“Your association has taken a significant role in fostering public awareness of nuclear disarmament and has led to its advancement.”
– Kazi Matsui
Mayor of Hiroshima
June 2, 2022

IAEA Iran Probe Winding Down; Dispute With U.S., EU Countries

Paul Kerr

In advance of a meeting beginning Sept. 13, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei is to present the agency’s Board of Governors with a report describing progress in the two-year investigation of Iran’s nuclear programs.

In contrast to several past reports, ElBaradei will not reveal any undisclosed Iranian nuclear activities, a diplomat close to the Vienna-based agency told Arms Control Today Aug. 20. The report will resolve, or nearly resolve, most outstanding issues that the agency has been called upon to investigate with regard to Iran’s nuclear activities, the source added.

However, the meeting is unlikely to resolve the controversy surrounding Iran’s nuclear activities or diminish U.S. pressure on Tehran to give up its nuclear program. Questions regarding Iran’s nuclear intentions remain, and Tehran has not taken most actions the board called for in a June resolution, the latest of several that have criticized Iran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA. (See ACT, July/August 2004.)

IAEA Investigates

In particular, the June resolution emphasized concerns about Iran’s uranium-enrichment activities, especially questions concerning its advanced centrifuge program and the IAEA’s previously reported discovery of enriched uranium at several locations in the country. Gas centrifuges can produce civilian nuclear reactor fuel as well as highly enriched uranium for use in nuclear weapons.

Iran’s clandestine centrifuge program has sparked concern that it has a secret nuclear weapons program. Countries party to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) are permitted to enrich uranium, but they must do so under IAEA safeguards agreements. These accords empower the IAEA to ensure nuclear facilities are used solely for civilian purposes. Iran covertly tested some of its centrifuges with nuclear material—a violation of its agreement.

The resolution called on Iran to implement fully its October 2003 pledge to suspend its uranium-enrichment program, a pledge that was part of an agreement with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. (See ACT, November 2003.) However, irritated by the Europeans’ support for the June resolution, Iran stated later that month that it would resume making centrifuge components and assembling centrifuges.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi told reporters July 31 that Tehran had started building centrifuges, Reuters reported. Iran’s centrifuge work is taking place under IAEA supervision, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Financial Times Aug. 9. Iran has not resumed actual uranium enrichment.

Such activity has caused controversy before. Iran continued to manufacture components and assemble centrifuges even after it suspended activities at its other enrichment facilities late last year. Iran agreed in February to stop both component manufacturing and centrifuge assembly, but ElBaradei reported in June that Iran had not stopped manufacturing components. (See ACT, March 2004.)

The resolution also called on Iran to refrain from producing uranium hexafluoride—the feedstock for gas centrifuges—in its uranium conversion facility. Iran told the agency it would begin testing the facility in May, but the Vienna diplomat said Iran has not yet done so.

The board further called on Iran to “voluntarily…reconsider its decision to start construction” of a heavy-water nuclear reactor. Iran was supposed to start construction in June but has not yet done so, a Department of State official said Aug. 27. The United States views this reactor as a proliferation concern, arguing that it is well suited for producing plutonium, which also can be used in nuclear weapons.

As for the enriched uranium particles that the IAEA reported earlier this year, the agency’s investigation has apparently made progress. Iran claims that the particles originated from imported centrifuge components, but previous IAEA reports have questioned that explanation. This uncertainty suggested that Iran had either obtained or produced enriched uranium that it did not report. However, the Vienna diplomatic source stated that, despite these earlier reports, the imported components can probably account for all of the particles in question, but cautioned that this will not be confirmed for some time.

Specifically, the source confirmed press reports that uranium enriched to 54 percent U-235 came from centrifuges imported from Pakistan. Uranium particles enriched to 36 percent U-235 apparently came from equipment originating in the former Soviet Union and reaching Iran via China and Pakistan. Iran’s use of a network run by former Pakistani nuclear weapons official Abdul Qadeer Khan to acquire materials for its centrifuge program has been known for some time. (See ACT, March 2004.)

This, however, does not explain other outstanding issues such as Tehran’s experiments with polonium, an element with limited civilian uses that can be used to trigger a chain reaction in a nuclear weapon.

The IAEA also is investigating allegations that Iran tried to cover up undisclosed nuclear activities by demolishing buildings located at a site called Lavizan Shian. Despite the fact that satellite images appeared to show that Iran razed buildings and scraped topsoil from the site, there is no evidence that Iran removed the soil or undertook prohibited nuclear activities there, the Vienna source said. (See ACT, July/August 2004.)

The source also revealed that the IAEA has completed its preliminary assessment of Iran’s May declaration under the additional protocol to its safeguards agreement. As part of its October 2003 agreement, Iran agreed to sign an additional protocol and act as if it were in force until the Majlis (Iran’s parliament) ratifies it. The board urged Iran in June to ratify the protocol, but the Majlis has yet to do so.

Next Steps
Diplomatic efforts since the June meeting have failed to moderate Iran’s provocative behavior. A July 29 meeting between the European governments and Tehran failed to persuade Iran to stop its centrifuge activity. According to a European diplomat, Iran had agreed in October to an unwritten “understanding” to eventually dismantle its nuclear fuel facilities in return for a guaranteed external fuel supply. However, Iranian officials continue to insist that they will not accept such an arrangement, although Zarif indicated that Iran wished to “address the legitimate concerns” of the United States and the Europeans regarding its nuclear program.

A State Department official interviewed Aug. 17 said Washington believes that the European governments’ diplomacy “has run its course” and that more pressure needs to be applied to Tehran. The June resolution did not set a deadline for Tehran to cooperate or mandate any consequences to be imposed if it did not.

Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton conveyed a sense of urgency regarding Iran’s nuclear program to a Hudson Institute audience Aug. 17, asserting that, “[i]f we permit Iran’s deception to go on much longer...Iran will have nuclear weapons.” He added that Iran told its European interlocutors in July that it could “enrich enough uranium for nuclear weapons within a year.” Bolton told Reuters two days later that Iran further claimed “it could possess nuclear weapons within three years.” But foreign diplomats familiar with the meeting contradicted these reports.

Bolton also alluded to recent press reports suggesting that Iran is acquiring additional materials with possible nuclear weapons applications (see sidebar).

The current estimate for when Iran might acquire nuclear weapons is unclear. A February 2003 Defense Intelligence Agency estimate says Iran will have a nuclear bomb by 2010 if it acquires the necessary technology and fissile material. Israeli intelligence estimates that Iran will be able to develop a nuclear weapon by 2007, according to July press reports.

The Bush administration has not yet decided whether to try and persuade the board to find Iran in noncompliance with its safeguards agreement at the September meeting. Such a finding requires the board to refer the matter to the UN Security Council, which may then take measures, including economic sanctions, against Tehran. The United States failed to persuade the board to adopt such a stance in a November 2003 resolution and has not attempted to do so since.

The official acknowledged that the tone of ElBaradei’s report will play a large factor in determining whether Washington will be able to get a noncompliance finding. “We have our work cut out for us,” the official said, adding that the European governments are still deciding on their position.

Kharazi said on state television that Iran wants the board to resolve the issues concerning its nuclear program at the upcoming meeting, Agence France Presse reported Aug. 19. Zarif said that Iran may not follow through on its commitment to ratify the additional protocol if the matter is referred to the Security Council.

Bushehr Delay
Meanwhile, Assadollah Sabouri, deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, announced Aug. 22 that Iran’s nuclear reactor under construction near the city of Bushehr will not begin operating until 2006, Agence France Presse reported. This marked yet another delay from its scheduled 2003 beginning date.

Sabouri also stated that Iran will begin using domestically produced nuclear fuel for its reactors after a 10-year fuel-supply agreement with Russia ends. Moscow is building the reactor and has agreed to supply fuel for it. Russia promised the United States that it would take back the reactor’s spent fuel to prevent Iran from extracting plutonium from it. The agreement is not yet concluded, and Russia has refused to send nuclear fuel to Iran until it is.

The announcement that Iran eventually plans to provide its own fuel for the Bushehr reactor could exacerbate U.S. concerns. Bolton stated Aug. 17 that the reactor “would produce enough plutonium each year for about 30 nuclear weapons.”

Steps to Developing a Nuclear Weapon: The Uranium Route

Paul Kerr

Along with plutonium, highly enriched uranium (HEU) is one of two key materials that can be used as the explosive material in nuclear weapons. For two years, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been probing Iran’s covert use of uranium enrichment technologies to determine whether Tehran has a secret program to build nuclear weapons in violation of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

Enrichment is the process of increasing the concentration of the uranium-235 isotope, which fissions far more readily than the more common uranium-238 isotope. Natural uranium is only 0.7 percent uranium-235. Uranium that contains uranium-235 (low-enriched uranium) is used as fuel in power reactors.

But the same technologies that produce weapons-grade uranium, also can produce low-enriched uranium for civilian nuclear power plants, complicating the IAEA’s task.

In July, new information emerged suggesting that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Western diplomatic sources, as well as a U.S. official, confirmed press accounts of intelligence describing Iranian attempts to purchase deuterium (or heavy water) and high-speed electronic switches. Both are dual-use materials, which can be used to produce a more advanced nuclear weapon. Undersecretary of State John Bolton stated Aug. 17 that the United States wants the IAEA to investigate these “procurement attempts.”

Step 1 Mine and process uranium

• Iranian President Mohammad Khatami announced Feb. 9, 2003 that Iran had started mining uranium near the city of Yazd.

Step 2 Convert uranium oxide into uranium hexafluoride for enrichment

• On March 3, 2003 Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Rowhani declared Iran’s uranium conversion facility operational.
• A June 6, 2003 report from IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei revealed that Iran had imported uranium compounds such as uranium hexafluoride, uranium tetrafluoride, and uranium dioxide in 1991.
• ElBaradei presented a report Aug. 26, 2003, which included Iran’s admission that it had conducted uranium conversion experiments in the early 1990’s.
• Iran informed the IAEA April 29 that it would begin “hot tests” of the facility’s uranium hexafluoride production line beginning May 6, but there is no public indication that it has done so.

Step 3 Enrich Uranium

Gas Centrifuges: Precision rotors containing uranium hexafluoride gas spin at very high speeds. Heavier isotopes concentrate toward the wall of the rotor, where they can be removed.

• During a Feb. 21-22, 2003 visit, ElBaradei reportedly expressed surprise at the progress of the Iranian gas centrifuge facility. Iran was operating a small pilot facility with more than 160 centrifuges and planning to install up to 50,000 centrifuges at a commercial facility located at the same site. Iran suspended work at the site last December after agreeing to do so in October 2003.
• The subsequent IAEA investigation revealed that Iran had covertly tested centrifuges with nuclear material. Under
the NPT, states are permitted to possess enrichment facilities, but they must allow the IAEA to monitor their operation. Iran publicly tested a single centrifuge June 25, 2003 and began to test 10 more centrifuges two months later. On Feb. 24, 2004 ElBaradei stated that Iran had continued to manufacture centrifuge parts and assemble entire centrifuges. Iran agreed in February to suspend this activity, but it never entirely stopped manufacturing components. Tehran then announced June 24, 2004 that it would resume making components and assembling centrifuges.
• ElBaradei also revealed in February that Iran had conducted research and development on a centrifuge more advanced than the type it had disclosed to the IAEA. He further reported June 1 that a private Iranian company had made inquiries about procuring components for thousands of centrifuges.

Laser Enrichment: Laser-based enrichment technologies utilize small differences in light frequencies to ionize lighter uranium-235 from heavier uranium-238. The weapons-grade atoms are then collected on a negatively charged plate.

• In late October 2003, Iranian officials admitted to pursuing and making significant progress on laser technology but said it no longer has operating laser enrichment facilities.

Step 4 Bomb design and development, computer simulation, and non-nuclear high-explosive testing

• Intelligence reports described in July press accounts indicate that Iran has attempted to obtain high-speed electronic switches, although it is unclear when these attempts took place or whether Tehran is still attempting to do so. Such switches are used to ensure that conventional high explosives in implosion weapons detonate simultaneously.
• The February 2004 report from ElBaradei stated that Iran had conducted experiments with polonium, which can be used as a neutron initiator to trigger a nuclear chain reaction.
• Intelligence reports also indicate that Iran is attempting to acquire deuterium from Russia. Deuterium, along with tritium, is used as the “boost gas” in a certain type of nuclear weapon. Additionally, deuterium and tritium are used as neutron initiators in modern nuclear weapons. The boost gas greatly increases the yield of a given amount of fissile material. Deuterium also can be used as a moderator in heavy-water nuclear reactors (heavy water is another name for deuterium). Iran has said it is constructing such a reactor, along with a heavy-water plant.

Step 5 Fabricate highly enriched uranium into a bomb core or “pit,” and assemble the weapon

• No evidence.

Possible Step Nuclear testing.*

• No evidence.

* HEU can be used to make two fundamentally different types of weapons: gun-type weapons and implosion weapons. Gun-type weapons (such as the “Little Boy” bomb used in the 1945 attack on Hiroshima, Japan ) require more HEU, but are far simpler to design and build. Such weapons require neither a neutron trigger, nor high-explosive testing or assemblies. These weapons also allow manufacturers very high confidence that the devices will explode, even without testing. Implosion weapons use one-third as much HEU (or less), but are much more difficult to design and build.

EU Eyes Lifting China Arms Embargo

Gabrielle Kohlmeier

Despite adamant U.S. opposition, France and Germany are pushing to repeal a 15-year-old European Union arms embargo on China.

Last December, Paris successfully prodded the EU leadership to reconsider the ban. Now, expectations are high both on the Chinese and much of the European side that the ban will be lifted by Dec. 8, when EU and Chinese leaders will hold an annual summit in The Hague.

Arms embargoes against China were put in place by the United States and the European Union after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Although sanctions imposed on China by the United States involve concrete prohibitions on the export of any item on the U.S. Munitions List, the European embargo lacks such specificity, resulting in different interpretations of the ban by different EU member states. In some member states, virtually any military sales are banned, whereas in others, such as the United Kingdom, nonlethal military items are not seen as restricted by the embargo.

Moreover, since 1989, both the United States and members of the European Union continued to engage in military transfers to China. According to a 1998 General Accounting Office report, presidential waivers of the U.S. ban between 1989 and 1998 resulted in defense transactions to China worth approximately $350 million. Three EU members—France, Italy, and the United Kingdom—also have delivered military items to China, although no new agreement on the delivery of lethal articles has been negotiated since 1989.

Because sales of some military items have continued, the embargo is seen by many European countries as largely symbolic. Additionally, at a time when the European Union is on the verge of becoming China’s largest trade partner, China has pushed hard for the ban’s removal.

China has become the world’s largest arms importer, with a defense budget estimated at $50-70 billion. Russia is currently China’s leading supplier, providing as much as $2.1 billion worth of arms annually. But Chinese officials claim that many of the Russian items are of inferior quality and that they want to diversify suppliers.

With European defense budgets dropping precipitously, European defense companies have been pushing for entry into China’s market. But critics maintain that lifting the ban will accelerate the modernization of China’s defense, thereby endangering regional security and human rights.

Proponents contend that other safeguards will remain in place, such as the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, a set of principles to which EU members are politically bound. Numerous EU member states have enacted this into their domestic legislation. The code requires EU members to restrict exports to countries with serious human rights violations and to countries where there is a clear risk that weapons could be used for internal repression or external aggression. In addition to strengthening the Code of Conduct, the European Union also is planning to strengthen export controls on dual-use technologies and similarly ambiguous items. Proponents, therefore, argue that with such safeguards in place, repeal of the ban will have a negligible effect on arms sales to China.

That argument appears to have swayed Dutch officials. The Netherlands, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, had strongly supported maintaining the ban, as has Denmark and Sweden. The Dutch leadership declared the issue of the embargo against China to be one of the most difficult issues it will face during its presidency but divulged that it will not resist if the remaining EU states support lifting the ban.

Support for the ban within the European Union seems to be faltering under French and German pressure, but there remain some advocates for preserving the ban. British European Parliament member Graham Watson, the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, in an Aug. 3 editorial in the International Herald Tribune called the pressure to lift the ban “commercial, pure and simple,” which goes against the ethical “guiding logic of the ban.”

The United States also has ramped up efforts to convince the European Union to maintain the embargo, which is seen as an essential strategic device to slow China’s defense modernization. Secretary of State Colin Powell has used numerous opportunities this year to emphasize the importance of maintaining the ban, stressing that the reasons for the initial imposition of the ban remain valid today. The United States also is wary of the European Union’s promised safeguards, which it sees as tenuous at best once the embargo is lifted and economic pressures weigh in.

Members of Congress have introduced legislation that will both restrict transfers of U.S. military technology to European countries selling arms to China and forbid purchases by the Pentagon from such countries. This bill could affect current U.S. efforts aimed at making U.S. forces interoperable with the forces of its European allies.

U.S. Eyes Missile Defense Site in Europe

Wade Boese

The United States is currently holding discussions with the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland about building a U.S. missile defense interceptor site on one of their territories, Arms Control Today has learned. Although no final decision has been made to establish a missile interceptor base in Europe, a top Pentagon official previously indicated that, if a decision were made, the United States might begin construction on such a site as early as 2006.

Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton provided a hint of the previously secret negotiations during a recent visit to Poland. Speaking May 31 to reporters covering the one-year anniversary of a U.S.-led counterproliferation initiative, Bolton said, “[W]e’re now engaged in discussions with Poland about the possibility of basing interceptors and radars here.” ACT has learned, however, that consultations with the Czech Republic and Hungary have also started. Discussions with the three central European countries are reportedly still in the preliminary stages.

The general process for military-basing consultations involves the United States preparing a list of criteria on what it is seeking in a base and the potential host countries nominating specific sites. U.S. officials then visit and evaluate the options, select one, and began negotiations with the respective government on operational parameters, including command and control issues.

It is unclear when decisions will be made on whether and where to build such a site. A foreign government official familiar with the talks said that at this time there are “a lot of ifs.”

Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA), first disclosed general U.S. planning for a foreign missile defense deployment in congressional testimony earlier this year.

In a prepared statement on MDA’s fiscal year 2005 budget request, Kadish reported, “In Block 2006, we are preparing to move forward when appropriate to build a third [ground-based interceptor] site at a location outside the United States.” MDA divides its future plans into two-year periods known as blocks, so Block 2006 refers to the period between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2007.

As part of its fiscal year 2005 budget, MDA requested approximately $35 million for “long lead activity for [ground-based interceptors] at a potential third site.” Whether Congress ultimately will support this request remains up in the air, but the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House Appropriations Committee have both recommended that the Pentagon not spend money on this long-lead activity because no third site has been specified.

Kadish explained in his testimony, “For the cost of 10 [ground-based interceptors] and associated infrastructure, we will be able to demonstrate in the most convincing way possible our commitment to” protecting U.S. allies and deployed forces.

Reassuring friends and fulfilling President George W. Bush’s repeated claim that U.S. defenses will protect more than just America are important factors in consideration of a European missile defense site. Yet, the driving rationale is that the two U.S. interceptor sites currently under construction are not ideally situated to protect the U.S. East Coast from a long-range ballistic missile launched from the Middle East.

Later this summer, the Pentagon will begin stationing interceptors at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, with this force set to grow to about 20 by the end of 2005. But those missiles are geared toward defending against a North Korean ballistic missile strike and would have little utility in other scenarios, particularly attacks from the opposite direction.

Whether the missiles are based in Europe or the United States, the missile defense system still faces substantial technical challenges. Both the General Accounting Office, Congress’s investigative arm, and the top weapons tester for the Department of Defense have reported that the Pentagon has not yet proven that the interceptors can perform their mission because they have yet to be subjected to real-world-type testing. (See ACT, May 2004.) MDA contends that the interceptors must be deployed before they can be tested in such a way.





New European Defense Agency Approved

Gabrielle Kohlmeier

The creation of a European Defense Agency (EDA) was jumpstarted after receiving a 2 million euros allocation June 14, and being enshrined in the new European Union Constitution June 17. The agency’s mandate involves defense capabilities development, armaments cooperation, and research and technology.

EU officials hope the agency will help find ways to eliminate unnecessary defense spending due to duplication and incompatible equipment, which have decreased the EU’s defense capabilities, relative to the U.S. and other world powers. EU countries have combined defense budgets of €160 billion ($193 billion) and 1.6 million troops, but many lack capabilities such as rapid troop deployment, real-time battle information and precision-guided munitions. By comparison, the U.S. defense budget is currently in excess of $400 billion.

As part of a six-year endeavor to enhance EU defense capabilities, the EDA is expected to begin work within a few weeks, and is to include a staff of 25 by the end of the year. In 2005, the budget allocation is expected to grow to €25 million, and the staff to 80. The EU ministers anticipate the agency will “improv[e] Europe’s defense performance by promoting coherence in place of fragmentation.”

Initially, discord arose between France and Britain over their disparate visions for the agency. France, which sought independence for the agency from the U.S.-led NATO alliance, won out over Britain’s hope of enhancing defense capabilities while working closely with NATO. France withdrew from NATO military bodies in 1955 because of U.S. dominance in the organization. Last minute objections raised by Portugal, over a provision allowing militarily advanced countries, such as Germany, the U.K. and France, to set up arms projects open to others by invitation only, were resolved through wording changes.

However, the three largest European defense contractors criticized the allocation as too heavily focused on staffing the agency, with too little attention given to fulfilling the agency’s mission of research and development, particularly in the face of competitive pressure from U.S. counterparts.





NATO Expands, Russia Grumbles

Wade Boese

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov is calling upon the United States and NATO not to let relations with Russia slip into a “cold peace” following the March 29 addition of seven new members into the Western military alliance. In an April 6 speech in Washington, Ivanov struck the shrillest note among Russian leaders in a persistent yet resigned chorus opposing NATO’s growth.

Ivanov depicted Moscow’s view of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia joining NATO as “calm, but negative.” Ivanov, who attended a NATO-Russian meeting on combating terrorism the day before, said that a window of opportunity remained for a meaningful NATO-Russian partnership but warned that the West should not allow it to become a “small vent shaft” or close altogether by forsaking Russian interests.

NATO’s recent expansion marked the second time that states from the old Soviet military bloc joined their previous Cold War rivals and the first to include former Soviet republics, in the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. NATO welcomed Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic into its ranks in 1999.

At the heart of NATO membership is a guarantee that an attack against one member will be considered an attack against all. In recent years, NATO has augmented its traditional role of defending its members’ territories with military action and deployments outside its members’ borders, such as in the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.

Russia objects to such activism. It also charges that the newest round of expansion will enable the alliance to deploy an unlimited amount of weaponry next to Russia’s borders in the three Baltic states, which are not bound by the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. The CFE Treaty balanced the number of battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, heavy artillery, combat aircraft, and attack helicopters that NATO and the now-defunct Warsaw Pact could deploy in Europe.

Four NATO fighter jets started patrolling the three Baltic states’ airspace following their formal accession to the alliance. NATO, which now numbers 26 members, described the overflights as “routine policing.”

Although NATO contends that its expansion is not aimed at Russia, Ivanov appeared unconvinced. He declared that the Kremlin has “no illusions about the reasons why the Baltic states were admitted into NATO and why NATO airplanes…are being deployed there.” Ivanov explained, “It has nothing to do with a fight against terrorism and proliferation.”

Russia is urging that the Baltic states accede as soon as possible to a 1999 adapted version of the CFE Treaty. However, the three states cannot do so yet because the updated treaty, which supplants the original treaty’s arms limits on the two former Cold War military blocs with national limits for each state-party, has not entered into force. The original CFE Treaty, which has no provision for nonmembers to join it, is still in force and will remain so until all 30 existing CFE Treaty states-parties formally approve the adapted version.

NATO members are refusing to ratify the adapted CFE Treaty until Russia fulfills military withdrawal commitments related to Georgia and Moldova. In conjunction with the 1999 overhaul of the CFE Treaty, Moscow pledged that it would withdraw all of its military forces from Moldova by the end of 2002 and conclude negotiations with Georgia to close Russian bases on its territory by the end of 2000. Russia has not fulfilled either pledge. (See ACT, December 2003.)

While pressing Moscow to complete these actions, NATO is seeking to reassure Russia that its fear about unrestrained armaments in the Baltic states is unwarranted. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have all promised to apply for CFE membership once the adapted agreement enters into force.

Moreover, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told Russian President Vladimir Putin April 8 that “neither old nor new NATO members have any intention to station significant numbers of troops on their territories.”

Standing alongside Scheffer, Putin said Russia intends to “do all we can to ensure that relations between Russia and NATO develop positively.” Still, he labeled NATO expansion as a “problem” that did not address current security threats, such as terrorism.

Both Ivanov and Putin cautioned that any buildup of NATO military infrastructure near Russia’s borders would influence future Russian defense and security policies.

Secretary of State Colin Powell April 1 dismissed Moscow’s concerns that the West wants to hem Russia in. While noting the Pentagon’s interest in shifting U.S. bases around in Europe to respond better to troubled regions or terrorism, Powell said overall U.S. troop strength in Europe would decrease.

Nevertheless, Powell indicated NATO and the United States would remain vigilant against any Russian strong-arm tactics on its periphery. “Russia will try to exercise its influence and I think it’s something that we will have to watch and we’ll have to deal with,” Powell stated.





Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov is calling upon the United States and NATO not to let relations with Russia slip into a “cold peace” following...

Iran and IAEA Agree on Action Plan; U.S., Europeans Not Satisfied

Paul Kerr

Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reached agreement in early April on an action plan to complete the agency’s investigation of Iran’s nuclear program. As a critical IAEA meeting approaches, however, Tehran’s simultaneous decision to move forward with two nuclear projects seems likely to perpetuate international suspicions that Tehran is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.

After meeting with senior Iranian officials in Tehran April 6, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei reached an “agreement on a joint action plan with a timetable to deal with outstanding issues regarding the verification of Iran’s nuclear program,” according to an IAEA press release. ElBaradei suggested April 6 that the plan “will hopefully pave the way for progress.” Among other steps, the plan calls for Iran to provide the IAEA with information about its centrifuge program by the end of April.

In May, ElBaradei is to present a report on Iran’s progress. The IAEA Board of Governors will consider the results in June during what is widely seen as a crucial meeting.

The agreement marked the latest attempt to put a satisfactory end to a nearly two-year-old investigation into Iran’s effort to acquire a nuclear fuel cycle. Last October, after months of hesitant cooperation, Iran struck a deal with Germany, France, and the United Kingdom in which it promised to cooperate with the IAEA’s investigation, sign an additional protocol to its existing safeguards agreement with the IAEA, and suspend uranium-enrichment work. That same month, Iran provided the agency with what was supposed to be a complete declaration of all its nuclear activities.

Both Iran’s declaration and the agency’s investigation provided enough information for the board to adopt a resolution the following month condemning Iran’s pursuit of undeclared nuclear activities in violation of its IAEA safeguards agreement. Such agreements commit states-parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) to provide sufficient transparency in their nuclear activities to assure other member states that they are not diverting civilian nuclear activities to military purposes.

Moreover, a February report from ElBaradei said Iran omitted several nuclear activities from its October declaration. Prodded by this report, the board’s March resolution called on Iran “to resolve all outstanding [nuclear] issues.”

In particular, the resolution called on Iran to answer questions regarding traces of uranium found at two facilities associated with Iran’s gas centrifuge-based uranium-enrichment program; Iran’s experiments with a possible nuclear-weapon trigger; and the scope of Iran’s uranium-enrichment programs. (See ACT, March 2004.)

As part of the April action plan, Iran has agreed to provide the agency with “detailed information regarding aspects of its centrifuge program” by the end of April. Gas centrifuges can be used to produce highly enriched uranium for use in nuclear weapons, as well as low-enriched uranium for use in civilian nuclear reactors. NPT states-parties are permitted to own uranium-enrichment facilities without restraint, but they are only supposed to operate these facilities under a safeguards agreement with the IAEA, which monitors the use of the equipment. The board already condemned Iran in November 2003 for secretly testing centrifuges with nuclear material—a violation of its safeguards agreement.

In a step designed to ease these concerns, Iran agreed in April to further comply with a key provision in its October pledge to the Europeans: suspending its uranium-enrichment activities. Mohammad Saeedi, an official from Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told Reuters April 12 that Iran had stopped making centrifuge components 3 days before, thereby fulfilling a February pledge to the IAEA. ElBaradei’s February report stated that Iran had suspended work on its centrifuge facilities but had continued to assemble some individual centrifuges and manufacture related components.

This month, Iran is also set to provide the IAEA with a fuller declaration of its nuclear-related activities. This declaration will be Tehran’s first under its additional protocol to its IAEA safeguards agreement. The protocol requires Iran to declare significantly more nuclear-related activities than it would under its original safeguards agreement and provides the IAEA with more freedom to investigate any questions or inconsistencies. Since agreeing to conclude the protocol as part of its October deal with the Europeans, Iran has signed the agreement and has pledged to act as if it were in force until it is approved by the Majlis, Iran’s parliament. (See ACT, January/February 2004.)

Upcoming Controversy Likely

Iranian Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told reporters April 6 that “Iran strongly expects” its outstanding issues with the IAEA to be settled at the June board meeting. However, several recent Iranian actions seem likely to perpetuate controversy over its nuclear programs.

In particular, Iran’s March decision to postpone for about two weeks an IAEA inspection scheduled for that month may impede the board’s ability to render a definitive judgment about Iran’s programs. A Department of State official told Arms Control Today April 20 that the postponement not only led to a two-week delay in agency inspections of civilian nuclear-related sites but also caused a significant delay in inspections of military facilities. As a consequence, the official said, samples taken from these sites may not be ready in time for the June board meeting. IAEA spokesperson Melissa Fleming confirmed the next day that samples “taken during recent inspections might not be available” in time for the report.

Inspecting military sites is important to the IAEA’s investigation because seven of the 13 Iranian “workshops” involved in producing centrifuge components are located on military sites, according to a March 30 agency document. IAEA inspectors visited one military facility in January, agency officials said.

Two other decisions from Tehran also seem certain to raise questions about its nuclear intentions. The State Department official said that Iran announced it will start construction on a heavy-water nuclear reactor in June, terming the decision a “deeply troubling move.” Tehran had previously announced its plans to construct the reactor sometime in 2004 at Arak. (See ACT, December 2003.) U.S. officials fear the reactor might be part of a nuclear weapons program because it is too small to contribute significantly to a civilian energy program but could generate plutonium for reprocessing into fissile material. Iran claims the reactor is for producing isotopes for civilian purposes and that its size is appropriate for that purpose.

Tehran also caused a stir when, according to Agence France Presse, Aghazadeh announced March 28 on state television that Iran would begin “experimental production” in April at its uranium-conversion facility at Isfahan. The facility can convert uranium oxide into uranium hexafluoride—the feedstock for centrifuges. Iran announced the facility’s completion in March 2003.

This is not the first time that the Isfahan facility has been the subject of controversy. The IAEA board said in its November resolution that Iran violated its safeguards agreement by failing to report nuclear experiments at the facility, in much the same way it failed to report similar activity related to its uranium-enrichment program.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson told reporters April 5 that Tehran only intends to produce uranium tetrafluoride—an intermediate step for producing uranium hexafluoride—at the facility, which IAEA inspectors visited in March. IAEA officials said that Iran had given prior notice to the agency that it would begin uranium conversion in March, adding that these “conversion activities” do not violate Iran’s October agreement to suspend its enrichment activities.

The State Department official said, however, that Washington believes Iran should be proscribed from conducting any conversion activities related to uranium hexafluoride production, including producing uranium tetrafluoride.

Iran’s European interlocutors also expressed their irritation at Tehran’s decision. On March 31, the British, French, and German governments stated that the “announcement sends the wrong signal about Iranian willingness to implement a suspension of nuclear enrichment-related activities.”

According to Agence France Presse, French President Jacques Chirac emphasized during an April 21 meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi that Tehran should continue to cooperate with the IAEA. A French Foreign Ministry spokesperson stressed April 20 that Iran needs to provide “confidence” that it is complying with its NPT obligations in order to receive cooperation on civilian nuclear power—another component of the October agreement.

U.S. officials have been dismissive of Tehran’s claims of cooperation and have argued that Iran is likely trying to hide aspects of its centrifuge and other nuclear programs, a charge Tehran has repeatedly denied.

“The delay in allowing inspectors into the country, the announcement about Isfahan, I think are further indications that Iran has still not made a strategic determination to surrender its nuclear program,” said Mitchell Reiss, State Department director of policy planning, in an April 9 interview with Arms Control Today. “What we appear to be seeing are tactical maneuvers to do as little as possible to avoid censure.”

Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton went so far as to say that “Iran is lying” at an annual meeting of NPT states-parties in New York.

“It is clear that the primary role of Iran’s ‘nuclear power’ program is to serve as a cover and a pretext for the import of nuclear technology and expertise that can be used to support nuclear weapons development,” Bolton said April 27.

Still, the June meeting appears unlikely to produce either Washington’s or Tehran’s preferred outcomes. Although Iran may not get the clean bill of health it desires, the United States may also be unable to provide sufficient proof to convince other countries to find Iran in noncompliance with its obligations under the NPT. Such a finding requires the board to refer the matter to the UN Security Council.

A State Department official argued June 20 that the lack of full sampling results from the military sites will make it more difficult for Washington to push the board to take “the strongest possible response” at the June meeting, adding that U.S. leverage will largely depend on the “tone and substance” of ElBaradei’s report. Washington may encourage the IAEA board to say it “cannot verify” Iran’s suspension of its centrifuge program because of the country’s demonstrated ability to manufacture relevant components at various locations throughout the country, the official said.

Whether Washington will push for the board to find Iran in noncompliance is unclear. The United States not only failed to persuade the board to adopt such a stance in its November resolution, it did not even attempt to do so during the debate over the March resolution.

Corrected online August 29, 2008. See explanation.





Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reached agreement in early April on an action plan to complete the agency’s investigation of Iran’s nuclear program. As a critical...

NATO, Russia Hold Joint Missile Defense Exercise

Wade Boese

NATO and Russia used to plan missile attacks against each other, but now they are working together to protect against them. The former adversaries held their first exercise March 8-12 to test jointly developed procedures to defend against strikes from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.

The exercise, which took place in Colorado Springs, Colo., did not involve actual military systems or troops but was done using computer simulations. It focused on how NATO and Russian commanders would communicate with each other and direct their troops if they came under missile attack during a joint operation. Nearly 60 representatives from Russia and nine NATO members participated in the “command post exercise.”

A NATO official said March 23 that the exercise went “very well,” although some “refinements” to the prepared procedures would be needed. Another exercise is expected before the end of 2005.

NATO and Russian officials jointly worked out the test procedures through a working group on theater missile defenses established in June 2002. That group is also conducting a study on how various air and missile defense systems might operate together.

NATO-Russian cooperation on theater missile defense follows earlier U.S.-Russian efforts initiated in September 1994 by then-Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin. The two countries have conducted a series of joint theater missile defense exercises since 1996. (See ACT, March 2001.)

Western cooperation with Russia on missile defenses has not involved building actual weapons. Washington and Moscow undertook a 1992 project, the Russian-American Observation Satellite (RAMOS), to build two satellites for detecting ballistic missile launches worldwide, but the Pentagon cancelled it earlier this year. No alternative has been proposed.





NATO and Russia used to plan missile attacks against each other, but now they are working together to protect against them. The former adversaries held their first exercise March 8-12 to test...

Russia, NATO at Loggerheads Over Military Bases

Wade Boese

Reviving memories of their bitter Cold War rivalry, NATO and Russia are engaging in increasingly sharp exchanges over each other’s military deployments and basing plans.

Speaking Feb. 7 at a two-day security conference in Munich, Germany, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov warned that the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty was fast becoming obsolete and that it could end up scrapped. In doing so, he drew a pointed comparison to the June 2002 U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The CFE Treaty limits how much heavy weaponry, such as tanks, that 30 countries—including Russia and the United States—can deploy in Europe.

The 30 CFE states-parties negotiated an adapted version of the treaty in November 1999 to reflect the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the expansion of NATO, but it has yet to enter into force. Washington and other NATO capitals are refusing to ratify the revised agreement until Russia fulfills pledges to withdraw its armed forces from the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova.

In conjunction with the adaptation of the CFE Treaty, Russia committed to withdraw all of its military troops and equipment out of Moldova by the end of 2002, close two out of four of its military bases in Georgia by the end of 2000, and reach a timetable with Georgia during 2000 for closure of the two remaining bases. Russia has not completed any of these tasks.

Ivanov charged that the status of Russia’s withdrawal from the two states does not have “the slightest relationship” to the adapted CFE Treaty.

Moscow is eager to bring the revised treaty into force because the older version does not limit how many arms NATO can deploy on the territories of four of the seven additional states scheduled to join the 19-member alliance by May. Specifically, the original treaty does not cover Slovenia and the three Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The Kremlin claims that NATO could then legally deploy limitless stockpiles of weaponry on Russia’s border.

If these four states join NATO before the adapted CFE Treaty enters into force, Ivanov said the original treaty limits would be “imperfect, rather ineffective, and removed from reality.”

Ivanov implied that the addition of the new NATO members could lead to a reversal of Russian force reductions in its northwestern region and in the Kaliningrad enclave, which sits between Poland and Lithuania.

Ivanov also questioned U.S. and alliance proposals to begin breaking up their large military bases into smaller deployments closer to Russia’s border. The defense minister said he understood the need for bases in Bulgaria and Romania as a launching point to counter terrorism but rhetorically asked why such bases were necessary in Poland and the three Baltic states.

In a move designed to ease Russian concerns about NATO expansion to the east, NATO and Russia concluded an agreement in May 1997, the NATO-Russian Founding Act, in which the alliance pledged that its growth would not lead to “additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces” on the territories of new members. The act was not legally binding.

“I would like to remind the representatives of [NATO] that with its expansion they are beginning to operate in the zone of vitally important interests of our country and ought to strive actually, not just in words, to consider our concerns,” Ivanov declared. He suggested one way to address Russian concerns is for NATO to permit the permanent stationing of Russian monitoring personnel at any new NATO bases. Moscow already has rights to inspect NATO bases periodically.

Ivanov ended his speech with a flourish, accusing U.S. and NATO military forces in Afghanistan of being complicit in that state’s illegal drug trade, which was threatening Russia. “I understand that, by allowing the drug business in Afghanistan, [NATO] gets the loyalty of field commanders and individual leaders of Afghanistan,” he stated.

NATO, particularly the United States, is pushing Russia to remove its military forces from Georgia and Moldova. During a late January trip to Georgia and Russia, Secretary of State Colin Powell repeatedly called on Moscow to fulfill its withdrawal commitments.

The Kremlin had contended it would take at least 11 years to pull its troops and arms out of Georgia, but Russian officials are now suggesting that it might be possible within a five-to-seven-year period if it receives financial assistance. Powell said the United States would contribute to such an effort, but that Russian estimates of hundreds of millions of dollars are unreasonable. Georgia has consistently called for a three-year process.

Russia has made fitful progress in withdrawing from Moldova and estimates are that it only has several months worth of work remaining. However, such projections are optimistically based on the withdrawal not being interrupted. The withdrawal is currently suspended.

Moscow pleads that it is not responsible for the irregular implementation. Instead, it blames Moldavian separatists who control the region where Russian forces are located for blocking the withdrawal. The separatists are demanding compensation for the Russian departure.






Reviving memories of their bitter Cold War rivalry, NATO and Russia are engaging in increasingly sharp exchanges over each other’s military deployments and basing plans.

Senator John Edwards (D-N.C.)

Karen Yourish
Political Career
Elected to the Senate in 1998; not running for re-election

North Carolina State University, B.S., 1974; University of North Carolina, J.D., 1977

Military Service


Foreign Policy Advisers
Exclusive advisers: Ronald Asmus, Derek Chollet; also consults with Sandy Berger, Kurt Campbell, Ashton Carter, Kenneth Pollack, Dennis Ross, Hugh Shelton

Campaign Website



John Edwards was a cosponsor of the resolution that gave President George W. Bush the authority to use force in Iraq. He continues to defend his vote, but is highly critical of what he views as the Bush administration’s sole focus on pre-emptive military force rather than multilateral solutions to stop the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

“This administration’s approach to protecting America from weapons of mass destruction [WMD] can be summed up simply,” Edwards charged Dec. 15 in a speech entitled “Prevention, Non Pre-emption.” “Wait until our enemies gather strength, and then use force to stop them.”

The first-term senator from North Carolina unveiled a number of policy initiatives that he would undertake, if elected president, to fight WMD proliferation. “Rather than run from internaitonal efforts to halt the spread of dangerous weapons, I will lead in modernizing and strengthening those efforts, beginning with one of the most important—the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)….Right now it is too easy for a country to cheat or use a legal civilian power program as the jumping off point for an illegal military one by withdrawing from the treaty on short notice and having weapons capabilities within months.”

Within six months of taking office, Edwards said he would convene a summit of leading nations to develop a multilateral global nuclear compact. Once established, he asserts, the compact would “close the loophole that allows civilian nuclear programs to go military.” The global effort would, in part, increase security of nuclear materials, give international experts the authority to inspect nuclear facilities without notice, and make clear that any country that joins the NPT and then opts out—or violates the rules of the compact—will be penalized.

Edwards said he will develop new tools to deal with proliferation threats such as North Korea and Iran. “I will work through the UN Security Council and other mechanisms to establish the principle in international law that countries that sponsor terrorism or willfully violate nonproliferation treaties like the NPT should be treated like the criminals they are.” He accused the Bush administration of not having a “coherent strategy” for North Korea and said that, as president, he would work with U.S. allies such as South Korea and Japan to develop a “serious plan for ending [North Korea’s] destabilizing weapons programs and exports—a plan that includes carrots and sticks.”

Edwards also wants to revive the oft-discussed idea of appointing a nonproliferation czar to consolidate the federal government’s nonproliferation efforts. “As president I will make sure that we have someone who wakes up every morning thinking about how to keep WMD out of the hands of terrorists and others who wish us harm.” He would also support “other measures that this administration has rejected, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and efforts to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention.”

The North Carolina senator proposes tripling the approximately $1 billion being spent annually on comprehensive threat reduction (CTR) programs to safeguard and destroy Russia’s Cold War WMD legacy. “Instead of living with this danger for the next three decades or more, I will eliminate it before another decade has passed by simply making it a priority.”

Edwards also wants to expand CTR programs beyond the former Soviet Union to places such as India and Pakistan. To help fund that effort, Edwards said he would cancel plans recently approved by Congress at the request of the Bush administration to research a new generation of nuclear weapons and reduce the more than $9 billion spent each year on missile defense.

“While we need to maintain deterrence and keep a strong defense, it doesn’t make sense to spend nine times as much on one program that might work some day than we spend on all the other programs that do work today to protect our citizens from weapons of mass destruction,” Edwards argued.

He also opined that the United States should not deploy any missile defense system until it has been rigorously tested and officials are confident it will work. In his view, the missile defense system “so far has succeeded in shooting down only one thing: the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.”








Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.)

Karen Yourish
Political Career
Democratic nominee for U.S. House of Representatives, 1972; Massachusetts lieutenant governor, 1983-85; U.S. Senate, 1985-present

Yale University, B.A., 1966; Boston College, J.D., 1976

Military Service
U.S. Navy, 1966-1969


Foreign Policy Advisers
Exclusive advisers: Rand Beers, Richard Morningstar, William Perry

Campaign Website





A veteran—and outspoken opponent—of the Vietnam War, John Kerry has made foreign policy both a high priority during his 18-year Senate career and a centerpiece of his campaign for the Democratic nomination. He has been a member of the Foreign Relations Committee since entering the Senate in 1985 and points to the normalization of U.S. relations with Vietnam as one of the high points of his congressional service.

The senator fought for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, stating that failure to do so “will seriously undercut our ability to continue our critical leadership role in the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.” As further evidence that he is “an outspoken proponent of arms control and nonproliferation measures in the Senate,” Kerry cites his decision to introduce an amendment during the March 2003 debate over the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty to require the United States to declare its confidence in monitoring Russian nuclear weapons deployments. “Despite its stated goal of reducing the number of U.S. and Russian deployed strategic nuclear warheads, the Moscow Treaty is missing the essential components of a strong, enforceable, and meaningful agreement,” Kerry wrote in an op-ed that appeared in the Boston Globe March 5. The proposal was voted down 50-45.

As president, Kerry says he would move quickly to shore up U.S. alliances abroad and develop a multifaceted approach that leverages international cooperation against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). According to the candidate: “It is time…for the most determined, all-out effort ever initiated to secure the world’s nuclear materials and [WMD].” Kerry would appoint a presidential coordinator to direct a “top-line effort” to secure nuclear weapons and materials worldwide and claims that, within four years, his administration will have “entirely” removed chemical, biological, and nuclear materials from the world’s most vulnerable sites. Toward that end, Kerry calls for a “new international protocol” to track and account for existing nuclear weapons and to deter the development of chemical and biological arsenals. He would also increase funding for comprehensive threat reduction programs in order to place all excess U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons in secure, jointly monitored storage sites.

Kerry vows that his administration would be “committed to revitalizing the arms control process” and said efforts to research a new generation of nuclear weapons “could set off a dangerous new nuclear arms race.” He opposes plans approved in the fiscal year 2004 energy and water appropriations bill to fund research on high-yield nuclear weapons designed to destroy deeply buried targets and on low-yield nuclear weapons intended to limit collateral damage on underground targets. According to Kerry, researching and possible developing these weapons “will make America less secure by setting back our country’s long-standing efforts to lead an international nonproliferation regime.”

The Massachusetts senator accuses the Bush administration of ignoring the nuclear threat from North Korea because it was too preoccupied with launching a war with Iraq. Like the other Democratic candidates, Kerry supports negotiations with North Korea that would include providing Pyongyang with strong incentives to end its nuclear weapons program verifiably. He advocates direct negotiations addressing a broad range of issues, including conventional force deployments; North Korea’s alleged drug running and human rights record and dire humanitarian conditions; and Pyongyang’s security concerns. He supports engaging Iran’s current regime “in areas of mutual interest” as long as the country adheres to its nonproliferation obligations but also wants to help bolster the country’s burgeoning reform movement.

Kerry favors developing “an effective defense” against ballistic missiles, arguing that, “if there is a real potential of a rogue nation firing missiles at any city in the United States, responsible leadership requires that we make our best, most thoughtful efforts to defend against this threat.” However, he opposes the administration’s plan to proceed with early deployment of a national missile defense system, as well as Bush’s 2001 decision to abrogate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.









Subscribe to RSS - EU / NATO