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former IAEA Director-General

Press Releases

P5+1 Nations and Iran Reach Historic Nuclear Deal

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Today's announcement from the P5+1 group and Iran that they have achieved a verifiable, comprehensive agreement to limit Iran's sensitive nuclear activities is a historic breakthrough...

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Arms Control Association Experts Say the Agreement Creates a Strong, Effective Barrier Against a Nuclear-Armed Iran

For Immediate Release: July 14, 2015

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-277-3478; Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy, 317-460-8806; Greg Thielmann, senior fellow, 703-946-4407.

(Washington, D.C.)—Today's announcement from the P5+1 group (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, plus Germany) and Iran that they have achieved a verifiable, comprehensive agreement to limit Iran's sensitive nuclear activities is a historic breakthrough for nuclear nonproliferation and international security.

The agreement—known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons and promptly detecting and deterring possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons in the future.

We join with a wide range of nonproliferation and security experts in assessing that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is consistent with the April 2 framework agreed to at Lausanne, is a net-plus for nuclear nonproliferation and is clearly in the interest of both the United States, its allies and partners in the Middle East, Iran, and the international community. 

When implemented, the P5+1 and Iran agreement will establish long-term, verifiable restrictions on Iran's sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities—many of these restrictions will last for 10 years, some for 15 years, and some for 25 years. Iran’s plutonium path to the bomb will be eliminated, its potential to “breakout” and amass enough bomb-grade uranium for one bomb will be expanded from approximately 2-3 months to at least 12 months.

Just as importantly, the agreement will put in place a layered monitoring regime, which will include very robust International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections under Iran's additional protocol to its comprehensive safeguards agreement, giving international inspectors access to the any Iranian facility of proliferation concern including military sites, and also as the modified code 3.1 safeguards that require early notification of design changes or new nuclear projects by Iran. These provisions will last indefinitely to help detect and deter future nuclear weapons related efforts.

The sanctions relief that Iran will receive in return as it meets its key nuclear restrictions and nonproliferation commitments also serves as an incentive for Tehran to follow through on its obligations in the long term.

If both sides comply with, and faithfully implement, their multi-year obligations, the agreement will reduce the risk of a destabilizing nuclear competition in a troubled region and head off a potentially catastrophic military conflict over Iran's nuclear program.

Some critics of this deal in the United States may still believe that by rejecting the agreement and increasing sanctions pressure on Iran, the United States can somehow coerce the leaders in Tehran to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program or agree to better terms. That is a dangerous illusion. There is no better deal on the horizon.

If Congress somehow blocks implementation of this hard-won, balanced and effective multilateral deal, the United States will have broken from its European allies, the necessary international support for Iran-related sanctions would melt away, Iran would be able to rapidly and significantly expand its capacity to produce bomb-grade material; we would lose out on securing enhanced inspections needed to detect a clandestine weapons effort. The risk of a nuclear-armed Iran would thereby increase.

In the coming weeks, members of the U.S Congress on both sides of the aisle should carefully examine this complex agreement, evaluate its benefits, and evaluate the alternatives. This is the time to seize—not squander—the chance to put in place an effective, long-term, verifiable deal that blocks Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons.—DARYL G. KIMBALL, executive director, and KELSEY DAVENPORT, director for nonproliferation policy.

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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Posted: July 14, 2015

Statement on the Extension of the Iran Nuclear Talks

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Sources indicate that the P5+1 and Iran negotiators are on their way to reaching agreement on the technical implementation of the key remaining issues, within the next several days.

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Arms Control Experts Say ‘Both Sides Have Come Too Far to Walk Away’ 

For Immediate Release: June 30, 2015

Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, nonproliferation policy director, [email protected]; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-277-3478; Timothy Farnsworth, communications director, 202-463-8270 ext. 110.

(Washington D.C. and Vienna)Our sources in Vienna and in other key capitals indicate that the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran negotiators are making progress and the two sides are on their way to reaching agreement on the technical implementation of the key remaining issues, within the next several days.  

These are complex negotiations, but most of the major and most difficult political decisions have already been made and the negotiators are within sight of reaching a final agreement by their revised July 7 deadline. 

It is important to get all the details right so that there are no ambiguities or weaknesses in the final agreement that complicate effective and timely implementationor that can be exploited by hard line opponents of a negotiated solution in Tehran and Washington.

Despite claims from some political pundits who suggest there are “vast differences,” the positions of the two sides overlap just enough to allow each side to meet their core concerns. For instance, some critics and press outlets erroneously assert that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has ruled out any inspections of Iran’s military sites. A more careful reading shows that Khamenei said Iran will not allow “unconventional” inspections.

However, inspections under the terms of the additional protocol are not “unconventional.” Iran already has an additional protocol agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it implemented voluntarily from 2003 to 2006, and has agreed to implement and ratify under a final nuclear deal with the P5+1.

It is unrealistic and unnecessary to have carte blanche access to Iran’s military sites to verify Iran’s compliance with this agreement. Iran, like any other country, has legitimate concerns about safeguarding sensitive military sites. Yet, for effective verification, the IAEA must be able to promptly access sites when and if concerns arise and with reason, as is permitted under the terms of the IAEA additional protocol, which Iran has already agreed to implement and ratify. Establishing a dispute mechanism to broker fair compromises between Iran and the IAEA in a timely manner if disputes over access arise will also be helpful. 

wide range of nonproliferation and security experts agree that a final agreement based on the parameters agreed to on April 2 at Lausanne is clearly in the interest of both Iran and the international community. When implemented, it will put in place an effective, verifiable, enforceable, long-term plan to guard against the possibility of a new nuclear-armed state in the Middle East. It will establish long-term, verifiable restrictions on Iran's sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities, many of which will last for 10 years, some for 15 years, some for 25 years. Iran’s plutonium path to the bomb will be eliminated, its potential to “breakout” and amass enough bomb-grade uranium for one bomb will be expanded to at least 12 months.

Just as importantly, the deal will put in place a layered monitoring regime, which will include IAEA inspections under Iran's additional protocol and modified code 3.1 safeguards provisions that will last indefinitely.

This is an historic moment—both sides have come too far to walk away from an effective, long-term verifiable deal that blocks Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons.

Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy, in Vienna and Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, in Washington D.C.

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Posted: June 30, 2015

New Arms Control Today Articles Examine Key Issues

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In an in-depth article in the June issue of Arms Control Today by Thomas Shea, an independent consultant to who worked for 24 years at the IAEA’s Dept. of Safeguards, explains and examines the verification tasks and challenges vis-a-vis Iran.

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Iran, the IAEA, and the Verification Challenge; the Case for a Nuclear Material Security Convention; and India's Nonproliferation Record  

For Immediate Release: June 3, 2015 

Media Contacts: Tim Farnsworth, Communications Director, 202-463-8270 x110; Daryl G. Kimball, Publisher, Arms Control Today, 202-463-8270 x107. 

(Washington, D.C.)--As Iran and six world powers are racing complete negotiations on a long-term deal to verifiably limit Tehran's sensitive nuclear activities by June 30, the role and capacity of the International Atomic Energy Agency in monitoring Iran's compliance with that agreement is becoming the focus of increasing attention.  

In an in-depth article in the June issue of Arms Control Today by Thomas Shea, an independent consultant to who worked for 24 years at the IAEA's Dept. of Safeguards, explains and examines the verification tasks and challenges vis-a-vis Iran.  

In his article, "The Verification Challenge: Iran and the IAEA," he concludes:  "If the IAEA receives the support it needs, which is likely, it will be able to verify Iran's commitments [under the CJPoA] effectively. Even the skeptics should have confidence that if Iran changes course, IAEA verification will work effectively to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon."  

Yesterday, the Senate cleared the way for U.S. ratification of key treaties designed to guard against the possibility of terrorist acquisition of nuclear weapons, a long-awaited U.S. contribution to the global nuclear material security architecture that has been discussed at a series of  nuclear security summits in Washington in 2010, Seoul in 2012, and The Hague last year. President Barack Obama will host what is widely expected to be the last nuclear security summit in the United States in 2016.   

In another article in the June issue, "A Convention on Nuclear Security: A Needed Step Against Nuclear Terrorism," Kenneth C. Brill, a former U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the founding director of the U.S. government's National Counterproliferation Center, and John H. Bernhard, a former Danish ambassador to the IAEA argue that "The summits and the work that precedes each of them have generated progress on a variety of issues related to diminishing the threat of nuclear terrorism." They write that the summits have, unfortunately, "not produced any 'durable institutions' to prevent nuclear terrorism or any clarity on how the nuclear security regime can be sustainably strengthened once the summits end." 

Brill and Bernhard make the case for a new international convention on nuclear security to close existing gaps in the global nuclear security regime to effectively prevent what Obama called in 2009, "the most immediate and extreme threat to global security.  

Ten years ago next month, President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to seek changes to global nuclear nonproliferation rules to allow India to engage in civil nuclear trade with the other nations.  

In a third essay in the June Arms Control Today, John Carlson, the former director general of the Australian Safeguards and Nonproliferation Office and chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementation, assesses whether lifting of the barriers to international nuclear cooperation with India achieved one of its intended goals: bring New Delhi into the "nonproliferation mainstream." He explains in detail in, "Nonproliferation Benefits of India Deal Remain Elusive," that a decade later, that goal remains unfulfilled as India has shown limited interest in meeting international nuclear norms and has flouted some of them.  

Upon request, all three articles are available free to the media. 

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 Arms Control Today  is the monthly journal published by the Arms Control Association, an independent nongovernmental organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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Posted: June 3, 2015

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference Outcome a Warning Sign, Say Arms Control Experts

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After four hard weeks of statements, working papers, and negotiations, diplomats at the 2015 NPT Review Conference could not overcome deep differences over...

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Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference Outcome a Warning Sign, Say Arms Control Experts

For Immediate Release: May 22, 2015 

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270, ext. 107Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy (202) 463-8270, ext. 102Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, (202) 463-8270, ext. 104

(Washington, D.C.)--After four hard weeks of statements, working papers, and negotiations, diplomats at the 2015 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference could not overcome deep differences over the slow pace of action on nuclear disarmament and, in particular, on the process for convening a conference on a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.  

"The inability to reach a consensus document at the 2015 NPT Review Conference with an updated action plan is a wake up call that can and should spur more effective action and leadership on the part of responsible NPT member states," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, which has tracked the progress of treaty implementation since the first review conference in 1975. 

"Even if agreement had been reached, the final draft document was, at best, a roll-over of the disarmament and nonproliferation commitments that were agreed to in 2010," said Kimball. 

Middle East WMD-Free Zone Divisions

In a statement from the floor this evening, U.S. Undersecretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, along with the representatives of the U.K. and Canada, said they could not support the revised proposal for pursuing a conference to discuss the Middle East zone issue outlined in the draft final conference document. Gottemoeller said the United States is willing to resume the process to hold a zone conference on the basis of the 2010 framework, if there is willingness do so by key parties in the Middle East, particularly Egypt, which had advanced a controversial proposal on the issue 

In 2010, the NPT Review Conference agreed to a practical approach to discuss the issues and conditions necessary to achieve a WMD-free zone in the Middle East  starting with a meeting among states in the region. Due primarily to differences between Egypt, the Arab League, and nuclear-armed Israel over the agenda, that meeting has not been held. The dispute carried over into the 2015 Review Conference. 

"In order for the long-awaited, formal talks on a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction to begin, top leaders in Cairo and Jerusalem will need to agree on a broad agenda and process that takes into consideration Israel's interest in discussing regional security dimensions, and the Arab states' interest in discussing the nuclear problem," said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy for the Arms Control Association.

"In the meantime, all states can and should take specific actions to adhere to the Chemical Weapons Conventions, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and enhanced safeguards, to build confidence and security in the region," suggested Davenport.

The Divide on Disarmament

There was an absence of consensus on other issues. Representatives from several nonnuclear weapon states expressed dissatisfaction with the nuclear disarmament-related elements of the draft final document, citing the lack of benchmarks for progress.

"The conference also put on display the growing frustration of the non-nuclear weapons majority with the slow pace of action on disarmament by the nuclear-armed states, their costly and counterproductive nuclear weapons modernization programs, and dangerous nuclear doctrines. The conference also demonstrated the widespread concern about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use and the need to act with greater urgency to eliminate nuclear dangers," Kimball said.

In 2010, the NPT nuclear weapon states pledged "to accelerate concrete progress on the steps leading to nuclear disarmament," including "all types of nuclear weapons" as well as toward entry into force of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). 

Since the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), however, further progress on disarmament has been stalled due to the severe downturn in U.S.-Russian relations and differences among the key nuclear-armed states on the way forward. There has been no action toward CTBT ratification by the United States, China, and other key states.

"Unfortunately, the five acknowledged nuclear weapon states came to this conference without new ideas or proposals for meeting their NPT obligation to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons and the risks they might be used. The fact that there are tensions between the big powers does not excuse them from their solemn, legally-binding obligations to accelerate work to fulfill their NPT Article VI disarmament obligations, which are fundamentally in their own security interests," Kimball added.

"The disappointing Review Conference outcome will likely add to the growing frustration of the non-nuclear weapons majority with the slow pace of action on disarmament by the nuclear-armed states, and their costly and counterproductive nuclear weapons modernization programs," said Kingston Reif, director of disarmament policy for the Arms Control Association.

Moscow and Washington are pursuing costly nuclear modernization programs that would maintain force levels that greatly exceed their nuclear deterrence requirements. Moscow is designing a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile that could carry up to 10 warheads. Earlier this month, we reported that the United States is seeking 1,000-1,100 new, nuclear-capable air-launched cruise missiles which is part of a larger nuclear sustainment plan that could cost $1 trillion over the next three decades. China is continuing to modernize and expand its nuclear forces. The Department of Defense announced this month China had begun to deploy multiple warheads on its intercontinental ballistic missiles.  

"These actions are out of step with the step-by-step disarmament process these states claim to support," Reif said.

Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons Initiative 

"The Conference did, however, demonstrate the widespread realization and growing concern about the catastrophic humanitarian risk of nuclear weapons use and the need to act with more urgency to reduce those risks and accelerate progress toward global zero," Reif said. 

A group of 159 states endorsed a statement issued at the conference stating that it "is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances."  

Since December of last year, 107  states have endorsed a document developed by Austria known as the "Humanitarian Pledge," which calls on states "to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons."  

Ways Forward

"There is clearly an need for a more robust exchange of pragmatic proposals for reducing and eliminating nuclear risks and creating the conditions for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the draft conference document suggested a potentially useful way forward: an 'open-ended working group' to be established by the UN General Assembly to 'elaborate effective measures for the full implementation of Article VI of the treaty,'" Reif said.   

"All states should take this opportunity seriously and use it as a forum to bring forward realistic, actionable ideas," Reif said. 

"While a legally binding prohibition on nuclear weapons possession and use will eventually be necessary to achieve a world without nuclear weapons, it is important to recognize that pursuing a such a ban at this time-as some states demand-will, unfortunately, not effectively compel the nuclear-armed states to fulfill their disarmament obligations and engage in the multilateral talks that are necessary to move us to the next stages in the disarmament process," Kimball said.

"In the coming months, Russia, the United States, and the other NPT nuclear-weapon states must find new ways to get back on track or risk the fracturing of the NPT regime," Kimball warned. 

"Among other steps, Moscow and Washington could announce they will accelerate the pace of their New START reductions, begin formal negotiations on a follow-on to New START and in a way that would take into account other strategic weapons systems.. China could announce it will freeze the overall size of its nuclear arsenal as long as the United States and Russia continue to reduce theirs. This could help create the conditions for a series of high-level summits and serious negotiations on multilateral, verifiable nuclear disarmament involving leading nuclear-armed and nonnuclear-weapon states," Kimball suggested.

"Appropriately enough, the April 2 framework agreement between six world powers and Iran on a comprehensive agreement to curb Iran's sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities was widely praised as a positive and important contribution to nonproliferation by many states at the NPT Review Conference. If finalized and implemented, the Iran nuclear deal would strengthen the NPT and push a nuclear-capable state in the region back from the brink of nuclear weapons," Davenport said. 

"The 2015 NPT Review Conference does not signal the end of the NPT, which remains vital to international security, but it reveals a lack of political will and creativity that undermines the treaty's effectiveness. Without fresh thinking and renewed action on the 70-year old problem of nuclear weapons, the future of the NPT will be at risk and the possibility of nuclear weapons use will grow," Kimball warned. 

"We strongly encourage President Barack Obama to recommit his administration to jumpstarting progress on the plan of action toward a world free of nuclear weapons that he first outlined in 2009 in Prague, that the UN Security Council endorsed in resolution 1887 in 2009, and that all NPT states committed to at the 2010 Review Conference," Kimball said. 

"Nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation is a global enterprise and the United States is indispensable to the effort," he said.

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

Posted: May 22, 2015

Background and Key Resources on the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review

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Beginning today and through May 22, diplomats from the members of the NPT, along with hundreds of nongovernmental organizations, will gather at the United Nations in New York...

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For Immediate Release: April 27, 2015

Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy, 202-463-8270 x102; Kingston Reif, director of disarmament policy, 202-463-8270 x104; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 x107

(Washington/New York)--Beginning today and through May 22, diplomats from the members of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), along with hundreds of nongovernmental organizations, will gather at the United Nations in New York to discuss how one of the world's most vital international security instruments can be strengthened to address both long-standing and emerging nuclear challenges. 

Over the past 45 years, the NPT has established an indispensable, yet imperfect set of interlocking nonproliferation and disarmament obligations and standards. Reinforced by nuclear export controls and the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards system, the NPT makes it far more difficult for non-nuclear-weapon states to acquire or build nuclear weapons and to do so without being detected. Equally important, NPT Article VI commits the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China--the five nuclear-weapons states that are party to the treaty--to end the arms race, stop nuclear testing, and achieve nuclear disarmament.

Rather than the dozens of nuclear-armed states that were forecast before the NPT entered into force in 1970, only four additional countries (India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea)—three of which were never parties to the NPT—have nuclear weapons today, and the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons has grown stronger.

The 2015 NPT Review Conference provides an important opportunity for the treaty's members to adopt a balanced, forward-looking action plan to improve nuclear safeguards, guard against treaty withdrawal, accelerate progress on disarmament, and address regional nuclear proliferation challenges.

However, the 2015 conference will likely reveal tensions regarding the implementation of some of 65 key commitments in the action plan agreed to at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.  

There is widespread frustration with the slow pace of achieving the nuclear disarmament goals of Article VI of the NPT and the lack of agreement among NPT parties on how best to advance nuclear disarmament. Though the United States and Russia are implementing the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) accord, they have not started talks on further nuclear reductions. Russia's annexation of Ukraine will likely be criticized by some states as a violation of security commitments made in 1994 when Kiev joined the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state. 

At the same time, most nuclear-weapon states--inside and outside the NPT--are modernizing their nuclear arsenals. This is leading some non-nuclear-weapon states to call for the negotiation of a nuclear weapons ban even without the participation of the nuclear-weapon states; while others are pushing for a renewed dedication to key disarmament commitments made at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

In 2010, states parties decided to convene a conference on a Middle East zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, but key states, including Egypt (an NPT state party) and Israel (not an NPT state party), have failed to meet directly to agree on an agenda and to schedule the conference. The issue could lead to some of the most heated rhetoric at the 2015 NPT Review Conference.

In contrast, the April 2 framework agreement between six world powers and Iran on a comprehensive agreement on its nuclear program will likely be praised as a positive development that can, if finalized and implemented, strengthen the NPT and prevent the emergence of another nuclear-armed state in the region.

News Coverage

"Slow Progress on Middle East Zone Decried," by Kelsey Davenport, Arms Control Today, April 2015.

"Nuclear-Weapon States Discuss NPT Issues," by Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Today, March 2015. 

"Nuclear Impact Meeting Is Largest Yet," by Kingston Reif, Arms Control Today, January/February 2015.

Analysis and Interviews 

"Finding a Way Out of the NPT Nuclear Disarmament Stalemate," by Lewis Dunn, Arms Control Today, April 2015.

"Previewing the NPT Review: An Interview With U.S. Special Representative Adam Scheinman," Arms Control Today, April 2015. 

"Russia and the Big Chill," commentary by Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Today, April 2015. 

"Securing Irreversible IAEA Safeguards to Close the Next NPT Loophole," by Pierre Goldschmidt, Arms Control Today, March 2015.

"Nuclear Weapons Modernization: A Threat to the NPT?" by Hans M. Kristensen, Arms Control Today, May 2014. 

"Rough Seas Ahead: Issue for the 2015 NPT Review Conference," by Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, Arms Control Today, April 2014.

"How Divergent Views on Nuclear Disarmament Threaten the NPT, " by Amb. Alexander Kmentt, Arms Control Today, December 2013.  

Official Conference Documentation and Speeches  

UN Office for Disarmament Affairs 2015 NPT Review Conference Web site, includes documents from 2010 NPT Review Conference.

Reaching Critical Will 2015 NPT Review Conference Web page, includes official statements delivered at the Review Conference.

Events

Arms Control Association Annual Meeting, May 14 in Washington, D.C. Includes a panel on "The Future of the NPT" and a keynote address by Amb. Alexander Kmentt, Director of Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Austria. RSVP online.

Calendar of 2015 NPT Review Conference-related events in New York, maintained by Reaching Critical Will.

Twitter  

Follow @ArmsControlNow@KelseyDav@KingstonAReif, and @DarylGKimball for the latest updates on Twitter and via #NPT2015 

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

Posted: April 27, 2015

New Report Calls for Using Arms Control to Halt Downward Spiral in Relationship with Russia

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U.S.-Russian-German Commission Report Calls for Using Arms Control to Halt Downward Spiral in the West's Relations with Russia
  

For Immediate Release: April 21, 2015

Media Contacts: Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association, (202) 463-8270, ext. 103; Steven Pifer, Brookings Institution, (202) 741-6520; Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Association, (202) 463-8270, ext. 107

(Washington, D.C.) A new report by a 21-member commission consisting of experts from Germany, Russia, and the United States, "Strengthening Stability in Turbulent Times," recommends several new arms control and confidence-building-measures to reverse the deterioration in Russia's relations with U.S. and European governments.

The immediate objective of the fifteen recommendations is to achieve a verified termination of the violent conflict in Ukraine, arresting the slide of NATO and Russia toward a potentially more dangerous situation.

The longer-term objective goal, according to the Deep Cuts Commission, is to set the stage for taking more productive steps toward achieving the disarmament and nonproliferation goals established by the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). An every fifth-year review conference of the NPT will be held in New York on April 27-May 22.

"It is in times of international tensions that arms control arrangements demonstrate their real worth and contribution to stability and security," says Deep Cuts Commissioner Steven Pifer, director of the Brookings Institution's Project on Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative and a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. "This report's recommendations outline practical steps that should be of interest to officials in Washington, Moscow, Berlin and other European capitals," he says.

"In light of the forthcoming NPT review conference, the Iran framework agreement, mutual allegations surrounding the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the almost complete breakdown of the arms control regime for conventional forces and armament in Europe, political leaders are well advised to no longer neglect the urgency of arms control and disarmament," says Deep Cuts Commissioner Walter Stuetzle, former senior official of the German Defense Ministry and former Director of the Stockholm Peace Research Institute.

The report draws attention to the acute threat posed by unintended clashes between Russian and NATO military forces, but also notes that some vital arms control treaties are holding and that the aggregate global number of nuclear weapons continues slowly to decline. 

The report also urges immediate action to re-establish military-to-military communications and to set down rules to regulate the operation of the sides' military forces when operating in close proximity to one another.

The Commission calls on participating states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to explore conventional arms control measures to reverse the current dynamic and conduct discussions focused on identifying the appropriate scope and format for resuming. The report notes the unique opportunity Germany has for promoting such a discussion as chairman of the OSCE in 2016.

The report stresses the importance of governmental and nongovernmental dialogue on how the United States and Russia can achieve further cuts beyond those called for in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) and address other issues that impact nuclear arms reductions. 

The report calls for supplementing high-level political discussions with the involvement of U.S. and Russian technical experts in conducting site visits so that INF Treaty compliance concerns can be resolved.

Russian Deep Cuts Commissioner Andrei Zagorski has cited the report's treatment of the INF Treaty dispute as an example of how controversial issues "can be reasonably solved in a cooperative manner, rather than through mutual public accusations." Dialogue on such issues, he says "leads to identifying not only problems ahead, but sometimes also to solutions."

NPT nuclear weapons states are urged to intensify their pursuit of nuclear disarmament by undertaking discussion on the effects missile defenses and long-range precision-guided conventional strike systems have on stability. China, Britain, and France are urged to pledge unilaterally not to increase their nuclear force levels as long as the United States and Russia continue to reduce their own nuclear arsenals.

The report concludes that all nuclear weapons states should commit to increased nuclear transparency by building on the legacy of the trilateral initiative (Russia, the United States, and the International Atomic Energy Agency) for monitoring fissile material stockpiles.

Deep Cuts Commission member Greg Thielmann, senior fellow of the Arms Control Association, praised the respectful and highly professional approach that led to the consensus recommendations of the report.

"We hope that the creative and comprehensive recommendations will help enliven international deliberations-at the 2015 NPT Review Conference, in Washington, Moscow, and other capitals-on how arms control solutions can help provide greater security and stability during these turbulent times," he said.

 

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

The 21-member German-Russian-U.S. Deep Cuts Commission was established in 2013 to devise concepts on how to overcome current challenges to deep nuclear reductions. Through realistic analysis and practical recommendations, the commission strives to translate the existing arms control commitments into action toward further nuclear reductions and initiatives to strengthen common security. The commission received support from the German Federal Foreign Office and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

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Posted: April 21, 2015

The P5+1 Nuclear Agreement With Iran: A Net-Plus for Nonproliferation

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A group of 30 leading nuclear nonproliferation specialists, primarily from the United States, issued a joint statement today assessing the framework deal announced by the P5+1 and Iran on April 2 as a "vitally important step forward"...

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Leading Nuclear Security Experts, Former Negotiators Call  P5+1 Nuclear Framework Agreement With Iran  "A Net-Plus for Nonproliferation"

For Immediate Release: April 6, 2015

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Association, 202-463-8270 ext. 107

(Washington, D.C.)--A group of 30 leading nuclear nonproliferation specialists, primarily from the United States, issued a joint statement today assessing the framework deal announced by the P5+1 and Iran on April 2 as a "vitally important step forward" for nonproliferation and international security.

"When implemented, it will put in place an effective, verifiable, enforceable, long-term plan to guard against the possibility of a new nuclear-armed state in the Middle East," the statement reads.

In their statement, the signatories, who include former U.S. nuclear negotiators and leading nuclear specialists, "...urge the P5+1 and Iranian negotiators to promptly finalize the remaining technical details and we urge policy makers in key capitals to support the deal and the steps necessary to ensure timely implementation and rigorous compliance with the agreement."

The "Parameters for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Nuclear Program" announced April 2 would establish long-term, verifiable restrictions on Iran's sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities, many of which will last for 10 years, some for 15 years, some for 25 years, with enhanced International Atomic Energy Agency inspections under the Additional Protocol and modified code 3.1 safeguards provisions lasting indefinitely.

The full text of the statement is available below.  

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The P5+1 Nuclear Agreement With Iran: A Net-Plus for Nonproliferation

Statement from Nuclear Nonproliferation Specialists 

April 6, 2015

The framework agreement announced by the P5+1 and Iran is--from a nuclear nonproliferation and security standpoint--a vitally important step forward. When implemented, it will put in place an effective, verifiable, enforceable, long-term plan to guard against the possibility of a new nuclear-armed state in the Middle East.

The agreement comprehensively addresses the key routes by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons. Among other steps, the framework agreement will:

  • significantly reduce Iran's capacity to enrich uranium to the point that it would take at least 12 months to amass enough uranium enriched to weapons grade for one bomb;
  • require Iran to modify its Arak heavy water reactor to meaningfully reduce its proliferation potential and bar Iran from developing any capability for separating plutonium from spent fuel for weapons;
  • put in place enhanced international inspections and monitoring that would help to deter Iran from attempting to violate the agreement, but if Iran did, increase the international community's ability to detect promptly and, if necessary, disrupt future efforts by Iran to build nuclear weapons, including at potential undeclared sites; and
  • require Iran to cooperate with the IAEA to conclude the investigation of Iran's past efforts to develop a nuclear warhead and provide transparency sufficient to help ensure that any such effort remains in abeyance.

The agreement will strengthen U.S. security and that of our partners in the region.

Rigorous monitoring measures will remain in place not just throughout the long duration of the agreement but even after the core limits of the agreement expire, helping ensure that any movement toward nuclear weapons will be detected and providing the opportunity to intervene decisively to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Moreover, the agreement reduces the likelihood of destabilizing nuclear weapons competition in the Middle East, and strengthens global efforts to prevent proliferation, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

We urge the P5+1 and Iranian negotiators to promptly finalize the remaining technical details and we urge policy makers in key capitals to support the deal and the steps necessary to ensure timely implementation and rigorous compliance with the agreement.

Endorsed by: 

James Acton, Co-director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*

Amb. Brooke D. Anderson, former Chief of Staff and Counselor for the White House National Security Council, and former Alternative Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs

Dr. Bruce Blair, Research Scholar, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University*

Dr. Barry Blechman, co-founder, Stimson Center*

Prof. Matthew Bunn, Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom,Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University

Joseph Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Fund

Toby Dalton, Co-Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*

Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association

Dr. Sidney Drell, Stanford University*

Robert J. Einhorn, former U.S. Department of State Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control and former negotiator on the Iran nuclear talks

Prof. Steve Fetter, former Assistant Director at-large, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Robert L. Gallucci, Georgetown University

Ellie Geranmayeh, Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations*

Ilan Goldenberg, former Iran Team Chief, Office of the Secretary of Defense

R. Scott Kemp, assistant professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, former science advisor to the State Department's Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Michael Krepon, co-founder, The Stimson Center*

Dr. Edward P. Levine, retired senior professional staff member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Richard Nephew, former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State, and Director for Iran on the National Security Staff

Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey*

Amb. Thomas R. Pickering, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the Russian Federation, India, Israel, and Jordan

George Perkovich, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*

Paul R. Pillar, Former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia

William Potter, Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey*

Prof. Scott D. Sagan, Senior Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

Sharon Squassoni, Senior Fellow and Director, Proliferation Prevention Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies*

Tariq Rauf, Director Disarmament, Arms Control & Non-Proliferation Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)* and former Head of Verification & Security Policy Coordination reporting to the IAEA Director General

Dr. James Walsh, Research Associate at the Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Ali Vaez, Senior Analyst on Iran, International Crisis Group

Prof. Frank von Hippel, former Assistant Director for National Security, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

*Institution listed for identification purposes only.   

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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Posted: April 6, 2015

Iran and the P5+1 Negotiations Reach a Breakthrough

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A Deal Would Establish a Strong and Effective Barrier Against a Nuclear-Armed Iran, Nonproliferation Experts Say

For Immediate Release: April 2, 2015

Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 102; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext. 107, or 202-277-3478 (mobile);

(Washington, D.C.)--Experts from the independent, nonpartisan Arms Control Association called today's announcement from Iran and the P5+1 a "historic breakthrough," in the effort to reach a long-term, comprehensive agreement to limit Iran's sensitive nuclear activities. The announcement from Lausanne, Switzerland that the P5+1 and Iran reached agreement on key areas is "a vital step toward a strong and effective formula for blocking the routes by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons and promptly detecting and deterring possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons in the future."
    
The parameters agreed upon by the United States, the other permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany with the Islamic Republic of Iran "promises to lead to one of the most consequential and far reaching nuclear nonproliferation achievements in recent decades," said Arms Control Association Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball.

"It can significantly reduce the risk of a destabilizing nuclear competition in a troubled region and head off a potentially catastrophic military conflict over Iran's nuclear program," he said.

"A deal based on the understandings outlined by the two sides will clearly be a net-plus for nuclear nonproliferation," said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy for the Arms Control Association, who has been closely tracking the talks.

"When and if fully negotiated and implemented, the multiyear arrangement will significantly extend the time it would take for Iran to amass enough bomb-grade uranium for weapons--to about 12 months--and for all practical purposes it will effectively block Iran's potential to produce plutonium for weapons," she said.

"Some critics of this deal may believe more pressure on Iran can coerce its leaders to dismantle its nuclear program or agree to better terms. That is a dangerous illusion. There is no better deal on the horizon. For over a decade, Iran has resisted pressure to dismantle its nuclear facilities. If Washington jeapordizes the talks or if Congress scuttles the deal, support for international sanctions will melt away, Iran will very likely rapidly expand its capacity to produce bomb-grade material and we would lose out on securing enhanced inspections needed to detect a clandestine weapons effort," Davenport said.

"The long road for an effective, comprehensive nuclear deal is far from over," Kimball cautioned.

"The P5+1 and Iranian negotiators must still finalize the remaining technical details, and the U.S. Congress must also help to strengthen, not undermine, this vital diplomatic effort," Kimball added.
 
"Lawmakers who want to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and avoid the United States' involvement in another war in the region should refrain from moving legislation that could derail the ongoing talks and/or enable partisan in Congress who want to blow up an effective diplomatic solution," he warned.  

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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Posted: April 2, 2015

Experts Available and Key Resources on the P5+1 Talks With Iran

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This week, top diplomats from the P5+1 and Iran are meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, to hammer out a political framework agreement for a comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal...

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Includes Audio from March 26 Press Conference

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2015

Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 104; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext. 107; Greg Thielmann, senior fellow, 202-463-8270, ext. 103; Matthew Bunn, board member and Havard Belfer Center researcher, 617-495-9916.  

(Washington, D.C.)--This week, top diplomats from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran are meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, to hammer out a political framework agreement for a comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal to block Iran's potential pathways to a nuclear weapon.

Over the past several weeks, progress has been made on many difficult issues but some gaps remain. Meanwhile, some members of Congress are threatening to advance new Iran sanctions legislation and set unrealistic requirements for a nuclear deal, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who has said that he will seek action on his controversial bill, S. 615, next month. 

Our experts are prepared to provide insights and analysis on both the negotiations in Lausanne and the debate in Washington, D.C.

Below are must-read resources on the negotiations, agreements, and role of Congress from the Arms Control Association: 

More resources are available in our online briefing book, "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle."

Sign-up today for our "P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert" newsletter for the latest developments and analysis surrounding the negotiations delivered straight to your inbox.

Follow @KelseyDav and @DarylGKimball for the latest updates on Twitter.

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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Posted: March 26, 2015

2014 Arms Control Person of the Year Announced

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Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Alexander Kmentt received the highest number of votes in an online poll to determine the "2014 Arms Control Person of the Year."

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2014 "Arms Control Person of the Year"
Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Ambassador Alexander Kmentt
 

For immediate release: January 8, 2014
 
Press contact: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x 107
 
(Washington, D.C.) Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Alexander Kmentt received the highest number of votes in an online poll to determine the "2014 Arms Control Person of the Year." Nine other worthy candidates were nominated by the staff of the Arms Control Association for their significant achievements and contributions to reducing the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons in the past year.

Ambassador Kmentt, who started his career at the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs in 1994 and has been a leading disarmament diplomat for many years, was recognized for organizing the third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, Dec. 8-9, 2014 in Vienna, which drew delegations representing 158 states, the United Nations, and civil society.

For the first time in the series of conferences on nuclear weapons use, the list of participants included countries recognized as nuclear-weapon states by the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)--the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, an unofficial representative from China attended the meeting. Two other nuclear-armed states, India and Pakistan, took part in the previous two meetings and were also present in Vienna.

Building on the work of the two previous humanitarian impacts conferences, the Vienna meeting expanded the agenda to include the physical impacts of nuclear weapons use, the health effects of nuclear weapons production and testing, the application of international law to the consequences of nuclear weapons explosions, and the shortfalls in international capacity to address a humanitarian emergency triggered by the use of nuclear weapons.

Kmentt was also recognized for Austria's pledge at the close of the conference "... to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders ... in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks."

"Ambassador Kmentt deserves enormous credit for making the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons the most inclusive and extensive yet," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. "The Vienna conference has changed the international conversation about nuclear weapons and provided renewed urgency to the effort to move toward a world free of nuclear weapons," he said.

"The majority of states parties to the NPT will expect the upcoming Review Conference in May to take into account the findings and conclusions of the Vienna conference and prompt the world's nuclear weapon states to make faster progress on their NPT Article VI commitments," added Kimball.

The runner-up in the vote for the 2014 Arms control Persons of the Year were the team of Ahmet Üzümcü, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and Sigrid Kaag, head of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission, for successfully overseeing the elimination of Syria's 1300 metric tons of chemical weapons, constituting a major steps toward a world free of chemical weapons.

Although Syria has continued to use chlorine as a weapon in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW-UN operation--involving personnel, equipment, and resources from the United States, Russia, and 28 other countries--has prevented further, large-scale attacks involving Syrian President Bashar Assad's sarin and mustard gas arsenal and eliminated the risk that these deadly weapons might have come under the control of non-state terrorist groups, including Daesh (a.k.a. ISIL).

Pope Francis was the second-runner-up in online voting. He was nominated for guiding the Catholic Church to revise its position on the morality of nuclear deterrence for the first time in many years. The Holy See document, "Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition," issued in December. It argues that: "The strategic nuclear situation has changed dramatically since the end of the Cold War. Rather than providing security...reliance on a strategy of nuclear deterrence has created a less secure world."  

With a late-surge of online voting over the Christmas holidays, Pope Francis edged out another nominee: the members of the technical and political negotiating teams of Iran, led by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and the P5+1 group (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) led by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton. They were nominated for making significant progress toward a long-term, compromise solution to address international concerns over Iran's sensitive nuclear activities as part a future, comprehensive nuclear agreement. They will resume negotiations next week in Geneva.

The list of all 2014 nominees is available online.

The online poll was open between Dec. 16, 2014 to Jan. 7, 2015.

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Past winners of the "Arms Control Person of the Year" are: Lassina Zerbo  (2013); Gen. James Cartwright (2012); reporter and activist Kathi Lynn Austin (2011),Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov and Thomas D'Agostino, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator (2010); Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (2009 ), Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his ministry's Director-General for Security Policy and the High North Steffen Kongstad (2008), and U.S. Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).
If you find the Arms Control Association's resources and work of value, please consider making a contribution online right now, or by giving a friend or colleague a gift subscription to Arms Control Today this holiday season.
Our continued efforts-and progress on arms control in the years ahead- depend on the support of individuals like you.
 

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. ACA publishes the monthly journal, Arms Control Today.

Posted: January 8, 2015

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