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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

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...

How Should Washington Respond to Iran’s Ballistic Missile Tests?

Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests, while extremely unhelpful, should not come as a surprise. And although the missile tests violate UN Security Council Resolution 1929, they are not a violation of the soon-to-be-implemented nuclear deal between six world powers and Iran. There should be consequences for violations of Security Council resolutions. However, U.S. policymakers should put the risks posed by the missile tests in perspective and pursue effective actions that address the violation, but do not undermine progress toward reducing Iran’s nuclear potential. Despite the passage of UN...

IAEA Closes Iran’s Nuclear Past, Not its Future

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors voted unanimously Dec. 15 to close the agency’s investigation into Iran’s past weaponization work. The Board also took the important step of instructing the IAEA to rigorously pursue any concerns about Iran’s nuclear activities that might arise in the future. The Board’s decision to close Iran’s file was hardly a surprise. The Dec. 2 report from IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano determining that Iran pursued a nuclear weapons program prior to 2003, and conducted periodic activities leading up until 2009, largely fit with...

Show but Don’t Tell: Selective Nuclear Narratives in North Korea

For a propaganda state reliant on a state-sanctioned image to indoctrinate its people and promote a certain reputation globally, a successful missile test is an event to be photographed and celebrated in the state-run news. Today, the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced that his state has developed a hydrogen bomb, a new claim that has elicited skepticism from experts. This decree, like its many other public pronouncements and demonstrations of military equipment, does not necessarily reflect North Korea’s true current capability. Pyongyang meticulously crafts its own nuclear narrative...

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal Alert, December 4

The IAEA PMD Report Is Out The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its long-awaited report on Iran’s past activities in twelve areas related to nuclear weapons development, the so-called possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program. The Dec. 2 report assessed that Iran conducted a coordinated “range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device” prior to the end of 2003 and some of the activities continued between 2003-2009. According to the assessment the “activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the...

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