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Former UN Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs
January 28, 2004
The Week Ahead Nov. 12-15: Iran Talks Continue; Syrian CW Plan; Senate Debates Defense

Arms Control NOW

WeekAheadSOLOThis bulletin highlights significant events in the world of arms control in the coming week, as compiled by staff and friends of the Arms Control Association. (Send your suggestions for events to be covered here.)

- the Editors at Arms Control Today

IAEA Quarterly Report on Iran's Nuclear Program

On Monday, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano will met with top Iranian officials to initial an an updated framework agreement for cooperation. See: .

Later this week the IAEA is expected to release an updated quarterly report on Iran's nuclear program. The last report issued in August describes moderate progress toward the installation of additional uranium enrichment centrifuges, a relatively steady quantity of 20% enriched uranium, which is of particular proliferation concern, and delays regarding the ongoing construction of a heavy water reactor at Arak. For a summary of the previous IAEA report see: "The August IAEA Report on Iran: Key Takeaways," August 28.

Preparations for the Next Round of P5+1/Iran Talks

This week, Secretary of State Kerry and lead U.S. negotiator at the P5+1/Iran talks, Undersecretary Wendy Sherman, are expected to brief key members of Congress on the results of the Nov. 7-9 round of negotiations in Geneva. For an assessment of those discussions, see "Closing in on a Deal with Iran," an ArmsControlNow blogpost by Daryl Kimball and Kelsey Davenport.

On Nov. 12, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing on the status of the negotiations with nongovernmental experts, including Colin Kahl with the Center for a New American Security.

OPCW Decision on Syrian Chemical Weapons Destruction Plan

A Syrian delegation arrived in The Hague on November 11 for discussions with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) aimed at finalizing plans for the destruction of the country's stockpile of chemical weapons.

Under its mandate from the UN Security Council, the OPCW has until Nov. 15 to decide on intermediate milestones and methods for the destruction of the bulk of its 1,000 stockpile. OPCW officials have said that Syria's proposal that the chemicals be destroyed outside of the country is "the most viable option." The United States has been consulting with countries including, Albania, France, Belgium and Norway, if they can assist in the destruction process, according to news reports.

See: "Ridding Syria of Chemical Weapons: Next Steps," by Jean Pascal Zanders and Ralf Trapp in the November issue of Arms Control Today for an overview of the challenges and the solutions. (Subscription required to access before Nov. 18.)

Senate to Consider Defense Authorization Bill

The Senate is scheduled to consider amendments on and to vote on the National Defense Authorization Act beginning November 18.

The Senate is expected to debate amendments on U.S. plans and methods for achieving further nuclear arms reductions with Russia, funding of the Syrian chemical disarmament mission, and amendments that would seek to impose additional sanctions on Iran or to limit the President's waiver authority for sanctions already on the books, even if Iran agrees to concrete limits on its nuclear program.