 2013.  

Official Conference Documentation and Speeches  

UN Office for Disarmament Affairs 2015 NPT Review Conference Web site, includes documents from 2010 NPT Review Conference.

Reaching Critical Will 2015 NPT Review Conference Web page, includes official statements delivered at the Review Conference.


Arms Control Association Annual Meeting, May 14 in Washington, D.C. Includes a panel on "The Future of the NPT" and a keynote address by Amb. Alexander Kmentt, Director of Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Austria. RSVP online.

Calendar of 2015 NPT Review Conference-related events in New York, maintained by Reaching Critical Will.


Follow @ArmsControlNow@KelseyDav@KingstonAReif, and @DarylGKimball for the latest updates on Twitter and via #NPT2015 


The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

Posted: December 31, 1969

NPT Disarmament Obligations and Nuclear Myth-Busting

On April 14 the U.S. State Department Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation released a so-called fact sheet entitled “Myths and Facts Regarding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Regime.” As such, it represents the official position of the United States government, and is aimed at international delegations that will be attending the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference from April 27 to May 22 at the United Nations in New York City. Unfortunately, the State Department’s fact sheet contains several important statements that are misleading,...

P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert, April 16

Iran and the IAEA Back on Track? Earlier this week, Iranian officials met with officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Tehran to continue discussions on the agency's investigation into Iran's past activities allegedly related to nuclear weapons development. Tero Varjoranta, deputy director general of the IAEA and head of the safeguards department led the agency's team. Following the meeting the IAEA released a statement saying that the two sides had a "constructive exchange" on practical measures and will meet again in the future. Details released by the White House on...

The Lausanne Framework and a Final Nuclear Deal with Iran


On April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) reached a breakthrough on the path toward a comprehensive nuclear agreement.


Volume 7, Issue 6, April 14, 2015 

How the Lausanne Framework Lays the Groundwork for Strong, Effective Comprehensive Nuclear Deal with Iran

On April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) reached a breakthrough on the path toward a comprehensive nuclear agreement.

Iran and the P5+1 announced that after 15 months of negotiations, they had reached agreement on a set of parameters that outline the nuclear restrictions, monitoring and verification, and sanctions relief in a final Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. An April 2 White House fact sheet provides more detail on the Lausanne framework.

While a number of details remain to be resolved before June 30, the parameters described by both sides lay the groundwork for a deal that meets the core U.S. policy goals: blocking Iran's potential pathways to nuclear weapons using highly-enriched uranium and plutonium and guarding against a covert nuclear weapons program. 

As U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz notes in an April 12 Washington Post op-ed, the "agreement is not for 10, 15 or 20 years; it is a phased agreement built for the long term. And if Iran earns the international community's confidence in its peaceful objectives over this extended period, then the constraints will ease in phases, though its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Additional Protocol would remain in place indefinitely."

Cutting Back Uranium Enrichment Capacity 

The limitations agreed to in Lausanne exceed the Obama administration's commitment to ensure that it would take more than a year for Iran to produce enough highly enriched uranium for one nuclear weapon if Iran's leaders decided to do so. Currently, it would only take Iran two to three months to meet that objective. 

The April 2 framework pushes back Iran's breakout time by dramatically reducing the number of centrifuges enriching uranium, removing its installed but not operating machines, and cutting back Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium gas by 97 percent. Uranium enrichment will also take place only at Natanz; Iran's smaller, underground facility at Fordow will be repurposed for non-uranium research activities. These elements together put up a verifiable roadblock to nuclear weapons using highly enriched uranium.

Currently, Iran is using about 10,200 first generation IR-1 centrifuges (696 at Fordow and 9,500 at Natanz) to produce uranium fuel enriched to less than five percent U-235. This enrichment level is suitable for making fuel for nuclear power plants. Weapons-grade uranium is enriched to greater than 90 percent U-235.

Iran has an additional 6,200 IR-1 machines at Natanz and 2,000 at Fordow that are installed, but not enriching uranium. Another 1,008 more advanced IR-2M centrifuges are installed at Natanz but not operational. In total, that adds up to about 19,500 centrifuges. 

Under the deal the number of machines installed and enriching will be cut dramatically. Iran will operate 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges enriching uranium to less than 5 percent at Natanz. An additional 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges will be installed, but not enriching uranium. The remaining machines--over 13,000--will be removed from Natanz and Fordow and placed under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seal. Iran will only be able to access these machines, with IAEA oversight, if spare parts are needed to repair operating centrifuges. Iran's centrifuge manufacturing base will also be frozen, ensuring that Iran will not be stockpiling centrifuges to quickly deploy during the period of limitations. 

But reducing the number of centrifuges is only part of the package that will significantly extend Iran's breakout time. Determining the time it will take Iran to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one bomb (about 25 kg of uranium enriched to over 90 percent U-235) is also a function of Iran's stockpiles of enriched material. If Iran has enough reactor-grade material for a bomb it can accelerate the process of enriching uranium to weapons-grade. Beginning with natural uranium puts more time on the clock if Iran is trying to enrich to weapons-grade levels for a nuclear weapon.

Currently, Iran's stockpile of reactor-grade enriched uranium gas is about 10,000 kilograms--enough material for at least half a dozen bombs if it were to be enriched further.

Under a final comprehensive deal, Iran's remaining stockpile of low-enriched material will be cut to 300 kilograms, far less than what is necessary for a nuclear bomb. Together with the centrifuge reductions, this pushes Iran's breakout time to over 12 months. And given the strength of the monitoring and verification mechanisms, any move to deviate from the deal would be detected quickly.

Critics of deal point out that Iran and the P5+1 have not decided how Iran's existing stockpile low-enriched-uranium material will be neutralized. There are three options for reducing the stockpile from 10,000 kg to 300 kg: 1) Iran could ship the fuel to Russia, where it could be stored or manufactured into fuel plates; 2) Iran could dilute the material back down to natural uranium; 3) Iran could sell the enriched material on the open fuel market. 

The method of neutralization is not a critical element of the deal. What is important is that Iran's stockpile is significantly reduced and out of reach for further enrichment. If Iran was simply allowed to convert the material to powder form for fuel plate manufacturing, that would be more problematic because that process is reversible, and Iran would continue to have access to the enriched material. However, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has been clear on the point that Iran will not simply be able to convert the excess uranium hexafluoride gas to powder. It must be diluted or shipped out.

Under the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action and the terms of its extension, Iran committed to dilute half of its stockpile of gas enriched to 20 percent and to convert the other half to fuel powder, which is used for fabrication into plates for its Tehran Research Reactor. These interim actions are to be fully completed by June 30, 2015. 

While the limitations requiring Iran to operate no more than 5,060 centrifuges will end after 10 years, additional measures will ensure that Iran's breakout time is not dramatically reduced over the succeeding years. Iran has agreed to limit enrichment to reactor-grade (3.67 percent) for 15 years, and not to build any new enrichment facilities for the same timeframe.

Fordow Repurposed

Uranium enrichment at Fordow will also be prohibited for 15 years. Fordow's location, deep inside of a mountain, is a key concern for the P5+1 because the facility, originally constructed in secret, would be difficult to target in a military strike. Iran, however, was deeply opposed to shutting down any of its nuclear facilities.

As a compromise, the Fordow facility will be repurposed as a nuclear physics, technology, and research center. Of the 2,710 IR-1 centrifuges currently located there, 1,800 will be removed and stored under seal by the IAEA. The remaining 900 will not be used for uranium enrichment, but rather modified for the production of isotopes for medical research. No fissile material will be permitted in the facility and no research using uranium will be allowed for 15 years. 

Advanced Centrifuge R&D Restrictions

Defining the parameters of Iran's research and development program on advanced centrifuges posed a significant challenge to negotiators. The P5+1 favored limits on research and development to ensure that Iran could not master more efficient, advanced machines in the early years of a deal that would then allow Tehran to quickly amass enough weapons-grade material for a bomb.

However, Iran's interest in moving beyond the inefficient, crash-prone IR-1 machines is also justifiable, particularly given Tehran's interest in domestically fueling its Bushehr power reactor (currently fueled by Russia). That would require a significant increase in Iran's domestic capacity down the road, which is more easily achievable with advanced machines.

The April 2 parameters will limit Iran's testing of its advanced machines, the IR-2M, IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, IR-6s, and IR-8, models and prohibit the use of any of these machines to produce enriched uranium. Testing will also be limited to single machines, and over time, to small cascades. This will ensure that Iran cannot breakout quickly using its advanced machines once the 10-year limit on enrichment using IR-1s ends. 

After 10 years, advanced machines are likely to be phased-in and enrichment increased gradually according to an agreed upon schedule. Continued research and development will proceed according to a plan reached between Iran and the P5+1 and submitted to the IAEA.

Critics of the agreement are concerned that working on the advanced machines could allow Iran to head off a cliff after the 10 years of limitations expire. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said that after 10 years Iran's breakout time will be near zero.

However, while Iran will be able to increase its enrichment capacity and phase-in advanced machines over time, additional limits and international obligations will remain in place.

In addition to the monitoring and verification that would detect any dash to a bomb, Iran will be limited to enriching to 3.67 percent, the stockpile will remain capped at 300 kg, and Iran will be prohibited from building new enrichment facilities for an additional five years. Iran's centrifuge manufacturing base will also remain frozen during the deal, thus ensuring that Iran is not stockpiling centrifuges that it could quickly deploy after the uranium-enrichment restrictions taper off. Together, these limits will keep Iran's uranium-enrichment program in check and weapons-grade enrichment out of reach.

Blocking the Plutonium Pathway

The April 2 parameters block Iran's pathway to nuclear weapons using separated plutonium indefinitely.

Under the agreed upon terms, Iran will modify the heavy-water reactor under construction at Arak and destroy or ship out the original core. Construction of the reactor was halted under the interim deal, but if completed as designed, the core would produce enough weapons-grade plutonium for about two nuclear weapons on an annual basis. The weapons-grade plutonium could then be separated from the spent fuel and used for a bomb.

In addition to redesigning the reactor so that it will not produce weapons-grade plutonium, Iran will ship the spent fuel out of the country.

The heavy-water production plant will continue to operate, but Iran will not accumulate excess heavy water, which is used to moderate some types of reactors, like the one under construction at the Arak site. Excess heavy water will be sold on the open market. 

Iran will also not construct any new heavy-water reactors for at least 15 years. Even after that time frame, however, Iran's plutonium pathway to nuclear weapons will remain blocked. Iran also committed indefinitely to refrain from reprocessing plutonium or conduct any research on reprocessing. 

Taken together, these provisions provide a strong guarantee Iran's plutonium pathway to nuclear weapons is verifiably blocked.

Enhanced Monitoring and Verification 

One of the most critical elements of an effective nuclear deal with Iran is ensuring that the enhanced monitoring and verification regime is intrusive enough to block a covert path to nuclear weapons and would very quickly be able to detect any deviation from the deal.

Based on Iran's past attempts to covertly build nuclear facilities and pursue weapons-related research, compliance concerns are real. But trust is not required for a good agreement. Enhanced verification, monitoring and transparency will provide the necessary confidence that Iran is abiding by its commitments. 

The monitoring regime described in the April 2 parameters is a multilayered approach that subjects every step of Iran's nuclear cycle and supply chains to intensive monitoring and verification.

In addition to regular access to Iran's declared nuclear facilities, such as Natanz, Fordow, Arak, Esfahan, the IAEA will operate continuous surveillance of Iran's uranium mines for 25 years. The centrifuge rotors and bellows production areas will be under continuous surveillance for 20 years. The stored centrifuges removed from Fordow and Natanz will also be under continuous surveillance. Also, any procurement of dual-use items or materials for Iran's nuclear program will move through a designated channel and be subject to monitoring and approval.

Taken together, these measures cover Iran's supply chain. Continually monitoring the inputs and components of Iran's nuclear program will help ensure that Tehran is not covertly pursuing nuclear weapons using a clandestine parallel program.

If there are allegations that Iran has constructed a covert enrichment facility, conversion facility, or centrifuge production facility, or yellowcake uranium production facility anywhere in the country, the IAEA will be able to access the sites to investigate the allegations.

The parameters of the deal also include Iran's immediate implementation of the Additional Protocol. This requirement expands Iran's nuclear declaration to include a larger number of sites that encompass the entirety of Iran's fuel cycle. The Additional Protocol has more extensive accountancy requirements, and the IAEA can conduct short-notice inspections. The Additional Protocol is permanent once ratified.

Skeptics have pushed back about the language regarding the Additional Protocol, noting that the White House fact sheet does not indicate if Iran will ratify the document as part of the deal. However, it is important to note that Iran committed to ratification in a final agreement as part of the November 2013 interim deal.

The IAEA will also receive earlier notification of any new nuclear facilities that Iran intends to build. Iran will implement Modified Code 3.1 of its safeguards agreement. Under Code 3.1, Iran will notify the agency as soon as it decides or approves a new facility. Under the existing safeguards, the agency only receives six months notice before the facility is commissioned. Greater advance notice will give the international community more time to assess the impact of the new facilities and ensure that they are in line with Iran's peaceful nuclear program.

Taken together, these monitoring and verification measures span the entirety of Iran's fuel cycle and provide assurance that Iran cannot divert material or construct a parallel covert nuclear weapons program. 

Some critics argue that the comprehensive nuclear deal must allow for inspections "anywhere, anytime" including at military sites. It is unrealistic to assume that any country, not defeated in wartime, would accept unlimited, no-notice inspections at any and all military sites. And more importantly, it is unnecessary in the Iranian case. 

Under the Additional Protocol, the IAEA will have access to military facilities if there are concerns about nuclear weapons-related activities. The two sides will likely agree to an adjudication mechanism designed to also ensure that Iran does not block IAEA access to such sites.

Additionally, the IAEA will not provide the only oversight of Iran's nuclear program. Confidence in Iran's compliance will be bolstered by national intelligence organizations. These organizations played a critical role in detecting Iran's covert facilities in the past and uncovering evidence of Iran's past work related to nuclear weapons. They will continue to keep Iran's nuclear activities under a microscope.

Past Possible Military Dimensions

Some critics claim that the April 2 Lausanne framework will not require Iran to cooperate with the IAEA's investigation into Iran's past activities with military dimensions. Iran however, will be required to implement a set of measures to address the IAEA's outstanding questions. 

It is well established that Iran conducted activities relevant to weapons development as part of an organized program prior to 2003. The IAEA laid out its allegations regarding those activities in November 2011.

While the IAEA and Iran have made some progress between November 2013 and August 2014 on resolving those issues, the investigation is now stalled. Iran should not, and will not, be let off the hook. It is critical that Iran answers the IAEA's questions and allows access to the individuals and sites necessary to complete the investigation.

The Lausanne framework also makes it clear that the removal of nuclear-related UN Security Council sanctions will not occur until and unless Iran cooperates with the IAEA investigation and the past questions are resolved.

However, a "full confession" by Iran that it engaged in nuclear weapons-related work, as some critics demand, is extremely unlikely given Iran's past statements about the peaceful nature of its nuclear program and that nuclear weapons are un-Islamic. A confession is also an unnecessary precondition that would only delay the conclusion of the investigation even further. What is most important is designing and implementing an enhanced monitoring and verification regime capable of ensuring that there are no ongoing weaponization activities. The April 2 Lausanne framework provides the tools and the incentive to achieve that goal.

Sanctions Relief

Phased sanctions relief will serve as an incentive for Iran to follow through on key nuclear restrictions. At the onset of a deal, access to frozen assets, relief from U.S. sanctions in the form of waivers, and the lifting of EU sanctions will provide Iran with significant relief commensurate to the dramatic nuclear concessions that Iran will make early in the Joint Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action. This first tranche of relief will likely come when Iran has taken the steps to push its uranium-enrichment breakout time to over 12 months. 

The core architecture of U.S. sanctions will remain in place for years into the agreement, however, facilitating swift re-imposition if Iran violates the deal. The final agreement will have a dispute resolution process to ensure fair findings regarding any alleged violation.

According to the Lausanne framework, UN Security Council sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program will remain in place until Iran completes key steps on uranium-enrichment, modifying Fordow and Arak, and addressing the IAEA investigation into past possible military dimensions. A mechanism will also allow for the re-imposition of sanctions if Iran is violating the agreement.

Key UN sanctions barring arms sales and ballistic missile component sales by UN member states to Iran will remain in place. As mentioned above, any sale of dual-use nuclear technology to support Iran's peaceful nuclear activities will take place through a monitored, dedicated channel.

Providing sanctions relief and reintegrating Iran back into the global economy will also likely change Iran's cost-benefit analysis for pursuing nuclear weapons. As Iran's economy becomes stronger and more interdependent, the cost of any cheating on the deal will increase. The backlash of the international community if Iran violates the agreement would be severe. These elements increase the cost of pursuing weapons and would likely play into any Iranian decision making in the future.

Looking Towards June 30 

The framework deal reached in Lausanne on April 2 lays the groundwork for a strong, effective, verifiable, multi-phased, comprehensive nuclear deal. It is not a perfect arrangement for either side, but it does not have to be. The deal under negotiation will verifiably block Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and that is in the best interest of U.S. and international security. 

A number of prominent nonproliferation experts agree that if implemented, this deal will put in put in place an effective, verifiable, long-term plan to guard against an Iranian nuclear weapon. These experts agree that a framework will:

  • significantly reduce Iran's capacity to enrich uranium to the point that it would take at least 12 months to amass enough uranium enriched to weapons grade for one bomb;
  • require Iran to modify its Arak heavy water reactor to meaningfully reduce its proliferation potential and bar Iran from developing any capability for separating plutonium from spent fuel for weapons;
  • put in place enhanced international inspections and monitoring that would help to deter Iran from attempting to violate the agreement, but if Iran did, increase the international community's ability to detect promptly and, if necessary, disrupt future efforts by Iran to build nuclear weapons, including at potential undeclared sites; and
  • require Iran to cooperate with the IAEA to conclude the investigation of Iran's past efforts to develop a nuclear warhead and provide transparency sufficient to help ensure that any such effort remains in abeyance.

There is no better deal on the horizon. Efforts to apply more pressure through additional sanctions will only drive Iran away from the talks, undermine global support for the existing sanctions architecture, and kill the chance to conclude the effective, balanced agreement outlined in the Lausanne framework.

In the event that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not concluded successfully on June 30 and before the November 2013 interim deal expires, or in the event that either the United States, its P5+1 partners, or Iran reject the final deal after it is concluded, the risk of an Iranian nuclear weapon and a military conflict would grow. U.S. and Israeli intelligence analysts assess that a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would only set back its nuclear program for a period of two to four years.  

Agreement on the final Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is by no means assured. Iran and the P5+1 must work out a number of technical details before June 30.

However, difficult political decisions to pave the way to a final agreement have been already made by both sides and a sound, long-term solution is within reach.

--KELSEY DAVENPORT, Nonproliferation Policy Director, with DARYL G. KIMBALL, Executive Director


The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. ACA publishes the monthly journal, Arms Control Today.

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Posted: December 31, 1969

Enriching History: Bush to Obama on Iran's Enrichment

Some critics of the most recent P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) framework agreement with Iran mistakenly claim that allowing Iran to enrich uranium under the final deal represents a novel departure from a Bush-era zero enrichment policy. This camp believes that President Barack Obama should seek a deal with Iran that permanently eliminates all centrifuges and does not allow for any enrichment. These demands are unreasonable. Even President George W. Bush’s administration indicated as early as 2006 that a future Iranian enrichment program was a...

New START: Still Doing the Job

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) between Russia and the United States was signed five years ago today. Last week, Washington released the latest data exchanged under the treaty on the numbers of U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons. Considering that Russia and the West are passing through the worst political-military crisis since the end of the Cold War, New START’s latest numbers are particularly welcome. President Barack Obama should further burnish U.S. nuclear disarmament bona fides by ordering an acceleration of the treaty reductions already programmed and announce it at...

The P5+1 Nuclear Agreement With Iran: A Net-Plus for Nonproliferation


A group of 30 leading nuclear nonproliferation specialists, primarily from the United States, issued a joint statement today assessing the framework deal announced by the P5+1 and Iran on April 2 as a "vitally important step forward"...


Leading Nuclear Security Experts, Former Negotiators Call  P5+1 Nuclear Framework Agreement With Iran  "A Net-Plus for Nonproliferation"

For Immediate Release: April 6, 2015

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Association, 202-463-8270 ext. 107

(Washington, D.C.)--A group of 30 leading nuclear nonproliferation specialists, primarily from the United States, issued a joint statement today assessing the framework deal announced by the P5+1 and Iran on April 2 as a "vitally important step forward" for nonproliferation and international security.

"When implemented, it will put in place an effective, verifiable, enforceable, long-term plan to guard against the possibility of a new nuclear-armed state in the Middle East," the statement reads.

In their statement, the signatories, who include former U.S. nuclear negotiators and leading nuclear specialists, "...urge the P5+1 and Iranian negotiators to promptly finalize the remaining technical details and we urge policy makers in key capitals to support the deal and the steps necessary to ensure timely implementation and rigorous compliance with the agreement."

The "Parameters for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Nuclear Program" announced April 2 would establish long-term, verifiable restrictions on Iran's sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities, many of which will last for 10 years, some for 15 years, some for 25 years, with enhanced International Atomic Energy Agency inspections under the Additional Protocol and modified code 3.1 safeguards provisions lasting indefinitely.

The full text of the statement is available below.  


The P5+1 Nuclear Agreement With Iran: A Net-Plus for Nonproliferation

Statement from Nuclear Nonproliferation Specialists 

April 6, 2015

The framework agreement announced by the P5+1 and Iran is--from a nuclear nonproliferation and security standpoint--a vitally important step forward. When implemented, it will put in place an effective, verifiable, enforceable, long-term plan to guard against the possibility of a new nuclear-armed state in the Middle East.

The agreement comprehensively addresses the key routes by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons. Among other steps, the framework agreement will:

  • significantly reduce Iran's capacity to enrich uranium to the point that it would take at least 12 months to amass enough uranium enriched to weapons grade for one bomb;
  • require Iran to modify its Arak heavy water reactor to meaningfully reduce its proliferation potential and bar Iran from developing any capability for separating plutonium from spent fuel for weapons;
  • put in place enhanced international inspections and monitoring that would help to deter Iran from attempting to violate the agreement, but if Iran did, increase the international community's ability to detect promptly and, if necessary, disrupt future efforts by Iran to build nuclear weapons, including at potential undeclared sites; and
  • require Iran to cooperate with the IAEA to conclude the investigation of Iran's past efforts to develop a nuclear warhead and provide transparency sufficient to help ensure that any such effort remains in abeyance.

The agreement will strengthen U.S. security and that of our partners in the region.

Rigorous monitoring measures will remain in place not just throughout the long duration of the agreement but even after the core limits of the agreement expire, helping ensure that any movement toward nuclear weapons will be detected and providing the opportunity to intervene decisively to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Moreover, the agreement reduces the likelihood of destabilizing nuclear weapons competition in the Middle East, and strengthens global efforts to prevent proliferation, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

We urge the P5+1 and Iranian negotiators to promptly finalize the remaining technical details and we urge policy makers in key capitals to support the deal and the steps necessary to ensure timely implementation and rigorous compliance with the agreement.

Endorsed by: 

James Acton, Co-director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*

Amb. Brooke D. Anderson, former Chief of Staff and Counselor for the White House National Security Council, and former Alternative Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs

Dr. Bruce Blair, Research Scholar, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University*

Dr. Barry Blechman, co-founder, Stimson Center*

Prof. Matthew Bunn, Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom,Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University

Joseph Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Fund

Toby Dalton, Co-Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*

Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association

Dr. Sidney Drell, Stanford University*

Robert J. Einhorn, former U.S. Department of State Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control and former negotiator on the Iran nuclear talks

Prof. Steve Fetter, former Assistant Director at-large, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Robert L. Gallucci, Georgetown University

Ellie Geranmayeh, Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations*

Ilan Goldenberg, former Iran Team Chief, Office of the Secretary of Defense

R. Scott Kemp, assistant professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, former science advisor to the State Department's Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Michael Krepon, co-founder, The Stimson Center*

Dr. Edward P. Levine, retired senior professional staff member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Richard Nephew, former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State, and Director for Iran on the National Security Staff

Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey*

Amb. Thomas R. Pickering, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the Russian Federation, India, Israel, and Jordan

George Perkovich, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*

Paul R. Pillar, Former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia

William Potter, Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey*

Prof. Scott D. Sagan, Senior Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

Sharon Squassoni, Senior Fellow and Director, Proliferation Prevention Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies*

Tariq Rauf, Director Disarmament, Arms Control & Non-Proliferation Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)* and former Head of Verification & Security Policy Coordination reporting to the IAEA Director General

Dr. James Walsh, Research Associate at the Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Ali Vaez, Senior Analyst on Iran, International Crisis Group

Prof. Frank von Hippel, former Assistant Director for National Security, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

*Institution listed for identification purposes only.   



The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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Posted: December 31, 1969


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