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I salute the Arms Control Association … for its keen vision of the goals ahead and for its many efforts to identify and to promote practical measures that are so vitally needed to achieve them. -

– Amb. Nobuyasu Abe
Former UN Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs
January 28, 2004
Updated Arms Control Association Briefing Book Available Ahead of New Talks
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For Immediate Release: October 11, 2013
Media Contact: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, 202-463-8270, ext. 107; Kelsey Davenport, Nonproliferation Analyst, 202-463-8270, ext. 102.

(Washington, D.C.)--After a historic phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last month, President Obama said he believes that a comprehensive agreement can be reached on Iran's nuclear program. As international leaders prepare for a new round of talks with Tehran in Geneva, the non-partisan Arms Control Association has updated its comprehensive, user-friendly guide to Iran's nuclear program and its capabilities, and the risks, benefits, and limitations of the available policy options.

"Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle," written by the ACA research staff, (PDF) includes:

  • An overview of the technical status of Iran's nuclear program, including an outline of the key steps that would be required to build nuclear weapons;
  • A summary of the national and international sanctions that have been imposed on Iran;
  • A summary of the risks and limits of potential military action;
  • A review of the current state of P5+1 negotiations with Iran and an analysis of options for a potential deal that could prevent a nuclear-armed Iran;
  • An annotated timeline of nuclear diplomacy with Iran from the origins of its nuclear program to the present; and
  • A short history of official proposals on the Iranian nuclear issue from 2003 to today.

The report finds that "international sanctions have slowed Iran's nuclear program...yet these sanctions, even it tightened further, cannot stop Iran's nuclear pursuits. The use of military force ... short of a complete military occupation of the country, can only temporarily set back Iran's nuclear program and would likely prompt Iran to eject the IAEA inspectors and actively pursue nuclear weapons."

"President Obama and other leaders must redouble efforts to engage Iran in serious sustained negotiations on arrangements that guard against a nuclear-armed Iran. Iran's leaders must, of course, also be willing to engage in good faith in these efforts," the report concludes.

"To do so, it is essential that Iran agree to halt its accumulation of 20 percent enriched uranium and restrict its enrichment operations and stockpiles to normal power reactor-grade levels and other civilian, peaceful needs. To verify and monitor Iran's commitments, the IAEA must be allowed to conduct more intrusive monitoring and it must be able to ascertain that any past weapons-related work by Iran has been discontinued."

"In exchange, there should be an appropriate and proportional paring back of international sanctions on Iran and P5+1 recognition that Iran has a legitimate claim to pursue the peaceful uses of nuclear energy," write the briefing book authors. "A diplomacy-centered solution is difficult, but it is the best option on the table." The updated 44-page report can be downloaded.

For additional resources defining the parameters of a meaningful deal with Iran see:

ACA experts are available to comment on these developments and the upcoming talks between Iran and the P5+1 on October 15-16:

  • Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202-463-8270 x107);
  • Greg Thielmann, senior fellow, (202-463-8270 x 103); and
  • Kelsey Davenport, nonproliferation analyst, (202-463-8270 x 102).

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding and effective policies to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons: nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, as well as certain types of conventional weapons that pose a threat to noncombatants. ACA publishes the monthly journal Arms Control Today.