"No one can solve this problem alone, but together we can change things for the better." 

– Setsuko Thurlow
Hiroshima Survivor
June 6, 2016

Transcript Available: Squaring the Iranian Nuclear Circle: Defining Uranium Enrichment Capacity and Other Key Issues



September 15, 2014
9:30am -11:00am
Location: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Choate Room
1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

Next week, negotiators from the United States, other world powers, and Iran will resume talks in New York to try to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal.

While significant progress has already been made on a number of key issues, negotiators remain far apart on how to define the size and scope of Iran's uranium enrichment program. But a win-win formula is possible, if both sides are willing to be creative and move beyond maximalist positions.

At this briefing, three leading experts will outline the key issues, the major hurdles, the political dynamics inside Iran, and realistic options for getting to "yes" -- including a new Arms Control Association/International Crisis Group proposal on how to define Iran's uranium enrichment program under a comprehensive deal.

Panelists include:

  • Kelsey Davenport, Nonproliferation Analyst, Arms Control Association;
  • Paul Pillar, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University;
  • James Walsh, Research Associate, Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and
  • Daryl G. Kimball, (moderator), Executive Director, Arms Control Association.


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good morning, everyone.  Thank you for being so punctual.  I’m Daryl Kimball with the Arms Control Association.  We’re very glad that you’ve all joined us early this Monday morning for our briefing on squaring the Iranian nuclear circle, and this morning we’re going to try to unpack some of the key issues and the possible solutions for the P5+1  in Iranian nuclear negotiations, which as you all probably know, are going to resume this week at the United Nations in New York.

Clearly both sides have been negotiating seriously and for quite some time on a comprehensive joint plan of action to resolve the issues relating to and concerns relating to Iran’s nuclear program, but some big gaps still remain, and they’re going to need to be bridged before the negotiators’ November 24 target date.

In order to succeed, I think all of us here at the Arms Control Association, my colleagues on the panel today, believe that both sides are going to have to work a lot harder to see creative tradeoffs, particularly on the toughest issue, which is – seems to be defining Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity over the course of the multi-year agreement.  And today we’ve got three very well-informed, very knowledgeable speakers who are going to describe for us where the negotiations currently stand, what can be done to bridge the remaining gaps and what President Obama, President Rouhani and their teams need to deliver in order to obtain the necessary support at home, in Washington and Tehran to support the implementation of what will be a very complex and controversial agreement if the negotiators can pull it together.

And so this morning I’m going to begin with Dr. Jim Walsh, who is research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Security Studies Program.  We’re very glad he can make it down from Cambridge to be with us this morning.  For many years, Jim has been actively engaged in looking for solutions on the Iranian nuclear puzzle, through his own research, his work, his travels, and especially with his colleagues at the Iran project who do excellent work.  He’s going to provide us with an opening overview of the several key issues that the negotiators are grappling with, where the two sides were able to make some progress before the last round of negotiations concluded in Vienna at the Coburg Palais on July 20th, and how, in general, the two sides need to adjust their positions in order to try to get to yes.

And then my colleague Kelsey Davenport, our director for nonproliferation policy, will outline what we believe is a potential formula for resolving differences over Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity that we at the Arms Control Association with our forensic colleagues at the International Crisis Group and other nonproliferation colleagues have put together and delivered to the negotiators just in the past two or three weeks, and which is outlined in the paper we have out on the table.

And last but not least we have with us Paul Pillar, who is now nonresident senior fellow with Brookings Institution and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.  He has many years of experience as an intelligence analyst on WMD issues, including in the Middle East, and he’s going to provide us with his expert assessment of the goals and limitations, particularly on the Iranian negotiating team for – that they’re going to need to achieve in order to get the necessary support from the very complex set of political actors in Tehran for a comprehensive nuclear deal with the West.

And after each of them speaks for about 12, 15 minutes or so, we’re going to take your questions.  And I can see that we’ve got a very well-informed audience here with us this morning.

So to begin, I’m going to turn to Jim Walsh.  Jim, again, thanks for being with us – (off mic).

JIM WALSH:  Well, thank you, Daryl.  Thank all of you for coming out 9:30 on a Monday morning.  What an awesome time for an event.  (Laughter.)  I know I wouldn’t want to listen to me at 9:30 in the morning.  (Laughter.)  And I’m going to try not to.

I want to also say by way of introduction that I have – I am personally biased.  I have a personal stake in the outcome of this negotiation.  I am hopeful that we will have a negotiated settlement with Iran because I’ve been working on this issue almost a decade and a half, and I am sick and tired of it.  And I would like to move on to some other issue, but hopefully I’ll be able to.

Let me – you mentioned the Iran Project, Daryl.  I just want to say that this week the Iran Project, my friends Bull Luers, Tom Pickering, Paul Pillar et al are going to be releasing an important report on Iran and the region after a nuclear agreement, assuming there’s a nuclear agreement – what are the implications for U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, for Iran’s relations with Saudi Arabia and others in the region.  And like so many of our reports, it’s been endorsed by a group of people who are on – from both parties – Brent Scowcroft, Brzezinski, Gelb, Winston Lord, Ryan Crocker, Joe Nye and others.  So it’s quite a lineup or people who have worked through what the implications are for regional foreign policy after a nuclear agreement, and I encourage you to look at it later this week.

My task is to provide an overall picture and not to step on anybody toes and steal their thunder.  So let’s begin at the beginning.  I think the most important fact that we start with is that we’ve had a joint plan of action that is now over six months implemented.  It is not where we want to be.  It’s not all that it could be.  And yet we have it and it has worked.  And there is no one, not a single critic who predicted that they sky would fall after having a JPLA.  None of that has happened.  The IAEA continues to report on a monthly basis that both sides have lived up to the obligations, the commitments that have undertaken.

And that – and that’s particularly important to the United States because we got our number one nonproliferation agenda item:  We got no 20 percent.  That was our number issue.  They did not get their number one issue.  They didn’t get banking or financial sanctions.  But we’ve seen an end to the production of 20 percent enriched uranium, and we’ve seen the stockpile, that 20 percent, diluted or otherwise disposed of in a way that doesn’t constitute a proliferation threat.  That is a huge win.  And the fact that it’s been implemented and continues to be implemented I think is a win.

But of course, there are issues that remain, and this will not be easy.  I’m just going to telegraphically cover a few of them.  I’m going to start with the good news.

There seems to have been progress, although we won’t know – and of course, nothing is settled until everything is settled – but it appears as if there has been some progress on the – what will be the future of the Arak reactor and the associated facilities for that heavy water reactor.  You know, whether that means that the power will be lowered so it produces less plutonium, whether it’ll be reconfigured, whatever it is, there seems to be signals from both sides that there’s been progress on that, and that has been something that people have written about and worried about.  It’s been less of a concern for me.  We can talk about that in question and answer.  But nevertheless, it has been a concern for some.  But it seems like there’s been progress.

Fordow – you know, the Fordow reactor site buried underground, I would say if 20 percent was the top nonproliferation agenda time for the U.S. going into these negotiations, Fordow was second, in part because of Israel’s concerns about a(n) enrichment facility buried underground.  And it seems as if progress has been made on that, which among the – if you were starting a year ago, you might say that one would be really, really difficult to handle.  And yet it seems as if it’s going to be a research and development facility, or it’s going to do some different things, but it appears it has the look and feel of an issue that – for which there has been progress.

Obviously, I said on the 20 percent issue, we’ve already achieved that, achieved, of course, only if we are able to reach a comprehensive settlement.

In the news today from Reuters and then this past week, you’ve been reading about another issue, a fourth issue, which is possible military dimensions, which refers to Iran’s activities, particularly prior to 2003, although some suspect there may have been unstructured activities after 2003 related to weaponization or a weapons program, research that had possible military dimensions.  And if you read the Reuters report this morning and you know and you followed it this last week that there continues to be push and pull over this, that Iran has missed the deadline on the various – you know, it’s done, what, two and – it’s making progress on three out of roughly 12 or 18 measures it’s supposed to make progress on.

If you ask me, we’re not going to see a resolution of that issue, at least not before a comprehensive agreement.  Now, would I like to see it resolved?  Of course I’d like to see it resolved.  It would be awesome.  But if you’re sitting in Tehran and you say to yourself, well, if I resolve all this with the IAEA, what does it get me?  Do the sanctions, are they relieved?  Does anything happen?  The answer’s no.  So there is no strong incentive for them to settle up until there is an agreement with the P5+1.  That’s just the politics of the situation.  And so I expect sort of slowness, and, you know, some progress, but I don’t expect any final resolution to possible military dimensions, which is on a separate timeline anyway.  I mean, I think that’s going to be a process that requires more than two months.  But in any case, whether it was two months or six months or 10 months, I don’t think, from a political standpoint, we should expect that that’s going to be resolved.  It’s not going to be resolved until there’s an agreement.  And then when Iran sees there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, that this is actually moving towards resolution, that things will – that there is a path towards a better place, I think then you’ll see it resolve.  There’s no reason for them to do so beforehand.

So I think we’re going to periodically see these stories over the next several months, but I really wouldn’t fret about them too much.  I think the biggest issue is enrichment.  And here I plan to go on for a really long time, thus preempting everything you want to say.  (Laughter.)

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Make my job easier.

MR. WALSH:  So I will just say, obviously – at least according to the reporting and according to the Iranians, who are the best source of information about the American position, the Iranians – (laughter).  It’s true.  It’s true.  It’s true.  It’s always been true.  They blab.  Obviously the size and scope and duration of that program and the duration of the agreement are very much issues that remain unresolved.  And it’s often now being talked about in terms of number of centrifuges – 5,000 centrifuges, 9,000 centrifuges – the amount of SWU – 190,000 SWU, 10,000 SWU – and there appears to be a gap between people about how to resolve that.

So I’m just going to leave that there, but it leads me to the second point I want to talk about, which is, I think – both on the part of the negotiators and on the part of us, the consuming public – that there is a fixation on numbers and on flawed concepts.

Now, let me start with the flawed concepts.  I’m happy to report that it seems that over time people have gotten smarter about the notion of breakout, which has long been something that has irritated me to no end.  As you all know, breakout time has been defined as the amount of time it takes for a country to produce one significant quantity of fissile material.  There has never been, in the history of the nuclear age, any country that broke out for the purpose of building one bomb, ever.  It never happened, right?  And if they test it, they’d be screwed, right, because then they’d use it all up.

So it’s an indicator, but it seems to take on a religious significance for a long time.  I think we now are starting to have a better-informed debate about that.  People understand the limitations of this, even if we’re stuck with it.  So hopefully it’s not going to continue to vex us.  But I think we’re still – even though we may be more sophisticated in the concepts we bring to discuss these negotiations, we are fixated on the numbers.

And this is not a new thing.  People have always fixated on the numbers in negotiations.  And I think that represents a misunderstanding of how and why agreements work.  I mean, the numbers, the substance is important.  It might not be as important as the negotiators tell you it is, because they believe it is, because that’s what they do for a living, but I think we need to step back and understand why it is that agreements work.

We have a wealth of experience in negotiating arms control and nonproliferation agreements:  SALT, START, the NPT, Libya, the Syrian chemical weapons.  There is a long history here, and it was one of overwhelming success – not perfect success but really overwhelming success.  And to listen to the critics of the agreement, you’d think that we’ve never negotiated one of these before.

And when you go back and you look historically at the discussions about SALT and START and the Committee on the Present Danger – remember them, those of you old enough in the room to remember that – it was fixation over a number of launchers, and if we do this and if we do that.  And if we have five less launchers, then the Soviet Union is going to take over the world.  You know, that was the nature of the debate.

And history has shown that that debate was flawed.  The presumptions were flawed.  The Soviet Union went away.  But what was important was having an agreement.  Why?  Because while the numbers – you know, you need good numbers.  They can’t be made up.  But the reason why agreements work is not because of numbers.  It’s because agreements change the political relationship between states and it changes the political relationships within a state.

Now, what has the DNI told us about Iran on the nuclear precipice?  And it set it at high confidence in public testimony year after year after year after year after year, and it said that Iran has a basic capability; it can produce a centrifuge.  You can’t bomb the knowledge of how to build a centrifuge out of their heads.  They have a basic capability.  But they have not made the bomb decision.  They have not made the decision to pursue nuclear weapons.  And the DNI goes on to say, we don’t know if they are going to make that decision.  They could make it in the future.  We know they haven’t made it yet and that their decision will be influenced by costs and benefits.

So we have a country that is at a crossroads here in its regional relationships and in its nuclear future.  It hasn’t decided to build the bomb and it can choose one side or the other.  And we have a new president in Iran, President Rouhani.  And the pragmatists have once again taken power for how long?  I don’t know.  Certainly if they fail in this regard they will not be in power long.

So here we are, a moment where a nuclear agreement might change the relationship between the U.S. and Iran, between others and Iran, and might change the internal politics within Iran.  And that, my friends, is what will determine whether Iran becomes a nuclear weapons state, not whether there’s 5,900 centrifuges or 6,000 centrifuges, even though that’s all that we’re going to talk about.

So I think we need to step back, have a sense of, we have done this before.  There are always risks.  No agreement has been perfect.  The NPT did not have an enforcement clause.  The NPT allowed for peaceful nuclear explosions.  Who would do that?  I mean, if we tried to pass that treaty now, people would wave their hands and object and stomp their feet:  This is a weak treaty.  And it turns out to be only the most important, effective nuclear nonproliferation treaty ever in the history of the world.  So I do think we need to step away from the fixation on numbers and the fixation on flawed concepts, put this in some context, and seize the opportunity while it lasts because it will not last forever.

Moving forward, we have about two months to go here and then this is it.  This is it.  The two sides need to get real.  And I propose, as we discuss this going forward over these two months, and if there is an agreement in the months that follow where we debate the merits of this agreement, my request is that we have an evidence-based discussion.  You’ve heard of evidence-based medicine, evidence-based outcomes for education, but on foreign policy not a lot of evidence-based anything.

So, for example, we had the critics say of the JPOA – predicting that sanctions would collapse after the JPOA.  It did not happen.  Well, I think, going forward, when people make predictions, then we need to look at their track record and say, what is the evidence for that?  How accurate have you been in the past?  And that applies to all sides.  It applies to things that I would say and it applies – I think if we use that standard, we’ll have a better conversation.

And I think we need to keep in mind what will happen if we fail, you know, whether it’s the P5+1, whether it’s Iran, whether it’s a pox on both your houses.  Failure looks really, really, really bad.  And how do we know this?  Because we’ve seen it.  We saw what happened in 2005.  In 2005, after the collapse of the negotiations with EU 3, what happened?  It was a race to the bottom – more centrifuges.  They went from 164 centrifuges to 19,000 centrifuges.  They went from no 20 percent – 20 percent wasn’t even a thought in their head in 2005 – to producing 20 percent enriched uranium.

So if these negotiations fail, the U.S. Congress will immediately pass sanctions.  They will immediately fire up their centrifuges, produce 20 percent.  They’ll probably fire up the advanced centrifuges which they have yet to use.  It will embolden and strengthen those who are in favor or nuclear weapons within Iran.  It will weaken those who oppose nuclear weapons in Iran, because not only does an agreement shape the relations that countries have with each other and their internal politics, the failure of an agreement does the same thing but in an opposite direction.

So I think that’s a pretty ugly future.  And then we will be right back to talk about military strikes and all the rest of it.  So we need to weigh what is possible, what we have learned from the past about what is possible and achievable, what success looks like, and we need to keep in mind what failure looks like, because it is coming fast towards us if in two months’ time we are not able to resolve our differences.  Thanks very much.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Jim, for waking us up this morning, reminding us why this is so important.  And, I mean, just to sum up one of – one of the – your themes here, you know, we hear, often, critics of this negotiation that no deal is better than a bad deal, but clearly a good deal is better than no deal and we believe that a good deal is within reach.

And one of the key hurdles left for the negotiators to bridge has to do with those numbers, particularly the centrifuge numbers, the uranium stockpile numbers.  And Kelsey Davenport is going to talk a little bit about some solutions towards that, that we have been putting together over the last several weeks to try to point the negotiators in the right direction.

So, Kelsey.

MS. DAVENPORT:  Great.  Thank you, Daryl.  And thank you, Jim, for not giving my presentation for me, although that would have been very easy.  I could have just said I agree with everything he said and we could have moved on to Paul.

But it became very clear leading up to the July 20th extension that the size and the scope of Iran’s uranium enrichment program was one of the most significant obstacles that remained in the talks between Iran and the P5+1.  And looking back at last November’s Joint Plan of Action, it’s very easy to see why this is such a difficult obstacle to deal with.

The Joint Plan of Action said that Iran’s uranium enrichment program in a final deal would be based on its practical needs.  Now that sounds like a technical assessment, but both sides have a significant amount of politics that are motivating how they assess practical needs. For Iran, that’s looking into the future, wanting to produce enough fuel for its sole nuclear power plant at Bushehr by 2021, when the Russian fuel supply contract ends.  And for the P5+1 , that’s reducing Iran’s operating centrifuges, which are about 10,200 currently, and pushing them down perhaps even as low as 1,500 centrifuges to really increase the amount of time that it would take Iran to move rapidly towards producing weapons-grade enriched uranium.

So the politics behind this sort of technical assessment has led to a lot of posturing from both sides.  We’ve heard the supreme leader say, oh, we need 190,000 SWU or 100,000 centrifuges by 2021.  We’ve seen in the U.S. people say no enrichment or we need to reduce those numbers down to 1,500 centrifuges.

And as Jim said, there’s a fixation on numbers, particularly on the numbers of centrifuges. So how do you find sort of the right number that meets the goals of both sides?  And the wide gaps that we see between these numbers are what led the Arms Control Association to work closely with the International Crisis Group to come up with a formula that looks at a number of factors that we believe meet sort of the most pressing concerns of both sides.  For Iran, this allows them to keep in place a meaningful uranium enrichment program and allows them slowly over time to move towards self-sufficiency for providing fuel for its reactors sort of far into the future if foreign fuel supplies aren’t available.

And for the United States and its P5+1 partners, it dramatically increases the time that it would take Iran to move quickly towards a significant quantity of enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon.  Right now that timeline is currently around two to three months, and our proposal in the first few years would push that timeline to nine to 12 months.

So as Daryl and I have sold this proposal, I think, using – borrowing from Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones and saying that, you know, each side may not get everything at once, but this formula will allow it to get what they need.  So –

MR.     :  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter.)

MS. DAVENPORT:  I would like –

MR.     :  (Off mic.)

MS. DAVENPORT:  I would like the audience to stay, so I’m not going to try singing it.

MR.     :  (Off mic.)  (Laughter.)

MS. DAVENPORT:  That is – that is probably true.  But if Daryl wants to chime in, though, I’d be – I’d be happy to hear that.

But so the details of our proposal were available outside in a nuclear policy brief that I hope you’ve picked up, and I’m just going to go through some of the main components of sort of the three-stage proposal that we have outlined for the size and scope of the uranium enrichment program.

Now we are not selling this as the solution to this problem, but what we really want to do is sort of raise and debate in conversation this idea that if we play with a number of factors, we can meet both of these goals for Iran and for the P5+1  and bridge this gap before sort of the new deadline for the comprehensive deal on November 24th.

So in the first phase of our uranium enrichment sort of proposal, we suggest that Iran reduce slightly its number of operating centrifuges from the approximately sort of 10,200 to 5(,000) to 6,000, and the other centrifuges that are installed but not operating would be moved into sort of a monitored storage.  And at the same time, Iran would continue to convert its stockpile of 3.5 percent enriched uranium, of which it has about 7,500 kilograms right now, into a powder form that makes it more difficult to enrich further.  And they’d keep this stockpile for the duration of the deal, sort of below 200 kilograms.

Now in total, this increases the amount of time it would take Iran to move quickly towards weapons-grade uranium for a bomb – as I said, for about two to three months to about nine to 12 months.

Now in return for these light reductions, Iran would receive further guarantees of fuel for the Bushehr reactor from Russia.  Russia would deliver up to five years’ worth of fuel at a time so that Iran could be sure that it would have those foreign supplies.  And that’s very important to Iran given its past experiences working with Eurodif, where it lost a great deal of money that it had invested and never received any uranium fuel in a cooperation agreement with the French and some other parties, and based on its experience just building Bushehr, where a lot of the foreign actors that were assisting Iran in the construction did not sort of come through on time.

Also in relation to research and development, Iran would be able to continue working on its advanced centrifuges, but the efficiency of those centrifuges would be capped.  And again, that’s very important to Iran because moving forward, if they get to the point where they begin to produce enriched uranium for their actual power reactors, it will need sort of these more advanced machines.  And this is in line with what Iran has said, that it does not want to keep focusing on its IR-1 centrifuge, which is what it has operating now, because they’re very inefficient.

So this phase we see lasting sort of two to three years.  And when Iran meets the IAEA’s sort of conditions to resolve its possible military dimensions, then we can move into the second phase.  And within the second phase, Iran would be able to slowly increase its enrichment capacity back to the current levels that it’s capped at now, about 94,000 SWU or 10,200 sort of IR-1 centrifuges.  And at this point, it could also begin to gradually transition the IR-1 centrifuges to the more advanced IR-2 machines, which is what Iran has said it would like to do sort of moving forward.

It could also begin to work on more – slightly more advanced centrifuges in research and development, and that would all occur at the Fordow facility.  As Jim said, one of the P5+1 ’s main concerns is that enrichment would continue sort of at Fordow, so we suggest keeping research and development at that facility, which allows Iran to say the facility is still operating, but it’s not part of the actual production of uranium enrichment, which makes it far less of a proliferation threat.

At this point, the IAEA could also begin working with Iran on fuel fabrication, so it could get to the point where it could actually begin to produce the fuel assemblies that it would need for Bushehr.  And this plays into this idea that Iran eventually, like I said, wants to be sort of self-sufficient.  So it puts in place the technology that they’re looking for and a slightly expanded enrichment capacity that will allow them at the end of the deal to move towards producing the enriched uranium for any future power reactors that they may build.

Then moving into the third phase, which we see in sort of the period of five to 10 years after the initial agreement is reached, Iran could continue transitioning the IR-1 centrifuges to the IR-2s.  It could begin producing more advanced centrifuges, so at the culmination of the deal if it chose to scale up its enrichment program, it could do so.  And – but all of this would be contingent on the IAEA reaching what’s referred to as its broad conclusion, meaning it could say with confidence that all of Iran’s nuclear activities are solely for peaceful purposes, which is something that it cannot do now.

It would also allow sort of, again, continued R&D on advanced centrifuges in the third phase, and the U.S. and its P5+1 partners would continue supplying fuel for Bushehr, with the idea that, again, if there is consistent fuel supplies coming in for Iran’s power reactors, Iran would not feel the need to sort of dramatically scale up its centrifuges right at the end of the deal.

So as I said, we feel that this proposal has some merits because by combining some limits on centrifuges, by keeping the stockpile low, but allowing Iran to still continue research and development on its advanced centrifuges, it sort of meets the core requirements of both sides.  Iran can sell this deal by saying that the slight reduction of centrifuges is for a very limited time, but it will then be able to scale up.  But it wins on sort of this research and development question, which has been very difficult for the P5+1 and remains a concern that if Iran is allowed unlimited research and development, it would be able to move quickly towards much more advanced centrifuges that would allow it to rapidly move towards nuclear weapons.  So there’s a compromise there, and it also moves the timeline back that it would take Iran to move towards enough enriched uranium for one weapon initially from nine to 12 months and then to over six months as Iran sort of moves up its uranium enrichment capacity back to its current levels.

So as we said, it’s not everybody getting what they want, but we think that this proposal meets sort of the main goals of both sides by playing with this, this combination of factors.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.

And so for those of you who aren’t sure what SWU is yet, separative work units – right, Jonathan?  That is the amount of effort it takes to separate U-235 from 238 in the enrichment process.  And there’s actually an app for that.  (Laughter.)  So – if you’re looking to find out more.

So thank you very much and – for that overview, Kelsey, and for those of you who want to look at it in more detail, the paper out, our Iran nuclear policy brief, describes that.

And I would just add that, you know, we were looking at one element of this multipart negotiation.  In order to be successful, this agreement is going to have to, as Jim was outlining, resolve the concerns about the plutonium path. The Arak heavy-water reactor is going to have put in place more extensive inspections under the terms of the additional protocol plus, and for the Iranians, there’s going to have to be sufficient sanctions relief and eventually sanctions removal over the course of the agreement and of course the resolution of the IAEA investigation on the possible military dimensions concerns.

So that’s how we, as experts here in Washington who travel around, talking to different diplomats, see things.  But we were hoping that Paul Pillar could give us his perspectives on how this situation, this negotiation, is viewed, particularly inside Tehran, to give us understanding of what Javad Zarif and his team probably have to deliver in order to obtain necessary support there.  And of course Paul has some important perspectives on the same question here in Washington.

So, Paul, please take it away.  Thanks for being here.

PAUL PILLAR:  OK.  Thanks.  Thanks, Daryl, and good morning, everyone.

It really shouldn’t be very hard for us to understand the Iranian perspective on this – these issues, because if the roles were reversed, we Americans would be insisting on some of the very same things – almost all the same things – that the Iranians are insisting on.  In other words, the Iranian position is not the result of some alien messianic religiously driven thought process that is fundamentally different from the way we would approach things, you know, if it were our nuclear program and our security and our economy being sanctioned.  It really is pretty easy to understand.

The Iranians reject the whole idea of double standards being applied against themselves.  You know, they look at the global nonproliferation regime, and they don’t see anywhere in the NPT or anything else a prohibition against peaceful nuclear programs that include uranium enrichment.  And they in fact see, you know, several non-nuclear weapons states that do their own enrichment.

They certainly do not consider it, as some people in this town consider it, a big concession on the part of the P5+1  negotiators to say in the JPOA that yes, Iran can have some enrichment.  I don’t think they would consider that a concession at all, because if it’s looked at that way, then that clearly is a double standard that is implied and is being applied uniquely against Iran.

The Iranians are adherents to the – or parties to the NPT, as you all know.  And they would consider themselves to be better citizens in that regard, therefore, than some of the other members of the community of nations who have either not subscribed to the NPT or did and then withdrew from it, like the North Koreans, and in the case of several of the countries we know, they actually went ahead and developed nuclear weapons, some of which have been then tacitly if not explicitly accepted, like those of the Indians.

So you know, they’re – you know, they have eyes too.  They look at the world and the nonproliferation regime, what’s going on out there, and they believe quite sincerely they have a legitimate reason for asking, you know, why all of this being directed against us?

This clearly plays into one of the outstanding issues – I can’t remember if Jim or Kelsey alluded to it – you know, the duration of the agreement, which will be one of the things yet to be determined by the negotiators, how long will whatever restrictions and sanctions apply to Iran, how long will that exist before the whole thing can be declared over and completed, and Iran and everyone else can say, well, Iran is back to a situation of normality.  Clearly the Iranians consider it rather important that that not be a big, long period, like 20 years or something of that scale.  Various time frames have been thrown out.  I don’t want to get into the numbers.  But that is important to them.

Iran believes – with good reason, in my judgment – that it has shown most of the flexibility already.  One only has to look at that Joint Plan of Action that was agreed to last November, take a look at the terms, compare those terms to what the situation was prior to the JPOA and ask yourself who made most of the concessions.  And I think a fair judgment is it was the Iranians that made most of them, which is a complication, by the way, in terms of the politics of getting, you know, through these next couple of months and getting to a final agreement, because in some respects, our side is going to have to make most of the remaining concessions, particularly when we get to the sanctions, which I’m going to talk about in just a moment.

Part of the background that the Iranians look at it is that we – especially we in the United States – have given them good reason to question whether we really want an agreement, as opposed to still being hung up on regime change, and that this is something like – oh, you know, like the Israelis talk about Hamas.  Well, they just want to temporarily have a, you know, hudna, but they really want to destroy us.  There is a lot of belief still in Tehran that that reflects a good deal of the American opinion about Iran, and that is part of the backdrop to how they interpret the negotiations.

There is a real trustworthiness issue.  As Kelsey mentioned, the Iranians have been given good reason to not want to rely on things like foreign fuel supplies for their nuclear program. This obviously plays into that whole issue of enrichment capacity that Kelsey and my colleagues just discussed.  It is why the Iranians have been slow – we might consider them to have been, by our view – in accepting the whole idea of relying on the Russians or someone else, you know, even for a time, to have their fuel needs met.  They do want to be self-sufficient, and the sooner, the better.

The Iranians are not going to be very swayed by Westerners lecturing them about what their practical needs are for their own program.  The untrustworthiness aspect and that past history about fuel supplies and so on is part of it, but it’s also because for the Iranians this is not just a mechanistic matter of how many SWU it takes to support, you know, what capacity of reactors.  There is an emotional component and a political component.  We’re talking about a program that dates back in its origins to the time of the shah, a program in which the Iranians have invested an enormous amount of time and expense and effort, and that being the case, no Iranian politician is going to take lightly any sort of formula that involves dismantling or destroying a large part of what they have with great pride built.

And that gets to another part of the political backdrop in Iran, which is that there is broad support across the Iranian political spectrum, inside and outside the regime – and we’ve – there polls that have indicated this – for a continued peaceful nuclear program.  It is the main fundamental reason that the whole idea of a no-enrichment formula was a nonstarter from the very beginning, as far as possible agreements are concerned.

President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif clearly do want an agreement and want an agreement that would effectively preclude an Iranian nuclear weapon.  It is simply too hard to explain their behavior and their policy in the year since Mr. Rouhani took office without that being the basic explanation.

The supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, also evidently is at least open to such an agreement, because it is implausible politically that Rouhani and Zarif would have done the things they’ve done and taken the positions they’ve taken and agree to the JPOA as they did if they hadn’t gotten at least some kind of tacit endorsement from the supreme leader.  The Ayatollah is, however, even more so than Rouhani and Zarif, highly distrustful and suspicious of us and our intentions and our objectives.  He is quite explicit about that.  He has been very pessimistic publicly – more so than our president has been – about the prospects for an agreement.  But again, we wouldn’t have been seeing the Iranian policies and negotiating behavior that we have if he hadn’t given Rouhani and Zarif the go-ahead to do it.

He has publicly given himself plenty of room, if the negotiations fail, to be able to say, I told you so, and Mr. Rouhani, you made a good run at it, but this was your project, not mine.  We hope it won’t come to that, but the Ayatollah, again, being a very pessimistic person about this, has given himself that out if it comes to that.  Both Rouhani and Ayatollah Khamenei have to deal with hard liners, especially those centered in the Revolutionary Guard Corps, some of whom, quite frankly, would not welcome an agreement.  For some of the mirror image reasons, in some ways, that some people on our side would not welcome an agreement.  And in fact, there’s an awful lot of symmetry in that regard.  The negotiators and the governments on both sides have to deal with an internal opposition that has a variety of reasons to be suspicious of any agreement or to oppose an agreement.

The outcome of the talks and whether, in fact, the negotiations succeed will go a long way toward determining the near to mid-term politics in Tehran, and in particular, President Rouhani’s fate.  Well, he’s going to serve out a four-year term, but whether he serves it out as an effectively lame duck for most purposes or becomes the harbinger and the pioneer in a more reasonable and moderate turn in Iranian politics will depend greatly on this one diplomatic endeavor in which he and his foreign minister have placed an awful lot of their effort and prestige.

Exactly what balance, as the – as we get down to November, they will decide to strike between, on the one hand, getting an agreement, and with it, getting sanctions relief that is economically important to their constituencies, and thus, to them, while on the other hand, sufficiently satisfying all those other considerations that I’ve talked about before in terms of double standards, in terms of pride in the program and so on in order that they would not be accused by their hardline opponents of selling Iran down the river, I think those are decisions yet to be made, depending on what the P5+1 ’s negotiating posture and behavior will be over these next couple of months.  I mentioned sanctions and economic improvement, and that is something we haven’t talked about here at all yet, but that, obviously, is at least as important to the Iranians as all these other things.

The Iranians realize, with all the sanctions that the United States, especially unilaterally, has piled up over the years, that they’re not going to get all this lifted all at once.  They don’t expect that.  There will be some kind of phasing in or phasing out, if that’s the right way to look at it, with regard to sanctions – formula, but they also – getting back to a previous point – realize that they have already done, up front, most of what’s required.  No more 20 percent – already intrusive inspections and so on.  And so they would have little patience – they do have little patience with the whole “Iran has to prove itself” line of argument that you hear some in this town – in support of dragging out the sanctions relief for years and years and years, and that’s, of course, related to the issue of completing fulfillment of the agreement, and when does Iran return to normality?

I think most Iranians would be nodding their heads in approval to what Kelsey talked about earlier in terms of, part of what has to be proven in the first years of implementation of an agreement is the trustworthiness of the non-Iranian side with regard to fuel supplies.  We’ll see how that plays out, too.

A summary point – the Iranians are not going to cry uncle, which seems to be the basis for a lot of what you’ve heard over the last year or two here in Washington, that, you know, that if we just turn that sanctions crank a little bit harder – you know, a few more notches – squeeze them just a little bit more, then suddenly, there will be a day when the Ayatollah says, OK, OK, we give up.  All right, we’ll get rid of this stuff, you know.  That is not going to happen.  It never will happen.

And I think one of the things we need for an agreement to close these remaining gaps is for us in the United States to realize, going back to my opening point, that the perspectives over there really are very similar to the kind we would have if we were in their shoes, and that diplomacy and completing agreements does not consist of our drawing a red line, making demands and deciding how much punishment to inflict on the other side before they cry uncle.  It doesn’t work in other cases, and it certainly won’t work in this one.


MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much for that great overview, all three of you, for teeing this up.  It’s now your turn, audience, for insightful questions – (laughter) – basic questions – any questions you might have – other thoughts, and the microphone will come around.  So why don’t you come up – Jonathan Landay with McClatchy has a question.  Good to see you, Jonathan.

Q:  I’d like to know what you think the place for the possibility military dimension settlement is.  Surely, any agreement that comes out of the P5+1  will be predicated on clearing that up.  And are the – to what extent are the Iranians aware of that, and to what extent do you think, eventually, they’ll be willing to come up with some formula that says, well, some people were experimenting, but it was against orders.  I mean, how do you think that is going to play out.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, maybe – each of you, I’m sure, have talked about this, but Kelsey, just remind us what the issues are – where things stand, what’s happened lately just so that we’re grounded in that.

MS. DAVENPORT:  Sure.  Well, Iran and the IAEA have been negotiating on a separate track, as I’m sure many of you know, to clear up these issues.  They reached an agreement in November that said, you know, Iran would cooperate with the IAEA.  And they’ve laid out sets of actions.  Right now, they’re in their third set of actions, which incorporates two of these possible military dimensions.  And these are activities that Iran is believed to have taken in the past, that are related to the development of nuclear weapons.  And I should say “alleged” activities, because Iran disputes the evidence that the IAEA has.  Iran missed a deadline for providing information about two of these issues to the IAEA – an August 25th deadline.

Just this morning, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, in his opening remarks to the agency’s board of governors, said that the IAEA is working with Iran on these resolving these two issues.  So one of the things that ACA has supported is, within a context of a P5+1 agreement, saying that the information that Iran provides to the IAEA should be used – on the PMDs – should be used for informational purposes only.  So Iran will not be penalized on its nuclear program going forward, based on what it is has done, sort of, in the past.  And I’m sure both of my colleagues probably have thoughts on how to deal with this issue as well.  But that’s kind of where we see that going as a possible like –

MR. KIMBALL:  (Inaudible.)

MR. WALSH:  I think it’s a good question.  Let me start with the affirmation that I believe Iran did have a weapons program in the late 1990s, and they did halt it in 2003.  I think the key word there, coming from the intelligence community, is a structured nuclear weapons program.  And as someone who studies nuclear weapons programs, structured is the most important word.

So I think they had something, and I think they’ve been beavering away at Parchin to try to cover up, pave over, you know, sanitize – use 409 – whatever it takes to make difficult the forensic investigation of that previous activity.

I also agree with you that it will have – there will have to be resolution of this for the final, final crossing the line.  And then I would say, also, in the spirit of my earlier comments, that we should be evidence-based about this.  So this is not the first time we’ve confronted this problem, right?  We confronted it with South Africa and Iraq, which willingly – Iraq less so, but certainly, South Africa willingly gave up nuclear assets and had to plea to violations of its nuclear past.  Egypt and South Korea also had violations that were investigated by the agency, though not with quite the same fanfare and spotlight.  And you know, we can debate about how innocent – I think the Egyptian was pretty innocent, the South Korean less so, but people may disagree.  And in the North Korean case, we also had settling.

So I expect the following based on our experience with these previous cases.  I expect that there’s going to be something in the middle that Iran – and they already have come forward.  I mean, they say – they admitted that they took the – you know, the A.Q. Khan blueprint and the other stuff, right?  So we’re already in that territory.  I admit – I admit – (laughs) – I admit that I actually build the weapon.  (Laughter.)

I expect that they’re going to have to come forward.  They’re going to not – they’re going to share more than they’ve shared but not everything they know.  I think – there’s this argument that says we have to know everything that happened in the program or we can’t have any confidence going forward.  That seems like a wildly speculative argument to me.  I’m sure that’s partially true, but where in that continuum between knowing nothing and knowing everything – I’m not sure where in the middle it is.

But I don’t – I think some people are using possible military dimensions as another sword to skewer an agreement by requiring perfection.  We’re not going to get perfection.  We didn’t require perfection in the previous five cases that I’ve referred to.  I think, as in those previous five cases, it’s like to be confidential.  So a lot of it won’t come out in public.  And that’s the only way to get it, is a guarantee that it won’t come out in public.  And I know that’s not a very satisfying answer.

But in summary, they had a weapons program, they’re going to have to tell us more about it than they have.  They’ve told us some, but they’re going to have to tell us more than they have.  They’re not going to tell us everything.  What they tell us is going to have to be private. And then, the question is where in that continuum in the middle where we feel like we have enough confidence going forward?


MR. PILLAR:  Clearly there are people who are using this as one more sword to try to skewer the agreement.  There’s no doubt about that.  We may have to face – the collective we, who’ve assessing a draft agreement – may have to decide whether we’re more concerned about events in the past or what Iran is doing now and in the future.  I don’t think that we’re necessarily going to hear, maybe even privately, but I agree with Jim certainly not publicly – you know, about everything that was done in the past.

I, for one, think we ought to be focused a lot more on the present and the future than in the past.  Senator Feinstein made a very eloquent speech on the floor of the Senate a couple months back on this whole topic.  It was her major statement on this whole issue of the Iranian nuclear program, in which she phrased it in those terms about, nations having turned a corner, going from behavior we don’t like to behavior we can live with.  And that’s what she hoped would happen with Iran.  And I think that’s exactly the right way to look at it.

I think there are domestic political interests in Iran that would be highly resistant to letting it all hang out in terms of what was going on, you know, 2003 and before.  And I see no reason why it would be wise for us to let that become a road block to an agreement that would substantially change the incentives and the reality of Iranian behavior from this date onward.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thanks.  And I would just add very quickly that the opposite is true too, that those of us who want to see this issue clarified and resolved need to recognize, as Jim said, that it is not going to be resolved so long as the P5+1 negotiations are still going on or if there’s not an agreement.  And we’re more likely to see and get more information about Iran’s past possible military activities with the conclusion of the deal.  And Iran knows that it’s not going to get the kind of sanctions removal that it’s ultimately looking for unless this is cleared up, which could take two, three, four, five years for the agency and the Iranians to accomplish.

All right, we got some other questions.  Yes, Ed Levine, and then behind Ed.

MR. WALSH:  Don’t let him ask a question, it will be too difficult.  (Laughter.)

Q:  I want to start with a quick comment and then a quick question.  If our goal is to concentrate on the present and the future, perhaps what we should be asking for is access to the personnel who were involved in the past and a thorough understanding of the organizational structures that were used, plus a provision for the future that involves oversight of their procurement practices so that we will know what they are doing at early stages, rather than only when they produce something.  My question is, how does what you would propose differ from what Bob Einhorn put forth in his open letter?

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, let me take a crack at that, if I could, and maybe Jim and Kelsey have some thoughts.  I mean, I think – let me, first of all, say that Kelsey and I and Ali Vaez from the Crisis Group starting thinking about putting together an illustrative proposal, which you now see, in mid-July.  We developed this through the month of August, talked to a number of our colleagues, had a lot of good feedback, people who are named in the footnotes and those who are – and some who are not.

And just a couple days before we completed everything, Bob Einhorn’s letter that was published from the Brookings website and another website came out.  And I would characterize our approach and the approach that Bob described in a little less detail as being generally consistent.  You know, Bob did not sign off on this, but I think it’s generally consistent in the sense that both of us are looking for a compromise involving the quantity and the quality of centrifuges.

That is, the West giving in a little bit with respect to the type of centrifuge research that can be done over the course of an agreement.  The Iranians need to be reducing the number of operating centrifuges, at least in the near term, to reduce the so-called breakout potential, with limits on the uranium material that is in-country that could be used in this program, with – combined with assistance from the outside – for instance, for the fuel for the Bushehr Reactor – or even technical assistance for the Iranians to make the fuel for the Bushehr Reactor, a capability they currently don’t have.

So I think we’re generally consistent.  And that’s because there’s a certain logic to this negotiation that has now emerged, given the red lines that we see in Tehran and Washington, given the interests of both sides, differing respective interests.  There are only a certain number of possibilities that the negotiators can pursue at this stage.


MR. WALSH:  Bob is a friend and a colleague.  And I loved that open letter.  I thought it was terrific.  And I would commend everyone to read it.  I would also say, I hated the previous thing he wrote, which I thought was awful.

MR. KIMBALL:  But let’s accentuate the positives.

MR. WALSH:  Let’s accentuate the positives.  So he had written a previous thing where it was all framed in breakout and coercive diplomacy and deterrence and has as its recommendation also that we seek an authorization of military force sort of as a general principle as part of the bargaining and agreement process.  I thought that was completely wrongheaded.  And so I was sort of girding myself as I started to read this open letter – fantastic.  You know, and fantastic both in substance – and, of course, there’s enough space in there that people can take very different opinions.

But I thought good in substance, that is to say, to use time – as you guys do in your proposal – time as a way to – as a variable that smooths the process.  You know, they don’t need 190,000 SWU now.  They may never need – my own bet, if I was betting, they’re never going to build 10 power plants.  That ain’t going to happen, right?  And in 10 years, we’re going to be in a very different place and they’re going to be a very different place and nuclear is not going to be the big deal it is to them right now.  This is my own view.

But in any case, that it should – that time – the use of time as a variable is a way to deal with some of the negotiating things because you don’t need to have lots of SWU if you don’t have a lot of need for it.  So let’s face this.  And you say you want these things, OK, but we don’t – you don’t need it all right now.  That seems really, really reasonable.  I would say the other thing that was really terrific, and of course Bob is a skilled diplomat with a lot of experience here, is the way he talked about it, which is so different from what you hear when I visit Washington.

He said – it is a letter to the Iranians.  And he’s saying, you say this.  I understand why you say what you’re saying.  But here’s how we – what we hear when you say that.  And here are our concerns about it.  So that was one of reciprocity and respect, a recognition of their arguments but an explanation of why some of those arguments don’t, you know, work for us but in a way that’s not you’re an evildoer and you better get on your knees and do what we say.  So I thought it was brilliant.

MR. PILLAR:  Daryl, can I – can I just –

MR. KIMBALL:  Yes.  Paul.

MR. PILLAR:  – comment on Ed’s  earlier comment, which I think was a very reasonable one.  I mean, there is a difference between making a demand that you fess to what you did in the past and what you’re recommending, which is saying, look, we need to know – we’re not asking you to, you know, plead guilty to what you did in the past, but we need to know, you know, what your procedures are and who your people are to assure us that nothing like that’s going to happen in the future.  So I think – I think what you suggested, Ed (sp), is a – is a reasonable core for the way this issue might be handled.

MR. KIMBALL:  Agreed.  We have a question over here on the – near the painting.  Thank you.  If you could identify yourself.

Q:  Thank you very much.  Rafael Leal from the Brazilian embassy.

I would like to hear your take on the rationale or the lack of it of the additional imposed sanctions by Treasury and State Department.  From what I could grasp, State Department focused pretty much on Fakhrizadeh, the alleged man behind the possible nuclear program of Iran.  And the State Department – sorry, the Treasury sanctions, they focused among other things in front companies associated with Mahan Airlines.  That’s the biggest airline in Iran, and it’s owned by Rafsanjani, who is himself the – responsible in my opinion for Rouhani being elected president.  So what would be the logic of the Treasury to attack indirectly Rouhani, which seems to be willing for a deal in Iran?  Also identified in the Treasury sanctions some effort to target Iranian help in Syria.  So my question is, are those additional sanctions just internal politics to try to justify that Obama has not been weak when it comes to Iran in looking at the midterms or not?  Thank you very much.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Very quickly, what’s our – what are our perspectives on these?

MR.    :  It’s your, baby.


MR. PILLAR:  I think your last comment is the basic explanation.  It’s aimed more at domestic audiences, and Obama can’t be seen as weak, and so on and so forth.  Far be it for me to try to come up with a plausible rationale for the State and Treasury departments on this.

I think the underlying disagreement between the United States and Iran on this is the difference between imposing new sanctions versus further execution and implementation of existing sanctions.  And of course, this sort of – these sorts of measures are rationalized by our side as being implementation of something already on the books using powers already on the books, whereas new sanctions would be – (inaudible) – new legislation or a whole new executive order that would have – basically expand the authorities.

I certainly – we should not be at all surprised that the Iranians squawked about this.  I would expect them to, and I think there is a lot of reason behind their complaints.  But as to the explanation, I think it’s a matter of our policymakers having to deal with our hardliners, just like theirs have to deal with theirs.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Next question, please.

MR. WALSH:  Can I – can I offer just one very briefly – I don’t know, I don’t know what Treasury was thinking.  I met up with Treasury – the Treasury officials responsible for the sanctions, but this was a while ago.

My only comment is that whether justified or unjustified – and I’m not – you know, sanctions are tough; I’ve looked at them a long time, but I don’t consider myself a sanctions expert.  The comment I would offer, though, is that any headline, true or false, of that kind weakens the Iranian political – the political stance of the Iranian leadership in trying to negotiate an agreement and puts pressure on them to find some way to respond in kind.  That’s just whether – maybe the sanctions are justified, maybe they’re not; I don’t know.  But I can tell you that’s the political reality that if that’s a headline that appears in Tehran, then it makes Rouhani and Zarif look weak.  It feeds the narrative that we’re not really interested in this, we’re going to sanction regardless, and even if they agree to what we’re going to do, we’re still going to sanction.  And it puts pressure on them to find some way to tweak us.  So I’m sort of more focused on the consequences, I guess.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Yes, sir.

Q:  Hi.  My name is – (inaudible) – with Webster University.  I like to, if I could, share with you an observation or two from my recent trip to Iran, which was about two weeks ago.

MR. KIMBALL:  If you could be brief about it, yes, that’d be great.

Q:  OK.  I – the observation I had with the – from talking to some of the advisers to the government besides the negotiators pretty much substantiated and – the arguments that Dr. Pillar and you, Dr. Walsh, made.  And that is very much the sensitivity of the Iranians that first of all, this whole process is more than technical.  Technical issues pretty much can be, you know, solved and sorted out by the examples that Ms. Davenport and others have been saying.  But the political is the really key that needs to be agreed on this both sides.

In addition, the elements that Dr. Pillar mentioned are really on the head of the – on the mind of the Iranians, basically the lack of trust for the whole process on the – on the American side.  And to be brief about one items that perhaps were missed in Dr. Pillar’s comment is that they are really not sure that the administration can deliver what it promises, especially they follow very curiously the elections, the midterm elections, then perceive and they see that, you know, the Republicans are going to be the power.  And the Congress – (inaudible) – Congress and the administration, they’re so – (inaudible).  So they really know what goes on perhaps more than we do about our conflicting positions, and they hope that, you know, by interacting with them, perhaps Americans become aware that – where they stand.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.

MR. WALSH:  Can I actually still say something about that?  Because I think it raises an interesting point.

You know, I’ve wondered myself, you know, about our ability to deliver on the deal. And, you know, people who have – I’d say 90 percent of the talk about the agreement has been – up to this point, I think it’ll change – has been about breakout, breakout, breakout.  And I tried to make the point that agreements succeed for lots of different reasons that no one talks about, and they fail for lots of different reasons.  What you try to do is augment the reasons that make agreements likely to succeed, which people ignore, and you try to minimize the ones – (inaudible) – fail.  But breakout is the one that everyone’s obsessed with.

But, you know, I think it’s an interesting question.  Is it more like – which is – going for it, which is the more likely scenario for the collapse of an agreement that is agreed to?  That we fail to follow through on sanctions relief or that they break out?  Just, you know, I’m not going to take a vote in the room, but I would ask you to ask yourself, which is the higher probability?  I think – you know, I’m not – well, I think I know the answer, but, you know, I – and that answer then leads you to other sorts of conclusions.

MR. KIMBALL:  We have a couple questions.  In the second row, please, and then come up front.

Q:  Sort of getting at some of the questions asked previously, certainly focusing on uranium is fair enough.  But to build new weapon, you need a lot more than just uranium.

MR. KIMBAL :  Yes.  Yes.

Q:  And so it seems, at least to me, that the other issues that in building a weapon are not getting as much scrutiny, if you will, as they deserve.  And when you say, ah, they did stuff till 2003, it seems that it is pretty important to know how far they progress, and whether it’s in explosives, whether it’s in making things smaller or whatever, all of these issues come into it.  Plus we have another country called Israel who’s looking at this breakout number.  And so it seems to me you got to take all of these issues plus the focus of this meeting, which is rightfully I think on uranium.  And I wonder what the panel thinks about the other issues and how it might affect Israel and what they might think is the breakout point at which they might act whether the U.S. does.

MR. KIMBALL:  Let me ask Paul to weigh in on this, but let me just first clarify that, you know, the Arms Control Association has been working hard over the last year plus to try to remind policymakers, the press that there are several steps that are necessary to build a nuclear arsenal.  And one of the starting points, one of, is amassing enough uranium hexafluoride gas enriched to 90 percent that then could be turned into metal form, shaped into a device, possibly tested.  Then you need to have, as Jim said, more than one – more – enough material for more than one device to really make an arsenal.  You might want to test a device.  You might need to test (mated ?) warhead on delivery system.  So it takes more than just the amount of time to amass enough uranium hexafluoride gas enriched to 90 percent.

But that’s a key metric, in part because many of us believe that the Iranians have made significant progress towards the research necessary to miniaturize the device, to design the device.  It is possible theoretically to do some of this work in secret.  Right now we don’t have the additional protocol to do inspections at undeclared sites.  So, you know, this one metric is important, but it’s not the be all and end all and doesn’t mean that the Iranians are going to have a nuclear arsenal that can threaten Los Angeles or Des Moines or Washington in two to three months or nine to 12 months or whatever.

The proposal that we’ve been outlining here, Arms Control Association proposal, would significantly increase the time.  And in our view, and I think in the view of many others, I’d be interested in Paul’s perspective, give the international community and certainly the United States the time and the means to detect and disrupt any such effort before it was completed.  So, I mean, that’s what we need to achieve.

But Paul, tell us – give us your perspectives on how professionals in the business calculate some of these issues and make key judgments about them.

MR. PILLAR:  Well, I haven’t been that kind of professional in the business for a while, so I’m not going to pretend to do that.  But at the risk – at the risk of getting into the technical areas – and my colleague is no better – I think it is fair to say that, you know, production of fissile material is still what the analysts would call the pacing factor in most, you know, potential proliferation concerns.

If needed the Iranians, as was reported in the unclassified version of that estimate that was published in 2007, had been doing weaponization, weapons design work and cease doing that work in 2003, there seem to be continuing disagreements about how to interpret that – any Iranian decision in 2003.  Defenders of the Bush administration’s policies, for example, say, aha, that coincided with the invasion of Iraq and the fact that we bumped off Saddam Hussein while telling the Iranians, take a number, indicates a favorable spillover effect of the invasion of Iraq.  An alternative view would be that because the production of fissile material is the pacing factor, even if the Iranians wanted to preserve the option of a weapon, they had already done enough work at that point that they could sit the work on the shelf for a while, and it would not affect the date when they would have capability for a weapon.  I tend to think the latter explanation is probably more true.

You alluded briefly to the Israeli side of things and what they might assess.  My only comment on that is you have to take everything that the Israeli government says on this with a huge grain of salt in that they have, you know, other reasons to oppose the agreement.  There is a lot of analytical differences of view here in Washington among people like myself as to whether – well, to what extent the threat of an Iranian – or, excuse me, the threat of an Israeli attack on Iran is real as opposed to being one more way of squeezing us and squeezing Iran as well.  So I would just be very cautious about taking any of that at face value.

MR. WALSH:  May I add something super quickly?


MR. WALSH:  So I would say you’re right about all the things that you said.  And weaponization is a big piece – you know, having a softball size of HU is great, but you still have to turn it into a weapon.  These estimates will vary.  They’re going to probably shrink over time. But when Panetta was still secretary of defense, he was quoted publicly as saying that from the moment at which Iran had a significant quantity of fissile material, if will take them about a year to weaponize it, and then that’s an estimate that – (inaudible) – in the Israeli Atomic Energy Agency tell me is their view as well.

The thing that I would say is, again, in the spirit of being evidence-based, every nuclear weapon state, the first platform they use is an airplane because building a nuclear weapon is hard, and building a ballistic missile is hard, and then building a ballistic missile that can carry a nuclear weapon is the hardest of all because you have zero percent – you know, this has to be one hundred percent reliable.  You cannot press the button, have it come up and come back down, despite Mals (ph) testing, only time in history.  So the tolerances here are, you know, really, really, really tight.  And so I would assume they’re going to go with a plane for a while.

And, you know, the – on the Israeli thing is I know there is talk that Obama is forcing the Israelis to then going to take military action; you’ve heard this line of reasoning emerge in the last couple of weeks.  You know, if there is – people think of this as an U.S.-Iran agreement.  I cannot state strongly enough this is not a U.S.-Iran agreement.  This is an agreement between Iran and the international community, represented by Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain.  If the international community comes to an agreement with Iran and there are international people as part of this agreement at those facilities, right, in addition to IAEA but also nationals, maybe Japanese nationals, maybe there are others who will be on the ground, I do not think Israel is going to bomb these facilities.  I mean, they – obviously, you want to give them wide berth in terms of their propensity in the past to use force and to act on their own and willing to be – take the, you know, brunt of public opinion.  But that’s really a lie, you know.  I don’t think they’re going to cross that line.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  We have one more question up here in the front, which we’ll – I think the last one, and then I’m going to ask our speakers to offer their wrap-up thoughts.

Q:  Thank you.  Andrew Pierre (ph).  The current discussion regarding the Islamic State and the response seems to focus on Iran as being a key player.  And Iranian interests and our interests sometimes coincide, and sometimes in major ways don’t coincide.  This obviously has to be in the minds of Iranian leadership and in a major way.  So wondering whether – Jim, you follow Iran very closely, but Paul also – whether this – the current developments are a plus or minus in terms of reaching an agreement.

MR. WALSH:  It’s a great question, and from – a ISIS question from a nuclear guy.

You know, I think it’s – I hate to say ISIS is a plus.  That seems like just a wrong sentence to say.  I will say, though, if it wasn’t for ISIS, would Maliki have ever left?  I mean, as it was, he had to have, what, a third or a fourth of his territory taken over, and he still held on?  I think ISIS what finally was the final thing that got rid of Maliki.  So I don’t want to say that’s a positive thing, but I like that outcome; that made other things possible.

You know, I think the – I think it produces – as with some minor sanctions relief is also in this category – it produces secondary incentives, right?  At the end of the day the nuclear deal is going to get done or not one on the merits of the nuclear deal by those folks in the negotiating room.  In the back of their minds is possibly the idea, if we get this done – if we don’t get this done, it’s a freaking disaster, and we start digging – everyone starts digging a hole.  And if we do get it done, well, maybe we can do a little more here and do a little on Afghanistan and do a little on some other things.  So I think it’s mildly second order positive.  But I think my brothers and sisters who do nuclear stuff –they’re known as jihadis, you know, the nonproliferation jihadis – they’re going to insist that the nuclear deal be able to stand on its own without regard to other foreign policy issues.  That’s my guess.


MR. PILLAR:  Both sides in the negotiations so far, the Iranians and the P5+1 , have quite wisely in my view, tried – and they both emphasized this – we’re limiting our agenda to the nuclear issue because once one side or the other starts bringing in other issues, that leads to other demands and counterdemands on who knows what.  I believe the negotiators will continue to keep that as a top priority and I salute them for that.

That said, one of the important pluses in my judgment of completing an agreement, in addition to assuring us ourselves that the Iranian nuclear program will stay peaceful, is that it starts to take us away from this enormous preoccupation with this one issue that has colored and constrained, you know, our policy on everything else insofar as it touches Iran, whether it’s Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, anything else.  I will second the advance advertisement that my colleague Jim mentioned for the Iran project’s new report, which will be released – we are going to have an event at the Wilson Center day after tomorrow, which gets to some of these very issues, Andrew (sp), not only ISIS, although that’s the – you know, the threat du jour, but other regional concerns and ask the question to what extent would an agreement make a difference in being able to address some of these problems.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  And just a side note, in deference in our good colleagues at the Institute for Science and International Security, we inside the Arms Control Association are calling these guys in Iraq and Syria ETIS, the extreme terrorists in Iraq and Syria, but – (laugher) – that’s another issue.

So let me ask the three of view to quickly offer two minutes of wrap-up thoughts on our conversation this morning, any key points you would like to emphasize or re-emphasize.  Paul, Jim, and Kelsey.

MR. PILLAR:  All I would do is just incorporate by reference Jim’s earlier comments about the misguided nature of focusing so much on the numbers and on breakout when what we really have is a political process here.  And whether the Iranians build a bomb or not is going to depend not so much on whether it’s X thousands HU or Y thousands HU that’s written under the agreement, but whether the perceptions in Iran are that Iran is part of a better circumstance for itself as well as for the rest of the world if it lives under an agreement in which an Iranian nuke is not part of that future.  And they get the other benefits, of course, that they’re looking for, which is to be reaccepted as a normal participant in the community of nations.


MR. WALSH:  I think you’ve heard me drone on and on, and I commented on virtually every question.  So I’m just going to say this is it, right?  We’re down to it, two months, two months to go.  Now, could it get extended another six months?  God, I hope not, and I think we would all – all the sides would be politically weaker if that happens.  But I think it’s – we’re looking at history right now.  If it happens, I think Iran ends up in a different path, and we are talking about this in a very different way 10 and 15 years from now.  And if neither – if it blows up because one or both sides just can’t cross the bridge, then we’re in for a period of real ugliness.  It’s not going to go to the status quo, the pre, you know, November 23rd status quo.  It’s going to sink lower, and it’s going to sink like a rock.

MR. KIMBALL:  Kelsey.

MS. DAVENPORT:  Well, this time I think Jim did pre-empt my comments.

MR. WALSH:  Oh, I’m sorry.

MS. DAVENPORT:  And put them probably far more eloquently than I did.  But, I mean, I would – I would certainly agree, we need to remember that the consequences of not reaching an agreement are far worse.  And in that sense, I would just remind us where we were a year ago, Iran moving much more – moving very quickly toward Prime Minister Netanyahu’s red lines on this 20 percent enriched uranium, continuing to install centrifuges, moving forward on advanced centrifuges.  And so much has been accomplished in a year in terms of halting their program, rolling back key elements of it that I think the next two months really represent the best chance that we have to get towards a deal.  So I would encourage policymakers to move away from the posturing and the red lines and to really think creatively about how we can get to an agreement?

MR. KIMBALL:  And to end on a high note, the deal is within reach.  It is now a matter of, what, two months to close off the final issues, including uranium enrichment.  It’s not as hard as it looks.  And to quote Mick Jagger and Keith Richards – no, I’m not going to sing it – both sides can get what they need, but they can’t get everything they want.  And it’s now within the reach of the negotiators and the key political leaders.

Thank you all for being here.  We’ll see you again.  Let me just remind you that the Arms Control Association has lots of information about the ongoing discussions on the negotiations.  We have a P5+1 in Iran nuclear talks alert that goes out.  There is a signup sheet outside if you want to keep up date on all the nuances and twists and the turns.  Thanks again.  (Applause.)


    Country Resources:

    Transcript Available: Toward a Comprehensive, Effective Nuclear Deal with Iran?



    Briefing on Options for Negotiators; New Report Released

    June 26, 2014
    10:00am -12:00 noon
    Location: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Choate Room
    1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

    Negotiators from the United States, other world powers, and Iran have a month before their July 20 target date to conclude a historic, multi-year agreement to ensure that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

    The two sides must find ways to address several complex issues. In recent weeks, they have made progress, but significant gaps remain on a few key issues.

    The Arms Control Association will present the key findings of a new staff report that explains the key issues and outlines options available to the negotiators that could help secure a "win-win" outcome.

    The briefing will address options for extending "breakout" time and improving the ability to detect and disrupt any such effort. Options for resolving the difficult challenge of defining Iran's uranium enrichment capacity and reducing the plutonium output of Iran's Arak reactor will also be explained.

    Panelists include:

    • Kelsey Davenport, Nonproliferation Analyst, Arms Control Association;
    • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association;
    • Greg Thielmann; Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association, former Director of the Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs Office in the Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research; and
    • Frank von Hippel, Senior Research physicist and Professor of Public and International Affairs Emeritus at Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security.

    Transcript Below
    Presentation (PDF)

    Transcript by
    Federal News Service
    Washington, D.C.

    DARYL KIMBALL:  All right.  Good morning, everyone.  I’m Daryl Kimball.  I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association.  We’re going to get started in just a minute.  And I would just, before we do, ask you to turn off your mobile devices so that we’re not interrupted.

    Welcome to this morning’s Arms Control Association briefing on a comprehensive nuclear agreement between the P-5 plus one and Iran.  We are meeting today less than a month before the P-5 plus one countries – the United States, the U.K., Germany, France, China and Russia, as well as Germany – try to conclude an agreement with Iran on or around July 20th to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful.

    So time is short.  Progress has been made on some issues.  There are gaps on others.  And today we’re going to discuss what those issues are, what some of the gaps are between the two sides on some of the key issues, and we’re going to outline how the gaps can be bridged, what kinds of options the negotiators have available to them.

    And as part of this presentation we’re going to be rolling out and describing a new report that the Arms Control Association has released today, “Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle.”  You should all have copies of this.  This is the third edition of this briefing book and this is the substantially revised version that the research staff of ACA has put together.

    A couple things about our report and then about our speakers and what they’re going to talk about.  As you can see from the briefing book, as you can read from the news coverage about the P-5 plus one talks with Iran, this is one of the most complicated and difficult nuclear negotiations in many decades.  Even though it’s complex, we think the goals of the P-5 plus one and the international community are pretty clear.

    Those goals are to establish verifiable limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment and plutonium production capacity that substantially increase the amount of time it would take for Iran to break out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and build nuclear weapons, if they were to choose to do so; and just as importantly, to increase the international community’s ability to detect any efforts by Iran to go in that direction by building in much more effective inspections.  And at the same time, the agreement needs to, and can – one of the goals is to increase Iran’s incentives to comply with the agreement and decrease its incentives at some point in the future, perhaps to pursue nuclear weapons.

    And our report I think illustrates that while there are difficulties between the two sides reaching an agreement, they’ve got options – technical options, political options – that can help bridge these gaps.  And we believe it’s important for them to do so because the alternative to a comprehensive, effective deal of the kind we’re going to be describing today is far worse for both sides.

    So that’s what we’re going to be talking about today with three very knowledgeable folks.  My colleague at the Arms Control Association, Kelsey Davenport, is our nonproliferation analyst and who has been the lead writer in this report.  She’s going to talk about what the main issues are, what some of the options are.  Then she’ll turn it over to Greg Thielmann, our senior fellow, who’s got a background in WMD intelligence analysis, who is going to talk a little bit about one of the big issues in this debate, which is understanding what breakout is and what breakout isn’t – a widely misunderstood term that is very likely going to become a central part of the debate about this agreement if and when it emerges.

    And we’re also very pleased to have with us Dr. Frank von Hippel from Princeton University, who works at the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, has an extensive background in the field, has been at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and many other things.  And Frank and his colleagues at Princeton, including Ambassador Hossein Mousavian, a former Iranian official, now fellow at Princeton, recently put together an article that we published in ACA’s journal Arms Control Today on a two-stage strategy for dealing with the uranium enrichment issue.

    And in addition to talking about that proposal, Frank is going to get into a little bit more detail about some of the views on both sides about how the uranium enrichment issue can be dealt with and what some of the options are to resolve this issue, which I think is probably the central issue at this stage in the negotiations.

    So with that I’ll turn it over to Kelsey, who is going to come up.  And we have a few slides to help make the complex a little simpler.  Thanks.

    KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Well, thank you all so much for coming.  So as Daryl said, I’m going to talk today a little bit about some of the central problems that we see emerging in the negotiations between Iran and the P-5 plus one and then outline some possible solutions for how the parties can move forward on these issues.

    Now, the briefing book that we are releasing today is not designed to provide an assessment of what exactly the deal should look like but to give sort of some metrics that will allow you to assess how the final deal meets the goals of both sides.  So it’s meant to be sort of a guide for thinking about the deal and evaluating whether or not it will meet sort of the Iranian demands but also the demands of the P-5 plus one.

    So there are a number of key issues that are part of the negotiations:  Iran’s uranium enrichment program, what the size and the scope should be; the future of the Arak reactor and what that means for Iran’s plutonium path to the bomb; what the IAEA inspections regime should look like and how that needs to be structured; how the IAEA should complete its investigations into Iran’s past activities related to the development of nuclear weapons.  And then there are the questions that are very important to the Iranians:  How is sanctions relief phased in?  How are the U.N. Security Council resolutions dealt with?  So I’m really going to focus today on sort of the first four key issues listed here, but all of these are dealt with in our briefing book and I’m happy to take questions on them at the end.

    One of the central problems that is emerging within the Iran P-5 plus one talks is coming up with a way to bridge the gap on defining Iran’s uranium enrichment program.  And this is essentially because the negotiation goals of both sides are fundamentally at odds.  In the initial agreement reached in November of 2013, it was decided that the final deal would allow Iran a uranium enrichment capacity that’s based on its practical needs, but the definition of practical needs is still very much a political determination and Iran and the P-5 plus one have very different ideas about how “practical needs” should be interpreted.

    For the P-5 plus one, the goal here really is to increase the time necessary for Iran to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for nuclear weapons.  And right now, with the operating centrifuges that Iran has, which is about 10,200 of their first-generation machines, and the stockpile of uranium-enriched reactor grade, Iran could probably produce enough weapons-grade enriched uranium in about two to three months.  And based on statements by Secretary Kerry and other members of the P-5 plus one, we think that the U.S. position would like to extend that to at least six months and possibly longer.

    Now, Iran’s definition of practical needs differs very significantly.  They see practical needs as inclusive of what they view as their future needs for enriched uranium, which includes perhaps domestically providing fuel for the Bushehr reactor, which is currently fueled by the Russians until about 2021, and then possibly more civilian nuclear power reactors that Iran may plan to build somewhat in the future.

    So I guess that this will be sort of one of the most difficult areas to resolve because Iran wants to increase from 10,000 operating centrifuges to possibly to 100,000 IR-1 centrifuges and the U.S. really wants to go in the other direction, to decrease that, but we still think that there are – that there is a combination of possible outcomes that will allow both sides to sort of address their needs.

    First, we suggest a limit on enrichment levels to 5 percent.  This is very likely to be acceptable to the Iranians.  The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, has publicly said, you know, on multiple occasions that Iran is willing to accept this limit.

    We also think that limits on the stockpile of enriched uranium that Iran is allowed to keep in the country would be advisable.  If Iran has less enriched uranium, it will increase the time that it takes it to further enrich that reactor-grade uranium to weapons-grade uranium.  So limits on the stockpile could help.  And one of the ways to enforce those limits is to have Iran convert its stockpile of enriched uranium gas to a solid form, uranium oxide, that could be used to produce fuel for power reactors.  Now, Iran could convert that back but it would take time and the IAEA would likely notice very quickly.

    Another way to sort of consider enrichment capacity would be to allow Iran to grow its enrichment capacity over time.  And Frank is going to talk more about sort of the specifics of how this could be done, but as Iran demonstrates a practical need, if it does go through and build, you know, these reactors and it shows that it’s willing to adhere to a nuclear agreement, it could perhaps in the future be allowed to increase the number of centrifuges.  And that could be a combination of more sort of efficient centrifuges.  We think that Iran could be allowed to continue sort of research and development on more efficient centrifuges as part of the deal if it’s appropriately safeguarded by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    Also related to the question of enrichment is the future of the Fordow facility.  The P-5 plus one in the past has wanted to shut down this facility because of its location.  It is less vulnerable to a military strike because it’s located sort of deep inside a mountain.  Iran, however, is very attached to the idea of not shutting down this facility.  And Iranian officials have said on multiple occasions that no Iranian facilities will be closed throughout the course of a deal.

    So we suggest that perhaps it would be a good idea to repurpose Fordow for a research and development facility.  Iran could use this facility to test its advanced centrifuges.  So the facility is still operational but it would not be allowed to stockpile any enriched uranium and there would be limits on the number of centrifuges that Iran would be allowed to have at that facility.

    Another way to meet Iran’s “practical needs” would be to extend Iran firm fuel supply assurances that would reduce its needs to indigenously produce uranium.  Now, Iran has claimed that it does not want to depend on foreign suppliers to fuel its future power plants, and this concern is partly legitimized by the fact that Iran has had difficulties in the past working with other countries in terms of both trying to complete its nuclear facilities and also receive nuclear fuel.  Its experience with Eurodif in the 1970s, for instance, and given sort of the current political environment, it may be somewhat reasonable to have concerns about relying on Russia for fuel supplies.  And then there’s also the question of sort of a multilateral enrichment center, which could be an option in the future for providing fuel for the region.  But Frank is going to talk about that a little bit more.

    So one of the other big questions is the future of the Arak reactor.  The Arak reactor is well suited to produce plutonium that could be separated and used for nuclear weapons.  As planned, it would produce enough plutonium for about two bombs per year when this reactor is finished.  Construction is currently halted and it’s unclear how much longer it would take Iran to make the reactor operational because it has been beset by delays in the past.  Iran claims that it wants this reactor to become operational to produce medical isotopes.

    And the Arak reactor being the only indigenously built nuclear sort of reactor in Iran, there’s definitely a sort of a sense of sort of national pride and attachment towards completing the reactor.  So it’s likely that a deal will have to involve sort of completion of the Arak reactor in some form.  But there are ways that would allow Iran to complete the reactor and use it for medical isotopes while reducing the plutonium output of the reactor.  You could reduce it from a 40-megawatt reactor to a 10-megawatt output and use 3.5 percent enriched uranium to fuel it instead of natural uranium.  And if you have any sort of specific questions about sort of the feasibility of that and how exactly that produces less uranium, I would definitely urge you to direct them at Frank, because he can speak about that with far more authority than I can.

    There is also a question of Arak shipping out the spent fuel.  And this would also guard against Iran separating the plutonium out of the spent fuel even if it’s – if we reduce the output to as little as one kilogram a year.  And Russia would probably be the most likely sort of destination to ship the spent fuel to since they’re taking the spent fuel from the Bushehr reactor as well.

    Finally, on the question of monitoring inspections and sort of the possible military dimensions, any deal that the P-5 plus one reaches with Iran really needs to contain extensive monitoring and verification provisions.  And for us, this is kind of the crux of how to really evaluate a good deal, because all of these other questions – looking at extending the timeline for uranium enrichment, the options for modifying the Arak reactor – we’ll have assurance that these are in place if a good inspections regime allows the International Atomic Energy Agency access to Iran’s facilities so that it can quickly note if there are any sort of deviations or violations.

    So we think that the existing Safeguards Agreement is not comprehensive enough.  It does not allow the IAEA to visit all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, and it does not allow them to do it on as short of notice as we would like.  So any agreement, you know, should include the so-called Code 3.1 of the Safeguards Agreement, which will require Iran to notify the IAEA as soon as it decides to build a nuclear facility, and the Additional Protocol.  And this Additional Protocol should be ratified, not just implemented.

    Ratification of the Additional Protocol is key to this agreement because it will allow the IAEA to inspect Iranian nuclear facilities with very little notice – really, no notice – and expand the range of facilities that are included.  So the IAEA will have a much clearer picture of Iran’s nuclear activities, and it will be able to – much more likely to detect any sort of covert attempt by Iran to break out of an agreement.  And the U.S. national intelligence community has consistently assessed that if Iran were to pursue nuclear weapons, it would be more likely to do it through a covert program.

    Finally, on the question of the possible military dimensions, there has been some discussion amongst policymakers in the United States that it is difficult – that it will be difficult to move forward on a comprehensive deal until Iran has resolved all of the questions about sort of its past activities related to sort of developing a nuclear weapon.

    We support the resolution of these issues, but think that it needs to sort of remain separate from Iran’s negotiations with the P-5 plus one.  And the outcome of the P-5 plus one negotiation should not be dependent on what the IAEA uncovers in its investigation.  This investigation will likely go beyond the P-5 plus one talks with Iran, and we think that if the goal is to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful, the negotiations between Iran and the P-5 plus one could include language that perhaps, you know, requires and obligates Iran to continue cooperating on these issues, but judges that the information should only be used for the IAEA’s determination that the program is entirely peaceful.

    And we think that this will work as a formulation because Iran is actively cooperating with the IAEA.  They reached an agreement last November where they said they would provide answers on all of these outstanding issues.  And while a great deal of work still remains to be done, Iran thus far has been following through on its commitment and begun providing information on these questions related to past military activities.

    So with that, I’m going to let Greg talk now about sort of the breakout timelines.

    GREG THIELMANN:  Thank you, Kelsey.

    Thank you all for coming.  My job, I guess, is to break down breakout.  The concept of breakout capacity is critical to understanding U.S. negotiating objectives at the Iran nuclear talks, and it’s a very useful metric to help evaluate the various formulas for a final deal.  But this terminology is also commonly used in a misleading way, which could send us off course in seeking a successful outcome.  As you know, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea – unlike all of those countries, Iran is a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  And the word “breakout” refers to a situation where Iran decides to break out of its NPT obligations and build a nuclear arsenal.

    Legally, states parties to the NPT have the conditional right to withdraw from the treaty after giving three months’ notice.  But the most likely, and worrisome, scenario for Iran’s breaking out of the NPT is through a clandestine effort to develop a parallel program of uranium enrichment alongside that which it has declared to the IAEA.  This would also include a secret warhead and system integration effort that will allow Iran to present the international community with a fait accompli – a nuclear test, a sudden announcement that we have the bomb, or less direct signaling through an Israeli-type opacity approach.  The intelligence community reminds us every year that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity to ultimately produce nuclear weapons if it chooses to do so.  It could do it blatantly, by booting out inspectors from declared facilities, or secretly, in what is sometimes called “sneak out.”

    So if Iran has the option to go nuclear, it follows that the realistic goal for a final deal in the ongoing talks is not to make breakout impossible, but to make it an even more difficult and unattractive policy option for Tehran than it is today.

    Since the most challenging task for any nuclear weapons aspirant is getting the highly enriched uranium or plutonium for the core of a bomb, the chief nuclear nonproliferation focus is on preventing this from happening.  We are concerned about Iran getting either of these fissile materials, but enriched uranium is the more proximate danger.

    Thus, the usual definition of breakout is the time required to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one bomb, around 25 kilograms.  Policymakers and NGO researchers have been seeking to identify how the breakout timelines would change under different scenarios.  We know that the dash to build a nuclear weapon would be significantly shorter the more enriched uranium gas Iran retains in its stockpile, the higher the enrichment level of that gas, the more installed centrifuges Iran has, and the more of those installed centrifuges Iran already has operational.  The challenge is to determine which combinations of measures to lengthen the timeline would be most effective in dissuading Tehran from building the bomb and, at the same time, least unpalatable to the Iranian regime.

    There is broad agreement among experts about the supply side of this equation.  For example, based on Iran’s low-enriched uranium stockpiles and operating centrifuges today, as Kelsey mentioned, Iran would be able to produce 25 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium hexafluoride within two to three months, or if Iran eliminated its existing stockpile of low-enriched uranium by converting all of its uranium hexafluoride gas to powder, it would need some six months, using all of its operational centrifuges, to produce 25 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium gas.

    One of the elements agreed to last November for a comprehensive deal was, quote, a “mutually defined enrichment program,” unquote.  This program would include mutually agreed parameters consistent with practical needs.  But as Iran argues for an expansive definition of its future practical needs for enrichment, the six powers worry about the implications of this enrichment infrastructure for breakout.  If Iran were allowed some 100,000 operating centrifuges, which it claims it would need just to fuel the Bushehr power reactor and the Arak research reactor, its breakout capacity would appear to increase exponentially, shrinking the amount of time Iran would need to make the dash for a bomb.

    But before we get swallowed up in this yawning gap in the positions of the two sides on uranium enrichment capabilities, we have to return to the meaning of breakout capacity.  Let’s start by making clear that 25 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium gas does not a nuclear weapon make.  In other words, when you reach the end of the breakout timeline as commonly defined, there’s still nothing to go boom.  Once Iran has – had enriched sufficient uranium gas to weapons-grade level, it would next need to convert the gas to powder form, then fabricate the metallic core of a weapon from the powder.  Several additional and separate technological hurdles must be overcome, not all of which can be done concurrently with the uranium enrichment.  The explosive device must be designed, constructed and integrated into a delivery system, most likely a ballistic missile.

    It’s also likely that Iran would want to conduct an explosive test of the weapons package.  States developing nuclear weapons typically conduct multiple large-scale nuclear test explosions to perfect their warhead designs, particularly the smaller, lighter and more efficient designs needed for missile warheads.

    Now, it is true that the international community’s ability to surgically disrupt Iran’s nuclear weapons development might decrease once a bomb’s worth of weapons-grade uranium gas had been produced.  But even making a worst-case assumption that Iran could enrich sufficient amounts of weapons-grade uranium gas for a weapon only a few weeks after detection, Iran would still be months away from fielding even a limited nuclear arsenal.

    Moreover, the technical criteria I’ve been discussing constitute an important but incomplete lens through which to view breakout.  Real-world timelines also take into account a broad range of political and economic factors inside and outside Iran.  The success or failure of a breakout attempt would depend critically on the quality and scope of the international inspection regime, the ability of the international community to respond effectively to disrupt the breakout and the number of weapons Iran would judge it needed to pose a credible deterrent.

    With existing U.S. national technical means of intelligence and the international monitoring system established to verify compliance with the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, any explosive nuclear test by Iran would very likely be detected.  If Iran would try to sneak out, to build nuclear weapons without testing, Tehran would have to accept a lower confidence level concerning the reliability of the warhead design.

    And Iran is very unlikely to plan a breakout of the NPT by building only one nuclear weapon.  Even if Iran were willing to tolerate the large uncertainties deriving from an untested nuclear weapon’s design, a single weapon would add additional uncertainties regarding missile performance and the ability of the warhead to penetrate the sophisticated missile defenses deployed in the region.  Tehran would be staking everything on the perfect performance of one untested system.

    If Iran chose to increase the odds of success by planning to build multiple weapons, however, it would increase the need for fissile material, thus lengthening the breakout timelines and increasing the chances of international detection and blocking actions.

    So not even factoring in the consequences for this theological regime of reversing the supreme leader’s fatwa against nuclear weapons, the technical and political obstacles to breaking out of the NPT are formidable.  So a negotiated formula that may initially appear to provide an unacceptably short breakout timeline as usually defined may still constitute a daunting deterrent when Tehran considers its real-world nuclear weapons options.

    Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Greg.  That’s very helpful to put all this in perspective.

    And let me welcome Frank von Hippel up to the podium to talk more about uranium enrichment and other options.

    FRANK VON HIPPEL:  Right, right.  So this is the key figure in my presentation.  I should have put a little line on there, which would show Iran’s current enrichment capacity if all the centrifuges were operating.  That would be near the line of 20,000.  The red line shows what we judge Iran’s needs are, which are much lower.

    But then out beyond that, you see all of a sudden the rise to a hundred thousand in 2021 if Iran does not renew the contract it has with Russia to provide fuel for Bushehr.  And that’s currently Iran’s intention is not to renew that contract, and that is where the impasse is, about that rise.

    But you do see the – with the low number of needs until maybe 2019, we say it would have to start installing centrifuges to produce that large amount of uranium that Bushehr would require.  And I should have said that – I guess it says up above that 5,000 SWUs would be – from natural uranium would be sufficient for one bomb, and from low-enriched uranium for about three bombs.  So we’re talking about a very large enrichment capacity if this is the way things develop.

    Now, things don’t have to develop that way, and that’s what I’m going to discuss.  For one thing, of course, Iran could renew, for some years, the contract with Russia, if we show another line – if in fact that is renewed for five years.  But we do have these five years to work with, and our proposal is to divide the negotiations in two.  We think it’s too far a reach to actually reach an agreement about what to do in this – the longer timeframe.  Both sides have to have their shoes nailed to the floor.

    And so – and there’s another aspect on our side with regard to the short term, those 20,000 SWUs or so that Iran could put online at the moment, 20,000 SWUs a year, and that is that these are basically obsolete centrifuges.  I think Iran accepts that there’s no way – that it would be crazy to try to – try to produce more than 100,000 of these centrifuges to produce fuel for one reactor.  And they are developing more advanced centrifuges, you know, which would be required in much fewer numbers.  So our proposal for the short term is that Iran scrap these 18,000 IR-1 centrifuges.

    It has, in addition, a thousand IR-2m centrifuges on – which are installed but not operating – will be more than adequate for its needs over the next five years.  And so that would, during these five years, extend the breakout time.  So it would give – so we would have five years, or some fraction of that, to cool down this impasse.  You know, right now Iran’s conservatives, you know, are pounding the table about Iran’s right to enrich.  And they say, you know:  We’ve absorbed $100 billion worth of sanctions.  We’ve had our scientists assassinated.  There’s no way that we’re going to – we’re going to settle for less – becoming less than self-sufficient in terms of enrichment.

    On the other side, some see Iran’s after – as being after nuclear weapons, not just the nuclear weapons option such as Japan or Brazil have, for example, but really nuclear weapons.  I don’t think this is true.  They do definitely want an option, but it would – if we were able to, over the next few years, broaden the discussion with Iran – they’re interested in having a relationship again with the U.S.  If we could broaden the discussion with Iran, if the liberals that we’re negotiating with could strengthen their political base in Iran, then – you know, then maybe some of these – some of our – the nails that are holding our shoes to the floor could be loosened.

    But what could we do in the – in the long run?  If we see – by the way, this is an article, as Daryl said, in the forthcoming issue of Arms Control Today and is co-authored with Zia Mian, who is there in the back –

    MR. KIMBALL:  It’s online already.

    MR. VON HIPPEL:  It’s online already but not – not in the pretty form, yeah.  And in fact, I’d love to be able to put this figure into it – (chuckles) – but I may be too late.

    So this is a – this is a problem, a problem not just about Iran.  It’s a problem about national enrichment plants.  It’s a – it’s a weakness in the nonproliferation regime.  It was recognized in 1946 in the Acheson-Lilienthal plan that if countries have national reprocessing and enrichment plants, they do have a breakout capacity for acquiring nuclear weapons.  And we saw that dramatized in 1974 when India, which we were helping develop reprocessing technology for a civilian breeder reactor program, used some of the first plutonium that separated for a nuclear test.

    That resulted in a debate – in fact, do we really need to reprocess – and in 1977 basically the U.S. decided that it didn’t need to reprocess and adopted the stance that we don’t reprocess; you don’t need to either.  And that’s been very successful.  There’s only one non-weapons state that reprocesses today, which is Japan, and we’re working on Japan – still working on Japan.

    Well, we’ve got to do enrichment.  Countries do need enrichment in some form or another, but the industry is going in a very interesting way.  There is multinational – a large fraction of the market now is multinational enrichment, specifically URENCO.  URENCO is a consortium – Germany, Netherlands and the U.K. – which supplies Europe basically and also has a plant in the United States, which is our only operating enrichment plant.  The U.S. does not have a national enrichment plant today operating.

    And so we could – we could, if – adopt a position – we don’t have a national enrichment plant; you don’t need to either – and then discuss what kind of multinational options might be possible.  My own favorite – I don’t know if it will fly – is that Iran could provide the centrifuges for an enrichment plant someplace else in the Middle East, maybe Oman or something like that, and, you know, they would have the pride of their achievement but they wouldn’t have the enrichment plant in the country.

    But there are many different variants of that and – which need to be discussed and worked out and see which ones really could be politically credible.  But this is something that – this is – this crisis is over Iran’s enrichment program but tomorrow it could be over Saudi Arabia’s enrichment program.  You know, as I said, it was – in the past it was about Brazil’s and South Africa’s.

    And so we really do need to look at a larger – you know, make the problem – you know, look at the larger problem.  And I think it would be easier for Iran if we said we’re not – you know, we’re not setting up special rules for Iran; we’re trying to strengthen the nonproliferation regime, where you can help us by any of that.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

    All right.  Well, thank you, the three of you, for those great presentations which outline the many issues that the negotiators are dealing with – going to be dealing with over the next month.  It’s now your turn to ask questions, offer thoughts, ideas.  And I would just ask that you identify yourself and wait for the microphone to come your way so that our friends at the Federal News Service, who will be providing a transcript to this event, can hear you and the questions.

    And while you consider yours, why don’t we go to Michael Klare, and then – up front here?  But while the microphone is coming over to you, let me just highlight, or underscore, one of the things that is part of the Princeton proposal that Frank is outlining, in the first stage.

    As Kelsey described, right now Iran has 10,000 operating IR-1, first generation centrifuges, but there is the second generation of more efficient centrifuges some three to five times more efficient.  And the first part of that proposal that the Princeton team put together suggests that over this initial period of five or so years the IR-1s are swapped out and the IR-2Ms are swapped in smaller numbers, but still at same overall capacity and ideally a lower capacity, much lower than the 9,000 SWU that Iran currently has.  And I just wanted to highlight what that could mean for both sides.

    What that could mean for both sides is that the P-5 plus one achieve in this initial phase a significantly lower enrichment capacity in Iran, but the Iranians would be able to say that they are continuing to develop their scientific expertise, their scientific knowledge for more advanced centrifuges.  They have said in private meetings, and I think in public meetings too, that they do not see the IR-1 centrifuges being efficient enough to build in large numbers.  It’s not commercially viable.  It’s about 10 times less efficient, at least, than the URENCO centrifuges, for instance, maybe even more.

    MR.VON HIPPEL:  A hundred times less.

    MR. KIMBALL:  A hundred times less, OK.  So those IR-1 centrifuges are just not commercially viable.  So Iran doesn’t want to go in that direction.  They’d rather use those more efficient centrifuges.  So that part of this proposal I think provides some interesting advantages for both sides in helping to solve this puzzle.

    Now let me get back to the question that I think Michael Klare had. Thank you.

    Q:  Hi, I’m Michael Klare.  I’m on the board of the Arms Control Association and an academic.  And it’s a question mainly for Greg Thielmann.

    Greg, how much do we actually know about Iran’s efforts to make something that will go bang?  That is, the device – the explosive package itself.  I know the IAEA has been trying very hard to collect information on this.  What’s the status of their inquiry?  How will the negotiations maybe lead to greater clarity on that aspect of this, that you discussed?

    MR. THIELMANN:  Well, that’s a very good question.  That’s a very good question, and I’m not sure I can answer very authoritatively since I don’t really know what’s being seen inside the U.S. government, the intelligence area.  I can make a few observations, though.

    For one thing, it is still the main thrust of the national intelligence community – at least what they’ve shared with the public – that the information that it had collected that gave it a high confidence of knowing what was going on in Iran was time-limited.  That is, when it came out in 2007, the intelligence community said it had high confidence that Iran’s nuclear weapons program had discontinued in the fall of 2003, but it was a little less sure about the future.  It talked about moderate confidence at that time that it was not still continuing.

    We’ve gotten a few more hints from the IAEA, which is – has presumably seen much of the intelligence now on which the U.S. based its conclusion, and they have various intricate formulas for saying that there may be certain elements of nuclear weapons work ongoing, but there is no reconstitution of a coherent, large-scale program.  I mean, I’m paraphrasing here but that’s kind of the thrust of it.

    So where does that leave us?  I think one can assume that if one believes the intelligence community’s original assessment – and I have to say that I found it pretty convincing that Iran had been doing for a number of years things that it should not do under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – one has to assume that they have made some progress in mastering some of the technologies and information that they would need to actually build a nuclear weapon if they had all of the materials assembled.

    So I think – I think that’s really where we are in our state of knowledge.  What I tried to emphasize in my comment, though, that you can only do so much, and the consequences of having an integrated program broken up or put on hold or whatever over a number of years means that you don’t just have a switch, you can turn it on and say, now, we’re going to restart exactly where we were when we ended.  I mean – you know, there are people – their expertise – this is not just a science, but an art doing something as sophisticated as designing nuclear weapons.  And it is something that would take time even if they got to that end of breakout as commonly defined of having enough uranium – enriched uranium gas for one weapon, so I hope that speaks to some of those questions.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah, as Greg is saying, I think we have to assume that Iran has some of that knowledge, even if Iran, as some people say, comes clean about its past program, they’re still going to have that knowledge.  And what’s key – and Kelsey was talking about this a bit earlier – is that the IAEA is able to get enough information through this work plan they’ve worked out with Iran on these past experiments, most of which appear to date back before 2004, into 2003 and the earlier period – some of which may have continued – to determine that those activities are no longer continuing and that they have enough information to look in the right places, pay attention to the right people going forward in the future.

    And if they can get that information and they can report back to the IAEA board of governors in several months that they believe – they’ve got confidence that those activities don’t continue, even if there are questions about what was done in the past – that is where the agency needs to get. That is, I think, the best that can be achieved, and this comprehensive agreement can help create the leverage that the agency needs to finally close out that investigation.

    So we’ve got a few more questions coming up here – why don’t we – Alex Liebowitz (sp) here in the front –

    Q:  Thanks I have two questions, but I’ll be brief with both of them. One for Greg.  A lot of this is very technical, but it seems to me, to some extent, to figure out how long it would take, you’ve got to know how – why Iran would like a nuclear weapon, and I think, you know, just sort of thinking off the type of my head – I mean, the two examples that come to me on the two extremes are Israel, that doesn’t even admit they’ve got one and leaves this sort of ambiguity, or North Korea, the whole point of which is to, you know, show that we’ve got something, and therefore, we’re going to test it and so on.  And I’m wondering where you think Iran fits on this.

    And then, for Frank von Hippel – I tend to be quite skeptical of this multilateral idea.  I mean, either it’s not very multilateral – that is, it’s essentially sort of one or a couple of countries that have it under control, or you have to create some very elaborate thing.  I remember once hearing a briefing from the Germans where they – I mean, they went so far – they even had a flag.  But, you know, it sort of struck me as being very unrealistic to think that you’d ever come up with something like that.

    MR. KIMBALL:  So Alex is a skeptic, so how does it really work?

    Q:  How would – how would you come up with – you know, deal with something like that?  Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  And why don’t we – before you take those, why don’t we just take one more question.

    Q:  Hi.  Scott Sharon (sp).  Let’s say July 20th comes around; we have a deal – everything that was just discussed in the slideshow, how – and which leaves Iran with a limited capability.  How do Secretary Kerry and President Obama sell that to the U.S. Congress?  A few weeks ago, I was at a Senate Foreign Relations hearing on the regional implications of an Iranian deal, and there was plenty of opposition – both Democrats and Republicans, that would settle for nothing less than full dismantlement, and just given everything else in the region and this being an election year, I mean, how does that go forward?

    MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  All right.  So why don’t we take the first questions first?  Greg and then Frank –

    MR. THIELMANN:  OK.  Why would Iran want nuclear weapons?  What a question.  There are multiple reasons that countries are attracted to nuclear weapons, and my understanding right now is that Iran doesn’t necessarily want nuclear weapons, it wants a rapid dash breakout capability.  Iran wants to have the best of all possible worlds, and wants to say, we’re a loyal member of the NPT; we deplore the possession and threats of nuclear weapons by the existing nuclear powers, and they want people to understand that they could have nuclear weapons fairly quickly if they chose to.

    So there’s a little bit of the – of the multiple game that Saddam Hussein was playing.  Saddam wanted to convince most of the world that he had no programs, but he wanted to convince his own people and potential neighbors and potential threats that he did have a program.  I think Iran is in somewhat a similar position.  But I am convinced that if Iran actually chose to build a nuclear weapon, it would be to protect itself from those countries that continually threaten to attack it no matter whether Iran has done anything in the way of attacking its neighbors or not.  And in that respect, it is somewhat similar to North Korea’s motivations, I think.  But – there would be multiple motivations, but ultimately, to take such a dire step – and it would be dire for Iran in all kinds of ways – I think it would be an act to assure the survival of the regime.

    MR. VON HIPPEL:  On the multinational enrichment option, I understand your skepticism.  I’m skeptical that we can keep going with the national model, where every country has a right to its own enrichment program, and that looks pretty scary.  So I think we do have to work on the multinational, and I take hope from the fact that it actually has – it exists – there is a – of course, Europe isn’t the Middle East, but it actually originally – it’s interesting – in the ‘70s, when Germany, Netherlands and the UK were all working on their own enrichment programs, people were very worried about Germany’s enrichment program.  And one of the motivations for doing – becoming – doing it multinationally was to deal with that concern.

    And, in fact, today there are enrichment plants in all three countries, but the one in Germany came 10 years after the ones in the Netherlands and in the UK.  And it’s right on the border with the Netherlands, so it did have – it did have that dimension to it as well.  So, you know, I – I mean, that’s why I say, give us five years to work on it, or it may be possible that Iran relents, you know, in that interval, and we don’t –  and stops insisting, if things go well.

    MR. KIMBALL:  OK. Kelsey you might cover the second question?

    MS. DAVENPORT:  Yeah, sure, Scott. So your question about, how do you sell this deal to the U.S. Congress?  I would first remind them that a deal that’s in place that limits Iran’s nuclear capacity, that provides stringent monitoring and verification is far better than the alternative, which is no deal, which could result in an unconstrained Iranian enrichment program where we have less access, less monitoring and less verification.

    Also, the United States has already agreed that Iran will have a limited uranium enrichment capacity.  This was part of the November 24th Joint Plan of Action.  The U.S. said it will be based on practical needs.  The U.S. said that there would be a future for the Arak reactor; we would just determine, sort of, what that is.  Also, I think it’s important to remember that this is a negotiation, and Iran also has to be able to sell this deal domestically.  Iran has lost billions of dollars from the sanctions.  It’s sunk a great deal of money into developing this program, and it has become a point of national pride.

    So they need to be able to preserve enough of a nuclear infrastructure to be able to sell the deal domestically.  So I think, sort of looking at those arguments and really stressing that this deal is far better than the alternative would be the way that I would approach explaining this to Congress.

    MR. KIMBALL:  I would agree with that, and I think another part of this is going to be the tactics of discussing this and who is discussing this. It’s my personal view that the Obama administration needs to do a better job than they have so far in talking about the alternatives, the choices and the realities behind this breakout issue.  It’s going to take a full-court press on the part of the president to talk to members of Congress – all of them, not just the key members of key committees.

    Deputy Secretary of State William Burns can be a great asset in the effort, and I think – you know, as Kelsey said, I think once members of Congress actually see the agreement, study it and look at the alternatives, I think they will sober up a bit, all right?  I think they will understand that if they take actions that undermine the implementation, they’re going to have to own the consequences, and there isn’t going to be another second run at this negotiation.  Congress can’t say, this isn’t good enough for us and urge Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman to go back.

    This is – this is the agreement that is going to be there, and I think it’s going to be a good agreement, otherwise the U.S. team and the other P-5 negotiators wouldn’t be concluding it.

    All right, we got a lot of questions coming up.  Why don’t we start over here with Steve Colecchi – and keep your hands up for a second so I can see where you are.  OK.  I’ll try to get to everybody; we’ve got plenty of time.  Thanks.

    MR. VON HIPPEL:  Could I just add one thing –

    MR. KIMBALL:  Frank, yes, I’m sorry.

    MR. VON HIPPEL:  We have to be very conscious of the fact that this is not only – I mean, the primary negotiations are within Washington and within Tehran, and we have to be conscious of the – of the fact that Rouhani is just as besieged in Tehran, or maybe more than Obama is in Washington, and we have to take that whole thing – both sides into account.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Good point.

    Q:  I’m Stephen Colecchi with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  I’d like to address the Congressional question a little bit, and then just offer some information.  I was part of a delegation of U.S. bishops that went to Qom in March to meet with one Grand Ayatollah – several other ayatollahs – very high-ranking, including members of the council of experts that oversee the Supreme Leader.

    And I don’t think we can underestimate the moral commitment of at least a large segment of the establishment in Iran.  I’m not naïve enough to think that there’s no one within their establishment who wants a breakout capacity, but the – we probed in several different meetings with several different ayatollahs and with Shia scholars in a very deep way, and the fatwa is real and it has a basis within their theology, and reversing it by way of contradiction is just unthinkable for the religious establishment.

    I’ll just – let me just share one more minute.  Imam Ali, who is a key figure within Shia Islam, had the option – his generals were trying to convince him to poison a well before his troops went off to take their positions in battle, and he said, no, we can’t poison the well, because that’s indiscriminate, it will kill anyone who comes to the well, and it’s not honorable.  The enemy came to the same well, took their water, and they actually lost the battle.

    And they then pointed out that in the Iran-Iraq war, when chemical weapons were used against Iran, they did not respond in kind, even though they had them.  And it was based on this teaching that indiscriminate weapons – it’s very deep within Shia theology – I just would not underestimate it, and I think that the religious community and civil society, in addition to the technical arguments that need to be made, could motivate people within Congress and people within the pews to contact their members of Congress to say, give this a serious look; this is a highly religious culture that has very serious questions about the acquisition – stockpiling and use of weapons of mass destructions.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you for those insights, Steve.  We’re going to come over here to Mr. Hoenig (sp) and his colleague to the left in a moment.  Yep.

    Q:  Hi, Milton Hoenig. Daryl touched on my question, but I’d actually like to raise it in another way.  How would the IAEA, without losing credibility, suddenly erase the statement which it puts in all of its quarterly reports that the agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran?  This is in every quarterly report, and it’s going to take a lot of planning and thought by the IAEA to take – (inaudible) – so how will that be done?

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  We’ll answer that in a second, and then this gentleman, too.  Why don’t we take this question?  Yeah.

    Q:  Hello.  My name is Wright Smith with the National Iranian-American Council.  My question is, there’s talk – on the give-and-take of negotiations, there’s the issue of centrifuges, and how many can Iran keep, and there’s the issue of verification and monitoring of those centrifuges.  Is one more important than the other?  Should the P-5 plus one compromise on one to get the other, or is there some balance that can be achieved there?

    MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Let me take a stab at the first, Kelsey, and maybe you take a stab at the second and you can add on.

    So you’re exactly right.  It’s going to be very difficult for the agency to come to a different conclusion than it has been putting in each of its quarterly reports.  And it is going to take more information, it’s going to take more time.  There are some people in this town who are arguing that the IAEA investigation of PMDs, possible military dimensions, experiments by Iran needs to be closed off and concluded before the P5+1 conclude a deal.  That ain’t going to happen, folks, in part because the IAEA needs time, they need information, they need to go back to Iran and ask additional questions.

    When is the director-general of the IAEA going to be able to change that sentence in those quarterly reports on Iran?  I don’t know exactly, but one of the things that’s absolutely essential is going to be to get Iran to agree to those additional transparency and verification measures that Kelsey was outlining that focus on the undeclared sites, the short notice inspections, including things like the centrifuge workshops. That is essential, that access is essential in order for the agency to change that declaration to something like, “we have moderate confidence that no undeclared material or activities are taking place inside Iran.”

    But that’s going to take time, and that’s why this agreement is likely going to be a multi-year agreement.  And that’s why there are going to have to be milestones built into the agreement that the Iranians – steps the Iranians take and then there are steps that the IAEA and the international community take with respect to sanctions relief and other measures over time.  It’s tough, and this legacy issue is one of the hard issues.

    Anything else on that, Kelsey, that I’ve forgotten?  You want to take the other question?

    MS. DAVENPORT:  Yeah.  So it does need to be a combination when considering how you look at the uranium enrichment program.  Yes, if we define Iran’s current enriched uranium needs sort of based on exactly how much it would need to produce now to run its existing nuclear facilities, Iran wouldn’t need to dramatically cut down the number of operating centrifuges that it has.  It could easily meet its practical needs with less than 2,000 IR-1 centrifuges.

    Iran is not going to – really likely not going to accept that sort of within a negotiation, so it needs – we need to balance asking Iran to reduce its centrifuges with the monitoring and verification that we put into place.  And then it’s important to think about those – both of those aspects in relative to timing as well.  The monitoring and verification with the additional protocol that would allow inspectors to visit Iran’s centrifuge workshops, that would allow it to visit the uranium enrichment plants, would be permanent in its duration.

    Iran would be able to visit the – or the IAEa, excuse me – would be able to visit these facilities without any notice, really, whenever they wish to.  So once Iran then begins to sort of establish credibility under the deal, they could perhaps phase up their centrifuges, as Frank outlined, based on sort of an increase in their practical needs.  But the inspections would need to remain permanent, and that’s what – that’s what would happen under the additional protocol.

    So, yes, it does need to be a balance, but I think ensuring the permanence of the additional protocol and the inspections and the monitoring sort of really is key.  And while there probably will need to – well, you know, there will be a push for Iran to reduce its centrifuges.  If we can determine the numbers of centrifuges that Iran has, how many it’s producing, then the IAEA can also guard sort of against a secret breakout, as Greg described.  So I would put a lot of emphasis on the monitoring measures.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Frank, you had some additional thoughts?

    MR. VON HIPPEL:  Yeah.  Just two things.  I mean, the language that was mentioned is always coupled with Iran has not agreed to the additional protocol, and it would have to be for some years.  I mean, they have actually – they are complying with it on a voluntary basis right now.  And in fact, they’re going beyond the additional protocol with regard to the centrifuge transparency, and there’s a – I think they’re interpreting that as part of their voluntary compliance with the additional protocol.

    But I think, in fact, as Kelsey said, that you probably need to formalize that, and in fact, it would be a lot easier to do so if other – if Urenco and other centrifuge manufacturers would accept the same kind of transparency.  I think there will be a big collective gulp if they’re asked to do that, but I think we really – we should start talking about that.

    MR. KIMBALL:  If we could go to the gentleman in the back with the red tie and then we’ll come up back to the front.

    Q:  Hi, I’m Derek Davison with Lobe Blog.  I wanted to ask – you talked about firm assurances of foreign supply is a way to reduce practical – Iran’s practical needs for enriched uranium.  Given that the Iranians have some past experience with the unreliability of foreign suppliers of enriched uranium, I wonder if you could maybe expand on that a little more.  What kind of assurances could we put into a deal that would satisfy Iran’s concerns in that regard?

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right, why don’t we have Frank take that.  And then this gentleman in front and then we’ll go to Laura Rozen in the pink.

    Q:  Alan Keiswitter with Dentonson (ph).  Mt question is really about the Stage I of the proposal because, as I understand it, the U.S. would like 3,000 to 5,000 and the Iranians would like 100,000.  And is the proposal roughly to freeze what there is for five years?  And this would be roughly 10,000 that are operable and 9,000 that are not being operated or –

    Anyway, could – Phase I is going to be crucial to this, selling it on the Hill and elsewhere, and clarity would be very helpful.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Why don’t we stop there, and Frank, why don’t you – because those two questions are for you.  So why don’t you tackle those and then we’ll go on.

    MR.VON HIPPEL:  There is – whether it’s politically possible in Tehran right now, there is – I mean, you could, in fact, assure supply for Iran.  And it’s something we’ve been talking with Iran about for more than 10 years, that they – if they’re worried about supply, you know, why don’t you build up the stockpile of fuel in advance – I mean, 10 years of fuel in advance.  And then you’ve got 10 years to figure out – you know, you could build the centrifuge plant in that length of time if, in fact, countries refuse to supply it.  But it’s become a matter of national pride and it makes it difficult.

    With regard to the Stage I, the – what Iran needs now is much less than what it has in this Stage I.  It’s a couple of the IR-1 centrifuges or less than – the thousand centrifuges that it – the second-generation centrifuges that it has installed would do the trick.  So we’re not talking about freezing, although, you know, we – we’re a little bit – it’s a little bit unclear in our article.  But it doesn’t  require freezing at the level we have now if Iran buys this argument that the IR-1s are obsolete.  You’re going to get rid of them sooner or later, why not make life easier for all of us by getting rid of them now?  And so just sticking with the 1,000 IR-2m’s that they have installed but not operating.

    MR. KIMBALL:  So before we get to the – to the next question, let me just clarify one thing that I think is important.  I mean, you mentioned, sir, that the Iranians think they need x number – the P5+1 think they need this number.  I don’t think any of us in this room know exactly what the Iranians – bottom line is what the P5+1 bottom line is.

    We’ve heard things in the press, we’re 30 or so days out from the July 20 target date.  In a complicated negotiation like this, neither side’s going to put down its bottom line in public, and it’s quite likely that even in the negotiating room, they’re laying down positions that are pretty far apart hoping that the other side’s going to move closer in their direction.

    So I think it’s pretty likely, if not almost certain, that each side knows they can and must move closer to the other side and they know that these options that we’ve been describing today are there and there will be some creative combinations of all of these different things that they will have to use if there’s going to be an agreement on or around the 20th of July.

    All right.  Let’s go to Laura Rozen who is in the center in the coral, I suppose.

    Q:  (Laughs.)  Laura Rozen from Al-Monitor.  Thank you for doing this.  I apologize if you already addressed it, but what do you make of the reports the past couple of days from Iranian official accounts that Russia and Iran are signing two more power reactor deals?

    MR. KIMBALL:  Frank, you want to take a stab?  I have a couple of thoughts.

    MR.VON HIPPEL:  Well, the – I think they are, and it would take some time to build those reactors – you know, on the order of 10 years, so we have some grace before the – before the requirements of those reactors are upon us.  And I think also that it is quite likely that they would come with 10-year contracts, fuel supply contracts like Bushir-1.  And so that is often the – you know, and this is – it’s also often that this is Iran’s domestic lightwater reactor that they’re talking about building, which will probably take a long time to materialize.

    MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Let’s take this question in the middle and then – and then we’ll go to the back.

    Q:  I’m Peter Smallwood from the University of Richmond.  I’d really like to return to a question that you posed because I feel like there’s a gap here that is – there’s not – I see very little written and very little discussed about why Iran would want to have perhaps a breakout ability that Japan has.  And I was very happy to see that slide that mentioned that.

    In Japan, it’s pretty easy to understand, and all the more so with China developing.  But is there – is there opportunity in trying to better understand some elements in the Iranian security apparatus want that ability to find other ways to address that ability instead of having everything being – increasing the cost of having it?

    MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  And then why don’t we take a question in the back, if you could raise your hand again.

    Q:  Thank you.  My name is Farzin Nadimi (sp).  How much do you think a possible deal should be tied to Iran’s conventional missile program?

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Who wants to take the first question?  Go for it, Frank.  And then Greg is – take the second.

    MR.VON HIPPEL:  Well, you know, why does Iran want a nuclear option?  I mean, if you look around, Libya gave up their nuclear option and you see what happened to them.  Iraq gave up its nuclear option and you see what happened to them.  So the – so there’s a rationale.  I mean, just – the U.S. has made very clear that if, you know, there are circumstances in a – you know, that no U.S. options are off the table, and Iran, of course, would like to have the U.S. take some options off the table.

    And so – but I think there is this – as Mr. Colecchi said, the – there’s a spectrum of views from the – you know, the fundamentalist view that this is an illegitimate weapon to probably –

    Some people say well, maybe an illegitimate weapon but we should keep them – the other side uncertain.

    MR. KIMBALL:  And I would just add quickly, I mean, we’ve got to remember – I mean, the political scientist in me here, political science is not really a science, and the question you’re asking is a political science question.  And, you know, when we talk about Iran, there are many Irans, there are many views.

    Steve Colecchi from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops just talked about some of the strong religious views, but then there are other very hardline military views in Iran that might be very different.  So, you know, just like the United States or any other country, the view that is coming out of the existing government is a balancing act of these different constituencies.  And so it’s very hard to answer these questions in a – in a simple fashion and it’s another briefing altogether.

    So the second question on missiles, Greg, you’ve thought a little bit about this subject.  Go ahead.

    MR. THIELMANN:  You know, the missile issue is, again, one of those confusing issues because of course the missiles would be the delivery vehicle for nuclear weapons.  So it’s a relevant thing to worry about.

    And even if we weren’t worried about Iranian nuclear capabilities, we would worry about all these Iranian missiles.  With the nature of the Iranian regime, we worry about what this means for the neighborhood.  Particularly, the kind of medium-range ballistic missiles that Iran has are not very accurate, and so they’re basically weapons of terror.  They can slam into cities.  They can’t necessarily hit Israel’s Dimona reactor, but they can – they can hit Tel Aviv.  So they’re obviously something to be concerned about and to think about ways to constrain.

    The problem is – losing sight of the forest for the trees here, if you’re interested in getting limits on Iran’s nuclear weapons capability, the way we should do it is obviously the way we’re trying to do it, which is to limit their ability to make nuclear weapons.  And if you are successful in that endeavor, then Iran will have ballistic missiles with no nuclear weapons.

    And the confusion is here that the 2010 U.N. Security Council resolution required Iran to stop its ballistic missile activities.  The U.S. Congress has inserted all kinds of legislation that says that this comprehensive accord must also limit Iran’s ballistic missiles.  Well, that is just showing a failure to prioritize here and also an ignorance about Iran’s perilous – the perilous state of Iran’s military power.

    Iran is not in a powerful position militarily in the region.  Iran has been under various kinds of embargos for many years.  Its air force is extraordinarily weak given its size and power as a country, partly because it relied heavily on sophisticated U.S. technology to equip the air force before the Islamic Revolution.  In all kinds of ways, in terms of the expenditures – military expenditures as a percentage of GDP and other things, Iran is not the big military spender in the region.  Iran does not have enormous tank armies.  Iran has missiles.  And to say that Iran has to significantly weaken or eliminate the one conspicuous source of power it has is an extremely naïve way to approach negotiations and a perfect way to divert a reasonable chance of success at getting a grip on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right. Why don’t we take this question from this handsome gentleman in the front row, and then we’ll take a couple from the peanut gallery in the back?  (Laughter.)

    Q:  (Laughs.)  Thanks for the nice compliment, Daryl.  I’m Paul Walker with Green Cross International.  I want to thank you all for very good presentations.  And I also think it’s been important for us to talk about the biggest challenge, I think, is really selling any agreement, which I hope comes about in Washington and Tehran.  But one of the challenges in Tehran – and this is to you, Frank, I think primarily, is the fact that the NPT and the IAEA safeguards system has been for years described as a discriminatory regime from a variety of ways.  And I’m wondering if the safeguards, the inspections, the verification that the gentlemen here raised to being requested of Iran can be described in Tehran to the general public as a nondiscriminatory regime.  In other words, do we need to include other inspection regimes elsewhere, like on Urenco?  Is it any more stringent than the IAEA inspection regimes in Brazil and Japan?  Is there anything the P-5 could begin to move on to overcome these ongoing perceptions of discrimination in the regime?

    MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Kelsey, Frank, you want to quickly answer that?

    MS. DAVENPORT:  Sure.  I mean, you are right.  Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said very clearly that Iran does not want to be asked to go beyond what is required of other counties and that this idea of sort of the “AP-plus” is not acceptable to Iran.

    However, you know, Iran agreed in the November sort of 24th agreement to move forward on the Additional Protocol and that that is understood to be sort of part of this additional inspections regime.  And in this interim six months, they have agreed to measures that go beyond what the Additional Protocol requests of states that adhere to it.

    So I think the phrasing and the language will be – will be very important in terms of how these monitoring and verification measures are presented and also their duration.  Iran has been very insistent upon moving towards a position eventually where it’s treated like any other member of the – of the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

    But it’s important, I think, for Iran to acknowledge also that as we have said here – you know, as it has been brought up already, that the IAEA has not been able to confirm that Iran’s nuclear activities are sort of entirely peaceful right now.  So it should not be treated like any other member of the NPT at this time.  But we need to resolve these issues so we can move to that.

    MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  In the back, those two gentlemen please.

    Q:  Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service.  I wanted to go back to the question of a multilateral institution to provide the fuel for Iran.  The question I have about that is how do you ensure the governance of this is not in the hands of powers which have in the past already had relations with Iran with regard to fuel supply, i.e., Germany, France and Russia, who have in fact, for political reasons, either stopped or manipulated that relationship for political reasons?

    And the second question I have is with regard to the possible military dimensions issue.  And that is does it matter – well, how credible are the documents on which the IAEA is basing its investigation, i.e., the laptop documents and the series of documents that the IAEA acquired in 2008 and 2009?

    I mean, I’ve written about this extensively, of course, but just to make another point that I think a lot of people may be unfamiliar with, the IAEA has not been unanimous about the credibility of these documents.  That was Olli Heinonen’s view for sure, but then-Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei and other senior officials of the IAEA were very skeptical about the authenticity of these documents.  And as late as 2009, ElBaradei was saying that we still don’t have the authenticity of the documents established, and therefore, you know, that’s a serious problem that needs to be taken into account in the policies.

    MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Well, why don’t we have Frank deal with the first one and Greg the second.

    Zia Mian has another question.  Why don’t you raise your hand so everyone knows who you are?  All right.  Go ahead.

    Q:  One of the problems with the framing of the debate about the deal and going forward is that it treats it as if this is the only process that should be taking place regarding Iran and its security concerns and the role of the United States and the P-5 plus one.  The fact is that the P5 and Iran also committed to the discussions on a Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone as part of the NPT process at the 2010 NPT conference.  That process has broken down almost completely as far as anyone can tell.  And I think that one of things that we need to do is to put that process back on track as a way to help address the larger regional concerns, including those in Iran, about their security future and their relationship to their neighbors and what a Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone could do.  And we mentioned this in other work that Frank and I and folks at Princeton have done is to create a regional structure that could have countries agree to restraints that go beyond those that counties accept as part of the NPT as a way to ensure their collective regional security.

    So I think having the two processes take place in parallel and command similar degrees of attention, especially in Washington and – which has enormous influence on countries in the region, is actually very important and it’s part of the missing pieces in this puzzle that might have to actually be brought into play.

    MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  All right, so Frank, do you want to answer the question about who was working with Iran on multilateral, and then Greg, on the credibility of – the information the agency has regarding possible military dimensions?

    MR. VON HIPPEL:  On the credibility of the multinational regime, we don’t have a – we haven’t got a specific proposal, so it’s hard to defend its credibility.  But I think maybe in a belt-and-suspenders approach – I mean you’re – I think what you’re referring to is maybe this multinational entity, if it were outside Iran, would all the sudden cut Iran off again.  And I think the ultimate assurance there would be, in fact, to allow – if the facility were outside of Iran, to allow Iran to have a – you know, up to a 10-year stockpile of fuel in-country.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Greg, next question.

    MR. THIELMANN:  Maybe just a footnote to that question too.  I think there are other agreements and institutions like the ABACC arrangement between Brazil, Argentina and the IAEA that can provide some encouragement to the notion of multilateral agreements that actually go beyond, in some respects, the obligations under IAEA safeguards.  So I think there are actual historical reasons to be intrigued by Frank’s proposals.

    On PMD, this is a – this is a tough issue, because how does one have a fulsome discussion of these issues when we’re not privy to all of the details, which gets into some very sensitive information?  I would just say, as someone who had access to some of these details over the last decade, that I am not satisfied with the discussion in the press about capturing all elements of the picture here.  And I can’t remedy it without getting in big trouble.

    One other observation I would have, having been involved heavily in Iraq WMD matters, forgeries are not very difficult for governments accused of malfeasance to disprove.  And so when Iran declares that everything is a forgery, I think one has to be a little skeptical.  I mean, bring the people who wrote the documents in, show the pieces of the forgery that couldn’t have been true.  I mean, the IAEA did a great job on the uranium from Africa issue.  And it showed how easy it was.  Even if it was a bit of a challenge at the time for the U.S. intelligence community, it was not a challenge for the IAEA to show it was a forgery.

    So I’m a little skeptical of Iran’s dismissal of these things.  And I think one has to give a little bit of credit to the reformed U.S. intelligence community to be not totally incompetent and naïve in the way that it’s presented the case for various kinds of activities that occurred prior to the fall of 2003.

    MR. KIMBALL:  I would just say really quickly, one other issue about the concerns about possible military interventions.  It’s the political reality today.  It’s a political reality in these negotiations.  There are perceptions that governments have about what these – what this information that was supplied to the agency and some of the information the agency has acquired on its own really means.  And we can debate all we want the authenticity, or not.  And most of us haven’t even seen the documents.  But what matters is, you know, how it’s dealt with today given what the governments have, what the agency has, and what the Iranians want to ultimately try to achieve through the comprehensive agreement and the IAEA investigation.

    On the Middle East, Kelsey, do you want to take a stab at that?

    MS. DAVENPORT:  Sure.  Actually, for the first time there may be some progress towards the Middle East WMD-Free Zone.  The parties met just this past week in Geneva.  And from what we hear in those meetings, they’re – the Israelis are attending, along with the members of the Arab League.

    And there is progress being made sort of on an agenda.  But I think that Zia (sp) is exactly right, in that we have not, and particularly in the United States, placed enough political emphasis on sort of moving forward with establishing a zone, with encouraging the parties to reach an agreement on the agenda so a conference can be held, because this zone actually could address the concern in the United States about missiles.

    As sort of understood from the 1995 resolution on the Middle East WMD-Free Zone, the zone would need to include limits and verification in relation to delivery vehicles.  So putting more emphasis on this could provide sort of another alternative to check Iran’s ballistic missiles, but in a way that applies to all of the countries in the region and does not single out Iran, which it’s not going to accept.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Let me get to some folks who haven’t had their hands up.  We’ll go to this gentlelady here on the left, Elena (sp), in the lime-green blouse, right here.  Thank you.  And then we’ll go back over here.

    Q:  My name is Veronica Cartier (sp).  I’m focusing on international conflict management initiative.  My question is focused for supporting breakout capacity.  In the bilateral communication, instead of multilateral which is a focus also in comprehensive communication within the United States and Iran, has it been established or will it be possible to establish specific working group, beside IAEA, focused on bilateral coordination mechanism in the revision process.

    Just as you asked Japan earlier development cooperation agreement, bilateral coordination mechanism, effective operational commission, information reporting procedures and overall accountability issues to induce bilateral cooperation and for United States understanding of Iran motivation?  Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Well, maybe I can try to quickly answer that and we’ll get to a couple of the other questions.  I think it’s very likely that the comprehensive agreement is going to have a consultative mechanism, just as the interim agreement from November 2013 does, to resolve questions between the two sides.  The agency, the IAEA, is going to be very involved in monitoring Iranian compliance with certain aspects of the agreement.  So there are going to be these kinds of mechanisms over time that are there to ensure that the agreement is being effectively implemented and both sides are in compliance with the terms.

    So we’ve got a couple questions over here.  This gentleman in the middle, on the – right there, and then we’ll go to Mark Harrison and then we’ll come up here.  I’m trying to get to everybody.  This may be the first briefing we do where everybody gets to ask a question.  So just be patient.  Everybody’s got their hands up.  Go ahead.

    Q:  (Inaudible.)  We know that U.S. or United States and P-5 plus one is asking for, perhaps, 15 to 20 years for timeframe after agreement is reached for Iran to be treated as a normal PMD member.  And on the other hand, Iran is – perhaps is asking for five years max.  So I would like to ask each of the panelists, respond to this and see where do you stand and if you could explain your reasoning?  Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  And then the gentleman right behind?  Thank you.

    Q:  Mark Harrison with United Methodist Board of Church and Society.  I just want to ask the question about the party of five plus one, is there a common agreement among those members of the party of five on what they want to see come out of this?  I know that – I know Russia and China – do we – do we have an understanding of that?  Because most of the discussions have been, well, what is going on inside of Iran.  So what’s going on in the party of five?

    And in this section here in the study, where you talk about the sanctions that Europe put on Iran, do those governments also have to go back and take off those sanctions if they reach the agreement, like some of the sanctions here in this country?  And lastly, if the United States, given the situation we find ourselves in with Congress and the – it’s just a bad – a lot of infighting – countries – if an agreement is reached, countries can go forward and open – and now start trading with Iran, even if the U.S. doesn’t agree with those.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  We’ll try to answer all those good questions.  But first, on the timeline and the time frame of the agreement question, Kelsey, why don’t you try to address that?

    MS. DAVENPORT:  Sure.  I think it’s difficult to discuss the time frame of an agreement sort of in abstract of the conditions – the other conditions in an agreement.  You know, I would certainly thing that certain limits on Iran’s enrichment capacity, certain increased transparency measures, need to be – remain in place, particularly while the IAEA is still investigating the possible military dimensions issue.  And we don’t know exactly how long that’s going to take.  You know, estimates say, you know, one to two years, but depending on the information it could take far longer.

    And then also, you know, it depends on an assessment of how Iran’s practical needs might change.  You know, if an agreement sort of lasts 20 years but 10 years down the road, you know, they may need to provide more fuel for the Bushehr reactor, you know, could they scale up the centrifuge capacity, you know, perhaps if Iran shows that it has been complying with the other elements of the deal?

    So I think when you talk about time frame in abstract of sort of those individual conditions, it becomes a little bit sort of more difficult.  And, you know, some of these conditions also will be permanent.  A ratification of the additional protocol will mean that it’s in place for – you know, as long as Iran is a member of the NPT.  Some of the other measures – like I said, the additional transparency measures will have to be dropped.  But, you know, that could depend on where Iran is in its enrichment program.  So that isn’t a very specific answer and I apologize, but I think it is hard to consider any of these metrics sort of individually.

    And then a quick answer, Mark, to your questions on sanctions.  The majority of the sanctions against Iran emanate from the United States.  There also is the U.S. – the U.N. Security Council sanctions and the European Union sanctions.  For the European Union to lift its sanctions it would require a unanimous decision by the council – the Europe – the Council of Foreign Ministers, excuse me.

    The U.S. sanctions is much more difficult.  Some can be waived via executive order.  Some would eventually have to be lifted.  However, the problem is a lot of the U.S. sanctions are extraterritorial in nature in that they don’t just apply to entities in the United States.  Banks, for instance, in foreign countries now, that do business with Iran, can be penalized and cut off from the U.S. financial system because of the way that we have structured our sanctions.  So even if – when we begin to waive sanctions, I think we will see some companies that are very hesitant to go in and do business with Iran because they are concerned that until those sanctions are lifted, if sanctions are re-imposed they could then be penalized for that in the future.

    So, yes, there are a lot of – we hear a lot of trade delegations going to Iran from different countries that are interested in doing business, you know, with them, but until we get to the point where some of these sanctions in the U.S. are lifted, I think there will be some hesitancy about actually signing agreements or beginning to do business there.

    MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  And just very quickly on the P-5 plus one group, these are individual governments.  They do have individual views.  But they have been highly coordinated to this point through EU High Representative Cathy Ashton’s efforts.  You know, they’ve got each slightly different motivations for involvement, but what I think is important – and it’s been somewhat surprising – is the level of unity thus far.  The U.S. is clearly one of the tallest poles in that P-5 plus one tent, but they have all been acting in quite a unified manner.  But the fact that you have got these different entities actually makes this negotiation just tougher to pull off because of the degree of coordination that has to be achieved, and that kind of adds time.

    So we might see, for instance, on – at midnight on July 20 the negotiators coming almost to an agreement but one of the P-5 plus one member states needs to check back with their prime minister or their president or the foreign minister to get final approval.  So I think it has more of an effect on the – how the talks play out rather than – and the timing rather than the substance.

    Let’s take a couple more questions and then we’re going to wrap up.  I can’t remember who had their hands up.  Yes, the gentlelady in the front and then right behind her, and then we’ll close out.

    Q:  Hi.  Katherine Bova from Search for Common Ground.  Thank you for – thank you all for your very clear presentations.

    I was wondering, you had addressed what would be needed from the U.S. side to deal with the concerns of Congress.  I was wondering if you could speak to what would be required on the Iranian side to satisfy hard-liners in the Iranian government as well as members of the Majlis, who would ultimately have to ratify the additional protocol.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right, and then right behind her.  Thanks.

    Q:  Hi.  I’m Rafael Lael (ph) from Brazil.  So my question will be, what about the countries that are not on the table, especially Israel, that has been very silent lately?  And what would be the role played by AIPAC and AJC and other lobbying institutions here in Washington?  We heard rumors that they would be pushing for sanctions that would not be related to the nuclear program.  So what about if Congress proposes sanctions related to Iran’s sponsoring of Hezbollah and Hamas or human rights?  And if you could also elaborate about how would Saudi Arabia take a successful deal, or a partially successful deal, between Iran and the P-5 plus one?  Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Such easy questions.  (Laughter.)  Who would like to take the first question that was just asked?

    MS. DAVENPORT:  I can take a stab at it.

    MR. KIMBALL:  OK, and then –

    MS. DAVENPORT:  I think, similar to the United States, there will be hardliners in Iran that will not be satisfied by any deal.  But, that being said, I think a deal that preserves Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, that preserves Iranian enrichment, a future for the Arak reactor and allows for the possibility of building up capacity over time is the most likely configuration that is going to be acceptable to Iran.

    Iran has made some statements about elements of these aspects being sort of completely unacceptable.  Shutting down facilities, for instance, I think is a red line.  Having to accept any limits on its missiles I think sort of would be – would be a red line.  But I think it is important to remember, again, also from the Iranian side, you have to juxtapose a deal with limits against no deal and what that means for Iran domestically.  I mean, Hassan Rouhani ran on a platform promising sort of greater economic prosperity for the country.  That will come with sanctions relief.  And he has a limited time to deliver on that as well.  So I think that, similar to the Obama administration, he will need to do his part sort of selling this within Iran.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, let me give you some quick answers on the other questions about Israel, AIPAC, Saudi Arabia.

    There are, clearly, strong interests in Israel about the outcome of this negotiation.  And Prime Minister Netanyahu has been, I think, quite vocal actually, not so quiet, over the past several months about the kind of deal Israel would like to see.  Netanyahu has been arguing for zero enrichment.  He has been calling for the closure of the Fordow and Natanz and Arak facilities.  And I think that he has been making those arguments in order to try to harden the position of the P-5 plus one going into these conference of – negotiations.  He understands, and the Israeli security establishment, intelligence establishment understands that.  That is not a realistic outcome.

    If they are expecting that out of this, they are going to be disappointed, for many of the reasons that we just discussed.  So I think it is a – it’s a tactic.  I think that in some congressional offices have heard the Israeli ambassador to the United States come in and make those arguments.  And I’ve been told that American lawmakers politely nod, say, thank you for coming here but I don’t think that’s the kind of agreement that is going to emerge if we’re going to have an agreement.  So I think it’s understood that this is a bit of posturing.  I think it’s a bit of an effort to try to harden the P-5 plus one’s position.

    Now, what should we expect Israel perhaps to say if there is an agreement?  I would be shocked if Prime Minster Netanyahu praises the agreement in any way.  He’s going to preserve his options, OK?  He’s saying:  This deal is not good enough for me; this is not good enough for Israel and we reserve our right to do what we need to do to defend Israel, which is Israel’s right.  But I think in their private conversations those Israeli leaders will probably recognize that this is a better outcome than no constraints on Iran’s program, than no inspections on the undeclared areas of Iran’s program.

    And they recognize, even if they hold it out as a possibility, that Israeli military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities is not a solution.  It is not going to eliminate Iran’s nuclear capabilities.  It would at best set those capabilities back a few years.  And they know that it probably would lead Iran’s leaders to change their thinking about the fatwa and to actually actively and openly pursue nuclear weapons, probably with a lot of public support, if that were to happen.  So I think we need to understand these statements and put them in context.

    And just very quickly, with respect to, you know, others in the United States who speak out about these issues, including AIPAC. I think they have an important role to play.  I think they need to – like all of us do, need to take a close look at the agreement.  They need to understand what it does.  They need to understand that this is a nuclear negotiation and not a negotiation about overall rapprochement with Iran and an effort to try to moderate Iran’s behavior in other nonnuclear areas.  And I think they, like all of us, need to take a look at what the alternatives are, and the alternatives to a good and effective and verifiable deal are definitely not as good and can lead to increased Iranian capabilities and increased risk of war, and I don’t think that’s something that AIPAC or anyone really wants to see.

    So with that, let me ask you to join me in thanking our three great speakers.  (Applause.)  And let me also encourage you to read our report, which is online at www.armscontrol.org


    Country Resources:

    Statement to the 2014 NPT Preparatory Committee



    Time for All States to Accelerate Progress on Key 2010 Action Steps

    Statement to the 2014 NPT Preparatory Committee Meeting,
    United Nations, New York, April 29, 2014

    Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
    Paul F. Walker, Ph.D., Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability Green Cross International and Global Green USA

    We are one year away from the 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and the global nuclear disarmament and risk reduction enterprise is at yet another important crossroads.  The situation requires that the states gathered here must seriously consider, explore, and pursue alternative options to reduce global nuclear dangers and jumpstart progress toward the fulfillment of the ambitious 2010 NPT Action Plan.

    The Current Landscape

    As efforts to resume Six-Party talks remain stalled, North Korea threatens to conduct its fourth nuclear test in violation of its NPT commitments and the global ban on nuclear tests.  New diplomatic approaches from China, the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan are required, starting with a new proposal for talks focused on interim measures to halt further nuclear testing and long-range missile tests, coupled with more vigorous implementation of existing international sanctions.

    Negotiations between the P5+1 states and Iran to resolve longstanding concerns about its nuclear program are at a critical phase.  An effective, multiyear deal can only be achieved if each side is ready to compromise and pursue realistic solutions that meet the other side’s core requirements.

    A successful agreement will verifiably and significantly curtail Iran’s overall enrichment capacity, block the plutonium path to the bomb, put in place tougher international inspections, bring Iran fully into the CTBT regime, resolve outstanding questions about the purpose of Iran’s program, and lead to the phased removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

    The ability of the 2010 NPT Review Conference to reach agreement on the so-called Action Plan was an important breakthrough.  But the follow-through on the plan—particularly the 22 interrelated disarmament steps—has been disappointing as progress on most of the items have slowed to a crawl.

    The United States and Russia did successfully negotiate, sign, and ratify the 2010 New START treaty, which requires them to have no more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads each on no more than 700 deployed bombers and missiles by 2018.

    However, since 2011, they have failed to start talks to further reduce their still enormous nuclear stockpiles.  Even after New START, U.S. and Russian strategic stockpiles will still far exceed any plausible deterrence requirements. Many of their weapons remain on prompt launch status, a condition that President-elect Barack Obama called “a dangerous relic of the Cold War.”

    Worse still, with Russia’s military intervention in Crimea, which violates its 1994 Budapest Memorandum commitments to respect the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine, Russian relations with the United States and Europe have reached perhaps their lowest point in more than a quarter century.  New negotiations on further nuclear disarmament beyond New START are unlikely any time soon.

    Even before the recent political turmoil in Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s extralegal occupation and annexation of Crimea, President Putin rebuffed U.S. President Barack Obama’s June 2013 proposal to reduce U.S. and Russian strategic stockpiles by one-third below the ceilings set by New START.

    Progress toward CTBT entry into force  still awaits promised action from the United States and China on ratification, as well as the five other Annex 2 hold-out states.

    Talks on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty and other important disarmament agenda items have still not begun at the Conference on Disarmament.

    Progress on tactical nuclear arms reductions and deployments also remains stalled. NATO has been unable to agree on a proposal for transparency and accounting regarding the 180 U.S. nuclear gravity bombs located in five European states, as well as the far larger stockpile of some 1,000-2,000 Russian tactical nuclear weapons.  Russia refuses to engage in talks on tactical nuclear weapons and its military strategy allows for the use of tactical nuclear weapons in a conventional conflict.

    In 2010, all of the NPT nuclear-weapon states committed to “diminish the role and significance of nuclear weapons” and “[d]iscuss policies that could prevent the use of nuclear weapons.”

    Unfortunately, none of them has undertaken demonstrable, concrete steps to do so.  In fact, as Hans Kristensen writes in the May 2014 issue of Arms Control Today:

    “… all of the world’s nuclear weapons states are busy modernizing their arsenals, continue to reaffirm the importance of such weapons, and none of them appears willing to eliminate their nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future.”

    As a consequence, the risk that nuclear weapons might be used again someday—in response to conventional attack, in response to a nuclear attack, or as the result of accidental exchange—remains all too high.

    In light of these realities, leaders at this conference must consider, explore, and pursue new ideas and options to reduce global nuclear dangers and meet the 2010 NPT Action Plan goals.

    Ways Forward

    We believe that more than one path can and should be pursued. The following are practical ideas for consideration by all states at this meeting:

    Use the Humanitarian Consequences Conferences As An Opportunity for Dialogue: The conferences on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons are a useful and important venue for understanding the risks of nuclear weapons and the means by which those risks can be eliminated.

    The five NPT nuclear weapon states should actively participate in the meeting and support joint statements warning of the consequences of nuclear weapons use.

    For their part, the non-nuclear-weapon state majority must also better utilize the Humanitarian Consequences dialogue to develop and come together around proposals that more effectively challenge the dangerous nuclear doctrines of the nuclear weapons states.

    Before the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the nuclear weapons states should also be called upon to explain the effects of their nuclear weapons use doctrines and war plans, if they were to be carried out, and explain how the use of such weapons would be consistent with international human rights and humanitarian law.

    The June 2013 Report on the Nuclear Weapons Employment Strategy of the United States claims that “[t]he new guidance makes clear that all plans must also be consistent with the fundamental principles of the Law of Armed Conflict.  Accordingly, plans will, for example, apply the principles of distinction and proportionality and seek to minimize collateral damage to civilian populations and civilian objects.  The United States will not intentionally target civilian populations or civilian objects.”

    Given the catastrophic consequences of the large-scale use of nuclear weapons against hundreds of targets, as envisioned in the U.S. and Russian war plans, it is hard to see how the use of significant numbers of nuclear weapons could be consistent with international humanitarian law or any common sense interpretation of the Law of Armed Conflict.

    The NPT nuclear weapons states should, as part of their reporting responsibilities for the 2015 NPT Review Conference, report in detail on their nuclear weapons employment policies so that NPT states parties can evaluate whether such practices are consistent with international humanitarian law.

    Accelerate New START Reductions: As a 2012 report by the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board suggests, with New START verification tools in place, further nuclear reductions need not wait for a formal follow-on treaty.  The United States and Russia could accelerate the pace of reductions under New START to reach the agreed limits before the 2018 deadline.  As long as long as both sides continue to reduce force levels below the treaty limits, deeper reductions below New START are possible.

    Such an initiative would also allow both sides to reduce the extraordinary costs of force maintenance and modernization and could help induce other nuclear-armed states to exercise greater restraint.

    Seek to Cap the Growth of the Arsenals of the Other Nuclear-Armed States: U.S. and Russian nuclear forces still comprise more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear stockpiles.  But other countries must do more to fulfill their NPT Article VI obligations.

    As a first step, other nuclear-armed states, beginning with China, France, and the U.K., should pledge not to increase the overall size of their growing nuclear weapons and missile stockpiles as long as U.S. and Russian reductions continue.  Such an effort must eventually involve states outside the NPT, specifically India and Pakistan, which continue to expand their stocks of nuclear weapons material and their holdings of nuclear weapons.

    Adjust Nuclear Readiness Posture of Some ICBMs: As a confidence-building measure, U.S. and Russian experts could commence technical discussions on verifiably reducing the alert status of an agreed portion of their respective stockpiles, beginning with a portion of their land-based intercontinental ballistic missile forces. In December 2008, President-elect Obama said he would “work with Russia to end such outdated Cold War policies in a mutual and verifiable way.”[1]

    Follow Through on Commitments to Ratify the CTBT: Despite statements of support for ratification from the United States and China, neither state has taken sufficient action to secure domestic support for ratification.  The path to approval by the U.S. Senate is a tough climb but is achievable with a major push.  So far, the White House has done too little to begin the ascent.  Now is the time for President Obama to begin that effort.

    Ratification by Israel, Egypt, and Iran would reduce nuclear weapons-related security concerns in the region.  It would also help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a Middle East Zone free of Nuclear and other Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    Iranian ratification of the CTBT—as well as a decision to allow the transmittal of data from international monitoring stations on its territory to the International Data Center in Vienna— should be a part of any comprehensive P5+1/Iran agreement.

    Iran’s leaders should want to ratify the CTBT to help distinguish their country from North Korea, which for now, is the only state that openly threatens to conduct further nuclear tests.

    States not involved in the Iran nuclear talks, particularly the Non-Aligned Movement, need to do their part by calling on President Hassan Rouhani to ratify the treaty.


    As Obama said last year, “[S]o long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe. Complacency is not in the character of great nations.”  States and this conference must do more than simply repeat previous calls for action. States must be prepared to act and they must do so before next year’s review conference.

    In the coming months, creative, bold approaches will be needed to overcome old and new obstacles to the long-running effort to reduce nuclear dangers and to fulfill the promises of the NPT.



    1. “Arms Control Today 2008 Presidential Q&A: President-elect Barack Obama,” Arms Control Today, December, 2008.


    We are one year away from the 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and the global nuclear disarmament and risk reduction enterprise is at yet another important crossroads. The situation requires that the states gathered here must seriously consider, explore, and pursue alternative options to reduce global nuclear dangers and jumpstart progress toward the fulfillment of the ambitious 2010 NPT Action Plan.

    ACA Executive Director Participates in Faith Leaders Conference on Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear War



    The Humanitarian Imperative to Accelerate Progress
    On Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation

    Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball for the April 24 Conference

    “Faith Leaders and the Dialogue on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear War”

    U.S. Institute for Peace, Washington, D.C.

    Since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons have driven global leaders to pursue concrete steps to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons use.

    Over time, our understanding of the scope of these effects has become more sophisticated.  Early studies found that the direct effects of a large-scale nuclear exchange would produce catastrophic regional and national damage that would kill tens of millions and likely several hundred million people within one month of the initial exchange.[1]

    More comprehensive studies in mid-1980s found that the direct effects of such a large-scale nuclear war involving thousands of nuclear detonations could result in several hundred million human fatalities, the indirect effects could be far greater, leading to the loss of one to four billion lives.[2]

    More recent studies have found that even a smaller nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan involving just 100 nuclear detonations against urban targets would kill 20 million people in the first week and loft soot into the global atmosphere that would reduce surface temperatures by 1.3 degrees Celsius and disrupt agricultural production and put 1-2 billion people at risk for famine.[3]

    These and other findings make it clear that the use of even a relatively small number of nuclear weapons would result in humanitarian emergencies far beyond the immediate target zones of the warring parties.

    The catastrophic impact effects of nuclear weapons use make these weapons an enormous global health and security liability.

    Nevertheless, the nine states and several of their allies, still employ nuclear weapons as part of their military and security doctrines. As a consequence, the risk that nuclear weapons might be  used again someday—in response to conventional attack, in response to a nuclear attack, or as the result of accidental exchange—remains.

    The Humanitarian Effects Process and the NPT

    Appropriately enough, the 2010 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference Final Document expresses “deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and [reaffirmed] the need for all States at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law.”

    The NPT nuclear-weapon states committed to “diminish the role and significance of nuclear weapons” and “[d]iscuss policies that could prevent the use of nuclear weapons.”

    The Final Document commits the states parties to certain actions to reduce the risk of such an outcome, including some 22 overlapping nuclear disarmament commitments.

    Among other steps, the 2010 NPT Action Plan calls for:

    • changes in nuclear doctrines to diminish the role of nuclear weapons;
    • reductions of the number of all types of nuclear weapons;
    • changes in the operational readiness of nuclear weapons to reduce the risk of accidental war;
    • increased transparency and reporting by the nuclear-weapon states;
    • tangible progress toward entry into force of the CTBT; and
    • overcoming the paralysis of the UN’s disarmament machinery, especially in the CD.

    The ability of the 2010 NPT Review Conference to reach agreement on the Action Plan was an important breakthrough, but the follow-through on the plan has been disappointing.

    Slow Progress

    The United States and Russia did successfully negotiate, sign, and ratify the New START treaty in 2010. The treaty, which entered into force in February 2011, requires them to cut their deployed strategic stockpiles to no more that 1,550 deployed strategic warheads and 700 strategic delivery systems by 2018.

    Since then, progress on most of the key steps outlined in the 2010 NPT disarmament action plan have slowed to a crawl. The U.S. and Russia have begun to implement New START reductions and continue on-site inspections and information exchanges under the treaty, but to date, there has been no progress toward reductions below the ceilings set by New START.

    Despite adjustments to U.S. missile defense plans in Europe announced by the Pentagon in March 2013 that eliminate any near-term threat to Russia’s strategic missiles, President Vladimir Putin has rebuffed President Barack Obama’s June 2013 proposal to slash U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear stockpiles by another one-third below New START ceilings—to nearly 1,000 deployed strategic warheads.

    On Dec. 25, Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's security and disarmament department said: “Now is the most inauspicious moment in the past 10-15 years to talk about further reductions.” Russian officials list a range of grievances that must be addressed before they will be willing to engage in a new round of formals arms reduction talks.

    U.S.-Russian tensions have only worsened since Moscow’s meddling in Ukraine and it is unlikely that Presidents Obama and Putin can find the will or the way to engage in new, formal talks on further nuclear arms reductions and transparency measures regarding missile defense, which the Kremlin cites as one of the reasons why it does not want to engage in further disarmament negotiations with Washington.

    As a result, new, informal but still verifiable approaches to reduce bloated U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles are in order.

    Progress on reducing tactical nuclear weapons in Europe also remains stalled. NATO declared as part of its 2012 Deterrence and Defense Posture Review its intention to engage Russia in a process of confidence building on tactical nuclear weapons in order to pave the way for future reductions.

    Even though the remaining 180 U.S. B61 nuclear gravity bombs that are still stored at bases in five NATO states are not necessary for the common defense of NATO, the alliance has said it will contemplate changes to the nuclear posture only on the basis of Russian reciprocity.

    Unfortunately, the NATO bureaucracy has been unable to produce a common proposal for accounting and transparency for U.S. and Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. This situation allows Russia to maintain its far larger tactical nuclear weapons stockpile in the region.

    Meanwhile, because nuclear weapons remain part of the military and security strategy of nuclear weapons states, nuclear weapons competition continues among the world’s nuclear-armed states.

    As Hans Kristensen writes in the May issue of Arms Control Today:

    “… all of the world’s nuclear weapons states are busy modernizing their arsenals, continue to reaffirm the importance of such weapons, and none of them appear willing to eliminate their nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future.”

    The United States alone is scheduled to spend in excess of $355 billion over the next decade on maintaining, replacing, and upgrading its nuclear warheads and delivery systems.[4]

    Of course, since the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United States have significantly reduced the overall size of their nuclear arsenals, but huge warhead and missile inventories remain. China, India, Pakistan—and possibly also Israel—are increasing their stockpiles.

    North Korea continues to slowly improve its ballistic missile and fissile material production capabilities and may soon conduct its fourth nuclear test explosion, which could give it the know-how to deliver such weapons on missiles.

    Most states recognize that nuclear testing is a vestige of the past and most have halted testing and signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Nevertheless, eight key states must still ratify before its entry into force—most importantly the United States. Despite strong statements of support from President Obama, the path to approval by the U.S. Senate is steep, and the White House has done little to begin the ascent.

    Without action by the United States and China to ratify the CTBT, other states necessary for the treaty’s formal entry into force will be less inclined to accede to the treaty—and it is more likely that North Korea will conduct further nuclear tests.

    Consequently, the door to the renewal of nuclear testing and new and more deadly types of nuclear weapons remains open. Positive action on the CTBT could help curb proliferation risks in South Asia, the Middle East, and on the Korean peninsula.

    The current state of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation affairs is unsustainable.

    As President Obama noted in 2009: “Our efforts to contain these dangers are centered on a global non-proliferation regime, but … we could reach the point where the center cannot hold.”

    Frustration amongst the non-nuclear weapon state majority is running high.

    The conferences on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons held in Oslo, Norway in 2013 and Nayarit, Mexico in February 2014 are a symptom of the growing impatience regarding the agonizingly slow pace of action by the nuclear-armed states to fulfill their disarmament obligations and commitments.

    As the 2015 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference approaches, pressure to accelerate action on disarmament will only grow.

    As government officials, parliamentarians, and civil society leaders, we must consider how to jumpstart action on meaningful, practical proposals that can challenge dangerous nuclear doctrines and reduce the risk of catastrophic nuclear war.

    Slow Steps vs. Bans? A Reality Check

    In response to the slow pace of progress, some states and some civil society organizations participating in the Oslo and Nayarit conferences say the “step-by-step approach,” as expressed in the 2010 NPT Review Conference has reached a dead end. They argue the time is right to pursue the negotiation of a convention to banning the possession and use of nuclear weapons. The core of the argument for a treaty banning nuclear weapons is that it would “stigmatize the weapons” and “also build the pressure for disarmament.”[5]

    Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) states have proposed the negotiation of a convention banning the possession of nuclear weapons in the moribund Conference on Disarmament (CD).

    Such efforts are well-intentioned, principled, and appealing in its simplicity. Unfortunately at this point in time, this approach would not likely do much to reduce the risk of nuclear war, slow nuclear buildups in certain regions, reduce the role of nuclear weapons in the military and security policies of possessor state and their allies, nor would it likely accelerate action on concrete steps toward the verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons.

    Nevertheless, such an initiative clearly has the potential to increase pressure on some nuclear-armed states to accelerate action on nuclear disarmament, which is essential to achieving global zero.

    Unfortunately, even if non-nuclear-weapon states were to adopt convention banning nuclear weapons outside the CD, it would not have the support and participation of the NPT nuclear weapons possessor states, which oppose such an effort.

    It is more likely that the nuclear-armed states and their allies would likely dismiss and ignore a “ban treaty” as an instrument supported only by nonnuclear weapon states that accomplishes little more than the NPT already does.

    Although a majority of the states attending the Nayrarit conference expressed support for an eventual ban on nuclear weapons, many states do not believe that the time is right for the pursuit of a convention banning the possession and use of nuclear weapons.

    For their part, the leaders of the nuclear weapons states have thus far boycotted the Humanitarian Consequences Conferences. Some of them call the conferences a “distraction,” in part because they worry they are simply a prelude to an effort to begin negotiations on a convention leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons. Thus far, the conferences have focused on the consequences of nuclear weapons use.

    The failure of the five original nuclear weapons states (a.k.a. the “P5”) to engage in the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons dialogue is counterproductive and a missed opportunity to advance progress toward common disarmament objectives.

    In response the humanitarian impacts dialogue, the P5 have repeated their commitment to the so-called “step-by-step approach,” but unfortunately they have failed to explain how they propose to jumpstart progress.

    In a statement issued April 15 from Beijing, the P5 states say they “are now more engaged than ever in regular interactions on disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation issues.”

    The statement also says: “the P5 intend to continue to seek progress on the step-by-step approach to nuclear disarmament, which is the only practical path to achieving a world without nuclear weapons and in keeping with our NPT obligations.”

    The P5’s commitments to meet their disarmament obligations are welcome, as is their ongoing and hard work to create the conditions for further progress.

    But absent concrete actions and creative, new initiatives to overcome longstanding problems between the United States and Russia, as well as more active leadership from the other nuclear-armed states, the P5 rhetoric simply does not represent a fulfillment of their NPT obligations.

    Ways Forward

    All people, including the leaders of the nations of the world, have a moral, legal, and international security imperative to come together around new and practical approaches to accelerate progress toward the elimination of the risk of global nuclear catastrophe. More than one path can and should be pursued simultaneously.

    The conferences on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons are a useful and important venue for dialogue that should be welcomed by the nuclear-armed states. The conferences can play a powerful role in increasing awareness as well as political will on nuclear disarmament.

    Rather than dismiss the next Humanitarian Consequences Conference scheduled for Vienna, Austria in December, the United States and the other nuclear-weapon states should actively participate in the meeting and support joint statements warning of the consequences of nuclear weapons use. The nuclear-armed states must also recognize that unless they propose and pursue practical, new ways to accelerate action on their disarmament commitments, frustration from the non-nuclear weapon state majority will increase.

    Leading non-nuclear-weapon states must also better utilize the Humanitarian Consequences dialogue to develop and come together around proposals that more effectively challenge the dangerous nuclear doctrines of the nuclear weapons states.

    As Ambassador Desra Percaya, Indonesia’s Representative to the United Nations, said in a speech in Washington D.C. in March: “…the world cannot wait endlessly for nuclear weapons’ elimination. The risks are obvious.  For a nuclear detonation, deliberate or accidental, its effects will be horrendous on people and all living things – we will all suffer.  We must act now.”

    While there are few quick solutions to stubborn nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation challenges, present circumstances demand that serious international leaders consider new approaches to accelerate the agonizingly slow pace of the so-called step-by-step approach.

    The following are some ideas that could be pursued beginning this year.

    1. Engage the P5 In a Discussion on the Impacts of Their Nuclear Weapons Use Plans

    Before the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the nuclear weapon states should be called upon to explain the effects of their nuclear weapons use doctrines and war plans, if they were to be carried out, and explain how the use of such weapons would be consistent with international human rights and humanitarian law.

    The June 2013 Report on the Nuclear Weapons Employment Strategy of the United States claims that “[t]he new guidance makes clear that all plans must also be consistent with the fundamental principles of the Law of Armed Conflict. Accordingly, plans will, for example, apply the principles of distinction and proportionality and see to minimize collateral damage to civilian populations and civilian objects. The United States will not intentionally target civilian populations or civilian objects.”

    The NPT nuclear weapon states should, as part of their reporting responsibilities for the 2015 NPT Review Conference, report in detail on their nuclear weapons employment policies so that states parties can evaluate whether such practices are consistent with international humanitarian law.

    Particularly if the P5 states do not participate in the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, the United States and other nuclear-armed states should be called upon to explain the legal rationale and practical effects their nuclear weapons employment plans at the 2015 NPT Conference.

    The discussion would, in the very least, highlight the importance of reducing the role and number of nuclear weapons, reinforce the norm against their use, and stimulate new thinking within the nuclear weapons states on the need to revise their nuclear weapons employment plans.

    2. Explore a ban on the use of nuclear weapons

    One implication of the catastrophic, global effects of even a relatively small number of nuclear weapons detonations is that nuclear weapons should not ever be used. As President Reagan once said: “a nuclear war cannot be won and must not be fought.”

    One very logical way for responsible states to address the NPT Action plan goals of diminishing the role and significance of nuclear weapons in military and security doctrines and assuring nonnuclear-weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be to explore options for a legally-binding instrument banning the use of nuclear weapons for any purpose.

    This is the approach taken with respect to chemical weapons in 1925 when states agreed in the Geneva Protocols that their use "has been justly condemned by the general opinion of the civilized world" and that "this prohibition shall be universally accepted ... binding alike the conscience and the practice of nations.”

    The negotiation of such a ban on the use of nuclear weapons could take place in a dedicated diplomatic forum, possibly to be established by the UNGA in 2015, beginning with the convening of a Group of Governmental Experts.

    Even if the nuclear weapons states do not initially join in the negotiation or sign the instrument, the process itself and the final product would in the very least help to delegitimize nuclear weapons, promote a robust, serious debate on the nuclear use doctrines of the nuclear weapons possessor states, strengthen the legal and political barriers against their use, and help create the conditions for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

    Such an approach would, in my view, have a greater chance of winning broad, international support than a treaty banning the possession of nuclear weapons.

    For many years, India has, in fact, supported a convention on the prohibition of the use or threat to use nuclear weapons under any circumstances.[6]

    3. Steps to Accelerate Progress on Nuclear Disarmament.

    With the progress toward most of the key steps outlined in the 2010 disarmament action plan at a near standstill, it is also essential that the nuclear-armed states consider, and the nonnuclear-weapon states push for, actions that can jumpstart the process. Such steps might include:

    Accelerate Pace of New START Reductions: Even after New START, U.S. and Russian stockpiles will still far exceed any plausible deterrence requirements and the use of just a few nuclear weapons by any country would have catastrophic global consequences.

    As a 2012 report by the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board[7] suggests, with New START verification tools in place, further nuclear reductions need not wait for a formal follow-on treaty. President Obama, the report suggests, could announce he will accelerate the pace of reductions under New START to meet the treaty ceilings ahead of the 2018 implementation deadline.

    So long as Russia takes reciprocal steps, Obama could announce or simply act to reduce U.S. force levels below the treaty’s ceiling of 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 deployed strategic delivery vehicles. A reasonable target would be for both side to reduce their stockpiles to 1,000 deployed strategic warheads and 500 strategic delivery vehicles each.

    Such an initiative could induce Moscow to build down rather than build up to U.S. strategic force levels, which currently exceed Russia’s by more than 275 deployed strategic launchers, and could allow both sides to trim the high cost of planned strategic force modernization.

    Adjust Nuclear Readiness Posture of Some ICBMs: As a confidence-building measure, U.S. and Russian experts could commence technical discussions on verifiably reducing the alert status of an agreed portion of their respective stockpiles, beginning with a portion of their land-based intercontinental ballistic missile forces.

    In 2008, president-elect Obama said: “Keeping nuclear weapons ready to launch on a moment’s notice is a dangerous relic of the Cold War. Such policies increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation. I believe that we must address this dangerous situation—something that President Bush promised to do when he campaigned for president back in 2000, but did not do once in office. I will work with Russia to end such outdated Cold War policies in a mutual and verifiable way.”[8]

    Capping the Arsenals of the Other Nuclear-Armed States: Nuclear disarmament is a global enterprise that requires leadership from all states, including China, France, and the United Kingdom, as well as states outside the NPT, specifically India and Pakistan, which continue to expand their fissile stocks and weapons holdings.

    A realistic and pragmatic contribution to global nuclear disarmament would be for all other nuclear-armed states to exercise restraint by not increasing the overall size of their nuclear weapons stockpiles or increasing the size of their fissile material stockpiles, so long as the United States and Russia continue to make further progress in reducing all types of their nuclear weapons.

    At their eighth ministerial meeting in Hiroshima on April 12, the foreign ministers of the ten-nation Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative[9] called on “those not yet engaged in nuclear disarmament efforts to reduce arsenals with the objective of their total elimination.”

    Missile Defense Restraint and Cooperation: Despite the cancellation of phase IV of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, U.S. missile defense plans continue to complicate the nuclear arms reduction enterprise. The United States and Russia should resume and intensify U.S.-Russian talks to achieve verifiable measures to make missile defense capabilities more transparent, consider exchanges of data on technical parameters, and conduct regular joint exercises.

    They should also explore options for a joint center for the surveillance and monitoring of missile threats and space objects.

    Redouble Efforts In Support of the CTBT: Despite statements of support for ratification by President Barack Obama and senior administration officials, the path to approval by the Senate remains challenging due to a lack of political will and partisan divisions in Washington.

    Ratification is only possible if President Obama decides to direct his administration to organize a “New START-like” ratification campaign with efforts peaking in 2015. So far, he has not done so. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller has recently pledged to step up public outreach in support of the treaty. The Obama administration’s goal and our goal should be to:

    • Continue to underscore the value of the CTBT in heading off proliferation in the Middle East, South Asia, and Northeast Asia;
    • Bolster CTBT outreach efforts and demonstrate the broad public and opinion-leader support that exists for the CTBT; and
    • Encourage Senators to agree to “reconsider” the CTBT in light of new information about the treaty.

    Other states can take leadership on the CTBT, advance its entry into force, and bolster the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

    Specifically, ratification by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear weapons-related security concerns in the region. It would also help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a Middle East Zone free of Nuclear and other Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    Following a mid-March visit to Israel by CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear that he considers the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to be of no use in the Middle East, the sources said, but by contrast Israel considers the CTBT to be “very significant,” is “proud” to have signed it, and “has never had a problem with the CTBT,” according to a report in The Times of Israel.

    Iran was at one time an active participant in the CTBT negotiations and on September 24, 1996, Iran signed the treaty. Today, Iranian ratification and transmittal of data from international monitoring stations on its territory to the International Data Center in Vienna would help reduce concerns that its nuclear program could be used to develop and deploy deliverable nuclear warheads.

    The Bottom Line

    As President Obama said last year, “[S]o long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe. Complacency is not in the character of great nations.”

    In the coming months and years, creative, bold approaches will be needed to overcome old and new obstacles to the long-running effort to reduce nuclear dangers.

    [1] An April 1979 U.S. Arms Control Disarmament Agency report found that an exchange of U.S. and Soviet nuclear forces involving a total of approximately 18,000 strategic warheads would kill from 25-100 million people in both the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Under the scenario examined the population centers would not be targeted but would be within the range of effects of the weapons targeted against military and industrial targets. As a result, the 200 largest cities in each country would be destroyed and 80% of all cities with 25,000 people or more would be attacked by at least one nuclear weapon.

    [2] The Medical Implications of Nuclear War, Steering Committee for the Symposium on the Medical Implications of Nuclear War, Fred Solomon and Robert Q. Marston, Editors. U.S. Institutes of Medicine, 1986.

    [3] “The Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear War,” Ira Helfand, M.D., Arms Control Today, November 2013.

    [4] “Nuclear Arsenal Costs to Rise, CBO Says,” by Tom Collina, Arms Control Today, January/February 2014.

    [5] “The Case for a Ban Treaty,” from the Web site of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

    [6] Statement of Amb. D.B. Venkatesh Varma, Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament to the First Committee of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, October 18, 2013.

    [7]International Security Advisory Board Report on Options for Implementing Additional Nuclear Force Reductions,” Nov. 27, 2012.

    [8] “Arms Control Today 2008 Presidential Q&A: President-elect Barack Obama,” Arms Control Today, December, 2008.

    [9] The group includes: Australia; Canada; Chile; Germany; Mexico; the Netherlands; Nigeria; the Philippines; Poland; Turkey; and the United Arab Emirates.


    Since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons have driven global leaders to pursue concrete steps to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons use.

    Russian-German-U.S. Expert Commission to Release Report



    "Preparing for Deep Cuts: Options for Enhancing Euro-Atlantic and International Security"
    Monday, April 28, 2014
    10:00 am - 11:30 am

    The Brookings Institution
    1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.
    Click to RSVP

    Four years after the conclusion of the New START Treaty, the United States and Russia continue to maintain nuclear arsenals far exceeding the requirements for deterrence. Even before the current tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine and Crimea, differences over other security questions had stymied progress on further nuclear arms cuts. It nevertheless remains important that policymakers in Washington, Moscow and European capitals continue to explore ideas for promoting greater stability and predictability at lower levels of armaments. The 21-member U.S.-Russian-German Deep Cuts Commission has formulated proposals to achieve further arms control and nuclear risk reduction to enhance national, Euro-Atlantic and international security.

    On April 28, the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at Brookings will host the release of the Deep Cuts Commission's first report, "Preparing for Deep Cuts: Options for Enhancing Euro-Atlantic and International Security," and a discussion of its key findings and policy recommendations. Ulrich Kuehn and Götz Neuneck of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy; Eugene Miasnikov of the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies; and Greg Thielmann of the Arms Control Association will detail the possibilities for and challenges facing further nuclear reductions. Brookings Senior Fellow Steven Pifer, director of the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative, will moderate.

    Following their opening remarks, the panelists will take questions from the audience. Copies of the Commission report, will be available at the event.

    Speakers include:

    • Steven Pifer, Director, Arms Control and Nonproliferation Initiative, Brookings Institution
    • Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association
    • Götz Neuneck, Deputy Director, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, IFSH
    • Eugene Miasnikov, Director, Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies
    • Ulrich Kühn, Deep Cuts Project Coordinator, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, IFSH


    The trilateral 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 means of realistic analysis and specific recommendations, the Commission strives to translate the already existing political commitments to further nuclear reductions into concrete and feasible action. The commission received active support from the German Federal Foreign Office and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.


    The 21-member Deep Cuts Commission, made up of former government officials and arms control experts from the United States, Russia, and Germany, have taken on the challenge of finding ways to achieve further arms control and nuclear risk reduction steps that can enhance national, Euro-Atlantic, and international security.

    Country Resources:

    Transcript Available - The NPT and the Humanitarian Consequences of N-Weapons



    Options for Accelerating Progress on Nuclear Disarmament Through the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons Dialogue and the NPT Process

    Monday, March 31, 2014
    9:30-11:30 am

    Organized by ACA in cooperation with Physicians for Social Responsibility

    The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Choate Room
    1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

    For decades, the risks posed by nuclear weapons use have driven global leaders, particularly the policymakers in states possessing nuclear weapons, to pursue concrete steps to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons use.

    Recognizing this threat, the 2010 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference Final Document expresses "deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and [reaffirmed] the need for all States at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law."

    The lack of progress on key 2010 NPT disarmament goals has led many nonnuclear weapon states to organize a series of conferences focusing on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. A third conference will be held by Austria in Vienna later this year to evaluate how the humanitarian consequences dialogue can lead to concrete actions that reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles and risks and spur action before and after the 2015 NPT Review Conference.

    Speakers included:

    • Ambassador Desra Percaya, Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations;
    • Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, Senior Research Associate, Center for Nonproliferation Studies;
    • Dr. Ira Helfand, Co-president, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War;
    • George Perkovich, Director Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace;
    • Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association (moderator).


    Transcript by
    Federal News Service
    Washington, D.C.

    DARYL KIMBALL: Well, good morning, everyone.  I’m Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, and I want to welcome everyone to our forum this morning on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons dialogue and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty process.  And we’re pleased this morning to be teaming up on this event with Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization that I worked for once upon a time in the 1990s, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

    And through the years, with the help of organizations like PSR, many of us have come to understand that the direct effects of large-scale nuclear conflict could result in several hundred millions human casualties and the indirect effects would be even greater.  Nevertheless, the world’s nine nuclear-armed nations still threaten to use their massive nuclear arsenals in the name of deterrence, and many continue to build up their nuclear warfighting capabilities.

    Recognizing this threat, the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference final document expresses deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and the conference reaffirmed the need for all states at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law.  And as many of you know, the NPT states parties also agreed to certain actions to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons use, including some 22 overlapping nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament – nuclear disarmament commitments and many more nonproliferation commitments.

    Unfortunately, progress towards these goals has stalled – and we’ll hear more about that from some of our speakers today – for a range of reasons, not the least of which is the increasing friction between Washington and Moscow about whether and how to proceed beyond the New START Treaty with further nuclear reductions.  Now, we are about a month away from the beginning of the final preparatory committee meeting before the 2015 NPT review conference, which as we’ll hear from our speakers, promises to be more contentious, to say the least, than the 2010 review conference.

    Now, the concern about the severe consequences of nuclear weapons use has led many states, most of them non-nuclear weapon states, to organize and attend three international conferences focusing on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use, the first in Norway in 2013, the second in Mexico last month, and a third humanitarian consequences conference will be held in Austria, in Vienna, later this year, perhaps in December.

    Here at our forum today, we’re going to be discussing these and other issues.  We have, I think, a great lineup of expert speakers who are going to help us explore some key questions and issues, including the issues surrounding the upcoming NPT review conference, the origins and goals and next steps of the humanitarian consequences dialogue and whether the United States and other nuclear-armed states should participate, and how states can overcome the hurdles blocking progress on disarmament and accelerate progress to reduce nuclear risks before and after the 2015 NPT review conference.

    So to start us off, we have Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova.  She is senior research associate at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies here in Washington, and she’s going to discuss some of the dynamics of the NPT review process and the humanitarian consequences dialogue.  She served as an expert for the Kazakh delegation at the 2010 NPT review conference and attended the Mexico conference last month at Nayarit.  And she will also have an article in the upcoming issue of Arms Control Today, the journal of the Arms Control Association, on the 2015 NPT review conference situation.

    Next we’ll hear from Dr. Ira Helfand, a longtime friend and colleague of mine from my PSR days.  He will outline some of the latest findings of the direct and indirect effects of nuclear weapons use and his views on how states should respond to those findings.  Ira is the co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which of course won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for Peace.  He is an emergency room physician and an internal medicine physician by training, and he’s a very excellent speaker and motivator and advocate for the elimination of nuclear weapons.  He also spoke at the February conference in Mexico.

    And we’re very pleased and honored also to have with us from New York Ambassador Desra Percaya of the Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations.  He’s held a number of senior positions for his government since joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1986.  And in his current role, he’s been deeply involved in the disarmament debate at the U.N. and is among the leading voices in the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons dialogue.

    And last but not least, we’ll hear from George Perkovitch, who’s director of the nuclear policy program and director of studies here at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and he’s a longtime and keen observer and scholar and advocate for advancing the nonproliferation and disarmament objectives of the NPT.

    So after each of the speakers makes their remarks, about 12 minutes or so each, we’ll take your questions and comments and get into what I think will be a very lively and interesting discussion.

    So with that introduction, Gaukhar, if you could lead us off this morning.


    Thank you very much, Daryl and Arms Control Association and Carnegie Endowment, for organizing the event, and Physicians for Social Responsibility as well, and for having me here.  It’s indeed a privilege to share the panel with these speakers.

    Daryl has asked me to first of all cover the major issues ahead of the 2015 NPT review conference and then to go a bit deeper into the humanitarian dimension, its origins and its role.  And I’ll try to do that.  I will not cover all the main issues because it will take a lot of time, but we’ll be happy to return, you know, to them during the question and answers.

    I also must note that I hear there is an event next door at Brookings about Iran negotiations, so that led me to think that we need just to organize a Middle East event somewhere in a third location, and that will cover all the main issues for – (laughter) – for the 2015 review conference.

    And there are a number of reasons for that, all of them historical, but even – but going back to the treaty negotiation, you would know that it’s the uneven distribution of rights and obligations within the treaty and this promise of pursuing nuclear disarmament that’s contained in Article 6 of the NPT – these two are really the main reasons we have an NPT review process, though, because the non-nuclear states wanted that kind of leverage, to go back every five years.  So it’s not surprising, it’s not illogical that nuclear disarmament has been a perennial concern and has always been central to the review conferences.  And 2010 was not an exception; 2015 will not be either.

    And then in 1995, Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction also was added to this – to the ranks of key issues for the NPT, and since then it was really nuclear disarmament in the Middle East that have been key to outcomes and lack thereof of the NPT review conferences, and that’s, you know, the crash and burn of 2005 was very much due to these two issues.

    And then when we came back to the (reborn ?) process in 2010, again, some kind of agreement progress on the Middle East and on nuclear disarmament were critical to achieving a consensus outcome.  And so so far, the progress on implementing either set of decisions has been let’s say less than impressive, and that does spell trouble for 2015 because these issues are not going away, and they will be central at the next review conference.

    A little bit on the Middle East.  The decision, as you well know, the main step adopted by the review conference in 2010 was that there should be a conference, regional conference, with the participation of all states in the Middle East on the establishment of the zone free of weapons of mass destruction.  The conference was supposed to convene in 2012.  Obviously, we’ve missed the deadline, and so far there is no new date.  It led to quite a fallout at the previous prepcom in Geneva.

    But today the situation looks a lot less dire, and I’m actually cautiously optimistic, the reason being that it’s in the past six months, there have been several rounds of informal consultations organized by the facilitator, Ambassador Jaakko Laajava.  And for the first time we actually had Israel and a number of Arab states and on one occasion Iran as well sitting in one room and actually talking about business, about, you know, their concerns, about the agenda, possible outcomes, modalities of the conference.  So that’s clearly progress.  They still haven’t agreed on the agenda.  There is no date.  But I’m reasonably optimistic that they would like to actually end up with the Middle East conference before 2015.

    Now, does that mean smooth sailing? No.  I think the absence of the Middle East review conference will certainly be a tremendous hurdle.  I don’t think it will be possible to have consensus without the Middle East.  But even with the Middle East conference, I think what we’re heading is a much bigger kind of more profound confrontation potentially between nuclear and non-nuclear states and then some division within the non-nuclear weapon states about the appropriate progress of disarmament, the rate of implementation of the action plan and the approach to it – you know, there is a lot of emphasis on the step-by-step approach, and then there is also the conversation about the more comprehensive approach.  I think this has been – the past two-three years have been very important in the development of that kind of – of that kind of conversation.

    The action plan that was adopted in 2010 was very much the product of the initial idea to have an action plan of disarmament, which is why the disarmament section is formed – formulated in the most actionable terms.  So a lot of focus will be on the limitation of the action plan, the first 22 items.

    And so far, there is not much to show in terms of its implementation.  The actions that are doing the best have to do with bilateral arms reduction.  So New START Treaty is being implemented according to its provisions.  There – seems to be everything going all right.  But the discussion on the follow-on steps, as you’re well aware, is at a standstill, so there is – there has been no progress – no prospect of new U.S.-Russian treaty even before the developments in Ukraine.  And now with those developments, it really seems like the situation is quite hopeless.  United Kingdom is the only country that announced unilateral reductions since 2010.  China seems to be increasing its arsenal, not that we would know it from their official sources, and that, you know, it’s linked to the problem of transparency, and that’s also quite central.  And the United States was sort of expected to announce unilateral reductions, but again, that got linked to the U.S.-Russian progress, and the prospects are not good.

    What, however, is more important to non-nuclear weapon states, rather than the numerical reductions, is the very question of the role of nuclear weapons and nuclear security in national security, in doctrines in the – in the alliance, defense alliances.  And there the situation has remained largely the same.  Since 2010 there was some movement in the U.K., in the United States, but so far not to the point of the sole purpose doctrine, you know, when nuclear weapons are – the only purpose is to deter a nuclear attack and nothing else.  Russia – in Russia, nuclear weapons are very central to national security strategy.  France just released a white paper on defense a year ago where they reaffirmed the role of nuclear weapons as central, as the guarantee of national sovereignty and security.  So these are all very bad signs for non-nuclear weapon states for the long term, and these matters more than, you know, a little – you know, some material disposition or some reductions in deployed weapons.  Furthermore, all five are engaged in modernization, and so that is also a signal for non-nuclear weapon states about the continued and long-term projected reliance on nuclear weapons by the – by the nuclear weapon states.  And so this is – this will all will – this will all be discussed in 2015.  That will be very central.

    A lot of focus has been since 2010 on this new process, and there were two new process that developed.  One of the humanitarian initiative that we’re talk – we’ll talk about, and the other process is the so-called P-5, the consultations among the nuclear weapon states on a range of issues, including disarmament and other NPT-related developments.  The five nuclear weapon states are expected to report on this engagement, on the results of these engagements, on the progress in April or beginning May at the prepcom.  And again, the reporting is going to be very modest.  The expectations among non-nuclear weapons states have been high, but nuclear weapon states have played them down.  The – so far, what they worked on primarily was transparency in reporting, verification and a so-called glossary of nuclear terminology.  And initially, it was supposed to focus on arms control disarmament and got expanded to nuclear security, nonproliferation issues.  They – significantly, they did manage to adopt a standard reporting form to talk about their arsenal, about the doctrine, about arms control disarmament activities.  On the downside, however, it’s not going to be unified report.  There’s a standard.  And then each state is going to report what that state feels comfortable, so it’s going to – again, it’s not going to be sort of a one kind of approach.

    But more fundamentally, there seems to be, in this – in this kind of slow progress, there seems to be lack of urgency on nuclear disarmament on the part of nuclear weapon states.  A lot of it has to do with how they view the action plan.  They view it in a very long term, long-term prospect.  And you can see it in the language that is used and statements by nuclear weapon states.  You know, it’s a road map, you know, it’s a slow process.  And that contrasts very much to the non-nuclear weapon states’ expectations.  They may not have expected the action plan to be implemented by 2015.  That was certainly unrealistic.  But, you know, are we talking about a 50-year horizon or 60-year horizon?  And how does that go together with the modernization plans?

    And so as a reaction to that kind of incremental step-by-step, very slow long-term approach, the non-nuclear weapon states have been putting on their own initiatives in the past two or three years, and it’s been really interesting to see that development.  And humanitarian initiative is one of those very bright manifestations of non-nuclear weapon states taking the initiative back and reclaiming the ownership of nuclear disarmament issues and reclaiming their place in the debate that they also can influence, that they can influence the terms of the discourse.

    And where it began, as Daryl mentioned, is in 2010 review conference.  It expressed concern about catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any nuclear weapon use.  And then that was picked up also by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent.  There was a council of delegates movement meeting, and they adopted a resolution calling on states to make sure that nuclear weapons are never used again, regardless of the states’ views on their legality; another debate that’s been developing recently is, you know, whether nuclear weapons should be considered legal at all.

    And the point of the humanitarian initiative debate is to really shift the focus from what is a traditional NPT debate on nuclear weapons centered on state security, centered on strategy and stability, all those, you know, warm relatable human terms, and actually shift it to the question of what do these weapons do and what are the effects and whether that is compatible with who we are as humans, whether we as humanity should tolerate their continued existence and, if not, what should be done about that.  So really, the focus is not on the possessors, on good, bad, good guys, bad guys; the focus is on weapons and their effects.  And the people promoting the initiative have been very specific about emphasizing that point.

    So the message clearly has a lot of appeal.  The message is very inclusive.  It broadens the debate.  It goes beyond the – beyond the NPT room.  It goes beyond the diplomatic circles.  It involves the humanitarian organizations.  Civil society very much took up the – took up the issues.  So it’s really a much more dynamic conversation we’re used to in the NPT conference rooms.  And you can see the growing momentum in the way the joint statements on the humanitarian initiative have been gathering support.  It started with the 16-nation statement and the 2012 NPT prepcom, and the latest joint statement was delivered at the first committee last October, and it was already higher at 125 states that signed up.

    So – but along with the – with being a unifying initiative for a lot of non-nuclear weapon states, I think what happened is that also it exacerbated a lot of the tensions the pre-existed in the NPT and just were, you know, sort of hushed over and not in the foreground, and a lot of it has to do with a difference of views between nuclear – non-nuclear weapon states in and outside of nuclear alliances.  So you will see a much more cautious approach to the humanitarian initiative by states like Germany, like the Netherlands, like Japan, who traditionally have been nuclear disarmament advocates, but now they find themselves in a difficult position.  They cannot sign up to statements that say, you know, nuclear weapons should not be used under any circumstances because they are in the alliances that foresee potential use of nuclear weapons.  I think all that has been boiling up and developing and snowballing.

    And if nothing major happens by May 2015, I think that issue will be central to the review conference, this divergence of views about what constitutes an appropriate approach to nuclear disarmament, what is the appropriate debate, what is the appropriate rate of progress, and what are the next steps.  And this will be a very contentious debate.  And it might be very bad for the treaty in the short term.  And there have been a lot of discussion about how it is a distraction from the NPT, how it is a distraction from the action plan.  The reaction of nuclear weapon states have been very negative.  They boycotted collectively both conferences – boycotted collectively the first conference in Oslo and then also individually did not show up in Nayarit last month.  So yes, on the – on the one hand, in the short term, there is an exacerbation of tensions and disagreements.

    But I think it’s a very healthy debate for the NPT in the long term because we can – we can move incrementally on small steps, and they have been good steps.  They have been good positive developments, but very small.  And that – and that really shines a light on the fundamental question, you know.  Are we very – are we really serious about accomplishing disarmament, or do we have second thoughts?  And I’ve heard some second thoughts in Geneva last year about, or, maybe disarmament is destabilizing, maybe disarmament is not what we really want.  And this – these questions have to be asked. And I think states really have to be made to do some soul-searching about what kind of role for nuclear weapons they see in their national security concepts, whether or not they possess nuclear weapons.  And so I think – I think it may – it may be a very problematic 2015 review conference, but it’s like having therapy, you know; you have to face them, you have to face some of those hairy issues to actually come to some kind of – some kind of development.  And so I’ll try to finish this on a very optimistic tone.  Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.  Thank you for the great overview of a lot of different developments.

    Ira Helfand, if you could please take it away.

    IRA HELFAND:  Thanks.  Thank you for that very, very nice and powerful review of where we are.

    What I want to talk to you about a little bit right now is just indeed the humanitarian message that has so I think empowered and motivated this campaign.  Back in the 1980s there was a very, very widespread understanding of what was going to happen if there were a nuclear war.  People knew what these weapons could do, lots of people, millions of people.  We’ve lost that understanding, by and large.  Certainly, in the general population, there is very little understanding about what nuclear weapons can do or even how many there are in the world.  People of my generation have actively put it out of their minds and don’t think about it at all, and there have been generations that have come of age since the end of the Cold War that never lived through that stuff and never knew this material at all.

    And it has been our belief, Physicians for Social Responsibility, international physicians, that this information is critical to the debate at the simplest level because you need to have informed consent.  People need to know what they’re taking about when they make decisions.  And as a tactical or a policy level, perhaps, for the reasons that Gaukhar explained so nicely, that if you have this as the starting point, what happens if the weapons are used, that conditions the entire conversation in a very different way than if you start with, oh, where are we today, and what can we accomplish this week and so on.

    So let me just kind of go over some of the data that’s emerged.

    There are basically I think two ways of looking at this.  One is small-scale nuclear war, in quotes, and the other is large-scale nuclear war.  And what is really quite new I think is the discovery in the last eight years, starting in 2006, that even a very limited use of nuclear weapons would be something that cause global – a global catastrophe.  The papers that were published in 2006 by Tunun Robak (ph) looked at a scenario in which India and Pakistan go to war, 50 warheads on each side.  Warheads in that scenario were about the size of the Hiroshima bomb.  They were criticized at that time for a worst-case scenario.  We now know this is far from the worst-case scenario.  India and Pakistan each have closer to a hundred warheads; any of them are substantially larger than the Hiroshima bomb.

    But sticking with the original scenario, they found that in a countervalue war in which cities were targeted, perhaps as many as 20 million people would be killed in the first week directly from the explosions, from the firestorm, from the direct radiation, something really quite unprecedented.  I mean, in all of World War II, about 50 million people died, and that was over eight years.  This is 20 million people dying in the course of a single week.

    What they found that was much more disturbing even than that was the fact that this limited use of nuclear weapons, less – well less than half of a percent of the world’s nuclear arsenals, causes profound global climate disruption.  Temperatures worldwide drop about 1.3 degrees centigrade, and this effect lasts for about a decade.  Now, 1.3 degrees centigrade does not necessarily sound like a very large change of temperature, but to put it into context, in the last 130 years, the global warming, which so demands everyone’s attention, has amounted to seven-tenths of a degree.  So this would be a change twice that magnitude and occurring at about three days’ time.  As a result of that, there would also be a very significant disruption of global precipitation patterns.  When the atmosphere cools, less water evaporates from the oceans to fall back as rain and snow.

    And as a result of these combined effects, it was our concern there would be a very profound impact on food production.  In the last couple of years, we’ve been able to look at this and examine a number of key staple crops around the world.  We’ve looked at corn production here in the United States, the world’s largest producer of corn, and found that on average, it goes down about 12 percent over a full decade.  We looked at rice production in China, the world’s largest producer of rice, and found that on average, the Chinese rice crop goes down about 17 percent for a full decade.

    Based on those figures alone, we issued a report in April of 2012 suggesting that up to a billion people worldwide could die of famine.  Why?  Because at baseline today, there are 870 million people in the world who are malnourished.  They’re getting about 1,800 calories a day, which is just enough to maintain their body mass and able them to do a very limited amount of physical work, to gather food or to grow food.

    There are also about 300 million people in the world who are well-nourished today but who live in countries which are highly dependent on food imports.  And in the event of the kind of crop disruption that we are going to see in the aftermath of a limited nuclear war, international commerce in grain is going to be profoundly disrupted, and it is quite likely that these countries will not be able to import enough food to feed their people.

    Now, since then we’ve been able to do a little bit of additional work, and in particular, we’re able to look at wheat production in China.  The wheat crop in China is just a little bit smaller than the rice crop.  It is a major staple food, principal staple in northern China.  And it turns out that wheat is much more profoundly affected than rice production.  Rice goes down about 17 percent for a decade; wheat production in China goes down about 31 percent for a decade.  And in the first five years, it’s down 39 percent.

    And looking at those figures, we have had to revise our predictions of what we think the effect of this famine will be, because in the initial work, we assumed that China would not be directly affected, that China would be able to feed its people, and looking at this kind of ne data, it – that is in question.  China is better prepared than the developing world to withstand this kind of famine.  People are better nourished to begin with, and the grain reserves in China are substantially bigger in terms of days of consumption than the global grain reserves are.  Despite that, a 31 percent decline in wheat and a 17 percent decline in rice is beyond the capability of China to deal with, and it is highly likely that there’ll be widespread hunger in China as well – another 1.3 billion people at risk, if not all of these people facing actual starvation, certainly the country as a whole facing profound economic and social disruption for a full decade.  It’s the largest country in the world, the country with the world’s second-largest economy.

    We have never had an event like this in human history where anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of the human population dies over the course of a decade.  And this is a real possibility in the event of a war between India and Pakistan, which is itself a real possibility.  There has been fighting on the India-Pakistan border in Kashmir on a daily basis over the last year.  Both countries are rapidly expanding their nuclear arsenal, as I’m sure all of you know.  And this is not some kind of abstract worst-case fantasy that you can cook up in a think tank.  This is the reality that we’re facing.

    And it has enormous implications, obviously, for nuclear policy in South Asia, but it has huge implications as well for the nuclear policies of the larger nuclear powers.  Each U.S. Trident submarine can carry up to 96 warheads, each of which is 10 to 30 times more powerful than the bombs that we used in our scenario.  And that means that each Trident submarine is capable of causing this global nuclear famine many times over, and we have 14 of them – and that’s only one leg of the triad.  And the Russian nuclear forces contain the same – I use this in a clinical sense – insane level of overkill capacity.

    We – I think we also need to consider the possibility of even more large-scale war than just this limited scenario.  I was told in a meeting with the State Department last year that the United States does not worry about a nuclear war; it is only concerned with nuclear terrorism and the nuclear weapons of rogue states.  I countered at the time that I don’t – didn’t think we should be so sanguine that the U.S. and Russia could never find themselves in an adversary position.  And even if we didn’t use the weapons deliberately, there was always the possibility of an accidental nuclear war.  And as we all know, we have come perilously close on many occasions to nuclear hostility during the last 30 years because of various kinds of technical failures.  Obviously, the events in Ukraine underline the fact that the U.S. and Russia still could find themselves in a direct adversarial position and one in which nuclear weapons are used.

    The effects of a large-scale war dwarf even the horrors that I’ve just described from the India-Pakistan war.  A study that we released in 2002 show that if only 300 warheads in the Russian arsenal detonated over targets in American urban areas, something between 75 and a hundred million people would be dead in the first 30 minutes, and a U.S. counterattack on Russia would cause the same kind of destruction.  We chose the figure 300, by the way, to represent an 80 percent success rate of a hypothetical missile defense system, which, of course, doesn’t exist and would never be that effective, but even if you put something that effective in place, of the 1,500 warheads on the Russian side, 300 would get through.

    And this is what they would do.  In addition to killing this many people in half an hour, this attack would also completely destroy the economic infrastructure of this country.  All of the things that we rely on to maintain our population,  the public health system, the banking system, the public transportation, the communications networks, it would all be gone.  And we depend on these systems functioning at an intact mode to maintain our population.  You know, we’re not hunter-gatherers or subsistence farmers.  We go to the supermarket to buy our food.  And if the supermarkets don’t have food, then we starve.  And it is probable that in the aftermath of this war, the 200 million not killed outright in the first wave of the attack, the vast majority of those people would also die from starvation, from exposure when they couldn’t heat their homes, from epidemic disease and from radiation poisoning.

    But again, as, I mean, mind-boggling as this kind of direct toll is, it is not the worst part of the story because a war between the United States and Russia also causes profound climate disruption.  A hundred small warheads in South Asia put 5 million tons of debris into the upper atmosphere and dropped global temperatures 1.3 degrees centigrade.

    A war between the United States and Russia, using only those weapons which are still allowed when New START is fully implemented in 2017 – that war puts 150 million tons of debris into the atmosphere, and it drops global temperatures 8 degrees centigrade on average.  In the interior regions of Eurasia and North America, the temperature decline is 25 to 30 degrees centigrade.  We have not seen temperatures on this planet that cold in 18,000 years, since the coldest moment of the last ice age.  In the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere, there would be three years without a single day free of frost.  Temperature goes below freezing at some point every single day for three years.  And that means there is no agriculture, there is no food production.  Most of the ecosystems in this zone collapse.  The vast majority of the human race starves to death, and it is possible that we become extinct as a species.

    Now, if that is the starting point of the conversation, the next thing that flows from that is these weapons cannot exist.  We know that there is a real and finite possibility every day that they will be used.  And if that is true, then it is simply a matter of time until they actually are used, and that means they cannot be allowed to exist.  And that is a very different starting point than where we are in the current conversation about disarmament.  And that’s why this argument, I think, has become so powerful.

    The plans of the nuclear weapon states to maintain their nuclear arsenals indefinitely – and those do appear to be their plans.  That’s certainly how their plans are perceived by the non-nuclear-weapons states.  That approach is simply unacceptable, and we need a fundamentally different new approach.

    We are accused often of being unrealistic when we talk about the possibility of, say, medium-term nuclear disarmament.  I would argue that it is those who defend the status quo, who say that we can continue to maintain these arsenals for decades into the future, who are profoundly unrealistic.  The chance that this is going to happen, that we’re going to maintain these arsenals indefinitely and that they’re not going to be used, is very low, and it’s certainly not a risk which any rational person would entertain.

    And so we need to have a very different approach to all of this.  And they say that politics is the art of the possible.  Statesmanship, I think, is clearly the art of the necessary.  And it is time that we ask our leaders to act like statesmen, not like politicians.  It’s time that we demand that behavior of them.  And I think that’s what this whole movement is about at this point.  It is calling the nuclear weapons states, saying that we will not accept their behavior anymore, and demanding that they change.

    Let me stop there.  Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Ira.

    Ambassador Percaya, the perspective from Indonesia, please.  Thanks for being here.

    AMBASSADOR DESRA PERCAYA:  Thank you very much, Daryl, for Arms Control Association for inviting me to be here in D.C.  It gives me the opportunity to see the sun because New York is always gloomy now.

    If you look at the discussion on the issue, there have been at least three encouraging developments.  First, there has been much renewed focus on the issue by civil society, academics, think tanks, as well as government.  Secondly, if you look at the discussion, if you look at the conference, it has become more intensified and regularized.  And thirdly, there are countries joining the statement in the NPT PrepComs as well as General Assembly session.

    However, there is still unclarity on what exactly does the humanitarian approach offer and where it leads to.  So let me begin by stating what I understand that the humanitarian approach is not.

    It is not about discounting the security value of nuclear weapons or specifically disputing the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence or laying out particular actions for complete nuclear disarmament.  For Indonesia, for my country, we support the discourse on humanitarian consequences because it is useful in spreading a rights-based approach and deepening the humanistic development as well as environmental argument.  It helps to delegitimize nuclear weapons and their whole pretext

    For many countries, including Indonesia, the discussion on the utility of nuclear weapons ended by itself with the entry into force of the NPT.  All members or parties of the NPT have legally and morally committed themselves to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, period.  Since we are all agreed on the elimination of nuclear weapons, the only questions remaining are when and how.  Unfortunately, the so-called 13 practical steps as well as the 2010 review conference’s action plan do not set a deadline for their elimination.  It is also unfortunate that the U.N. disarmament machinery remains mired in a political deadlock, with no meaningful progress at the CD in negotiating a comprehensive nuclear convention, along with other needed disarmament instruments

    This is where the humanitarian approach comes into play.  The humanitarian consequences debate and related activism by the civil society, academia and youth can play a powerful role in increasing awareness as well as political will on nuclear disarmament.  That is why I believe that at the upcoming Vienna conference on the humanitarian consequences, all states and relevant stakeholders should participate

    The examination of the debate on humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons has at least, I could identify, revealed two fundamentally important truths.  First, because nuclear weapons affect all states, they have a direct stake – they have a direct stake in ensuring their elimination.  All states have a legitimate role to play, and it is their responsibility to act.  It is not something that can be left to the nuclear weapons states to be done by them on their own.  This is the first truth.

    Second, the world cannot wait endlessly for nuclear weapons’ elimination.  The risks are obvious.  For a nuclear detonation, deliberate or accidental, its effects will be horrendous on people and all living things – we will all suffer.  We must act now.

    It is these truths which have energized the non-nuclear-weapons states and civil society and unsettled P-5.  It is time the consequences of these truths reshape and energize global efforts on nuclear disarmament and the multilateral security landscape gets revamped.

    What do these truths mean for the NPT specifically?  I believe that they mean taking a fresh look at the treaty, its review process and seeing it that the treaty is universalized.  Take Article VI, for example.  We are used to thinking about it as the article dealing with nuclear weapons states.  We invoke it to press the P-5 into moving on disarmament.  We measure their progress against its exasperatingly vague provisions, and we complain when we feel they are failing to comply it.

    But Article VI is not just about nuclear weapons states.  It applies to each of the parties to the treaty, and it requires us all to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures related to cessation of nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.

    So in light of the humanitarian approach, what we want so purely as a neglected obligation of the P-5, we now see as a license and a requirement for action by non-nuclear-weapons states.  And we have to pursue effective measures to discharge our obligations under this article.

    We cannot stop by objections from the nuclear weapons states to the humanitarian consequences approach, who see it as a distraction that is diverting attention from the NPT.  This initiative is derived from the NPT’s own preamble, which makes reference to, I quote, the devastation that will be visited upon all mankind by a nuclear war and the consequent need – and then – and the consequent need to make every effort to avert the danger of such a war and to make measures to safeguard the security of peoples.

    Therefore, the nuclear weapons states should be involved in the humanitarian approach, including, I believe, by participating at the next meeting in Vienna on the basis of their treaty obligations.  Bearing in mind as well that the Vienna conference will be held just before the 2015 NPT review conference, I hope that during the Vienna conference, member states or parties can also discuss practical ways to further integrate the humanitarian initiative into the NPT framework in order to further transform all the compelling science behind this initiative into norms and actions.

    This brings me to the NPT review process.  What does the humanitarian approach mean for that?  I think the main implication is one of accountability.  The NPT must deliver specific measures on nuclear disarmament, and deliver them within a clearly defined short time frame.

    For too long, the non-nuclear-weapons states have been on an endless treadmill of hope and disappointment.  After the hope inspired by the 2010 action plan, we are already hearing the telltale sounds of excuses being prepared and mutterings that the action plan was never meant to be for five years only.  Of course, we do not expect nuclear weapons to be eliminated overnight, but we cannot also continue to tolerate endless procrastination, poorly defined goals and timelines that are fake to the point of absurdity.

    I believe that driven the – I believe that driven by the humanitarian imperative, we must push for greater accountability in the NPT review process and the U.N. disarmament machinery.  These frameworks are essential, but they must deliver.  They will deliver when we will fulfill our obligations in them, work together better and bring to bear the required political capital.  While Gaukhar is optimistic, I am cautiously optimistic.

    Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador.  We’ve heard the word “insane” and “absurd” used.  George, can you provide us with some insights –

    GEORGE PERKOVICH:  Was that my introduction, insane?  I’m sorry – (inaudible) – (laughter) –

    MR. KIMBALL:  That was your introduction.  (Laughter.)

    MR. PERKOVICH:  I’ve been called worse.

    MR. KIMBALL:  It’s now for you to help us deal with the absurdities and the insanities.  So thank you.

    MR. PERKOVICH:  Thanks, Daryl.  I like that introduction.

    MR. KIMBALL:  You’re up to the task.

    MR. PERKOVICH:  The – I mean, I – let me start by saying I think, you know, one of Ira’s points was profoundly important, not to say that the others weren’t, but – and that is the question about, you know, how probable it could be that if we go on the present course and nuclear weapons are retained that over the next hundred years, they won’t be used.  I mean, I think that’s ultimately an argument that a lot of defenders of nuclear weapons in the status quo can’t engage.  They’re very happy to say that nuclear weapons have prevented major war or the reason why there hasn’t been major power war since 1945, but it’s much harder to look farther ahead.  So I think that’s a very important point.

    And also, I would say by way of preface, I come at this issue as someone who has worked a lot on and written a lot on nuclear disarmament, and so often am in discussions and debates around the world where I’m the abolition advocate.  So that’s by way of prefacing what are doubts that I will try to explain about not necessarily the discourse on humanitarian consequences, but then the segue from that to promoting a convention to ban nuclear weapons.

    And I think that’s the distinction I want to make, so – because in part, I think the – some of the arguments made about humanitarian consequences are too categorical in many ways, and so they invite factual dispute, which I think ought to be had.  I think that debate ought to be had, but you can talk with military planners; you can talk with weapon designers, and they can give you scenarios which they in many ways and political leaders in many ways would say are the most likely scenarios for the use of nuclear weapons, which would be a warning shot, perhaps at sea, destroying a naval ship, but it’s a military target at sea, one use with a low-yield weapon, and that argument has to be engaged.  And it’s difficult to – you know, to necessarily accept as a fact, and probably in a court of law it wouldn’t be accepted as a fact that that would ipso facto create a humanitarian disaster.

    Now, there are counterarguments to that as to, OK, how does the escalation end; so you did that; how do they retaliate, and how do you not get escalation?  I think that’s the debate that ought to be had.  But sometimes just the categorical assertions that any use would be a humanitarian disaster, I think invites dismissal and is problematic.  I can go into other concerns, but they all branch off that basic problem.

    That said, I think the nuclear weapons states make a huge mistake by not engaging in this debate, by boycotting as they did the meeting in Norway, as they did in Mexico, and as they may do in the future.  I think it’s a terrible mistake for several reasons.  One, these issues are inherently important.  They’re profoundly important for reasons that Ira and others posit.  So it’s kind of – it’s irresponsible and unseemly that any state, but especially states who happen to be permanent members of the Security Council, would not engage in a discussion and a debate on issues of such profound importance.  So it – to me, it’s indefensible.

    I think they’re also mistaken for practical reasons, which is that their main – well, they – there are different views.  For example, in France, you get a different view than in the United Kingdom, and in Russia you get a different view than China, and the U.S. is somewhere in the middle.  But if you can kind of group them, a legitimate concern they have is to focus on nonproliferation, and they’re worried about proliferation and how we deal with Iran and how you strengthen the capacity to detect undeclared nuclear facilities and all of that and are saying, well, this discussion will distract from that.  That’s a valid concern, but it’s – but their argument about it doesn’t kind of prove itself.  And so I think they need to be there to have that engagement, and in fact, if that’s their biggest worry, then the way to deal with it, I would argue, is to take on this issue and to address it and to show up and have the discussions.

    In my sense, the debate is super important to have about humanitarian consequences, but it’s really important also to have not just in the U.S.  Try to have this debate in Russia.  Good luck right now, but you know, but that’s – but it’s not a trivial proposition to have this discussion to have this discussion in Israel right now, to have this discussion in France.  To have this discussion in Estonia right now would be interesting after what’s happened in Ukraine, to have this discussion in Poland, to have this discussion in South Korea when there’s firing over the last 24 hours and North Korea may be prepared to conduct a nuclear test.

    Try to have this discussion in Pyongyang about humanitarian consequences of anything.  And why I say that is not to be flip, but that’s precisely what Japan and South Korea are thinking about, right, just like the eastern states in NATO are thinking about what just happened in Crimea, and it affects the way they think about nuclear weapons.  The same is true of humanitarian issues in North Korea and what their neighbors fear.

    And by the way, that’s probably the biggest driver of U.S. nuclear policy right now.  If you go talk to people who make policy, including in the White House, what’s driving them is how to reassure allies in the eastern part of NATO and in South Korea and Japan, how to reassure them that in this environment, we’ve got their back and that they’ll be defended.  Now, I would argue and welcome the chance to argue that nuclear weapons aren’t relevant to that, but that’s not how it’s perceived there, and that’s a great pressure on U.S. policy.

    And so I think this debate needs to be had in all of those places if it’s to be responsible and if it’s to have a chance to actually move the ball.

    What I’m alluding to in a way is what we need to ask to the states that possess nuclear weapons is how do you deal with the humanitarian issues?  Do you recognize humanitarian law, first of all?  Secondly, do you – do you recognize that it may apply to the use of nuclear weapons?  If not, why not?  If so, OK, then how do you think about that, and how does your arsenal and your doctrine and your policy reflect a respect for humanitarian law which you otherwise profess?  I think that’s a big part of what should be the discussion.

    But I think similarly, coming back to advocates of eliminating nuclear weapons by a convention, you have to say, how do you deal with aggression?  How do you deal with threats of major aggression?  Because it seems to me on the one hand, as long as nuclear weapons exist, then there is a risk of humanitarian disaster, but as long as there – threats of massive aggression exist, then there’ll be nuclear weapons.  And so how do you reconcile those or bring those two issues together?

    And we’ve just had last week what to me was a chilling reminder of this tension, and that was the U.N. General Assembly vote on the Russian action in Crimea.  General proposition was it violated international law; it was an act of aggression.  Well, look at the vote.  The abstainers were – among the abstainers, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, South Africa, leaders of the New Agenda Coalition who’ve been urging a ban on nuclear weapons.  So here’s an opportunity just to have a vote in the General Assembly to describe something as aggression, which by all indications it was; they pass.  They abstained.  Others didn’t show up.  How is that to give confidence then to the rest of the world, you know, if you’re facing threats of aggression, we’ve got your back; you don’t need nuclear weapons?  Can’t even get a vote on this issue.

    And by the way, the Budapest agreement, which was –

    MR.    :  1994.

    MR. PERKOVICH:  – the document in 1994 that Ukraine signed with the U.S., the United Kingdom and Russia as Ukraine handed over its nuclear weapons to Russia.  So this was a disarmament and nonproliferation agreement.  In that agreement, the states, especially Russia, promised Ukraine that there would be no threat to its territorial integrity.  So that starkly violated, very pertinent to the issue of nuclear weapons, and then you get this vote, and some of the biggest advocates of the convention abstained.  To me, that should be a big – a big debate as well.

    Final points, and then just to summarize, it seems to me that while it’s absolutely vital and important to promote a debate on humanitarian consequences, and it’s totally indefensible for the states with nuclear weapons to avoid that debate, not show up and so on, I would also say that focusing then on a convention to ban nuclear weapons actually undermines the argument.  It’s counterproductive, in part because it will provoke resistance and dismissal because some of the factual issues, and it will distract from this effort that otherwise can put these guys on defensive and get at questions not only of nuclear weapons, but of aggression, which seems to me are the underlying issues that have to be addressed.

    Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right, thank you very much, George, for those reminders and questions that I think everyone needs to think about who is involved in this discussion.

    I think we had four very rich presentations, and some clear areas of agreement, some questions that I think provoke thinking on the panel and in the audience.  I want to invite our distinguished audience – and we have some very smart people in the crowd who I can see – to offer your comments, questions about what you’ve heard, and if you have a thought, question, raise your hand.  We will bring to you a microphone.  If you could just identify yourself, we’ll start with the gentleman in the back where the microphone is.  Thank you.

    Q:  Thanks, Daryl.  Appreciate it.  I have a question for the first two speakers, and thank you all for the presentations.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Just identify –

    Q:  Sorry, Justin Anderson, SAIC.  I’m struck, actually, by a bit of divergence, unintentional, in your presentations.  And here’s the divergence.  Doctor, you speak of challenges within the NPT, just a dissention between the nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear-weapons states.  And then Dr. Helfand, you began your presentation with a discussion of the papers that discuss a possible nuclear conflict in South Asia and the consequences of that.  Well, of course, India and Pakistan aren’t NPT members.  So my question – and it’s really for the panel – is, is the NPT an – you know, while perhaps flawed and imperfect, nonetheless the right way to move forward?  And if you’re really concerned about nuclear use by South Asian states or by North Korea, perhaps all the NPT member states should set aside some of their disagreements for now and press those outside the NPT to join.  Or is there some sort of alternate means, alternate to the NPT, perhaps along the humanitarian conference track that’s been going on right now, that ultimately is a better means to move forward?  And it’s an open question because I was struck by the fact – all this discussion about possible nuclear war in South Asia, and yet those are two non-NPT states.  It’s totally outside the NPT on this.  Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Right.  OK.  All right, who would like to respond to that?  Gaukhar and then Ira.

    MS. MUKHATZHANOVA:  Thank you for the question.  I keep getting promoted today.  I’m not a doctor.  (Laughter.)

    You pose a very important question, and that does go back to the point that this is not about the possessor; it’s just about the weapons, which means we can talk about the five, we can talk about India and Pakistan, we can talk about Israel, we can talk about North Korea.  And the study that Dr. Helfand presented is only one of the discussions – the presentations that took place in Oslo and in Nayarit.  There were conversations about the weapon – you know, a one nuclear weapon detonation in Manhattan, and there are different studies being done about where nuclear weapons can be used and what it would do to that area.  What’s important about this study in particular is about – is that it really brings home the message that it doesn’t matter really where they’re going to be used; we’re all going to be affected.  And countries that gave up on the very idea of nuclear weapons a decade, two, three ago will be affected the most, countries in Africa, countries in Southeast Asia.  So yeah, it’s – I think it’s a much more inclusive debate.

    About whether we should set aside differences in the NPT, certainly.  And actually, the humanitarian initiative promoters never meant to make it an alternative to the NPT.  If you look at who the major promoters are, they’re also very active NPT states parties.  Ireland takes a tremendous offense at this – at the suggestion that they are undermining the NPT because remember the Irish resolutions and the role that Ireland played in promoting the negotiation of the NPT.  They’re very much committed to the treaty, but they’re also very frustrated with the way it’s being implemented, or not implemented.  So they view this debate as feeding into the NPT, as re-energizing the debate within the NPT, but not leading away from it.  And I think that’s the very profound disagreement right now between those who are suspicious about the true motivations of the initiative.  There are arguments that, oh, it’s meant to divert attention from nonproliferation and from all other issues, but this is not the view of those – of the very promoters of the initiative, the original 16 countries and some of the others.

    Should we work on getting India and Pakistan into the NPT?  Yes, sure.  Great, it would – it’s a fantastic idea, and the – (inaudible) – of the NPT is as a mantra we’ve been repeating, and it’s gotten so hollow it means nothing anymore.  We repeat it every NPT meeting, and then we go and conclude a trade agreement with India and, you know, export nuclear materials and technologies.  U.S. started, but then everybody else picks up because what you’re going to do?

    So do I want them in the NPT?  Yes, but if they – if there is no chance – if we ourselves destroyed the chance of getting them into the NPT, maybe we should stop clinging to that idea of getting them in and think of other ways we can engage them.  And unlike the five nuclear weapons states, Israel – India and Pakistan did show up in Oslo and did show up in Nayarit.  Pakistan made a statement about safety and security of its arsenal.  There were a lot of crickets in the room after that.  But at least, you know, they kind of faced the people and told them what they think about their nuclear weapons, which is not the case with nuclear weapons states.

    And I want to respond to the point about military planners can present you scenarios with possible legitimate or limited weapons use.  Fine, they should go to Vienna and do that.  Just come to Vienna and say, we understand your concerns; this is how we plan to use nuclear weapons if we ever need to.  You know, if you have those policies, you have those weapons, well, stand up and explain what you mean by that.  And that’s all.  Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Ira.

    MR. HELFAND:  Yeah, a couple of points.  I think with regards to the role of this – in the NPT or outside the NPT – this notion – and just to support what Gaukhar just said – this notion that this process in some way is undermining the NPT, I think, is – it’s the kind of thing that you can say – you can put words together and make a sentence any time you want to, but the people who have put forward from the nuclear weapon state side really have not been able to make any kind of a case for how this might be so.

    In fact, this, I think, is enormously important to the preservation of the NPT.  The NPT is in great – that whole regime is in great danger, but it’s not because people are talking about a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.  It’s because there is a widespread perception that the nuclear weapons states are not living up to their obligations.  And in fact, that’s true.  They’re not.

    So the question becomes, how do we move the process forward?  Well, people could just abandon the NPT, or they could try to engage in some kind of productive international diplomatic initiative to achieve the stated goals of the NPT, which is the elimination of nuclear weapons.  And I think the people who have been advocating for this convention to ban nuclear weapons understand this is not the end stage; this is a way of trying to move the ball down the field, of trying to put some pressure on those nuclear weapon states which are using the NPT process, frankly, to preserve their nuclear monopoly.  And there’s just no patience left in this idea of acceptable nuclear apartheid.

    And the nuclear weapons states have to understand that.  They’re not going to get away with this.  So they can, you know, insist on squashing – trying to squash efforts of this sort.  And I think the result will be, ultimately, that the NPT process suffers a terrible blow, or they can welcome this as a way of meeting the requirements of article VI and as a way of demonstrating that, in fact, they are committed to the elimination of nuclear weapons.  I think they’ve shot themselves enormously in the foot with the statement they released before Oslo and by the failure to attend Nayarit and would agree with everyone who has spoken about this that they need to show up in Vienna and participate in this conversation.

    Let me stop there.  Actually, can I also just say one thing about the idea of legitimate use of nuclear weapons?  I think the nuclear weapon states have to be clear.  They have to – they have to – they can’t have it both ways.  They can’t say, it’s OK for us to have nuclear weapons because we’re never going to use them on the one hand, and on the other hand say, our policy is based on deterrence.  For deterrence to work, we have to convince people that we will use them.  You just can’t do this.  It’s one or the other.  You can’t say we’re never going to use nuclear weapons and then talk about the circumstances in which we can use them legitimately and safely and without it being a humanitarian disaster.

    MR. PERKOVICH:  You can.

    MR. HELFAND:  Well, you can talk like that, but you can’t convince anybody because it doesn’t make any sense.

    MR. PERKOVICH:  Well, it depends.

    MR. HELFAND:  Either you’re going to say that you’re never going to use them, or you’re going to say that you are going to use them.  And if you’re going to say that you are going to use them, then if it’s OK for the U.S. to use them and to have them so we can use them, then how can you tell the rest of the world that we can’t?  And the fact of the matter is, we have lost that argument.  The rest of the world rejects that, and rightly so, because the argument is profoundly flawed.

    MR. KIMBALL:  So why don’t you come back to the question that was asked?

    MR. PERKOVICH:  Conference on disarmament is a place, if it worked, where India, Pakistan and Israel participate and reside, so you could address this issue through the conference on disarmament.

    MR. KIMBALL:  And if I could just press you a little bit further – I mean, you spent a great deal of time looking at the India-Pakistan nuclear conundrum and the issue of inside-outside the NPT has been around for a long time.  I mean, what – given the deadlock at the CD, I mean, what other steps might India and Pakistan themselves take to contribute more to disarmament?  What might non-nuclear weapon states be urging India and Pakistan to do to contribute more to disarmament?

    You know, I find India’s support – speaking personally – for the timebound framework for nuclear disarmament to be elegant, but a little big disingenuous, since they know that that time might take quite a while.  (Laughs.)  So they get some credit for that rhetoric, but their actions say something else.

    So, I mean, just, your thoughts, George, beyond what might happen with the FMCT and the CD?

    MR. PERKOVICH:  Yeah, I mean – the – I think it’s the case that you can’t get anywhere with India and Pakistan if the focus is on nuclear weapons, because the drivers are something entirely different.  So the driver in Pakistan is India’s conventional capability.  The driver in India is Pakistan’s use of terrorism.  Nothing to do with nuclear weapons.

    Now, nuclear weapons get involved because if Pakistan conducts a big terrorist – or if actors associated with Pakistan conduct another big terrorist attack in India, India may use its conventional military force against Pakistan, at which point Pakistan says it’ll use nuclear weapons.

    But coming in like we do, talking about nuclear weapons, they – on either side, they both go, what, are you deaf and blind?  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s – you know, you’re missing what the real drivers are here.  And so you have to address those issues in order to even – to get them to stop laughing, basically.  And unless and until we do that, they know all the lines, so the Indians have the line that they have – we want a timebound framework, which suits them well – we go, OK, that put them in their place.

    And the Pakistanis have their line of, they want a fissile material cutoff that actually gets at existing stockpiles and is a disarmament treaty, which, when you talk to them about it, it’s an absurd – I mean, it’s an absurd position which the military will laugh about if you actually get them in private and say, you know, so this is your position, but they’re very comfortable having their diplomat say it.  So I – to me, that discourse is pretty much irrelevant.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Yes, sir, you had a question.

    MR. PERCAYA:  (Inaudible.)

    MR. KIMBALL:  I’m sorry – Desra, and then, while the microphone comes up.  So go ahead.

    MR. PERCAYA:  Thank you, Daryl.  Just very short, in response to your question, I think there is a possibility to bring these convention on nuclear weapons as well as FMCT to the general assembly.  That is also one possibility.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah.

    Q:  Thank you very much.  I’m Mohammed Khaled (sp); I’m a physician.  My job is prevention.  And pardon my sarcasm.  I think all four of you have missed the boat.  Number one, there were six very serious incidents between Soviet Union and United States, when nuclear went from one to six.  Brzezinski and Carter was awakened once; Boris Yeltsin’s finger was inch away to press the button.  So number one.

    Number two, nuclear accidents – probability of a single nuclear bomb detonation has gone up since Cold War.  Maybe the governments have better communication and command and control, and today’s one bomb, which was on Titan II missile in Arkansas in 1980 has power of nine megaton, which means it has more lethal power, if it would have went off, combined all the bombs used in World War II, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Third –

    MR. KIMBALL:  If you could come to your question, because, I mean –

    Q:  Yes, yes.  My question is, NPT – NPT is like putting dust into the eyes of the people.  Number one, China is testing hypersonic.  United States military industry is asking $1 trillion, Russia has put in Lithuania and Kazakhstan.  So why you all four are not looking at those issues from this angle rather than political and, like, governmental type of – that’s what my question is.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Well, one thing I would just say – and I don’t mean to be flip – is that it’s difficult to organize a panel that talks about the dozens of different ramifications of the questions that we’re raising here.  So many of us on the panel and in the audience are well aware of those – that history and some of those challenges.  So we’re taking one side of this issue and I think each of us are struggling with how we can move forward to deal with the challenges that are out there, which the additional challenges you’re mention.

    But let me just ask Gaukhar – you had, I think, an intervention with the previous question –

    MS. MUKHATZHANOVA:  And this one, too.

    MR. KIMBALL:  And this one, too.

    MS. MUKHATZHANOVA:  Yeah, first of all, thank you for reminding me about the risk of nuclear weapons use, and this was – this is not missing from the humanitarian discourse.  It was actually a very powerful presentation narrated by Patricia Lewis – Dr. Patricia Lewis from the Chatham House, and with Heather Williams, they presented their study on the near uses of nuclear weapons and about how the risk of use remains as long as, you know, the weapons exist.  So it’s not missing, and you’re quite right to point it out.  And I think it will –it will probably develop further in the discourse about that in the humanitarian initiative.

    Why we’re focusing on the political debate?  Because we’re talking about the NPT today, and fundamentally, NPT review conferences are political conferences, and that’s been part of the problem, you’re right, because we started talking in the stratosphere without discussing the actual risks and the actual effects of potential nuclear weapons use.  And that’s part of the humanitarian initiative point, to try to change that.  So I hope that will have an effect in 2015 and beyond.

    But I wanted to come back on the role – what can nonnuclear weapon states do to call on India and Pakistan to sort of prod them?  And I think you’re very right to point it out.  And again, because of the nature of the arrangement – the nonnuclear weapon states giving the promise in the NPT, and the five recognized nuclear weapon states giving a promise to disarm the NPT, the focus entirely has been on the five, because they’ve actually committed to the treaty, including article VI, to pursue disarmament commitments.  India and Pakistan have not done that.

    So just as we say that Israel is not bound by the decisions of the 2010 review conference and has a right not to show up at the Middle East conference in Helsinki, we can also say India and Pakistan have a right to pursue whatever policies, because they never promised anything.  And that’s part of the problem of our relationship with India and Pakistan, because they never promised anything, we’re not making them promise anything.

    And it’s not just a problem of nuclear weapon states, it’s a problem of non-nuclear weapon states, particularly the non-aligned movement states, because non-aligned has been the banner carrier for disarmament since the beginning of the nuclear age.  India was the biggest carrier of that banner until they actually acquired their own arsenal, and I think it’s the non-aligned movement’s responsibility also to turn to their own members and question their motivations and question their statements and question the actual sincerity of their support for disarmament, for the time-bound convention.  And again, humanitarian initiative – bringing those countries in – I think it will help a lot of non-aligned countries to also look beyond the NPT and ask their fellow members about their policies and what they mean to do with their nuclear weapons.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  I think we have a question in the back, please – Arjun Makhijani –

    Q:  Thank you.  I’m Arjun Makhijani.  (Off-mic exchange.)

    MR. KIMBALL:  I think you just turned out our lights, Arjun.  Please enlighten us; don’t – (laughter) –

    Q:  I didn’t mean to put everybody in the dark.  Sorry about that.

    MR. KIMBALL:  There we go.  Thank you.

    Q:  Arjun Makhijani, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.  You know, over the years, there have been many proposals by states and by NGOs to reduce the risk of the kind of humanitarian catastrophe that Ira talked about.  The two most prominent ones, in my view, have been, you know, ideas about low first use, and ideas about reducing the alert level of – especially of U.S. and Russian weapons.

    My friend, Admiral Ramdas , whom many of you know – retired chief of the Indian Navy – proposed to me informally some time back – and I don’t think this has been introduced as an idea to reduce risk – of combining these two and proposing some kind of a nuclear ceasefire.  I like the nuclear ceasefire concept, because you reduce the alert, and essentially, you promise not to use first, but you’re packaging the thing in a different – I think in a different strategic – it’s not just packaging – presenting a different strategic concept.  I’d like Ms. Mukhatzhanova’s comment on that for the – or comment from anybody in the panel, but especially for its relevance for the 2015 NPT review.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah.  Let me invite each of you to respond to Arjun’s question – suggestion, and let me just also ask you to take one other thing into consideration, which is that, you know, we heard from Ira Helfand, in his presentation, the suggestion that one of the implications of the findings on humanitarian consequences – nuclear weapons use is that we need to move towards the banning of nuclear weapons.

    That was a suggestion made by many of the nongovernmental organizations in Nayarit in Mexico, by the Mexican diplomat who provided his personal summary of the conference – he talked about pursuing a diplomatic process and the next stages, but it appears to me that there is not a lot of clarity about what to ban, how this might be packaged – Arjun is putting together yet another variation.

    So, let’s keep in mind that there are several theoretical possibilities for how – if there is a diplomatic process emerging from the humanitarian consequences initiative – several different directions this could go in, and they are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

    There could be a process leading to the negotiation of a convention on the elimination of nuclear weapons. There could be a process leading to a ban on the possession and use, but not necessarily a whole treaty that tries to effect the elimination.  There could also be a legally binding instrument that bans the use of nuclear weapons, as we saw the international community doing in the 1920s in response to chemical weapons use during World War I.

    So there are these different variations, and Arjun, you’ve presented yet another variation that might involve practical steps with respect to no-first-use pledges and reducing the alert status of the deployed arsenals.  So if I could ask you all to respond with these variations in mind and to provide your thoughts on some of the pros and cons and the possibilities and the hurdles as you see in them.  Who wants to start?  All right – Ira.

    MR. HELFAND:  I think, you know, the idea that there should be a nuclear cease-fire, universal adherence to a no-first-use policy – I think those would be a very useful step forward.  There are many steps that we can take.  The problem is we’re not taking any of them at the moment.  Ultimately, what we need is a nuclear weapons convention – a negotiated instrument, negotiated by all the countries which have nuclear weapons as well as the non-nuclear weapon states – that sets out exactly how we’re going to step-by-step dismantle the existing arsenal – so sort of an extension of the New START treaty writ large – how we’re going to take the weapons apart, what the timetable’s going to be, what the verification mechanisms are going to be, and what the enforcement mechanisms are going to be.

    The nuclear ban treaty that’s been proposed is not that.  It is a political tool to try to create pressure to get to a nuclear weapons convention.  And what has been proposed is a treaty which bans not just use, but also possession, to make the point that these weapons should not be maintained, even when countries say they’re never going to use them, because of the very clear fact that the countries that say they’re never going to use them in fact do have plans for using them.  And, as one of my colleagues has argued, in fact use them every day.  They don’t detonate them every day, but they use their possession of nuclear weapons to intimidate and bully the rest of the world.  And so something that simply says that we will not detonate the weapons would be useful as well – the use in that sense – that would be a useful step, but it would be even more useful to say – to have an international norm created that says that it is illegitimate to possess these weapons, that any country which possesses these weapons, including the United States and Russia – the big countries – they are defining themselves as rogue states by their continued possession of these weapons.  So that’s, I think, the impetus, the thrust behind the nuclear ban treaty, at least as I’ve understood it.  But that’s one of many things that we could do at this point to try to move the situation forward.

    If this administration in the United States, which is so allergic to the idea of a ban treaty, put forward any significant initiative at this point, I think we would all rally behind it.  But that hasn’t been forthcoming since New START was negotiated.  And so that’s a great idea.  I’m sure there are other great ideas out there.  At the moment the one which seems to be getting the most traction is a ban treaty.  I think it’s an exceptionally good move, because it really does move things forward in a very dramatic way and I would encourage people to support that, but I think if other ideas come forward, you know, it’s fine – whatever moves the ball forward.  We’ve just got to get some movement in the right direction and we’re not getting it right now.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Others?  George.

    MR. PERKOVICH:  Just very briefly, one point is – the ban treaty idea may be great among some states but I would venture to say it actually is counterproductive with the states that you’re ultimately trying to affect, because I can tell you that allied countries of the United States are going back to the United States privately, saying this makes them very apprehensive, reassure us you’re going to keep your nuclear weapons and so on.  So it has – it has a perverse effect in that way, with allies.  And so if one can deal with  –

    MR. HELFAND:  Does it create that thought on their part, or does it just get them to express it?

    MR. PERKOVICH:  Well, I think they were nervous when President Obama did the Prague speech.  That made them nervous.  And then, I think, as they see kind of this happening, they get further nervous and express it privately to the U.S.  And then since the Prague speech you have what’s happened in Crimea, you have the intensification of the dispute over the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which has made, you know, Vietnam, Philippines, Japan and others more apprehensive.  So I think they’re more apprehensive now even than they were in 2009, and so they express that.

    MR. HELFAND:  Can I just comment – you know, I think that their apprehension is quite real.  A lot of people around the world think that nuclear weapons make them more secure.  It’s our job to help them understand that isn’t true –

    MR. PERKOVICH: Well, I agree with that.

    MR. HELFAND:  That the nuclear weapons make them less secure.  And so the humanitarian campaign is trying, I think, to really get that message through to many, many people who don’t get it.

    MR. PERKOVICH :  I agree with that and I would say the same thing about, you know, automatic weapons in the U.S. and everything else.  But you see what happens when it looks like you’re going to ban something; it actually mobilizes the people who are most worried and you actually get a worse result of a weakening of gun laws around the country and a recall of politicians who were advocating gun control.  So I’m just saying there can be consequences that are unintended.

    But I – just on Arjun’s point, seems to me, beyond no first use, that an effort, and Ira alluded to this with the people who were thinking about a convention – nuclear disarmament’s never been defined.  We don’t know what it means.  There’s not a full-time official in any of the states that possess nuclear weapon (sic) whose job it’s been to figure, OK, how would we actually dismantle these things?  How would we verify it?  What would we do with our weapons laboratories?  How would we monitor other people’s weapons scientists?  Would we agree to regulate their travel?  What kind of dual-use experiments would be allowed?  How do you manage missile technologies?

    None of that’s been done.  So as a starter, you know, that would be a useful thing.  Not only to have people on the outside do it, but to try to at least task or get the governments to agree that they’ll appoint one person, you know, maybe more would be great, but at least one full-time person to be thinking through, you know, how you would actually do this.  And every once in a while, they could have coffee with each other and say, well, what do you got?  (Laughter.)  And advance the ball.

    MR. KIMBALL:  That’s a good idea. Ambassador Percaya.

    MR. PERCAYA:  Daryl, I’m not going to reply to Arjun’s question, but to your earlier question.

    I think four points.  First, ideally, nuclear weapon states have to take part and engage in the process on the humanitarian consequences.  But one thing that’s for sure, we cannot force them to attend.  That’s why my second point is that we have to make condition for them to make it comfortable to join the process.  Next will be in April, NPT.  Perhaps we can have some dialogue among the proponents of the humanitarian consequences with the P-5, because there has been no dialogue on this.  Certainly, there has been some apprehension among the P-5 about the legitimation of the nuclear weapons, et cetera.  And thirdly, when there is a diplomatic conference, I think we should go ahead with or without nuclear weapon states.  I think that there has been some examples in which, finally, we can have international treaty or agreement without the participation of the P-5.

    And lastly, last year in General Assembly, in the First Committee, we adopted a resolution on the high-level meeting, and one of the operative paragraph is on the establishment of comprehensive convention on nuclear disarmament, including the use, the stockpiling, the banning – everything.  And there is also a timeframe in which, within five years – within five years – there will be international conference.  I think this should also be seen – I mean the humanitarian consequences process should also be seen within the context of the convening of the international conference in 2018.  Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.  And Gaukhar –.

    MS. MUKHATZHANOVA: I’m glad that Doctor Helfand addressed the question about no first use, possible nuclear cease-fire.  India actually proposed a no-first-use kind of treaty in Nayarit.  The nuclear weapon states were not there to hear or respond to it, so it didn’t get really any response there, but it’s an interesting proposal.  But that – that would cut against the current policies of a number of nuclear weapon states, right?  Most of them, actually, except China.  So that would provoke a very serious reconsideration about the role of nuclear weapons, and I don’t know – I don’t think they’re ready.  But it would be good if they actually started that kind of conversation.  And P-5 consultations – or P-5 consultations they potentially were – remain, probably – one of the avenues where the five nuclear weapon states can talk about their use policies.  But as far I understand, they didn’t progress very much in that direction.

    Similarly, on reducing alert levels, you know, there is an annual resolution at the U.N. General Assembly, because the same states that are promoting humanitarian initiative, a lot of them are also involved in the de-alerting coalition, and they asked for the reduction in the launch-on-warning status.  Now, the thing here is that nuclear weapon states perhaps need to get over their allergy to proposals coming from non-nuclear weapon states, because that’s been a consistent theme in their response to the de-alerting coalition, because they say you don’t understand how alerting works and how it would destabilize things.  So then, similarly, they’ve ignored the open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament negotiations, where they also could safely come in and talk about different steps they propose or plan to undertake in terms of disarmament.  So – and the same goes for the humanitarian initiative.  I think the – this is – and it is a fundamental issue.  They need to engage in a dialogue in a very – in a very honest fashion, and not just on their terms that they use to dictate in the NPT setting and in the Conference on Disarmament.

    And on the ban proposal, I think there’s a great deal of confusion among states themselves about what the ban proposal means.  There is no unified coalition saying this is what we need.  There is a very unified coalition in the civil society about the need for a ban.  ICAN has been doing a very – has been very active in promoting that, including in the allied states that Dr. Perkovich mentioned.  But among states themselves, there is no clear understanding what a ban treaty would mean.  There is no clear understanding who would support it, how to negotiate it.  So I think the concern among nuclear weapon states may be a little bit overstated about the determination that exists within the humanitarian initiative.  But if they continue to ignore the conversation, they will have less and less impact.  They’ll have less and less contribution and it will go places where they really don’t want it to go, so we think they should engage.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you much.  We have a question here.

    Q:  Thank you for the panel.  My name is Rebecca Gibbons and I’m a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at RAND this year, and my question is about the prognosis for the NPT regime broadly.  There’s been no shortage of pessimism about the treaty, and in my research, you know, this goes back to the ’70s, so hearing that we’re at a tipping point or we’re going over a cliff – that doesn’t seem to be new.

    Dr. Helfand said there’s no patience left.  And so my question is, for someone who’s trying to analyze the NPT and understand it, what would – what would it look like if it were really falling apart?  What would the initial sort of cracks be that we would see, you know, before people maybe leave the treaty, but how would we really know that’s happening when we’ve had years and years of people saying it’s falling apart?

    And then, I’m wondering what leverage do the nuclear – do the non-nuclear weapon states have?  It seems ’95 was a key point of leverage.  They got maybe minor concessions, and then we go to the status quo.  So where is this going and how is it going to change?

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Good questions.  George, Gaukhar – you want to start us off?


    MR. PERKOVICH:  Go ahead.

    MS. MUKHATZHANOVA:  OK.  Thank you very much for that question.  I was bothering, I think, diplomats a lot with the question:  What do you mean NPT’s falling apart?  What do you mean the regime is in danger?  I mean, how – what’s it going to look like?  And personally think about it, I don’t think we’re looking at a tipping point beyond which there is this fantastic breakdown and an abyss.  Treaties – multilateral, large treaties don’t go that way.

    What I’m concerned about is that the countries that used to be very committed to the treaty will find it less and less relevant – less and less relevant to their security, less and less relevant to their identity, who they are, and so they will pay less attention to what’s going on.  And they will not send their top-notch diplomats to NPT review conferences to negotiate the next consensus and a common understanding about, you know, the world’s perception of what nuclear weapons – of how to proceed on nuclear weapons disarmament and nonproliferation.

    And it won’t be a dramatic collapse – you know, we wake up on May, whatever, 28th, 2015, and boom we don’t have NPT.  What I fear is that it’s going to go the Disarmament Commission way.  Who cares about Disarmament Commission, by the way, in the U.N.?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    It hasn’t produced anything since 1999.  People go in there and they talk, but nothing comes out.  The CD’s become a joke, and we keep talking about revitalizing it, but seriously – how long will that – will that last?  What do they do in the CD?  And similarly, that’s what I’m concerned about – that the regime will not collapse – it’s more the situation of the frog, you know, and being slowly heated up and not noticing that it’s about to be cooked and eaten.

    And what implications would that have?  Are non-nuclear weapon states going to massively go and acquire nuclear weapons?  No, again, it won’t be massive.  But you’ll have less and less of this unifying framework to respond to proliferation cases, for example.  There won’t be a massive outrage about, you know, Iran cheating for 18 years or about North Korea walking out, or – you know, oh who cares?  Maybe, you know, maybe you do need all the separated plutonium, country X.  Maybe you do need all the high-enriched uranium, country Y.  And so this – it’s going to be just this across-the-board weakening of international position about whether or not pursuit of nuclear weapons is bad.  And yeah, I think it will just increase the risks.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Anybody else want to add to that thorough answer right now?

    MR. PERKOVICH:  Just briefly.  I mean, it’s a good question.  I would say Iran is enormously important, as in answer to your question.  If the Iranian challenge to the nonproliferation regime is resolved peacefully in a way that most people go, OK, at least, you know, there’s a couple of years’ confidence that they can’t break out, then it will – that would significantly strengthen the process.

    Conversely, if that doesn’t happen and there’s a war, or Iran is perceived to, you know, kind of get much closer to nuclear weapons, then I would say, OK, well, that’s a failure of the system at the job that it was fundamentally set up to do.  And so then – but I agree that you wouldn’t have, like, a rapid cascade of, then, other states doing it, but you’d see a lot more hedging.

    Then the next thing would be to South Korea – get permission to do reprocessing and enrichment, which the U.S. would have to grant it.  So you start seeing some more hedging, but I think Iran’s the super important case.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  We had a question over here.  Ashley (sp), up front here.  Up one more – two more.  Thank you.

    Q:  Thanks.  Rob Anderson from the Dutch Embassy.  In about 10 days the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative will gather in Hiroshima, and they will for sure also discuss – debate the humanitarian consequences.  I would like to pose a question to the panel:  How do you see the role of ad hoc coalitions like the NPDI in this debate?

    Maybe George and Gaukhar can say something about that, but also I want to pose the question specifically to the Indonesian ambassador because the Indonesian foreign minister is – (inaudible).  Thank you.

    MS. MUKHATZHANOVA:  Ambassador Percaya, aren’t you going to speak at the ministerial?

    AMB. PERCAYA:  No, I – you first.

    MS. MUKHATZHANOVA:  (Chuckles.)  All right.  Coalitions – OK, you probably all are familiar with the NPT structure, but there are three kind of outdated groupings that are built into the NPT system.  You have the Western states and others – Western European states and others, you have Eastern European group, and you have the NAM, and the three have their own sort of pet issues – or rather two, because Eastern European group is completely solid.

    But what has been very important at different points in the NPT history is the role of the cross-grouping coalitions, the like-minded coalitions.  And the New Agenda Coalition was particularly important, for example, in 2000 because they were able to bring together countries from different regions, countries from the Non-Aligned Movement, countries from Western Europe – so countries with a lot of legitimacy on the nonproliferation and disarmament issues that were able to engage in a very adult conversation with nuclear weapons states and bring the nonnuclear weapons states onboard.

    And then we had a period of the fall-down of those coalitions.  There was a lot less interest in doing that and the NAC had its internal problems in terms of defining purpose after 2000 NPT Review Conference.  NPTI is a new – is a new development in this regard, and a lot of people are kind of skeptical about the role NPTI because it’s dominated by allies of the United States.  But then they’ve enlarged the coalition recently, including the Philippines and Nigeria, so I’m personally very curious to see what comes out of the next ministerial, whether that addition would change the tone, change some of the positions of NPTI.

    I think they have been very important in promoting transparency.  And because they, most of them, are allies and friends with the United States, they were able to maybe approach them on a different level with their proposal on the standards reporting form.  It was a very ambitious proposal and I know the nuclear weapons states scaled it down a lot, but at least it set a very high benchmark, so it was much harder to sort of roll back from it.  And I think NPTI will continue to play that important role in tabling sort of middle-ground proposals.

    But can they lead sort of the non-nuclear weapons states en masse?  I have my doubts but I think it’s important to see some other coalitions emerging.  There are some countries that are supporting a humanitarian initiative.  I’d like to see how they engage in the conversation with the – with the nuclear weapons states at the next REFCON (ph) to forge maybe some new language on the humanitarian dimension and find a compromise there.  And the NAC is kind of reinvigorated so it’s an interesting coalition still to watch

    MR. KIMBALL:  Ambassador Percaya, George, any thoughts?

    AMB. PERCAYA:  Thank you for the question.  Yes, Indonesia foreign minister will attend the meeting in Hiroshima.  I think Indonesia is also, at the time being, chair of the Non-Aligned Movement for the disarmament.  We are going, certainly, to convey our, quote, unquote, “grievances” with regard to the implementation of NPT, also the unbalanced implementation on the three pillars.  And certainly, which is very important, we are going to also encourage nuclear weapons states to take the lead and give example, because they have more responsibility on these issues.  Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right –

    MR. PERKOVICH:  Just briefly –

    MR. KIMBALL:  – George?

    MR. PERKOVICH:  No, I agree with both comments, and I think NPDI can be very influential.  There’s a paradox because some of them are allied to the U.S. and some of them are internally split, their governments, or their parliaments and their governments.  But I think because it’s also – there are some leading middle powers, all the more important at least to try to reach out into Russia and, you know, try to reach North Korea and China.  The other states – that frankly are a greater source of resistance to this agenda than the United States is – France, but that’s hopeless but, you know – so more amendable states like North Korea and Russia, I think – (laughter) – would be – would be useful.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right, let’s take a couple questions at a time.  Let’s take one from this side, right – take your pick – and then we’ll have another one here on the other side.

    Q:  Dean Rusk, retired State Department.  As I hear you talk about humanitarian consequences and the importance of eliminating nuclear weapons eventually, I think of other forums on nuclear terrorism that I go to all the time where the same issues are there.  That is, the people who are supporting strong efforts against nuclear – preventing nuclear terrorism talk about the fact that nuclear weapons can’t be around forever; we have to eventually eliminate them.  And they focus a lot on humanitarian consequences as a way of pushing their agenda.

    So I wonder if you thought about how you might be able to leverage that overall movement to kind of give a little extra push to what you’re trying to do within the NPT.  Understand, the NPT does not bind nuclear terrorists, but the United States has tried to bring some of the nuclear terrorism issues into the NPT forum.  It just seems to me there might be a way to leverage the nuclear terrorism theme as a way to give an additional political push for what you’re doing.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right, thank you.  And then over here, Ed?

    Q:  Edward Ifft, Georgetown University.  Thanks for a very rich discussion.  I just got back last night from a conference in Berlin on European arms control issues, and it was rather discouraging, as you can imagine.  The Russians were there.  NATO officials were there – representatives of various European countries.  The most alarming thing for me was the feeling that today NATO would not be able to reaffirm the three no’s.  That is, that NATO has no intention, no need and no plan to move nuclear weapons into Eastern Europe.  This is because the East Europeans now are quite paranoid about what’s happening in Ukraine.

    And then just one comment.  I mean, I’m sure it’s obvious to everyone in this room, but it needs to be repeated at every opportunity:  Further nuclear proliferation would make all of these problems worse.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right, reactions, comments to this.  Ira?

    MR. HELFAND:  Yeah, I think one of the ways that the nuclear terrorism concerns intersect with the need for – with the NPT issues is the nature that nuclear terrorism apt to take in the future, and we tend to think of this in the context of a dirty bomb or perhaps even a small nuclear explosion going off in a city.  But, you know, frankly, the most disturbing possibility of nuclear terrorism would be a cyberattack which causes the – you know, the launch of one of – of a system, either in the Russian or the U.S. arsenal.

    And this is obviously something which would be quite complicated and quite difficult but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.  And the fact that there are people who would seek to use – terrorists who would seek to use nuclear weapons I think in this – in that context underscores the absolute necessity for getting these weapons off of their high-alert status in particular, and ultimately for getting rid of them.

    To the question that was suggested by Ed’s comment, you know, obviously the situation in Ukraine is making things – you know, sort of juggling the whole picture a little bit and making people look at things very differently.  And not surprisingly, the initial reaction of many people on this I think is to sort of seek greater strength.  That’s what we usually do when we’re threatened.  And so there’s been a lot of talk already about, you know, this means we can’t make progress towards nuclear disarmament at this time.

    I think the more profound lesson of the Ukraine crisis, the one which I hope will emerge over – as people have a little bit more time to think about this, is the lesson that we did learn during the Cold War, that it’s precisely when there was a great danger of war between nations that it is particularly important that those nations not be armed with nuclear weapons.

    You know, I don’t know what Putin is going to do next if this is simply a one-off going into Crimea, or if this is part of a much broader and profoundly dangerous effort to undo the great tragedy of the 20th century, in his eyes, and reconstitute the Soviet Union.  Obviously if the latter is the case, we’re in for a very, very dangerous and difficult time.  But the most dangerous and difficult aspect of that would be if nuclear weapons come into play.  And I think, frankly, that what the lesson from the Ukraine crisis should be is the – an increased understanding of the urgency of moving towards nuclear disarmament.

    At the height of the Cold War, when things were even more tense than they are between the U.S. and Russia right now, Gorbachev and Reagan made the decision that we needed to move towards lessening of the nuclear tension towards nuclear disarmament.  They came close to agreeing at Reykjavik to getting rid of the weapons altogether.  Unfortunately we don’t have a Gorbachev-like figure who is self-identified at this point who can sort of move things forward in a big way, but perhaps one will emerge.

    And I think we have to – we have to play to the possibility of that happening.  Short term, medium term, these weapons need – we need to have a fundamentally different approach than the one we have.  What we’ve been doing up to this point simply has not worked.  The weapons are still there in numbers which make the arsenals of today not functionally different in their threat to human survival than they were at the worst moment of the Cold War.  We can still do it many times over and we have to get beyond that situation.

    The humanitarian message, I think, is the key to that.  The thing that motivated Gorbachev, according to his memoirs, to take the initiatives which he took in the 1980s were the conversations he had with physicians from my organization, in which they explained to him what was going to happen if the weapons were used.  And remarkably, as the head of a nuclear power, he didn’t fully understand what was going to happen if a nuclear war took place.  And I will tell you, I think the same is true of most of the leaders of the nuclear weapons states today, including people in our administration who, for example, I know are not familiar with the dangers of limited nuclear war in the Nuclear Famine report because they’re surprised when we get a chance to meet with them and give them this data, as recently as three weeks ago.

    So I think there is an enormously important role for the NGO community and for civil society to get that message out as perhaps the most important thing we can do to try to create the conditions where perhaps a fundamental change, a transformational change, in nuclear policy can take place.  I certainly can’t guarantee it’s going to happen, but I think this is our best shot at achieving that.

    MR. KIMBALL:  If I could just take a moment to comment on Ed’s intervention briefly.  And, you know, the issue of Ukraine is not the specific topic today but it is on everybody’s minds and it’s relevant to whether and how the nuclear weapons states can make progress.  Let me just say a couple things.

    Yes, of course, at the moment the mood in Berlin or any European capital is – is gloomy as a result of Ukraine.  A lot of bad reminders of the darkest days of the Cold War come back when we look at this situation.  But, you know, it’s clear so far that the United States and Russia do not want to link the political tensions over Russia’s aggression in Crimea to the nuclear security or the nuclear arms control agenda.

    For now, the instruments that were negotiated to reduce U.S.-Russian nuclear numbers and tensions are still operating.  They do provide a greater level of transparency, information, predictability that is especially important in these tense times.  New START inspections continue.  Open Skies Treaty overflights continue.  OSCE is operating, perhaps not as well as it should but it’s still operating.

    So those instruments of – arms control instruments that originated out of the Cold War days are still working and are still vital.  The real question that I think we need to ask – and we can’t answer it at this particular time, less than a month out from the invasion of Crimea – is, you know, how can the United States and Russia continue to make progress to reduce their still-bloated stockpiles?

    And I will posit that, you know, new approaches need to be pursued other than what has been tried up to this time.  Russia had already rebuffed U.S. suggestions about a further one-third cut below New START levels. Both sides are going to have to be clear-eyed and creative and recognize that it’s still both in their interest to further reduce, rather than to stop this process.

    But that’s a conversation for another time.  My organization, along with some of our German colleagues and Russian colleagues, will be speaking about this at the end of this month – in April, to release some findings and recommendations about how to deal with Euro-Atlantic security.  But you know, this is a very important issue.  It also requires some new and fresh thinking.

    So I think we had some other questions in the back here, if you can just raise your hands again.  Yes, right here, with the dark hair.  And I think we’ve got time for maybe one or two more questions.  Thanks.

    Q:  Hello.  Lecia Dressman (sp), independent researcher.  I’ll make this brief.  I’ll be a little heretic here.  Part of my reservations about multilateral disarmament agreements – we’ll say convention here, although I know that the terms haven’t been discussed – is that both the U.S. and Russia, whenever we have opportunities to pursue bilateral arms reductions, you know, (so their rep ?) – (inaudible) – will say, oh, we want a multilateral discussion with all of the P-5 on ,you know – or – and then D.C. will come back and say, oh, no, we wanted it to be conditional on Moscow’s involvement and just bilateral.  None of them seem to be pushing for unilateral or bilateral cuts, which is the obviously the priority.

    So how can – how can – my question:  How can this discussion on humanitarian weapons push – although I know it’s everyone in (NWBC ?) –  push the two countries that in my opinion matter the most, the United States and Russia?  Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Well, I’ve  got an answer to that question, but we’ve got four great panelists here.

    Other thoughts on this?  Specifically, what can the humanitarian consequences process do specifically to push the U.S. and Russia to accelerate the pace of – I suppose you’re talking about numerical reductions but also other actions.

    MR. PERKOVICH:  I mean, the U.S. is clearly ready and eager to do that.  The military strategic command have already said, as Daryl alluded, that as far as they’re concerned, we could do fine with about 1,100 operationally deployed strategic weapons.  That’s a reduction from New START.  So it’s kind of clear that we’ve got all the permissions that would be necessary to do it and are kind of waiting from – a sense from Moscow that Moscow would be prepared to do that jointly.

    Similarly, when it comes to weapons based in Europe, at least up until a couple of months ago, it was clear that the U.S. military would just as soon take those weapons out of Europe.  Others would too.  I think Ukraine changes that, but if the Russians are prepared to engage on that issue, which they’re not, you know, we’d be prepared to move.

    So I think the discussion is – mostly needs to be had on that issue in Moscow, and what they will tell you then is, they’re more concerned about conventionally armed strategic systems and conventional capabilities and the support of groups that are trying to subvert Russia through perverse ideologies and homosexuality, so on and so forth.  And so you have to address those issues.  That’s the discussion that you’ll get back from Moscow.

    MR. HELFAND:  Having said that – and I agree; I think that at the moment the major stumbling block is in Moscow.  But I think there are things the U.S. can do unilaterally, and we should.  You know, the big stumbling block in the ’80s was here in Washington, and Gorbachev took some unilateral initiatives that were incredibly important.  If he hadn’t, we would still be testing nuclear weapons, probably.

    So I think the U.S., having determined that it doesn’t need more than 1,100 warheads –and as I’ve discussed, 1,100 warheads, you know, kills everybody on the planet several times over – having determined to our satisfaction that we can get by with 1,100 warheads, perhaps we should make a unilateral step in that direction, maybe not go to 1,100, maybe go to 1,350, and challenge the Russians to do it.  They may reciprocate.  They may not.  We lose nothing if they don’t.  We gain a great deal if they do.  We actually gain something even if they don’t in terms of bolstering our position and our ability to move forward on other issues.

    In terms of alert status of our weapons, we could take steps to diminish the alert status of our weapons.  We could do that today, and we should do that today.

    We could take our weapons out of Europe, and there would be some opposition from our European allies, and I don’t think U.S. nuclear policy can or is dictated by Estonia.  We should – we should start to take those weapons out.

    So I think there are a number of things that the U.S. could do, and the way the humanitarian campaign could affect that is by helping people in the U.S. government understand why it’s important that they do that, that we cannot continue to maintain the status quo.  Whatever we need to do, we have to take like a Franklin Roosevelt approach, because we’ve got to try to some things.  Some of them may work.  Some may not work.  As long as it’s not things that are going to undermine our security, it’s OK to try them.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Gaukhar and then the ambassador.  Go ahead.

    MS. MUKHATZHANOVA:  Well, I don’t have a short-term answer, but – the steps, but I wanted to go back to what the humanitarian initiative’s largely about.  And I think that the step towards disarmament, rather than, you know, we’re going to reduce 200 more warheads, but the actual commitment to the actual elimination – that’s going to take a psychological shift.  And I think that’s the wall we’ve hit so far.  We’re prepared to talk about the steps on the margins, but we’re not – but not – but nuclear weapons states, that’s very, very fundamentally attached to the fact of possession of nuclear weapons and the fact of yielding that kind of power.  I think the humanitarian initiative poses very sharply the question of, you know, are you prepared to use these weapons and face the consequences, and if not, then why do you have those weapons?

    But that’s not a short-term answer.  That’s going to be a longer-term – and in the shorter term, I think Dr. Helfand is right.  There are things that the United States can do unilaterally.  And it’s a matter of – in the short term, it’s a matter of coming to the 2015 review conference and standing next to Russia and next to France and being – we are just like them.  Is the United States ready to do that?  Does the United States want to do that, considering that this administration is decidedly not like them?  And it will come down – I don’t know; I mean, I hope that this will – this conversation will happen at the White House at some point – is the question of President Obama’s international legacy.  He started off his presidency with the Prague speech.  Is he going to – is he going to go out and say, well, Russia didn’t want to negotiate on 200 more warheads?

    So I think the United States has some things to deliver, and it can deliver them.  It will be difficult domestically.  Yes, it might, you know, really send a couple of Democratic senators into a fit about their future in the Senate if they allow this kind of thing to happen.  But then again, it would come down to the question of what’s more important, the – you know, the domestic victories or really looking larger about the risks you’re posing for the rest of humanity?

    MR. KIMBALL:  Ambassador Percaya?

    AMB. PERCAYA:  Thank you very much, Mr. Kimball.  I think this has been the complaint among the majority of Non-Aligned Movement, that the P-5 have agreed on the multilateral or conventional agreement, but very often when it comes to implementation, they would rather have done it bilaterally.  This has been our complaint.

    I think there is a limitation for nuclear – non-nuclear weapons state, especially Non-Aligned Movement.  What we can do is make very loud and noise for this all the time.  We – at the General Assembly, at the NPT.  Then they will listen to us.

    What we can do, I think – again, I think this is very much related to the general domestic dynamics/politics of each country.  For example, the role of civil society in this country is very, very, very instrumental.  But let’s not forget also the role of the youth. And if I can also ask – beg the question about how many senators and congressmen in the U.S. are aware of this, of disarmament?  Because when you talk about disarmament with them, and that they will think of reduction instead of disarmament.

    Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.

    Well, not everyone supports operating by time-bound frameworks for certain goals, but I do in the context of this particular event, and we have reached the end of our time-bound framework.  And I just want to thank each of the panelists for their excellent contributions and insights.

    We’ve heard a lot of different perspectives this morning on the nature of the nuclear weapons challenge, how to address it.  I think we can agree that leaders from the nuclear-armed states, the non-nuclear weapons states and leaders from civil society have to do more to consider and debate and come together around some creative and practical approaches to jump-start progress on disarmament in all of its aspects, as the ambassador just said, and to curb further proliferation and to guard against nuclear catastrophe.

    So let me just mention one other set of words from one other important person that’s a good reminder about the task ahead.  President Obama gave an address in Berlin in June, and he said:

    “So long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe.

    “Peace with justice means pursuing the security of a world without nuclear weapons, no matter how distant that dream may be.

    “Complacency is not the character of great nations.”

    So let’s not be complacent.

    Please join me in thanking our panelists.  (Applause.)


    Updating Nonproliferation Criteria for U.S. Nuclear Trade



    By Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director Arms Control Association
    Prepared Comments for Nonproliferation Policy Education Center Forum Dec. 11, 2013
    Washington, D.C.

    Since the beginning of the nuclear age, efforts to exploit nuclear technology for energy and for profit have complicated the task of reducing the nuclear weapons threat.

    The United States and other possessors of enrichment and reprocessing technology have appropriately sought to deny the transfer of sensitive nuclear technologies—particularly enrichment and reprocessing technologies, which can be used to make nuclear bomb material—to states that do not already possess the technology through the terms of our nuclear cooperation agreements, which are based on the requirements in the 1978 Amendments to the Atomic Energy Act.

    In addition, the new and important NSG rule adopted in June 2011—that bars enrichment and reprocessing technology transfers to states without comprehensive safeguards agreements, have not joined the NPT, do not have an additional protocol in force, or to states in proliferation sensitive regions—makes it highly unlikely that other nuclear suppliers can even offer to transfer enrichment or reprocessing technology or equipment to these states.

    This week, the Obama administration is expected to roll out its revised policy regarding civil nuclear cooperation agreements. It expected that the policy will continue to encourage higher standards in U.S. nuclear cooperation partner countries but will not require that every U.S. civil nuclear cooperation agreement is exactly the same.

    Some members of Congress, including Sen. Corker (R-Tenn.), have complained that the Obama administration’s revised policy on nuclear cooperation agreements is “inconsistent” because it does not require that all states foreswear enrichment and reprocessing.

    It is important that the United States use every tool it has to prevent the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technology, but requiring that states foreswear enrichment and reprocessing as a condition for a U.S. civil nuclear cooperation agreement is not practical in every case.

    If Congress wants a greater degree of consistency and higher nonproliferation standards, it can strengthen the leverage of the executive branch by legislating higher standards that should be sought in nuclear cooperation agreements with the United States and if those standards are not all achieved, Congress should revise the process by which such agreements should be considered for approval or disapproval by the Congress.

    In other words, it is time for Congress to revisit, update, and strengthen the Atomic Energy Act standards and procedures for peaceful nuclear cooperation agreements.

    H.R. 1280, authored by Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Howard Berman, Brad Sherman and others, and introduced in 2011 offers a framework useful to build on.

    H.R. 1280 would not require that states adopt the so-called “Gold Standard:” the renunciation of their option to pursue enrichment or reprocessing before the United States enters into a nuclear cooperation agreement or renews an existing agreement—which some refuse to do because they claim it is their right under the NPT.

    Instead the bill would add several new requirements to the nine key requirements already in Section 123 of the AEA[i] that, if met, would “fast track” that country’s nuclear cooperation agreement for approval.

    Agreements with states that cannot meet the higher set of standards would be subject to a more rigorous process requiring affirmative Congressional approval.

    Among the most important new requirements for “fast track” approval that would be added are:

    • the application of the IAEA Additional Protocol. Dozens of states have not yet approved an additional protocol, including Algeria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, whose ambassador to Washington recently threatened that his country would build nuclear weapons if Iran does; and
    • a pledge not to acquire enrichment or reprocessing capabilities/facilities.

    I would also suggest that the bill should be strengthened by:

    • clarifying that the recipient state must allow for the application of its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) under the terms of the most up-to-date IAEA revisions, which today are known as code 3.1.
    • requiring termination of U.S. nuclear cooperation in the event the recipient state conducts a nuclear test explosion, is found to be in violation of its IAEA safeguards obligations, or acquires enrichment or reprocessing equipment from sources other than the United States.

    A modified version of H.R. 1280 is a very reasonable and common sense approach that would simply put into U.S. law the standards that all nuclear supplier states have already agreed are essential to preventing future proliferation.

    The Case of Iran

    Would adopting tougher standards for U.S. nuclear cooperation have helped prevent Iran from acquiring enrichment technology? Probably not, because we are not engaged and will not in the future become engaged in formal nuclear cooperation with Iran.

    And because Iran acquired its enrichment technology on the black market via Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan, tougher global standards would likely not have been able to head off the transfer of the technology to Iran.

    The best way to limit Iran’s fissile material production capacity is to implement the Nov. 24 P5+1/Iran agreement to pause it nuclear program and negotiation a final-phase deal that significantly reduces its enrichment capacity and bars any reprocessing capability.

    If we are to succeed in limiting the number of states capable of producing nuclear bomb material in the future, the executive branch and the Congress can and should work together to update the terms for civil nuclear agreements as outlined in the Atomic Energy Act.


    [i] Section 123(a) lists nine criteria that an agreement must meet unless the President determines an exemption is necessary. These include guarantees that:

    • Safeguards on transferred nuclear material and equipment continue in perpetuity;
    • Full-scope IAEA safeguards are applied in non-nuclear weapon states;
    • Nothing transferred is used for any nuclear explosive device or for any other military purpose, except in the case of cooperation agreements with nuclear weapon states, in which the United States has the right to demand the return of transferred nuclear materials and equipment, as well as any special nuclear material produced through their use, if the cooperating state detonates a nuclear explosive device, or terminates or abrogates its IAEA safeguards agreement;
    • There is no retransfer of material or classified data without U.S. consent;
    • Physical security on nuclear material is maintained;
    • There is no enrichment or reprocessing by the recipient state of transferred nuclear material or nuclear material produced with materials or facilities transferred pursuant to the agreement without prior approval;
    • Storage for transferred plutonium and highly enriched uranium is approved in advance by the United States; and
    • Any material or facility produced or constructed through use of special nuclear technology transferred under the cooperation agreement is subject to all of the above requirements.

    Prepared remarks by Daryl G. Kimball for the Dec. 11, 2013 Nonproliferation Policy Education Center Forum that took place in Washington, D.C..

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    Syria Chemical Weapons Elimination Plan and the Next Steps



    Prepared Remarks

    Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
    CWC Conference of States Parties, Dec. 5, 2013
    The Hague, Netherlands

    The large-scale use of chemical weapons against rebel-controlled areas outside Damascus on Aug. 21 required a strong international response to help ensure that further such attacks are not launched ever again in Syria or elsewhere.

    And in the weeks and months since, there has been a strong and clear message that the further use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.

    The UN chemical weapons inspection team found evidence of extensive use of the nerve agent sarin, determined the type of rockets used in the attacks, and calculated the direction from which the rockets were fired.

    In the wake of these horrible attacks, which killed more than 1,000 men, women, and children, U.S. and Russian leaders, as well as a wide array of CWC states parties, have worked together to establish international control of and to eliminate Syria’s chemical arsenal.

    And to its credit, the Syrian government has recognized that the human and security costs of these weapons far outweigh any perceived military or political value they may have once had.

    Under the agreement negotiated Sept. 14 by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the UN and the OPCW have put into motion an expeditious plan for accounting, inspection, control, and elimination of Syria’s deadly arsenal under the auspices of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The agreement calls for the entire stockpile, including chemical agents, production facilities, and delivery systems, to be safely eliminated or, if necessary, removed from the country by mid-2014.

    Without the CWC, establishment of the OPCW and the strong track record of the OPCW over the past 15 years, the agreement negotiated Sept. 14 by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, for the elimination of Syria’s chemical arsenal would not have been possible.

    To its great credit, the OPCW has stepped up to the task and adjusted its operations to meet the tight deadlines for verifying the Syrian chemical weapons declaration and the elimination of its relatively small stockpile of weaponized material and larger stockpile of precursor chemicals.

    On October 1, a joint team of OPCW and UN officials arrived in Syria and on October 6, 2013 the destruction of Syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons and equipment began under UN and OPCW supervision.

    On October 27 Syria submitted the details of its plans for "total and verified destruction" of its chemical weapons stockpile and production facilities to the OPCW.

    On October 31, the OPCW confirmed that Syria destroyed, or rendered inoperable, all of its declared facilities for mixing and producing chemical weapons.

    On November 15 the OPCW Executive Council approved a plan for the elimination of Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons that calls for transporting the bulk agents and precursor materials outside of Syria for destruction.

    The "most critical" chemicals are to be transported out of Syria by December 31, 2013 and the remainder by February 5, 2014. The plan calls for the destruction of certain priority chemicals by March 15, 2014 and by Dec. 31, 2014, all effluents are to be destroyed.

    It is very important to keep in mind that with the verified disablement of Syria’s declared mixing and filling equipment and production facilities that was completed by Oct. 31, the risk of further CW use against Syria’s people has been severely reduced as the potential for rapid weaponization has been eliminated.

    Through the work of the UN and the OPCW under the Lavrov-Kerry Plan, this has been achieved in a less costly and far more effective way than a cruise missile strike ever could have accomplished.

    But serious security, technical, and financial challenges that lie ahead, including the removal of the bulk agents and precursors from Syria on a tight schedule and under war-time conditions to the port of Latakia.

    As announced last Friday, Nov. 29, the United States has offered to contribute a destruction technology, full operational support and financing to neutralize Syria’s priority chemicals once they are out of the country on a U.S. naval vessel at sea using hydrolysis. The MV Cape Ray is currently undergoing modifications to support the operations and to accommodate verification activities by the OPCW.

    Once the bulk chemicals are removed from Syria and as United States, the OPCW, and commercial entities use hydrolysis and incineration to eliminate the bulk and precursor chemicals and effluents, it is essential that the operation is conducted properly rather than quickly or necessarily on deadline.

    Based on my knowledge of the plans—which are still being developed—the operation can be conducted safely and securely and in an environmentally responsible manner.

    However, we would strongly advise that before the operation in undertaken that a much more thorough public information effort is put into play to describe the operation in order to avoid misperceptions about public health, environmental, and security risks.

    Toward a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East

    Syria’s decision to join to the CWC and to eliminate its CW stockpile is an important step to reduce the dangers of the Syrian civil war and toward a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East.

    Syria's accession to the CWC should also spur the remaining Middle East holdouts, Egypt and Israel, to join the treaty and prompt them and other states to take additional, overdue steps needed to move the region closer to becoming a zone free of all types of weapons of mass destruction.

    The Arms Control Association urges all OPCW states parties and the Director-General to use their good offices to encourage action by these two key CWC hold-out states.

    Thank you.


    Prepared Remarks by Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association at the CWC Conference of States Parties on Dec. 5, 2013 in The Hague, Netherlands.

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    ACA-TLC Bipartisan Nuclear Policy Dialogue Project

    The Arms Control Association and The Lugar Center have partnered to establish the Bipartisan Nuclear and WMD Policy Dialogue Project to help foster bipartisan discussion on timely security issues.

    Transcript Available - The Arms Trade Treaty: Just the Facts



    Briefing for Reporters

    Organized by the Arms Control Association and the Stimson Center

    Thursday, November 7, 2013, 12:30 to 2:00 pm
    The Stimson Center, 1111 19th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington, DC

    Transcript available here.

    Video of the event is here.

    The United States signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on Sept. 25 at the United Nations in N.Y. The treaty opened for signature on June 3 and now has 114 signatories.

    Calling the ATT a significant step toward controlling the illicit trade in conventional weapons, Secretary of State John Kerry said, "This is about keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists and rogue actors."

    The ATT breaks new ground by establishing common international standards that must be met before states may authorize transfers of conventional weapons. The pact also prohibits transfers that would lead to war crimes and attacks on civilians and requires states to report annually on all authorized arms exports. It does not create export controls beyond what the United States already requires for itself, nor does it place any restrictions on U.S. domestic gun ownership.

    The Obama administration has not indicated when it might send the treaty to the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle for approval. On Oct. 15, 50 senators sent a letter to President Obama pledging to oppose ratification. Instead of rushing to judgment, senators first need to hear the facts about the ATT and how it benefits U.S. and global security.


    Tom Countryman, Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State

    Rachel Stohl, Senior Associate, The Stimson Center

    Adotei Akwei, Director of Government Relations, Amnesty International USA

    Moderated by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

    This event is made possible by the United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth Office and ACA members and donors.


    Transcript by
    Federal News Service
    Washington, D.C.

    DARYL KIMBALL:  Welcome to the Stimson Center, everyone.  We’re going to get started.  I’m Daryl Kimball.  I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association.  And we are an independent government organization that has been around since 1971 to deal with the security challenges posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.

    And we are here today – along with my colleagues at the Stimson Center, Amnesty International USA and Assistant Secretary of State Tom Countryman – to discuss the Arms Trade Treaty, which as most of you know was concluded this past spring after many years of negotiations and signed on September 25th by Secretary of State John Kerry at the United Nations.  And along with dozens of other national and international arms control, human rights development, religious organizations, we applaud the United States’ strong support for the ATT and for its leadership in negotiating the treaty.

    The treaty has now well over a hundred signatories.  It’s well on its way to entering the force in the next few years.  And today we’re going to be discussing the value and significance of the treaty and the details of the treaty.  But I think some of the key provisions – and I’ll just cite a couple here – are that it breaks new ground by establishing common international standards that must be met before governments can authorize transfers of conventional weapons to other countries.

    The treaty also prohibits transfers that could lead to war crimes and attacks on civilians and requires that states report annually on all authorized arms exports.  So bottom line of all that, and other aspects of the treaty, in my view and the view of the executive branch is that the ATT can help bring other countries into line with existing U.S. best practices, which will have a positive humanitarian impact and reduce the chances that illicit arms go to terrorists and those who might commit human rights violations.

    So today we have a great panel of folks to help explain the treaty – what it is; what it isn’t.  We have with us the lead U.S. negotiator on the Arms Trade Treaty, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Tom Countryman, and two other nongovernmental colleagues who’ve worked for years on the treaty.  We’re going to talk about why it matters for U.S. security, why it matters for civilians in war-torn regions across the globe.  And we’re also going to address some of the misperceptions about the Arms Trade Treaty that have bubbled up and then have been perpetrated by some organizations over the past few years.

    And in the months ahead, we hope that the Senate and senators of staff will take a look at the facts about the Arms Trade Treaty and to examine this complex treaty much more carefully than have had a chance to thus far.  I think it would be irresponsible for any senator to rush to judgment about the treaty – or any other serious issue in the Senate – without taking a close look or on the basis of incomplete understanding of the treaty.  And when the Senate gets to the point where they’ve done that, we’re confident that there’ll be much greater support for the Arms Trade Treaty in the Senate.

    So we’re going to start with Rachel Stohl, who, here at the Stimson Center, is senior associate with the Managing Across Boundaries initiative.  She was the consultant to the U.N. ATT process from 2010 to 2013 and was previously a consultant to the U.N. group of governmental experts on the treaty in 2008 and did work on the U.N. register for conventional arms at the U.N. in 2009.  And she’s also, I’m glad to say, a member of the Arms Control Association’s board of directors.

    Then we’re going to be hearing from Adotei Akwei, who’s director of government relations at Amnesty International, USA, with whom we’ve had the pleasure of working over the last few years in the campaign here in the U.S. for the Arms Trade Treaty.

    And then, of course, we’ll hear from Tom Countryman, who I want to thank for your leadership and your hard work on this.  You, along with your team, did an excellent job in taking this treaty through the multilateral talks to fruition, making it a better treaty in the end than it would have been without U.S. participation.

    So with that, let me turn it over to Rachel.  And after each of the speakers provide their opening remarks, we’ll take your questions and get into a discussion about the Arms Trade Treaty.


    RACHEL STOHL:  Thank you.  And thank you, Daryl, and to my colleagues at Stimson for putting this event together, which I think is both timely and necessary to try and lay out really what the facts about the Arms Trade Treaty are.

    And of course, thank you to Tom and his team.  I think the signing of the Arms Trade Treaty by the United States in September was really a symbol of U.S. leadership, not only for this treaty but also for their commitment to the values of insuring that U.S. arms sales and arms sales around the world are not used to harm innocent civilians and that foster the goals of foreign policy and national security that are codified in U.S. law.

    I want to start by talking about what the Arms Trade Treaty is and what it is not, what it will do and what it will not do.  I think there are unfortunately – I’m sure not everyone reads the text of the treaty every day.  And there are a lot of nuance and details in this treaty that have unfortunately, I think, been misunderstood or misrepresented, primarily because people just don’t sit down and read it.  So they read a summary of what someone else is saying and come to their own conclusions.

    So let’s start with what it is. The Arms Trade Treaty is a legally binding international treaty that regulates only the cross-border trade in conventional arms.  And conventional arms is a very large category of weapons and is everything from small arms and light weapons but all the way through to things like fighter aircraft, naval warships.  So it’s a very large classification of weapons.  The reason this treaty was created was these are the weapons that are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in conflicts every year.  So while we know about the threat of nuclear weapons or chemical and biological weapons, on a daily basis these are the weapons of war.

    I want to point out that this treaty does not cover the trade of weapons within a country.  It does not control national regulations of weapons within a country.  And this is important because this treaty really has nothing to do with the domestic gun control debate that we see in the United States.  We’re really simply talking about the cross-border trade of government-authorized transfers of conventional weapons.  So in a nutshell, this treaty does three important things.  The first is that it establishes common international standards for the trade and arms that states have to incorporate into their national control systems.

    And I should point out when I say “states” I’m referring to countries.  I’m using the U.N. shorthand.  But we’re not talking about the state of – or, I should say, the commonwealth of Virginia – the state of Virginia or the state of Washington.  We are talking really about what’s happening between the United States, Canada, Mexico, Syria, Russia, China – those are the states I’m referring to.  And I think that might actually be responsible for some of the misunderstanding of what this treaty does and does not do.

    The second is the treaty provides a sense of oversight of the global arms trade by enhancing transparency for what has been traditionally been a murky trade.  And we can talk about what some of the reporting requirements of this treaty are, but for the first time we may be able to have a better global picture of what arms are actually flowing to what countries and why.  Third, the treaty creates an environment of accountability where states are now responsible for ensuring that their arms sales meet global standards and norms.

    And that’s really important.  There haven’t been rules of the game.  Countries can make transfers for whatever reason they want.  Now, we have not only rules of the game but we have the means by which we can hold states to account and ask difficult questions.  And I think that’s a really important advancement.  This treaty is really long overdue and is truly a landmark treaty.  For the first time in history, we have an outright ban on arms shipments that would be used to commit the horrors of genocide, war crimes and attacks on civilians. And I don’t think that should be taken lightly.

    This treaty will prevent irresponsible arms trading by stigmatizing arms transfers to war criminals.  It will require arms exporters to seriously take human rights into account before selling arms to dealers in countries.  It will mandate signatories to close down their safe havens for rogue arms dealers that exploit their weak laws and transfer arms to war criminals with impunity.  And it will require that states are transparent in their arms transfer decisions. These are all really important advancement.

    But I do want to say that the ATT is not a panacea.  Having a piece of paper, as thick and wordy and verbose as this is, is not going to stop all of the consequences of the poorly and unregulated trade and conventional arms.  It is one tool in what has to be a larger toolbox of strategies to address the negative consequences that happen when arms are diverted, illegally traded or irresponsibly traded.

    But it will help us encourage predictability and transparency in the arms trade.  It will help clamp down on the diversion of arms from the illegal to the illicit market.  It will support information exchange and encourage governments to work together to address known trafficking routes or the activities of known arms dealers.

    It will clarify national arms trade networks, which is important.  Companies can know what the rules are in the countries in which they’re operating and how to better facilitate their global trade.  It will help develop best practices for national export control frameworks, including regulations for transit and transshipment countries, countries which notoriously have had fewer export – or fewer control regimes.

    It will help regions harmonize their own national and regional laws and regulations that are related to the import and export of conventional arms.  It provides a dispute settlement mechanism for questions that arise on particular arms sales.  It creates a multilateral forum for us to discuss arms trade issues which, if you know anything about the United Nations or the Conference on Disarmament, has been less than functional in the last two decades.  And so that’s quite important as well.

    The treaty that came out of the U.N. conference is robust, but I do want to mention that it reflects probably the best compromise that could have been achieved on this complex issue.  And it really takes into account the views of exporters, of importers, of transit and transshipment states, of small and developing countries, of countries with sophisticated export control regimes.

    So by no means is this text perfect, but it is, I think, the best compromise that could have been achieved.  And I think the vote at the United Nations demonstrated the capacity for this treaty to bring so many countries on board and the sheer number of countries that have already signed and ratified also reflect that this treaty has widespread acceptance.

    I believe that the text is strong where it needs to be strong.  It’s balanced where it needs to be balanced and, if it is implemented according to the obligations that are outlined, does have the potential to be effective in stopping the irresponsible illegal arms trade.  And we can talk in the Q-and-A about some of the specific areas of the treaty text that I know have caused some concerns or questions.

    The treaty will go into effect 90 days after the 50th ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty.  The treaty opened for signature of June 3rd of this year, so just a few months after the text was negotiated.  Since then, already 114 countries have signed on and eight have ratified.  So best guess would be probably – particularly with the number of EU countries that are holding their instruments of ratification waiting for their EU instructions, my assumption would be probably in the next two years we’ll see the Arms Trade Treaty go into effect.

    But I do want to stress that even if every country in the world signed the treaty, every country ratified the treaty, it’s not going to change things overnight.  This is a long-term process.  This is creating global norms and standards.  And so it’s, as I mentioned, just one piece of a larger puzzle that we can use to tackle some of these complex challenges.  But I do believe the ATT was a good start to having a multilateral discussion on these issues and providing a multilateral forum to address these issues.

    Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Thanks.  Adotei, why don’t you tell us about this from the human rights angle?  The floor is yours.

    ADOTEI AKWEI:  Sure.  Thank you.  I would also like to thank Assistant Secretary Countryman and his team for the leadership and perseverance they showed in getting us to a place that there were doubts that we would get to along the way, especially for Amnesty that has worked on this treaty for over 25 years.

    This treaty is fundamentally about human rights, human security and seeking to curb the laissez-faire mentality of the unregulated global arms trade.

    We know that it is not a silver bullet, and the proof of the pudding will be in securing the signatures of all of the major arms-exporting countries, including China and Russia, the treaty coming into force and ensuring transparency and effective compliance by all of the signatories.  We have just taken a major step, but it is only one step forward.

    For over 50 years Amnesty International has produced reports on the impact of light arms and intergovernmental transfers of conventional weapons.  These reports include ongoing violence in countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Syria and many others.  During a 10-year period, between 1991 and 2002, Amnesty concluded that 60 percent of the human rights abuses and atrocities that we documented, from mass rapes and disappearances to executions and the recruitment of child soldiers, involved the use of light weapons, weapons that flow unregulated into conflict zones and also outside of conflict zones.  So there are many, many reasons why the treaty was desperately needed.

    The numbers in terms of mortality included about roughly 200,000 in conflict zones and another 300,000 outside of conflict zones.  Those are just deaths by violence linked with small arms.  There are also the displacement of about 28 million people, who have had to flee conflicts, those people who are cut off from medical assistance, from their homes, from security, those who are no longer able to enjoy secure livelihoods.  The cost in development to those regions and to those countries are massive.  And our colleagues at Oxfam and other development organizations have done incredible research showing the human and economic cost of armed conflict, as well as violence in nonconflict zones.

    There are also, of course, the role that the arms trade contributes or facilitates in terms of gender-based violence and mass rape.  While many may be aware of what’s going on in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as a primary example, there are also many parts of the world where violence against women done at gunpoint is standard and daily fare.  And hopefully, those things are now going to be challenged and corrected.

    So there are also the positives.  And I know that Rachel has already started to talk a little bit about some of the potential impact of the ATT, but I’d just like to run through a few of them in terms of our assessment in terms of human rights.

    First, the ATT asserts the principle, which is already enshrined in U.S. law, that states have an obligation to weigh the human rights implications of a proposed arms transaction before authorizing a weapons export.  This provision will help level the playing field among weapon suppliers by applying the same high standard across all would-be exporters, and it removes the argument that someone else will sell the weapons to them, even if we don’t.

    It demands accountability for gender-based violence.  I just mentioned that.  The ATT explicitly recognizes that civilians bear the main burden of armed violence and requires exporting countries to assess the risk that weapons that they propose to supply will be used to commit gender-based violence and violence against civilians.

    The Arms Trade Treaty is comprehensive.  It covers not only transportation and transit but also brokering.  And hopefully, this will prevent the diversion of lawfully supplied weapons to the black market.

    It makes it harder for armed groups and criminals to get weapons.  It makes it harder for warlords to get weapons.  It outlaws the most egregious arms transfers.  The ATT prohibits transfers to those who use them to commit atrocities, including crimes against humanity, attacks against civilians, rape as a war crime and other great violations of international humanitarian law.  Making this principle explicit and legally binding is a critical step towards protecting civilians from attack.

    The ATT will also help make war profiteering harder.  It will be harder for weapons traffickers to profit from conflict by funneling arms to warlords who terrorize civilians.  It will significantly raise the cost of making irresponsible transfers and hopefully will reduce or even remove the profit motive for those who only care about money.

    The ATT will also keep states from pouring what we call gas onto the fire.  It will keep states from pouring weapons into conflict zones, making bad situations far more violent and deadly and for their own political ends.

    It provides international support for securing weapons.  The Arms Trade Treaty creates a mechanism to financially support the implementation of arms export control systems in poor countries, helping authorities to, in these countries, prevent weapons from going to those who will use them irresponsibly.

    There is quite a lot of work still ahead of us.  The leadership of the United States is going to be critical in helping ensure compliance.  And organizations like Amnesty and other NGOs will have to take on quite a lot of work in terms of effective compliance and exposing the platform of transparency that this treaty affords us.  But like the others in this room, I think we all understand it.  This is a major step forward, and we are very excited about it, and we see it as a victory for human rights.  Thank you.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Adotei.

    Tom, thank you again for being here, for your hard work.  Please share with us your perspectives on the ATT and where we go next.

    TOM COUNTRYMAN:  OK.  Thanks very much, Daryl, for the opportunity to be here.  Thanks to the Stimson Center for organizing this.

    We are ready to discuss at every opportunity the Arms Trade Treaty.  We’re ready to discuss it with people who don’t agree with us and have offered to do so with people who don’t agree with us repeatedly with very little response.  So we will seize this opportunity as every other opportunity.

    It was a great pleasure for me to be present when Secretary Kerry signed the Arms Trade Treaty.  It was a significant milestone, represented the culmination of years of work in order to limit the black market and illegal trade in conventional weapons.

    We’re grateful to those outside of the U.S. government – and I see a number represented here today – who participated in preparations, not just in preparing the public ground for adoption of the ATT but in helping the U.S. delegation to sharpen our focus, to consider every issue.

    As a consequence, an interagency team that every American ought to be proud of for their excellent work was able to conclude an agreement that every involved agency of the executive branch agreed would only strengthen and would not detract from American commercial, political and economic interest and security interest.  So it’s a significant achievement, and we thank partners across the world and across society.

    Let me build on what Rachel said to compare briefly what the treaty requires with what the United States already does.  Becoming a party to the treaty would not require any additional export or import controls for the United States, full stop.  Let’s look at the provisions that Rachel mentioned.

    Most plainly, it requires states parties to establish and maintain an export control system.  The United States has one.  It is comprehensive.  It is complex.  And it exceeds the requirements of the Arms Trade Treaty.

    The treaty requires that this export control system include a process to conduct risk assessments and proposed exports, requires an exporting state to deny an export authorization when there’s an overriding risk that a proposed transfer could be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law or acts of terrorism.

    These criteria, with which every exporting state party would assess an export of conventional arms, are fully consistent with existing practice.  United States law passed by Congress exceeds the standards of the Arms Trade Treaty here as well.

    The treaty requires state parties to license exports of ammunition or munitions fired, launched or delivered by the conventional arms covered by the treaty.  We do this now.  U.S. law passed by the Congress exceeds the standards of the ATT.

    The treaty requires parties to control parts and components if they would allow the end user to assemble a conventional weapon covered by the treaty.  Here again, U.S. law passed by Congress exceeds the standards of the ATT.

    The treaty lays out provisions for controlling imports that are consistent with what the United States already does.  The same with transit and transshipment provisions, the same with brokering provisions.  In each case, United States law and regulations approved by the Congress exceeds the standards of the treaty.

    Finally, the ATT requires states parties to create national control lists to make clear which conventional arms are controlled for imports and exports.  These are not lists of users.  These are not lists of owners.  These are lists of categories of weapons.  We have had exactly such a list in place for several decades.  It’s called the U.S. Munitions List.

    The items that the ATT would require to be placed on such control lists are based on the U.N. register of conventional arms, with the addition of small arms and light weapons.  That list, mandated by the treaty, is not as extensive as the U.S. control list.  Once again, U.S. law passed by the Congress exceeds the standards of the treaty.

    Why is the treaty in our national interest?  Because in most countries of the world, their standards are far below those mandated by the Arms Trade Treaty.  Most states in the world, including some important exporting states, do not have a national system in place to make such decisions on exports of conventional arms.

    This is in our interest, not because it will prevent every questionable transfer in the world, but because it will increase the likelihood that transfers to undesirable actors, whether they are states or criminal organizations or terrorists, will become more difficult.

    It also provides us with another tool in our toolbox, in our diplomatic and political interaction, with states that are acting irresponsibly in conventional arms transfers.  It is another pressure point that the United States, other states and civil society can utilize in order to discourage poor judgment in arms exports and bad and brutal behavior by the world’s worst regimes.

    And it requires cooperation with other states to combat unlawful diversion of conventional arms.  It provides yet another opening for something that the United States already does, to work together with other nations to prevent the diversion of conventional weapons into the black and gray markets.

    Let me deal rapidly with some of the inaccurate allegations that are made about the effects of this treaty.

    It does not imperil the rights of United States citizens, including those secured by the Second Amendment.  It does not undermine national sovereignty.  It does not require any measure that would impact the rights of American gun owners, which are guaranteed by the Second Amendment.  That responsibility lies with the Congress and lies with the states.  It does not lies with the United Nations, and the United Nations treaty does nothing to require any such action by the United States.

    President has said that he strongly believes in the Second Amendment guarantee of an individuals’ rights to buy arms.  Our instructions were clear, that we could not agree to any treaty that infringed upon such rights.  We did not.  This treaty is focused on international trade in conventional weapons.  The treaty itself recognizes the freedom of both individuals and countries to obtain, possess and use arms for legitimate purposes, including in commercial trade.

    This treaty does not undermine national sovereignty.  It reaffirms explicitly the right and responsibility of each country to decide for itself, consistent with its own constitution, with its own legal requirements, how to deal with conventional arms use exclusively within its own borders.

    And finally, it’s fully consistent with existing United States law and practice on the international transfer of conventional arms, as I’ve already explained.

    How do we move forward?  How do we realize some of the humanitarian benefit that Adotei has sketched and that we all hope for?

    First, it’s important to have more countries become party to the treaty.  If we do so, we build a stronger network of states committed to preventing a flourishing black market in conventional weapons.  If we improve export and import controls in each state around the world, as the ATT seeks to do, this will help to slow illegal arms trafficking.  In order to fully realize the benefits of the ATT, however, it must be part of an integrated strategy that each state should pursue, and that more developed states should assist other states to realize.

    Let’s start with the most basic things that are necessary.  An export control system on the part of every exporting state on the planet is a good beginning, but it does not immediately solve the humanitarian crisis in a number of countries in Africa and elsewhere that provided the original ethical impulse to this treaty.

    What else is needed?  First, those states that are facing these kinds of civil violence have to focus, even more than on export controls, on import controls.  States in Africa need credible legislation to control imports of conventional weapons, and the U.S. and the European Union are ready to assist on that.

    Second, to back up that legislation, states facing civil conflict need effective border control and effective noncorrupt customs services.  The United States, the European Union and others are ready to build on already-existing programs to strengthen these capacities.

    Third, states that face civil violence need to develop further their capabilities and what we call stockpile management.  How do you prevent weapons legitimately acquired for use by national police or military officials from going out the back door?  How do you maintain accountability for stockpiles of weapons and ammunitions?  Department of Defense and Department of State already assist a number of countries around the world in this crucial endeavor, and we’re prepared to do more.

    We need to see states build legal frameworks that will enable them to effectively prosecute illegal traffickers, and to make illegal arms markets a priority for their investigative and prosecutorial and judicial capabilities.  Again, there’s lots of help available from countries around the world in building the rule of law, in fighting corruption.

    And finally, states also need to stop exporting weapons to neighboring states in order to support a particular party or faction.  It was occasionally frustrating to hear some of the states at the negotiations that made the most emotional pleas about what was necessary to stop civil violence, and to hear that coming from the representatives of the same states who were actively sending weapons – as a matter of policy, not as a matter of customs inefficiency – into neighboring states.  That needs to stop.  We need to talk about it openly.  These are the steps that can build upon the extremely important foundation of the arms trade treaty to truly realize the humanitarian benefits that the treaty promises.

    Working together, I’m confident that using both this treaty and all the other tools of international cooperation available to us, we can make a real dent in the illegal trade and make a real contribution to human welfare.  Thanks.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.  Thank you all for your excellent overview.  We’ve got a lot of material to discuss, and I want to open up the floor to questions so that we can have a discussion on some of the issues that have been raised.  And we have a couple of microphones on either side, so raise your hand.  Go ahead.

    Q:  Thanks.  And congratulations to all three of you.  It was very, very helpful.

    Tom, you raised such a nice menu of follow-on activity that would make the treaty even more meaningful for the countries that do have trouble controlling the movement of weapons within their countries.

    Could you talk to us a little bit about how much of this is a kind of whole-of-government experience in the U.S.  Is the Treasury Department involved?  Tell us a little bit more who the American players are.  And is there any role for the private sector in some of this outreach activity?

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  That’s a good question.  I’m certain I could not make a comprehensive list of all the different U.S. agencies and bureaus that are involved in helping other countries deal with the issue.  I know within my own Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, our export control and border security program makes real contributions to countries around the world in developing legislation and regulations, and in actual training of Border and Customs personnel, and some provision of necessary equipment to back it up.  In that, the essential partner is Department of Homeland Security, and trainers both active and retired from the Customs and Border Patrol Service.

    I know that our colleagues in Political Military Affairs and the Weapons Removal and Abatement Office do extensive work in helping countries deal with excess munitions.  It’s a big problem in a number of countries that have stockpiles of weapons left over from previous conflicts that are not secured and that find their way into new conflicts in other countries.  So WRA has not only destroyed millions of landmines around the world, but they’ve helped countries to destroy weapons that are far in excess of what that country needs.  Department of Defense manages, as I said, the stockpile management program that helps countries to secure and prevent diversion of legitimate stockpiles needed by military and police officials.  I think if we sat around long enough, we’d think of several more programs that we’re already doing and that we’re happy to expand, especially upon those countries that show the most determination to address the humanitarian conflicts within their borders.

    MS. STOHL:  Can I just add to that as well that one of the provisions in the treaty – it’s actually two provisions, but they go hand in hand – is international cooperation and assistance.  And it is not just – it’s up to states to identify what they need, but the providers of the resources and the capacity-building exercises that would be required can come from a whole variety of stakeholders that are listed, including, you know, nongovernmental entities, regional organizations, civil society.  So there is the realization that this is not just something for governments to singlehandedly try to address, that it does require kind of creative problem-solving capacity building that would involve everyone from the private sector to nongovernmental organizations as well.


    Yes, sir.  Why don’t we wait for the microphone.  Ed Levine.

    Q:  Tom, you ran down a very important list of requirements in this treaty that are already exceeded by U.S. law or regulation policy.  I would think that it will be important for people to have available to them a roadmap to those elements of law, regulation and policy so that they know where to find them and don’t have to guess as to whether you were accurate in your presentation.  I wonder whether that is in the section-by-section analysis and whether that’s completed, or whether there will be some other document that will provide that information.

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  No, it’s an excellent idea to have it readily available.  It will certainly be in the section-by-section analysis that ultimately goes to the Senate.  I think if anybody has any doubt about it, all they need to do is talk to any major United States arms exports about the thoroughness of current U.S. regulations and ask them to compare it with the ATT requirements.

    MR. KIMBALL:  And on the – now you bring up some of those actors.  Could you also just comment on – you can’t necessarily speak for them, but the response or some of the views that you’ve gotten from industry representatives following the negotiation and signature?  And I know that you and others in the administration were in close touch with industry on the negotiations, on concerns they had but, I mean, would you say they’re – they are comfortable with the – with the final product?

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  You’re not trying to put words in my mouth.

    MR. KIMBALL:  I’m not trying to – I’m asking you what your assessment is.

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  Oh.  (Laughter.)  We did consult closely with industry – I feel never closely enough when you’re in a negotiation that’s moving that rapidly, as it did the final week or two in New York.  We could have always used more input.

    I feel confident that the commercial interests of the United States were well defended.  It was never a primary purpose of the treaty to advance U.S. commercial interests.  And in fact, I’m surprised by how nonexistent the discussion of economic and commercial matters was throughout the entire negotiation of the treaty.

    But certainly the United States did not want a legitimate, strong industry such as the U.S. defense industry disadvantaged by anything in the treaty.  We succeeded in that, and I haven’t heard anything contrary to that from any United States industry representative.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right, we had a couple of other questions.  Yes, sir?  And then we’ll come over here.

    Q:  Hi.  I was wondering, is there any organization provided for in the treaty or other kind of means for consultation or anything of that sort?

    MS. STOHL:  So there is – Tom’s pointing at me.  (Laughter.)  There is a Conference of States Parties that is provided for under the treaty, but there is also a secretariat that will, at some point as decided by the Conference of States Parties, administer the logistical functions of that conference.  So there will be a forum for states to discuss issues that come up related to the treaty as well as kind of, is the treaty having the impact we desired?  If not, why?  How can we better coordinate our implementation of the treaty, work together on perhaps intelligence sharing or cooperation on border controls?  That might be of help.

    So there is a mechanism provided.  Currently everything is very provisional because the treaty has not yet entered into force.  But once it does, there will be a meeting of the Conference of States Parties that will kind of lay out some of those ideas.  The treaty just provides a framework.  It will be up to the state’s parties themselves to decide what best fits the needs of the states.

    MR. KIMBALL:  And I would just also add that, you know, contrary to some of the claims of some of the critics, the opponents, what you see in the treaty described for that secretariat is extremely minimal, right?  This is not a new U.N. bureaucracy by any stretch of the imagination.

    And in order to facilitate a meeting of states parties involving well over a hundred states, you do have to have a handful of people to simply shuffle the paper.  And so in my estimation, based upon what’s in the text – I mean, we’re looking at an administrative function primarily, but it will be, as you say, up to the states parties to determine the role.  And there are a lot of issues that will have to be discussed over the years by the states parties regarding implementation and reporting as the treaty evolves over time.

    I think – yes sir.  Over here, please.

    Q:  Hi.  I was wondering, how did the treaty impact, say, U.S. policy or programs such as foreign military sales, foreign military financing, where relations with a country – take Egypt, for example, what some might call a military coup d’état or others call a people’s liberation action – how that might impact or, some might say, tie our hands regarding those programs in the future due to the treaty?

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  I see no impact.  Our hands are already tied by our own legislation and policies.  And more importantly, our hands are already tied by the difficult political and ethical judgments that we have to make every day when we talk about arms sales.  The treaty in no way either raises those standards or complicates the decision.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right, why don’t we go to the back?  And then we’ll come over here to the left.

    Q:  Hi.  My question is for Tom.  I think there are recently 50 senators that sent a letter to the president that they just want to oppose this ratification of the treaty.  So it seems that it’s very unlikely for the Congress to approve this treaty.  So how do you comment this?  Thank you.

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  I read the letter because I think it’s important, before one comments on an important document like the letter from a senator or a treaty, that one should read that document first.  I understand their arguments.  I think some of them are inaccurate allegations.

    We have offered, we’ll continue to offer, to brief senators one at a time or 50 at a time, to listen carefully to their concerns, to express some of the same points that I made today.  They bear a heavy responsibility in making such a decision.  I don’t expect it to be a decision that they need to face in the immediate future, but I think it’s important to have that conversation and have an honest exchange of views as early and as frequently as possible, and I look forward to such an opportunity.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Yes, in the middle, Linda Delgado, and then we’ve got one other here in the front.  Linda.

    Q:  Hi.  Thanks, Daryl.  Linda Delgado with Oxfam.

    Adotei mentioned our research, and I just wanted folks to know that I arrived late but I put copies of our “Saving Lives with Common Sense,” which is about the Arms Trade Treaty – it was recently approved for release in September – out on the front desk.  Please take a copy on your way out.

    And I had a quick question for Assistant Secretary Countryman.  In relation to the New York Times editorial that came out October 18th on the loosening of laws, the loosening of regulatory controls of military exports, I was just whether you could comment on that and on the critique that’s emerging around that.

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  On export control reform.

    Q:  Yes.

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  I did not read the article.  We believe – I’ll just make the most general comment, which it has – it has been the objective of this administration to follow through on what several administrations in a row and generations’ worth of both congressional leaders and industry leaders have seen as a need to reform the export control system to maintain high standards for those goods that are most sensitive to our national security, but to seek to simplify the process for items that are less sensitive, perhaps less sensitive than they were a generation ago.

    The administration has pursued that to the maximum extent it can through administrative action, and the results have been welcomed, I think, by the majority of American industry.  It does not solve all problems, but it also does not weaken our commitment to having high standards on decisions on conventional arms exports.  More specifically I can’t comment on the article.

    MR. KIMBALL:  And I would just mention that there was a healthy exchange of views in Arms Control Today, the journal of my organization.  There was a very detailed reply to an article that ran critical of the export control reform initiative that was put forward by Tom’s boss, Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of state, so you might take a look at Arms Control Today for that discussion about some of the issues with the export control reform initiative.

    All right, here in the front, Jeff, and then the person in the back in the green.

    Q:  Hi, and thanks for having this event and for all your comments so far.  It’s good to see you all. I’m wondering how you’re feeling about what’s happening at that international level.  One of the criticisms we hear in the U.S. on the Arms Trade Treaty is about, well, if X country or Y country doesn’t join that that’s going to be problematic.  I think you addressed that in some of your comments.  But you know, we had very positive statements from both China and Israel were some of the things that happened.  But I wonder if you have a feel sort of at that international level about what we’re seeing and whether the U.S. is getting accolades along the ways and helping – (inaudible).

    MR. KIMBALL:  And you’re referring to the U.N. First Committee debate that just concluded?  All right, just to be clear.

    MS. STOHL:  Sure. I’d always defer to Tom.  That’s usually a good policy.  (Laughter.)  But since he’s pointing, I think that there was a lot of enthusiasm for the ATT in the recent First Committee debate.  I think there was also a lot of interest in ensuring that the ATT is more than just the paper that it’s written on and that there is clear guidance and assistance for what the obligations actually are, what states need to do to comply with its obligations and how they can acquire the assistance that they may need to ensure that they are able to function in a way that is consistent with the ATT.

    I think, as you mentioned China, I heard that the U.S. signature was actually a good motivator for the Chinese to take this issue up again.  They had always been – you know, this – as I mentioned in my comments, this treaty was very carefully negotiated.  It really did represent a compromise where the major arms exporters and importers felt as though their needs were being best addressed.  And I think that China’s – we’ve talked in the past, China’s vote in the General Assembly in April was really more about the process rather than the treaty itself.  And so they were much more forthcoming in their interest in pursuing signature in October during the First Committee than they have been, I think.

    I think there were other countries that also had been a bit skeptical about the Arms Trade Treaty that now are seeing that there is a political will not only within individual governments but within regions, that there might be benefits to joining the treaty, that it wasn’t just an exporters’ treaty, that there were benefits for importers, for small countries, for transit, trans-shipment countries.  So I think there was generally enthusiasm, but also tempered with this concern that they will understand what they need to do and to be in compliance and not be called out for somehow violating an aspect of the treaty they didn’t understand entirely.

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  I don’t know what folks have been saying about the United States in the First Committee the last couple of weeks.  I do know that we don’t do this for the accolades.  If our primary concern was what our colleagues from Europe or Africa or somewhere else thought about us, then in July of 2012, we would have stepped aside and allowed a draft treaty that had some good ideas but was utterly defective as a treaty to move ahead and be adopted.

    Our concern is – this will shock you coming from an American, I know, but our concern in foreign policy is not to be loved but to get it right.  And that’s what we do when we’re negotiating with Iran or on Syrian chemical weapons or on the Arms Trade Treaty.  And I think our determination to stick to that standard is what led to a stronger treaty this year than what we could have accomplished last year.

    In terms of whether that influences other countries, I think there are certain countries that care very much and will base their decision on signature upon the fact that the United States has signed.  And I can’t speak for the Chinese government, but I think China falls into that category, that our signature is important to their decision on participation in the treaty.

    In general, the trend is positive in that countries that were deeply skeptical earlier this year are thinking about it.  Countries that abstained on the General Assembly vote in April are now looking at this positively, as something they may be able to sign.  It is not a fatal defect of the treaty if a major arms exporter fails to sign, but obviously, the more countries that sign, the stronger the treaty will be.

    MR. KIMBALL:  One other thing just to remember with respect to treaty – the history of treaties and how they evolve over time.  You know, as we all know, at the moment, the ATT has 114 signatories.  Three other major countries, India, Russia, China, are not yet signatories.  But if we look back to the history of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which came into force in 1970, negotiated in 1968, China and France were not signatories to the treaty for many years after entry into force, two of the other nuclear-armed states at the time the treaty came into effect.

    So, you know, going back to the theme that Rachel hit in the opening, this is the first step.  Diplomacy does not occur at Twitter speed.  (Laughter.)  The Russians will realize over time that they are outside the mainstream on the Arms Trade Treaty, and there will be more pressure over time for countries like Russia and China to be part of the mainstream.  I mean, the value of the ATT is that there is now a standard that all states recognize, even if they are not signatories to the treaty yet.

    Q:  To build on what the woman in the back row was asking, many of the senators who are opposed to the treaty have said the reason that they’re opposed is because they made it clear to the U.S. delegation and to the U.N., U.N. officials as well, that the treaty needed to specifically exempt civilian firearms.  They say that didn’t happen.  How do you deal with that?

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  Well, if the United States were writing the treaty all alone, it would have looked just like the U.S. Constitution.  That’s not an option that we have in diplomacy.  What we can do is to vigorously defend the rights of United States citizens and the interests of the United States as a nation.  Yes, it would have been nice if the entire Second Amendment were replicated in the preamble of the treaty.  It would have no legal effect.

    There would be no manner in which replicating the Second Amendment in the preamble would better protect the rights of U.S. citizens than what is in the preamble, because there is nothing in the preamble, but more importantly in the operative paragraphs, that impinges upon the rights of United States citizens, nothing that requires the U.S. government to change its practices in any way, specifically nothing that would require a restriction of individual rights of American citizens and nothing that could impose upon the Congress and the states a decision that belongs only to the Congress and the states.

    There’s a lot of things that I would love to change in the treaty that would make it less verbose, that would have the kind of elegant language that our Founding Fathers were able to put into our Constitution.  There were a lot of good people in New York, but none of them were named Franklin or Washington.  (Laughter.)

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Yes, sir.

    Q:  Thank you.  Tom, under international law, a state that has signed a treaty but has not ratified it is obliged not to take any action inconsistent with the object and purpose of a treaty.  Has the administration given any consideration to what kind of action would be inconsistent with the object and purpose of this treaty by the United States or any other power that has signed but not ratified the ATT?

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  You’re correct; that’s an obligation of states that have signed.  We won’t take any such action.  I haven’t thought about going out looking for trouble – (laughter) – looking for examples that would be contrary or making such a list.  It’s an interesting question to think about.  I guess I just don’t see the immediate practicality of the question.

    MR. KIMBALL:  And I would just add that we also have to remember this treaty was just negotiated in April, opened for signature in June, signed by the United States in September.  Tom has been doing a few other things since September, like getting rid of Syria’s chemical arsenal.

    You know, I think some of these questions will be addressed over time.  I mean, what I think is the most important next step in terms of process is – you referenced this earlier – the article-by-article analysis that the executive branch will put together in connection with the ATT that will, like other article-by-article analyses of other treaties, outline what the United States’ views are of what the treaty’s provisions do.  It will not reinterpret that, but it will provide some further detail about this.  So I will just say that will probably be the first place to look for some answers to your question.

    Mr. Levine, who knows a few things about article-by-article analyses from his time at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    Q:  Tom, you indicated that the U.S. action to hold up agreement last year was beneficial.  It might be useful to get a list of what was achieved between the 2012 version and the 2013 version.  And on one particular issue, I would be interested in knowing how things went on the ammunition issue and what you think of those provisions.

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  They went swimmingly.  (Laughter.)  I think the provisions achieved the purpose of not requiring the United States to adopt new detailed regulations that would have little or no humanitarian benefit while leaving open the possibility for other states to adopt such measures if they wish.

    I don’t think that we want to jump into the paragraph-by-paragraph comparison of the July text with the March text.  Anybody else can do that.

    Q:  Yeah.  Hi.  Let me just offer one specific example of an important change that had to be made that was made between the two texts.  And as Tom just said, though, if you go and carefully read them, you’ll find other ones as well.  But the language on amendments changed, because the way that the amendments article was originally written in July, states would have been bound by amendments that they had not actually accepted, and that absolutely had to be fixed between the two texts, and it was fixed in the March text.  And it’s one that people are signing.

    Now you actually have to accept an amendment, and there is – it lays out, you know, the numbers required and stuff, but you actually have to – for a state to be bound by an amendment after it signed the treaty, it actually has to accept it, and that was an important change.

    MS. STOHL:  I think, as someone who was perhaps quite intimately involved in the both – drafting of both texts, I think the biggest improvement is that there is clarity where there needed to be clarity and flexibility where there needs to be flexibility.

    I think also there was the misframing of the treaty as really an exporters’ treaty and that importers weren’t getting anything out of this treaty, that it didn’t help them in any way.  Excuse me.  I think the new section on diversion, which wasn’t there in 2012, I think, addresses not only the concerns of importing states but also gives practical ways in which exporters can work in partnership with importing countries to ensure that legal arms do not end up – that are – that are legitimate, responsible, well-intended are not used for illicit and harmful purposes.  I think that was a real strengthening as well that I think sometimes gets missed because it doesn’t have a lot of operational teeth, but it provides, again, a framework whereby states can work together, which I think is, again, quite important.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Let’s take maybe one or two more questions before we start to wrap up.

    Q:  Thanks.  My question goes to the domestic gun rights debate.  Is there something in the treaty that is being misconstrued or could be clarified to make it clearer that there are no domestic gun controls in this treaty?  Or in your view is this just something that’s been cooked up out of the opposition to be critical?

    MS. STOHL:  Well, I can’t presume to guess what critics are – why they’re making arguments that they’re making.  But I will say that one thing that I’ve been asked a lot about is this idea of the national control list and people misinterpreting that as a gun registry – in other words, a list of people who own, purchase weapons within a state’s borders.  I think that is just a misunderstanding of what a national control list is.  As Tom mentioned, we have the U.S. munitions list.  We also have the commerce control list.  Under the new reform there’s a third list of other items.  So we’re drowning in national control lists in this country.

    MR. KIMBALL:  And they’ve been around for many, many, many years.

    MS. STOHL:  And they have been around for many years.  I think the confusion is – what this treaty does – and perhaps it hasn’t been articulated precisely enough – is it doesn’t say your list has to have A, B, C and D; your national export control system, with very great detail, has to do these things.  What it – it establishes a framework for states to incorporate.  Not everybody needs a system – I hope not everybody needs a system like the United States – for its export controls or for its import controls.  But many states have no system whatsoever and have a patchwork of maybe policy decisions.  So the intent here is to create a national framework to address conventional arms transfers that occur internationally in a way that is consistent and understood around the world.  So it’s establishing that global framework.  It is not saying within a country you have to have a list of everybody that purchases a weapon.  It’s saying you have to have a system to deal with exports, imports, brokering, transit and transshipment for cross-border trade of conventional weapons.  So I think that’s one area where there’s been some misunderstanding.

    MR. KIMBALL:  Adotei?

    MR. AKWEI:  I think, you know, one is reminded of the – was it the “Dragnet” phrase? – you know, “just the facts.”  And I think Rachel has been fairly gracious, but I think Tom has been a little bit more forceful in saying if you read the facts, it’s pretty hard to misinterpret, you know, what the treaty does and what it doesn’t do.  And so, you know, I think that we should be concerned, perhaps, about a deliberate misinformation effort, and we need to counter that, and especially on something as important as this, which is just not impacting, you know, hundreds of thousands of people in terms of mortality, in terms of millions of people, in terms of displacement, you’re – there are clear benefits to the United States.  It’s hard to see how you can continue to argue against something that is both good globally as well as nationally, and that, I think, demands a little bit more accountability about just going to the facts and having an honest, accurate discussion.

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  I wanted to just raise one other question for the panelists that was raised by the 50 senators in their letter from October 15th that I find a little confusing in their letter regarding the process by which the treaty was eventually adopted at the U.N.  As we all know, the United States entered the negotiations with the ATT in 2009 on the basis of the consensus rule for negotiations, and that was the basis for the negotiations through the spring of 2013.  But then there were three countries, Syria, Iran and North Korea, who blocked consensus at the last minute, which led a group of states, including the United States, the U.K. and others, to take the treaty text that they all supported and agreed to to the U.N.  General Assembly.  The senators’ letter argues that – it says, and I quote, “We fear that this reversal of the approach going off the consensus rule has done grave damage to the diplomatic credibility of the United States.”  I find it a little befuddling as to why they believe that taking a treaty that we support and most other countries support that’s not supported by Iran, North Korea and Syria does grave damage to our credibility.

    Can any one of you address this or – and maybe explain the circumstances for the U.S. decision to work with our allies to take this treaty to the U.N. General Assembly so we could see it through.  I think I just said two things.  I’m certain none of the senators meant to endorse the blocking of consensus by Iran, North Korea or Syria.  I understand their theoretical argument about why this could cause a loss to United States diplomatic credibility.  I would give credence to that argument if I heard it from a single foreign government or diplomat.  Every one of them involved in the process believes that U.S. credibility has been enhanced rather than diminished by this process.

    MS. STOHL:  Could I say two things to that?  One, I’ll say as an American, I would hope that Syria, North Korea and Iran don’t dictate the policy of my government.  So I’m just – as an American, I would like to say that.  From a process perspective, however, when the – when Secretary Clinton made that statement in October of 2009 in supporting the consensus-based process, that was in a response to the U.N. resolution establishing the treaty negotiations that culminated, in 2012, in failure because there was no consensus.

    A new process was begun in October of 2012, a new resolution that established the process to negotiate the treaty in March 2013.  That was a different resolution with a different set of rules of how the treaty would be negotiated and what the process for its conclusion would be.  The United States supported that resolution, did not make a new statement about its involvement in the negotiation process, but that process, that resolution, allowed the treaty to be moved from the conference, where the consensus was blocked, to the General Assembly.

    So there actually was no contradiction with U.S. policy.  It was something that was continued by the resolution.  And so I am not concerned that there was a break in – I mean, not that I need to defend the U.S. here, but that has never been an argument that’s made any sense to me because we had a new – it really was a new and final process in March of 2013.

    MR. COUNTRYMAN:  I don’t quite agree with that argument, but I’ll let it go.  (Laughter.)

    MR. KIMBALL:  All right, are there any other questions from the crowd?  If not, I just want to ask each of you if you have any closing thoughts that you want to finish with.  I want to – yes?  No?

    I mean, let me just – let me just sum up a couple things.  I mean, first of all, I want to thank each of you for your very thorough and expert presentations.  And I think – speak for myself and Adotei and Rachel, I mean, I hope that, you know, this is the beginning of a serious process to take a look at the key components of the treaty and what it is and what it isn’t.  And as Tom said, I mean, we’re looking forward to opportunities to engage the public and members of Congress about what the treaty is and what it isn’t, and we’ll continue to do this in the days ahead, and we have a lot of work that we need to do in order to see the treaty to its full value.  It’s going to be a many-years-long process.  It’s going to require many more governments than the United States just to make this a success, but the U.S. has done a very important part in getting us to this stage.

    So I want to thank you all for being here.  Please join me in thanking our panelists.  (Applause.)  And we will see you again.



    The United States signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on Sept. 25 at the United Nations in N.Y. The treaty opened for signature on June 3 and now has 114 signatories.


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