Right after I graduated, I interned with the Arms Control Association. It was terrific.

– George Stephanopolous
Host of ABC's This Week
January 1, 2005
June 2007
Edition Date: 
Friday, June 1, 2007
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June 2007 - Vol. 37 Issue 5

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June 2007 Bibliography

Of Special Interest

ElBaradei, Mohamed, “Nuclear Security Today: The Global Context,” Address to Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, May 18, 2007.

Gottemoeller, Rose, “Back to Concrete Business,” Nezavisimaya Gazeta (English translation available online from Carnegie Moscow Center), May 25, 2007.

Gottemoeller, Rose, “Reading Russia Right,” New York Times, May 4, 2007, p. A23.

Kitfield, James, “The Decline Begins,” National Journal, May 19, 2007.

Stroupe, W. Joseph, “The Cold War: Fears of an unfinished victory,” Asian Times, May 31, 2007.

Wortzel, M. Larry, “China's Nuclear Forces: Operations, Training, Doctrine, Command, Control and Campaign Planning,” Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College, May 11, 2007.

I. Strategic Arms

Agence France-Presse, “Britain Orders 4th Astute-Class Submarine,” May 21, 2007.

Coyle, Philip, “Proponents Lose Sight of New Warhead’s Arms Control Implications,” Defense Monitor, May/June 2007, pp. 6-7.

Gill, Bates and Kleiber, Martin, “China’s Space Odyssey,” Foreign Affairs, 86(3):2-6, May/June 2007.

Krepon, Michael, “New warheads and non-proliferation,” Daily Times, June 1, 2007.

Matthews, William, “U.S. House Panel Strips Funding for Nuke Warhead,” Defense News, May 24, 2007.

Pincus, Walter, “New Nuclear Warhead's Funding Eliminated,” Washington Post, May 24, 2007, p. A6.

Spring, Baker, “Congress’s Critical Role in the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) Program,” The Heritage Foundation, May 11, 2007.

II. Nuclear Proliferation

Arab Times, “IAEA Experts to Study Creation of Gulf Nuclear Program: Salema; Ties with Kuwait Praised,” May 13, 2007.

Associated Press, “Jordan Has Uranium to Build a Reactor,” May 5, 2007.

Cohen, Avner, “Israel and the bomb,” International Herald Tribune, May 31, 2007.

Dutt, Vijay, “Threat Will Not Work with Iran, says India,” Hindustan Times, May 29, 2007.

Fisher-Ilan, Allyn, “Peres Biography: Israel, France had Secret Pact to Produce Nuclear Weapons,” Reuters, May, 9, 2007.

International Institute for Strategic Studies, “Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks,” May 9, 2007.

Jenkins, Brian, “Nuclear Terror: How Real?” Washington Times, May 13, 2007.

McCawley, Tom, “Indonesia Looks to a Nuclear Future,” Asia Times, May 30, 2007.

Rademaker, Stephen, “Blame America First,” Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2007, p. A15.

Torquemada, Jesús, “Analysis: The atomic ghost returns,” Basque News and Information Channel, May 30, 2007.

Zaw, Aung, “Suspicion Hardens over Burma’s Nuclear Ambitions,” May 25, 2007.


AFP, “US ‘Positive’ on Clinching India Nuclear Accord,” May, 30, 2007.

Gentleman, Amelia, “India and U.S. Try to Rekindle Stalled Talks on a Nuclear Pact,” New York Times, June 1, 2007.

Giacomo, Carol, “U.S., India Continue Contacts on Nuclear Deal,” Reuters, May 21, 2007.

Murphy, Katharine, “No Uranium for India: Macfarlane,” The Age, May 23, 2007.

Reuters, “Considerable Work Left on India Nuclear Deal: U.S.,” May 30, 2007.

Squassoni, Sharon, “Giving an Inch, Taking a Mile,” Washington Post, May 9, 2007.


Albright, David, and Shire, Jacqueline, and Brannan, Paul, “IAEA Safeguards Report on Iran: Iran making progress but not yet reliably operating an enrichment plant,” The Institute for Science and International Security, May 25, 2007.

Dahl, Fredrik, “Iran Says ‘Evil Approach’ by U.S. Prevents Talks,” Reuters, May 1, 2007

Drogin, Bob, “Iran Bomb Possible by 2010, U.N. Official Says,” Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2007.

ElBaradei, Mohamed, “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” International Atomic Energy Agency, May 22, 2007.

Gearan, Anne, “U.S. has two-part strategy with Iran,” Houston Chronicle, May 27, 2007.

Goldschmidt, Pierre and Perkovich, George, “Correcting Iran’s Nuclear Disinformation,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 27, 2007.

Hafezi, Parisa, “Iran rules out key demand before atomic meeting,” Reuters, May 31, 2007.

Harrison, Frances, “Iran’s Nuclear Negotiator ‘Spied’,” BBC News, May 5, 2007.

Heinrich, Mark, “Iran Deal Sought to Avert Atom Pact Talks Collapse,” Reuters, May 6, 2007.

Jahn, George, “Iran Standing Firm against Language in Nuclear Nonproliferation Document,” Associated Press, May 1, 2007

Kessler, Glenn, “Rice: U.S. Will Not Change Conditions for Iran Nuclear Talks,” Washington Post, May 31, 2007.

Kralev, Nicholas, “Rice Slams U.N. Nuke Watchdog on Iran,” Washington Times, May 30, 2007.

New York Times, “Iran Frees Former Atomic Negotiator on Bail,” May 10, 2007, p. A4.

Reuters, “Iran Has Installed 1,600 Atomic Centrifuges: Report,” May 17, 2007.

Reuters, “Iran Offers to Help Gulf States with Atom Technology,” May 28, 2007.

Reuters, “US, Allies to Complain to ElBaradei on Iran,” May 22, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Iran, EU to Hold New Round of Nuclear Talks May 31 in Spain,” May 19, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Iran Resolved to Export Nuclear Fuel – Ahmadinejad,” May 25, 2007.

Sanger, David, “Inspectors Cite Big Gain by Iran on Nuclear Fuel,” New York Times, May 15, 2007, p. A1.

North Korea

Agence France-Presse, “US Ex-Envoy Sure North Korea had Secret Nuke Programme,” May 14, 2007.

Hutzler, Charles, “U.S. Nuclear Envoy in Beijing, Meets with Chinese Officials in Korea,” Associated Press, May 30, 2007.

Martin, Simon, “Hopes Rise for North Korea Nuclear Deal,” Agence France-Presse, May 16, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Russia Makes U-turn, Joins UN Sanctions against N. Korea,” May 30, 2007.

III. Nonproliferation

Agence France-Presse, “Russia Throws Wrench in S. Korea’s Global Hawk Plan,” May 10, 2007.

Chivers, C.J., “Radioactivity Sensors for Russia,” New York Times, June 1, 2007.

Gupta, Virendra, “It’s the NPT, Not Iran,” Rediff News, May 17, 2007.

Heinrich, Mark, “Iran and NAM Countries Downgrade Atom Treaty Text,” Reuters, May 11, 2007.

Hughes, Llewelyn, “Why Japan Will Not Go Nuclear (Yet),” International Security, 31:4 (Spring 2007).

Kralev, Nicholas, “Unpaid US Dues Hit Nuke-Test Monitoring,” Washington Times, May 24, 2007.

Jahn, George, “Iran and West Clash Over Nuclear Treaty,” Associated Press, May 11, 2007.

Miller, Judith, “From the Shores of Tripoli,” The National Interest, May 2007-June 2007.

Robbins, Carla, “Wrestling Nuclear Genies Back Into the Bottle, or at Least a Can,” New York Times, May 9, 2007, p. A24.

Tannenbaum, Jeffrey, “‘Fourth-Rate’ Nations Love Their A-Bombs, 9/11 Reporter Warns,” Bloomberg, May 17, 2007.

IV. Missiles and Missile Defense

Agence France-Presse, “Key U.S. Missile Test Aborted,” May 26, 2007.

Agence France-Presse, “Report: Australia to Join Japan-U.S. Missile Project,” May 22, 2007.

Agence France-Presse, “Russia Seeks Review of Landmark Arms Control Pact,” May 23, 2007.

Agence France-Presse, “U.S., Poland to Open Formal Missile Shield Talks May 24,” May 22, 2007.

Associated Press, “Russia Test-Launches New ICBM,” May 29, 2007.

Dickle, Mure and Sevastopulo, Demetri, “US fears over China Long-Range Missiles,” Financial Times, May 25, 2007, pp. 1 and 3.

Gera, Vanessa, “U.S., Poland Upbeat on Missile Defense,” Washington Post, May 25, 2007.

Greimel, Hans, “N. Korea Test-Fire Missiles as South Launches U.S.-Equipped Destroyer,” Associated Press, May 26, 2007.

Gutterman, Steve, “Russia Says New ICBM Can Beat Any System,” Associated Press, May 30, 2007.

Heintz, Jon, “Russia test-launches new ICBM,” Houston Chronicle, May 29, 2007.

Holland, Steve, “Bush Sees Tensions between Russia and West,” Reuters, May 21, 2007.

International Herald Tribune, “Czech, U.S. Officials Hold New Round of Talks on Missile Defense,” May 22, 2007.

Matthews, William, “U.S. House Panel Cuts Funds for Missile Defense, New Warhead,” Defense News, May 2, 2007.

“Minister: Russian Army To Receive New Missiles ‘Soon,’” Agence France-Presse, May 31, 2007.

Mohammed, Arshad, “U.S. Says Russia Cannot Veto Missile Defense,” Reuters, May 15, 2007.

News Services, “Pentagon Warns that China is Adding Missiles and Building Capacity to Fight Abroad,” May 26, 2007.

Nishiyama, George, “North Korea Fires Short-Range Missiles,” Reuters, May 25, 2007.

O’Hanlon, Michael, “A Defense We Just Don’t Need (Yet),” New York Times, May 17, 2007

Raghuvanshi, Vivek, “Indian Army Awaits BrahMos,” Defense News, May 21, 2007.

Ramstad, Evan, “Diplomacy Stays Course after North Korea's Test,” Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2007, p. A3.

“Report: North Korea Fired One Missile, Not Several,” Reuters, Seoul, May 26, 2007.

Reuters, “Russia Says Suspect Sold China Rocket Technology,” May 24, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Lithuanian Minister Denies Inviting U.S. to Deploy Missile Shield,” May 30, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Putin says missile tests were response to NATO’s actions,” May 31, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “S-400 Missile Defense Systems to Start Defending Moscow July 1,” May 21, 2007.

Shchedrov, Oleg, “Putin Still Opposed to U.S. Missile Shield,” Reuters, May 23, 2007.

Scully, Megan, “House Affirms Missile Defense Cuts, Approves Defense Bill,” CongressDaily, May 17, 2007.

Shanker, Thom, “Antimissile Test Comes Amid Financing Debate,” New York Times, May 23, 2007.

Shanker, Thom, “House Panel Considers Cuts in Budget for Missile Defense,” New York Times, May 10, 2007, p. A5.

Shchedrov, Oleg, “US ‘imperialism’ means new arms race: Putin,” ABC, May 31, 2007.

Spencer, Richard, “Reports: N. Korea Tests Missile in Iran,” The Daily Telegraph, May 17, 2007.

Wolf, Jim, “U.S. House Seeks Tighter U.S.-Israeli Missile Defenses,” Reuters, May 19, 2007.

V. Chemical and Biological Arms

Butrin, Dmitry; Sborov, Afanasy; and Taratuta, Yulia, “Russia Warily Eyes Human Samples,” May 30, 2007.

“Iran to File Complaints Against Chemical War Facilitators: Accomplices in Saddam’s Chemical Weapons Program Should be Brought to Justice: Deputy FM,” Mehr News, May 12, 2007.

Strohm, Chris, “Advocates of State Chemical Security Laws Plot Next Move,” CongressDaily, May 31, 2007.

United Press International, “Last Chemical Weapon Facility Demolished,” May 17, 2007.

VI. Conventional Arms

Agence France-Presse, “U.N. Team To Report On Alleged Arms Smuggling To Lebanon,” May 28, 2007.

Agence France-Presse, “U.S. Delivers Arms to Lebanon,” May 25, 2007.

Agenzia Giornalistica Italia, “Cluster Bombs: Japan Against Ban,” May 25, 2007.

Amnesty International, “Sudan: Arms Continuing to Fuel Serious Human Rights Violations in Darfur,” May 8, 2007.

Cisneros, Luis Jaime, “Latin America, Caribbean pledge to get rid of cluster bombs,” Agence France-Presse, May 25, 2007.

Integrated Regional Information Networks, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Horn of Africa: ‘Improved approach needed towards disarmament,’” May 30, 2007.

Lederer, Edith, “U.N. Resists U.S. on New Sudan Sanctions,” Associated Press May 30, 2007.

Media Newswire, “New Grants to Deal With Explosives Remnants of War and Landmines,” May 30, 2007.

Minnick, Wendell, “Shipbuilding Boom: $108 Billion Market Predicted for Asia-Pacific Over 10 Years,” Defense News, May 21, 2007.

Raghuvanshi, Vivek, “S. Korea May Build Ships for Indian Navy as Countries Boost Ties,” Defense News, May 30, 2007.

Stohl, Rachel and Rhea Myerscough, “Sub-Saharan Small Arms: The Damage Continues,” Current History, May 2007, pp 227-232

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, “Bush to Tighten Fiscal Penalties Against Sudan,” New York Times, May 29, 2007..

VII. U.S. Policy

Hess, David, “Appropriations Subpanel Moves Energy and Water Bill,” CongressDaily, May 23, 2007.

Scully, Megan, “Senate Panel Boosts Funding For Subs, Missile Interceptor,” CongressDaily, May 31, 2007.

Shanker, Thom, “Administration Rebukes Putin on His Policies,” New York Times, June 1, 2007.

Squassoni, Sharon, “Giving an Inch, Taking a Mile,” www.washingtonpost.com, May 9, 2007.

Tollefson, Jeff, “Subcommittee Goes Its Own Way on Energy-Water Measure,” CQ Weekly, May 28, 2007.

Wald, Matthew L., “Uranium Windfall Opens Choices for the Energy Dept.,” New York Times, May 29, 2007.

VIII. Space

International Security Advisory Board, US Department of State, “Report on US Space Policy,” April 25, 2007.

Kislyakov, Andrei, “New Wars Require New Weapons,” RIA Novosti, May 25, 2007.

Katz-Hyman, Michael; Krepon, Michael; and Hitchens, Theresa; “Preserving Freedom of Action in Space: Realizing the Potential and Limits of US Spacepower,” The Henry L. Stimson Center, May 2007.

Singer, Jeremy, “Pentagon Weighs Options for Quick Space Launches,” Defense News, May 28, 2007.

IX. Other

Agence France-Presse, “NATO Reassures Russia over Eastern Moves,” May 28, 2007.

Associated Press, “China Blasts U.S. Report,” May 28, 2007.

Bodeen, Christopher, “U.S. terror expert says nuclear risk low,” Houston Chronicle, June 1, 2007.

Brown, Cameron S, “Analysis: US, Iran Talks Open Door to ‘Grand Bargain,’” Jerusalem Post, May 29, 2007.

Burns, Robert, “Pentagon: China Building Military Might,” Associated Press, May 25, 2007.

Chandler, Michael, and Warrick, Joby, “Thousands of Nuclear Arms Workers See Cancer Claims Denied or Delayed,” Washington Post, May 12, 2007, p. A1

Drogin, Bob and Daragahi, Borzou, “Arabs Make Plans for Nuclear Power,” Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2007.

Hall, Mimi, “Phones Studied as Attack Detector,” USA Today, May 4, 2007.

Kilner, James, “Russia to Build Nuclear Reactor in Myanmar,” Reuters, May 15, 2007.

Kreisher, Otto, “General Says More U.S., NATO Troops Needed In Europe,” CongressDaily, May 18, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Moscow Says Nuclear Ties with Iran to Continue Despite Sanctions,” May 25.

RIA Novosti, “Russia, Kazakhstan Sign Deal on Uranium Enrichment Center,” May 10, 2007.

Stolar, Alex, “The Implications of Unrest in Pakistan for Nuclear Security,” The Henry L. Stimson Center, May 18, 2007.

Stroupe, W Joseph, “The Cold War: Fears of an Unfinished Victory,” Asia Times, May 31, 2007.

Editor's Note

Miles A. Pomper  

When and why do states pursue nuclear weapons? It is a question that has long been debated among arms control and nonproliferation analysts. This month’s issue looks at one state that has crossed the nuclear Rubicon and another that some analysts fear may do so. It also touches on a Bush administration initiative to try and interdict relevant technology involved in nuclear and other forms of proliferation.

North Korea’s Oct. 9, 2006, nuclear test sounded alarm bells in Washington not only because of Pyongyang’s newly demonstrated capabilities. Commentators and policymakers fretted that other countries in the region, particularly Japan, might feel it necessary to develop nuclear weapons as well. But in this month’s cover story, Hajime Izumi and Katsuhisa Furukawa say that such concerns are overblown and perhaps intentionally manipulated by some Japanese officials. What Tokyo wants, they write, is a closer nuclear relationship with the United States.

Drawing on new sources, Avner Cohen looks at when and how Israel made its crucial decision to produce nuclear weapons, a fact widely known but not officially acknowledged by the Israeli government. He finds the key in the stressful days leading up to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. That crisis, he writes, pushed Israel, which already had developed the relevant technology, to make the fateful leap to assemble weapons.

Mark J. Valencia evaluates the success of the Bush administration’s much-touted Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). An initiative first unveiled four years ago, the PSI is designed to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials from entering or leaving “states of proliferation concern.” Valencia concludes that the PSI has improved the awareness of the danger and urgency of the problem and constrained some relevant illicit trade, but that several shortcomings have hampered its effectiveness.

Our news section this month contains two news analyses. One examines the state of U.S. missile defenses five years after the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The other is a first-hand report from Vienna on this year’s preparatory meeting for the 2010 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference.

In “Looking Back,” Rose Gottemoeller recounts the history of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and its current status. Her article comes after Russian leaders have publicly mulled withdrawing from the treaty to gain strategic flexibility and to retaliate for the planned construction of U.S. missile defenses in Europe. Gottemoeller concludes that such a withdrawal is unlikely and that the treaty’s precedent-setting negotiating principles and verification standards offer a valuable tool for future arms control efforts.

Russia, Burma Sign Nuclear Agreement

Paul Kerr

The United States has expressed concerns about an agreement Burma and Russia signed May 15 that could pave the way for the construction of a Russian nuclear research reactor in the Southeast Asian nation.

Department of State spokesperson Tom Casey told reporters May 16 that Burma lacks the necessary regulatory and management systems to operate a nuclear power facility safely. Washington “would be concerned about the possibility for accidents, for environmental damage, or for proliferation simply by the possibility of fuel being diverted, stolen, or otherwise removed,” Casey said. He did not argue that the project could be part of a nuclear weapons program.

Although the United States and Burma maintain diplomatic relations, Washington has a series of sanctions in place against Rangoon for such issues as its poor human rights record. The United States downgraded its level of representation in Burma from ambassador to chargé d’affaires after the government’s crackdown on democratic opposition in 1988.

According to a May 15 Russian Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) press release, the two governments signed an intergovernmental cooperation agreement in Moscow to establish a “nuclear studies” center in Burma, which will include a 10-megawatt, light water-moderated nuclear reactor.

The fuel for the reactor will contain uranium comprised of 20 percent uranium-235. Rosatom Press Secretary Sergey Novikov said May 15 that Russia is planning initially to supply 10 metric tons of fuel for the reactor, Gazeta.ru reported. Nuclear weapons use uranium containing more than 90 percent uranium-235.

The center also will include a medical isotope production laboratory and nuclear waste treatment and burial facilities. In addition, Russian universities are tasked with training 300–350 specialists for the center, according to Rosatom.

Moscow and Rangoon have been discussing a nuclear project for several years. Although Burma also has expressed interest in constructing nuclear power reactors, a Russian diplomat emphasized in a May 24 interview with Arms Control Today that the new agreement only concerns a research reactor. He added that Russian efforts, such as training Burmese personnel and providing assistance to establish proper regulatory procedures, would mitigate any risks posed by the reactor. (See ACT, May 2004.)

Many details of the agreement, which was signed by Rosatom head Sergey Kiriyenko and Burma’s minister of science and technologies, U Thaung, remain to be negotiated. Indeed, Novikov told the Moscow Times May 15 that the agreement “opens the door so a contract can be concluded.” Similarly, Irina Yesipova, spokesperson for Atomstroyexport, the project’s Russian contractor, said that it is “too early to talk about anything concrete, from timeline to location to expenses,” the Moscow Times reported.

On May 16, Atomstroyexport officials held the first negotiations on the agreement in Moscow with a Burmese delegation, according to a company press release, which provided no further details of the discussions. The next round of talks will take place in Burma in the second half of 2007.

The center will be placed under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, the Rosatom statement said. The research reactor is subject to IAEA safeguards as Burma is a party to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and has completed a comprehensive IAEA safeguards agreement. Such agreements allow the agency to ensure that parties to the NPT do not divert civilian nuclear programs to military purposes.

Burma also has signed the Treaty of Bangkok, which established a nuclear weapons-free zone in Southeast Asia when it entered into force in 1997.

Iran Continues Security Council Defiance

Paul Kerr

A May 23 report from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei documents that Iran has continued work on its nuclear program in defiance of the UN Security Council. This lack of compliance sets the stage for the council to impose additional sanctions against Tehran.

The IAEA Board of Governors also is expected to discuss the report during its next meeting, which begins June 11.

Although Iranian officials continue to express their willingness to enter into negotiations with Germany and the five permanent members of the Security Council, they refuse to meet the Security Council’s repeated demands to suspend its nuclear program.         

Most recently, the Security Council on March 24 adopted Resolution 1747 requiring Iran to comply “without further delay” with Resolution 1737, which the council adopted last December, or face “further appropriate [nonmilitary] measures.” (See ACT, April 2007.) The March resolution requested ElBaradei to report on Iran’s compliance within 60 days.

Resolution 1747 also imposed new restrictions on Tehran and expanded the scope of existing sanctions. Those included a demand that Iran suspend all activities related to its uranium-enrichment program, as well as construction of a heavy water-moderated nuclear reactor. Iran says these programs are for peaceful purposes, but both also could be used to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. (See ACT, January/February 2007.) According to the report, Iran has not suspended either of these programs.

The resolutions require Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA’s investigation of its nuclear programs, as well as to ratify an additional protocol to its comprehensive IAEA safeguards agreement. Such safeguards agreements, which are required under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), allow the IAEA to monitor NPT states-parties’ declared civilian nuclear activities. Iran has signed an additional protocol, which augments the IAEA’s authority to investigate possible undeclared nuclear activities, but has not ratified it.

Both French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Department of State spokesperson Tom Casey stated May 24 that their governments want the Security Council to impose additional sanctions against Iran.

Casey said that the council would “take a look at…enhancing” current UN sanctions and imposing new ones. Asked about the prospect for further sanctions, two European diplomats told Arms Control Today May 25 that whether and to what extent other council members are willing to sanction Iran is unclear.

Both diplomats added that there will be no formal discussions regarding further Security Council action until after the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, meets May 31 with Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and Tehran’s lead nuclear negotiator. The relevant countries will discuss the contents of another council resolution if the talks “do not bear fruit,” one diplomat said.

Larijani and Solana last met in late April but did not reach an agreement. (See ACT, May 2007.)

Larijani told reporters May 30 that suspending Iran’s enrichment program is “not acceptable,” according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). He added, however, that a suspension agreement could be the “outcome of the talks.”

Similarly, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki stated May 16 that Iran remains flexible on other aspects of a potential solution, according to IRNA. Tehran would “welcome” any proposal that officially recognized Iran’s right to produce nuclear fuel, he said.

But Larijani threatened that Iran would “use its levers” against the international community if the Security Council were to impose additional sanctions on Iran, the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported May 18. He did not elaborate.

Modest Enrichment Progress

Iran has continued work on its gas centrifuge-based uranium-enrichment program. Such centrifuges enrich uranium by spinning uranium hexafluoride gas at very high speeds in order to increase the concentration of the uranium-235 isotope. They can produce low-enriched uranium, which can be used in nuclear reactors, and highly enriched uranium (HEU), which can be used in certain types of nuclear reactors and as fissile material in nuclear weapons.

Tehran has a pilot centrifuge facility located at Natanz and is constructing a larger commercial facility at the same site. Iran also has a facility for converting uranium oxide into uranium hexafluoride.           

Discussing Iran’s nuclear progress, ElBaradei told reporters May 24 that Iran would need at least three to eight years before it could develop a nuclear weapon, Reuters reported.

Interviews with knowledgeable sources have provided a mixed picture of the program’s status. One European diplomat pointed out May 25 that the most important issue is whether Iran can keep its centrifuges “running for an extended period of time.” Tehran has not yet demonstrated that it can do so, he said.

Iran continued to operate the 10-, 20-, and 164-centrifuge cascades in its pilot facility but "disconnected" one of the 164-centrifuge cascades at an unspecified date. Iran fed 4.8 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride into single machines and the 10-machine cascade between Feb. 21 and March 17, ElBaradei reported.

As for Iran’s commercial enrichment facility, IAEA inspectors during a May visit found that Iran was “operating simultaneously” eight 164-centrifuge cascades. The report says Tehran has “two other similar cascades” which have not been tested with nuclear material. Three more such cascades are “under construction.” According to another European diplomat, the operating cascades are not linked together, a key element required to operate an enrichment facility at the scale necessary to produce large quantities of enriched uranium.

The number of operating cascades in the facility has not increased since mid-April, according to an April 18 letter from agency Deputy Director-General Olli Heinonen. Iran had two cascades installed as of February.

Iran told the IAEA that it intended to “continue progressively with the installation of…18 cascades” into the commercial facility and “bring them gradually into operation by May,” according to a report ElBaradei issued in February. Although Iran failed to meet this target date, a diplomatic source in Vienna close to the IAEA told Arms Control Today April 25 that Iran is able to build one 164-centrifuge cascade every 10 days. At that rate, Iran will be able to install approximately 3,000 centrifuges by the end of June, the source said.

Tehran has said that it eventually plans to install more than 50,000 centrifuges in the facility. It will take Iran up to four years to do this, according to an April statement by Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh, who also heads Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

In addition to installing centrifuges, Iran has begun to enrich uranium in its commercial facility. Tehran has fed approximately 260 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride into those cascades, the report says. Iran appears to have begun doing this sometime after April 18. On that day, a knowledgeable source told Arms Control Today that Tehran was not actually enriching uranium but was instead injecting small amounts of feedstock into the centrifuges to ready them for operation.

Iran has declared that it has enriched uranium levels up to 4.8 percent uranium-235 at the commercial facility, a claim that the IAEA is in the process of verifying. The report does not specify the quantity of enriched uranium Iran has produced. ElBaradei reported in February that Iran produced in its pilot facility uranium containing a “maximum enrichment” of 4.2 percent uranium-235.

Whether Iran can produce centrifuges of sufficient quantity and quality is unclear. The Vienna diplomat said that Tehran can produce enough centrifuge components for its projected enrichment needs. But a knowledgeable source told Arms Control Today that Iran may not be “fully independent” in making such components.

Asked about the quality of Iran’s centrifuges, the Vienna source added that Iran “can make functional machines.” Separately, a European diplomat said that it is not clear that Iran can do so, explaining that “quite a high number” of centrifuges have crashed at rates “higher than one would expect.”

Iran also has apparently continued to operate its uranium-conversion facility. According to the report, Iran presented 269 metric tons of uranium hexafluoride to IAEA inspectors when they visited the facility in March. The agency is “evaluating the results” obtained during the visit. Mohammad Saeedi, deputy director of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, claimed May 7 that Iran has 280 metric tons of feedstock, ISNA reported. Iran began the conversion campaign in June 2006.

Whether Iran’s uranium hexafluoride is of sufficient purity is unclear. The Vienna diplomat said that Iran is using its own feedstock, noting that the material is “good enough” to produce enriched uranium. But the two other European diplomats told Arms Control Today that Iran is probably using uranium hexafluoride obtained from China more than a decade ago.            

Regarding Iran’s conversion efforts, one diplomat said that Iran is now attempting to convert its own uranium oxide into feedstock but the “process has not been perfected.” Iran had previously been converting uranium oxide acquired from South Africa, he said.

Decreased Transparency

ElBaradei’s report states that although the IAEA is able to verify that Iran has not diverted any of its safeguarded nuclear material, the agency “remains unable to make further progress” in verifying “the scope and nature” of Iran’s nuclear program.

Since its investigation began in 2002, the IAEA has discovered that Iran engaged in secret nuclear activities, some of which violated Tehran’s safeguards agreement. Iran has provided explanations for some of these issues, but the agency says that several others remain unresolved. (See ACT, March 2006.)

ElBaradei reported that Iran has provided no new information regarding these matters, with one exception. Tehran has disclosed details regarding the HEU particles found at the Karaj Waste Storage Facility, a facility that Iran had not declared to the agency. The IAEA is currently analyzing the information, the report says. (See ACT, December 2006.)

The report emphasizes that the IAEA’s “level of knowledge of certain aspects” of Iran’s nuclear activities “has deteriorated” because Tehran has been providing less information than it did in the past. For example, Iran stopped adhering to its additional protocol in February 2006, the terms of which Iran had been observing since Fall 2003 even though the protocol was not yet in force. (See ACT, March 2006.)

According to ElBaradei, Iran has withheld a significant amount of data, including “information relevant to the assembly of centrifuges, the manufacture of centrifuge components…and research and development of centrifuges or enrichment techniques.” His report also notes that Iran has not allowed the IAEA to inspect its heavy water reactor site since Tehran’s March decision to end its compliance with a portion of the subsidiary arrangements for its IAEA safeguards agreement.

Russia Casts Doubt on Conventional Arms Pact

Wade Boese

President Vladimir Putin and other top Russian leaders recently ratcheted up warnings that Moscow might freeze or end participation in a treaty limiting conventional weapons in Europe if some long-running disputes with NATO are not soon resolved.

In an annual address to Russian lawmakers, Putin said April 26 that Moscow would “declare a moratorium on its observance” of the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which restricts the number and location of battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, and heavy artillery that states-parties can field in Europe. Putin added that if talks with the 26-member NATO alliance did not yield results, Russia will “examine the possibility of suspending our commitments” under the CFE Treaty.

For days and weeks after the speech, there was confusion about when the moratorium would take effect and whether Putin was threatening that Russia might pull out of the treaty.

The Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted a Kremlin source April 26 as saying Russia would withdraw from the treaty if nothing changed. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov similarly told reporters the same day in Oslo, Norway, that Russia’s “withdrawal from [the] CFE [Treaty] will become imminent” if Moscow’s concerns go unmet.

Still, on May 9, NATO spokesperson James Appathurai told reporters, “I don’t think the full details of what President Putin meant are fully clear yet.”

Appathurai’s comment came a day before Russian General Yuri Baluyevsky, chief of the general staff, visited NATO headquarters in Brussels. The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta quoted Baluyevsky as telling reporters there that lawyers in Russia’s foreign and defense ministries were analyzing “legitimate opportunities for a moratorium.”

A Russian official told Arms Control Today May 21 that the “moratorium is not immediate.” Without mentioning a possible treaty withdrawal or termination, the official further explained that Russia would “suspend implementation if NATO does not respond positively.”

U.S. and other NATO-member government officials said in May Arms Control Today interviews that Russia had not altered its behavior under the CFE Treaty since Putin’s speech. They noted Russia has made some regular treaty notifications and agreed to a treaty inspection.

The accord does not allow a state-party to suspend implementation. A treaty withdrawal option exists if a country feels that “extraordinary events…have jeopardized its supreme interests.” A minimum 150-day advance notice of an intended withdrawal is required by the treaty.

Consequently, a Russian move to suspend implementation would likely be judged by other states-parties as noncompliance. Compliance issues are supposed to be resolved in the treaty’s Joint Consultative Group.

Putin’s speech came amid increased sparring by Washington and Moscow over a U.S. plan to deploy 10 strategic missile interceptors in Poland (see page 30 ), but Russian officials deny any tie between the recent CFE Treaty policy and the interceptor base.

For several years, Moscow has been seeking to have the 1990 accord replaced by a November 1999 “adapted” CFE Treaty that imposes less stringent restrictions on Russia. Unlike the original treaty, the updated version also permits additional countries to join and adopt weapons limits. This appeals to Russia because it is upset that some newer NATO members, particularly Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, currently have no arms constraints.

The adapted treaty cannot enter into force and legally replace the original accord until all of its 30 states-parties ratify the revised version. Only four—Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine—have completed this step.

NATO members are refusing to ratify the adapted treaty until Russia fulfills promised military withdrawals from Georgia and Moldova. These pledges are known as the Istanbul commitments, after the summit at which they were made. The adapted CFE Treaty was finalized at the same gathering. (See ACT, November 1999. )

The Russian military is belatedly making progress in leaving Georgia, but a similar effort in Moldova halted unfinished in March 2004. (See ACT, January/February 2007. )

Kremlin officials frequently criticize the NATO linkage and complain about being bound by what they deride as an obsolete agreement. In his Oslo remarks, Lavrov stated that Russia “finds itself in a situation where it simply does not want to participate in a theater of the absurd.”

Washington and other NATO capitals are urging Russia to uphold its obligations. Referring to the CFE Treaty as “one of the most important treaties of the 20th century,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a May 15 interview with the Russian radio station Ekho Movsky that Russia should address its concerns “in the context of the treaty rather than trying to get out of the treaty.”

NATO governments also are reiterating that they will continue to delay ratifying the adapted CFE Treaty until the Russian military is out of Moldova and Georgia. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said April 26 that “the allies attach great importance to ratification of the adapted CFE Treaty, but we have things like the Istanbul commitments which have to be fulfilled.”

Panel Endorses U.S. Global Strike Initiative

Wade Boese

An independent panel recently provided a boost to a coolly received Pentagon initiative that would convert some long-range, submarine-launched ballistic missiles to deliver conventional warheads instead of nuclear ones.

In a May 11 report to Congress, the 19-member panel of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) National Research Council stated the initiative, if proven effective, “would be a valuable addition to U.S. military capabilities.” The initiative is intended to enable the United States to conduct non-nuclear strikes worldwide in less than an hour.

The general concept is known as prompt global strike. Under the Conventional Trident Modification program, each of the dozen deployed U.S. ballistic missile submarines would have two of their 24 Trident nuclear-armed ballistic missiles converted to carry conventional payloads.

The panel recommended that lawmakers sufficiently fund research and development of the program so an “initial operational capability” will be ready in three years. But it also urged postponing full-scale production and deployment until some policy issues are settled.

The experts said policymakers should explore alternatives and deal with the “ambiguity issue,” which is the possibility that other countries, particularly Russia, might mistake a conventional Trident launch as a nuclear attack. This danger has been a central concern of lawmakers, leading them last year to cut inaugural funding for the program from $127 million to $25 million and commission the NAS study. The Bush administration asked Congress in February for an additional $175 million. (See ACT, April 2007. )

Congressional caution toward the program remains widespread. On May 17, the House passed a fiscal year 2008 defense authorization bill that prohibits any spending to deploy conventional Tridents. Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, which initially proposed the restriction, said the move reflected a “need for additional effort to ensure that a conventional missile launch from a Trident submarine is not misinterpreted.”

The Senate has yet to pass its version of the defense authorization bill, which will then need to be reconciled with the House measure, but some senators share similar sentiments. At an April 11 hearing, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said the proposed conversion “is a very destabilizing idea in the minds of many of us.”

The NAS panel suggested that “cooperative measures” with other countries might help reduce misunderstandings and recommended that any prompt global strike effort, including the Trident conversion, “be designed in both hardware and operational terms to minimize the possibility of misinterpreting intent.” Yet, the panel noted, “the ambiguity between nuclear and conventional payloads can never be totally resolved.”

Still, the experts asserted that a prompt global strike capability is worth pursuing. “Given the pace of terrorism’s spread and the consequent uncertainty about where terrorist operations will occur, coupled with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, a truly global capability may soon be required, if it is not required today,” the panel stated.

In addition to being used against terrorists, the panel said prompt global strike systems could be employed at the outset, or “leading edge,” of major combat operations. In such a scenario, the panel cautioned that misinterpretation risks would rise.

The brief time frames associated with prompt global strike also present difficulties, according to the panel. It stated that getting accurate and reliable short-notice data on a target would be a “daunting challenge” and warned that decision-makers would have to rapidly weigh potential collateral damage and other risks.

The panel predicted that the actual use of prompt global strike weapons would be rare, numbering “at most a few dozen” instances during their first decade of service. It calculated that “only a few terrorist leaders would merit use of such a weapon.”

Other prompt global strike options mentioned by the panel include conventionally armed U.S.-based ICBMs, intercontinental-range hypersonic boost-glide vehicles, and higher-speed cruise missiles launched from bombers. These and the Trident conversion program will be analyzed more fully in a second report the panel is supposed to supply Congress early next year.

Albert Carnesale, who most recently served as chancellor of UCLA, chairs the panel. Other panel members include retired General Eugene Habiger, former commander of U.S. Strategic Command; James Woolsey, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency; and Walter Slocombe, former undersecretary of defense for policy.

Corrected online September 3, 3008. See explanation.

NEWS ANALYSIS: Missile Defense Five Years After the ABM Treaty

Wade Boese

Five years after President George W. Bush orchestrated the June 13, 2002, U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty to build an “effective” missile defense, the system remains unproven or insufficient in the eyes of many.

Yet, Bush administration officials say that their fledgling strategic missile defense system proved its worth when North Korea fired several ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan last July. Right before the tests, the Bush administration activated the system as a precaution.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates penned an April 26 Daily Telegraph piece claiming that the defense had helped “promote stability” by allowing U.S. leaders “to consider a wider, more flexible range of responses to a potential attack.” John Rood, assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, declared in a Feb. 27 speech that the system’s activation had “heartened” him.

North Korea’s missile launch preparations were no secret last June and had been reported generally as being for testing purposes. Still, Rick Lehner, a spokesperson for the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA), told Arms Control Today May 29 that North Korea’s intentions were not known and, therefore, the “system was brought to alert status in case it was needed to defend the country.” As it turned out, the system was unneeded because North Korea was conducting flight tests, and the Taepo Dong-2, the missile of greatest U.S. concern, flopped approximately 40 seconds into its inaugural flight.

The MDA asserts the defense would have stopped the Taepo Dong-2 had the test been a real attack. Lieutenant General Henry Obering, the head of the MDA, told the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee April 11, “I am confident [the system] would have worked.”

Not everyone has such confidence. Skeptics and critics point to what they say is skimpy and rudimentary testing of the system, which has components stretching from radars in Japan and the United Kingdom to 18 interceptors deployed in Alaska and California. On the other hand, some missile defense supporters criticize the administration for not being ambitious enough after pulling out of the ABM Treaty, which barred Moscow and Washington from developing nationwide strategic ballistic missile defenses.

Although Russia initially had a muted reaction to the U.S. treaty withdrawal, Russian leaders now more strongly assert that U.S. missile defenses, particularly a plan to base interceptors in Poland, are provocative. They imply that if Washington continues to proceed, it could trigger another arms race, which is what Bush and other senior administration officials said would not result from a U.S. ABM Treaty exit.

No Consensus on Capability

Despite its proclaimed confidence in the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD), which was the system activated last summer, the administration has had trouble convincing others to share the same view, largely because it has performed few visible tests over the past several years. Indeed, since Bush’s December 2002 decision to deploy the GMD system, only one successful intercept test has been conducted.

The MDA hoped to double this tally with a May 25 test, but the experiment was scrubbed when the target missile failed to fly properly. Obering said the agency would try again this summer.

The sole, recent success came Sept. 1, 2006, when a GMD interceptor fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, obliterated a mock warhead launched south from Kodiak Island, Alaska. (See ACT, October 2006.) The interceptor is comprised of powerful boosters that lift into space an exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) that detaches from the boosters and, using radar updates and onboard sensors, hones in on and collides with a target at a combined closing speed of 35,000 kilometers per hour.

MDA officials heralded the test as proof that the system works. Speaking Jan. 29, Brigadier General Patrick O’Reilly, MDA deputy director, contended there is “very little more we can do to make [tests] more operationally realistic.”

The test differed significantly from its 10 predecessors, five of which ended in intercepts. The September experiment involved an interceptor model that was the same as those currently deployed and also involved operational crews and radars, as well as a target trajectory more closely resembling one that a North Korean missile might travel. Previously, targets were shot away from California west over the Pacific Ocean toward the Marshall Islands, from where the test interceptors were fired.

Some critics dispute the claim that the recent test was realistic. In a May 23 Arms Control Today interview, Philip Coyle, former director of the Pentagon’s Office of Operational Test and Evaluation, said the latest test was “the simplest” to date and “less challenging than tests that I oversaw,” highlighting the absence of decoys in the recent test. Previous tests included one to three decoys, although they did not closely resemble the target.

Coyle, who is currently a senior adviser at the nonprofit Center for Defense Information, contends that the Achilles’ heel of the system is countermeasures, including decoys, because the system cannot discriminate between real targets and fake ones. He contends that adversaries capable of launching a long-range ballistic missile would employ decoys or other countermeasures to penetrate the system.

That assertion is based on U.S. intelligence. Robert D. Walpole, a national intelligence officer, informed lawmakers Feb. 9, 2000, that North Korea and Iran “could develop countermeasures based on [readily available] technologies by the time they flight-test their missiles.” Neither Iran nor North Korea has successfully flight-tested a missile with a range greater than approximately 2,000 kilometers.

Obering defends the MDA testing strategy. At the April 11 hearing, he argued, “We think that there are many situations where we will not be faced with complex countermeasures.” At an April 25 Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing, the general stated, “Just because you do not have countermeasures does not mean that [tests are] not realistic.”

The MDA has deployed a sea-based X-band radar, which would have been prohibited by the ABM Treaty, that the agency claims will help with target discrimination. The agency also is working to miniaturize EKVs so that a single interceptor can carry several at a time to engage separate objects in a target cluster. Flight testing of this Multiple Kill Vehicle program is set to start in 2012.

The current head of the Pentagon’s testing office, Charles McQueary, testified April 11 that the current system has “demonstrated a capability to intercept a simple foreign threat.” Meanwhile, his office’s annual report, released earlier this year, stated that a lack of flight-test data “limits confidence in assessments” of the defense. It recommended that future program decisions should “stress reliable and repeatable performance in integrated system testing.”

Similarly, a March report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which conducts investigations for Congress, concluded the system “has not completed sufficient flight testing to provide a high level of confidence that [U.S. missile defenses] can reliably intercept ICBMs.” It applauded the MDA for generally reducing missile defense test failures and improving quality control procedures but reported that previous shortcomings may have permitted “less reliable or inappropriate parts” to be incorporated in the deployed interceptors, raising questions about their “reliability.” According to the GAO, the MDA plans to spend $65.5 million to retrofit the interceptors beginning in fiscal year 2009.

Stable of Programs Remains Similar

When running for president, Bush derided the Clinton administration’s ground-based system as too modest. (The ABM Treaty permitted Moscow and Washington each to field up to 100 strategic ground-based interceptors at one site.) He suggested that if the United States truly wanted to shield itself against ballistic missiles, it had to break free from ABM Treaty rules against air-, sea-, space-, and mobile land-based systems as well as foreign deployments. This position reflected decades-long complaints of missile defense advocates that the only thing blocking effective defenses was treaty limits making certain technologies and basing modes off-limits.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal a day after the U.S. treaty withdrawal took effect, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz hailed the possibilities that the MDA could now exploit. “We can now move forward with the robust development and testing program that the Department of Defense has designed to take advantage of new technologies and basing modes,” he stated.

Yet, five years after the administration shed the treaty constraints and spent some $41 billion on the MDA, the U.S. inventory of systems has changed little (see table 1). Air-, sea-, space-, and mobile land-based systems to counter strategic long-range missiles or ICBMs have not materialized.

The MDA has programs that fit these basing modes, but they are systems geared toward stopping shorter-range missiles and were under development prior to the treaty withdrawal. To be sure, the MDA contends some of the programs have an inherent capability against longer-range missiles or that they can be upgraded for the mission, but such claims remain unproven.

The Airborne Laser (ABL) is a prime example. Initiated under the Clinton administration, the ABL program called for arming a Boeing 747 with a powerful laser to destroy shorter-range ballistic missiles shortly after their launch. Following the U.S. treaty withdrawal, program officials announced the system also could shoot down longer-range missiles. Prolonged development delays, however, have postponed the first ABL intercept attempt from 2003 to at least 2009. Not yet armed with its main laser, the aircraft recently tracked a target, but Obering noted in the April 25 hearing that the program is not “out of the woods.”

Some ABM Treaty antagonists also saw great promise in fielding ship-based strategic interceptors, pointing to the then-Navy Theater Wide program as a possible model or starting point. Now known as Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, the program has recorded eight intercepts in 10 tests involving shorter-range missiles, and MDA officials are seeking to expand its capabilities. As with the ABL program, however, the schedule has slipped. Whereas a first attempt to hit a long-range target had been predicted for as early as 2007, now it is set for 2014.

The MDA’s only mobile land-based system nearing deployment is the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), which is supposed to collide with missiles during their last minute or so of flight. Intercept testing of the system resumed last July after completion of an interceptor redesign that started in 1999. In the three intercept tests since then, THAAD has not missed. The system is designed to destroy missiles below the strategic threshold.

A mobile land-based strategic system, the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI), is in the works, but it has suffered frequent budget cuts from lawmakers who question the program’s utility. As a result, the MDA has pushed back possible deployment of the system, which has yet to be flight-tested, from 2010 to at least 2014.

Space-based interceptors remain just a gleam in Obering’s eyes. “Space offers a lot of flexibility, and it offers a lot of attraction,” he testified April 25. But his agency has requested relatively modest sums to explore the option. Congress, particularly Democratic members, have signaled strong reservations about basing interceptors in orbit. In its defense authorization bill passed May 17, the House of Representatives cut nearly $800 million, including all $10 million for the space project, from the MDA’s fiscal year 2008 $8.8 billion budget request. The Senate has yet to pass its version of this bill, which will have to be reconciled with the House measure.

For some missile defense doubters and opponents, the administration’s failure to bring any new systems to fruition might be bittersweet vindication of their arguments that it was premature on technical grounds to withdraw from the ABM Treaty.

A number of missile defense supporters, however, knock the administration for not being aggressive enough. Daniel Goure, vice president of the nonprofit Lexington Institute, contended in an April 23 paper that the administration “went on to squander the opportunity” presented by scrapping the ABM Treaty. He suggests the KEI program be ramped up and put on ships.

Other missile defense proponents such as Ambassador Henry Cooper, who headed one of the MDA’s predecessors, issued a 2006 report criticizing the administration for sticking with the ground-based system. They recommended limiting work on that system and devoting more time and effort to sea- and space-based interceptors. The report noted that the current approach ignores defending against Chinese and Russian missiles.

Russian Reactions

A major point of contention when the Bush administration was maneuvering to withdraw from the ABM Treaty was how other states, particularly Russia and China, would respond. The possibility that either country might build up its arsenal in reaction to a U.S. treaty withdrawal and construction of a nationwide defense induced anxiety within Washington and worldwide.

The Bush administration dismissed such concerns as exaggerated. It argued that future U.S. defenses would not be aimed at China or Russia and that the withdrawal would help usher in a new era of better relations between the United States and Russia by removing an irritant and a vestige of Cold War competition. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer noted Dec. 12, 2001, that the president often remarked that withdrawing from the treaty would “lead to a strengthening of U.S.-Russian relations.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin characterized the withdrawal at the time as “mistaken,” and the Kremlin has grumbled ever since. But a U.S. proposal to nullify a potential Iranian missile threat by stationing 10-ground-based U.S. interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic now has Russia growling. (See ACT, April 2007. )

Putin set the tone in a Feb. 10 speech, saying the U.S. plans “cannot help but disturb us.” He asked, “Who needs the next step of what would be, in this case, an inevitable arms race?”

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also suggested May 15 that an arms competition was certain. “In questions of military-strategic stability, there are its own immutable laws: actions, counteractions, defensive, offensive systems,” he explained, adding that “these laws operate regardless of how somebody would like to see this or that situation.”

Although 10 interceptors would clearly pose no threat to Russia’s roughly 530 ICBMs, Russian officials indicate their concern is that the deployment is just the tip of the iceberg. The Russian news agency Itar-Tass May 14 published a Russian Foreign Ministry statement that “one cannot ignore the fact that U.S. offensive weapons, combined with the missile defense being created, can turn into a strategic complex capable of delivering an incapacitating blow.”

How seriously Russia fears such a scenario and how it would really respond is difficult to gauge. Moscow is seeking a new arms reduction agreement with Washington (see ACT, May 2007 ), but it also regularly speaks of retaining older weapon systems with multiple warheads and tripling the warhead capacity of its new class of Topol-M ICBMs.

Bush administration officials say Russia is overreacting and that a difference exists between the Kremlin’s private and public comments. They speculate that Russian officials might be trying to drive a wedge between the United States and Europe or engaging in electoral politics at home. Regardless, Rice said May 15 in Moscow that the United States would not give Russia “a veto on American security interests.”

U.S. officials have made a pitch to soften Russia’s rhetoric by proposing cooperation on missile defenses. Moscow so far has shunned the offers, perhaps recalling that nothing much came of Bush’s June 13, 2002, pledge to Russia to “look for ways to cooperate on missile defenses, including expanding military exercises, sharing early warning data, and exploring potential joint research and development of missile defense technologies.”

Estimated to have an arsenal of approximately 20 ICBMs capable of reaching the continental United States, China has stayed relatively silent about U.S. missile defense developments, even though it would appear to have greater reason than Russia to be concerned. Beijing has had a secretive, yet slow strategic modernization program underway for years, and there is little evidence that its pace or scope has changed. Chinese unease with U.S. plans, however, is viewed as stoking Beijing’s push for negotiations on the prevention of an arms race in outer space at the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament.

Washington has gained some greater international acceptance of missile defenses. In addition to winning consent from the United Kingdom and Denmark to upgrade and integrate U.S. radars on their territories into the U.S. GMD system, the Bush administration also deployed a mobile radar to Japan and is cooperating with Tokyo on improving the ship-based Aegis defense. The ABM Treaty barred any of these actions. Other countries with ongoing projects with the United States include Australia, Germany, Israel, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Still, some governments, including a few U.S. missile defense partners, are uneasy with the seemingly deteriorating U.S.-Russian relationship, of which missile defense appears partially responsible. In a March 18 article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier cautioned that, in protecting against a possible Iranian threat, “the price of security must not be new suspicion or, worse still, fresh insecurity.” He also wrote, “[W]e cannot allow a missile defense system to be either a reason or a pretext for a new arms race.”

Five years after President George W. Bush orchestrated the June 13, 2002, U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty to build an “effective” missile defense, the system remains unproven or insufficient in the eyes of many. (Continue)

Security Council May Close Iraq Inspection Unit

Paul Kerr

The United States and other permanent members of the UN Security Council are drafting a resolution that would officially terminate the mission of UN inspectors tasked with verifying and monitoring Iraq’s disarmament, Ben Chang, a spokesperson for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, told Arms Control Today May 22.

Speaking to reporters May 15, Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. permanent representative to the UN, did not mention a resolution but did say that “the time has come to move to bring this to a close appropriately. And I believe that there is an emerging consensus to do that.”

The United States is working with the United Kingdom and other council members on a resolution, Chang said, adding that the process “is taking a while because there is a lot of complexity” surrounding the issue.

For example, numerous Security Council resolutions governing the question of Iraq’s disarmament remain in effect. Ewen Buchanan, a spokesperson for the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), pointed out in a May 21 interview with Arms Control Today that these resolutions contain restrictions, such as a prohibition on Iraqi missiles with ranges exceeding 150 kilometers, that the council must address.

Both U.S. and UNMOVIC officials explained that the Security Council also needs to decide the fate of the commission’s archives, which contain proliferation-sensitive material that could aid other countries in developing nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons.

After the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the UN Security Council tasked the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM), UNMOVIC’s predecessor, with verifying and supervising the destruction of Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles exceeding UN-permitted ranges. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were charged with verifying and supervising the destruction of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program. The UN withdrew the inspectors in December 1998, but they returned in November 2002 with Iraq’s consent. (See ACT, December 2002.)

The UN inspectors found no evidence that Iraq was pursuing illicit weapons programs but still had some unanswered questions about the country’s past weapons programs.

The inspectors left Iraq just before the U.S.-led March 2003 invasion. Since then, UNMOVIC, which includes staff in New York and teams of inspectors from UN member states, has remained on standby and has not been able to conduct in-country inspections.

At least one Security Council member still remains skeptical of the resolution. Russian Foreign Minister Aleksandr Yakovenko charged that a draft resolution “breaches established [Security Council] regulations,” according to a May 11 press account.

Yakovenko also stated that UNMOVIC and the IAEA should present a report to the council “on the state of affairs connected to disarmament programs in Iraq.” Acknowledging that neither organization is “in a position to do this on their own,” he suggested that the United States “officially present to the UN the findings of its own search teams.”

A U.S.-led postinvasion investigation found that Iraq did not have prohibited weapons programs. But the United States has never briefed the UN on the investigation’s classified findings, Buchanan said.

Yakovenko also argued that the problem of Iraqi illicit weapons “has acquired added acuity” because of the lack of security at Iraqi facilities that could be used to produce such weapons.

For its part, Iraq would like UNMOVIC’s mission to end. In an April 24 letter to the Security Council, Iraqi Foreign Minster Hoshyar Zebari reiterated Baghdad’s past requests that the council “terminate the mandate” of the UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors. Zebari argued that their mission is no longer relevant because “there are no longer any legal or technical grounds for continuing their mandate” and because Iraq no longer has prohibited weapons or related programs.

Zebari’s letter also described several steps that Iraq has taken to provide assurance that it is not pursuing such weapons, including drafting a law that would permit Iraq to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Iraq declared in 2004 that it would accede to the convention. (See ACT, July/August 2006.)

He also wrote that “preparations are underway” for Iraq to ratify an additional protocol to its IAEA safeguards agreement. Such agreements, which are required under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, allow the agency to monitor non-nuclear-weapon states-parties’ declared nuclear activities. An additional protocol augments the agency’s ability to discover undeclared nuclear activities.

The United States and other permanent members of the UN Security Council are drafting a resolution that would officially terminate the mission of UN inspectors tasked with verifying and monitoring Iraq’s disarmament, Ben Chang, a spokesperson for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, told Arms Control Today May 22.

Speaking to reporters May 15, Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. permanent representative to the UN, did not mention a resolution but did say that “the time has come to move to bring this to a close appropriately. And I believe that there is an emerging consensus to do that.” (Continue)


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