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The Arms Control Association is an "exceptional organization that effectively addresses pressing national and international challenges with an impact that is disproportionate to its small size." 

– John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
January 19, 2011
Daryl G. Kimball

Roll Forward the Doomsday Train CODE RED MILITARY

News Source / Outlet: 
BBC Future
News Date: 
October 9, 2019 -04:00

A Top Democrat is Sounding the Alarm that the Trump Administration is Considering Pulling out of a Vital Treaty with Russia

One Planet Is All You Get


October 2019
By Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director

Over the long course of the nuclear age, millions of people around the world, often led by a young generation of clear-eyed activists, have stood up to demand meaningful, immediate international action to halt, reduce, and end the threat posed by nuclear weapons to humankind and the planet.

A new simulation depicts the consequences of a U.S.-Russian nuclear exchange. (Image credit: Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University)Today, a new generation is mobilizing to demand dramatic action to address another existential threat: the human-induced climate emergency. The scientific consensus is that climate change causes and impacts are increasing, and little more than a decade is left to take the bold steps necessary to cut global carbon emissions in half and reverse the slide toward catastrophe.

The disarmament movement has achieved success in reducing nuclear dangers before, but there is no room for complacency. The nuclear threat has not gone away. Nuclear competition is growing. The risk of nuclear war is increasing.

Just as dramatic action is needed to avoid climate change catastrophe, immediate and decisive action is required to counter the growing threat of nuclear war before it is too late.

A qualitative global nuclear arms race is now underway. The world’s nine nuclear-armed actors are collectively squandering hundreds of billions of dollars to maintain and improve their arsenals. Tensions between nuclear-armed states are on the rise. Key treaties are under threat.

With the loss of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in August, the only remaining treaty verifiably limiting the world’s two largest arsenals is the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which is due to expire in less than 17 months.

Washington and Moscow are pursuing the development of destabilizing types of weapons, including new lower-yield, “more usable” nuclear weapons. Each side still clings to Cold War-era nuclear launch-under-attack postures that increase the risk of miscalculation.

The use of nuclear weapons—even on a so-called “limited” scale—creates the potential for global catastrophe. A new simulation developed by scientists at Princeton University estimates that if, in a U.S.-Russian confrontation in the Baltics, one side resorts to the “tactical” use of nuclear weapons and the other responds, their current war plans could lead to an escalatory exchange involving 1,700 nuclear detonations against military and civilian targets. Within five hours, nearly 100 million people would be killed or injured.

Many more people would suffer and die in the weeks and months afterward. A new study of the longer-term climatic effects of a large-scale U.S.-Russian nuclear exchange estimates that the resulting fallout and fires would inject 150 million metric tons of soot and smoke into the earth’s upper atmosphere within two weeks, resulting in a drop in global temperatures of 9 degrees Celsius and a 30 percent drop in precipitation within 12 months. The resulting nuclear winter would wreak havoc on food production and lead to global famine.

Effective policies to address the nuclear threat must begin with the understanding that the only way to eliminate the threat of nuclear war is to eliminate nuclear weapons. The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a crucial step in this direction, but it is not an all-in-one solution to reduce today’s nuclear dangers. Leading nuclear and non-nuclear states also need to take overdue, common-sense steps necessary to halt and reverse the arms race, reduce the salience of nuclear weapons, eliminate the most destabilizing types of weapons, and create the conditions for nuclear disarmament.

To start, all nuclear-armed states should reaffirm the 1985 pledge made by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” The Kremlin has recently proposed that U.S. and Russian leaders reissue a joint statement along these lines, but Washington has demurred.

Nuclear-armed states should agree to adopt policies that reduce nuclear risks, such as no first use of nuclear weapons. Given the risks of escalation, there is no plausible circumstance that could justify legally, morally, or militarily the use of nuclear weapons to deal with a non-nuclear threat.

Washington and Moscow also should extend New START by five years as allowed by the treaty and immediately begin talks on a follow-on deal to set lower limits on all types of nuclear weaponry, including nonstrategic nuclear weapons; a new agreement dealing with ground-launched, intermediate-range systems; and new restrictions on destabilizing missile defense deployments and long-range hypersonic weapons.

Further U.S.-Russian progress on disarmament would pressure the other nuclear actors, including China, to agree to freeze the overall size of their smaller but still deadly nuclear arsenals and agree to joint nuclear risk-reduction measures, such as ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and join talks on nuclear disarmament.

The catastrophic consequences of failure on climate change and nuclear weapons are well documented, the steps necessary to mitigate the risks are well known, and the public demand for action is powerful. But the political will to take action is weak. To give future generations the chance to eliminate the nuclear danger, our generation must act decisively to reduce the threat of nuclear war and put us back on the path to global zero.

 

Over the long course of the nuclear age, millions of people around the world, often led by a young generation of clear-eyed activists, have stood up to demand meaningful, immediate international action to halt, reduce, and end the threat posed by nuclear weapons to humankind and the planet.

North Korea Opens Door to Nuclear Talks


October 2019
By Daryl G. Kimball and Julia Masterson

North Korea may be willing to resume working-level talks with the United States on denuclearization and peace issues, according to a Sept. 9 statement from North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui. The new offer was conditioned on a readiness by the Trump administration to adjust its negotiating stance, which North Korea has blamed for the long-delayed negotiations.

Choe Son Hui, North Korea's vice foreign minister (second from right), arrives for talks with U.S. officials one day before the June 12, 2019, summit between the United States and North Korea in Singapore. Choe recently expressed interest in resuming working-level talks. (Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)“We have willingness to sit with the U.S. side for comprehensive discussions of the issues we have so far taken up at the time and place to be agreed late in September,” Choe said. But she cautioned that if the U.S. side offers no new “calculation,” then “DPRK-U.S. dealings may come to an end.”

Just three days earlier, Steve Biegun, the U.S. special representative on North Korea, reiterated Washington’s interest in resuming working-level talks and President Donald Trump’s commitment to a diplomatic solution.

“Since [the] summit meeting in Singapore, the president has maintained a strong and focused commitment to the search for a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. He refuses to accept that 66 years after the end of fighting in the Korean War, we have yet to find a successful path to transforming relations and establishing a permanent peace,” Biegun said in a Sept. 6 speech at the University of Michigan. “The president has also been clear that doing so will require the daunting task of eliminating the growing threat of weapons of mass destruction on the Korean peninsula.”

North Korea’s apparent willingness to resume talks follows an exchange of letters between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the Sept. 10 departure of John Bolton as Trump’s national security adviser. While in the White House, Bolton advocated for dramatic denuclearization actions by North Korea before making any U.S. concessions. After his resignation, he forecast that the negotiations with North Korea were “doomed to failure.”

The remarks highlighted one area of disagreement between Bolton and Trump.

“I think John really should take a look at how badly they’ve done in the past, and maybe a new method would be very good,” Trump said Sept. 20 in answer to a question about Bolton views.

Trump’s comments drew immediate praise from veteran North Korean diplomat Kim Myong Gil, who has been elevated to serving as North Korea’s chief delegate in working-level negotiations with the United States.

“I welcome President Trump’s wise political decision to approach the DPRK-U.S. relations from a more practical point of view,” he said, describing Bolton as a “burdensome troublemaker, who handled everything sticking to an outdated framework.”

If they take place, U.S.-North Korean talks would mark the first substantive exchange of views and proposals since the failed February 2019 summit in Hanoi between Trump and Kim. That meeting followed their first summit in Singapore in July 2018, when the two leaders agreed to a joint declaration to work toward denuclearization and a peace regime. (See ACT, July/August 2018.) Following the Singapore meeting, North Korea has not flight-tested any long-range ballistic missiles or conducted any nuclear explosions, and Trump has abided by his pledge to scale back joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

Democratic members of Congress have sharply criticized Trump’s lack of urgency to reach an agreement to halt North Korea’s nuclear program, as well as his willingness to ignore several North Korean flight tests of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, which violate UN resolutions.

In a Sept. 6 letter to the White House, the eight highest-ranking Democrats in the U.S. Senate urged Trump “to recognize that North Korea’s series of ballistic missile tests clearly contravene United Nations Security Council resolutions and are being used to advance their operational capabilities to deliver nuclear weapons.”

The senators urged Trump “to undertake a more pragmatic, verifiable approach to pursue denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.

In his Sept. 6 address, Biegun appeared to call for faster action and acknowledged North Korea’s ongoing efforts to improve its nuclear capabilities.

“We are aware that this diplomatic opening is fragile. We fully understand the consequences if diplomacy fails, and we are clear-eyed about the dangerous reality of ongoing development by North Korea of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them across the region and the world,” he said.

Biegun also outlined the Trump administration’s overall vision for the talks and indicated that the United States recognizes that progress is possible through reciprocal actions that help advance the goals set out by the two leaders in Singapore in 2018.

“Through direct engagement, we must create space and momentum for diplomacy,” Biegun said. “Once we begin intensive negotiations, we can directly discuss actions that each side can take to create more and better choices for our leaders to consider. Neither the United States nor North Korea has to accept all the risk of moving forward.”

Stagnant U.S.-North Korean nuclear talks could resume if Washington agrees to moderate its demands.

French Proposal on Hold as Tensions Mount | P4+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal Alert, September 24, 2019

French Proposal on Hold as Tensions Mount The latest attempt by European powers to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal hit a roadblock this month when the Trump Administration hesitated to engage in a French-sponsored initiative. In August, French President Emmanuel Macron offered a proposal before world leaders at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France for a $15 billion line of credit to Tehran in exchange for its full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). According to the plan, the $15 billion credit line would be guaranteed by Iranian oil and would help compensate...

U.S.-Saudi Nuclear Cooperation Policy Still Far from Adequate (UPDATED)

UPDATE, Sept. 19 : A day after we published this post, Bloomberg revealed that Energy Secretary Rick Perry's letter to the Saudi's also stated that "The terms of the 123 Agreement [with Saudi Arabia] must also contain a commitment by the kingdom to forgo any enrichment and reprocessing for the term of the agreement." This is good news and the right policy, as we describe below. Such a commitment should have a long-term duration, be legally-binding, and apply to both U.S.-origin and non-U.S. origin fuel. Over the past two years, the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have been engaged in...

Saudi Arabia Calls for UN Aramco Investigation Despite Refusal to Comply on Yemen, Khashoggi Murder

News Source / Outlet: 
Alaraby.com
News Date: 
September 17, 2019 -04:00

So-Called "Limited" Nuclear War Would Actually Be Very Bad and Kill Tens of Millions, Warns New Report

News Source / Outlet: 
Common Dreams, INC
News Date: 
September 17, 2019 -04:00

US Joins Israel in Accusing Iran as Nuclear Deal Flounders

News Source / Outlet: 
Agence France-Presse
News Date: 
September 10, 2019 -04:00

Iran Takes Another Step Away from Compliance with the JCPOA, Experts Available

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For Immediate Release: September 5, 2019

Media ContactsKingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 104; Thomas Countryman, board chair, 301-312-3445; Daryl Kimball, executive director, 202-277-3478

Iran is poised to take a third step away from compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in retaliation to the U.S. withdrawal from the deal in May 2018 and phased re-imposition of sanctions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sept. 4 ordered the atomic energy organization of Iran “to immediately start whatever is needed in the field of research and development, and abandon all the commitments that were in place regarding research and development.” He referred to “expansions in the field of research and development, centrifuges, different types of new centrifuges, and whatever we need for enrichment.”

The atomic energy organization is scheduled to detail the specific steps that will be taken on Saturday, Sept. 7.

Iran earlier this summer announced that it would renege on its commitments to increase the low-enriched uranium stockpile above the 300-kilogram limit of 3.67 percent enriched uranium and enrich uranium above the 3.67 percent level.

Iran’s latest step away from the deal comes after the U.S. government apparently rejected a proposal by French President Emmanuel Macron to extend Iran a $15 billion line of credit guaranteed by future Iranian oil sales in return for Iran’s return to compliance with the JCPOA and a return to negotiations on regional security and the future of Iran’s nuclear program.

Brian Hook, the State Department coordinator on Iran, told reporters on Sept. 4 that “We can't make it any more clear that we are committed to this campaign of maximum pressure and we are not looking to grant any exceptions or waivers.”

QUICK QUOTES

“The most responsible path forward is for Iran to exercise restraint and for all parties to return to full compliance with the JCPOA and agree to open follow-on negotiations to address issues of mutual concern.” – Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy

“It would be a self-defeating and counterproductive mistake for the Trump administration to reject the plan proposed by President Macron to salvage the JCPOA, retain the strong limits on Iran’s nuclear program, and create the opportunity for further dialogue. The administration’s rejection of this proposal is further confirmation that it is not serious about diplomacy with Iran.” – Thomas Countryman, former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security and chair of the ACA board of directors

“While Iran’s decision to breach a third JCPOA nuclear limit does not pose a near-term proliferation risk, it is worrisome and could be followed by more serious steps if the United States continues to reject reasonable offers for dialogue and for easing tensions. Iran has indicated that it is willing to return to compliance with the JCPOA but is seeking leverage to counter the U.S. maximum pressure campaign, which has systematically denied Iran the sanctions relief it was promised as part of the 2015 nuclear deal.” – Daryl G. Kimball, executive director 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

EXPERTS AVAILABLE IN WASHINGTON

  • Kingston Reif, ​Director for ​D​​​​isarmamen​​t and ​T​h​​reat ​R​e​​d​​uction​ ​Policy​, ​[email protected], 202-463-8270 ext. 104
  • Thomas Countryman, former​ ​Acting​ ​U​nder ​S​ecret​​ary of ​​S​tate for​ ​Arms​ ​Control and ​International ​S​ecur​​ity, and ​​Chair of the Board for the Arm​​s Control Association, [email protected], 301-312-3445
  • Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, [email protected], 202-277-3478

Or contact Tony Fleming, director for communications, 202-463-8270 ext. 110 / 202-213-6856 (mobile) to schedule an interview.

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While Iran’s decision to breach a third JCPOA nuclear limit does not pose a near-term proliferation risk, it is worrisome and could be followed by more serious steps if the United States continues to reject reasonable offers for dialogue and for easing tensions.

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