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

– Hans Blix,
former IAEA Director-General

Arms Control NOW

The Iranian Ballistic Missile Launches That Didn't Happen

Iran’s binge of short- and medium-range ballistic missile launches on March 8 and 9 garnered considerable attention in the press and in American political circles. These provocative launches, which coincided with a visit to Israel by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, were roundly condemned by U.S. politicians in both parties. It may be more revealing, however, to focus on two Iranian missile types that were not launched last week—launches that have been expected for years. These systems, the Simorgh space rocket and the Sejjil-2 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM), represent aspects of missile...

Stemming North Korean Proliferation Today

North Korea has no intention of abandoning its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, said a panel of experts mandated by the UN Security Council in a report dated Feb. 24. The panel, part of one subsidiary committee of the Security Council, oversees council sanctions on North Korea. But in the report, the panel highlighted that “there are serious questions about the efficacy of the current United Nations sanctions regime.” Given North Korea’s intentions to expand its nuclear and missile programs, enforcing sanctions designed to prevent Pyongyang from obtaining the materials and technologies...

After Tougher Sanctions, Effective Engagement Needed to Curb North Korean Nuclear and Missile Threat

Today, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a fifth resolution to address North Korea’s destabilizing nuclear and missile programs. UN Security Council Resolution 2270 was adopted in response to North Korea’s dangerous nuclear provocations of early 2016, namely a fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and a second launch of a satellite on Feb. 7, which has implications for its long-range ballistic missile development efforts. The new resolution imposes the most comprehensive sanctions to date. UNSCR 2270 seeks to: curb Pyongyang’s access to materials with military applications,...

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal Alert, February 26

IAEA Reports on Iran’s Compliance The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued its first quarterly report on Iran’s nuclear program after the agency certified on Jan. 16 that Tehran met the requirements for formal implementation of the July 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. While light on details, the Feb. 26 report noted that Iran is meeting its nuclear obligations under the deal. Iran briefly exceeded the 130 metric ton limit on its heavy-water stockpile imposed by the nuclear deal, but took steps to reduce the 130.9 tons to under the required...

Iridium in Iraq: Wake Up Call on Radioactive Source Security

Luckily, radioactive material that went missing near Basra, Iraq in November was found intact on Sunday ten miles from the city at a gas station in Zubair, allaying fears that it was intended for an explosive device designed to disperse radioactive material, a so-called dirty bomb. It is important not to over-hype the threat posed by a dirty bomb: weaponizing radioactive materials is difficult and dangerous. But given the prevalence of radioactive sources, the international community can and must do more to ensure that these materials are securely stored, because detonation of a dirty bomb...

Last Obama Budget Goes for Broke on Nuclear Weapons

Consider the following facts. The United States is planning to rebuild all three legs of the nuclear triad and their associated warheads at a cost and on a schedule that many military leaders say is unsustainable. In addition, these plans would leave the United States with a larger deployed strategic nuclear arsenal than President Barack Obama has said is needed for U.S. security. Unfortunately, the president’s final budget request released today is divorced from reality. The Fiscal Year 2017 proposal contains significant increases for several Defense and Energy department nuclear weapons...

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal Alert, January 21

Iran, P5+1 Mark Deal Implementation Day Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini announced on Jan. 16 that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Tehran completed its nuclear commitments under the July 14 nuclear deal. The agency’s verification triggered “implementation day” according to the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States). On implementation day, nuclear-related sanctions on Iran imposed by the United...

The Nonproliferation Impact of Iran Nuclear Deal Implementation Day

On January 16, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that Tehran completed its nuclear-related commitments under the July 2015 nuclear agreement and sanctions were lifted accordingly. Zaif and Mogherini said that “proper implementation will be a key contribution to improved regional and international peace, stability and security.” The arrival of implementation day of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action , marks a historic milestone in the process to block Iran’s pathways to a nuclear...

The Notorious Mr. Bout

Referred to as the “Merchant of Death,” Viktor Bout provided weapons to some of the world’s deadliest conflicts for more than 20 years. Used by governments large and small, rebel groups, and other undesirable actors, Bout’s name is synonymous with the shadowy world of international arms brokers. Though Bout came to represent the dark underpinnings of the global arms trade, a recent documentary provides a somewhat more intimate view of his global enterprise. Based primarily upon footage from Bout’s home video collection, The Notorious Mr. Bout gives viewers a glimpse of the man, husband,...

A Fourth North Korean Nuclear Test: What It Means; What Must Be Done

(Updated January 19, 2016 to reflect the revised magnitude estimate.) North Korea claims it has conducted a fourth nuclear weapons test explosion and early readings from seismic stations in the region strongly suggest a relatively low-yield underground nuclear test was conducted. According to the Vienna-based Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) , the “initial location estimate” of the seismic activity shows that the event took place in the area of North Korea’s nuclear test site, Punggye-ri, which is located in the northeast of the country. The test has been universally...

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