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August 27, 2018

Special Press Conference: P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Negotiations


Thursday, March 26, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

National Press Club, First Amendment Lounge
529 14th Street NW (13th Floor)
Washington D.C.

Transcript Available

Diplomats from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran are meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland in an effort to reach a political framework agreement for a comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal to block Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon.

The two sides have made significant progress on long-term solutions to many difficult challenges, but some gaps still remain. Even if and after a political framework agreement is concluded, the two sides will need to complete the detailed technical annexes associated with the implementation of the agreement.

On March 26, top national security and nonproliferation experts, as well as representatives from several national organizations supportive of an effective diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear challenge, provided their perspectives on the status of the talks, the value and impact of the potential agreement, and the next steps for the White House and Congress.

Speakers include:

  • Samuel R. Berger, National Security Advisor to President Bill Clinton
  • Robert J. Einhorn, former Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control, State Department
  • Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association
  • Dylan Williams, Director for Government Relations, J Street
  • Trita Parsi, President, National Iranian American Council
  • Kate Gould, Middle East Policy Advocate, Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association (moderator)

P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Negotiations

Transcript by the National Press Club

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good morning and welcome to this special Press Conference on the P5+1 in Iran nuclear negotiations. I'm Daryl Kimball. I'm Executive Director of the Arms Control Association. And we’re an independent research and policy organization dedicated to addressing and eliminating the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.

I'm joined here today at the press conference by several distinguished leaders who share our strong interest in the conclusion and successful implementation of an effective, verifiable, multiyear, diplomatic arrangement to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. We’ve convened this event to underscore some of the chief reasons why such a deal is in U.S. and international security interests, why such a deal is widely supported by a wide range of experts and the American public, and to explain why Congress has a role in the process, but why Congress must be careful not to wreck the chances for success.

At this very hour, the United States’ top diplomats and technical experts and their colleagues from the P5+1 group, are meeting with their Iranian counterparts in Lausanne, Switzerland to try to conclude a political framework agreement by the end of this month. Late yesterday, senior U.S. official traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry said, and I quote, “We can see a path forward here to get an agreement by March 31.”

Indeed, the two sides are very close to a win-win outcome that the Arms Control Association believes would be a net-plus for nuclear nonproliferation, the deal that the P5+1 are pursuing. A couple of key issues that still must be resolved, it appears as though setting limits on research and development on advanced centrifuge machines remains one of the most significant technical hurdles. But our sources indicate that that issue is probably resolvable.

Getting to yes, however, is also going to depend on squaring the circle on how to revise and update the UN Security Council resolutions that relate to Iran’s nuclear program, and which are essential to the international sanctions regime and eventually sanctions relief and removal.

Now this morning, as I said, we’re honored to be joined by several very distinguished people here today. Starting with Samuel R. Berger, National Security Advisor for President Bill Clinton, who is here on my right. Bob Einhorn, former Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control at the State Department. My colleague, Kelsey Davenport, our Nonproliferation Policy Director. Dylan Williams, Director of Government Relations for J Street. Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council. And Kate Gould, Middle East Policy Advocate with the Friends Committee of National Legislation.

So their full bios are in the packets on your chairs. Each of them, I want to stress, are speaking in their own individual capacity or on behalf of their own organizations. And after I invite Sandy Berger up to the podium for his opening remarks, we’ll hear from each of them for about two to three minutes, and then we’re going to be happy to take your questions on any of the issues relating to the talks, the role of Congress, or whatever.

So, it’s with great pleasure that I invite Sandy Berger to join us here. The podium is yours.


SANDY BERGER:  When Daryl lined us up here, I felt like I was standing before the firing squad. Hopefully that’s not the case. In the full two to three minutes that Daryl has allotted me, let me talk about three issues:  why I think this will be an agreement that enhances American security, what I see the alternatives being, and the regional context. Now, I stress there is no agreement. And the issues that continue to be negotiated are not trivial. They're significant. So you can't make a final judgment of an agreement that’s not final. But we’ll talk here on the basis of what we seem to know about the agreement.

Let me start with why I think the agreement will enhance American security. Many of these folks behind me, Bob Einhorn and others, are far more expert on the intricacies of nonproliferation. They can talk to you about breakout times and the additional protocol and all your questions about the technical and other aspects of nonproliferation. So I won't try to address that.

I would simply say, looking at it as a whole, I believe this agreement makes it more difficult for Iran to move towards a nuclear weapon than without the agreement. It stretches out the time that they would need to accumulate enough enriched uranium, both with respect to producing it themselves, and their stockpiles, to a point which should give us ample time to respond. It closes down, essentially, their plutonium production facility, which is another way in which they could make nuclear fuel. And it gives the international community unprecedented access, daily access to their nuclear facilities and their nuclear supply chain, not only for their declared sites, but they would be able to say, “We want to go over there. It’s not a declared site. But there's something fishy about it.” And so they’d be able to designate undeclared sites.

So, you know, for all those reasons, and let me just say one other thing, in terms of the duration, which has been widely discussed, I don’t know whether it’s going to be 10 years, 11 years, 12 years, it’s not going to be all-- each provision, I think, is going to have a different duration. But you know, the President, as far as I know, is not renouncing his commitment that if Iran seeks to develop a nuclear weapon, he will act. That survives this agreement.

So, at the end of, let’s say, 10 years, that still remains the commitment of the President, presumably the next President. So we’re not in a worse position 10 years from now, we’re essentially in the same position. Plus we’ll have 10 years of access to Iran, a lot more information about the nodes of communication and control and other information about potential target sets in Iran, which would enhance the ability for us to pursue a military attack. So for all those reasons, I think it makes it harder, more difficult for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

So what are the alternatives to this agreement? Well some say the alternatives to this agreement are war. Well, you know, I can conceive of a scenario in which no constraints, Iran rushes towards a nuclear weapon. Maybe they think we’re hell-bent on regime change. And we have to respond, as I think this President or any President would. I think that’s an unlikely scenario.

More foreboding, and I think maybe more likely, is that others in the region, the Saudis and the Emiratis and the Turks and others, seeing Iran with a nuclear capability, feel they need to acquire, buy, develop their own nuclear capabilities. So we have a Middle East, already really a tinderbox with three or four nuclear countries. That’s a very dangerous scenario.

But I actually think the most likely scenario is this. I think if these negotiations break down, it’s probable that Congress will pass new sanctions. And they’ve indicated that they would. I think that it’s quite unlikely that the P5, our negotiating partners, would go along with new sanctions. So from the start, we would break the unity that has got us to where we are.

Number two, I think it’s very unlikely that others in the world would go along with such sanctions. And the reason these sanctions that we have now have been effective is because they apply to all of Iran’s customers. So I think you know, we would have sanctions that would be--  would not demonstrate our strengths.

Third, I would go so far as to say that if negotiations broke down, unless we were able to keep the P5+1 together, and convince the world that negotiations failed because of Iranian intransigence, which won't be easy, given how far things have gone, I can see the sanctions regime just unraveling. There are a lot of countries in the sanctions regime, Japan, China, Korea, India, who don’t want to be there, who are there reluctantly because we leaned on them, who would like an opportunity to get out of them, who have less interest in the nuclear Iran than we do, and would like a pretext to say, “We were with you, but not any longer.”

Now there are some who say, “Well, we have unilateral sanctions. We’ll put our own sanctions on. And we’ll apply them exterritorialy, which we do now. So we’ll deny access to our market to Japanese banks if Japan violates these sanctions.” I find it very hard to imagine, in the context of sanctions that the world does not basically accept, that we’re going to proceed with an enforcement action against the Japanese Bank, backing it up with the proceeding in the Second District of New York, pursuing a Japanese-Chinese-Indian-European bank for violating these unilateral sanctions, which no one in the world supports. I think that’s just an empty threat.

So I think a reason to try, certainly not to accept an agreement that we don’t think is a good agreement, but to recognize that I don’t think you can sanction your way to a good agreement. These folks say, “Tough sanctions got them to the table. Tougher sanctions will get them to come back in a more compromising mood.” There's really no evidence that that is true. For eight years, Iran and Iraq were engaged in a bloody war, one million people killed, cost of $800 billion dollars. And they rode it out. So I don’t think much change that sanctions are going to help us get to a deal.

Last point I would make, I think this is quite important, I think it’s very important to see this agreement in a regional context, and not just in a bilateral context. The threat that Iran poses to the region is not simply a nuclear threat, it’s a broader threat. It's a threat of support for destabilizing its neighbors, supporting terrorist groups, seeking to dominate the region. We need this agreement, not in spite of those threats, but because of those threats.

Every one of those threats would be worse if Iran had a nuclear weapon. So if we can wall off the nuclear program, or put it over here for 10 years, 12 years, whatever, each of those threats is still there, but it’s less-- it’s less dangerous than if Iran is sitting with a nuclear weapon. And our friends in the region are quite alarmed by Iran’s activities, Saudis, the Emiratis, certainly the Israelis are watching, Syria, they're watching, Yemen, they're watching Iran maneuver. You know, there is an Irani, Rouhani. And we could hope that that Iran emerges. There's also an Irani, Soleimani, who seeks regional advantage.

So I think it’s very important that we, as we do this agreement, we also reassure our allies in the region and friends that we are committed to the stability of the region, to their security, and that we will support that. And not just rhetorically, but in concrete ways. And that our commitment is long-term to their security. Thank you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you, Sandy. Bob Einhorn is next.


ROBERT EINHORN:  Thank you Daryl, thanks all of you for coming. I just want to reinforce some of the points that Sandy just made. But first, I think it’s important to point out that, even though the negotiators have gotten much closer over the last couple of months, it’s not a foregone conclusion that they're going to be able to reach a political framework in the next week or so. Daryl mentioned some tough issues that remain. They're very hard issues. Both sides have staked out strong positions on them.

And I'm confident that the U.S. delegation is not going to settle for a deal that falls short of U.S. requirements. So, while we may hope that they will achieve their goal within the next several days, I don’t think you can take that for granted.

I’ll say a few things about the deal that seems to be emerging. In my view, it can effectively prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It’s expected to contain unprecedented, rigorous monitoring arrangements that are capable of detecting Iranian violations of the agreement, whether at declared nuclear facilities, or at covert locations. The agreement is also expected to contain a variety of constraints on Iranian nuclear programs that are capable of lengthening, from about two to three months, to at least one year, the time it would take Iran to produce enough weapons-grade nuclear material to build a single nuclear bomb. And that applies both to Iran’s enrichment program, as well as to its nuclear reactor at Iraq.

Now this one year breakout time would provide plenty of opportunity for the United States and others in the international community to intervene decisively, including with the use of military force, to prevent Iran from succeeding in breaking out and acquiring a nuclear weapon. As Sandy mentioned, the deal will be of long duration. We don’t know exactly how long, 10 years, 15 years, various durations have been mentioned. And some provisions may last beyond the fixed duration of the agreement.

But it’s important to recognize here that the expiration of the agreement does not constitute the expiration of the U.S. commitment to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons. I believe there will be important elements that continue beyond the duration. For example, Iran’s adherence to the additional protocol is likely to continue beyond, and perhaps forever. And this intrusive monitoring provided in the additional protocol would provide plenty of warning time for the U.S. and others to take decisive action in the event that it appeared Iran was moving toward the production of nuclear weapons.

Sandy mentioned that this notion that is held by many observers, that it’s possible to get a better deal than the one that’s currently emerging, by pulling out of the talks, walking away from the talks, ratcheting up international sanctions, and hoping that the additional pressure will persuade Iran to make concessions that they have been unwilling, so far, to make. I think this is an illusion. I think that if the United States is seen as passing up a reasonable deal, then our ability to get the International Sanctions Coalition to increase sanctions pressure, will essentially evaporate.

I was involved in trying to-- well, I think effectively--get broad international support for the sanctions regime. And we had a number of things working for us at the time. We had President Ahmadinejad of Iran making outrageous statements. But we also had Iran taking intransigent positions at the negotiating table. Our partners in the sanctions coalition agreed with us that we had to increase the pressure against Iran in order to motivate them to negotiate seriously. But, in a situation where the U.S. is essentially walking away from the table and asking our partners to ratchet up the pressures, I think it’s going to be very hard to gain their support, for reasons that Sandy mentioned. And I think very quickly, the sanctions regime would begin to erode.

And, once we were trying to strengthen sanctions to get our partners to ratchet up the sanctions, I think we can predict what Iran’s reaction would be. They would unfreeze the nuclear program that’s been frozen for about a year and a half. And they have plenty of opportunity to increase the number of operating centrifuges, introduce more advanced centrifuges. There are many ways in which Iran can substantially increase their enrichment capacity. And in so doing, they could reduce the breakout time from the current two to three months to a matter of a few weeks. And I think that would be a predictable result of our walking away from the table.

So I think it’s very important for critics of the emerging deal not to engage in wishful thinking about prospects for getting a much better deal. The emerging deal is not perfect. But no negotiated outcome gives each side everything it wants. But I think the deal that is emerging is a good deal, and it’s much better than the realistic alternatives that we face. Thanks.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thanks very much, Bob. Kelsey Davenport from the Arms Control Association is next.


KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Thank you. Iran has a nuclear weapons capability. They have had it since 2007. We cannot bomb it away. We cannot sanction it away. The best way to mitigate this threat is through a good deal that limits Iran’s nuclear program and puts in place stringent monitoring. As Bob just outlined, the deal seeks to push Iran’s breakout time from two to three months to over a year.

To give you a little bit of a picture about what that will look like, Iran will likely reduce its number of operating centrifuges by several thousand. It will cut down on its stockpile of enriched uranium that it keeps in country. It will have limits on research and development. And the efficiency of the centrifuges will also be limited.

This deal is often discussed and debated in the media in terms of the number of centrifuges. There is no magic number that ensures that a deal is good. It’s important to evaluate the entire package to see what that does to Iran’s breakout capacity. And a combination of limits on centrifuges, reducing the stockpile, and ensuring that international monitors will be able to detect immediately any deviation, is the best way to ensure those limits.

There are also technical solutions to block Iran’s pathway to nuclear weapons using plutonium. The Iraq reactor poses a risk, but it can be modified to ensure that the plutonium that it produces for weapons is less than one kilogram per year. A nuclear weapon requires usually at least four kilograms of separated plutonium.

So through these measures, we can ensure that Iran’s program remains limited and less of a threat. And it’s important to juxtapose that against the alternative. If the talks break down, if the United States, its P5+1 partners, or Iran walk away from a deal, Iran’s program will be unconstrained. And it will have far less monitoring than it has now. And, as a result, Iran will be able to move towards nuclear weapons much more quickly. That’s a far greater threat to the United States and a far greater threat to the region.

But reaching a good deal will also incentivize Iran to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation into its past work related to military dimensions. That investigation has been stalled. But a good deal will incentivize Iran through phased sanctions relief, to provide the international community with the validation it needs to ensure that these activities are no longer ongoing, and Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

And again, when you consider that against the alternative, ambiguity about Iran’s past actions, this is a far-- it’s far better to get this deal than to hold out for a better deal, because as Bob said, additional pressure is likely not going to lead to greater concessions on the Iranian side.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Kelsey. Not only is there expert support for the emerging deal, but also public support from a wide variety of places. So Dylan Williams from J Street is here to speak a little bit about that.


DYLAN WILLIAMS:  Thanks so much, Daryl and Arms Control Association for this opportunity to speak today. First of all, it’s important to note that the entire Pro-Israel community is united behind one goal, when it comes to the present diplomacy, and that is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. That is also the objective of President Obama and his administration.

The second and equally important thing to realize is that U.S. Jews and the larger Pro-Israel community share more than just this objective with the administration; we support their means to accomplish it. Eighty four percent of Jewish American voters would support an agreement to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, which allows for domestic uranium enrichment for verifiably peaceful purposes, 84 percent.

Now that figure may be surprising to many people because there is, in fact, a vocal and politically astute minority of our community which follows the lead of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu against any feasible agreement. What's important to realize about this wing of my community is that it is the same portion of the Pro-Israel and Jewish American community that is happy to paper over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s disregard and abuse of bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel special relationship, his rejection of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and his deeply troubling comments about Arab-Israeli voters.

The vast majority of Jewish Americans stand with Israel’s intelligence and security experts, the very ones that Prime Minister Netanyahu wanted to prevent U.S. lawmakers from meeting with. Like them, we know that this is a choice between a workable agreement or a much less desirable alternative, which puts Israeli interests and lives at risk, as well as essential U.S. national security interests at risk. Support for a feasible agreement with Iran is therefore the most Pro-Israel position one can take.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you Dylan. And I'm also pleased to have Trita Parsi with the National Iranian American Council with us. NIAC has been working very hard on this issue. Trita.


TRITA PARSI:  Thank you, Daryl. And thank you ACA for all that you’ve done in the course of the last 10 years to find a peaceful resolution to this conflict. This is about nonproliferation, but is also about so much more than just centrifuge and enrichment. In the next few days, the future of America and the Middle East will be determined. There is a path that carries the promise of peace, and there is a path that carries the risk of war. Ultimately, that is what this is about.

If the two sides manage to come to terms, both a bomb and a war will have been avoided. That is nothing short of historic, on par with the Camp David Accord of 1979 and Nixon’s trip to China. But never has a historic deal been struck without both sides agreeing to concessions and compromises that were as painful as they were necessary. Both sides have to give. Both sides have to adjust. Thinking otherwise is not only naïve, it’s dangerous.

Pursuing maximalist goals, or seeking to impose them on the negotiators, will ensure failure. What will determine history in the next few days is political will and courage. This is the moment where true leaders are separated from mere politicians. True leaders know that history will not judge them for the petty and desperate criticisms they faced, but rather for the courage that they showed when they grasped for a peace that appeared beyond the possible.

It is that courage we are now depending on to be able to choose the right path. Both sides are willing to walk away from a deal that doesn’t meet all their requirements. But let us not fool ourselves or kid ourselves what that actually means. Failure is not a return to the current status quo. It is a deterioration of the situation, politically, economically, and militarily. The voices of war have been somewhat quiet as of late. And that’s because of the ongoing negotiations. If the talks fail, rest assured those whispers will turn into roars.

For the American public, and perhaps even more so for the Iranian American public community, this is a nightmare we must avoid. Twelve years after President Bush declared, “mission accomplished,” Iraq is today a broken country, ravaged by sectarianism and ISIS barbarians. America is exhausted and looking for healing. Neither Iran nor America can afford such a mistake again. And the world will not forgive them if they do. That is why, in the days ahead, true leaders must rise up. Thank you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you, Trita. And now Kate Gould from the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Welcome.


KATE GOULD:  Thank you Daryl. And thank you all for being here. It’s important to note that, at this historic moment that Trita described, people of faith in every corner of this country are cheering on our diplomats as they sprint toward the finish line of a final agreement. FCNL is a 72 year old Quaker lobby. And we work closely with mainline Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, evangelical groups and faith leaders, who collectively represent millions upon millions of Americans cheering on these negotiations.

So at the starting line of this diplomatic marathon was the Obama-Rouhani phone call, when President Obama took that unprecedented step of picking up the telephone and talking with the Iranian Head of State. That phone call, and the negotiations that have ensued and are continuing today, are a demonstration of this practice that every world religion advocates as the best way to resolve conflict, the sacred practice of dialogue.

As Pope Francis has said, “In the world, in society, there is little peace because dialogue is missing. Peace requires persistent, patient, strong intelligent dialogue, by which nothing is lost.” It is no wonder, then, why Pope Francis has been such a persistent, patient and strong supporter of the P5+1 talks with Iran.

In the last year and a half, since President Obama made what may well be the most historic phone call of our time, Quakers and other people of faith have generated more than 250 pro-diplomacy letters to the editor in every state in this country. And they have had meetings with nearly 400 congressional offices supporting the talks. When I meet with members of Congress, they often tell me they want to be more vocal, they want to be more supportive, but they feel like they don’t have the political space to do it.

So that’s why we bring in faith leaders who have broad-based constituencies in their state, in their district. And we have them meet with these members of Congress and talk about the moral imperative to preventing a war and preventing another nuclear armed nation. For example, we’ve worked closely with Bob Roberts, a pastor from an evangelical mega church in Keller, Texas, with 2,000 congregants. He was part of an interfaith delegation to Iran last year. He was also one of 440 faith leaders and other citizen advocates here, on Capitol Hill, as part of our National Diplomacy Works Lobby Day a few months ago.

Our diplomats have delivered us from the brink of war to where we are today, on the cusp of what could be a monumental breakthrough. And today, in every congressional district in America, faith communities are mobilizing to ensure that Congress does not sabotage this landmark opportunity to make this world a safer place for generations to come. Thank you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you. Thank you very much, all of you, for your remarks. And now it is time for your questions. I want to ask those journalists with us here to start. And we’ll start with Barbara, and then we’ll come over here to the left. And please make it a good, concise question, and let us know who the question is directed towards. So a microphone is in your hands, Barbara.

Q:   Thank you very much. Barbara Slavin from Al-Monitor.com and the Atlantic Council. Question I think may be for you, Bob, others who might want to weigh in. How much has to be written down of this political framework? Is it sufficient for there to be different versions, i.e. a P5+1 version of whatever they agree to inshallah this week, and an Iranian version, to stave off congressional action and more sanctions. Thanks.

ROBERT EINHORN:  Well, I don’t know. We can talk later about what will be necessary to stave off congressional action. But in terms of the format for any political framework, I don’t think this is yet decided. I think this is one of the main issues that will be discussed this next few days in Lausanne. The administration is saying there must be specifics. There must be specifics that are shareable with the Congress and the American public. Whether this must take the form of a written document, or whether it can be briefed orally, I don’t think that’s been decided yet.

One thing I think we’d have to rule out is differing versions, an Iranian version and a U.S. version. I think they need to be speaking from exactly the same script. And they have to be very, very specific.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Yes, Rachel. And there's another question over here.

Q:   Hi. Rachel Oswald with CQ Roll Call. My question is for Trita, but also anybody else who wants to jump in. Could you talk a little bit about the dynamics in Iran and what actions by Congress, how they impact political realities there? And perhaps some things that members of Congress who are opposed to a nuclear deal or opposed to the deal that are taking shape, are not taking account of about what the realities are in Iran?

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Trita, why don’t you start. And maybe Bob can also handle that.

TRITA PARSI:  Thank you Rachel. I think there has been somewhat of a misconception, the idea that Congress can play some sort of a bad cop versus a good cop role with the White House. I think the way this is perceived in Iran is quite the opposite. They're seeing not a good cop and a bad cop, they're seeing a President that they're fearing cannot deliver on the promises and the commitments that he is making at the table.

The sanctions that are so much at the center of these negotiations are, at the end of the day, not Obama’s to lift. Only Congress can lift them. And when Congress is coming out with letters such as that of the 47, what it does, it undermines the credibility of the President in the negotiations, which then ultimately weakens America’s negotiating position.

The Iranians have had a long track record of playing tit-for-tat. If you are seeing measures that are in the direction of more sanctions, the Iranians have tended to retaliate by taking measures of their own kind that obviously would be viewed upon very negatively over here. I think the fear is that this can end up being yet another one of these escalatory cycles in which a small step is taken here that is negative, responded to by a negative step over there, which then, of course, generates another negative step over here. And then suddenly, it’s out of control. And then, the entire deal is killed through the measures of 1,000 paper cuts. Not a single one of the steps are necessarily big enough to kill the deal. But, in their totality, they will destroy the atmosphere, the consensus, the momentum that has enabled us to reach this far.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Bob you might have some thoughts on this? No? Let me just also get a little bit specific about one of the initiatives that is out there. Congress obviously has played a role. It will play a role. It must play a role. The question is, what kind of role? And is it a constructive role? What my organization believes, and I think the White House is also in agreement, is that while these negotiations are in their final hour, it is vital that there aren't further disruptions, further turbulence in the talks. I mean I agree with Trita that the letter from the 47 Senators to the Supreme Leader was not helpful. It took up a lot of time in the last round of talks. It made the P5+1 position a little bit more difficult to maintain.

So there is a bill, actually a couple bills out there, one from Senator Bob Corker, S615, that on the surface looks pretty innocuous. But it is a little bit more complex and a little bit more problematic. He has said that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a markup hearing on that bill on April the 14th. That is still going to be during the period when the negotiators, even if they reach a political framework agreement, are working hard to finalize the technical annexes to nail down all of the details to make sure that there isn't any difference of opinion about how to interpret the political framework agreement.

There is no reason for Congress to act before June 30th, when the talks are supposed to conclude. It’s even better for Congress if it wants to play a role in monitoring and requiring the President to certify certain things that they write the legislation after the deal is done and not before. The Corker bill includes some certifications that are slightly outside of the nuclear channel, particularly with respect to certifications that Iran is not engaged in terrorism.

So I think Congress needs to think very carefully about its role. There are some who would simply like to blow up the talks. There are some who would legitimately like to reinforce the diplomatic effort and to make sure that, if it succeeds, Iran is complying. But the first priorities should be, you know, first to do no harm. And I think that means not taking action during this period of negotiations, which technically is going to continue through June 30th.

Do we have other questions? Yes.

Q:   Jessica Schulberg Huffington Post. This is mostly for Dylan, but for anyone else. You were mentioning that 84 percent of American Jews do support what the negotiator agreement looks like it’s turning out to be. Can you discuss at all-- I know that there is a lobbying day after the conference this week. Can you discuss discussions you’ve had with lawmakers? It seems to me that a lot of lawmakers see support for the Corker bill, sanctions as part of a Pro-Israel stance. Can you discuss your efforts to show that that’s not necessarily the case?

DYLAN WILLIAMS:  Absolutely. Thanks for the question. Yes. Yesterday was the culmination of J Street’s recent 5th National Conference, where we had an Advocacy Day attended by around 700 supporters of J Street who had over 165 meetings, I think, with members and their staff on Capitol Hill.

The message that the Pro-Israel/Pro-Peace community is overwhelmingly in support of a feasible agreement of the type being likely negotiated right now, was one of the key messages we brought. And it was, as you might imagine, well received by overwhelming number of Democratic members and more than a few Republican members as well.

Members of Congress expressed to our supporters what they have been expressing for three, four, even more years on this issue, which is, they have two overriding objectives when it comes to deciding on bills and policy letters on this issue. The first is they want to do what is genuinely in the essential security interests of Israel and the United States. And the second is that they want to avoid another costly war in the Middle East that will cost American taxpayer dollars and, more importantly, the lives and wellbeing of our men and women in uniform. Those two concerns remain paramount for them.

And it is the prism through which they view things like the Kirk Menendez sanctions bill, which I think has lost a lot of its steam as a deal becomes more likely, though not certain. And, as Daryl was mentioning about the Corker-Menendez bill, you do have an overwhelming sense from Congress that they want a very serious oversight role in the implementation of this agreement. And that’s something that J Street and others in the Pro-Israel community strongly support.

But, at the same time, I do think you have members of Congress, and particularly Democratic Senators, recognizing that premature or precipitous action on a bill, which may not quite yet be ready for prime time in terms of some of its language, would be unhelpful. And I think that’s why you did see the Democratic Senators provide the administration the space, at least until April 14th, and I share some of Daryl’s concern that even if there is a political framework agreement by that time, a final agreement is, by no means, in the bag. There is a lot of legal scrubbing to do. And the devil can be in the details.

But yes, overwhelmingly, members of Congress do want to do what is in Israel’s and the U.S. essential security interests. But, at the same time, they recognize that, if they can't resolve this diplomatically, the situation we’re going to end up in much worse than that outcome.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Let me also ask Sandy Berger to put this issue of the role of Congress in a broader context. Sandy.

SANDY BERGER:  Yeah. I understand full well Senator Corker’s desire to vote on this in a real sense. And I think that, at some point, the administration is going to have to deal with that. But this bill is directed at this President and this agreement. But it establishes a proposition that doesn’t go away when this Presidency is over and this agreement is done. It establishes the principle that the President does not speak authoritatively for the United States during a negotiation. That’s a dangerous proposition.

Countries around the world rely upon the word of the President as a representative of the United States in negotiations. China is watching this. Our countries in Southeast Asia are watching this around the world. So, if you weaken this President in this context, you weaken the Presidency in all contexts. And you know, by electing the next President, that doesn't wash away. It’s a very, very serious, I think, erosion of the power of the Presidency.

You know, it’s a very dangerous, messy world out there, as you all know. We need all the authority we can bring to the table as we’re trying to put coalitions together against ISIS, or we’re trying to put coalitions together against Russia. We don’t need our potential friends, let alone our potential adversaries, to wonder whether or not the President is talking for America, or whether or not perhaps there is an asterisk next to what he says, and they can't count on the President. That’s our system. And it’s served us pretty well, very dangerous, I think, to tamper with.

DARYL KIMBALL:  And Rachel, one other point I would ask you in your reporter capacity to raise with Senator Corker is: why the bill that he has put forward is not being pursued through regular order? Why go straight to a markup? I mean as Sandy just said, this would be a precedent-setting bill. And that kind of legislation deserves a full hearing, testimony from the administration, from experts, a thorough scrubbing. But that's not what's being proposed. In fact, there was an idea put forward by Senator McConnell, Majority Leader that the bill would go forward even faster in March. But that was--they changed their mind eventually.

So there does seem to be a bit of a rush with this. So whether you agree with the merits or not, this is the sort of thing that deserves a full hearing and a careful, careful review. Other questions? Yes, right here. Howard, thank you.

Q:   Thanks. Howard LaFranchi with the Christian Science Monitor. Mr. Berger you, in your opening remarks, you focused on the regional impact. You focused on the regional impact of a deal. And so I'm wondering how you would respond to actually those who say that on the contrary, that a deal will set in motion very quickly kind of a rush to a nuclear Middle East, starting off with the Saudis. And then I’d also like to ask Kelsey if you could go into a little bit more detail on the question of previous military research and work by the Iranians, because there's so much talk, now, about how the U.S. is backing off on its demands’ earlier requirements for that aspect. And so I don’t know if you have any idea of where that stands now, and why that's important.

DARYL KIMBALL:  So I’ll ask Sandy to address your first question, also Bob, and then we’ll go to Kelsey.

SANDY BERGER:  Well first, I think the absence of a deal will more likely drive them to buy or acquire nuclear weapons, because they’ll have an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program. But you're right. I think they are nervous about Iran, which is why I think there needs to be a company deal, very close work with those countries, to assure them that we have a commitment to their long-term security.

I think that’s why I'm saying, it’s got to put this in a regional context, I think, for this to not stimulate those concerns on the part of-- But all of their concerns are worse if Iran has a nuclear weapon. And I think they understand it. What they're really concerned about is that we are going to realign with Iran in a fundamental way. We’re going to go back to the days when it was us and the Shah. And that’s their fear. There's going to be another U.S.-Iran axis. And they're going to be over here. That’s their primal concern. And we have to address that. We have to make clear we’re not embracing Iran. We’re not accepting Iran’s conduct elsewhere. We’re very clear-eyed about this. And we’re going to work with our traditional allies to deal with their concerns.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Let me ask Bob Einhorn also to address the regional proliferation risk issue.

ROBERT EINHORN:  There's been a lot of speculation about a cascade of proliferation in the Middle East. I think whether or not the Middle East is going to become more nuclear depends on several factors. One, perceptions of the deal. First of all, is there going to be a deal? And I agree with Sandy. If there's not a deal, I think this will heighten concerns about Iran’s behavior. If there is a deal, then they will evaluate the effectiveness of the deal in preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. And, to the extent that they see it as an effective barrier to an Iranian nuclear bomb, they're going to be much less inclined to have an interest in their own nuclear capability.

Second is Iran’s behavior. If Iran continues an aggressive effort at achieving regional hegemony, I think this is going to increase concerns among Iran’s neighbors, and increase their incentives for seeking indigenous nuclear capability. A third factor is the role of the United States. If the U.S. is perceived as maintaining a strong regional presence, a strong regional military presence, if it’s perceived as being a reliable security partner, committed to assisting its partners in the region and ensuring their own defense, then I think there will be much fewer incentives for indigenous nuclear capabilities.

And fourth, and finally, is a question of feasibility. Even if countries develop a heightened interest in having nuclear weapons, they have to have the ability, somehow, to acquire them. And the indigenous technological infrastructures in the region are not very great. It would take most of the countries of the region, you know, a long time. And they would require lots of foreign assistance if they were to develop the indigenous capability.

I know there's been speculation about Saudi Arabia and whether they would get support from a longstanding friend to acquire nuclear weapons. But I think you have to take this speculation with a grain of salt. It’s not at all clear that the Saudis would be able to get the necessary foreign assistance including even the transfer of a nuclear bomb. So I do not think a cascade of proliferation in the region is inevitable.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Let me ask Kelsey to address the PMD issue. And if you don’t know what PMD is in the context of Iran, please check out www.armscontrol.org. Kelsey is the author of our briefing book. And there is a second on the possible military dimensions issue. Kelsey.

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Howard, that’s a great question. But the P5+1 deal with Iran is not going to let Iran off the hook on answering these questions and resolving the IAEA’s concerns. November of 2013, Iran and the IAEA signed a framework of cooperation in which Iran pledged to answer all of the 12 areas of concerns about its past work potentially related to military dimensions. And a deal will incentivize Iran to follow through on that.

Sanctions relief will likely be offered as Iran continues to meet those milestones in the agency’s investigation. And really, reaching an agreement helps ensure Iran that it is not going to be penalized for its past activities, because Iran knows that, until it resolves these issues to the agency’s satisfaction, its program will never be declared exclusively peaceful by the international community.

So resolving these issues really is in sort of Iran’s best interest. But what I think some policymakers critique about the deal is that they say, “Well how can we put in place a monitoring and verification mechanism that ensures that Iran is not continuing these activities if we don’t know what's been done in the past?” But the P5+1 is pursuing an intrusive monitoring and verification regime that will give them broad access to Iran’s nuclear facilities, including some of the undeclared facilities and areas where they do not currently have access. It will include likely far greater measures related to accountancy and transparency. And putting these measures in place ensures that Iran will not be pursuing these activities in the future. And that’s far more important when we consider the threat of Iran’s nuclear program.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. A couple other-- Trita, did you have something to add on the previous question?

TRITA PARSI:  I think Sandy is of course right that this is largely about where the U.S. will be with Iran vis-à-vis the other countries in the region. And I think Bob is quite right when it comes to questioning whether the assumption that the other countries in the region would automatically pursue a bomb. But I think there is a glaring contradiction that needs to be addressed in this speculation, which is, how is it that those who raise these issues believe that the United States, who has no presence in Iran, no trade with Iran, has the power to be able to completely eliminate any cascade, any centrifuge in Iran. But, if a country like Saudi Arabia, who is dependent on the United States on its security, decides to go for a nuclear bomb, the United States would stand completely helplessly. That contradiction needs to be addressed before any of the speculation can really be engaged in. Thank you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Up here in the front, please.

Q:   Medea Benjamin. I wonder why the context of all of this is that Iran is so evil and Saudi Arabia is our great ally. And I wonder if what's happening now in Yemen might really blow things up and affect these nuclear talks. And one other thing. Why do we never talk about Israel’s nuclear weapons in the context of this negotiations.

DARYL KIMBALL:  At other press conferences we will talk about Iran’s nuclear-- or Israel’s nuclear weapons. But let me also just see if there were a couple other questions at the back. We’ll take a couple at once. Jim over here on the left please, and then back up front.

Q:   Jim Loeb, Interpress. Actually, kind of following on what Medea asked. On the regional implications, the opponents of the deal seem to be focusing more and more on Iran’s alleged hegemonic, if not imperial ambitions. In the last 24 hours, we’ve seen some rather dramatic things happening, including the Yemen situation in which apparently the United States acquiesced. And also, the United States beginning bombing around Tikrit. And I want to know, basically, what panelists, especially Mr. Berger and Trita think about the implications of both of these actions happening so close to each other.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Sandy, you want to try to take the first question?

SANDY BERGER:  I'm sorry, I just wasn’t able to hear the specifics of your question. Just in eight words?

Q:   I’ll try. Opponents of the deal are focusing on Iran’s alleged hegemonic ambitions in the region. And we’ve just had these very dramatic events with respect to Yemen and Tikrit. And I wondered what the implications of those are.

SANDY BERGER:  Well, to address why do we focus on Iran and not Saudi, why is Iran the bad guy and Saudi is the good guy. You know, I don’t think it’s a question of good or bad. Iran is engaged around the region in efforts to destabilize the region. So it’s supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon. It’s supporting Hezbollah in Syria. It’s supporting Hamas in Gaza. It’s supporting the Houtis in Yemen. This is not ideological, this is just true. It’s facts, okay.

Q:   Who does Saudi Arabia support?

SANDY BERGER:  Well, Saudi Arabia is supporting some of the extreme Islamists, although I think they’ve cut back substantially, in Syria particularly. I don’t want to absolve Saudi Arabia. I'm not putting it up on a pedestal. I think Iran’s intent is, at this point, more hegemonic, more an effort to dominate the region than anybody else. I think that is part and parcel of what they expect to do. And I think you look around the region, I think that’s the case.

Now will that change? Hopefully it will. Will this agreement stimulate the forces inside Iran that there be an offset and a counter to those forces? Hopefully it can. That would be a terrific thing. We’d be open to that. We’d respond to that. But I don’t think we can turn a blind eye to the activities around the region if you go from Yemen to Lebanon to Syria. And you know, it’s fundamental effort to also unseat the current order of things.

DARYL KIMBALL:  But to stress one of the points that I think have been made a couple times, I want to make it again, this is a nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran about the nuclear program. And as Sandy was saying in your opening, these issues, these problems in the region would only be worse if Iran’s nuclear program is unconstrained and less monitored. Let me ask if there are any other reporters who have got questions. And then we’re going to have to wrap up shortly. So with Gareth, and then we’ll go to the back for the second.

Q:   Gareth Porter, independent journalist. I’d like to ask about the prospects for a framework agreement in the coming week, in light of the statements that have been made by both Iran and the P5+1, or at least diplomats associated with the P5+1 in very recent days, taking as I think Bob Einhorn said, very strong positions on specifically on the question of sanctions relief. The Iranians saying that there must be a lifting of all sanctions, the P5+1 making it clear that they intend to insist on phasing gradually what they call sanctions relief over a number of years.

So my question is, what is the scenario that is conceivable at this point, even conceivable, let alone likely, for an agreement that would allow this framework to be forged in the coming days?

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good question. We’ll see if we have something of an answer. Bob.

ROBERT EINHORN:  I think if Iran insists that all sanctions be permanently terminated at the outside of implementation of the deal, there will be no deal. The U.S., its partners are simply not prepared to agree to that. The U.S. and its partners support an approach where there is a phased easing of sanctions based on Iranian performance. In the first instance, milestones reached in implementing constraints on its nuclear program. But also, satisfying IAEA concerns about Iran’s past behavior, and as well as the need for the IAEA to reach a broad conclusion that Iran is fully in compliance with its obligations.

So the easing of sanctions is going to have to be phased. And if Iran insists on immediate termination of all sanctions from the outset, there simply won't be a deal.

DARYL KIMBALL:  And I would also just observe, and as Bob has seen this in his time as a negotiator, both sides of the negotiation make statements about issues in the talks that are often designed to be heard by their domestic audiences. And so they are negotiating a bit in public and repeating core positions. It’s clear that the two sides are at an end phase, with respect to these negotiations. The Iranians understand, I think, the position of the P5+1 that Bob just outlined. I think the point of those statements is to encourage the P5 to agree to the fastest possible sanctions relief, greatest amount of sanctions relief.

I am aware that the P5+1 proposal would deliver very significant relief through the form of waivers for the Iranians that would be very beneficial. The issue of UN Security Council resolution revisions and changes is going to be a longer process, I think, that is related to Iranian performance. And one of the reasons why the 47 Senators’ letter was unhelpful, was disruptive, was that it reinforced Iran’s concern that the United States could not deliver on eventually lifting and removing U.S. sanctions. And so that put a greater emphasis for the Iranians on achieving something in the UN Security Council channel.

In addition, one of the other reasons why the Corker bill could be problematic if it moves forward during the talks is it would delay, by at least 65 days, the President’s waiver-- existing legislative authority to waive sanctions. And that could delay his ability to deliver on quick sanctions relief through these waivers in response to very quick Iranian actions on nonproliferation.

So this is, I think, I'm just trying to explain this by way of saying it’s very complex. They're in a late phase. And it’s important for Congress not to try to impose certain conditions that affect the delicate dynamics in Lausanne.

So I think we’ve got time for one more question in the back, if you could take the microphone.

Q:   Negar Mortazavi, independent reporter. I think this is a question of millions of Iranian citizens, which have been waiting for a year for about two years. The question used to be whether there would be a deal or not. And I think now the question is whether this deal will continue, and what would be the obstacles to maintaining a deal if Congress will try to sabotage this or any of the other opponents in the region, in the U.S. specifically, how would they try to sabotage it? And what would be the obstacles? And what are the guarantees?

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Well let me take a quick stab at that. I think it’s a very good question. But that may be the next press conference in about six months, because I mean, that’s actually several different difficult questions that are hard to answer at this stage, except to say that, you know, there's no political decision in Washington that is ever final. There is no international political resolution that is ever completely final. This agreement, if it is concluded in the next few days and weeks and months, is going to require vigilance. It’s going to require both sides complying and implementing. And there will be obstacles. There will be problems. How that plays out is yet to be seen.

But I think several of us have said here, I mean this is an enormous opportunity, both from a nuclear and nonproliferation perspective, this would be one of the greatest and most consequential nonproliferation achievements if the P5+1 position is maintained in this negotiation. It would have enormously beneficial results with respect to international security, as well as regional security.

So it is important for the negotiators, for policymakers in Washington, Tehran, other capitals, to recognize the costs and the benefits, and to seize this historic opportunity, and not to inadvertently or purposefully undermine it.

Is there anyone else who wanted to add to that? So I think we are at about an hour. I think we’ve had a very good discussion here. And I want to thank my fellow speakers very much for their insights and their comments. And we will be in touch with you in the coming days and weeks. If there's anyone on the panel here who you want to get in touch with, you can reach them directly. The Arms Control Association can also help facilitate that. Thank you very much for being here today.




Diplomats from the P5+1 and Iran are meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland in an effort to reach a political framework agreement for a comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal to block Iran's ...

Country Resources:

An Effective P5+1 Nuclear Deal with Iran and the Role of Congress


 Friday, February 27, 2015
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

National Press Club, First Amendment Lounge
529 14th Street NW (13th Floor)
Washington D.C.

Transcript Available

Negotiators from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran are racing to try to conclude a political framework agreement for a comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal to block Iran's potential pathways to nuclear weapons by the end of March, with technical details on a final deal to be ironed out by the end of June. 

Over the past year, Iran and the P5+1 have made significant progress on long-term solutions on several challenging issues. Following the most recent round of high-level talks, the two sides reportedly made progress on key remaining issues.

At the same time, key members of Congress are threatening to advance new Iran sanctions legislation and set unrealistic requirements for a nuclear deal. Also, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says he will introduce legislation this month that would give Congress the opportunity to vote to disapprove or approve a comprehensive nuclear agreement once and if it is completed. Both proposals have drawn a veto threat from the Obama administration.  

The Arms Control Association will host a special press briefing featuring a former member of the U.S. negotiating team, a former professional staff member of the House intelligence committee, and Arms Control Association experts on the status of the negotiations, the likely outlines of a comprehensive agreement, and the the appropriate role for Congress.

Speakers include:  
  • Richard Nephew, Program Director, Economic Statecraft, Sanctions and Energy Markets, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, and former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State, and Director for Iran on the National Security Staff;
  • Kelsey Davenport, Director of Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association;
  • Larry Hanauer, Senior International Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation, and former senior staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives' Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence;
  • Moderated by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association.

Transcript by: National Press Club

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good afternoon, everyone. If you could please take your seats, turn off your ringers on your cell phone so we're not interrupted. Welcome. I'm Daryl Kimball, I'm Executive Director of the Arms Control Association. We're an independent, nonpartisan research and public education organization. And our mission is to reduce and eliminate the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.

And we've convened this briefing here today on an effective P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran and the role of Congress because after more than a year of intense, serious negotiations, top diplomats from the United States along with the other permanent members of the Security Council, and Germany, are closing in on a long-term comprehensive agreement that we believe would be effective in preventing a nuclear armed Iran. 

The agreement that appears to be taking shape would, as we’ll hear in more detail from our experts, block Iran’s major potential pathways to nuclear weapons development, the uranium enrichment route, the plutonium separation route, and would also guard against a clandestine weapons program. The agreement would be a major boon for U.S. and international security, for the security of Israel, and our other allies in the region and for global efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. It’s an opportunity we simply can't afford to squander.

Last week, the two sides further narrowed their differences on remaining gaps, which includes how to limit Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity under the agreement. We believe they're close to concluding a detailed political framework agreement by the end of March, perhaps a little sooner, with a final complete agreement including all of the technical annexes by the end of June.

Beginning on Monday, the negotiators, including Secretary of State Kerry, Foreign Minister Zarif, Secretary of Energy Moniz and his counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi from Iran, will meet again outside of Geneva to work on bridging the remaining differences.

And there's no time to waste, as we’ll hear also today, some members of Congress are threatening to advance new Iran sanctions legislation by the end of March if there is no political framework agreement. Some members appear to want to write into such a bill unrealistic requirements for what the deal must achieve. Some of the proponents of these new sanctions, quite plainly, say that their aim is to blow up the negotiations.

In the House, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs is reported to be working on a bill that would revoke the President’s existing authority under law to waive certain sanctions, which will be necessary in the initial phases of the agreement to implement it. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker is about to introduce legislation, perhaps next week, that would halt the implementation of any comprehensive P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran until Congress has a chance for an up or down vote.

So both of these proposals, both of these ideas, have drawn veto threats from President Obama and for very good reason. Congress has many ways to responsibly and constructively weigh in on the agreement, but the Arms Control Association believes it would be irresponsible, especially with an effective deal within sight, to initiate additional sanctions or to try to block implementation of the agreement soon after it’s concluded and before we contest Iran’s willingness to comply with tougher limits on its nuclear program.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will be here next week. He’s to be expected to make the argument that the deal isn't good enough. He is going to be suggesting that within additional pressure through tougher sanctions, somehow, some way, Iran’s leaders will cry uncle. They will agree to dismantle their major nuclear weapons facilities. Our analysis is that that is fantasy. That would be ideal, but that's a fantasy.

As my colleague, Kelsey Davenport, has written, in 2005 that might have been possible when Iran had just a few hundred centrifuges. But today, ten years later, 20,000 centrifuges later, those who insist on dismantling Iran’s program are tilting at windmills.

So if the P5+1 and members in Congress hold out for more, there are going to be quite dire consequences, and we’ll hear more about that from our speakers. 

And so the agreement, as we’ll talk about more in detail, we believe is going to be effective. It’s not going to deliver everything that the P5+1 want, nor everything that Iran is seeking, but it can provide what both sides need.

So to explore these and other issues, we've got three great speakers who are very knowledgeable about all the facets I've just been touching upon. After each of them speaks, we're going to take your questions and get into discussion. So first, we're going to hear from Richard Nephew, who is program director of economic statecraft, sanctions and energy markets at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, a new program I understand. And he’s the former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State, and was also former Director for Iran at the National Security Council just a hop, skip and jump away. He will provide us with his perspectives on the administration’s strategic goals, the thinking behind the P5+1 approach in these issues, and the choices ahead.

And next, Kelsey Davenport, our Arms Control Association nonproliferation policy director, is going to outline what we believe are the key elements of the agreement, how some of the tough issues are probably going to be resolved, and how to judge the effectiveness of the agreement from a nonproliferation perspective. 

And last, but not least, we’ll hear from Larry Hanauer, who’s senior international policy analyst at the Rand Corporation. He was a former senior staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. And he’s going to be reviewing some of the results of a recent, very recent, RAND study on the role of Congress in this matter. And he’s going to focus on some of the ideas that are in play and share his thoughts on homeland security Congress can most productively weigh in on a P5+1 agreement with Iran. So with that, let me ask Richard to start us out. The floor is yours.

RICHARD NEPHEW:  Great, thank you very much. And thank you, very much, Daryl, for both your introduction and the opportunity to come and participate here in this panel. I see some familiar faces out here. I've had the opportunity to participate in a number of panels before, but for the first time, I actually have a task that's a little bit more daunting, which is speaking for myself. So, I hope that you will find it informative and interesting. I believe I have done at least one of those things in the past before, but probably not both, and hope to do that both here. 

As Daryl was just saying, I've been asked to talk a little bit about the strategic objectives that both sides, particularly the United States though, is taking into the negotiation, as well as a little bit of what the implications would be of congressional action. I have to say, just at the outset, that my very strong view is that new legislation now would be counterproductive and deeply damaging to the diplomatic process. And I'll describe in a minute or two why I think that’s true.

But I have to emphasize there that the operative word is now. And I think this is part of what gets lost a little bit in this debate, is that question about what we should be doing now at present to confront the Iranian challenge, which in my view ought to be negotiations and diplomacy, and what we might choose or have to choose to do if talks were to collapse. But the key issue now is how do we give the talks the best chance of actually succeeding as opposed to actually spurring their move towards collapse. 

I think that part of the reason why this is so complicated is that both sides are entering into what's a very perverse game of chicken that you have to do any time you're engaged in a public negotiation. And that is that both sides need to be demonstrating a very palpable sense of nonchalance as to the potential risks and consequences of failing to get a deal. Any time you hear either the Secretary of State, the President, or the Iranians talk about a deal, everybody always has to add at the end, “But, you know, we can survive if we don’t have a deal.” And I think this is because, in part, the stakes are so high for both sides. And perversely, there is a need for both sides to demonstrate that they can get along just fine to avoid giving the appearance of desperation. And it’s desperation, I think, that is one of the biggest risks that we face as we go into this negotiation. And again, perversely, it’s desperation that I think is signaled by the fact that there is so much energy to try and kill what could be an otherwise attractive-looking deal and part of the reason why we need to give a deal an opportunity to manifest itself.

You know, I think both sides in the negotiation would reject the idea that they are desperate. And I think both sides would reject the idea that they're entering the talks with anything other than principles in mind. But frankly, as you think about the idea of principles in negotiation, it’s a very unusual concept. Everybody brings principles into negotiation. Certainly, you can't truly negotiate unless you have principles. But I think if you're ever engaged in negotiation that wants a mutually attractive outcome, at some point or another, principles have to be a little bit more flexible and you have to decide what principles you really need to stand on and which principles are good to haves. And I think, again, this is one of the main reasons why the present negotiation is both so complicated and so technical and so difficult, is because at one hand, it’s been the negotiator’s need to try and find what are core principles.

For the United States, what is it exactly that we need to achieve in order to have a good deal? For the Iranians, what do we need to preserve in order to have a good deal, as well as achieve in terms of sanctions, relief and so forth? And I think this just adds to the level of difficulty and complexity here.

But I think the simple analysis and the simple truth that I hope you take from anything I say today, is that when you're engaged in a real negotiation, you do not have the luxury of seeking the ideal. There is no negotiation that I can think of that actually involves two sides sitting down at a table and trying to come up with a mutually acceptable set of answers that actually involves an ideal outcome for either side. Ideals are luxuries, ideals are things that you may be able to achieve. But at the end of the day, you have to be able to decide what is really important, what advances your real national interests here.

And let’s take an example that's very pertinent to this issue of enrichment. Now, the Iranian government has been unambiguous for over a decade that it will not negotiate on its perceived right to uranium enrichment. They’ve argued that this right needs to be exercised, not just held, not just known. For the longest time, on the other hand, the United States took the principle position that Iran had no right to enrichment. But further, that Iran’s clandestine acquisition of the technology and the fact that it was engaged in these activities under UN sanctions, and the fact that they had engaged in efforts to develop nuclear weapons meant they probably couldn’t also have the exercise of that technology.

And I have to say that principle position was comfortable, it was emotionally satisfying and it got nowhere in the negotiations that we engaged in with the Iranians for roughly six years. And that's not surprising because the Iranians entered into the conversation with a completely different set of core principles. And, the fact that both sides were exercising those principles led to mounting uranium enriched stockpiles, thousands of centrifuges being installed, and ever-narrowing breakout timelines.

They also led to increasing instability in the Gulf and there's enough instability in the Gulf, but it’s been getting worse as Iran is looking towards acquiring even a latest breakout capability unrestricted by any kind of nuclear deal. 

So the Obama Administration faced a crossroads. They could continue to insist on a set of core principles and face the uncertain prospect of sanctions forcing Iranian capitulation or risking a conflict, or the administration could test the theory that negotiations could result in an Iranian nuclear program that does not create nearly the same security problems as what's happening now. And the key and the center of that would be both restrictions and intrusive verification and monitoring steps. And the test is what led to the joint plan of action, which was agreed to by the United States, and its P5+1 partners and Iran in November of 2013. And for the first time in nearly a decade, halted Iran’s nuclear program and rolled it back in key respects.

Both sides had to compromise on their principles to get there. The United States certainly had to be prepared to acknowledge that enrichment could be part of Iran’s future in a nuclear program, which was not something that for a very long time was in the cards. The Iranians, on the other hand, also compromised on their core principles by saying that they would halt an enrichment program and they would subject it to international restrictions including international restrictions achieved through negotiations with the “Great Satan.” And I don't think that the impact of that politically in Tehran can be underestimated. The fact that they agreed to restrictions, which they always said they were going to resist after negotiating with the United States. 

Both sides also, though, indicated they’d be prepared to compromise further in order to get to a comprehensive plan of action. And a comprehensive deal that would competitively address all the remaining problems. Now, that does not mean, however, that comprehensive would automatically lead to no concerns whatsoever for either side. Instead, both sides would have to find ways of accommodating one another and accommodating one another’s natural and at some level instinctive security concerns and lack of confidence in one another.

For Iran, they made very clear that they will not terminate their enrichment program, period. They also will not take steps at the barrel of a gun. In this context, the tool of U.S. sanctions. They will not dismantle their entire nuclear program on the promise of sanctions relief in the future. They are going to insist that any kind of deal that comes out of this process have sanctions relief for them early on in order to make it a reasonable deal for them. 

For the United States, we've also made it very clear that we're not going to agree to anything at the barrel of a gun. And that means continuing nuclear advancement on the part of Iran. It’s part of the reason why the joint plan of action was so important, was to put the nuclear program on ice such that negotiations could take place in a much more calm atmosphere.

And I would just note for anyone who thinks that the current climate is very tense, imagine if we were continuing to have these negotiations without the plan of action in which the Iranian nuclear program was operating 20,000 centrifuges and potentially installing them at an even faster rate.

You know, a purely principled negotiation would end right there with both sides having stated what their principles are, and then walking away from one another. But the negotiators are trying to find a way to permit increased confidence on both sides that a deal can both be achieved, as well as could work. And so that's going to require lengthy and technical talks. They need to combine political steps with technical modifications, with legal interpretations, to create an agreement that's sustainable over the long term. And neither side is going to get its ideal outcome in doing so. 

But if both sides are able to explain how their core interests are assured, then to my mind, that's the only principle that really counts. And that’s the principle, I think, that is governing our negotiators, and I believe to some extent as well the Iranian negotiators as they enter the talks. 

Now for Iran at its heart, their core political is acceptance for its nuclear achievements and resumption of economic ties to the outside world without being humiliated. And I think the issue of humiliation for Iran is very real. It is something that may come off as a sound bite, but I think it actually is part of and invests itself in every one of Iran’s strategic calculations and decisions.

For the United States, our core principle, I think, is a nuclear program that cannot be used to build nuclear weapons in such a short amount of time that we cannot prevent it in the defense of ourselves, our partners and our interests. And it’s also about confirming an international norm that fewer nuclear weapons in nuclear armed states is better than more.

And this returns me to the issue of more congressional pressure now. You know, I think the simple truth of it is the United States and Iran are engaged in a very public negotiation. This would be a heck of a lot easier if it was not, because then we wouldn't have to be having the same kind of conversation in public as we have to have in private and trying to manage both of those dynamics. 

But let’s be really blunt here. If the United States acts in any way that appears to be reconciling itself to Iran’s interests, then the administration is subject to intense criticism. The same is true for Iran. And while the Iranian negotiators aren’t often accused of having their talking points written in Washington, the reality is that there is just as intense criticism of them for what they are doing in the negotiating room as with us. And they cannot appear to concede to the United States on any issue. And, in fact, if you look at the joint plan of action, the entire text is vested with descriptions of Iranian declarations and announcements and things that are their own active decision. And that's because at the end of the day, they cannot come home with a document that says Iran will do the following because it was forced to, and because it was forced to in particular by a group of countries that includes the United States. 

So, frankly, solutions do not have to come from Iran, but the Iranians have to be able to stand up and say that those solutions, the comprehensive solutions that are to be reached, reflect their interests, their views, their desires and are responsive to their policy interests. And that's part of the reason why I think legislation now is so dangerous. It just strips the negotiators of their ability to negotiate and it paints a target on their backs every single day they have to go back to Tehran.

Now at this point, I usually get accused of protecting Iran or looking out for them rather than the United States. And look, nothing could be further from the truth. And I've become famous in saying they're big boys, they can defend themselves and they can negotiate for themselves. But there is a meaningful difference between serving Iranian interests and protecting American interests by not fouling the nests of the people that we're dealing with. And that distinction, I think, is what is in all of the policy statements and decisions that are being taken by the administration as they seek to negotiate with Iran.

And for this reason, I personally oppose any legislation that sets a time deadline on the talks or defines what must be in an acceptable deal unless it’s the most generic statement of policy. All this does is create expectations on the Iran side to resist and to buck the authority of the west. It doesn’t create pressure on the regime; rather, it gives them an out to argue that they must stand up for the independence of the Iranian people.

Similarly, the idea of establishing explicit requirement for an up or down vote is unnecessary and counterproductive, though I can understand why it’s beguiling. First, as I understand it, the goal is to make it very, very clear that Congress will have a say on the issue of a nuclear deal. If nothing else has been proven since November of 2013, it is that the U.S. Congress is interested in Iran and is going to have its voice heard.

And the second is that Congress doesn't need to give itself this authority. And I think we're going to hear about some of their options that they have later on. But the flat answer is that Congress can stop the implementation of any deal that it dislikes. And to the natural counterargument of this puts the blame on Congress, then. They have to defund implementation, or so forth, I have to retort an up or down vote doesn't do that after a deal has been reached.

The simple reality is that by any action that is taken now is potentially putting the United States into the crosshairs of being responsible for having scuttled the process. And I think that is what is most dangerous. And I think the administration knows full well what Congress’s views are and what's an acceptable deal. I know that I knew them when I was in the administration and when I was working on this issue. And I don't believe that much has changed since I left. 

Frankly, if Congress wants to put pressure on the regime, then it will stop giving hard liners in Tehran easy sound bites to react to. Instead, it will work to try and make a deal possible. There will be hearings, there will be discussions about how sanctions relief would actually be executed. It will demonstrate that if, in fact, a deal is reached and it’s deemed acceptable, that the Congress will stand behind the administration in executing it. Because then, the Iranian hardliners will have no place else to turn, other than to themselves, in rejecting a deal. 

But if on the other hand they're able to point to clear indications that a deal will not be agreed to or will not be implemented if agreed to at the outset, then I think that simply scuttles any real chance of them being able to negotiation with us. And I think also Congress can set the table by doing things like changing the rules on U.S. export of oil. Things that help to create the conditions for future sanctions pressure are good ways of supporting the administration in its efforts to both negotiate and then to execute that pressure in the future.

And I think, then, I would just conclude with one last point. There's often a consideration given to “couldn’t we get more concessions from the Iranians if we just add pressure now?” And I think the thought behind that is the Iranians have come to the table under a certain degree of pressure, they certainly will have to make a deal if they have more pressure applied to them. My view is no, I don’t think, in fact, that's true. And I think any reasonable history of the Iranian nuclear program vis-à-vis sanctions shows that at best it’s a foot race between the sanctioners who are trying to increase pressure and the pace of the nuclear program. But I will acknowledge it’s not impossible. It’s entirely possible that adding more pressure on Iran now we’ll get concessions that we couldn't get at the negotiating table today. 

But, there is a risk to that. And it’s a bet that's being taken by the people who decide to walk away from the table now. The real answer is no one knows. No one knows what could potentially happen if we apply additional pressure now, or if we wait. But I think we can look based upon recent history, and we can make an educated guess. And in my view, the educated guess is that more pressure now, or the appearance of more pressure now, would force negotiators to walk away from the table or to be unable to make the kinds of concessions that they need to make in order to have a long and sustainable nuclear deal.

For those who are making the bet on the opposite side, I think they also need to be able to demonstrate why they're right and why it’s automatically the case that adding more pressure now is automatically going to lead to a better deal. Because, frankly, I don't think they can and I don't believe that the analysis would bear that out. 

I think that, frankly, the most pressure we can put on the Iran government now is to keep silent about what we need and instead of concentrating on what's on offer because we need the ability, if a deal is not achieved, to be able to stand up to the world and ask why it would turn its back on the sanctions relief that would be promised as part of a deal. Why it would be unable to modify the Iraq reactor to not produce weapons grade plutonium every single year. Why it would not be able to take reasonable restrictions on its enrichment program. And why it would not be able to grant the transparency and access and verification that’s required to execute a nuclear deal that's reached.

In my opinion, it’s exactly that kind of pressure that can motivate the Iranians to look around themselves and decide a deal is far better than pursuing their own nuclear program unrestricted. Thank you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right, thank you very much, Richard. And I want to remind everybody Richard was in the negotiating room last year. The next speaker was outside the negotiating room several times, Kelsey, on behalf of the Arms Control Association, spent a lot of time in the coffee shop outside the Coburg Palace and elsewhere. Has been tracking the talks for us and she's going to tell us a little bit about what we think this thing might look like. Kelsey? 

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Great, thank you Daryl. Thank you all for coming and thank you to Richard for laying out the principles of each side so clearly. Because now I want to talk a little bit about how the sides can find compromise on the nuclear elements to reach a deal that allows both sides to go back to their domestic audience and say that they’ve upheld these principles.

But before getting into the specifics, I want to really echo Daryl’s point, that the United States and its negotiating partners are on the cusp right now of a historic opportunity to reach a deal with Iran that guards against its obtaining nuclear weapons sort of well into the future. And that deal is not only possible now but it’s becoming probable and it’s looking increasingly likely that the negotiators can reach a broad agreement on the parameters by the end of March. And particularly in Washington, giving the negotiators time and space to do that is key.

But when an agreement is reached, it’s also important to evaluate it based on what is realistic and what is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. No deal is going to be perfect, no deal is going to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program entirely. But we don’t need a perfect deal, we need a good deal. So the U.S. really has three goals sort of within the negotiation to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. And that's to block Iran’s pathways to the bomb using both plutonium and uranium; to guard against a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program; and to provide incentives and an agreement for Iran to follow up and comply sort of well into the future.

So, first to look at blocking Iran’s pathway to the bomb. There are two materials that you can use for nuclear weapons; separated plutonium and weapons grade uranium. So, to look first at plutonium, Iran and the P5+1 have made significant advances on coming to an agreement on how to deal with the plutonium question. Iran right now has a heavy water reactor that it was constructing prior to reaching the interim agreements. They’ve halted construction as part of the deal. And if completed, that reactor, as designed now, would produce enough plutonium that when separated would be equivalent to about two weapons every year. So that's about eight kilograms in total. 

Now, working with the P5+1, they’ve come to an agreement whereby Iran could modify the reactor, reducing the power level and changing the fuel and that would dramatically decrease the amount of weapons usable plutonium that the reactor would produce, thus blocking the path to a bomb by reducing that to less than one kilogram of plutonium, in all likelihood. And then but also allowing Iran to complete the reactor, which is a very important principle from the Iranian perspective.

So consider that against the alternative. Two bombs worth or uranium produced a year versus less than a quarter produced every year. And a commitment from Iran that it will not separate the weapons-usable plutonium out of the spent fuel. So that's extremely significant for the United States.

Now, the uranium enrichment question is slightly more complex, and it’s been one of the more difficult issues for the negotiators to find a compromise on. The United States has publicly committed to pushing Iran’s ability to produce enough weapons grade uranium for one bomb back to 12 months. Right now, they could do that in two to three months. And I want to stress that that is just the time it would take for Iran to produce the uranium for one bomb. There are a number of other steps that they would have to take after that to weaponize the material before they would actually have a weapon. So that's 12 months plus that additional time. And that's what the U.S. wants to achieve in these negotiations.

Now, a combination of measures sort of will push back the time that it will take Iran to accumulate this material. Uranium is enriched to both power reactor grades and to weapons grade using centrifuges. And the number of centrifuges that Iran is allowed under this deal has become highly symbolic of how a deal is assessed. And that, in my opinion, is a huge problem because it reduces a complex set of figures to one number. There is no magic number. If the deal has 5,000 centrifuges, that doesn't make it a good deal. And if it has 5,001, that doesn't make it a bad deal. You have to look at how all of the factors play together and interact. And that’s how you'll then begin to see if you reach that 12-month time period that the United States wants. 

So, that will mean a combination of limiting Iran’s centrifuges. Currently, Iran has nearly 20,000 centrifuges installed, of which about 10,200 are enriching uranium. So it will probably entail dismantling some of those centrifuges that are installed but not enriching, and then likely reducing the number that are enriching, that 10,200, and perhaps reconfiguring them so that they become less efficient.

Now, that also will be coupled with reducing the stockpiles of enriched material that Iran is allowed to keep in the country. Right now, Iran is enriching to less than five percent and not suitable for power reactors. Materials suitable for bombs is enriched to greater than 90 percent. And keeping that stockpile of enriched uranium low will help increase the time it would take for Iran to move to those weapons grade levels.

Another thing that will be likely within the uranium enrichment sort of package is that there will be limits put on Iran’s research and development of advanced machines, and the production of those machines. And that gives the international community more assurance that Iran won't be building advanced machines and then move very quickly towards nuclear weapons at the culmination of a deal, which is likely to be sort of at least ten years in terms of the limits on Iran’s program.

Also, there probably will be no enrichment allowed at the Fordow facility; that's one of Iran’s two enrichment facilities that the United States and its allies have been concerned about because it’s buried sort of deep within a mountain and quite difficult to access. So, much has been made sort of within the past few months since the last extension in November, a lot of progress has been made on the uranium enrichment question. And it’s this progress in particular that makes me hopeful that a deal is possible by the end of March. 

Now, one of the things that we hear frequently when talking about uranium enrichment is this idea that we need to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons capability. Now, that is not going to happen. It’s like a mirage. It sounds good, but you can try as hard as you want and you will not get there. You cannot bomb away the knowledge that Iran has gained from its nuclear program. You cannot sanction it away. You cannot dismantle it. Iran has had a nuclear weapons capability since 2007, and this is something that the international community has to live with. So the best way to insure that Iran does not choose to pursue nuclear weapons is to reach a good agreement that limits the program and puts in place very strict monitoring and verification.

So, with the deal you push Iran’s timeline to getting nuclear material for a bomb back to 12 months. With no deal, it’s at two to three right now, and that time frame will narrow quickly if the sides walk away from the table and Iran ramps up its enrichment program, if it turns on those additional nearly 10,000 machines that are installed, if it begins to install more machines, and if it returns to enriching to higher and higher levels.

Now, the second element of a good deal is guarding against a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program. Now, prior to the interim agreement, the U.S. intelligence community assessed that if Iran were to choose to pursue nuclear weapons, it would most likely do so through a covert program. And that assessment is understandable given Iran’s past history. They did build their enrichment sites without notifying the International Atomic Energy Agency, so they have a history of these types of covert activities. But a good deal can put in place the monitoring and verification to insure that these measures don’t continue. And this is key, also, then to immediately determining any deviation from an agreement that Iran may take in the future.

Now, one of the key provisions of the additional monitoring and verification will be the additional protocol. And one of the advantages of the additional protocol is that it is permanent. The limits on Iran’s nuclear program will eventually expire, but the additional protocol will remain in place. And this mechanism gives the International Atomic Energy Agency expanded access to Iran’s sites. It will encompass Iran’s entire fuel cycle so that's from mining the raw uranium to building the centrifuges to the enrichment facilities to the Iraq heavy water reactor. So this is very important because it also gives the inspectors sort of shorter notice to access Iran’s sites.

And there are mechanisms that give the IAEA access to sites if they have concerns that Iran may be undertaking sort of covert nuclear activities. So this is incredibly important assurance to the international community that Iran will not be deviating from an agreement and will not be putting in place a covert program.

And then there are some additional measures that will likely be included. Iran will probably be required to abide by another agreement with the IAEA called code 3.1 that requires Iran to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with information about new nuclear facilities that it intends to build from the moment that they decide to do so. So that's much earlier notice than what the IAEA gets now when Iran decides to move forward with new nuclear projects.

A deal will probably also incentivize Iran to answer some of the IAEA’s questions about the past military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. It’s fairly well accepted, sort of both in the United States and in the international community, that prior to 2003, Iran conducted activities that were relevant to developing a nuclear weapon. But Iran has been slow to work with the IAEA to provide information about those activities. But a deal will provide Iran incentives to do so. Sanctions relief at certain measures if it follows through with the IAEA.

So again, sort of these measures give the international community far more assurance that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons, that it cannot develop a covert program. And if you look at this versus the alternative, less inspections than we have now, less monitoring, fewer inspectors on the ground, it would be much easier for Iran with no deal to pursue nuclear weapons. So again, the benefits of the monitoring and verification far exceed the alternative. And as I said, are permanent.

Finally, sort of the last thing that a deal really needs to do is to incentivize Iran not to pursue nuclear weapons in the future. So within the final deal, as Iran makes these concessions, as it gives up elements of its nuclear program, as it adds more monitoring and verification, it’s important to provide them with reciprocal sanctions relief and to phase that sanctions relief over the course of a deal. That will help insure that Iran continues to abide by the agreement. And we see an excellent precedent for that in the interim agreement. In addition to being granted some sanctions relief, Iran was also able to access frozen assets every month, and as it met certain milestones to neutralize elements of its more highly enriched 20 percent stockpiles of uranium.

So, and I believe, too, that establishing that compliance record will help give Washington and the international community sort of more confidence that Iran is not going to move down the nuclear weapons path in the future. But, as Richard said, and I think Larry will talk more to later, Iran has to believe that Congress will follow through with sanctions relief. If they do not think that the U.S. is willing to uphold its end of the bargain, they have very little incentive to negotiate and to reach a final agreement. 

And that is one of the reasons why congressional action at this time, or the prospective of a vote of disapproval could be very damaging to the negotiations which are now in such a critical phase and so close to reaching an agreement.

So in conclusion, no deal with Iran is going to be perfect. Neither side is going to get everything that they want. But it’s important to measure a good deal against the alternative; no deal. A good deal will reduce the amount of weapons usable plutonium that Iran produces. No deal will give them two bombs’ worth a year. A good deal will extend the uranium timeline to over 12 months. No deal will shorten it. A good deal will put in stringent monitoring and verification. And under no deal, we will have far less inspectors on the ground watching Iran’s nuclear program. 

So, this is a historic opportunity to reach a deal with Iran and really minimize a threat to both U.S. security interests and regional security. And to reach a deal policymakers in D.C. need to be supportive of the negotiations now. Thank you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thanks a lot, Kelsey. And about that Congress, Larry? Larry Hanauer is next, and Larry’s going to describe some of the options that Congress theoretically has and might pursue and some of the pros and cons. Thanks for being here, Larry.

LARRY HANAUER:  Thank you, Daryl, and thank you to my colleagues for laying out the dynamics of the negotiations. At the RAND Corporation, where I'm a senior analyst, we realize that most observers are focused on exactly these dynamics and looking at the negotiations as they're unfolding. And so what that meant was that really few people were looking at what the world might be like after a deal is signed. So, my colleagues and I at Rand looked at a number of different issues looking at the days after a deal. And we looked at, for example, the implications of an agreement for U.S. force posture in the Middle East, for the nuclear nonproliferation regime, for potential changes to Iranian foreign policy, and then I took a look at the ways in which Congress might actually react to a deal and the different options that Congress has for effecting the implementation of a deal. 

So really, there are three ways that Congress can engage constructively in shaping the implementation agreement. First, Congress should refrain from holding an up or down vote on a deal because congressional rejection of a deal would drive Iran to resume enrichment, weaken the sanctions regime, bolster Iranian hardliners, eliminate the possibility of a further future diplomatic solution, and isolate the United States. 

Second, Congress should stop debating the potential for new sanctions until after the negotiation period ends on June 30th. Because continued debate alienates our allies and actually weakens the U.S. negotiating position. If a deal is reached, Congress can impose snap back sanctions that kick in if Iran reneges on its commitments. And if no deal is reached, Congress can impose punitive sanctions on Iran with the support of the White House and the international community. 

Third, Congress can engage in aggressive oversight of the deal’s implementation by holding frequent hearings and briefings and requiring that the administration report frequently on the implementation of the agreement. Now, if a deal is reached, and this is what I'll focus on today, Congress really only has very limited ways to effect its implementation. It can accept the deal, either proactively or passively through inaction, which would allow it to go forward as negotiated. It can try to limit the executive branch’s authority to provide sanctions relief, which in all likelihood will have limited effectiveness. Or, it can reject a deal, either by voting it down or by imposing new sanctions which effectively scuttle it and that will have a range of negative consequences for the United States, some of which my colleagues already outlined.

So I'll look at a few ways first that Congress can facilitate the implementation of a deal. There are two primary ways it can do this. One is to lift sanctions by statute, or two, second, is to proactively express support for a deal either by explicitly authorizing and appropriating funds for its implementation or by passing a sense of Congress resolution or issuing other statements that indicate that Congress actually supports the deal’s implementation.

Now, no one’s actually discussing these measures at this point, so let's put those aside for now. But it’s also possible, actually, that Congress could do nothing, something that actually happens quite often in Washington, I guess, but at least do nothing that affects the implementation of a deal. In other words, it could fail to pass legislation, or it could pass a bill that then gets vetoed by the President and which Congress is unable to override. And in that case, the administration will be able to implement the agreement as it negotiated it.

Now also, it’s worth noting that if Congress takes no action, no legislative action, the Iran Sanctions Act, which contains many of the extra territorial sanctions that impact foreign companies, will actually expire in December 2016. And that will allow many foreign companies to invest in Iran and do business with Iran. So if Congress fails to take proactive action to renew that legislation or renew the sanctions contained in it, then that will be a form, essentially, of statutory sanctions relief, because those sanctions will disappear. 

Now, Congress could also take steps that would restrict the President’s ability to issue sanctions relief. And there are several ways it could do so. First, Congress could modify the existing legislation that gives the President the authority to waive certain sanctions so as to revoke them or limit them in some way.

Second, it could shorten the duration of presidential waivers. Most of these waivers are allowed for 90 days or 180 days or some limited period of time. The President in many cases can issue them again, and again, and again, which means that long-term sanctions relief could effectively be provided through presidential waiver.

But Congress could act either to shorten the duration of those waivers or make them nonrenewable, which means they only can last for a limited period of time. And by doing that, Congress could also require the executive branch to come back to Congress and justify its--or at least publicly--justify its waiver decision. So in other words if a waiver can only last for 90 days instead of, let’s say, 180 days, the administration will have to justify its decisions more frequently, and presumably, in greater detail.

Third, Congress could make it harder for the President to waive sanctions by essentially requiring the President to certify something that is not certifiable. So for example, Congress could require that he certify that Iran has stopped supporting terrorism before a waiver can be issued. Well, that's a high bar. It's not something Iran’s likely to do so that could, in effect, limit the administration’s ability to issue those waivers.

Fourth, Congress could deny policy agencies the exclusive authority to determine whether Iran’s performance actually merits sanctions relief. So for example, it could require the explicit concurrence of the intelligence community that Iran has indeed complied with an agreement before a waiver could be issued. 

So these limitations could hinder the President’s ability to provide sanctions relief. But in all likelihood, the executive branch will continue to have sufficient flexibility to waive many of the sanctions and thus keep the deal on track. In any case, though, we've assessed that Congress is not likely to really take these actions and to limit presidential waivers simply because it’s not going to leave anyone on Capitol Hill satisfied. Supporters of a deal will oppose the constraints that it places on the President, and opponents of the deal will object that the continued presidential waivers would enable the deal to go forward. So if no one’s happy, this doesn't seem like a very appealing option for members of Congress to pursue. 

Now, most proposals being considered on Capitol Hill would actually block a deal from being implemented, or undermine it through new sanctions. So I'll go through a couple of those. There are two ways, principally, for Congress to block implementation of a deal. One is to deny funding for its implementation either through stand-alone legislation or simply as part of the normal budget process. So Congress could, for example, say that no funds shall be spent to send nuclear inspectors on inspection missions, or revise Treasury Department regulations or take any number of other steps. 

The second way is for Congress to reject a deal through an up or down vote. And in the next few weeks, Congress is likely to take up legislation introduced by Senator Corker that would require the administration to present the agreement to Congress and give Congress the chance to approve it or reject it through an up or down vote. 

Now, if Congress votes the agreement down, the President has promised he will veto that kind of legislation. And if Congress is unable to override the veto, then the executive branch gets to move ahead and implement the agreement. Although that said, the agreement will be weakened substantially by the lack of congressional support because our European and Asian allies and partners, the Iranians themselves, and also companies that are eager to invest in Iran would look at the congressional action and conclude that the potential for sanctions relief could be short-lived and that could make it very hard to secure continued long-term Iranian cooperation and make it hard to encourage companies to invest in Iran. 

And as Kelsey suggested, we actually want Iran to see economic benefits from a deal because if Iran does not see economic benefits from a deal, whether it’s further trade and investment, then it has no reason to remain in the deal and is likely to pull out and resume its enrichment. 

Now, if Congress casts a down vote, which the President then vetoes and Congress overrides the President’s veto, then that would, in essence, scuttle the deal. An interesting analogy, I heard someone compare it to in Peanuts where Charlie Brown runs to kick the football and Lucy pulls it away. So this would be equivalent to Congress pulling the football away, or pulling the rug out from under the deal.

So I want to look at the impact of that, and the consequences are similar to what my colleagues outlined. But before we do that, let’s look at it from an Iranian perspective. So the Iranian legislature, the Majlis, has the authority under Iranian law to give an agreement an up or down vote. So how would Americans react if the Majlis rejected a deal after it was signed by Iran and by the P5+1? Well, U.S. officials would likely denounce Iran as having negotiated in bad faith and claim that the Majlis’s rejection proves that Iran never actually intended to accept limits on its nuclear program. We would walk away from the deal, walk away from what we agreed to and pursue our previous policies, tight economic sanctions, probably even more vigorously. 

Well, that's pretty much how Iran and our allies and partners would react if Congress votes down an agreement after it’s been reached, or otherwise prevents it from taking effect. So first, Iran will refuse to abide by the commitments it made at the negotiating table, and pursue its previous activities, its previous nuclear activities, and without international monitors in place that give us insights into what's going on.

Second, Iran will present Congress’s decision as proof that the United States never actually intended to provide sanctions relief and argue that U.S. policy is actually not to use sanctions as a tool to drive a change in Iranian behavior, but rather that U.S. policy is to keep a perpetual sanctions regime in place and keep Iran permanently isolated through economic sanctions. Now, many other countries, even if they don’t accept Iran’s rhetoric, will conclude that the United States is unwilling to ever relax sanctions on Iran. And most of these countries have only gone along with sanctions enforcement because we've promised them for a long period of time that as long as Iran is willing to negotiate in good faith that there will be an end to the sanctions regime.

So if Congress scuttles a deal, many of these partners will not only refuse to enforce any new sanctions Congress may impose, but they’ll likely walk away from the existing sanctions regime, particularly countries that maintain sanctions somewhat begrudgingly like China, India or Turkey, countries, for example, that purchase Iranian oil and are eager to continue doing so.

Third, we’ll be left with no options to address Iranian nuclear capabilities diplomatically. If Congress unravels a nuclear agreement, as Richard suggested earlier, Iran is not going to seek another diplomatic dialogue with the United States, certainly not in the near future. 

So if Congress rejects a completed agreement, it will not produce a better deal. It will, instead, produce a situation in which Iran has no constraints on its nuclear program, international sanctions enforcement is weakened. Together, those two things mean that Iran’s economy improves without Iran having to give up its nuclear program, so that seems like a double victory for Iran and a double loss for what the United States is trying to achieve.

It means that Iranian reformers would be weakened by their failure to deliver an economic solution to Iran’s poor economy and that will strengthen the hardliners who are behind Iran’s use of terrorism and Iran’s more aggressive foreign policy in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. So we’ll be strengthening the hardliners in Iran and weakening the reformers who give us a potential to engage. So no matter what you think of the terms being discussed, this outcome seems worse. But that's what we’ll end up with if Congress undoes a deal that's been reached.

Now, Congress can also pass new sanctions and depending on how it does so, it could have two very different effects. So it could pass sanctions that kick in automatically, essentially to punish Iran. Or it could pass sanctions that kick in if Iran reneges on the deal. And the new sanctions that take effect automatically would have many of the same consequences we've discussed. It would drive Iran to walk away from a deal and resume enrichment, it could alienate our allies and partners, weaken the sanctions regime and leave the U.S. isolated. 

But new sanctions that take effect if Iran reneges on its commitments could actually be an effective way to place pressure on Iran to follow through on the agreement because Iran will know the costs of noncompliance in advance, U.S. allies would understand that if new sanctions do get imposed, it’s because of Iranian noncompliance rather than because of a U.S. refusal to do its part. So in other words, Iran, rather than the United States, would become the spoiler. And as a result, there’d be greater international support for continued sanctions enforcement. 

Now, it’s important for several reasons, however, that Congress not consider new sanctions, even snap back sanctions, until after a deal is reached. First, while negotiations are ongoing, sanctions bills convey to Iran that they're not likely to get the relief they're seeking, which means that the risks go up for them. And that suggests that they're likely to demand additional concessions from the United States and its allies at the negotiating table to compensate it for that risk. So in other words, considering new sanctions legislation while negotiations are ongoing could actually weaken the administration’s negotiating position rather than strengthen it.

Second, in terms of public perception, it really doesn't matter if Congress is debating now whether to impose sanctions later because few outside the United States, or even inside the United States, will really see the distinction between the current debate and the delay before such sanctions would take effect. So really, the congressional debate would bolster the impression that the United States is eager to keep sanctions in place permanently. 

Third, to write effective snap back sanctions, Congress actually needs to define clearly the triggers, or the Iranian actions or inactions, that would trigger the sanctions to take effect. And it can't do that until it knows what Iran has actually agreed to. So if Congress tries to write that kind of legislation now, the triggers will have to be very broadly defined, which can lead to confusion down the road as to whether Iran has complied or not complied, or whether sanctions need to be reinstated or not. So to write clear triggers and sanctions legislation, it needs to be able to see what the Iranians have agreed to. 

Finally, the longer Congress debates new sanctions, the more likely it is that international corporations seeking to enter the Iranian market will hold off before making investments. Again, Iran has to see the economic benefits of a deal to continue to abide by it. 

But companies are not going to want to invest in Iran if they think that the window for doing business is going to be brief, as they won't have sufficient time to get a return on their investment. And this could kill a deal. If Iran doesn’t see the benefits in the agreement, it will have no incentive to continue complying. So, the longer Congress debates whether to impose new sanctions, the more likely that Iran will fail to see these economic benefits and the more likely it will pull out of the agreement. 

So just to sum up, so what can Congress do to effect the implementation of a deal in a constructive manner? So again, as I said in the beginning, first Congress should not hold an up or down vote on a completed deal. A vote to scuttle a hard won diplomatic agreement would make the United States the spoiler and lead to a host of negative consequences for the United States, including elimination of diplomacy as a way to resolve the issue, resumption of Iran’s nuclear program and the weakening of international sanctions. And together, this means Iran’s economy gets better and it continues to make progress toward a nuclear weapon.

Second, Congress should stop debating the imposition of new sanctions until the negotiations are over. And at that point, it can continue the imposition of targeted snap back sanctions as a means of compelling Iranian compliance. The current debate makes it appear as if the U.S. is negotiating in bad faith and undermines U.S. negotiators and P5+1 negotiators. Iranian negotiators know that new sanctions are coming if no deal is reached. The ongoing congressional debate is not influencing them. As Richard indicated earlier, it’s only aiding hardliners’ ability to argue against a deal domestically and it’s empowering Iranian negotiators to demand more at the table. 

There's no downside to waiting until negotiations end on June 30th before considering new snap back sanctions. If a deal is not reached, then Congress can impose new punitive sanctions with the support of the White House and the international community and if a deal is reached, Congress can pass legislation that would quickly re-impose sanctions in the event of Iranian noncompliance, and it can tailor the triggers for these snap back sanctions to match Iran’s specific commitments in a deal.

And finally, Congress should continue to exercise oversight through hearings and by requiring the administration to report. Now, some might argue I'm suggesting that Congress abrogate its responsibility as a co-equal branch of government to engage on critical policy matters or to engage in oversight. But these steps in no way undercut congressional authority. At any time, if Iran is determined to have reneged on the deal, Congress can vote to repudiate the deal, it can vote to de-fund U.S. implementation of the deal, or it can impose sanctions. There's no reason for Congress to do any of this now while diplomacy still has a chance to advance U.S. interests with few negative consequences. So there's no downside to waiting until June 30th.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right, thank you very much, Larry, and thanks for three great presentations. [applause] It’s now your turn. We have a microphone that we can move over to if you have a question. So, please wait for the mic to come over, identify yourself and please put it in the form of a question, thanks.

PETER SMALLWOOD:  I'm Peter Smallwood, University of Richmond. It's a difficult question, but any of you who want to take a try at it, as you so clearly outlined, there's no 100 percent thing here. It’s not like we're going to have a deal that makes it impossible. We're trying to negotiate a deal that increases the length of time of time for them if they wanted to increase the probability that they get discovered. How much of the difficulty here is due to pride of not wanting to be seen as giving in to the great Satan or trust of not believing that we're actually going to follow through on relieving sanctions versus elements on the Iranian side that are trying to maintain as much as possible a shorter pathway, a plausible pathway, to actually get a nuclear weapon if they decide they need it?

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. You want to take a shot at that, Richard?

RICHARD NEPHEW:  Sure. I mean, I think it’s the right question to ask, and frankly it’s the strategic question that we all need to be asking about, do we need to deal with Iran at all, right? I mean, if your assumption is that there is no deal that eventually Iran’s not going to try and break out of in pursuit of nuclear weapons, then I think the only logical conclusion is don’t do a deal, right? I mean, that to me is obvious. Because in any circumstance that you have a deal, you are potentially preserving and prolonging the life of a regime that you are 100 percent convinced is going to want to acquire nuclear weapons down the road.

I think where I am, and I think where the administration is based upon what we've gotten from the intelligence community and from our own assessments, is that Iran has not decided that it wants to have nuclear weapons forever and ever, alleluia, amen, right? There is still, in fact, a discussion that is to be had inside the Iranian system. At some point, in 2003, they decided to walk away from that because of the consequences they perceived from that.

I think it is an assumption to be made that they only did that for tactical reasons. It’s entirely plausible to me they did it because they saw what happened in Iraq and they decided that for the long haul, they don’t want to have the same consequences for them. Now, that doesn't mean they might not want to have that option, but that's part of the reason why the deal that we strike has got to preserve our ability to detect a move towards that option quickly. And I think one of the things that Kelsey said was so important was the verification and transparency steps that we're talking, and clearly like the additional protocol, for instance, those are going to remain in place after the expiration of any kind of restrictions that are in place here. That would, if done properly, verified properly, give you that same kind of lead time, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn’t keep the intelligence community looking for indications of intention and the fact that they're moving down the other direction. 

But I think for me, anyway, I don't think it’s a given that they will definitely at some point in the future go for a bomb. And so therefore, I'm comfortable making a deal that preserves their space to respond to it if they choose to in the future. I think that if you automatically assume that they will, then it makes total sense for you to say that no deal is worth it. But then again, I think you still have to answer the question, is your decision here going to actually stop them, right? Because sanctioning them to death is not going to solve it, and bombing them right now isn't going to solve it forever, either. But that's just my answer.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Yeah. Kelsey?

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  There's one thing that I would add. One of Iran’s incentives in pursuing the Iranian enrichment program, at least that they give publicly, is this idea that they need to be able to provision for the domestic nuclear power reactors that they want to build in the future. Now, I certainly agree that there are elements of the regime that want to retain that hedging capability and as Richard said that, in my mind, argues for a deal that has more monitoring and verification.

But, I could see an agreement sort of further down the road, once this issue becomes sort of less political, when you look at what Iran is looking at in terms of its power reactors and provision of fuel from Russia, that the economic viability of producing its own fuel for domestic reactors just doesn't make sense anymore. That this becomes less of a pride issue and these other sort of reactors are in place, when there's assured Russian fuel supplies, that the expansion just isn't as attractive.

So, I think the longer agreement that sort of pushes that down the road could be beneficial sort of later on to Iran choosing to limit their program. 

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Another question, sir? Right here, and then we’ll come up front.

HOSSEIN SHAHBAZI:  Hossein Shahbazi with Webster University. I'd like to ask you, Mr. Hanauer, that as we know there are generally three types of sanctions passed by Congress, nuclear, human rights, and terrorism. Now, a while ago Senator Kirk mentioned that the other two types, human rights and terrorism, also intertwined with the nuclear sanctions. So I'd like to see your opinion about if at some point Congress decides to go along with that decision not to vote against the deal, how do those two other types of sanctions would affect in any sense a nuclear issue?

Also, a question for Mr. Nephew, is that you very much summarized the Iranian positions about, or approach, towards the deal. I'd like to ask you one of the issues Iran has always had is the sanctions. And also, in addition to the American sanctions, the UN’s imposed sanctions. I'd like to know what is American positions about removal of the UN sanctions after at any time Iran engages seriously with the IAEA and decides to comply with their-- I'm so sorry. 

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you, I think we got the questions. Why don’t we just take the other question, Shervin here, and then we’ll take these two at once and then answer them.

HOWARD LAFRANCHI:  Thank you. Howard LaFranchi with the Christian Science Monitor. A couple of questions quickly. One, Kelsey I think just this week Secretary Kerry said on the Hill anybody who thinks they know what's in this deal, they're wrong, they don’t. So I'm--

DARYL KIMBALL:  Not everybody.

HOWARD LAFRANCHI:  So I'm just kind of curious how you know as much as you do. [laughter] And if he’s just speaking rhetorically. But the second question is all along in these negotiations, one of the big concerns has been how the region would react. And so I'm just interested, the kind of deal that you think is coming, what you think might be the reaction and the response and some of the players in the region. 

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right, great. So, we got a couple of questions. Why don’t we take the first one, Larry. 

LARRY HANAUER:  Sure. I'll start with the first one about the sanctions that are related to human rights and support for terrorism and other issues. There's certainly been a lot of debate on Capitol Hill about what constitutes a nuclear related sanction, because that's what the United States has agreed to discuss. And in fact, the administration has said that the sanctions related to Iran’s support for terrorism and its abusive human rights are not on the table. So, the administration has said it is really only willing to negotiate some form of relief from the sanctions that were imposed as a result of Iran’s nuclear program.

Now, there will be continued debate over which sanctions get included in which basket. But one thing that's interesting to note is that the sanctions that prevent U.S. companies from doing business in Iran or from investing in Iran are virtually all based on the sanctions that were imposed because of human rights violations and terrorism. And so if the administration is not willing to discuss waiving those sanctions, or changing those sanctions in some way, then what that suggests is that even if there is some sort of relief from sanctions as part of a deal, American companies are not going to be included in that.

So I think the assumption, then, is that whatever economic engagement is permitted as a result of the deal, will be undertaken by companies in Europe and Asia and elsewhere. Now, one thing I think that Congress has probably not thought about is that if companies from Europe and Asia and elsewhere in the world are suddenly able to enter the Iranian market, they will start getting a lot of visits from American companies and their lobbyists to say, “Well, we want in, too.” American companies have generally not lobbied on this issue because there's simply been very little prospect that they’ll be able to do business in Iran and most of them, the larger ones anyway, have had other priorities.

And as long as the rest of the world was kept out, too, then at least everyone was on an equal footing. But if companies from other countries are able to do business in Iran and American companies are left out, the American companies are going to start complaining that they are at an unfair disadvantage and are losing out on opportunities and that the longer it takes Congress to lift the remaining sanctions, the more behind American companies will be once they're eventually allowed in, assuming they are at some point.

So, I think after a deal, when foreign companies start going into the Iranian market, members of Congress will need to start giving some serious thought because they’ll be under pressure to do so, as to whether they should lift the other sanctions. And then I think you may end up with a situation where some members of Congress who are against sanctions relief now who tend to be on the right side of the spectrum and thus many of which are pro-business will come under pressure to waive even more sanctions which is especially ironic given that they're opposing sanctions relief of any sort now. So that'll be somewhere down the road, but it’ll be an interesting situation for some members of Congress to find themselves in. 

DARYL KIMBALL:  Richard, do you want to address the UN Security Council issue and what happens with those resolutions?

RICHARD NEPHEW:  Sure. Obviously, I can't speak to what the present U.S. negotiating posture is since I've left government, but I would say that it was made very, very clear and the joint plan action makes it very, very clear, that UN related, nuclear related sanctions on Iran, which are basically all the UN sanctions, would come off during the process of implementing the comprehensive plan of action. So I think the key issue is when, and at what point there's going to be enough confidence in the Iranian nuclear program to say restrictions on centrifuge flows and things like that can now come off. I wouldn't anticipate that that would be fairly early on in the process. I think that'll be after some considerable length of time. And some considerable length of implementation has taken place such that there could be confidence here. 

And then just since I've got the microphone and they asked the question about the regional reaction as well, I guess I would say just two quick words on that. One, I think as Secretary Kerry in fact did say we do need to wait and see what the deal is before we can judge I think what regional reaction, or anyone’s real reaction ought to be to the deal, I think that any deal that lifts or has a process for lifting sanctions in Iran is going to be looked at as being a lost opportunity by some people in the region and beyond that who want to see sanctions as a tool that could be used to influence other Iranian behaviors. I think that's obvious. 

But I don't think that it’s automatic that the reaction will be, well, this means it’s a bad deal. Some people might say that, but I think other people will say, “Okay, this solves our nuclear problem. But now we've got other problems. Let us try and solve those problems.” And they might have multiple solutions, anywhere from security assistance and security cooperation to cooperative work in terms of dealing with terrorist groups in the region and insurgencies.

So I guess what I would suggest is I think there is going to be a need on the part of people in the region and beyond that to respond to the deal. I don't think it’s going to be as black and white as it might be in some quarters. I think in a lot of places people say, “Okay, now that the sanctions tool is being put on the shelf, in some regard, that means we're going to need more cooperation in the following areas to be able to confront the challenges we have.”

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Kelsey, how do we know so much?

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Well, Howard, I would love to say that Secretary Kerry has shared the details with me, but that's not quite true. As Daryl said, I have spent a lot of time in coffee shops in Vienna, but some of the parameters are actually very clear, or from the interim deal itself, in addition to sort of the time bound measures for negotiations on the comprehensive deal, the interim deal laid out some of the broad parameters of a comprehensive agreement in which Iran said it would ratify the additional protocol. It laid out that there would not be any re-processing of spent plutonium. 

And then there are some other measures that have become clear over the course of the negotiations as negotiators from both sides have talked about the progress that has been made, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, has said fairly clearly that Iran has agreed to accept modifications to the Iraq reactor, both to reduce the power and change the fuel. And our work with physicists, particularly those up at Princeton, has given us some very clear insights on how the different modifications will change those outputs.

Regarding the uranium enrichment, I think that's where there still is the most ambiguity. But Secretary Kerry and the U.S. administration has been very clear about this one-year time frame. And that really can only be achieved in a deal that Iran would accept by a combination of these factors. It can't just be about reducing the number of centrifuges. It would be extremely difficult to get to a year. You'd be talking about only a few hundred machines. Iran is not going to agree to that.

So, it clearly has to be a combination of reducing the stockpiles and reducing the numbers of centrifuges. And again, there have been some indications about the paths that are being considered. Based on sort of comments that have come from Iranian officials and Russian officials, it looks like there are discussions about moving some of Iran’s stockpiles of reactor-grade uranium to Russia, or converting them into powder form that can be used for fuel, possibly later with sort of Russian assistance, then actually developing fuel themselves that can be fed into Iran’s sort of sole power reactor at Bushehr.

So, Kerry is right, nobody knows exactly what is in the deal in part because it isn't finished yet. But we have some fairly clear indications just from what has been discussed thus far.

Regarding sort of your question about sort of the region, I would certainly agree with some of the comments that Richard made. But I would also add that from a regional perspective, this is a deal that puts in place greater monitoring on Iran’s nuclear program and actually constrains it. And if you are Saudi Arabia, if you are Israel, if you're worried about Iran potentially producing nuclear weapons in the future, this is far better than no deal which results in an unconstrained program with less monitoring. 

So, I think that looking at it from that perspective, that this is a way that also sort of safeguards regional security, is important. I mean, I do think that there could be in certain countries a newfound desire to enrich uranium, to develop sort of the same sort of hedging capability. But I think that that is something that needs to be looked at, that needs to be considered. But there are opportunities to stem that off.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. We have time for one or two more questions, so let’s go in the back and then we’ll come over here.

ALAN KOTOK:  Thank you. Hi, I'm Alan Kotok with Science and Enterprise. You mentioned Russia. To what extent would an agreement depend on Russia's cooperation and to what extent is the deteriorating relationship with Russia, could that-- 

DARYL KIMBALL:  Affect the deal?

ALAN KOTOK:  Could that affect the outcome, yeah?

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. And then if we can, Shervin, maneuver yourself over here to the front row. And we’ll take two questions at once, thanks. 

SAM CUTLER:  Hi there, Sam Cutler, Ferrari & Associates. We mentioned here, and also the administration mentions, the danger of weakening the sanctions regime. But there's generally not a lot of follow through on what that would look like in practice. The impact of sanctions is to a large extent a risk/reward calculus from private sector firms that is often independent of any particular government preference for compliance. So could you describe a little bit more what sanctions breakdown would look like, particularly if the U.S. remains committed to robust enforcement posture?

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. So let’s try to address those two questions. Kelsey, you want to talk about the Russian angle quickly? 

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Sure. You know, despite the tensions that the U.S. and Europe are having with Russia right now, Russia seems to be playing a very constructive role in the talks. And Russia's participation is extremely important. They provide the fuel right now for Bushehr, Iran’s sole reactor. And the assurance that Russia's on board with this deal and will continue to provide that fuel is very important. Iran and Russia have also signed sort of a joint memorandum about technology sharing that could allow Iran to develop fuel domestically for Russian-made reactors in the future. That's certainly of interest to Iran. And the future reactors that Iran is planning to build will be supplied by Russia in perpetuity.

So the Russia role has been very important, it’s been very constructive. And I think it’s worth noting as well that despite these increased tensions between the U.S., the EU and Russia, Russia has continued to implement all of the sanctions on Iran. Because even for Russia, a nuclear armed Iran is not in its best interest, and they remain committed to the goals of the negotiation.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Richard, Larry, you want to take this second question, please? Start out.


RICHARD NEPHEW:  Sure. Just a couple of thoughts. The way that sanctions have been certainly executed has been U.S. unilateral action imposing secondary consequences on people if they don’t comply. But that only tells a portion of the story. The way in which actual compliance manifests itself is by companies making a decision that they're going to play along. And in some circumstances, they’ve decided not to and we've had to actually go in and impose measures against them in response to that. In some circumstances, they have. 

But all along, our effectiveness in terms of stopping actual bad behavior has been predicated on going to governments and saying, “We have a common interest here.” If you have to impose sanctions on somebody, that means the thing you wanted to stop has already happened and that has consequence. I think that no one who is actually thoughtful about the imposition of sanctions ever wants to have to designate anybody. And the reason why is when you designate somebody, you fail. That means that a transaction took place. That means that goods moved, that means that money moved, and that means that Iran has already gained the benefit, or whatever the target is of sanctions. 

So effective sanctions posture is one where there are no designations at all because that means that there are no bad acts and no bad behaviors. If we are forced because of U.S. unilateral action that destabilizes this careful balance to start having to sanction every day some new company hither and yon, then basically we've lost already because that means the Iranians are going to be gaining a lot of benefits out of doing this. That means we're going to have lost the cooperation of partners to help enforce things. And that also means that we're then limited to what intel is able to catch, what people say, and what we're able to stop that way.

So, you know, the sanctions regime is not one that we just simply establish and walk away from it. It's one that requires careful pruning and careful management and careful execution. Those are all the things that you lose if people no longer think that what your stated objective is is your stated objective anymore. I think that's the real problem that comes with basically screwing up this fundamental balance of why we're doing sanctions and what end we're trying to achieve with them. 

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. 

LARRY HANAUER:  I’d just note a couple of things, too. The issue of sanctions enforcement is not just an issue of putting penalties on one company here or one company there. It becomes a significant foreign policy and foreign relations issue. So for example, when we were pressuring China, India, Turkey, other countries to reduce their purchases of oil from Iran, we got significant pushback and there were a lot of compromises that were made in the negotiations with those countries. So if other countries become less resolved to enforce the sanctions, then we end up with a foreign policy challenge on our hands.

Secondly, I'd note that we depend on other countries’ support in the UN Security Council to maintain Security Council sanctions. And if support for the whole sanctions regime starts falling apart, then we may be left with U.S. sanctions that we're going to try to enforce vigorously but the Security Council sanctions could be dismantled. Or, we would be forced to veto the dismantlement of those sanctions which would isolate the United States even more. So then we end up with foreign policy challenges.

I'd also note, too, that under the U.S. sanctions, only companies seeking to do business in the United States are affected. So plenty of companies that have no operations in the United States, or can separate their U.S. operations out effectively, could still do business in Iran without being penalized in many ways.

And I would note an interesting historical comparison. In the late 1990s, I worked on Iraq policy at the Defense Department, and the sanctions under the UN sanctions that led to the Oil for Food program became a major albatross around the United States’ neck. We were the only ones arguing for a strict sanctions enforcement of restrictions that did things like kept pencils out of Iraq because the graphite could be shaved out of them and used for illicit purposes.

And so really, the United States was increasingly isolated at the UN and international fora and it really became a foreign relations and a public diplomacy disaster for the United States. So I don't think we want to be in a position where we're arguing increasingly--where we're sort of swimming alone against the tide pushing for sanctions enforcement when our allies and partners are saying, “Enough, enough with the sanctions. We've gone down this road too long and it’s not working and we need to change.”

DARYL KIMBALL:  So I think that's also an important reminder of something that we really haven't stressed here today, which is that this is an international negotiation. The United States is not the only party across the table from the Iranians. It’s the EU, it’s the Germans, it’s the French, it’s the British, the Chinese, the Russians. And so we are also not alone in effecting the sanctions regime. We are depending on other countries to go along with us.

I mean, this is really something that I think is important for Congress to understand and think about. Their actions have to take into consideration the views of the allies, of our allies in this endeavor and what they are willing to do in the days and weeks ahead after, and if, an agreement is concluded. 

And to conclude, we've run out of time. I want to thank each of our three speakers for great presentations today. I think it’s provided a very complete picture to this very complex issue that is at a key inflection point right now. We think that an historic deal is in sight. It is likely to be an effective one that holds back Iran’s nuclear weapons possibilities for many, many years to come. And it’s important for Congress, the American people, the international community, to make the right choices, the smart choices, on the basis of the realistic alternatives and the facts on the ground. 

So please join me in thanking our speakers and there will be much more on this subject on the Arms Control Association website and in Arms Control Today, our journal, in the days and weeks ahead. So thanks for coming. [applause]



Over the past year, Iran and the P5+1 have made significant progress on long-term solutions on several challenging issues.

Country Resources:

The 2014 Jonathan Tucker Conference on Chemical and Biological Arms Control



Friday, December 12, 2014
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Support Our Work

Morning Session Video

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Afternoon Session Video

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In honor of Jonathan Tucker, a former member of the Arms Control Association Board of Directors and leading biological and chemical weapons expert who passed away in 2011, the Arms Control Association is hosting the first Jonathan Tucker Conference on Chemical and Biological Arms Control. A biography for Jonathan Tucker can be found here.

The Tucker Conference is designed to raise attention on the risks and challenges posed by these indiscriminate weapons and explore effective strategies to verifiably eliminate them.

The conference will recognize the 100th anniversary of the use of chemical weapons in the trenches of WWI and discuss the recent mission by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and United Nations to rid Syria of its chemical weapon stockpiles and facilities.

Meeting Agenda



Mr. Daryl G. Kimball
Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Dr. Paul F. Walker
Program Director, Green Cross International

9:15-10:45 Panel 1

A Century of Chemical Warfare and Arms Control

Mr. Pieter Trogh, Scientific Collaborator, Research Center of In Flanders Fields Museum (slides)
Dr. Jean Pascal Zanders, Director and Author,
The Trench
Dr. Ralf Trapp, former Senior Planning Officer, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) (slides)

Moderated by Dr. Paul F. Walker, Green Cross International


Panel 2

The Elimination of Syria's Chemical Stockpile

Mr. Dominique Anelli, Director, OPCW Demilitarization Unit (slides)
Dr. Paul F. Walker, Director, Environmental Security & Sustainability, Green Cross International (slides)
Mr. Simon Limage, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation Programs, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation

Moderated by Mr. Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Association

12:30 Lunch

(Buffet Luncheon begins) 



Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Coordinator, Threat Reduction Program in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, Department of State


Panel 3

The Challenges of Chemical Weapon Demilitarization

Dr. Peter Sawzcak, Head of Government Relations and Poltiical Affairs Branch, OPCW
Mr. Craig Williams, Director, Chemical Weapons Working Group, Kentucky Environmental Foundation

3:00-3:45 Keynote

Ms. Laura Holgate, Senior Director, for Weapons of Mass Destruction, Terrorism, and Threat Reduction, National Security Council


Closing Remarks

Follow @armscontrolnow on Twitter and to talk about Arms Control Association's 2014 Jonathan Tucker Conference on Chemical and Biological Arms Control #CBWConference14

Transcript by: Federal News Service

 KIMBALL:  Good morning.  We're about to get started.  Thank you all for being here.

I'm Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.  And as many of you know, we're an independent nongovernmental organization established in 1971.  And it's our mission to provide information and ideas and solutions to reduce the risks of and to eliminate the world's most dangerous weapons -- nuclear, chemical, biological and certain conventional weapons.

And so I'm very happy to see so many of you here today for our inaugural 2014 Tucker Conference -- Jonathan Tucker Conference on Chemical and Biological Arms Control.  And we have a very distinguished set of attendees today, including people from across the U.S. government, from embassies and missions here in Washington, from the expert NGO community, as well as an online audience.  Welcome this morning.

And before we get rolling, I want to remind those of you with your smartphones to silence them, but as you do, get ready to participate in the conversation.  We're going to be online encouraging messages on Twitter and we're using the hashtag, my staff came up with this, CBWConference14.

So, as many of you know, this conference is named for someone who was a giant in the field of chemical and biological arms control, Jonathan Tucker, a former member of the Arms Control Association board of directors, and more importantly a major force on the subject.  His departure in 2011, his passing, leaves a tremendous void in the already shrinking field of biological and chemical weapons arms control.

And for those of you who knew him, you'll remember that Jonathan was more than anything a wonderful guy, a sweet human being, and somebody who was very generous and warm-hearted.  And for many of us, he stood out because he was always willing to help, and he was always very thoughtful about the issues.  And one thing that I particularly admire, he was determined and persistent to find the answers to the tough questions on biosecurity, biological and chemical arms control and much more.

So, he not only knew his stuff, but he was a gifted speaker and prolific writer who could translate the complex into the comprehensible.  And that's one of the things we're going to be trying to do today on this very important topic, to try to translate a very complex and large amount of information into the comprehensible.

So, a couple of years ago when the staff of the Arms Control Association and the board of directors were thinking of ways to try to honor Jonathan's tremendous contributions, we were trying to come up with some ideas that would not only honor his work and his contributions, but to help carry on his life-long work on these issues.  And so we resolved to put together a conference in his honor to try to bring this issue to greater attention here in Washington.

And so this is our first effort, and we hope to build on this in the years ahead.  And so we would appreciate your advice and suggestions afterwards about how we can improve this project.

And we're very pleased also this morning to have with us members of Jonathan's family who have been kind enough to come all the way to D.C. to join us:  Deborah Tucker, Jonathan's mom; his sister Anne Shulman; and his niece.  Thank you all for being here; glad you could make it.

So, this conference is going to be focusing quite a bit on the chemical weapons issue.  We thought that was appropriate, given the 100th anniversary of the chemical weapons use in World War I and the recent events in -- horrific events in Syria involving the large-scale use of chemical weapons for one of the first times since World War I.

And as our conference title suggests, "From Ypres to Damascus, 100 Years of Chemical Warfare and Disarmament," we're going to try to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time over the course of the day.  And I think we've got a great lineup of people to try to do that for you.

Our first panel is going to take a look back at the use of chemical weapons on the battlefields of Europe, the global reaction, the decades-long effort to ban their use and eventually move to their verifiable elimination.

And our second panel is going to focus on the extraordinary international efforts over the course of the past year-plus to prevent the further use on a large scale of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria and to remove and dispose of its sizable and deadly CW arsenal in the middle of that country's terrible civil war.

We have a great lunch speaker, Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, who's going to provide us with an update on efforts of the global partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction.

And our third session is going to be focusing on current and future challenges facing the chemical weapons convention, the OPCW, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and its ongoing effort to work with states to dispose of the remaining prohibited stockpiles of CW around the world.

And then finally as our closing keynoter, we're going to be hearing from Laura Holgate, the White House's -- on the national security staff of the White House for her perspectives on the ongoing Syria CW elimination operation.

So, as I said, we've got a great lineup of folks.  We've got some wonderful people in the audience.  I encourage you all to think as you're hearing the presentations about questions and additional points, because after each of the panels, we'll have discussion.

And to introduce the first panel and to moderate, we have one of the most informed and knowledgeable people in the field here.  With me are our friend, our board member, Paul Walker, who's the program director of environmental security and sustainability at Global Greens.  He has been a major force in the field for many years and I've enjoyed working with Paul, especially in the last year as he's helped the Arms Control Association provide information and insights about the Syria CW operation.

And I would also just point out, he's got a very nice piece in the current issue of Arms Control Today on the Syria CW operation.  So, you might want to take a look at that through the course of the day.

So with that, I'm going to turn this over to Paul, if you have any other introductory thoughts, but also just to introduce the next panel and the speakers.  Thanks.

[Panel 1]

WALKER:  Thanks, Daryl.

And very nice to see you all here this morning, and see a lot of good friends and colleagues in the audience I recognize.

I'm also very happy that we've been able to pull together such a good group of speakers today.  I mean, it's fairly unique.  I think we have several people from the OPCW, several from Europe.  We have a colleague from Bluegrass, Kentucky to talk much more specifically about the U.S. Weapons Destruction Program.  And we also have Jonathan Tucker's mom and other relatives here.  So, welcome everybody.

I want to say, first, really, thank you to the Arms Control Association.  I'm on the board, as Daryl mentioned, and I really think it's a wonderful occasion and very appropriate to recognize Jonathan Tucker and really try to raise the chem-bio issue a little bit more in the Washington field.

I wanted to mention a couple of things about Jonathan, who was a good friend and colleague for years.  Many of you know he went to Yale University.  He also was a fellow MIT graduate, so we had a lot in common.  Actually, we talked jokingly about the bombs and bullets studies we did at MIT in international security studies there.  His family is from Cambridge.  I'm also from Cambridge, Massachusetts, live there now, as many of you know.

And he worked as an arms control specialist in the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment.  I think we have one or two in the audience here I know who were at OTA as well, way back when, as we say in the good days.

He also worked at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency where actually I sort of cut my teeth as well, what we called ACDA, that many of you I'm sure are aware of.  I was a graduate intern way back when in ACDA as well.  And he worked at the State Department.  He was an editor, too, of the magazine Scientific American and High Technology, where he wrote about military technologies, biotechnology and biomedical research.

I'd also note -- and this is also pertinent for our discussions today too.  From 1993 to '95, Jonathan Tucker served on the U.S. delegation to the Prep Com, the Preparatory Commission for the OPCW, and those of you here from the OPCW are probably well aware of that.  He was also a United Nation's biological weapons inspector in Iraq in February 1995, after the first Gulf War, implementing U.N. sanctions after the war.

He was also a professional staff member of the Bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism chaired by former Senators Bob Graham, Democrat from Florida, and Jim Talent, a Republican from Missouri, who was also on the Armed Services Committee when I worked on that in the House of Representatives, which published the volume, "World at Risk," which was critical of U.S. prevention strategies in the post 9/11 terrorism period.

A quote from a good friend -- friend and colleague of his, Jonathan Winer, who some of you know at State Department, states, and I quote, "One thing important about Jonathan beyond reciting his wide-ranging academic, literary, and public policy achievements, are recognition of his importance to the community overall because of his commitment to the truth, scrupulous approach to fact and information, and rigorous standard for making judgments."

And I would note, a good example of this was Jonathan's persistent search for the truth in the 2001 anthrax attacks, that some of you recall.  His skepticism over the FBI's pursuit of Steven Hatfill and eventually Bruce Ivins as the lone culprits.  Hatfill, you know, was eventually found innocent and won a lawsuit against the FBI, while a recent National Academy of Sciences analysis of the FBI probe raised serious doubts about Ivins' guilt.  Jonathan found the Ivins case to be circumstantial, too thin to base firm judgments on.  He wanted more evidence before one could reach a conclusion about what really took place in 2001.

With regard to Iraq and the first Gulf War, I'd note particularly Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons.  Jonathan pursued the truth regarding U.S. forces impacted downwind by burned agents -- burned chemical agents and disagreed with early U.S. denials of the so-called "Gulf War syndrome" allegations.  And some of you know that's come up again, of course, in the recent New York Times piece.

And the final note on Jonathan I'd say, he and I coauthored an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.  We actually wrote several things together over the years.  The op-ed was based on the popular television series "24," one of my favorite TV programs, which also warned of terrorist use of nuclear, chemical and/or biological weapons of mass destruction.

We argued that the U.S. and its partners in global engagement and threat reduction must stay the course with expensive, tedious long-term projects to secure, demilitarize and destroy weapons of mass destruction in order to keep them out of the hands of terrorists.  That's still I think an issue with us today.

Jonathan was therefore very supportive of the so-called Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program we've all worked with in DOD, of the G-8 Global Partnership, and we'll have Bonnie Jenkins speak on this later on; the partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction; and of multilateral arms control and disarmament regimes, including the CWC, the BWC, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and related to inspection and verification regimes.

So with that as a little way of introducing the very appropriate, I think, theme of the conference with Jonathan Tucker's name, let me just say we have three wonderful panelists here.  I'm very happy and privileged to chair their discussion on the history of a 100 years of chemical warfare.  I would note, too, that, you know, we're approaching the 100th anniversary of the first major use of chemical warfare, which I'm sure they'll talk about, on April 22nd next year when Germans first used chemical weapons in Ypres, Belgium.

So I'll just introduce them very quickly.  You have your -- their bios, short bios in your schedule here, but we're happy to have Pieter Trogh -- and he and I have talked a lot about how to pronounce that last name, but it's Trogh, right?  Very close?  Pretty close.  OK.  And Pieter is from the -- I won't give full bios on them all for reasons of time, but Pieter is from the Flanders Fields Museum in Belgium, where there will be some lengthy commemorations in mid-April this coming year.  And I know an even with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that some of us will be involved in, too.

On Pieter's right is Jean Pascal Zanders, a very close colleague and friend who's an independent disarmament and security researcher at The Trench.  There's a wonderful blog that he does if you're interested in these issues, as I'm sure you all are, called The Trench.  You can search that.  And he was formerly with the European Union Institute for Security Studies and has really worked for years on biological and chemical weapons issues.

And then on the far right is also a close colleague and friend, Ralf Trapp, who's from Germany, but lives in France now.  And is a chemist and toxicologist by training; worked with the East German Academy of Sciences in the field of chemical toxicology previously; and was also very involved with the OPCW.  From 1998 to 2006, he was secretary of the Scientific Advisory Board.

So with that, I think we'll go through each of the speakers.  Each have I think about 15 minutes of PowerPoint, and then we'll open it up for comment and questions and answers.

So with that, I'll invite Pieter Trogh to the -- to the podium.

TROGH:  Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, first of all, I would like to thank the organization to be here.  I represent the Flanders Field Museum in Ypres, Belgium.  And I'd like to share some thoughts on the use of chemical weapons during the First World War.

Fifteen minutes is a short time for such a broad subject, of course.  So, the gas attack of the 22nd of April 1915 at Ypres, which is widely acclaimed as the first large-scale gas attack in history, will serve as a point of reference.

To understand the introduction of chemical weapons, I have to take you back to the first months of the First World War.  When the war of movement turned to a war of trenches at the end of November 1914, the stalemate on the western front was complete.  From the Belgian coast to the Swiss border, over 800 kilometers, both camps began to dig in and millions of soldiers didn't know what would come.  But one thing was clear, they would not be home for Christmas.

Industrial warfare proved to be all-consuming.  The enormously powerful artillery fire and the deadly hail of machine gun bullets claimed masses of lives, but failed to break the stalemate of trench warfare.  Troops stationed in well-constructed defense -- defense lines enjoy the relative advantage of three-to-one over their attackers.  And the military would spend the whole war seeking new weapons and tactics with which to achieve a breakthrough.  Scientists would assist the military in achieving their ambition.

Against this historical background, western powers became interested in introducing unconventional weapons.  Science, industry and military purposes would slowly converge.  Of all warring nations, Germany was definitely far ahead when it came to research, supplies and organization of chemical warfare.

And one of their leading scientists was Fritz Haber, the chemist whose research would facilitate broad-fronted assaults using poison gas.  And the first convenient agent for such a purpose in early 1915 appeared to be chlorine gas that would be discharged from cylinders.  The German preparations took about two-and-a-half months, and a lot of aspects were to be taken into account.

The choice and development of weapons was one thing, but besides formal acceptance by the military to use the immoral or unchivalrous gas was needed.  And then troops had to be trained and organized and sites to launch the assault had to be chosen.  Practical preparations in the field had to be made, weather forecasts, et cetera.  The course of chemical warfare in World War I showed that these vital factors easily could come in conflict with each other.

In the beginning of April 1915, the Germans thought they were ready and Ypres was selected to unleash the weapon.  The attack on the 22nd of April 1915 has become famous in its own way, so I will not go too far into detail to describe it.  But in the evening around five p.m., the Germans simultaneously opened about 6,000 cylinders along a seven kilometer front, four-and-a-half miles from north of Ypres, releasing more than 150 tons of chlorine gas within 10 minutes.

A huge poisonous cloud was formed and advanced slowly, driven by a warm light breeze towards the trenches on the opposite sides.  The French troops who crewed those trenches were taken by complete surprise and they had no defense.  Within minutes, those in the frontlines were engulfed and choking.  Those who were not suffocating from spasms, broke and ran, but the gas followed and the front collapsed, leaving a large gap in the Allied line.

The Germans advanced cautiously.  They, too, were taken by surprise actually and they followed the cloud, hardly meeting any resistance.  They stopped at a strategic ridge a few miles in front of Ypres, having reached their first objectives and having gained a two and a half mile of enemy -- of enemy territory.

The night was falling, and as they started to entrench, without being aware of it, at that very moment, their hesitation would be fatal to force a breakthrough.  During the night, French, British and Canadian troops closed ranks, and the first counterattack was already launched the same night.

The day after, the second battle of Ypres exploded with great intensity.  The surprise effect was gone, but the Germans still retained their chemical initiative.

Gas was released for five more times between the 24th of April and the 24th of May 1915, which was the end of the second battle of Ypres.  But the objective now was to weaken enemy resistance just before an attack, just before an infantry attack, and to delay the movement of supplies and reinforcements.

The battle claimed about 40,000 lives, of which only a small amount could be ascribed to poison gas.  But the front lines around Ypres did not disintegrate; the defensive perimeter only contracted by about three and a half mile.

Although there are no images of the gas cloud of the 22nd April, dozens of photographs were taken the day after by German soldiers who were ordered to bury the dead.  Many of these images were later bought and sold, and some were even made into postcards to send home.

Those images remind us of the horror of the first use of the chemical weapons.  But the introduction of chemical weaponry produced a multitude of reactions, described in the hundreds of witness accounts on both sides of the belligerents.

For -- for instance, Willy Ziebert, one of the German pioneers who discharged the gas from the cylinders at Ypres, recalled after a visit to the battlefield the omnipresence of death.

In diaries and letters of French and British soldiers, we read about dirty German tricks, unfair fighting.  This isn't a war anymore but murder, assassination.

Indeed, one of the reactions was a heavy general wave of indignation, and it was picked up by Allied propaganda.  Public opinion was aroused, emotional aversions were exploited.  The news was flashed all over the pages with headlines like "Devilry, thy name is Germany," et cetera.

Gas and chemical weapons had been on the agenda of the peace conferences at the Hague in 1899 and 1907.  But at that time, it was very difficult to define or formalize rules regarding the use of a nonexistent weapon.  The spirit of the -- of the conferences was surely clear enough to stop new and potentially more awful weapons but later was obscure and open to widely deferring interpretation.  So, Hague I and II set out a moral force to be reckoned with, but at the same time, it was -- it was pretty ineffectual.

The Germans, out of their term, tried to justify themselves.  They argued that the conventions did not cover the gas discharged from cylinders, and Allies had used gas first, referring to occasional use of tear gas by the -- by the French, et cetera.
Anyway, the Allied forces knew what to do in the first place.  To provide their -- their troops with defensive means against the poisonous gas, after all protection against chemical weapons was linked with morale.  If the men thought they were defenseless, they might panic and retreat, and protection was essential.  Even improvisations were better than nothing.  The first temporary masks arrived around halfway 1915, like the Hypo helmet, for instance.

Now, after the initial outcry over the use of poison gasses, the practice soon became common among Allied forces too, and chemical warfare became a war within the war and was mainly fought on two fronts:  on the one hand, strive to come up with ever more innovative, destructive substances to inflict the enemy, on the other hand to strive for optimizing the measures of protection.  It was a sequence of action-reaction, a game of leap frog.

And the soldiers at the front experienced the introduction of phosgene gas, mustard gas and other deadly derivatives.  They suited several models of gas mask, and they saw the change of tactics from poisonous gas released from cylinders to the adoption of gas shells by artillery -- by the artillery.

The approaches were differing between the belligerents, but in the end, each party was facing more or less the same conclusion, that chemical warfare had hardly any effect on the course of war, and thus, it had failed in its original purpose to break the stalemate.

There are several -- several aspects of failure -- the underestimation of the power of the weapon and other miscalculations back in April 1915, but afterwards, too often, too much improvisation and too less coordination, mutual incomprehension of officers and scientists, lack of commitment by the military.
However, the use of chemical weapons was quickly added to psychological warfare.  Gas would not merely inflict casualties but also distress and generally demoralize the enemy, and in doing so, there were exceptional occasions or particular developments of temporary success.

But moreover, gas was a development of considerable military significance.  The Great War was the first to involve science and technology on a large scale.

Since it was introduced in modern warfare during the First World War, chemical weapons have always troubled the minds of soldiers, politicians and civilians alike.  Although unreliable and thus ineffective, the impact of poisonous gas was magnified by propaganda and rumor, especially in the 1920s and 30s, and the myths that surrounded the gas gave rise to endless discussions and speculations.

Now, so far, as known, there were only two public appeals to stop chemical warfare during the First World War.  The first came from President Wilson after the gas -- gas clouds at Ypres and the sinking of the Lusitania, both where a lot of American civilians died, and the second appeal came from the International Red Cross in February 1918.

However, nothing happened.  The public at home was almost totally ignorant, as secrecy blanketed nearly all research, development and operations, and as a result, it was far from evident to organize protests at their home front.

I think during the war, probably most resistance to chemical weapons came, ironically, from the military itself, as many military considered it a dangerous, perverted and unpredictable weapon.

After the war, efforts were taken to ban and condemn the use of chemical weapons in warfare.  Think of the treaty -- the peace treaty of Versailles in 1919 but moreover, the protocol of Geneva in 1925.  This was a very important step towards the banishment and prohibition of chemical weapons, but some dark pages in history of -- of the 20th and 21st century tell us that we always have to be cautious and to continue to make efforts to ban its use, and to keep studying the past in order to take lessons for the future.

Thanks for your attention.


WALKER:  Thank you very much, Pieter, and thank you also for staying within time.

Jean Pascal Zanders will go next.

ZANDERS:  Thank you very much.

While we're waiting for my slides to be put up on the screen, I would like to thank the organizers for inviting me.  I've known Jonathan since the end of the 1980s, was, of course, a great shock when I learned of his passing away.

I'm -- I'm from Europe.  He is from America.  We had our differences of opinion relating to our geographic origins, which had to do with, you know, me coming from Belgium, a small country, having a totally different view on the security than a big power.

But, you know, among academics, differences of opinion are creative.  They lead to new insights, and when both Daryl and Paul first contacted me to speak at this event, the first thing I -- I said was, you know, "Tell me the date, I'll clear my agenda," and I'm really very pleased to be here.

Could I have my slides, please?

WALKER:  You just have to advance the...



So, in -- in my presentation here, I'm going to speak about the road to Geneva, which is about the origins of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, which Pieter has already mentioned in his presentation.

Let me start with the immediate aftermath of the war and the emergence of the opposition to chemical weapons.

One of the interesting things is if one goes through the various -- various documents, the various diaries that soldiers wrote and memories from other people is that there was a big difference, a big distinction between, let's say, the people who lived near the front lines, the soldiers who fought at the front lines, and the opinion of the people who were staying in country's locations rather far removed from the areas of the war.

And the interesting element to see, first of all, among the soldiers and the civilians were in the front area, was, of course, they resented chemical warfare.  It was something that was insidious, it was something they could not escape, and the consequences were always there.  It was something they really had to live with.

At the same time, of course, they were suffering from many different aspects of the war, which -- things like sleep deprivation, the mud, the rain, constant shelling and so forth.

In other words, to them, chemical warfare, gas, was like one of the many inconveniences of war.  It was not particularly singled out as a particular issue.

And therefore, afterwards, their attitude was also quite -- "OK, the war is bad"  Chemical warfare was just one aspect of that general opinion.

The other element to look at, particularly in the final year of the war, the final 10 months or so, you will recall in July 1917, mustard gas was introduced on the front.  And as a consequence of that, the gas just became ubiquitous.  It was not something that depended anymore on weather; it just stayed in the ground.  It was always there.

And soldiers -- any soldier at the front at that time was, to a certain extent, poisoned by -- they had to wear gas masks 48 hours, even longer, in row, particularly if they were in the front lines.

So, attitudes, there was -- "OK, it's very bad, it's not something we like very much, but, you know, we take it in our stride."

And the moral opposition, interestingly enough, emerged first in Canada and the United States.  And one of the reasons why it was -- the people, the civilian population in those countries, were not directly exposed to the consequences of war.

However, the one physical aspect that was very visual to them were casualties that returned to their home countries, veterans that returned.  It was their wheezing, their coughing, you know, the permanent consequences of having been exposed to the gas.  And in the minds of the people in Canada and the United States, gas became the symbol of the horrors of the First World War in that particular way.

It's interesting also to see that in the Netherlands, a similar process took place.  The Netherlands was neutral, did not take part in any of the combats, and being also quite a religious country, they abhorred the horrors of the trenches, the reports they got.  And their images were reinforced by the many Belgians who fled across the border into the Netherlands, and that created a powerful force.

So, just after the war in 1921, then you had the War Resisters' International Movement that was created in the Netherlands, and their abhorrence of chemical warfare was kind of symbolic to that attitude.

And just to illustrate the complexity of opinion forming that happened, as I've mentioned, Belgium, you know, chemical warfare started, the people, particularly in West Flanders, the areas around Ypres but also Ostend where I come from, the memories today are still very strong about what happened 100 years ago.

So, to those people, as I've mentioned, gas was one of the aspects of warfare.  However, the War Resisters' International Movement kind of filtered back into Belgium, because they had great influence on socialists, the Communists and the anarchists.  And the movement was pretty strong also in Belgium in those days immediately after the war.

It entered consciousness through the whole movement of making Flemish respected language in Belgium.  French was then the dominant language.  It entered into the Flemish movement, not just because of the revolts that had happened in the trenches, but also because the whole movement of the socialists, who emancipate the labor force and so forth, one of the key goals was to elevate Flemish as a cultural language.  And this way, both through the war opposers, religious movements and so on, and through the socialist movements, the anti-war sentiments in Flanders grew, and chemical warfare became very much an element of that.

So, it just goes to show that the whole moral opinion against chemical weapons had different origins and was not perhaps as straightforward as many might think.

The same is happening today, actually, in Syria, where you can see that the strongest reaction against Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons came from Europe, came from the United States.  But the people suffering the fighting in Damascus and so on, they really didn't understand why the international community gave so much prominence to the chemical weapons when they were suffering hundreds, if not thousands of casualties through conventional warfare that remained without reaction.  It's a similar type of process that takes place with totally different perceptions from people living in the battlefield and outwards.

So, if we go then towards the Geneva protocol, today, nonproliferation is a bad word.  Many people here take part in discussions on nonproliferation.

But if we go back to the 1920s, the situation was quite different.  Actually, what people thought in those days was, well, you know, having chemical weapons was not necessarily bad, however, having a destabilizing capacity, that's an overwhelming capacity with chemical weapons, that might be destabilizing and lead to war.

And so, the whole principle in those days -- you may remember Waltz   saying, you know, "Nuclear weapons, the more may be better," well, that was essentially the idea one had in the 1920s.  So, there were already, during the first war, countries that could not produce chemical weapons, they received them from Britain and France, United States being one of them, Belgium too.  After the war the French would assist Belgium with a small chemical weapons program, and several other second-tier powers in Europe would also receive a similar type of assistance.

So, the attitude to chemical weapons is quite different than the one that exists today.

Because of that trade and because of the different opinions about the morality of the weapons that existed here in the United States, it was really interesting to see that then when the League of Nations convened to negotiate a ban on the trade in weapons that the American representative proposed also to ban the trade on implements for chemical warfare.

And the point was -- that happened when he proposed that, everybody kind of agreed with the idea.  The thoughts had moved on that limitations had to be placed on chemical warfare.  However, there was a big problem with that proposal, and the negotiators, the diplomats actually discovered what, today, everybody knows as the dual-use problem of technology, because they came to the realization, "Well, you know, these gases that were used on the battlefield, you know, we use them in the industry.  And looking back at the history, the origins of these gasses, you know, chlorine has first being isolated as an element at the end of the 18th century.

Phosgene was first synthesized in 1812.  Mustard agent was first described in the literature as olefins, had the different name, of course, in those days, but was first described in the scientific literature in the 1860, 1861, and then the mustard that eventually would be used on the battlefield was first synthesized a few decades later.

So, everything that was used on the battlefield had been discovered decades, if not a century earlier than the war.

So the French diplomat, he welcomed the American proposal.  But, he said, "Look, we need to define the specific characteristics of what makes a toxic chemical a warfare agent and the compounds that have utility in industry and commerce.  So, how do we distinguish between warlike and non-warlike purposes?"

So, some of the top scientists, French, American chemists and so on were set to task to solve that problem.

But the conclusion of the military technical committee was, well, you know, these compounds are not even rare.  They're so ubiquitous in their employment.  They are normally manufactured.  There's no way we can distinguish between those elements.

And the consequence of that was that, OK, think of the proliferation, nonproliferation mindset in those days.  If a ban were to be put in place on trade, the countries that manufactured those chemicals would have a major strategic advantage over the countries that were dependent on importation of those chemicals.

In other words, one came back to a situation of destabilization.  And therefore, the idea could not be accepted.

The result of that was, of course, that people had to find different ways of dealing with it.  The Geneva Protocol, because of direct moral imperative, originated from the failure of the original proposal to ban the trade.  Because, you know, the moral issue had been put on the table, a diplomatic conference had to address those types of questions.

How to go forward?

Well, the problem of dual use of the chemicals had been described.  And over the next years and during the preparation for the big disarmament conference that the League of Nations planned in the 1930s was the general purpose criterion.

And the general purpose criterion is actually a very interesting idea because you don't ban objects.  You don't ban the toxic chemicals. if we go to the chemical weapons convention, and Ralph, I'm sure, is going to speak about that.  You don't ban the technologies as such.  What you do is ban the purpose to which those technologies might be employed.

So, in other words, the whole prohibition that's emerged from that -- the proposal in the British draft of 1933, then later the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972, and the Chemical Weapons Convention of '93, the core element was you ban the purpose to which a certain technology might be designed.

So, I just put up the text there as an indicator.  But you can see the keywords already popping up, "exclusively suited," "protective," "therapeutic" -- "protective experiments," "therapeutic research," "laboratory work."  All of these elements come back.  I don't know why the text is kind of double.

But at the bottom of the page then, actually you will see that the bans are on purpose -- my slides will be available for distribution in any case.

So, to come to the conclusion, the Geneva Protocol, you know, it's just one side of a sheet of paper.  That's the whole length of it.  But the document had a very important impact for the future.  It laid the foundation for disarmament, and rather than arms control, which is about management of levels of weaponry or nonproliferation policies.

The mere fact that there was an absolute prohibition on the use delegitimized the type of weaponry.  And because of that, it pushed it to the margins of military doctrine.  In other words, troops began to prepare less and less for their use.

They still retained the weapons, there is no ban on use.  It's not part of the Laws of Arms Control and Disarmament.  It's still part of the laws of war.

But, troops, the military in different countries would prepare for the eventuality that an enemy might first launch chemical weapons, and they had the means to retaliate.  There was minimal protective defense against it.

In other words, the type of gas discipline that had evolved during the First World War, and the levels of enforcement that existed in 1918, an individual soldier could be court-martialed for failing in gas discipline.  For example, officers, gas officers, were disciplined if units suffered too high causalities, and that it was really enforced rigorously in those days.

Well, that level of gas discipline would never, ever be achieved again by any military formation, big or small.

So, chemical warfare, people were kind of still prepared for it.  It was used as a psychological weapon on the eve of the Second World War.  You know, threats of bombing cities in the retaliation were not far away.

But it prepared the ground.  The weapon became useless a consequence of that.

Now, a comment on the Geneva Protocol is always, yes, it has been violated quite a few times throughout the history.  The Geneva Protocol also covers biological weapons.  That particular prohibition has never been violated since 1925.  In the chemical area, it has been violated a few times, I've listed a couple of examples, Italy in the 1930s in Ethiopia, Egypt in the 1960s in the Yemen, Iraq in the 1980s, and so on.

However, the key aspect to bear in mind is it's not the violation of the treaty, of an international agreement, that signals its weakness, it's the absence of international reaction to such a violation that signals the weakness of an agreement.

And the consequences of Italy in the 1930s, the fact that the League of Nations was not in a position to react, the fact that the international community let Egypt go with the attacks in the Yemen in the 1960s, it means that we're still dealing with problems of chemical warfare in the Middle East.  It gave a kind of legitimacy to that means of warfare.

And Iraq, of course, the support that Western states have given to the Iraqi regime against Iran, we're also still dealing with those problems.

However, in many of the instances, the international community after the end of the conflict, came together to restore the authority of the Geneva Protocol.

And one of the best outcomes, if we could call it that, of the Iran-Iraq war, was, of course, that the meeting in 1989 in Paris, convened by France, brought all the states together and gave a major impetus to the completion of the negotiation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which today is, of course, the central norm.

And with Syria, we have literally seen what its impact is.  In my memory, which is not as long as 1925, of course, but in my recollections, you know, Syria must be the first country that gassed itself into disarmament.

Thank you very much.


WALKER:  Thank you very much, Jean Pascal.

And now we'll turn to Dr. Ralf Trapp.

TRAPP:  Good morning everybody.  If I could just press the right arrow -- also, going the wrong way.  There you go.  This must delay -- this was for Jean Pascal.

OK.  Again, good morning everybody, and I also, first of all, should like to thank very much of the organizers, the Arms Control Association and particularly Paul and Daryl for inviting me to this meeting.

I've known Jonathan at the time when he was working for the U.S. government in the prep. comm. in the Hague.  And I would stand, sitting on the other side, on the secretariat side.  So we had a couple of  interesting exchanges about how you verify an industry and how you deal with the inspection procedures in principle.  That was before he had his own experience with conducting inspections in Iraq.

And the last association I had with him was actually when he was running a project and preparing a book on innovation in the -- bio area, on biosecurity, which was a very interesting project and still I think contains an awful lot of material of thought and of insight that I think will be important in the future in dealing with these things.

Now I'm going to talk about negotiations and a little bit also about CWC implementation and some challenges ahead.  I should have been slightly more innovative and called this, really "the road to Geneva II and then back to the Hague," because that's really what I'm going to talk about.

And let's start where Jean Pascal more or less ended, with the Geneva Protocol of 1925.  And here is some of the text used in the protocol.

It's important to realize that it really was something that in one sense was norm building, norm forming, but it also built on an existing norm.  It reached back to the Hague conventions of 1899 and 1907, and, in fact, further than that.

The prohibition of the use of toxic materials, of poison, in war is a very old prohibition.  And what the Geneva Protocol does really was recall this, extend it and cement it in our consciousness, but also legally.

But, of course, this being a protocol about the conduct of war, or in this context, and at the same time being a protocol about humanitarian principles, it couldn't really resolve the problem of the possession of chemical weapons.  It could not prevent the reemergence and the future uses of chemical weapons, despite all the limitations that Jean Pascal has already pointed out.

So, there were attempts early on to move on from just a prohibition of the use of chemical weapons to a much broader concept of disarmament in this particular area.  Negotiations took place in the League of Nations, they failed.  Jean Pascal talked already about that.

And then we had negotiations after the Second World War. in Geneva, in what is today called the Conference on Disarmament.  It changed names several times, I don't need to go into this.  Until finally, in 1992, after some considerable period of time, it depends on when you start counting.  Some people start counting in 1972, which is when basically the biological and chemical weapons issues were separated.  Others would start counting in the beginning of the 1980s, which is when we first had actual work on a treaty text or at least the context of a -- concept of a treaty.

So, that's a matter of taste, I would say.  But it took quite some time to get to this point.  And what you realize in the process is that the issues they're dealing with when you talk about disarmament are different from the issues of just regulating behavior and law.

The first one is essentially a political decision, a declamatory act, and something that you write into the law.  The second one has to also do with implementation and with the making sure that people stick to their commitment.  In other words, you need something like verification, some form of international exchange that assures that, in fact, treaties are complied with.

And so, some of the issues that needed to be resolved in this context are here.  The question, is this just about the big one?  Is it just about -- I think back at the times of the Cold War when this all happened, about the chemical weapons stockpiles in the two alliances and -- predominantly the American and the Russian or Soviet stockpiles?  Or is it a different issue altogether?  Is it about a global ban, a global treaty?  Is it in terms to have a comprehensive ban?  And what does that actually mean?

We showed already a little bit about the general purpose criterion, in the fact that there are toxic chemicals all around us in society.  We're producing them in large quantities in industry.

So what's -- what are we doing?  Are we going to ban toxic chemicals? We can't do that.

So, how comprehensive can we make this then?  Can we make it comprehensive?

And when I started in this business in 1978, there were bilateral talks between the U.S. and the Soviet Union about a limited treaty banning just nerve agents and mustard gas, or blister agents, as a first step towards a more comprehensive treaty.

Now, this failed in the end, but there were people at the time who said, "Why on Earth are you joining this kind of business?  It's going to be over in two years time."  And we had a treaty, and that was the end of that.  It didn't turn out that way, and I think for good reasons.

And then, of course, I already mentioned the question of verification.  One of the things one needs to discuss in this context is how verification will be done, and how reliable and robust it has to be.

So, what I'm going to give you next are a couple of a little snapshots from how this moved forward.  And what I've done is essentially just took some excerpts from a number of (inaudible) yearbooks, in sequence.  This is 1980, in other words, it reflects on 1979 and before, and it reflects on the joint initiative that was agreed between the Soviet Union and the United States, to move forwards towards a joint initiative to ban chemical weapons on a global scale.

And a couple of things that I wanted to flag in this context are important.  First of all, this is the end of the '70s.  We're moving into the time when the Cold War actually intensified in the -- in the 1980s.  So we still have here a climate of trying to find some sort of general agreement and accommodations, some joint approach towards resolving this and other issues.

We also realized already then that, in fact, what we need is a comprehensive treaty.  We cannot actually try and find a solution that just deals with some of the aspects, but exclude others, both in geographical terms and in terms of what is actually being prohibited.  Where do we start?  Development, production, stockpiling, use, whatever else?

And the other thing, that already was mentioned by Jean Pascal, this general purpose criterion.  One of the outcomes of the bilateral talks between the Americans and the Russians at the time was they again were tasked to come up with some kind of a set of criteria that would enable us to distinguish between the toxic chemicals that we need to prohibit and those that we can leave in society and we don't have to worry about it.

And they came back and said, "Well, actually, we can't.  There is no way pull that line.  That line does not exist.  No matter where you draw it, there will then be possibilities to circumvent a treaty, an agreement, and to come up with another form of chemical warfare."

So, we're falling back to the general purpose criterion, which is something that lawyers don't like.  If you talk to lawyers about it, they usually have a problem with it.  Because what you're doing is something very against the grain, you're prohibiting everything.  Every toxic chemical is a chemical weapon.  And then comes your escape clause that says, unless -- unless you have it there for a legitimate purpose, and then you list those purposes.

Now, that makes perfect sense, it's logical, et cetera.  How on Earth do we enforce that?

Which is why we have the lists in the Chemical Weapons Convention in which we still today have a dispute between people who think the lists are the ones who drive the treaty and ones who say, "No, no, no.  It's the general purpose criterion that drives the treaty."

This is there, and this will stay with us forever.  And that is why it is important to again and again repeat that the basis of this treaty -- the basis of the legal prohibition is the general purpose criterion, not the lists.  It's very difficult to make people understand that.

And then, not much happened for quite some time in the negotiations.  I mean, a lot happened in terms of activity, but we didn't really have any particular breakthroughs.

Again, this was the time, the height of the Cold War.  In the U.S., we moved into the binary production program.  In the Soviet Union, we move into development of Novichoks and the expansion of the production program of the traditional chemical warfare agents.

And we see some development, some movement, sort of, in the core area, some agreements are actually prepared during those years between Russia -- or the Soviet Union and the U.S.

And at the same time, we have a multilateral context in the C.D., where things move forward.  But we needed a fundamental change in certain areas.  We needed something that actually changed some of the underlying principles.

And that happened around about 1987.  It came along with Glasnost and the Perestroika in the Soviet Union under Gorbachev.  And one of the first indicators that something was changing was then in '87, the Soviet Union actually acknowledged in public for the first time for a long period of time that they had chemical weapons.

I mean, when I started working in this field, it wasn't talked about.  I was on the East German side.  Yes, we presumed the Soviets had chemical weapons.  We had absolutely no idea how much, where they were, what the purpose was, et cetera, et cetera.  This was a well-known but well-kept secret.

We then at the same time had an invitation by the Soviet government to a visit in Shikany, which is their military facility for the development of chemical weapons.  It dates back to the 1920s in fact, and joint work with the Germans.

And, finally, around about the same time, the Soviet Union accepted the principle of a mandatory onsite inspection unchallenged.  And that really was a game changer.  That really opened up the doors for moving on a lot of verification issues.  To some extent, people said it was calling a bluff, but I think it was actually also a genuine move in terms of new thinking, new concept.

And from there on, things started moving very fast.  We had the Paris conference, Jean Pascal already mentioned that.  The initial idea came from President Reagan, but then it was very, very quickly supported by a whole range of different top officials -- prime ministers, foreign ministers, and so on.

And it was important to have this political impetus to move from -- now, we have an opportunity.  The Soviets have accepted some of the basic  principles that they hadn't accepted for a long time.  Let's move forward.  Let's do something (inaudible) and let's make sure that we actually get a treaty.

So this was really the beginning of the whole exercise.  Without, I think, without the Paris conference, it would have been much more difficult to have that high-level political attention to the process.  And one of the problems with each negotiation is if you don't have that attention at that level, things can get very complicated and very muddy and not move anyway.

But we also have some very practical stuff.  We had, for example, a decision in the C.D. in Geneva to start (inaudible) inspections.  Let's try and see how it actually works if you do verification in the chemical industry.

One year later, in fact in the same year, but reported one year later, we had the Canberra conference.  Now, the chemical industry had already been involved in discussions about the Chemical Weapons Convention since the middle of 1980s.  The industry had realized, (A), the treaty might actually come, and if it comes we need to be on board and prepared for it, but also we have a stake here.  We want to be sure that whatever comes as a treaty is something we can live with.

Canberra then put this, within the industry, on a higher level.  We got to support from really the top echelon in the chemical industry worldwide and a formal announcement -- formal pronouncement by the chemical industry to support the Chemical Weapons Convention and to support the negotiation process in Geneva.  And in fact, that's what they did after.

So here's the end-point of these negotiations.  This is from the statement of -- from Wagner  , who was the chairman of the (inaudible) committee at the time that finalized negotiations on the treaty.  And he summarizes from his perspective what were the key elements that made it possible to agree to the treaty and to move it forward to the United Nations:  it's (inaudible) of scope; it's safeguards against system failure, regime failure; it's clear and unambiguous provisions on destruction, and that includes verification by the way; its balance with regard to the political organs and the political decision-making processes in the organization; the verification package, which is both industry verification and it's also verification by inspection, by (inaudible) inspection of compliance concerns; and then finally, the evolutionary concept for (inaudible) development (inaudible) -- basically, the positive spin-off   of a treaty of that nature for everybody involved.

So this is where we are today.  And this is just taken from the OPCW (inaudible).  I'm not going to talk you through it.  But we have made some significant progress.  We have an almost unilateral   treaty.  We have destroyed almost 85 percent of the world's declared chemical weapons stockpiles.  We've done more than 5,500 inspections worldwide, many of them in industry.  We have about 5,000 declared facilities in the chemical industry that are subject to and liable to inspection.  And partly as a result of all this work dome since 1997, the OPCW has, as you know, received the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

But there are still some question marks here and some problems that we need to think about.  We have, again, everybody knows, significant delays in the completion of the stockpile elimination.  We had one case of a non-declared stockpile component in Libya which has been resolved.  But again, it's something that needs to be thought about.

We still have a couple of countries outside, and they're listed here.  It's not a large number, but all of them are quite significant with respect to a global ban on chemical weapons.  You've got Egypt there.  It was mentioned already.  You've got Israel.  They had a program in the '50s and early '60s maybe.  You've got North Korea, which surely has a program today.

And then, of course, we have within the institution itself, at least two aspects that I'd like to flag which make me a little bit concerned.  One is the reluctance -- and this is a mild way of putting it -- to adopting (inaudible) verification system to advances in science, technology and in the chemical industry itself.

There's an awful lot of reluctance to change things, to change -- not just to change the legal context, but in particular to change how things are done on the ground.  It's a very difficult process.  The thinking in Geneva was to have a system that is adaptable, that is flexible, that can be adjusted to whatever happens in the real world.

The practice is once (inaudible) the treaty, nobody wants to touch it.  And yes, through a (inaudible) so, I can see where this is coming from, but in practical implementation (inaudible), this creates a problem.  And the challenge inspection has not been used, again, a question of why are we not using some of the mechanisms of the treaty that deal with compliance concerns if there are genuine compliance concerns, and we are told there are.

Then came Syria.  And I'm not going to talk about Syria because somebody else is going to talk about it.  But I was just wanted to flag a few things.  First of all, I think something in the (inaudible) has changed a little bit with Syria.  We have to think about has our perception of the utility of chemical weapons actually changed with a very toxic chemicals that were used in the Syrian conflict.  I'm not saying it was.  I'm saying one needs to think about that.

Do we have an impact on the threshold for use?  I actually see sort of a reduction in the threshold and in the psychological threshold against the use of chemical weapons.  What looked like a very strong norm seems to be slightly weakened, not in legal terms.  In legal terms, the opposite has happened.  We had a very strong political and legal reaction against the use; categorical statements which (inaudible), when we wrote our commentary on the Chemical Weapons Convention to conclude that the universal law -- I'll think of the term (inaudible).  Sorry.  Anyway, that the prohibition is much stronger than it was in the past.

And then, of course, the whole question of disarmament and verification in times of war.  I mean, five years ago, people would have said you cannot disarm during armed conflict and you certainly cannot verify disarmament during armed conflict.  Well, we've just done that or the OPCW has done that.

So, a few things have changed quite significantly.  (inaudible) about the adaptation of a number of principles and things, including those that were written into the convention, they have to be adjusted so they would actually work under those circumstances.  And the OPCW showed it was prepared and able to do that.

So, here are some of my last words on the challenges ahead.  And one is maintaining the competence and capacity to deal with another Syria.  Sorry for the word, but there are still some countries out there which may join the Chemical Weapons Convention under very strange circumstances.  We need to be able -- we need to be sure that the organization can actually deal with it.

It was a hard way this time around and the organization is not getting stronger at this point in time.  So it's important that we think about how can we maintain this capability and this both mental and physical capacity to do these things.

Complacency in the way we interpret the treaty -- I'm just mentioning here two things:  in capacitance   in (inaudible) agents, where we see developments that could potentially undermine the regime.  The question of maintaining credibility of the regime despite the delays that we have seen in the completion of destruction.

Also the transformation of the system from something that's essentially disarmament or achieving disarmament, to something that maintains disarmament and prevents new acquisition of chemical weapons.  This calls for different approaches, different ways of thinking.

And then finally, the adaptation of the implementation process to advances in science, technology and so on, and the embedding of the Chemical Weapons Convention implementation processes into the broader world.  And some people call this chemical security; other people call it something else.  But for me, this is basically an indication that we need to go beyond the narrow world that we have in The Hague.

Thank you.


WALKER:  So you've all seen that we've moved through 100 years in about 45 minutes.  But I want to thank all three colleagues and panelists here for really doing an excellent job.  I know you all can recognize the sort of widespread expertise and depth of knowledge that we have on this panel.  So, thank you all for coming across the big pond and providing us some really insightful, I think, historical remarks.

I'll take questions.  We have about 25 minutes.  So I think all the panelists have actually done well in holding to their limit.  And let me just pose the first question, but when you do, I'll try to recognize everybody around the tables, just please identify yourself before you ask a question.  I ask people, too, to keep their remarks or questions very brief if possible.

My first question is to you, Pieter, and that is, there was such horror in, you know, 1915 when chemical weapons were first used.  And you said it all came as really a complete surprise, like, to the British and the French and others defending in the trench warfare.

And I'm wondering why -- why did it come as such a surprise when there had been, you know, a couple of decades of discussion about the horrors of gas warfare?  And did the troops actually have masks at that point?  Or what -- how did they actually defend themselves?

TROGH:  Can I answer that?

WALKER:  Yes.  I think we'll all stay at the table.  Yeah.  Please stay at the table.  Yeah.

TROGH:  Well, the warring parties were already experimenting with unconventional weapons like poisonous gas.  So, there were experiments with tear gas back in 1914, early 1915, and particularly for the Ypres front, there were already some signs that of what was coming.

So, in early April, deserters or prisoners of war, German prisoners of war were interrogated, and they talked about the installation of gas cylinders along the front.  But it was always neglected by the officers, by the army command actually.  So they didn't take any measurement to protect their troops.  And they also had -- well, they thought that -- that it wouldn't be large-scale or something.

So, the troops -- the French troops did not have any mask, any gas mask or any means of protection on the 22nd April of 1915.  But when the attack had taken place, then, of course, they had to react.  And they -- first, there were instructions -- stay where you are and it will come over.  Didn't work.  And then there were instructions like they had some cotton...

WALKER:  Cotton balls sort of...

TROGH:  ... balls, bats  , yeah, and they were advised to urinate on it, so to neutralize the effect of chlorine.  And the first masks arrived.  And as we -- as I've pointed out, May 1915, but they weren't very effective actually.

And then afterwards, well, they started, which was priority for the allied forces to develop measures of protection; several types of gas masks.  On the other hand, of course, the Germans were searching for other agents to use, and it was always a game of action-reaction then.  But the first gas attack came actually as a surprise as there were no -- there was no protection and no party had ever seen the use of such a large-scale dischargement of gas.

WALKER:  Yeah.

TROGH:  So...

WALKER:  Yeah.

TROGH:  ... in that way, it was a surprise.

WALKER:  Yeah.  I think -- I mean, imagining, you know, you said close to 6,000 canisters of chlorine gas, you know, released across the trenches, you can imagine the mile, you know, the kilometers or the miles of clouds that -- and chlorine is heavier than air.

TROGH:  Yeah.

WALKER:  So it sinks.  And if you stay in the trenches, of course, it sinks into the trenches.  You just swim in chlorine, you know, it becomes very difficult to survive in trench...

TROGH:  Yeah.  And also...

WALKER:  ... warfare that time.

TROGH:  Psychologically, for those who experienced the first gas attack, they didn't know what was coming at them and I think it's like a wave -- like a tsunami wave of 10 meters.

WALKER:  Panic -- probably panic setting in, you know.

TROGH:  Yeah, indeed.

WALKER:  OK.  Let's move to questions from the audience.

First hand I see right here.  Yes?  Yes sir?

QUESTION:  Hi.  My name is Peter Smallwood  , University of Richmond.  I think my question might go to Zanders, but whoever might be able.  It's kind of historical.  The aftermath of World War I, there was a, revulsion about chemical weapons and in negotiations for agreements, they started to lump in bacteriological weapons.

We have both chemical and biological weapons language coming down to us to this day.  But back in the aftermath of World War I, they frequently lumped in incendiaries with that list.  And I'm curious as to when incendiaries sort of got dropped off and became acceptable and how that happened.

WALKER:  Jean Pascal.  Yeah.

ZANDERS:  Thank you for that question.  It's historically an interesting one and a question that also pops up in the context of disarmament in the Middle East, where white phosphorous is often considered to be a chemical weapon, whereas under the terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention, it's outside.

And the -- incendiaries were very much a part of the warfare during the First World War.  There were major attacks with flamethrowers, but white phosphorus and similar products were also used and primarily because the strengthening of the trenches were made in wood to avoid the walls from collapsing in.  So the use of incendiary devices would actually put fire to those wooden constructions.

One of the reasons why incendiaries were in those days very much associated with chemical weapons is that, just like chemical weapons, these were special forces that employed them.  So the chemical troops would also be the ones that were responsible for using flame and other incendiary devices, smoke also were very much.

So, if one looks through the history of chemical warfare and, how shall I say, the ways the armies of different countries at different times organized themselves, you will see that around the core concept of chemical weapon, there is -- that's a gray area, where you have incendiaries, you have smoke, and so on.

The Chemical Weapons Convention, as such, had to demarcate the issue of its own control and verification very clearly.  So anything that was kind of on the edges of a definition of a chemical weapon, I think it was Jack Umbs  , a Dutch negotiator and expert, who once said, everybody knows what a chemical weapon is, but nobody can define it.

And that was essentially the problem, the conceptions do vary of the chemical weapons.  But it is clear that from, say, the very early 1920s, with the negotiations at the 1922 Washington conference, the naval conference, one of the agreements of that meeting was on the prohibition on submarines and noxious gases.  How they mixed submarines and the gases is still a puzzle to me.  But essentially it was the area where chemical weapons kind of were limited to toxic gases, asphyxiating and other deleterious gases.  So there is also the history that goes back to the Hague Declaration 42, so I think that continued.

The same thing happened during the Vietnam War, for example, where, on the one hand, Agent Orange, that was, you know, it's use was developed outside of the Chemical Corps in the United States.  Tear gas and flame were developed by the Chemical Corps, both during the Second World War, the Vietnam War.

So you can see how things could move depending on circumstances and time.

But it was excluded if we can put it that, perhaps not consciously but definitely it got excluded.  And today, incendiary weapons are banned under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in one of the protocols.  But, of course, it's one of the lesser known treaties on the limitations of weapons in war.

WALKER:  OK.  Other comments, questions and -- yes?  In the middle here.

QUESTION:  My name's Dennis Nelson from SERV   And I'd like to ask two questions.

One, what happened to the German facilities at Dyn Herrnffurt, CW facilities?  I think it eventually ended up in East Germany, but I'm not positive.  What happened to all of that stockpile?

And the other question is, what has happened about the incident, and I think it was in Bari, Italy, where an American ship containing nitrogen mustard was attacked by German sappers and the clouds of nitrogen mustard went over the city?  And this is all in the Second World War.

WALKER:  And your question is to any panelist?  Probably...


WALKER: .. Zanders and Trapp, or Trapp and Zanders?  OK.  Who wants to take the first swipe at that?  Ralf?

TRAPP:  Yeah.


TRAPP:  The first one, to the German facilities, particularly the one, the nerve agent facility in Lunenburg .  My understanding is that that was dismantled at the end of the war and then transferred to Russia, and then reconfigurated in Russia and in fact used as a testing/pilot facility in the Russian CW program.

And so, what happened basically after the war is that, depending on the way in which the Allied forces in the west got into Germany and then the Russian army on the east, a lot of the hardware ended up in Russian hands and a lot of the brains ended up, because there's -- sorry, German scientist tended to trust slightly more the Western allies in terms of who took them over after the war, so many of the researchers from different types of military programs, including the chemical one, ended up in the States or in other Western countries.

So -- and the stockpile was partly destroyed and partly also taken over.  The nerve agent components were taken over by whoever got their hands on them, as far as I know.

On the Bari incident, I think -- well, I'm not quite sure how one can describe what happened afterwards.  What happened in the incident itself was essentially that a large amount of mustard agent was spilled into the port facility, the sea, into the harbor off Bari.  And because of the secrecy surrounding the fact that there was actually mustard gas on that ship, a lot of people got injured simply because there was also -- it was an area attacked, so there were flames, there were ships on fire, and people were essentially jumping into the water to try and get away from the flames.  And they were diving in to meet mustard agent.

And because nobody knew what was going on, the medical facilities, hospitals and so on, in the city of Bari, doctors had no clue what they -- what the victims were they got.  Initially, they were treating them for burn injuries.  And it took a while to realize that, in fact, this was not a simple burning, this was in fact an injury from mustard gas.

Whether it had any larger ramifications beyond what happened in Bari itself, I don't really know.  But it's one of the incidents that's quoted quite often as an example, in one sense of the degree of secrecy that surrounds chemical weapons and the preparations for chemical warfare, the logistics that come with it, the attempts to keep it, even keeping information even away from those you would need, if something goes wrong, like your hospitals and your medical doctors.  In that case, simply because it was a highly secret operation in the first place.  And the pitfalls that come with that sort of approach.  That all (inaudible).

(UNKNOWN):  Yeah.  I mean, what happened in Bari, the fact that an American ship had the stockpile, was part of, you know, a deterrence, having a retaliatory capacity.

There were many statements coming from Roosevelt and Churchill warning the Axis powers not to engage in chemical warfare.  Obviously, the idea was one had to be prepared just in case it happened.

The same as with D-Day, the landings on D-Day, that the troops were inoculated against certain types of biological weapons.  They had protective gears against chemical weapons.  When it didn't materialize, of course, then the whole thing relaxed a lot.

But the Allies during the various landings, military operations in Europe were quite prepared for the possibility of chemical and even biological warfare.

(UNKNOWN):  Pieter, did you want to add anything or?

TROGH:  Sorry?


(UNKNOWN):  That's a bit -- no?  OK.  I saw another couple of hands, one here and then I'll come back over here.  Yes?

QUESTION:  Good morning.  I'm Jerry Epstein at the Department of Homeland Security.

Ralf, I wanted to ask if you could add a couple words on the strikingly different view that industry took in the chemical weapons' talks than they did in the biological weapons verification, where it seemed not being associated with the stigma was the most important thing they said they were worried about.  And I wonder if you could talk about that, as supposed to being part of the solution.

TRAPP:  Yeah.  You have to -- again, you have to go back into the time of when these things happened.  When we negotiated the Chemical Convention in the 1980s, this was also the time that -- OK, the Vietnam War had already been mentioned.  Chemical industry had a bad reputation.  It had a reputation, A, of having supplied Agent Orange for the Vietnam War, but it also had a reputation in terms of polluting the environment, of being a problem to society.

And so, the chemical industry leadership was desperate to find ways and means of assuring the public that they are, in fact, the good guys, that they are not part of this program.

And one of the things, for example, that sent an important signal at the beginning of 1980s, when the U.S. moved forward with the production of binary weapons, essentially commercial companies in the U.S. turned down the request by the Department of the Army to supply the materials for that.

The Army had to actually manufacture these things in their own facilities, they couldn't purchase the precursor materials from commercial companies, because it was seen as something that was damaging for business.

And so, the industry became concerned about its own image but also concerned about the implications of a Chemical Weapons Convention around about the middle of the '80s, when discussions started.

At that point in time, still fairly general about verification in industry.  And it was, I think, a very important strategic decision for the chemical industry, both at the national level and at the level of international associations to get involved in these talks, and to make sure that they understood what was coming there, but also they had a say in the process and they could actually influence the outcome of these negotiations.

So we had first industry working parties being developed in the -- around 1985, 1986.  We had industry conferences on the issue.  And then initially a very informal feedback mechanism between the industry and the negotiators in Geneva.  They would have a briefing once a year or twice a year.  They would be informed about what had happened in the negotiations.  They would put on their own views, and, in fact, eventually started putting out decision -- sorry, position papers.

And, towards the end of the negotiations, in fact, some of the industry people became embedded in the negotiation process.  I mean the German delegation had at times two or three people from chemical industry as part of the delegation sitting in Geneva in the CD during the negotiations.

The U.S. took a slightly different approach, but there were briefings back here in Washington, where the industry working group on chemical weapons, would talk to the government, State Department, and would make sure that the negotiators understood the perspective of industry, the concerns, and also saw where, from an industry perspective, some of the possible solutions were.

That continued into the phase after the entry into force -- sorry after the completion of the negotiations.  And industry supported the process in the prep com in the Hague with expertise, with people, and eventually, at the end, as we prepared for the entry into force of the convention itself, we had a number of chemical companies from a range of countries that were prepared to support our inspector training.

So our inspectors, the first batch of inspectors of the OPCW, was, in fact, trained by chemical industry for inspections in the chemical industry.

What you saw was essentially a symbiosis between the industry that had its concerns, but also was prepared to contribute to the process, and the negotiators that were trying to develop something that actually was implementable at the end of the process.

I think in the biological field, a lot of things went very wrong very early on, partly because they become mixed up with the bilateral process between the Soviet Union on the one side, and the U.K. and the U.S. on the other side, in trying to use fact-finding missions in industry to alleviate some of the concerns that actually addressed the Soviet bioweapons program, but you couldn't actually go there and visit these facilities unless you found a way of making it palatable for the Soviets.  And part of that was to have inspectors also in Western pharma companies, and a number of things didn't go very nicely, shall we say.

So the perceptions that we had in the bio industry at this point of time is that these inspections don't work.  They're bad.  They are something we can't really accept.  They're harassing us.

At the same time I think the mentality in the industry is different.  And the bio industry still today is an industry that sees itself as something very positive -- we're making medicines, we're making things that are good for human kind.  They're there to treat people who have diseases and things like that.
They don't have the image that the chemical industry had in the 1980s, which was clearly a problem for the industry.  The pharma industry doesn't have that, or, shall we say, it doesn't have it as yet?  In some areas we may see trends  in this direction.

So the interest in the industry itself is not that strong.  It's still a passive, sort of, we're trying to prevent things to happen to us that we don't like or we don't understand, but at the same time the engagement is different and not as strong as we saw it in the chemical industry.

However, I think things are changing there, so I'm probably optimistic.

(UNKNOWN):  You might -- I mean we might point out too that the major chemical accident in India, in Bhopal, you may recall, happened, I think, in 1986, was it?  '83, '86?  It's in the mid-80s sometime in which...

(UNKNOWN):  '84.

(UNKNOWN):  '84, in which...


(UNKNOWN):  All right, well, we'll figure that out.

There was another -- thank you, Ralf -- there was another hand up right here in the front table.  Yeah.
QUESTION:  Thank you.  Heim Kaine , from the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

The question is, it can be either both to Ralf and Jean Pascal, and I will ask about where are you practically ended your talks, with Syria and the Chemical Weapons Convention today.

Both of you emphasized the general purpose criterion.  And, obviously, Syria has continued to use the chlorine.  So, the question where does it put us with, related to Syria, compliance with their CWC commitment?  And also what the OPCW or the CWC can do with -- related to such uses?

WALKER:  Chlorine and Syria, who wants to -- who wants to -- we'll have further discussions on this too.


WALKER:  And I'm sure, throughout the day. but yeah?

ZANDERS:  No, I think the GPC which Ralf and I kind of emphasized in our presentations is absolutely critical to the relevancy of the convention to a variety of circumstances.

First, because the default position is prohibition of application of toxic chemicals.  And in the Chemical Weapons Convention, in Article 2, a number of purposes that are not prohibited, and I emphasized in the negative formulation in the CWC, indicates that there are certain uses that are acceptable, but the default position is a prohibition.

The second major advantage of the GPC is it's not specific to certain chemicals.  Ralf has made the clear distinction between the three schedules, the three lists of chemicals which are useful to organize verification in the industry and a number of facilities, but they are not what defines the prohibition.

The advantage of that is -- of that lack of specificity is that any future toxic chemical is also prohibited by the convention.  Any type of industrial toxic chemical that might be used in an opportunistic way as a chemical weapon is prohibited.  So, when the Serbs were targeting train wagons filled with a chlorine over Sarajevo, with the purpose of having the cloud descend, that would have been a major violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

So, coming to chlorine, what has happened, was, first, because of the general purpose criterion, the OPCW was able to launch an investigation into the allegations.  And in two reports, it has basically confirmed the use of the chlorine.  If you read both reports closely together, you basically can deduce who is responsible for those attacks.

In immediate, practical terms, there is not a very visible reaction.  A large number of states parties have issued a declaration condemning the use of chemical weapons.  But the problem in disarmament and any verification system is that, you know, you can have the best designed system, in the end, the determination of compliance or violation is a political decision.  And if you have one country or several countries opposing a clear determination of, you know, compliance or violation, then, of course, you run into certain problems.

Having said that, the possibility always exists if there is some sort of an international tribunal that's going to deal with the war crimes in Syria, both the United Nations investigation and the OPCW investigation of chlorine, if decisions are taken, these reports, all the backup documents, can be supplied to that court in order to determine culpability.

WALKER:  Ralf or Pieter, do you want to add anything to that at all?  No?

(UNKNOWN):  There's not much to add, just to reinforce what Jean Pascal said.  I mean, we have to make a very clear statement here that the use of chlorine in armed conflict is the use of a poison gas, of a chemical weapon, and that's prohibited, full stop.  There's no argument about that.

And, hence, its use as it -- if it happens in a country like Syria, which is member of the CWC, it's a violation of the treaty.

How you deal with noncompliance of treaty provisions is a separate and quite interesting question.  And a lot of other issues come into it, including the circumstances and the possibility of being or not being able to enforce the law at a certain point in time.

I'd like to just piggy back on what Jean Pascal just said, we tend to have a focus on either the OPCW or, in the case if the use investigation in Syria, the U.N. secretary general's mechanism,  which involve the OPCW as well and WHO.

But there is also a Commission on the Human Rights Council that deals with Syria, the commission -- an independent commission of inquiry, which, of course, was set up with respect to human rights violations in the use of chemical weapons or any type of prohibited weapon is also a human rights violation.

So, there are other mechanisms set that may in the future lead to attribution and then to consequences.  It may even happen within the context of the Security Council, a context where at this point in time, it doesn't look like anybody is pushing for it, for whatever reasons.

And that just reinforces that it's not about verification.  Verification is really only one step.  What matters is what I do once I know what happened and how I deal with these -- with these facts.

And that is also is important for how strong the regime will be in the future.  But I see states reacting to it, or whether I see essentially an attempt to ignore it and to go on to other business, and I hope the latter is not going to happen.

WALKER:  OK, thank you all very much.  And we have a few more hands up but I think you'll have the opportunity to ask questions really throughout the day.  We have a really wonderful group of panelists and speakers coming later in the day.

We're going to take a coffee break now.  We'll reconvene at 11 a.m. sharp and Daryl Kimball will moderate that panel.

I'd point out, too, that all these PowerPoint presentations, as well as the transcript, I believe, for the whole day will be available on the Arms Control Association website.  So you can get all the PowerPoints and all the information and data later on as well.

So thank you very much for your attention.



KIMBALL:  All right.  Welcome back, everyone.

For those of you who came in after the start, I'm Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.  And I want to thank the previous panel.  It was a masterful job covering a great deal of material.  And I think all of us learned something from that first panel.

And now we're going to move on to a more focused discussion of one of the issues that came up earlier, which is the experience of the chemical weapons use in Syria and the efforts to eliminate Syria's stockpile.  And I think we have to say that over the last 18 months of that period, there were three incredible events.  And by "incredible," I really -- I think that the word "incredible" applies here -- incredible events in the field of chemical weapons international security.

First, what many feared could happen and hoped would not happen happens.  After 100 years since the use of chlorine on the battlefields of Europe, we saw the large-scale use of sarin gas in the suburbs outside Damascus, even as U.N. inspectors were in the country to investigate allegations of earlier chemical weapons use.

We've got to remember that hundreds of defenseless people were injured or died gruesome deaths, adding to the already horrible toll of that civil war which rages on and on.

The second incredible event was that within weeks after that event, after widespread international condemnation, the U.S. and Russia and other countries succeeded in compelling President Bashar al-Assad to agree to an ambitious plan to join the CWC, declare his chemical stockpile and allow for their rapid verification and destruction.

And third, the third incredible event was that this operation went forward quickly more or less according to schedule.  And we'll know more about this -- to do something that many thought could not be done in the middle of the war; the technically challenging, politically complex job and hazardous job of removing more than 1,300 tons of prohibited agent and weapons, destroying the mixing and production equipment, all in the midst of the war.

So, in my own view, today we can't say that all 100 percent of that arsenal has been destroyed, but the vast bulk has.  And it's true, probably true that Syria still has a residual CW capability.  And there are ongoing attacks by Syria using chlorine as a weapon.  But the threat of another major attack involving sarin or mustards is all but gone due to the unprecedented effort that we'll hear about in this section.

And so we've got three more great guests to describe this part of the story this morning.  We're pleased and honored to have with us Mr. Dominique Anelli, who's with us also from across the pond.  He served as the head of the Chemical Demilitarization Branch of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons from -- since 2007.  And before that, he was a military adviser to the permanent French delegation at the OPCW.

And also back with us is Paul Walker, who, among other things, I should mention, is the chief coordinator, the pointy end of the spear, so to speak, with the Chemical Weapons Coalition, which is a global NGO network dedicated to the implementation of the CWC in an effective environmentally responsible manner.  And he's going to be revealing what he sees as some of the lessons identified with the Syria CW mission.

And we're also very happy and honored to have with us, in place of Andy Weber, our colleague Simon Limage, who's deputy assistant secretary from nonproliferation programs in the State Department's Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation.  I'm amazed that I can fit on a business card somewhere.

He is responsible for supervising the State Department's nonproliferation programs and efforts to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction.  He was deeply involved in a behind-the-scenes role, but very important day-to-day work in support of the State Department's efforts on the Syria CW mission.

And he's graciously -- and on short notice -- agreed to join this panel after we learned late last evening that Andy Weber, who was scheduled to be in the program and who's currently the deputy director for the State Department Ebola Coordination Unit, was called in for a meeting at this particular time -- I don't think I'm breaking any news here -- to have a meeting on that subject with the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

So, that's probably the best excuse I've ever heard for not being able to show up at one of my events.  I'll expect something along those lines if anybody wants to cancel out on me again.


So, Simon is going to be describing some of the nuts and bolts work, the technical diplomatic work that contributed to the U.S. role with the Syrian CW removal operation, which, as I think we'll hear, began even before the August 21 attack on the outskirts of Damascus in -- in Ghouta.

So, I welcome you all hear, and in particular, Mr. Anelli, for coming all this way.  Thank you very much for being with us.

ANELLI:  Merci beaucoup.  Merci, chaque colleagues.


Sorry for my accent, but as you can see I'm French.

More seriously, thanks to the organizer to -- to have the opportunity to take the floor this morning.

I knew Jonathan when he applied to OPCW as a police officer.  This shows one more -- his commitment to the disarmament.

In a couple of slide now, I will try to present to you the works and the progress the OPCW carried out regarding the chemical weapons disarmament in Syria.

Let me start with the U.N. investigation of chemical weapon used in Syria, and other U.N. secretary mechanism, so -- U.N. secretary general mechanism, a U.N. team including an OPCW component led by Professor Sellstrom, who arrived in Damascus in August 2013 and investigated the sites of alleged chemical attack.

The U.N. team took samples, interviewed witnesses and examined munitions and after a detailed investigation, submitted a report in September 2013, which concluded that, I quote, "The chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale."

We did not have any mandate to investigate who did the attack.  You understand that that was very politically sensitive.

And OPCW-U.N. joint team was created pursuant to (inaudible) decision and pursuant also to the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2018 in September 2013.  It has been decided at this time to have the mission in Syria organized around two pillars.  The verification activities carried out by the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW, and the support activities provided by the U.N. part of the Joint Mission.

So, two entities and both of them cooperating in order to achieve the work on field.

On 14 September 2013, under the pressure of the international community, Syria acceded to the treaty.  Five days later, with the support of the Technical Secretariat, and that was in Damascus to help Syria to submit an initial disclosure.

Then after (inaudible) force on 14 October, Syria submitted its initial declaration 20 days in advance vis-a-vis of the treaty obligation, because when you -- when the treaty enter into force for a third party, specific third party, 30 days after you have to do your initial declaration.  But obviously for Syria, everything was really condensed.

Then during one month on November, a multidisciplinary team was deployed in Syria to carry on verification activities.  This inspection team, as I told you, was supported by the U.N. component also deployed in Syria.

So it was to certify the inspectors deployed in Syria, as I told you, with multidisciplinary capacities, and they were supported by almost 80 person from U.N. in order to provide the security.  We were under the umbrella of UN-DSS, U.N. Department for Security Safety, to provide us with (inaudible) with the logistical support, with accommodation when needed, and all the logistical and administrative support that is needed under such difficult environment.

The declare chemical in Syria, declared 1,060 square metric ton of Category I, as per the treaty, and 265 metric ton of Category II chemical weapon.

However, despite this categorization for the -- for the destruction -- first, the removal and the destruction -- the declared chemicals were prioritized in two priorities.

Priority one chemicals included mustard and key binary components like A and B and BB.  The binary components like oil and vinegar when not mixed -- sorry, I have a cold -- is provided due to the air conditioning everywhere in U.S.


And I don't know why, because with this cold winter you put also ice in the water.



UNKNOWN:  This must be a French cold.

ANELLI:  You're right.  So, you mixed -- ooh, la la.  Gabby , you will have to continue for me.

So the binary component like oil and vinegar when not mixed, you do not get the right final product.

So, this chemical should have been removed from the territory of Syria not later than 31st December 2013.

The Priority 2 chemicals include precursor such as chloroethylamine chloroethylamine, PCl 3, HF, POCl 3, HCL and other binary components such as isopropanol and hexamine.

These chemicals, except isopropanol, should have been removed from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic no later than the 5th February 2014.

Isopropanol was subject to destruction inside of Syria Arab Republic.

Merci.  It's America coffee.


Merci, Jean Pascal.

It works.

Despite this very -- very small delay of removal of the chemical P1 and P2, P1 certifies this number and P2 5th February.  Unfortunately, due to the situation in Syria, due to the logistical support that we have offered to provide to Syria, due also to the fact that other chemical to respect IMDG compliance, International Maritime Regulation Compliance, it took us until June to remove all the chemical from Syria.  However, the challenge was there.

Here, you have some picture of Priority 1 chemicals.  You have a sulfur mustard tank on the left, and you have DF tank on the right.  And DF is a binary component of sarin.
As all the other process of state, Syria declared chemical weapons to reach facility, chemical weapon SF in the OPCW jargon where the chemicals are normally stored.  12 such facilities were declared by Syria.  The chemicals were removed and transferred for destruction, and the storage facility were closed under OPCW verification.

Now, turning to the production facility.  Syria declared the 27 chemical weapon production facility.  Such a facility as per the treaty were under not operational when Syria accepted the treaty, so it means 14th October.

All production equipment were verified.  The production equipment means the reactor and every -- within the facility were verified as destroyed on October and November 2013.

OPCW verified so far the destruction of 13 structure of the facility, meaning the walls and the ceiling and everything.  Within these 13 chemical weapon production facilities, only the structure, eight mobile units were destroyed and five above-ground structures.

Here, you have a picture of an underground precursor production facility in Syria.  Syria declared five tunnels where they mix and produce -- they produce and mix some chemicals.  These are production of sarin precursor.

The transfer of chemical outside of Syria, probably it was most a challenging part of the Syrian disarmament activities carried by OPCW.  You have to imagine 12 facilities in the storage facility in Damascus in arms under and secured (inaudible) where chemical under OPCW verification need to be loaded, reloaded, correctly packaged to comply with IMDG and send to Latakia Harbor in a coordinated manner to lose the transfer of the chemical on border ship, and in addition, the ship can -- could stay only a few hours in Latakia for security reason.

So, you imagine the -- the complexity of such a logistical task to achieve the removal of chemical outside of Syria.  And thanks to everybody to the international communities that contribute largely to the success of this mission.

Here, you have some HF cylinder that will -- that is very -- update for the time being very -- at the top of -- under the spot.  Each single chemical drums -- tank cylinder were tagged and packed in 20 feet container, which could be loaded on border ships.

All this packaging to respect the international rules of transportation, allowing the delivery of chemical within the different country selected or volunteer for destruction

The maritime operation were a key component of the transfer of chemicals outside of Syria.  Norway and Denmark provided vessel allowing the sea transport of chemicals.  USA provided a logistical vessel equipped with onboard naturalization system to destroy mustard and DF.

Here, you have a very nice view of the Danish ship, the Ark Futura first in blue and the Taico in red escorted by military vessel in order to ensure the security of the removal of chemical weapons.

Chemical destruction outside of Syria, the OPCW using a combination of physical presence, monitoring equipment, on-site visit, verify the destruction of Syrian chemicals at the different sites were delivered.

Cape Ray, I already spoke about.  Ekokem Finland, after abiding process, Ekokem Finland and U.S. were selected to destroy the chemical agent.

You have also Ellesmere U.K., so all this site contributed to the destruction outside of Syria of the chemical agents within the verification and under the verification of the OPCW.

Something familiar for you, the Cape Ray with the field-deployable hydrolysis system, the destruction operations was verified by the OPCW inspector, so the continued presence onboard of the ship and using also monitoring equipment.

We used to walk a lot with U.S. regarding the verification of destruction at a facility within U.S., l and we did the same here with the facility agreement in a great detail plan of verification.  And it was very good experience for our inspectors, and I will say it was -- as we used to do with U.S. a very cooperative work together to destroy -- to verify the destruction of such a chemical.

I continue with the destruction outside of Syria.  Mexichem U.K. is destroying some HF cylinder, 7 metric tons of HF.  Veolia destroyed some inorganic compounds like PCl 3, PUCl 3, P2S5, and they continued to destroy the HF cylinder.

GEKA, Munster and Ekokem now are destroying the reaction mass issued from the destruction of the DF and the sulfur mustard onboard of the Cape Ray, but the agent is already neutralized.  Now, it's just a mixture of some organic and salt that has to be incinerated in GEKA and in Ekokem Finland.

Here, you have slide representing the -- where we are, the status of the destruction.  98 percent have been destroyed, about 100 percent.

HF cylinder remains to be destroyed, and you have seen that the progression of the reaction mass incineration is about 30 percent.  But it's -- I will say it's -- the collective of the priority is very low for us.

So in conclusion in a very short period under a hazardous security situation, OPCW has achieved a tremendous work with and in Syria with the support of the international community.

The storage facility are now emptied and closed, the chemical agent are almost destroyed, and 50 percent of the structure of the PF has been razed to the level of the ground.

However, it's not yet finished.  Some work are still ahead with the destruction of 12 structures, five tunnels, and seven hangars, and also two structures which were not accessible due to the fact that they were in a conflict area.

So, for these two structures, we have to inspect them and we have to verify the destruction of such a structure.

In parallel of the work on the 12 PF, you have the work of the declaration assessment team.  So the destruction assessment -- the declaration assessment teams, sorry, continue to work with Syria in order to finalize the Syrian declaration.  I think at this date more than 10 amendments have already been received by the T.S. chloroethylamine.

But this -- we'll return to the initial slide where I presented you the very tight delay when Syria declared its chemical weapon program.  Normally is the party will have a little bit of time to prepare their declaration before to join the treaty.  For Syria, it was a contrary.  It seems that we have still some questions pending, and we continue to work with them.

Finally, a question of this morning regarding the use of chlorine.  The fact-finding mission continue to investigate this use of chlorine as chemical warfare agents.  So we are coming back to the general purpose criterion in Syria.

Here, you have, to conclude, the challenge that we faced, and maybe I will add that for discussion later on and I will be pleased to answer to your different question later on.

And thank you for this.  Sorry for my accent and my pained throat.

KIMBALL:  Just fine.

ANELLI:  But I will try to drink some whiskey with Renee chloroethylamine in order to...


ANELLI:  ... without ice, huh.  Thanks a lot.


KIMBALL:  Well, thank you.  I think you did a great job.  And we have some tea in case you want this, Dominique.  OK.

All right.  Paul Walker, thanks for being here again.

WALKER:  Thank you, Daryl.  Dominique is always tough act to follow, as they say.  But I really appreciate Dominique coming from the OPCW along with his colleagues here and many others too.

So, my presentation will overlap Dominique's a little bit, but I think I'll -- not speak on behalf of the OPCW or the United Nations or the U.S. government -- I'll give you sort of an NGO, I think, perspective.

We've been very involved in the Syrian demilitarization operation, and I've blogged on a weekly basis.  I think we're up to 44 blogs on the information for the 150 or so nongovernmental organizations that we coordinate in to help support the OPCW and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Let me first show this picture again.  I think we -- it's never enough to remind us that we're approaching the 100th anniversary of the first major use of chemical warfare.  And this is a photo, I think Jean Pascal may have used one similar or Ralf, one or the other, too.

But it shows World War I soldiers blinded more or less, all  with bandages around the eyes and, of course, that happened not so much with chlorine, but really with the blister agents, mustard and the like, that we used later on.

And in World War I, you know, there were somewhere around 90,000 troops killed by chemical warfare, about a million injured throughout the whole war.  So it's very appropriate, I think.  And I'm very happy to see that Ypres, Belgium, and Pieter Trogh who spoke earlier, you know, are doing a big commemoration in the middle of April.

This, I think you've heard mentioned too already, but I just want to remind us, you know, we're all talking about the Chemical Weapons Convention, and we just return from, just a week ago -- less -- yes, just a week ago today from the 19th Conference of States Parties what we call the 19th CSP in The Hague, and I know a lot of us were there for the week dealing with all these issues.  And I'll show you a statement later on from that conference.

The only points I'd like to make here is there are still six countries outside of the CWC, and I'll mention those later, and that we still have, you know, we still have declared stockpiles to be destroyed.  So we're still about a decade away from finishing the currently declared stockpiles.

So, to put it in context to where Syria stands, I think, you know, we're talking there, at the bottom, about 1,308 metric tons.  I think Dominique said about 1,300.  The original figures were 1,335.  So the figures have change a little bit over last year when the measurements became a bit more accurate.

But the two big guys there, as you see, are Russia and the United States.  And those are the two countries, two of the four, that still have a ways to go in completing their destruction process.

The other ones, India and Syria, there are no -- India and South Korea, sorry, have no definite public information amounts that I'm aware of.  And I keep pressing the Indians and the South Koreans to talk publicly about their program a little bit more, because they've both been success stories.  And I think it would help the OPCW, would help all of us, to try to promote the importance of evolution of chemical weapons if they'd be a little more transparent.

Syria, 26 tons, Albania, 16 metric tons, I can talk about these later too, if you'd like.  And the U.S. destruction, just to remind people here, is about 90 percent complete.  We'll have a speaker later, Craig Williams, who's in the audience, talking specifically about the Blue Grass, Kentucky, site, which will be the last site destroyed in the United States.

We've been very involved in this, you know, for over 20 years now, and I must say it's been an enormously difficult, complex, technologically challenging, politically contentious process in the United States.  And I think if you were at one of the stockpile sites in the local communities, you'd realize really how challenging this has really been.

I think much to the consternation of the U.S. military that's tried their best to do the right thing, but, you know, suddenly realized that, in fact, local communities have enormous control over these processes.  You have, indeed, environmental permitting, you know, you need emergency evacuation procedures and the like.

In Russia, that's actually a picture from one of the big aerial bomb sites that shows Russian workers neutralizing a nerve agent inside the bomb, which is how they do it in Russia for the most part.

Russians have made very good progress, but they started 12 years after the United States.  You know, they opened their first facility, a place called the Gorny in the Saratov Oblast in December 2002.

Even though we first went -- the Americans went to Russia in 1994 and started discussing with the onsite inspection at Shchuchye in the Kurgan Oblast started discussing the process with them.  But the first operating facility began, you know, limited operations to neutralize lewisite in 2000 -- only in 2002.

So in 12 years, essentially, this month, they've actually destroyed, you know, considerably more actually than the United States has destroyed in 24 years.  So the annual kind of throughput destruction rate is almost -- I think it's 50 percent or maybe even 100 percent higher than the U.S. throughput rate.

They still have a way to go.  You know, we've -- we in the United States, we've closed seven facilities.  We have two more which we'll start up in the next few months actually and years.  The Russians have actually destroyed two stockpiles, but will close another four actually in the next year.

So, just on other sites, Albania finished in 2007, thanks to the United States and Germany and others.  South Korea finished in 2008.  India finished in 2009.  Libya has finished its schedule one, its actual chemical agents recently.  And then, it's still got schedule two, and we can talk about that more if you want.  There's about 850 tons of precursor chemicals, which are very similar to what we've taken out of Syria, which still sit in very kind of insecure areas with Libya.

And then, of course, Syria or Iraq declared 2009 when they joined the convention.  And they declared two bunkers fill with the kind of detritus from the inspections in the post-Gulf War in '91.  And then Syria, of course, declared in 2013.

So on Syria, this all began, you know, probably around July 2012, if not sooner, when Syria -- actually there was a spokesperson that actually confirmed chemical weapons existed in Syria.

And then, we went through a whole series of alleged attacks, and I haven't put them all here, but there have been several.  And all of these had low, you know, numbers of deaths and injuries, in the single or double figures, until we really hit August 21st.  And I think Daryl mentioned this and Dominique did too in the -- just east of Damascus in the Ghouta region.

And the reports -- I don't think we still have accurate numbers, but the reports say about 1,400 people killed.  And I was -- I read all the initial news accounts on this, and it really is a very moving and tragic situation with all of them killed in the middle of the night, many of them in bed, at least 400 children.  And this is really what obviously set up the public discussion and the Obama threat on attacking Syria.

And, of course, about a month -- less than a month later, Syria joined.  President Bashar al-Assad agreed to accede to the treaty, and the treaty enters into force one month later, in mid-October.

So, on Syria and chemical weapons destruction, I think Dominique, you know, did a really excellent job in presenting all these figures.  This is kind of a summary, 1,308 metric tons.  So compared to the U.S. and Russian stockpiles, it's small, you know.  But it's still much larger than the Albanian stockpiles.  It's still much larger than the Libyan stockpile.

A hundred percent removed between January and June of this year.  That's a, you know, a major step forward, but was very delayed for a whole number of reasons we can talk about later, if you like.  And to date, it's close to 98 percent destroyed.  And I think Dominique talked about the more specific numbers, 98 percent of the original stockpile.  And then you, of course, have thousands of tons of toxic effluent that you've produced from the Cape Ray operation, and of course that still has a long way to go, what we call second stage processing, to be destroyed.

That's the picture, I think same picture probably that you used, Dominique, there.  That's the field-deployable hydrolysis system, the FDHS, that was produced up at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland.

And those are tanks, actually titanium-lined tanks that are actually used in the neutralization originally of the mustard stockpile we had in Aberdeen, Maryland, you know, just north of Baltimore, that was destroyed in a very kind of emergency process or accelerated process after the 9/11 attacks, when people realized this was one of I think four open air stockpiles that the United States had.

I visited it, I think in 1996 or 1997 and was very concerned at that point about the potential for terrorist attack.  It was just barrels of mustard agents sitting in the back of Edgewood Arsenal, you know, spitting distance from the Chesapeake Bay, with a little chain link fence around it, and a little kind of Keystone cop, you know, at the end of the 500 yards down the road.  And we can talk about that more if you like.

But these were produced -- Edgewood is producing six of these.  Three of them were produced and put on the Cape Ray, two of them to operate, a third to be cannibalized for spare parts.  And they operated very well in the end.  It's a big wet chemistry kind of plumbing operation.  You know, you just have to make sure the valves don't plug and the pipes don't break and burst.

You can see this is kind of a list of the -- how everything was treated.  It was very difficult, I found, for tracking all the chemicals.  You know, the OPCW called them Priority 1 and 2 first, then they called them Category 1 and 2, and I'm not sure what -- still don't know really what the difference was between those.

And so, all the different denominations of it, and they used these  different chemical phrases.  So, those of us who aren't chemists, I think even the chemists, you know, had a very confusing time.  And I don't know whether that was really intentional or not, but we didn't know which direction the chemicals were going and on which ship they were going to be on and which ship was going to, you know, the Italian port, and on and on.  So, I'm sure Dominique and a lot of our colleagues here will agree with me.

Those of us who get down into the weeds and track this stuff very closely, you know, we're very concerned.  We didn't have the right figures and the right chemicals and where they were going to wind up, and this is all part of kind of helping facilitate the process too.

You know, 600 tons, about half -- a little less than half of the chemicals were processed onboard the Cape Ray, and that went extremely well.  There were some minor incidents onboard the Cape Ray.  There was a little fire that took -- but you won't hear anyone really talk too publicly about this -- but a small kitchen fire.

There was a leak at one point, but that was contained.  And it was one of the big issues that the public in the Mediterranean was really worried about.  And there were some minor I think a crew injuries on the ship too, but nothing that required, you know, anything major to take place.

One hundred twenty-two metric tons, the isopropanol, was treated in Syria.  Most people don't realize that.  But it neutralizes very well.  I think, you know, it means that the chemicals removed from Syria were somewhere under 1,200 tons.  It wasn't 1,308 tons.  It was actually 1,200 and somewhat.

Yes, let me move on here.

The other thing I would mention is that there were large protests against this whole operation.  And we were trying throughout the whole time last year and this year to try to help facilitate that process.

And these are pictures of demonstrations in Crete.  We didn't hear much about this in the United States, I think.  But in Europe, there were over 10,000 people that demonstrated on Crete, in Athens, in Istanbul and other places, very concerned that we were processing some of the world's most dangerous chemicals at sea and that this would set a precedent potentially for destroying really toxic waste and other things at sea that would be subject to, you know, accident.

These people may have been a little over concerned about what went on, but they're worried that the ship could sink, it could leak, you know, a whole variety of things could happen.

There were protests from the fishing industry in the Mediterranean.  There were protests from the tourist industry.

And this is one of the things we tried to help facilitate, which I think to some extent frustrated the U.S. government and the OPCW and the United Nations, that we were inserting ourselves in asking for certain public conferences and dialogues on this at the time.

And then, I would just put in this quick statement which we can talk about later.  At the OPCW, week before last or last week, actually, there was a 56-country statements of which the United States was part and the Italians led.  I think there is actually a copy of it that may be on the -- outside on the table, if you'd like.

But it clearly stated, if you read the bottom of that, it says, "this includes the fact that witnesses invariably connected the attacks to the use of helicopters.  Only the Syrian military possesses the capability of such attack."  So, this clear pointed the finger at Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government for doing these attacks.

You heard from Dominique that the fact-finding mission, you know, met some, as they call it, political obstacles for determining where these attacks were coming from, both the live agent attacks previously and also the chlorine attacks most recently.

And I think, you know, this is, out of a 190 state parties, this is about a quarter, you know, maybe a little over 30 percent of the states parties.  So, you can see that there's still a debate within the OPCW as to whether Syria itself should be blamed or whether in fact there's adequate proof of that.

So, let me just make some conclusions.  Chemical agents are no longer viable military weapons and they have become taboo, morally reprehensible and a dangerous burden.  We've seen this, you know, this is 100 years old, basically.  But I think today, you can really conclude that any country, you know, which may have chemical weapons, those outstanding outside the treaty regime, really can't use chemical weapons at all.  I mean if they do, they'll be widely condemned and be pariah states in the world today.

The chemical weapons destruction, CWD, process in Syria has gone well, although about 5 months delayed.  So, you know, in the grand scheme of things, this is fast, very fast.  I pointed out earlier, the United States has been working on its stockpile destruction for 20, you know, 24 years since the first incinerator on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific began operating.

So to do a Syrian operation here and really, you know, 12 months or so, maybe drag it out with the effluent to 18 months, is enormously quick.  So I think it's overall very successful operation.

The unique OPCW joint mission also illustrates possible future multilateral operations between the U.N. and a multilateral independent organization, such as the OPCW.

I must say there were some questions about who is in charge, first of all, and we can talk more about that, I'm sure, if you're interested. Whether you went to the joint mission in Cyprus or whether you went to the director general of the OPCW or whether you went to the secretary general in the New York office or whether the U.S. Department of Defense, which operated the Cape Ray was in charge, because they were handling basically destruction of half the stockpile.

And we all faced that sort of problem.  When we called somebody up to ask a question, they'd say, "Oh no, no, no.  Call State Department."  And you call State Department and they say, "You know, that's really Department of Defense.  Call the Department of Defense."  And they'd say, "No, the OPCW is in charge, so call."

So, there was this kind of round robin that a lot of us have gone through, and I think we can all now joke a little bit about that.  But frankly, it was very frustrating, many times.  You know, called pass the buck I think by some of us.

Anyway, the Syrian CWD experience, the first to remove a chemical stockpile from a possessor state, which is against the Chemical Weapons Convention actually.  So this is a special, you know, exception that was allowed.  We could take the chemicals out of Syria and rather than process it in Syria.

The continued use of chlorine as a weapon demands the OPCW fact-finding mission continue with its inspections.

The ongoing process for verified elimination of serious CWD program must continue.  You heard from Dominique already and I think from Ralf Trapp that there's still a lot of work to be done.

Many countries deserve credit for their commitment, especially Russia and the U.S. for their initial agreed statement and facilitation -- one of the few, you know, positive things in Russian-American relations today -- the U.S., Denmark, Norway for their -- their ship commitment, you know -- the Danes and the Norwegians never guessed, I think -- never dreamed that their ships would be out there six months rather than one month or two months, so the expense to Norway and Denmark was enormous -- and to other countries, the U.S., Finland, the United Kingdom and Germany for accepting -- finally accepting some of the toxic effluent chemicals that came out of -- in Germany, you may have -- you may have read in the news a week or so ago -- had three or four workers injured, actually, because one of the tanks that they were -- they were burning in -- in the site called GEKA, G-E-K-A in Munster, Germany apparently had -- had remaining mustard agent in it and injured vapors out of -- injured some of the workers.

Two dozen contributors to the Syria Trust Fund.  You heard, I think, Ralf earlier mention the whole question about this being a voluntary effort and trying to raise money, you know, the OPCW going around kind of with a tin cup asking for donations to -- to fund the whole operation, because the OPCW didn't have the money to do it at that time.

All possessor states must complete safe elimination -- includes the United States, Russia, Iraq and Syria still and -- and Schedule 2 in Libya -- and then all member -- nonmember states must join the CWC.

That's really what we call universality, what we're all working for, and that includes Angola, Israel, Egypt, Myanmar, North Korea and South Sudan.  It's not a company that you really want to be in these days, I think, in many ways, and that's a very important point we can talk about more later too.

And that's it, so thank you.


KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Paul.

And now onto Simon, who was not passed the buck.  He has come here, and we deeply appreciate that, Simon Limage from the State Department.

After Simon speaks, we will take your questions.  We're right on schedule.

LIMAGE:  Thank you.  Thank you, Daryl, and thank you, Paul.

I think I'll start by echoing that point.  I -- I don't think I've ever heard anyone at the State Department ever voluntarily say that DOD was in charge of something that was going well.


Myself and my colleagues have much too much to say about a lot of things to -- to want to not comment.

I wanted to just say a couple of words before I got into some of the substance of -- that I think will nicely complement what Paul and Dominique have -- have talked about.  If you haven't read it yet, Paul has an excellent article in -- in this edition of Arms Control Today, and towards the end of his article, he -- he -- he has a section on lessons learned from the -- the Syria CW experience.

And while I don't necessarily identify myself with all of his conclusions, I think he raises all the right issues that we are in a particular time space to -- to look into.

He talks about public engagement, and certainly, there are lessons learned there, and the discussion about how much to share, when to share it, with whom to share it, how do you share information when you have some partners that don't want to draw attention to their part of their operation is a difficult but important task, so did we get that right or did we not?

The reaction of some of the countries that we worked with or in the -- the area where we worked, you showed some pictures of protests and what those protests were about and how significant they were and how did we try to mitigate those in the U.S. government through briefings in the Hague and elsewhere.  Did we talk to the right people about the operation, is also important.

Another section that he has in his article has to do with funding for the OPCW and the trust fund.

I counted, in my experience over the -- the life cycle of the operation, three different trust funds.  There was one at the United Nations.  There were two at the OPCW.

There were some particular strictures that govern what each trust fund was targeted at, and there was also regulations and laws that allowed or prevented individual member states that were contributing in certain ways to those funds in addition to some of the bilateral funds that they produced.  And so, having a conversation there, I think, is important.

Also, Paul did a good number of giving a good way -- did a good job of sharing the numbers and a description of what other countries stockpiles and efforts at elimination looked like.

I would only add, though, that numbers can only be understood in a particular context, and while the -- the numbers of metric tons were smaller for the declared material on the -- in the -- on the Syrian side, certainly, the context was of a regime actively using a CW in the middle of a civil war while the operation was ongoing, and so the -- that timeframe, I think, becomes very important.

And then Paul talks also about, both in his last slide and then in his article, about the message that this may send and the political impetus that this may provide to other countries to do the right thing in terms of nonproliferation norms.

I'm mindful of another -- he mentioned Burma, and I'm mindful of a decision Burma made recently to deposit its instruments of accession to the BWC and what that means from a programmatic and a policy perspective for the United States in terms of encouraging that country to also signup to the CWC, et cetera.

So, those were all, I think, items we could get into during the Q&A if that's of interest to you.

Obviously, I'm filling in for Andy.  I had an email from him last night saying that he had the meeting that -- that Daryl described, and -- and I think we're all -- been warned to come up with good excuses here in the future, although I love getting away from my desk, so that's not -- not something I'll ever say.

But I will say -- and I don't mean this to -- to -- to sound trite -- but to me, the fact that Andy emailed me and that I was able to come is a testament to the interagency nature of the Syria CW operation and the fact that despite our problems, our different cultures in each department -- and it's not just State and DOD; DHS, HHS and others, and different domestic departments were involved in the overall operation -- I think we really came to see ourselves as a family towards the end, and I think there's a lot of lessons there.

I traveled with Andy in the earlier phases before the Cape Ray became operational.  I went with him to Albania, to France and to Belgium to try persuade those governments at the time to explore incineration options.  And then, of course, you know that didn't work out for particular reasons that we can get into.

When that became unfeasible politically, my chemical security team, program and policy experts worked very closely with DTRA on the development of the Cape Ray and then on the actual operation.

So, I'd like to -- to recognize Paul for his engagement and his -- his deep engagement during the operational phase and then certainly now in helping us understand what actually we've accomplished, and certainly recognize Dominique and all his colleagues at the OPCW for taking enormous risks in the field, on the ground and in no small measure, making this a success.

Obviously, before we could talk about the Cape Ray, a number of things had to occur in Syria and individuals who otherwise are rugged and brave had to operate in the middle of very dangerous circumstances at their own risk.

You know, I recall a small data point at the very beginning when we first OPCW expert went in as part of the mission.  This was before the U.N., if I recall correctly, had completed its own security assessment on the ground, and I think that's a tribute to the character of a lot of the individuals on Dominique's team and -- and among his colleagues.
I also would be remiss if I didn't recognize some of my interagency colleagues that are here:  Ken Ward, who leads -- leads our AVC team on -- on this issue and can speak chapter and verse to a lot of the issues that are going on today in terms of the fact finding mission and the work in the Hague and certainly the diplomacy related there, and then colleagues from other agencies.

You'll be hearing from Laura Holgate later, who is our cheerleader and interagency leader at the White House and obviously gave us a lot of the political impetus in the early stages of -- of the effort and then throughout.

So, how did we -- where were we looking back at the effort, and how did we get there?

I recall, with Ken and with a lot of our colleagues at State, DOD and elsewhere, two years ago, we were in the middle of very intensive planning exercises for the day after Assad was going to fall.  And I remember being part of endless planning and mapping exercises to look at what would happen to the CW program when Assad, in this wonderful mythical, magical moment, would be peacefully removed and a strong, stalwart, moderate opposition would take power and would engage in a pleasant and polite discussion with us about what to do about the -- the arsenal.

And that consumed a lot of our time, but I think, to me, is a tribute to fact that we do plan.

And we plan so much, we plan so much that one of the documents that Ken and I approved -- and so many of you are familiar with the Sub-IPC, IPC and DC and PC process that involves ever increasingly, senior elements of our interagency -- approved a number of documents, including the agenda for the first meeting of the interagency the day after Assad was going to fall, and all the questions that our decision makers had to consider in terms of budgeting, engagement, et cetera.

So, a lot of things are planned.

Another strand of effort that I was involved in, in the years before this diplomatic breakthrough between my boss, Secretary Kerry, and then Foreign Minister Lavrov was the engagement of the Syrian military opposition.

I discussed, along with many of our allies, the -- what General Idris, at the time, head of the military opposition, should do with him and -- and his colleagues.  Should they liberate part of Syria that -- that had elements of the Syrian chemical weapons program?

And we had very basic questions about messaging, and he said, you know -- and a lot of this was deeply emotional for him, given the particular context of the fight that he was leading.  CW was at the forefront of his mind, along with trying to -- to solidify the military planning there.

And we had conversations about, what do you with the Syrian scientists if you capture a site?  Do you shoot?  Do you surround them?  Do you leave it alone?  And our interest in the United States was to leave the sites but to secure them and not try to harm themselves in doing that.

And then there was a conversation about the CWC itself in the early years, and out Turkish allies were helpful at a time when some other countries were encouraging the opposition not to pronounce themselves and what they might do, should they succeed in the civil war in terms of signing up to the CWC and actually saying that these weapons are abhorrent to the opposition, so we can talk a little bit more about that.

So, all of that was -- consumed us.  And then, of course, a little over a year ago, the world learned the horrific news that forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad had reportedly killed hundreds of innocent Syrian in sarin gas attacks in an area called Ghouta, a collection of farms outside of Damascus.

Just days later, as has been mentioned, a U.N. mission of chemical experts confirmed the attacks.  Several international media outlets labeled the attack in Ghouta "the deadliest use of chemical weapons since Saddam Hussein's '88 attack on Halabja."  Photos of the dead, many, women and children, shocked the public conscience and sent a call for action.

What followed was an exceptionally intense level of diplomatic engagement that led to the September 27, 2013 U.N. Security Council Resolution and OPCW Executive Council decision requiring the Syrian government to remove and destroy its declared chemicals agents and chemical program facilities and then establish a joint UN-OPCW mission to carry out the monitoring and verification of the removal and destruction process.

On June 28, 2014 less than 10 months after the attack, the international community had successfully moved the last of Assad's declared stockpiles out of the country.  And on August 18th, as was mentioned, DOD announce that the motor vehicle Cape Ray had fully neutralized the most hazardous materials.

So, barely over a year ago, no one could have predicted that we would've been able to establish a diplomatic framework for Syria to give up its declared chemical weapons.

The president took the diplomatic route, which in hindsight was clearly the right thing to do.  In Syria, we removed more than 1,200 metric tons of chemical weapons without firing a single shot and with strong interagency international cooperation.

So, let me dwell a little bit on the -- the effort to find the diplomatic solution.

The events, I think, in our mind have been whiplash-inducing, long before Ghouta-U.S. diplomatic behind the scenes work on Syria had begun in -- in earnest with what I could only describe as concentric circles of conferences and meetings in the United States and with our allies and international partners.

Perhaps not enough with our NGO partners, but they would come later.  I'll salvage our reputation for transparency here.

In the United States, we held interagency committee meetings with the State Department, the NSC, the Department of Defense and other agencies.

We engaged our close allies first -- the U.K. and France -- to coordinate potential responses to the developing crisis.  Canada and Germany were soon to follow this coalition.

We held a number of meetings in Prague, which led to interesting tracking efforts as multiple international meetings overlapped.  We had what we called the -- I forget, Ken, if it was the Prague process or the Prague meetings.  That all made sense when the first meeting occurred in Prague, but then the second Prague meeting took place in Finland, and then I -- I sort of lost the plot after that.

But suffice to say that there was a, I think, a ferment of international support to do something and a lot of discussions about what that something might be.

Ultimately, our consultations with Russia proved invaluable in creating a common understanding and a personal familiarity that became the basis of the U.N.'s elimination framework.

Now, the things weren't always easy, as -- as -- as you can imagine.  I was part of technical level talks with many of my colleagues with Russians that lasted months before the Kerry-Lavrov framework where we felt at times that we were accomplishing very little, twiddling our thumbs, not agreeing on the threat, both in Moscow and elsewhere.

But we did learn interesting things.

So, for example, our Russian colleagues shared in one particular meeting that I had that they were helping, as we knew, coach the Syrians on how to comply and implement the CWC.

One question that I thought was -- was interesting that the Syrians asked, reportedly, according to Russians, is, do we have to accept the Americans on these inspection teams at the OPCW?  Can we kick them off?

And the Russians said, "That's probably not the right thing to do.  Things are going pretty well now, so -- so don't do this."  This was coming from -- from the Russians, and, of course, we -- we thought that made sense.

And then we've evolved a lot further in terms of our channel of communication with the Russians to much more constant communication, for example, between -- you know, like many of us we have multiple bosses.  My most -- one of my most senior bosses, Undersecretary Rose Gottemoeller, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov regularly speak and were an important channel to raise the foot-dragging that the Syrians engaged in at times on the removal operation.

And I think, in my view, although I don't have evidence to the contrary, were effective at raising problems with the Syrians that I think, in a couple of instances, moved the ball forward.

We engaged with Syria's neighbors and European partners, which provided the basis of support across regions, for our positions and proposals and the OPCW Executive Council and the U.N. Security Council.  This led to the formation of the most complex and comprehensive combined operational effort thus far between the U.N. and the OPCW in the form of the Joint Mission.

Dominique showed a great picture of the secretary general and the director of the OPCW, but I have to say that those smiles took a while to -- to -- to -- to produce.  But when -- when they began working together, I -- I thought that that was very effective.

Then, of course, there was the very long list of international partners that supported -- I'll -- I'll skip the -- the list and the contributions that they made, but I think that outpouring was enormously significant both financially and in terms of equipment.

Now, how did we get to that diplomatic framework?  Of course, the threat of credible force from the president really is what we think brought Assad to the table and prompted Russia to engage with Syrians on an agreement.

Despite the fact that Russia and the United States did not agree on virtually anything else about Syria -- not the diagnosis, not the prescription -- the one area where we converged was on the belief that Syria continued -- Syria's continued proliferation of chemical weapons was a threat that had to be addressed.

This allowed Secretary Kerry to note at a news conference that the only reprieve from a kinetic response would be if the regime were to give up its stockpile of chemical weapons.

The Russians saw the value in a negotiated outcome and expressed an interest in talks.  In the days that followed, Kerry spoke on the phone with Foreign Minister Lavrov nine times.  These phone calls spurred Secretary Kerry to lead two and a half days of negotiations in Geneva in September.

Ultimately, the core of the deal was reached in a private poolside conversation between Kerry and Lavrov at the Intercontinental Hotel.  In these face-to-face engagements, all interlocutors, from Secretary Kerry to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to our respective ambassadors to the U.N. and OPCW to various other skilled negotiators and technical experts, were focused on finding a solution, despite their disagreements.

The technical group that was created set target dates, methods and goals for elimination of the program.  The June 30th target deadline for complete program destruction was decided upon after a thorough and thoughtful consideration.  Of course, it slipped, as many things did, in the Syrian context.

These -- this progress, though, would not have been possible without the steady hand of the Security Council, the OPCW under Director Uzumcu and the European Commission, Russia's encouragement and then, of course, Sigrid Kaag's leadership as part of the -- leading the joint team.

Let me close with where we are now, and certainly, we can get into more of this in the Q&A.  But, of course, the regime's use of chemical weapons must be understood in a broader context of indiscriminate killing, denial of humanitarian assistance and flouting the will of the United Nations and the international community.

In April 2014, as Dominique mentioned, the OPCW director general established a fact-finding mission to investigate reports that the industrial chemical chlorine was being used in Syria, a clear violation of the CWC.

Despite a near catastrophic attack, the team issued a preliminary report stating that toxic chemicals, most likely pulmonary irritating agents such as chlorine, have been used in a systematic manner in a number of attacks.  This use, combined with ample open-source information, suggests the Assad regime is the culprit behind these attacks.

U.N. human rights investigators issued a report stating that the regime dropped chlorine barrel bombs eight times in April 2014 in three villages in Northern Syria.

We believe that the international community should continue to do everything it can to support the fact-finding missions continued work.  We're still not confident in the completeness and accuracy of the regime's declaration and will support all efforts to confirm the claims and examine discrepancies.

Thank you for your attention and look forward to your questions.


KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Simon, Dominique, and Paul.

Now it's your turn.  As we did in the morning session, please raise your hand, identify yourself, wait for the microphone to come.

And Jonah, I think we have question in the middle.  Thanks.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Galen Carey with the National Association of Evangelicals.

Acknowledging the amazing achievement of the Syrian operation and its impact on strengthening the taboo against chemical weapons, what impact has it had on the overall question of the Syrian conflict?

As someone mentioned earlier, most people are dying from other causes.  And so, has the chemical weapons success made a step forward, a step backward because it obscures other things, or does it basically have no impact on this question of how to resolve the Syrian conflict?

KIMBALL:  Simon, Paul, you want to try to tackle that?

LIMAGE:  Sure.  I'll just say a few words from our perspective.

I think as important an achievement the -- the elimination of the declared stockpile was, I don't think I would argue that it significantly impacted the course of the current conflict.  I think it has to be understood in its own context as a singular achievement and an important one at that.

There were some very difficult conversations that we had with the opposition about our focus on CW elimination at the time when we were discussing, in other parts of the government, how to support the opposition in the broader fight.

But I think we -- we agreed and the opposition eventually agreed that this was an important focus and certainly one that the international community rallied around.

(UNKNOWN):  I'll just say briefly, I think I largely agree with what you said, Simon.  Unfortunately, it hasn't -- I don't think it's impacted the -- the ongoing death and suffering, you know, 150, 200,000 Syrians killed, and still no, you know, resolution in sight.

So, I think it's still -- it was still worthwhile doing, because I think it's promoted a weapon-of-mass-destruction-free zone in the Middle East.  It's put pressure on Israel in particular.

Israel doesn't have any chemical threat to it at all now except from non-state actors, maybe, and maybe use of chlorine in minor incidences.  But we had a -- we had a workshop in Tel Aviv just a month ago -- three weeks now, I guess, and the Israelis are feeling the pressure.  And the Egyptians are too.

So, I think from an arms control and elimination of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East in general, it's actually been a very positive step forward.

It strengthened the OPCW.  This has been a very successful program.  I think the OPCW, as several others have said, you know, deserves a lot of credit for having put their inspectors -- first time, they had to wear armored vests to -- to the best of my knowledge ever in the, you know, 17, 18-year history of the OPCW.  It's really strengthened the regime and put pressure on the remaining six countries overall.

And we know -- we know Angola and Myanmar are close to coming into the convention.  South Sudan, a very new government, may take a while.  Israel and Egypt, I think, just need a lot of pressure from all sides -- the NGO community and government communities, and we've talked about that within the OPCW.  And the, you know, the toughest one, I think, to bring in, of course, in the long run will be North Korea.

But I think when you get farther down, Angola and Myanmar come in.  You have four countries left.  Nobody wants to be in that sort of package with North Korea, so to speak.

So, in that way, it's been really helpful.  But I think the whole, you know, the whole civil war in Syria is a whole larger challenge that unfortunately, I don't think has been helped.  And -- and Bashar al-Assad has survived to date and may have even been strengthened a bit, you know, with this agreement rather than having been potentially killed in a military strike earlier on.

KIMBALL:  Just to -- I want to just add a couple observations from a -- from a kind of broader perspective.  I think it's a great question, Galen.

I mean, the first thing I would say, as you know, as somebody who's worked in conflict zones, that, you know, anything that can be done to reduce the risk to civilians is worth it, because while it may not make a dramatic change in the -- the death count in this horrible civil war, differences on the margins matters.  I mean, those are individual people.

So, you know, I think it is clear that the removal of the mustard and the sarin meant that Assad didn't have that option anymore, OK, so that's -- we got to remember that.

The second thing is before -- long before the Ghouta attack, the concern in the security community and the nonproliferation community -- and Sandy Spector from the Monterey Institute put together great article on the subject -- was that the -- there would be a loss of control of Syria's arsenal, OK?  And the concern was that radical Islamist groups -- we've heard that phrase lately -- might get their hands on the stockpiles, depending on how the war went.

And so, I think another thing we got to remember -- we can't lose sight -- is that because these weapons are not in Assad's arsenal, depending on how this war goes -- and it's going on and on -- Daesh, also known as ISIS, doesn't have the option of getting their hands on large quantities of these weapons.  Yes, they might get chlorine, because that's at virtually any water treatment plant, but -- and that is a severe problem.  But...

So, I think those two things are important to -- to -- to remember, and -- and we also have -- we've got more work to do in terms of pursuing the declaration accuracy and ending the chlorine attacks.

So, other questions from the audience?  Right up front, right here.  Jean Pascal?

ZANDERS:  Thank you.  Jean Pascal Zanders.

A question to Mr. Limage and Mr. Anelli, there have been some allegations of chlorine use by ISIL recently and -- not confirmed, but it does give credibility to an issue we've been thinking about, is the use of a chemical warfare agent by a non-state actor on the territory of a state party not under the control of that state party against another non-state actor?

How do you deal with that type of situation under international law?  That's perhaps the question to Mr. Anelli.

To Mr. Limage, having done all that detailed planning, how would you think of going about addressing that type of situation?

KIMBALL:  We didn't say the questions would be easy.



ANELLI:  Thank you, Jean Pascal.


Regarding your -- your -- your first question, I would say there is a very quick answer.

You -- you -- you remember (inaudible) attack in Japan (inaudible), and one of the complaints of Japan was that this time, it was very difficult to be able to track the production of such a chemical by (inaudible) because, in fact, at this time, they did not developed -- they do not translate in the law of the OPCW regime.

So now, in fact, that with, fortunately, the Article VII of the treaty, fortunately, we can expect that more than 50 percent, 60 percent of (inaudible) party to the treaty have applied this translation of the OPCW regime within the law, banning -- by -- by -- by effect, banning the production of such a chemical or the use of such chemical weapons by any groups, terrorists or so and so.

So, the -- the answer could look a little bit paradoxical, but the answer to your question will be that Syria, in case of like Iraq, in case of chlorine being used by some rebels, Syria will ask us to investigate -- to investigate such a use.

It has not been done for the time being, but we have -- we have an article investigation of alleged use, which can be used by (inaudible) party.

So, it's within the treaty, not yet done, but we -- we might see what will be the future.

LIMAGE:  I'll just to add to that on your second question.  If...

(UNKNOWN):  Yeah, it's on.

LIMAGE:  It's -- it's on.

If there is, in fact, a verified use and if perhaps, even more importantly -- I don't know if you mentioned a particular country, but let's say it's Iraq -- on the territory of Iraq, there's a request from the Iraqi government for assistance from the United States, that is certainly something that we would look at.  We're not going to intervene in -- in a developing investigation without a particular request for help.

This being said, I just happened to be the deputy that oversees our nonproliferation assistance to a number of countries, and then we have a fairly long tradition of assistance to Iraq in this area.

I -- I led a team with the Department of Defense to Baghdad about a year and a half ago to discuss equipping their security forces with detection equipment and -- and consequence management equipment, should there be a chemical attack that they might be able to respond to.

So, that -- that is essentially the first stage, is how do you bolster your partner to be able to deal with that kind of a problem.

And then certainly, if there's a request for assistance beyond that, that is certainly something that we'd look at.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Other questions?  In the middle, please.  Yes, Harry?

(UNKNOWN):  I have a question.

Back in the 1970s, for peculiar reasons, whatnot, I was in the Department of State.  I became something like the staff director of something called the NSC Contingency Planning Working Group.

Today, to put it in simple terms, I think we were looking at chemical and biological weapon uses.  But -- but in the context of transfer of these kinds of weapons from kind of rogue states or states to third parties.

And I was wondering whether someone could think about, given what we've seen in Syria and Iraq and ISIS and all the rest -- I might add the group couldn't come to any conclusion about either who should be in charge, which eventually we ended up with DOD being in charge.

But what I'd like to ask, the serious question on this is, what is your analysis here of that risk and any of the kind of contingency cases we have?

We know, for example, that North Korea has transferred various kinds of weapon capabilities, Pakistan, there is, of course, what's exists already a little bit in Syria and Iraq.

So, the question here is how would this panel look at that issue and -- and what -- what are the dangers and risks?

Thank you.

LIMAGE:  Perhaps I'll take a first shot at what we're doing today on that problem and then turn to -- to perhaps a broader analysis from my colleagues.

In the Nonproliferation Bureau at the State Department and other agencies involved in this, we have programs like the Proliferation Security Initiative, which we work on with DOD and have a diplomatic engagement where we work with partner countries to try to prevent stem and -- AND deal with the proliferation from state -- state actors.  And so, that's something that I think is internationally recognized, obviously, with the U.N. Security Council Resolution.

As I mentioned earlier in the context of Iraq, we do provide assistance to other countries in a number of dialogues with key partners in regions of concern where we might see this potential kind of proliferation and make sure that they're synthesized to and decide to take the political response to care about and focus on that particular threat.

This isn't a U.S.-centric problem; this is a challenge that occurs in a number of regions that we track very closely.

In terms of the internal organization in this -- in this administration today, I would say that the connectivity in that conversation is -- is -- is already joined and has been joined for a while.  There are a number of interagency policy committee meetings on these topics per region and per country.

So, I think that there's a strong focus.  It might actually be a good question for one of your next speakers or our senior director, Laura Holgate, who's intensely focused on that issue as well.  But others may have compliments.

(UNKNOWN):  Go ahead, Dominique.

ANELLI:  Yes.  Just regarding the chemical transfer, to answer to your question, chemical transfers (inaudible).  I know little bit more than -- than the PSI and the Australian group, all those.

Within the treaty, it's -- it's engraved in the marble that, in fact, any transfer of Category I of -- of Schedule 1 of chemical weapon is forbidden by the treaty.

And on this, we should remember the -- the U.N. security resolution that for Syria (inaudible) such a transfer in order to destroy the chemical agent outside of Syria.

In addition of this Article I, which is clearly the -- the -- the -- the pillar of the treaty, you have also the different articles regarding the industry verification, where, in fact, any -- any transfer of some specific schedule of category has to be declared within the Technical Secretariat, and the Technical Secretariat is tracking, in fact, the transfer in between the different third party of such chemicals and when there is a discrepancy, upholds the two state parties and try to solve the discrepancies regarding such chemicals.

Sometimes -- mainly what we have seen is that the -- the understanding of the treaty by-- by the two state parties are different regarding the result of chemicals that needs to be declared when transferred and so on.

So, it's something that we address on a -- on a weekly basis, transfer discrepancy within the state party.  So, it's some thing that we are trying to take care within the treaty.

And obviously, when you will have a complete universal adherence to the treaty and also a qualitative implementation of the treaty -- qualitative, I would say by translating the treaty within the -- your -- your national law, these completely, I will say, close the loop and avoid any transfer of chemicals that might be used to produce chemical weapons.

WALKER:  I'd -- I would add -- it's important -- it's important that the treaty be fully implemented.

And one of the things -- even though we have 190 countries in the treaty already -- it's the, you know, the biggest multilateral organization outside the United Nations, essentially -- it still has a long way to go for national -- what we call national implementation as well as universality.

But under national implementation, it means passing of a law, criminalizing the use of chemicals.  It means reporting on exports and imports that Dominique mentioned.  All of that reporting is lacking.

As much as we'd like it to be as accurate as possible, it really isn't so much these days.  I think the OPCW has a very hard time making those connections.

You talk about, you know, X country says it exported, you know, certain -- certain tons of Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 chemicals to Y country, and Y country says it imported less than that somehow, or more than that.  That goes on every week, actually, I think.

And so, there's a lot of work to be done, and it's one of the things those of us who work in chemical weapons, disarmament and verification issues have really tried to promote national implementation, particularly in the smaller countries, Middle East countries.

We just had a big State Department workshop, actually, with the Yemen, with leaders of chemical industry and leaders of -- of CWC implementation in Yemen, and you know, you come away from those meetings realizing there's a lot to be still done.

So, even though we're all thinking about destruction of stockpiles, particularly the American and the Russian and -- and now the Syrian, we really have to think more broadly about actually national fulfillment of the obligations of each -- each of those 190 countries under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

And then I think trade -- trade, to a large extent, will be -- if the reporting is correct, will be largely controlled in scheduled chemicals, not particularly dual use or things like chlorine, but scheduled chemicals under the CWC.

KIMBALL:  We are about out of time for this segment before we feed you all.

I wanted to ask a quick question, ask Dominique for a quick answer, if you can, about whether and how the OPCW, your team and the states parties are thinking about or planning for a lessons-identified exercise.

We know that -- we've learned a lot from previous inspection and removal operations Iraq and elsewhere that have helped in the future.  What are your thoughts about that, or what are the plans about that in the coming months and beyond?

ANELLI:  Yes.  Thank you for this question, because this will open in the future.

Obviously, Syria was -- is a really great opportunity for the OPCW to improve its current work.  So, we have a couple of lessons-learned exercises in order to build on this mission.

There is one led by (inaudible) is working on lessons learned from Syria.

You have another one, which is within the Technical Secretariat, lessons learned on Syria.

You have this one on maritime components of -- as a Syrian mission, which, in fact, just started the work, and U.N. also -- joint team made lessons-learned exercise in Cyprus in order to -- to be prepared for another state party coming within the treaty under such very short notice.

So, we have a lot of lessons-learned exercises, but I will say, to come back to the previous panel where Ralf expressed some concern regarding the OPCW, so most difficult for us now OPCW is -- as we are under the new policy, it means that after seven years, I will leave the treaty, I will leave the organization, the Technical Secretariat.

So, who am I going to -- to transfer my knowledge?  Only by computer to another person arriving behind me?  So, I don't think this is really feasible.

So, we have seen that the Technical Secretariat, the number of inspectors decreased from 175 to now 122 inspectors, which -- which might be fine, because a lot of destruction site closed.

However, the key question now for us is how to maintain this culture on chemical weapon disarmament and how to be able to build that and to one engrave that within the treaty to be able to transfer that to the young inspectors that will come to OPCW and to the young CDB officer with a better accent than me that will come to -- to -- to the OPCW.

So, that's a real challenge we are trying to build in but unfortunately without success for the time being.

Thank you.

KIMBALL:  Thank you.

Well, as I said, it is time to close this session.  I want to ask everyone to please join me in thanking the three speakers here.



WALKER:  Hello, everybody.  I think almost everyone has gotten their lunch now, and I gobbled down a little bit of lunch too as well thanks to Shervin.  Thank you, Shervin.

So, I think we should move forward.  We're really -- we're really honored to have Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins here with us to give a keynote luncheon presentation.

So, I'd urge everyone to just quietly keep eating, and -- and I know Bonnie will -- will be able to speak over your munching as we -- as we go forward.

So, let me introduce -- introduce Bonnie.  Bonnie is a -- is a good colleague and friend, again, to many of us, I know, in the room.

She was -- she was nominated by President Barack Obama in April 2009, what we call the honeymoon period of nominations, I guess, right, when we actually got some people confirmed up in the Senate, and confirmed by the Senate in June 2009.  April, May, June -- that's only two months, so it was only a two-month -- you didn't have to go through the five-year waiting period now, right?

She is the department of state's coordinator for threat reduction programs in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation.  She promotes the coordination of Department Of State cooperative threat reduction, what we all call CTR, and U.S. government in programs in chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological security issues.

She also works closely with international partners in coordinating global CBRN security programs and funding to help ensure a coordinated approach when governments implement these programs internationally.

You didn't hear my comments earlier, Bonnie, right, on some of the coordination issues?  We -- we can get to that later, I guess.

She is the U.S. representative to the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction called Global Partnership, and she had the Global Partnership in 2012.

She is Department of State lead on the Nuclear Security Summit, and she coordinates the Department Of State's activities relating to the four-year effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material.

Ambassador Jenkins is also engaged in the Global Health Security Agenda -- you see on the -- on the screen here -- against reducing infectious disease threats around the world.

Prior to joining the U.S. government -- some of you might no doubt know this -- Ambassador Jenkins served as the program officer for U.S. foreign and security policy at the Ford Foundation in New York City.  Her responsibilities included strengthening public engagement in U.S. foreign and security policy, and formulation and debates as well as funding programs and international engagement in the areas of peacekeeping, women in conflict, and natural resource conflicts.

Prior to joining the foundation, Ambassador Jenkins served as counsel on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, more commonly know as the 9/11 Commission, and she was the lead commission staff member on counter terrorism policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on U.S. military plans targeting Al Qaida prior to 9/11.

I would also add something many people probably don't know.  She is a retired Naval Reserve officer, and she completed a yearlong deployment to U.S. Central Command, what we call CENTCOM, and she has received numerous awards in her time as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserves.

And the final little bit of intro I'll -- I'll make is that she has been an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law School.  She's assisted in designing and leading arms control and nonproliferation simulation courses at Stanford.  She was a fellow at the Belfer Center at Harvard, and during her years at the Belfer Center, she worked at Harvard Law School as well in the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising as an adviser to law students on legal jobs in the public sector.

She has a Ph.D. in international relations from University of Virginia, an LL.M in international and comparative law from Georgetown, an MPA from State University of New York at Albany, a J.D. from Albany Law School and a B.A. from Emerson College -- that's a lot of initials, Bonnie -- and she also attended -- she also attended the Hague Academy for International Law.

So we are really privileged to have her with us today, and I will turn the podium over to you, Bonnie.  Thank you for coming.


JENKINS:  Thank you Paul.

It's great to be here.  So many faces -- friends that I've known for many years, friends I haven't seen in a while -- and good to connect with folks.

I am particularly happy to be here, because this is a conference that's really honoring someone who I know -- who I knew well, Jonathan Tucker, who was a colleague and who I think we all miss a great deal.

So when I was asked to be a part of this, there is no way I was not going to be a part of this.  I was actually supposed to be in Ukraine right now in meetings, and I wanted to be here.  I can always go back to Ukraine later.

So, it's an honor to be here, and I'm going to say a few words about some of things I'm doing in the Global Partnership.  I was actually asked to talk about some of the things that are going on in the chemical and biological sphere in the Global Partnership.

And a step away, I guess, we talked about Syria and the history of chemical weapons, so we're going to talk a little bit more about what's happening now in terms of looking at shifting to chemical security issues.  And so the first part of my presentation, we'll talk about that.

And then I will spend the second half moving to bio and talk about something that's going on now with the Global Health Security Agenda, which actually incorporates biosecurity.  And a lot of the way we're thinking about biosecurity now is part of a larger -- a larger conglomeration of health and security, and ways in which the health and security sectors need to work together to address infectious disease such as Ebola.

I believe most of you know what the Global Partnership is.  It's an initiative that was established initially under the G8, which is, of course, now the G7, in 2002, and its basic mission is to fund projects and programs in the area of CBRN security and prevent CBRN terrorism.

It was supposed to be a 10-year effort -- $20 billion, with $10 billion from the U.S. matched by $10 billion by our partners -- to end in 2012, but in 2011, the part -- the G8 leaders -- the then G8 leaders agreed to extend the -- the Global Partnership beyond 2012 and to do a number of other things like look at more than just what was occurring at the time, and I'll get into this a little bit.

It was focused predominantly in destroying Russian nuclear submarines and Russian chemical weapons.  That was the first 10 years of the partnership.  And now, it's expanded to do a lot more CBRN and work around the world and not just some one particular region.

It also now has 28 members.  Chile just joined this week.  So, we now have 28 members of the Global Partnership.  And so, we do like the fact that we are able to start getting representation from other parts of the world and other regions to work on these important areas of CBRN security.

So moving into the chemical area first, this slide, of course, is about the bio, so there's no -- there's no chem slide.

And I don't have PowerPoint slides, so I don't know if it's good or bad for some of you who like PowerPoint slides or not.  But I decided for this one I wouldn't do PowerPoint slides.

We have witnessed a changing landscape in global security and nonproliferation in the past years, including the areas of nuclear radiological security, biosecurity, and chemical security and safety.

One of the gravest concerns, of course, that developed in the recent years is the threat of non-state actors.  And terrorist groups state their interest in using CBR in weapons.

The Chemical Weapons Convention was developed to prevent states from manufacturing, acquiring, and using chemical weapons.  Its rules (inaudible) extensive adherence, which now includes 190 state parties, have been effective in creating the environment where chemical weapons are viewed as anathema to the world community.  However, the CWC is less effective in preventing non-state actors from using chemical weapons.

In order to have a significant impact, a non-state actor does not need the kind of chemical quantities that a typical possessor state historically produced and stockpiled.  Aum Shinrikyo, the organization that used sarin in the Tokyo subway in 1995, only used several one-liter plastic bags of low purity sarin in three subway train lines.  This killed over 10 people and injured thousands. 

The ability of a rogue group like this to have such an effect with so little chemical agent is what makes this possibility of chemical terrorism so frightening and is what makes securing CW agents and their precursors against non-state actors so challenging.

In addition, non-state actors have demonstrated the willingness to use ordinary toxic industrial chemicals as chemical warfare agents.  This was the case with Aum Shinrikyo using hydrogen cyanide.  But also we saw similar use by the Taliban as they allegedly used pesticides on young girls going to school in Afghanistan.

To protect against misuse of chemicals by non-state actors who obtain chemicals through deception, threat, theft, or diversion, all users of chemicals -- universities, research facilities, chemical warehouses and manufacturers -- must routinely take security measures in order to protect the public.

In research facilities and universities where there are many chemicals but in small quantities, one effective tool is an inventory system coupled with locking labs and chemical stockrooms where unattended.  But the chemical inventory system is key and can assist in detecting when a chemical has gone missing and how much.

The biggest vulnerability for acquisition of chemicals by non-state actors is in this chemical supply chain in the distribution system.  Chemicals are ordinarily manufactured in large quantities and distributed in smaller quantities by chemical distributor companies.  Often, chemicals go through number of distributors before they are sold to an end user.  Where you have legislation tracking chemicals and voluntary security standards used by chemical distributors, there is greater security.

The most important security practices performed by a chemical distributor are to know the company or university or person it is selling to and verify the buyer's legitimacy.  And Internet sales -- as Internet sales have increased, so has the risk of a terrorist organization creating a show company to order the chemical weapons -- the chemical it needs.

Chemical storage security is also an issue.  Warehouses where chemicals are stored for distribution of sale are vulnerable to theft.  Physical security measures are thus necessary to prevent theft.  Also, vetting of employees is valuable for assuring that there is no internal diversion of chemicals.

A growing vulnerability in the chemical supply chain is the increasing number of contract manufacturing companies, normally referred to as toll manufacturers.  These are companies that regularly synthesize chemicals requested by their customers.  The volume produced by these contract synthesis companies can range anywhere from less than a gram to tons.  Although a toll manufacturer is unlikely to make a chemical weapon agent for a client, you could easily be asked to create a specialty precursor chemical to allow the non-state actor to then finish the task of making a hazardous or toxic chemical for use as a weapon.

Another vulnerable part of the chemical chain which non-state actors may try to target is the transportation of chemicals, the risk that the materials could be stolen and later used in an attack or used or precursor to make even more dangerous chemicals.  Conditions for transportation of hazardous chemicals in the United States are regulated by the Department of Transportation.  This helps ensure that the movement of dangerous chemicals is carried out in a secure and careful manner.

Such regulations regarding transportation should be a part of every country's regulations, but also should include personal training, written operating procedures, information about the chemical hazards and proper emergency response to accidents, and equipment inspections.  A secure and protected container should be used. 

When scheduled or hazardous chemicals are transported, a GPS tracking system can be extremely helpful.  These things may seem like common sense to you and me, but these practices are still lacking in many developing countries across the globe.

National implementation of chemical safety and security practices will allow state parties to better address the threat non-state actors pose.  Increasing cooperation and exchanges of information is one way to strengthen the security of chemicals in a chemical supply chain to prevent theft or misuse.

Such actions also help avoid duplication of efforts and resources, which is especially critical austere times.  Also, many developing countries have less experience with chemical security than developed company -- countries.  And it is important that the large multinational chemical companies share their experiences and lessons learned with developing countries so that risk-based security measures can be identified and incorporated.

International discussions focused on best practices regarding chemical safety have began in The Hague using the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as a forum for sharing such efforts.  The OPCW hosts promote global cooperation in decreasing the chemical threat by promoting awareness of chemical security and safety, training, exchange of best practices, and fostering cooperation between chemical professionals and the promotion of global chemical security culture.

This forum has the potential to expand to a global gathering engaging the international community, including governments, chemical industries, science, academia and nongovernmental organizations to enhance chemical security and a more global chemical security culture.

To mitigate the risk posed by chemical weapons, chemical security best practices must be implemented across the world, from the large manufacturing facilities down to the small research laboratories.  Sharing knowledge, innovative security methods, and establishing a chemical security culture will move us closer to a world safer from the threat of non-state actors seeking to use chemicals as weapons.

The expense of security measures of multinational chemical companies may be well beyond the financial abilities of small and medium enterprises of the chemical industry.  But building a culture of chemical security is within everyone's reach.  Knowledge and experience can go a long way to help improve chemical security in developing countries.  Innovative security methods and creation of a culture will enable us to live in a much more peaceful world.

As I noted, the role of industry in chemical security is extremely important.  To mitigate the risk posed by chemical weapons, chemical safety and security must be implemented across the world.  And it lies in large manufacturing facilities to small labs.

In recognizing its importance, my office has been working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and doing outreach to industry.  DHS has hosted with my office meetings with a small number of industry representatives to help bring a better understanding from industries or facilities overseas about how countries overseas and others are practicing chemical security.

We have also begun to incorporate chemical security into our discussions at the Global Partnership.  We have done this by establishing the Global Partnership Chemical Security Sub-Working Group.  This sub-working group was established in 2012 under the U.S. chairmanship of the G.P.  And Ukraine and Poland are the current chairs of the sub-working group.

In the past months, the sub-working group has been working on a potential strategy for a way forward.  So this strategy can include but are not limited to some of the following features:

One, enhancing global chemical safety and security culture, recognizing that security culture facilities facilitates facilities implementation and management of safety is very important.

Two, fostering national, regional and global initiatives on chemical security aimed at preventing and/or responding to the misuse of chemicals and reducing the chemical threat.

Three, strengthening and supporting the enforcement of chemical nonproliferation instruments and standards, and preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons.

Four, enhancing the security of chemicals in transit, recognizing that a comprehensive approach to chemical security includes the security of chemicals through transportation networks. 

And, five, establishing and achieving a minimum baseline of chemical security in all nations.

These efforts in chemical security build upon the work already accomplished in the Global Partnership in the areas of chemical weapons destruction.  As most of you know, for the first 10 years of the Global Partnership, the focus was on the destruction of Russian nuclear submarines and Russian chemical weapons.

In this respect, the Global Partnership members have made an important contribution to the construction of chemical weapons destruction facilities in Russia.  For example, the G.P. assisted in the construction of facilities in Kisner.  This was a true partnership.  And in one case, over a dozen G.P. countries helped to build a facility.

In 2011, Global Partnership assessment and options document for future programming, it set the stage for the agreement by the G-8 leaders regarding the extension of the G.P.  In that document, it says, quote, "Should new chemical weapon challenges emerge, the G-8" -- which is now the G-7 -- "could implement effective and appropriate measures to address these issues," end quote. 

Little did we know that Syria would happen years later.  In that respect, many G.P. countries funded the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons.

In fulfilling the commitment to address new challenges, the G.P. member nations will continue to help with the funding of these challenges, such as cases in Syria, but also focusing on new challenges posed by issues of chemical security.

The Global Partnership will continue to promote international discussions on global chemical security and in promoting global cooperation in decreasing the chemical threat by promoting awareness of chemical security and safety, training, exchange of best practices, and fostering cooperation.

Yesterday and today, the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe, the International Center for Chemical Safety and Security in Poland and the government of Ukraine are hosting an international meeting on the capabilities and the domain of chemical safety security in Ukraine and the development of an integrated chemical safety and security program.

The conference is examining such issues as a transit development in chemical safety and security, promoting development of national/international expertise in training in the area of chemical safety and security, and building sustainable approaches at national and international levels to mitigate the threats of misuse of toxic chemicals. 

OK, that ends chemical.  Shift your mind. And I'll answer questions on both of these when I get to the end. 

OK, moving on biosecurity, here I will focus on the Global Health Security Agenda, which incorporates work in the area of biosecurity and is an area the Global Partnership has engaged.

In the past few years, there has been much more of a convergence in the areas of biosecurity and health.  There's a recognition that reducing the risk presented by natural, accidental or deliberate origin requires that the use of all instruments of national power, close coordination among all sectors of government, and effective partnerships among public and private institutions, both nationally and internationally, is necessary.

This has been manifested in international discussions, such as in the Global Partnership, where, since 2012, the then newly established Global Partnership Biosecurity Sub-working Group began to expand its discussions of biosecurity to include human and animal health and to invite in to Global Partnership meetings such international organizations as the World Health Organization, the Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization, in addition to Interpol and the BWC Implementation Support Unit.

In 2012, the Global Partnership agreed to five biosecurity deliverables, or activities, to be annually reviewed and the outcomes assessed after a period of five years.  This agreement was not only with the Global Partnership members, but also the relevant international organizations.

The five deliverables included such issues as securing and accounting for materials that represent biological proliferation risks, maintaining appropriate and effective measures to prevent and prepare for and respond to the deliberate use of biological agents, and strengthen national and global networks to rapidly identify, confirm and respond to biological attacks.

One will find in many of the Global Health Security Agenda or GHSA efforts, areas of focus that are in the 2012 Global Partnership biosecurity deliverables. 

The Global Health Security Agenda, or GHSA, is an effort by nations, international organizations and civil society to accelerate progress until the world is safe and secure from infectious disease threats, whether natural, accidental or deliberate in origin.

GHSA promotes global health security as an international priority.  Its goal is to also spur progress toward full implementation of the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations, which the vast majority of states have not been able to implement.

For those of you who do not know, the IHRs are legally binding regulations that aim to, one, assist countries to work together to save lives and livelihoods endangered by the spread of disease and other health risks, and, two, avoid unnecessary interference with international trade and travel.

The purpose of the scope of IHRs are to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with the restriction, restricted to public health risks.

However, the fact that only -- that less than 30 percent of nations have been able to implement the IHRs, was the reason the U.S. launched  Global Health Security Agenda in early 2014, which, incidentally, was before the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The overarching target of GHSA is, as follows, over the next five years, the U.S. commits to working with at least 30 partner countries to prevent, detect and effectively respond to infectious disease threats.  Many have asked why now?  Of course, this was asked before the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  Today, we don't get that question anymore. 

However, even before the outbreak, it was clear that in today's increasingly connected world, we remained vulnerable.  No one nation can achieve global health security on its own.  The vitality of the global community economy is only as secure as the collective health of our people. 

And 11 years ago, SARS cost $30 billion in only four months.  And the anthrax attacks of 2001 infected 22 people and killed five, and cost more than $1 billion to clean up.

On February 13, 2014, over 30 national representatives met in Washington, D.C., and in Geneva to launch the Global Health Security Agenda.  The meeting was chaired by Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius and Assistant to the President Lisa Monaco.  In Geneva, the event was chaired by the WHO director general, Margaret Chan.  There were also representatives from New Delhi and Rome, where we were also videotaped.  The director generals of the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Organization for Animal Health were also present. 

It was highlighted at that time that the GHSA effort is multi-sectorial and brings in the health, security, development and defense sectors. 

In this respect, in the U.S., the NSC leads this effort and the interagency discussions include Health and Human Services, CDC, State Department, DOD, FBI, USAID and USDA.

The work of GHSA is centered around the three focus areas of prevent, detect and respond.  As a means of focus on the implementation of GHSA, the members have developed action packages, of which there are 11 that span the three areas of prevent, detect and respond. 

The action packages are to translate political support into action and continue to recruit countries to join.  The packages facilitate regional and global collaboration toward specific GHSA objectives and targets.

All countries that support GHSA participate in one or more of the action packages and are asked to consider specific commitments across the areas on a national, regional or global scale. 

Each of the 11 action packages has a five-year target.  This is how to measure the work, what is the desired impact, who are the leading contributing countries and contributing organizations, and the actual actions themselves.

Examples of action packages include the biosafety and biosecurity action package, the immunization action package, zoonotic disease action package, and the action package to link public health and law in a multi-sectoral rapid response. 

Several global meetings and discussions led up to the September 26th GHSA White House event where high-level representatives from over 44 countries announced over 100 new commitments to prevent, detect and respond to biological threats worldwide.

For the U.S., attendees included President Obama, National Security Adviser Rice, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security Monaco, Secretaries Burwell, Kerry and Hagel, Director of Center for Disease Control Dr. Frieden, and, of course, WHO Director-General Chan.

At the event, Obama said, we have to prevent outbreaks by reducing risks.  We need to detect threats immediately when they arise.  And we need to respond rapidly and effectively when we see something happening so that we have -- so we can save lives and avert even larger outbreaks.

Prior to the September event, on September 25th, there was NGO-GHSA meeting at the George Washington University School of Public Health with over 300 NGO participants.  The event highlighted the multi-central and multi-societal approaches of GHSA.  It was an opportunity to share views of the current state of GHSA and to identify priorities going forward for the NGOs.

It was funded by several foundations.  And the lesson learned from the event is that there's a great deal of work going on outside the government.  So much so that it was difficult to capture it all succinctly. 

However, it was noted that information sharing is a first step to gaining a better understanding of what the NGOs are all doing in the GHSA space and that continued engagement between the NGOs and government must continue.

A coordinated mechanism has been established for the GHSA going forward.  A steering committee of 10 countries chaired by Finland will provide continued high-level oversight and political support to ensure acceleration.  The chair will rotate annually, and the WHO, FAO and OIE will serve as permanent advisers.  NGOs, including development banks and foundations, also serve as advisers upon invitation.

Action package leaders will lead implementation of each of the action packages into right  progress.  Several Global Partnership members are part of the GHSA, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.

Germany, which currently chairs the Global Partnership this year and next year, has noted the importance of biosecurity during its chairmanship as well as its intent to focus on GHSA throughout 2015.  Biosecurity programs that Global Partnership members are engaged are not only Global Partnership programs now, but they also implement the action packages of the GHSA.

In addition, a great -- and finally -- in addition, a great deal of the participation at the September 26th White House event was based on diplomatic outreach to our Global Partnership member representatives who then engaged their ministries of health on the importance of the Global Health Security Agenda. 

And our newest Global Partnership member, Chile, is on the steering committee of the GHSA.  Therefore, regarding the biosecurity aspect of the Global Partnership, there will be close engagement and support of the Global Health Security Agenda.

Finally, I just want to note that last night, the -- excuse me, the House bill was passed which included approximately $600 million within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to significantly expand U.S. activities and support of the Global Health Security Agenda.

In addition, separately, the Departments of Defense, State, USDA and USAID are also funding -- have also -- also have funding requests in the F.Y. 2015 presidential budget for programs that report the -- support the GHSA objectives.

So, with that, thank you for listening to a long presentation.  But I did want to cover both chemical and biological before I sat down.  So, thank you so much.

WALKER:  Thank you very much, Bonnie, I think you've put these both together very well. 

And I think, as we know, the Global Partnership has been since 2002 a really very strong vehicle for a lot of money, a lot of projects.  And as you said, $20 billion, half from the United States and half from all the other partners.  And I'm also pleased to hear that Chile has now joined in.

We have a few minutes, we have probably seven or eight minutes, I think, for questions and answers and comments, if anyone has a question.

I would start off first by asking, you know, the Global Partnership we all know was very key in the early 2000s, 2002 to probably 2010, in many of the projects, nonproliferation projects we worked on, in chem and bio but also nuclear -- nuclear and fissile material, particularly in the former Soviet Union.

And I'm wondering today, you know, we're now two years past the original decade commitment of everybody.  Is today, the money the same?  Or I would guess the money is less, and we don't see really, you know, $20 billion over 10 years, which should be, what, at least $2 billion a year.

I'm wondering, is the funding still adequate and projects still going forward, and are the two dozen odd, you know, members of the G.P. still very active?

JENKINS:  Yes, the -- the -- the work is still going forward.  In fact, in the bio area, for example, Germany has made some major commitments in the area of biosecurity, which was -- which was great, because they were one of the countries we had to twist their arm at that time to agree to extension, and now that the G.P. has been extended, they've been putting a lot more money into it.

The nuclear work still continuing.  Because of the GHSA, you're getting a lot more countries starting to put money toward -- toward issues.

Chemical security is starting to get more attention, so as a result, there's an interest in doing more in that area.

So I, you know -- before we had the number $20 billion, we -- I don't, you know -- we haven't been counting it like we did before to see exactly how much, and we didn't do our usual -- we do an annex every year.  We didn't do in this year, because Russia was supposed to be the chair this year, and because of the problems that happened and Germany took over halfway, through the year, we kind of have to redo our annex starting next year to get a sense of how much we're spending.

But it's a little more difficult to figure out, because before, we were doing big projects.  We were doing -- destroying Russian nuclear submarines and building chemical weapons destruction facilities.

But now, the projects are a lot smaller, they're around the globe, so it's harder to get that sense of how much is happening.  But the things are happening.  They're just not happening in one -- in these big pots of money anymore.

They're, you know, somebody doing a biosecurity activity in Kenya or somebody doing a chemical security activity in -- in Morocco or somebody doing something on -- on -- on -- on securing nuclear materials someplace, you know, facilities.

So the type of programs have changed, so it's hard to get a sense -- that easier sense where you can look at a big pocket and say, "OK, we spent a whole lot of money to build this facility."  But it's still -- it's still continuing.
And I think of anything, because of, you know, the Nuclear Security Summit, because of this effort, the Global Security Agenda, because the interest now in chemical security, you know, there's been more of an interest now in -- in the types of programs.  It feels a little more organized now, actually.

WALKER:  Are there -- are there questions in the audience at all on Global -- you've all participated, I think, in a number of Global Partner programs, I know.

Yes, right in the middle here, yeah?

QUESTION:  Hi, I'm Gabrielle Matuzsan.  I'm with START from the University of Maryland.

I actually have a question about chemical security as it pertains to non-state -- non-state actors.  You very briefly mentioned how the vetting of employees at chemical facilities is very important, and we've identified in our research that the insider threat is something that hasn't had too much focus along the entire supply chain from manufacturer (inaudible).

And I wonder if you could share your thoughts on that topic and if standards that exist now are enough to combat that threat, both here and internationally.

JENKINS:  Yes.  I agree.  The insider threat is -- is a problem not just in the chemical area but in other areas.

And you know, we've, you know -- from my -- from my understanding, you know, you have the big manufacturers like Dow, which have done a very good job in terms of chemical security issues.  As a matter of fact, we often have a representative from Dow come with us on some of our international meetings and talk about -- and talk about what they've done.

The problem is outside the U.S. when you have a lot of small manufacturing facilities and companies that don't have the same type of -- you know, we have small ones here.  I mean, what happened in West Texas, for example, the big explosion there?  I mean, you know, even our smaller industries here aren't -- don't do -- aren't as -- don't have much as security as -- as we would like.

So, a lot of the focus really has been on the smaller -- smaller industries, because that's where you see a lot of the security lacking, including in insider threat issues.

WALKER:  Yeah, I think or also what you mentioned about a culture of safety and security, I mean, I think personal training programs and just building really what we've in general called the culture of security and safety is extremely important as well.

Part of the OPCW mission we've talked about this morning is really promoting peaceful uses of chemistry.  So as you promote peaceful uses of chemistry in regional workshops and training programs, I think the issue always of -- of personal reliability, screening issues -- this was raised a few weeks ago, as I say, when -- a few -- a couple of months ago when we did this training program for Yemeni industry officials and government officials was very important too.

So -- but that's, you know -- that sort of never ends.  I think you can keep -- keep doing it amongst 190 odd countries, you know, but I think you just have to repeat it every few years and keep reminding people.

It's also, I've found a big issue around border security and safety too, because you find a lot of -- there's a lot of smuggling of chemicals.  There's smuggling in everything, but there's a lot of smuggling in chemicals too, particularly in the developing areas, and I think that's -- around the Middle East in particular.

And that tends to be a big -- a big danger, I think, as well for subnational, you know -- non-state actors getting ahold of toxic, dangerous chemicals.

Other -- other questions?  Yes?  Right here in the middle?  If you can -- yeah.

QUESTION:  I'm Terry Hopmann from Johns Hopkins, SAIS.

I'd like to ask you about the administration's view now of the Biological Weapons Convention and its connection to all of this.  As you know, when the Biological Weapons Convention was signed in 1972, it had no provisions for verification based on the assumption, at that time, presumably that no rational state actor would ever use biological weapons in an interstate war.  But now, we're living in a world where almost all conflicts are intrastate and involve non-state actors.

And after having pulled out of the negotiations in the early 2000s in the beginning of the Bush administration to try to add a verification provision to the BWC, and essentially having undermined that process here in United States, I wonder why the current administration, given your efforts, has not tried to revitalize this process and -- and try to make the BWC somehow a more effective instrument, perhaps learning some lessons from the experience with the Chemical Weapons Convention?

JENKINS:  Thank you.

Actually, as I -- I look around the room, it's -- I don't particularly -- I don't work on BWC, but I wonder if my colleague, Ken Ward, would say a few words.  He -- he works on these issues at my -- at the State Department, so he follows a lot more than I do on BWC, particularly.


Thank you, Ken.

(UNKNOWN):  Putting Ken on the spot there.

WARD:  I have the distinction of being the U.S. deputy head of delegation for six years with the Biological Weapons Convention protocol.

When I came back from Geneva after six years, my cholesterol was at 302.  The doctor said, "What have you been eating," and I said, "Well, the Swiss are trying to kill me with dairy products."  But thankfully, through a change in diet and some pills, I'm under 200 where I'm supposed to be.

The dilemma we face with the Biological Weapons Convention is everything, everything is dual use.

There are 25,000 facilities in the United States where you could accurately say if they wanted to make biological weapons, they could.  Dangerous pathogens are in all of these labs.  Go to G.W., Georgetown -- the technology is everywhere.

And the belief was that trying to build false confidence that we could verify that countries did not have this capability was not going to serve anybody's interest.

Also, it was kind of an irony, historically, that two months after the United States backed away from the BWC protocol, we had 9/11 followed by the anthrax letters.  And what we realized then was the BWC protocol was a phony solution to the wrong problem.  Bioterrorism is the real threat that we face, and as the president has pointed out, we're just as easily to be done in by a naturally occurring pathogen as we are by a deliberately used one.

I think the president's global health initiative is the right approach, and it's a taking advantage of a part of the Biological Weapons Convention Article X that deals with cooperation.  Countries need to work around the world to deal with threats, whether they be natural or deliberate in origin, and the reality is we may not know for weeks or months which kind we're dealing with.

And it's no consolation to someone when they die of a horrible disease to tell them, "Don't worry, it wasn't a deliberate attack.  It was natural."

So, I think the administration has put the focus in the right place.  There are countries out there that are pressing for a return to it, but their agenda tends to be a radical one not of dealing with the threat of biological weapons but trying to dismantle the export control regime that the United States and other countries have developed to ensure these dangerous technologies don't end up in the wrong hands.

Like you, I -- I wish there had been a treaty solution to it, but the biological weapons problem turned out to be so much bigger than any protocol was ever going to be able to resolve.

I hope that answers your question, and Bonnie, back to you.


JENKINS:  Thanks -- thanks, Ken.

WALKER:  Pass the football back up here.

We're overtime now, just a few minutes, not too bad actually.  So I think what we should do is we should stop and move onto the next panel, because we still have a couple of events this afternoon.

So with that, I would like us all to give a hand to Ambassador Jenkins, and thank you very much, Bonnie, for coming.


ZANDERS:  Good afternoon.  Can I ask you to slowly take your chairs again?

ZANDERS:  Oh, this is wonderfully quiet all of a sudden.

OK.  This morning in the various panels on chemical weapon-related issues, we've heard that the OPCW, the Chemical Weapons Convention and its organization face quite a few challenges.  But I wonder whether this audience actually realizes in what a pickle the OPCW will find itself.

As you may remember from a couple of weeks ago, the European Space Agency landed a probe on a comet in our solar system, and some of the signs, chemical analysis that it sent back to Earth, is that actually, the most prominent chemical is a Schedule 3 chemical on the list of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

You know, Dominique Anelli is here, our French colleague, and I have to ask him, Dominique, how is it possible that France put vincennite on that comet?

Now, vincennite is a World War I chemical warfare agent better known as hydrogen cyanide, and it happens there.  However, the question here, in this town in particular, can terrorists get access to it?  Could they bring it back to Earth?  Can the OPCW verify this?

OK.  Let's get a bit down to Earth more.

There are a number of challenges facing the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Of course, one of the issues probably going to be discussed in the session is the whole question of the budget.  I mean, we've already heard this morning how numbers of inspectors, critical people within the organization, are being reduced.

And it's really interesting how budget management techniques are being applied to the OPCW, and yet, if we think of it, the budget of the organization today is actually less than the purchase price of two F-16 fighters.

If you think of the Syrian operation, the whole cost probably equals that of five F-16 fighters.  If the United States, France and United Kingdom had gone bombing instead of disarming Syria, that amount of money would have been spent on a single sortie over the country without a single chemical weapon having been removed from that country.

So a key question here is, why do states actually doubt the return on investment in security they get from participating in the Chemical Weapons Convention?

Besides the budget, there are also a variety of other challenges that the organization is going to face and is facing.  Of course, one the topics we're going to address this afternoon is destruction of chemical weapons.  We have already seen that both United States and Russia are badly behind schedule here.

However, it's not just the arsenal of the former two superpowers in the Cold War period that are at issue.  We also have to face the question of abandoned chemical weapons, you know, one state party having left at some time, in a not-too-distant part, chemical munitions on the territory of another state party.

The most prominent question is the one between Japan and China, a legacy from the Second World War.  But even so, there's still the discussion of American chemical munitions in the Panama Canal about which nobody seems to be talking right now.

Legacy issues will stay.  In my own country in Belgium, we still find about 10 tons -- 10 metric tons of chemical munitions from the First World War on average per year, which need to be addressed.

And then I'm not yet talking about the increasing talk about the commercial exploitation of the seabed.  As you are probably aware, sin many parts, many oceans, many waterways, chemical munitions were dumped after the First and Second World Wars.  And because of looking for a new resources or putting cables on the seabed, these dump sites are being disturbed and creating a variety of risks.

The environmental aspect is just one concern here.  However, the CWC basically encourages states to leave the chemical munitions on the water.  If they are surfaced, whose property will they be?

Are they going to be the property of the countries who actually produced them?  Are they the property of the country that removed them and dumped them?  This is going to raise a host of legal issues if that becomes part of the routine in the near future.

And then I haven't yet spoken about Article VI that relates to industry verification and the transfer of chemicals, nor to issues on Article XI regarding international cooperation and how people can be certain that transferred technologies are used for the peaceful purposes, and Article X on chemical safety and security.

With that introduction, I would first like to introduce a good friend of mine, Peter Sawzcak.  We seem to be seating all over the world lately together, even enjoying strong coffees at the airport at 3 o'clock in the morning.

But Peter is head of government relations and political affairs at the OPCW.  He is one of the key people responsible for universalization of the Chemical Weapons Convention trying to convince the states that are but do not wish to be in the company of North Korea to join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

And the second speaker is going to be Mr. Craig Williams, who has been very active in raising awareness inside the United States concerning environmental risks to the destruction of chemical weapons.

With that Peter, I give the microphone to you.

SAWZCAK:  Thank you very much, Jean Pascal, including for your company over late night coffees in various airports around the world.

I really appreciate your introduction, as I'm sure my colleagues and the Technical Secretariat also do, because you highlighted budgetary concerns and a whole shopping list of things that we need to do.  So, thank you very much for that.

But what was most extraordinary in that shopping list was what you've started with.  Now that we are going to have interplanetary reach, we must have more resources, I'm sure, in the Technical Secretariate.

So before I start off, I'd certainly like to pass on sincere best wishes for this event from the director general who would've liked to have been here.

He, unlike myself, knew personally Jonathan Tucker.  He met him.  But that's not to say I don't know Jonathan Tucker, as a lot of us here, through his publications.  Certainly, he left a very strong legacy for us all to build on, and I hope that some of the recent international recognition for chemical disarmament in the shape of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the -- the success of the Syria mission help honor that legacy.

The topic here is demilitarization.  I'm going to take a very broad understanding of this.

For me and for the OPCW, I think it means three things:  first of all, destroying existing stocks of chemical weapons as well as the production facilities that created them, or converting them to civilian use, secondly, preventing new chemical weapons from being built, and thirdly, to make chemical weapons unwanted.

So, the way we achieve this through the work of the OPCW, based on the very comprehensive regime we have in the form of the Chemical Weapons Convention, of course, is the -- is an interlocking holistic regime which is based on the four pillars of disarmament, nonproliferation, assistance and protection, and peaceful uses, promoting peaceful uses of chemistry.

These aren't linear pillars.  We don't do, you know, one thing, then we do the next thing then the next thing; we do them all together, because disarmament is more than simply removing the recourse of states through particular weapons.  We need to make the weapons I mentioned before unwanted.

So this is a huge task and I think we're well served by the reach and unique provisions of our treaty, which you're all familiar with.  We already heard today about the success we've had on the disarmament side.  We are now at the point where we verified the destruction of 87 percent of declared weapons across 98 percent of the world's territory and population, which is an extraordinary achievement, you know, in these 17 years.

We are now at the point where complete destruction, verified destruction, of existing stocks is something within -- very much within our grasp.  It's not something for future generations; it's something that we're planning for and to achieve shortly.

And we, of course, do have legacy issues, as Jean Pascal mentioned.  I wasn't going to go into abandoned chemical weapons and all the chemical weapons, but this is, of course, ongoing work, which will continue not because we have the stockpiles all identified, because some of these things are still being unearthed, and this is something we need to be alert to, of course.

Now, this is the routine business -- has been the routine business of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the work of the OPCW.  We also showed destruction in a new light with the exceptional mission of Syria that we've all heard about here today.

Now, verifying the destruction of the chemical weapons arsenal is, of course, routine business.  But as we've seen today, there was absolutely nothing routine about the circumstances in, which we did that in Syria or in relation to the Syrian program on Syrian territory and elsewhere.

In less than a year, we basically removed and destroyed 98 percent of the declared stockpile.  What's important, I think -- I won't run through the mission again, but I think we need to -- in terms of how we frame lessons learned -- pull -- extract some vital observations from this entire mission.

The first one is that we didn't need especially a mandated ad hoc international arrangement of any sort, as we have had in the past with other commodities of this nature.  We had the CWC, which is ready-made, tried and tested and was able to insert itself straight away as soon as Syria exceeded for the convention.

Now, this is very important to note.  It shows the resilience of the convention even in these source of circumstances.

But we also showed quite a lot of flexibility.  Some of these issues have already been raise here today, but I draw your attention to a few of these.

These factors are a very important, because they show that they were able to come to the fore -- in the course of this mission, because the Chemical Weapons Convention has such a strong consensus, and we saw that consensus, obviously, in response to the opportunity to demilitarize Syria chemically.

So we had flexibility in interpreting the CWC.  The CWC states that possessive states are obliged to destroy chemical weapons on their own territory at their own cost.  We made an exception in Syria's case, at Syria's request, to remove those weapons and destroy them outside Syrian territory.

So this showed the flexibility that states' parties were able to show to seize an opportunity that obviously doesn't come across very often.

Secondly, we are able to succeed on the basis of a very well-coordinated international mission.  At no point did we have any problems getting countries to subscribe to the mission in terms of in-kind or financial assistance.

We were also able to coordinate this effort very efficiently, both at The Hague and obviously through the joint mission.  Our partnership with the U.N., we had an existing partnership agreement.  We had a special one for this mission, because our inspectors have not before deployed to war situations.  U.N. support was vital in terms of field support, logistics and more than anything else, security support.

Negotiating access, for instance, to areas that weren't controlled by the government had to be done by the U.N. under special arrangements only they have in place.

We also were able to exhibit a lot of technical innovation.  Now, for whatever political or apparent environmental concerns, we weren't able to get a land-based destruction option.  We came up with a sea-based option using a tried and tested system at FDHS, as we heard today.

We were also able to get GPS-mounted remote cameras to sites to which we couldn't get physical access in order to undertake some very important verification activity.  And by the way, this sort of -- this sort of innovation we did through comparing those with the IAEA for instance.

And finally, an important thing to remember also is that we were able to explore a private-public partnership in relation to destruction to some of the toxic chemicals involved in a chemical weapons program of Syria.

We were able to go to commercial tender in order to get Ekokem in Finland and Veolia here in the U.S. to -- and destroy some of the chemicals under commercial arrangements.  Now, this is obviously a good business for them, but by the same token it sets a nice precedent, I think, for the private sector to take a more prominent role in security as we've seen with other nontraditional multilateral challenges, whether it's in relation to climate change or alleviation of poverty or child vaccination, immunization.  So we think this is an important precedent.  So, these are all aspects of the mission that showed extraordinary flexibility based on strong political will.

Now, these achievements are important not only for future scenarios in relation to chemical weapons, demilitarization, but any sort of WMD arsenal being gotten rid off, because this hasn't been done before simply, and we need to draw lessons more widely.

I don't think any of us here could have predicted, as much as Simon showed us, the contingency planning that was under way.  State was obviously on the wrong basis that there would be complying government that would be working with the OPCW to get rid of chemical weapons in quiet time.

We had entirely different scenario that appeared and none of us could have predicted it, but we were able to respond very, very quickly, and mercifully, we did.  So that's important.

It's also important that we maintain that readiness not only for future scenarios like this, however likely or unlikely they may be, but for the follow-up work.

Now, Dominique, in his presentation today, mentioned that we still have ongoing work with Syria in relation to filling out his declaration in order to complete the destruction of structures that housed production facilities and, importantly, the work of the fact-finding mission, whatever the politics involved in relation to the allegations and the -- and confirmed use of chemical weapons in Syria.  And there is still a lot of materials that go through, and states parties' have continued their support for the ongoing work of that mission.

Now, Syria has been, like the Nobel Peace Prize, something that's really brought us out in the international limelight.  I mean, the way I described -- I've only -- I actually joined the OPCW when Syria did, so it was very good timing in terms of a profile, and the few weeks thereafter we got a Nobel Peace Prize, of course.

The way I always describe perhaps and what we did and what my job was that -- if you imagine the world's stage and in the world theater housing the world stage, I mean, the OPCW with the guys and gals in gray overalls, not necessary very clean, that were behind the scenes, making sure the lights work, that the plumbing wasn't too loud during performances.  But they were behind the scenes.  And suddenly, with a Nobel Prize, they were pushed onto the center stage and said, "Talk -- to us.  This is your opportunity."

So, in some ways we've had to sort of come up with the text to explain our mission.  But certainly, Syria is -- couldn't have done it better frankly.  I mean, we really seized that opportunity with the international community.

But Syria, in some ways, has focused attention on the sort of business that we're getting out off.  As I mentioned before, we're getting close to completing destruction of declared weapons, and we need to focus on what comes next.

So, I would just describe that broadly as two sets of challenges.  One's from within the OPCW.  The others from without.

The first relates to a process of transition as our main focus gradually shifts from disarmament to nonproliferation, or what I prefer to call preventing the reemergence of chemical weapons, because, of course, nonproliferation means -- can mean quite specific things -- preventing chemical, sensitive chemical materials and technologies from making their way around the world.  It's much more than that.  It means monitoring advances in chemistry -- chemical sciences as well as conversions with other sciences and -- and the new production technology.  It means being alert to these -- to these risks.  Now, this is a qualitatively harder exercise and one which obviously won't be as publicly visible.

The second set of challenges relates to changes in the strategic environment, which we're all very familiar with.  The globalization of the chemical industry will have an impact on how and where we conduct our routine inspections down the track and how we do that.

Secondly, advances in science and technology, as I've just mentioned challenge -- could challenge the implementation of the CWC.  Thirdly, the ambitions and actions of non-state actors, of course, is very topical, and lastly, rapid advances in digital communications are making intangible technology transfers a real worry in terms of access to sensitive information technology.

So, how these two sets of challenges intertwine is very much our minds as we chart our strategic direction for the organization.

One way we're doing this -- and I might just go through a bit of shopping list here, and we can discuss that later in more detail where there are points of interest -- but we just recently had our conference-of-states parties, and there, the director general mentioned that we are working on a paper.

When we were preparing statement, we didn't know what to call it.  You know, a vision paper, a concept paper, a corporate vision.  A short document that sets out where we need to be right through to the middle of the next decade.

Now, this is intended as a way of basically outlining what achievements we want to and have in our pockets by then.  But how we achieve these achievements means also restructuring our organization.

Now, we all know, like all international organizations, we have zero nominal growth.  As Jean Pascal pointed out, as an international civil servant.  There's not enough money, of course, and we need to readjust our priorities.

Now, what's very topical, of course, we've already discussed here, is inspectors -- what we do with that expertise.  How do we transfer and maintain knowledge?  This is vitally important.  When there's less businesses day to day, but nonetheless, it's a very rarefied profession, which we need to preserve in some way or another.

The other thing we need to do more efficiently is to enhance our use of electronic transfer of information.  To be effective, especially in relation to alerts on transfers of scheduled chemicals, we need to get information real time, and we are trying to shift our states' parties along these line -- to think along these lines of participation in new systems where we've got up and running.

One of these is the secure information exchange, the SIX system.  I think we have about 7 countries so far subscribing to that.

This is just simply an electronic means for conveying confidential information, which obviously helps assist our verification efforts in real time.

The other thing we need to do is expand our community of stakeholders in order for us to have a bit of visibility and understanding on new advances in science and technology.

Now, we do have a subsidiary body of the OPCW called the Scientific Advisory Board, which meets regularly and has various temporary working groups.  I can see several members here, Joe Howse , in particular over there.  Hi Joe .

But it's more than your formal network.  We need bodies like this and governments to consult more regularly with their scientific establishments.  I've been an arms control -- you know, I came in to arms control when Ken and his people shut down the verification protocol.  I had two weeks of that.  It was a very exciting excursion into multilateral diplomacy, arms control diplomacy, very short-lived nonetheless.  But I went on to do other things.

But you know, I have a Ph.D. in Russian literature, so you can imagine -- I mean, I wouldn't have been a very useful negotiator.  But the beauty about a negotiation going on at the conference -- and there hasn't been one for a long time -- is you very quickly acquire experts, because one thing that, you know, diplomats and scientists and industry representatives do and have been doing since the CWC was negotiated was talking to each other and having to understand each other.  And that's very, very important.

I mean, that even goes to our enforcement officials.  People at the border who are looking off to the secure transfer of dual-use materials need to understand these things, and scientists have to be able to explain things so that they're understood.

So, this is vitally important to expand our community of stakeholders.  One startling statistic that my science adviser colleague at the OPCW gave me was there are 15,000 potential chemical substances added to the chemical abstracts database daily.  That's extraordinary.  We can't control this.

And Ken mentioned, for instance, dual use.  I used to work on Australia group issues when I was working at National System in Australia.  And, you know, we are now at the point where there's just too much gray area.  There's too much dual use.  We can't control substances.  We need a proactive approach from a broader community of stakeholders to help us.

So, to this end, you know, we've made a real effort to expand our education and outreach endeavors.  We had a major conference last -- early in September this year in The Hague at our headquarters, which was informed to a large extent by a temporary working group set up on this very subject.

Now, one of the recommendation states' parties had before them is to make education outreach core business for the organization, not only that, but to set up a separate advisory body to extend our reach.  We're doing this anyway, because it's more than simply talking to scientists; it's to shape their minds before they become professional, so to speak.

So, we're all about fostering and nurturing a culture of responsible scientists right down to the high-school level.  And this is going to be very important in order to basically inculcate sort of ethical code, which is another issue we're working on.  And one state party, Germany, put forward a proposal for a code of conduct, which, of course, is something that we can't impose from above.  Just like education outreach efforts, we need a bottoms-up approach to foster these traditions of responsible science.

If I didn't mentioned the industry, I should have.  Engagement with industry is vitally important.  We had a lot of engagement with industry when the CWC was being negotiated.  That's why we have a great verification protocol -- regime, because it is designed to protect commercially sensitive secrets.

We need to make this relationship and engagement not one of them helping us with compliance but for them to be a little bit more proactive in terms of reaching communities that we need to solicit their help on.

Now, other things we have on the agenda, well, we mentioned non-state actors here.  Non-state actors are tricky.  We all know that the nonproliferation norms that we have in place -- international treaties -- weren't designed to deal with non-state actors.  Non-state actors are not subject to the same disincentives as states are.  Quite the contrary.

We don't have any mandate in relation to non-state actors, but we do have a mandate to prevent the proliferation of chemical materials and technologies that could contribute to weapons programs, and we are certainly very focused on the threat from terrorists.  We have assistance and protection measures in place.  These are a little bit, obviously, late in terms of dealing with attacks.

But we do cooperate with the CCTF initiative with the U.N.  We do cooperate with the Security Council Committee -- Resolution Committee 1540.  And I think what we need to do is talk to our state's parties about stronger, tighter supply-side measures as a matter of course.

I think we should look at Syria also, the speed with which we are able to remove chemical weapons from Syria.  The obvious imperative behind the scenes there was to prevent them from falling in the hands of armed groups that might not be under anybody's control.

Finally, universality, we've spoken a little bit about that.  I might just take just a moment now to finish up on this point with a bit more detail. 

Myanmar, directly after depositing its instrument of ratification for the BWC, the deputy foreign minister of Myanmar came to our conference-of-states parties, and he made clear that the parliament in Myanmar would consider ratification in January -- in its January sessions.  So, we're looking at Burma, Myanmar ratifying in short order.

Certainly, we haven't had an extraordinary level of cooperation with Myanmar over the past year in terms of training activities, and they've been very assiduous in making sure that crossing the T's and dotting the Is in preparation for implementing the CWC.

Angola -- Angola, we've had very limited engagement with, but they are joining the Security Council next year, and I think a lot of states' parties have delivered the message that it's not a good look for a member of the Security Council not to be a state party to cornerstone arms control treaties, among which are the CWC and BWC.

So, we've had some indications that the Council of Ministers there has considered ratifying the CWC along side and the Arms Trade Treaty and the BWC and that's one or two others, so we're hoping that will happen very shortly.
South Sudan, we did have some engagement with them before the present civil conflict in that country.  There's no reason South Sudan wouldn't join the CWC.  Needless to say, it's a country that has a lot on its plate.
We need to be imaginative in terms of how we package the CWC with other must-ratify or must-succeed to all exceed-to treaties, including the NPT and things like this.

So, South Sudan is looking pretty good as well, which leaves, obviously, Israel, Egypt and North Korea.  Well, you mentioned Maz  before Jean Pascal.  I'm not sure what Maz  or North Korea will come first, but certainly, I think they'd be sort of last on the list, because we had no engagement with North Korean, unfortunately.

Egypt and Israel, we've had a bit second-track activity, but things that tied up -- plugged up a little bit with the WMD conference process, but we can talk about that separately.

But the bottom line is that, in the wake of the Syria mission, in the wake of confirmed use of chemical weapons recently and given the international reaction, nobody should be, in any doubt, in relation to the fact that this is, whatever its legal status for any particular country, a global norm, on the international customary law.  It is in place CW and taboo , and it's not a strategic option for any country.

So, this is the -- this is the message that we're reinforcing.  Also, we have to look at universalization not just in -- in quantitative terms but in qualitative of terms.

I think Paul mentioned before the need to improve national implementation, because, of course, we're only as strong as our weakest link.  There are many countries, probably about 50, if not more, that haven't even been passed implementing legislation.  Now, we're certainly doing a lot to make sure we get best practice across the board.

So, we have a lot on our agenda at the moment.  We are also creating new tools to help countries in relation to national implementation, e-learning tools.  I think we have six modules in the Web site now, including a legal assistance drafting tool.  So, we're encouraging states parties to make use of those.

So there it is, we have a big agenda.  We have a tight situation and we're going to go through institutional change.  We going to think about this very carefully in consultation with states' parties to make sure the ball has not dropped anywhere along the way and that we anticipate things coming along by way of challenges.  We need to move on all fronts of course.

What I'd leave you with is, if we've had the Syria mission and the Nobel Peace Prize as two legs of a three-legged stool, which is really public support has being sitting on and public profile. 
The third one is of course Ypres.  Now, on the 22nd of April we will have the 100th anniversary of the first large scale chemical weapons attack in that city.  We're going to host a large meeting there and issue a lofty declaration, and basically reaffirming international commitment to the cause of chemical disarmament and hopefully maintain strong public support for that mission as we continue to broaden our community of stakeholders.  Thank you.


ZANDERS:  Thank for you this, Peter.

WILLIAMS:  Thank you.  Thank you everyone.  My name is Craig Williams.  And I wear a number of hats in the NGO community in association with chemical weapons disposal.  But, first, I'd like to say that most of the discussions today have been on -- from folks who are dealing with the national and international implications of this.  And I'd like to thank Daryl and everyone for inviting me who is someone who deals with that on the margins but who actually lives in the shadow of a chemical weapon stockpile.

In my neighborhood we are fortunate enough, blessed, to have 523 tons of mustard agent, VX agent, GB agent, in various delivery systems most of it explosively configured.  So, it's ready to be delivered to a town near you, if you're interested.  Actually, it's kind of ironic, but that was one of the options that were presented to us early on.

The area that I'm supposed to be talking about, according to my invitation, was the challenges associated with chemical weapons demilitarization.  I've been doing this work for 30 years.  I didn't bring a PowerPoint because it takes two days to go through it.  But I can tell you that there have been a number of challenges, not the least of which has been the method by which we get rid of these weapons.

Most of the presenters have had an accent today.  And if I don't have a Kentucky accent, please forgive me.  I can put it on for you all, if you want me to.  But I'm from New York, so it's a little bit of a challenge.

The biggest challenge that we face on a community level and not just in Kentucky, but across the United States throughout the South Pacific where Kalama Island or Johnston Island, as it's known to some folks, and in Russia, was the secrecy associated with the actual contents of the stockpiles and the methodology that was brought forward to dispose of these.  The -- and this is not to historically point fingers at anyone, the Army or the Pentagon or anyone for that, it's just actually a historical expose of some of the challenges that we faced.

All of those hard feelings and animosity have now disappeared and I'll will explain how we got to that point shortly.  But being a veteran myself, I appreciate the fact that when you're in the military and you're on -- in a battle field situation, you don't express the opportunity for opinions to be expressed.  You -- if the lieutenant says "Go that way," you don't say "Well, I'd rather go that way," or I'd rather not go at all, which is something I should have said.

But the point is that's not the way you should deal with things on a community-based level because in Richmond, Kentucky which is about six miles north of where I live -- where this stockpile exists -- is not a battle field situation.  It's a community situation.  And -- but rather than come to the community and say we, the collective we -- not just the army, not just the military -- "We as a community, we as a country, we as the military, have a situation."

We have 523 tons of chemical warfare agent stockpiled in over 100,000 weapons.  And we'd like to work together and figure out what's the best way to get rid of this both in compliance with international obligations, as well as ensuring the protection of the public health and protection of the environment within which they live.  That is not what happened.

The Army showed up in 1984.  The vast majority of the community was not even aware that chemical weapons were stored there.  And they said, you have all these chemical weapons.  We're going to get rid of them and we're going to burn them in an incinerator.  Does anyone have any questions?

And so, 30 years later, I've still got hand up, although it's been gradually coming down.  So they had approach of decide, announce and defend.  They decided what they were going to do.  They announced what they were going to do and they spent 15 years defending it.

The technology selection was not even on the table.  The only options that we were given during the national environmental -- the NEPA Process, National Environmental Policy Act process, was to either burn all the weapons in all of the sites in the United States where they were stored.  Or move the weapons to two regional locations, so that they would burn them there.  Or move them all to one location and we would burn them there.

And if you noticed the continuity of the technology throughout that, the only options we were given were location.  We weren't asked if there -- we thought there was a better way to do this.  Now, you have to imagine that this is a very small federal facility.  It's 15,000 acres and right in the middle of it, basically, is where these stockpiles are placed.  1.3 miles from that storage area and where they were going to build this giant incinerator is a middle school of 800 of our children, 1.3 miles.

In Utah, I don't know if any of you have been to Utah, but the facility there is in the middle of the desert.  And there's very little human population.  There's a lot of jack rabbits and sheep and things like that.  But the potential risk to humans is significantly mitigated because of its geographical location.

So, given that option, our community said, move it to Utah.  Because understand, it wasn't that we want it to dump it on our Utah neighbors.  It's that those were the only options that were given to us, burning in your backyard next to your middle school, next to -- two miles from a college of 14,000 students.  Or move it to a remote area.

Now, it's interesting in reflection, I remember when we had -- I hosted the first international conference on chemical weapons disposal from NGO community, and there was a gentleman there from the Pacific.  And when they moved the German stockpile from Germany to Kalama Island or Johnston Atoll, he asked the question of why did they do that?  And they said, well, because we felt it was better in a remote location.  And he said, well, that's odd because I look at Germany as a remote location.

So, I guess it all depends on where you sit.  So our options were very limited.  We advocated for movement.  That option was declined by the Pentagon.  Interestingly enough, one of the reasons was because of a terrorist threat along the transportation route.  And this is in 1998, long before terrorism was on everybody's mind and on the television every evening.

And so, the decision was made that they were going to burn it every place it was.  At that point, we formed a coalition of grassroots groups from all of the communities in the U.S., many of the communities in Russia.  Paul and I traveled together in Russia under less-than-uncomfortable conditions a couple of times.  And we decided that we would develop a set of citizen's accords or thoughts and positions that we took as a coalition.  We had about a 130 organizations in Russia, the U.S. and the South Pacific that were part of this coalition.

And one of the principles was that you have to prioritize, not just consider, but prioritize, public health protection and environmental protection in the course of trying to destroy these weapons.  No one would be surprised that every one of these communities, whether they were for the technology of choice or against it, we're obviously in favor of getting rid of this material.  Because the mere fact that it's there poses a significant risk to the community within which it's stored.

So, there was no question of our advocacy for disposal.  However, we were -- like I said, I had different ideas of how to go about it.  It was a significant resistance to the concept of looking at alternative methods.  There were a number of legislative directives from the Congress that task the Defense Department to consider alternatives but nothing that forced them to actually come up with any.

Cost and schedule has always been an issue associated with the U.S. program.  I'm not sure how many of you know that the original cost projection and schedule projection for the U.S. Program in 1985 when they had the first meeting about this outside of Washington D.C. which was held in Richmond, Kentucky was $1.8 billion for the entire U.S. program, and it would be finished by 1994.  So, to say that we're a little over budget and a little past schedule, I think is understating it.

The current expenditure, so far, somewhere in the neighborhood of $35 billion and the current projection for completion is 2023.  Although I'll get -- in a moment, I'll explain why I think we're going to beat that schedule a little bit.

But the cost and schedule was a challenge.  In addition, because of the funding problems and because of the cost overruns at several of the ongoing sites, monies were being taken away from other sites in order to supplement the shortcomings at some of the facilities that were under construction or even in operations.  That hindered the progress of the overall program because we didn't have enough money to go around.

Our position that incineration was not a protective measure and state of the art, as it was presented.  And remember, up until 1969, state of the art was to put the weapons in ships and tow them out in the ocean and sink them, and that was the state-of-the-art process at the time.  So state of the art really doesn't mean a lot to us, other than, you know, it's the best we can get away with.  Funding was reduced.  In fact funding was taken away from some of the sites and put towards other sites and that was a challenge as well.

Eventually, the Chemical Weapons Working Group tasked an international team of researchers and scientists with the expertise in disposal of these sorts of chemicals, whether they be chemical weapons from the military or chemicals from the industrial side -- and brought forward a report in 1990 that we circulated around Capitol Hill and that is what was the catalyst for us getting traction in our arguments around incineration.

Subsequent to that, there was a law passed and it created what's called the Citizens Advisory Commissions.  And what that law stated was that each site that has these materials will establish a Citizens Advisory Commission under the Governor's authority.  It will be made up of seven individuals from the immediate impact zone which was considered to be a 50 mile radius from the stockpile and two state representatives with some connection to the program, such as emergency response people regulatory authorities and so on.

That law passed in 1992 and that was the beginning, really, of where we are today which is a very robust model for how to actually accomplish things between communities, governments and contractors -- defense contractors, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Congress also directed that the Army continue to look at alternatives, but no alternatives surfaced in their very limited research.  Every time they would go and research it, they would come back and say nothing else works.

In 1996, there was a law passed that actually directed them to find alternatives, to identify and demonstrate -- and that was the critical word.  Not just look and come back and say no.  Identify and demonstrate not less than two alternatives to incineration for chemical weapons disposal and cut the funding for incineration projects in both Kentucky and Colorado.

This -- what followed that was called an ACWA Dialog, and ACWA in this case stands for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, or in that case assessments.  And we sat around with all of the interested parties and it was the first time that all of these parties have sat down together.  The Pentagon, the EPA, community groups, environmentalist, representatives of tribes in affected areas, and it was a very diverse and broad spectrum of people that got together for the first time and talk.

In 1997, in conversations with National Security Council people and others, the Chemical Weapons Working Group was asked if we would support the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Now you have to appreciate you're living in a community who is trying to stop the Pentagon from doing something they've already decided to do.  And you realize that if you support the convention, you're going to add momentum to them actually executing what they've already decided to do, which is contrary to your primary focus.

So, we were in a bit of a conundrum at that point.  But with the help of many advisers including Mr. Tucker, who I spoke to many times about this and folks at the National Security Council, people in President Clinton's Cabinet and at State Department and so on.  We rallied our coalition and came out in support of the treaty and were given credit, frankly, for delivering several votes in the Senate on ratification.  And that's something that I'm very proud of because I kind of led the charge to go ahead and endorse this treaty even though it was counterproductive to some of our other agenda items.  And we did that and I've never looked back and regretted that action.  I think it was the right thing to do.

And now, of course, I've been to The Hague several times and I'm involved with folks on the international level in a way I never anticipated.  And I realize now that, not only was that the right thing for that time, but it certainly is a great effort on behalf of the international community.

So, we supported the CWC.  And in 2002 after the dialog went on for several years, it was determined that alternatives would be used in Colorado and alternatives would be used in Kentucky.  Prior to that, they used an alternative technology in both Maryland and in Indiana.  So, four out of the eight sites in the United States wound up going with a neutralization-based chemical reaction, rather than an incineration-based combustion option.

And the fundamental difference here, just real quick, an incinerator, you know, works on, you know, you feed material in and you hope it works because there's no way to -- once it's in there, you can't stop it and check it and see how you're doing.  It just continues to go.  And between 1988 and 1996 we identified at least 18 instances documented where live agent had actually come out of the stack of these incinerators and that just reinforced the fact that our objections to this particular technology were well founded.

Now, there's a discussion about how much it was, whether it would have impacted anybody offsite and all these kinds of discussions.  But to us, that's immaterial, it demonstrated that the technology can't control the material.  And the approach we're taking now in Kentucky, for example, along each phase of the process you're able to extract samples and make sure that you've actually achieved your disposal targets before it goes on to the next step.  So it's a much more controlled process.

The current challenges that we face include some things like all -- it turns out that all of our mustard rounds, 15,000 of them, the vast majority of them have solidified over the years in storage and the main facility that was designed and is currently 90 percent complete with construction, is not designed to be able to drain out solidified materials.  It's designed to be able to drain the agent out of whatever weapon it happens to be in.

So, it was brought to our attention that it's going to be very difficult and they ran into these problems at incineration sites as well and they were actually sending in workers in full ensemble with hand tools to try to take apart some of these weapons because they couldn't get the bursters out because the agent had solidified around them.  And so, you have to imagine that we have 15,000 of these things.  About 60 to 70 percent of them were going to be in that shape which led us to the understanding that we would have to send our workers in, you know, 600, 700, 800 times intentionally putting them at risk of extracting these -- and that was just not in line with our criteria of public safety, worker safety, environmental safety.

So, they brought to our attention explosive destruction technology.  I'm not sure if many of you are familiar with it, but basically it's huge steel containers that are heated, you drop around in, it blows up, the deflagration and the heat destroy the agent.  So, that was a challenge because that's something that we would not have selected in our alternative reviews earlier on.  But because of the situation and the newly revealed information, we were willing to work with the Army and with the regulators and with the contractor, and we've agreed to do that and now we're going to proceed with that.

There's always funding challenges, design changes, waste code modifications that we're working through right now, and these are some of the challenges that we deal with currently.  We're well past the technology debate, and now we're dealing down in the weeds more with some execution issues.  But there remains many, many challenges which is -- which validates the usefulness of the Citizen's Advisory Commissions and the advisory boards.

So finally, let me just say that we have come a long way since the early days where we were actually marching in the streets and going to testify on Capitol Hill, which I've done many times.  And we have now developed a relationship that is a model for community and government to work together on how to solve these kinds of problems, and we're dealing now with the most toxic materials on the planet.

And if -- I feel if we can work together on these sorts of issues that this is a model that can be used almost everywhere.  The transparency and the engagement that the military now shares with the community is unprecedented.  There are some design issues that just came up.  As soon as they discover them, they called us together.  We've worked through them.  We have a recommendation that's going to go up to the contractor and to the Pentagon next week on these issues.  And we've gone from decide, announce, defend to discuss, decide, and move forward.  And that's where we've come.

We still face challenges.  I'm going to say that the current Pentagon schedule prediction for completion of operations in Kentucky, which you've heard is the last site, is 2023.  Things are going swimmingly at the moment.  We've had a lot of successes on the construction front.  We're eliminating the mustard campaign from the main facility, which in itself is going to save a year.  That campaign is going to start in March of 2017, and it should be over in December of 2017.

So, instead of having to decontaminate the entire facility and run a mustard campaign through that facility, we're not going to be doing that.  We'll have the mustard done before the main facility even starts.  So, that knocks us back to 2022.  And if things keep going right, we'll be even to the left of that.  And interestingly enough at the Conference of State Parties, it was adopted that the Russian schedule is now 2020.

So, we're starting to see an intersection of the two main possessors here in the same time period, which is not only good for the planet and good for the CWC, but it's also good for both countries' reputation of fulfilling their obligations under the CWC, which says that you have to do this in the safest and as soon as possible.

So with that, I thank you very much for your time and attention.  Thanks.


ZANDERS:  But thank you for that.  We have about 10 more minutes or so for Q&A. 

But, Craig, one thing that intrigued me in your presentation was the surprise that the people dismantling the munitions that came across certain types of chemical combinations, solidification of agent and so on in Belgium when preparing destruction -- well, planning the destruction of World War I chemical munitions.  I remember so many -- so much research was undertaken to understand what possible combinations of chemicals they might actually encounter.  Was that not done here?

WILLIAMS:  Yeah, the -- as far as they could, they had tracking mechanisms for different lots of materials, but the manufacturing process, particularly for the mustard rounds which are the most antiquated of the rounds and probably a lot of what you're finding there, and you're using explosive destruction technology I believe.

ZANDERS:  Only for arsenics.

WILLIAMS:  OK.  Anyway, the point is they -- they didn't begin to run into this level of solidification problem with mustard agents until they got into certain lots, manufacturing lots of them both in Utah and in Alabama.

Once they ran into that, they -- they did -- started doing the research to determine what further problems associated with that can they anticipate based on the manufactured lots that were still there.  They abandoned incineration at those sites in order to use explosive destruction technology for the same reason that we're abandoning neutralization for that reason.  And we, unfortunately, identified that a significant portion of our mustard rounds were in the manufacturing lots associated with the problematic weapons.

At that point, we jointly, the government and the community, agreed that we should do additional research via x-rays of these weapons to try and determine what percentage of them will have that condition.  Once that was undertaken, it was determined that 60 to 70 percent of them were gonna be that -- that problem, and what were the options?  Well clearly, we couldn't send workers in repeatedly knowing that they'd be at risk that much.

So, the National Research Council came and presented some options to us, several different explosive detonation technologies as well as the Army's neutralization process that was basically used on the Cape Ray.  And so, we down-selected to one that we felt safe with. 

But it was -- it was one of these things that's a lesson learned when you start getting into different manufacturing lots.  Interestingly enough, I found out three years ago when my father passed away that my grandfather worked at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland and was a chemical engineer who developed some of these very weapons that I'm now trying to get rid of. 


So -- and that was just, you know, one of those things that you can't believe happens.  But there he was.  He was sergeant in the Army and a chemist.  So, two generations later we're trying to get rid of them.

ZANDERS:  Oh, well, there you go, all the kinds of stories.  OK, we're going to take a couple of questions from the room.  Please identify yourself.  Keep the questions short.  We have about 10 minutes or so for questioning. 


QUESTION:  Thank you.  Chen Kane from the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

Peter, a question for you, you mentioned that the convention required destruction in country and this -- and the flexibility that, because of the Security Council resolution, we managed to do in Syria some outside and some in country. 

Libya, about two months ago, asked that the schedule, two materiel will be removed from country and be destroyed outside.  So if you can elaborate a little bit what the status and how much flexibility we can demonstrate with destruction outside the country without Security Council resolution?

And Craig, congratulation about the success of creating a model and actually changing government decision.  My question is for you is, you mentioned that you worked with colleagues from Russia.  What's the success they had in influence their government to change some of the decisions that was made?  And what will be your recommendation for communities in countries which are -- how do I describe it -- less than democratic than the U.S. where community has less means to influence in democratic ways? Because the countries that still need to destroy and some of the countries that did not sign, some -- most of them are less than democratic.  So what will be your lesson learned from those communities?

ZANDERS:  OK, Peter?

WILLIAMS:  Go ahead, Peter.

SAWZCAK:  Let me first say this is a good example of transfer of expertise and knowledge management that the OPCW can learn from.  A grandfather who's a chemical engineer and the same expertise has passed through the generations, through the genes...


... and used again for a similar purpose but in reverse.  We'll have to think about that.


WILLIAMS:  I have.


SAWZCAK:  It's not the Security Council.  There's executive council on 27th of September made a decision in relation to a destruction program for Syria, which was endorsed by Security Council Resolution 2118.  Now, that was based on the frame of agreement between the U.S. and Russia in relation to elimination of chemical weapons in Syria.

Syria requested for the weapons to be removed because they said they couldn't do it themselves, look  and then pay for it.  And that's -- that's the base on which these parties were able to keep to the spirit of the convention by stretching the law of the convention, so to speak. 

It's true there has been a discussion in relation to Libya.  Libya faces all sorts of security challenges, all sorts of financial challenges to get rid of the last Category II chemicals.  These are ongoing discussions between states parties, and really it comes down to, you know, an exercise of political rule and the financing being made available.

In fact, the Category I weapons that were destroyed by early this year were done on the base of very generous funding and kit  being developed by Germany, the U.S. and Canada.  And in fact, our directed general in the company of U.S., German and Canadian colleagues have visit the Rowagha site -- Al Rowagha site in Libya to see that himself.  I don't know if Dominique has anything to add to that, but that's my understanding in the situation at this point.

(UNKNOWN):  Could I add a thought to that to be clear on this?  I've worked my eyeballs on this .

The Executive Council did not have the authority to overrule the treaty.  The treaty says you may never transfer.  No one ever anticipated this circumstance.  Yeah, the time machines , would have come back  (inaudible).  The U.S. Security Council resolution specifically authorized the director general of the OPCW so long if he determined it was consistent with the object and purpose of the convention to allow the transfer to take place.  So, it was a very special set of circumstances the treaty don't prevail in Libya . 

Also remember Peter was alluding to the influence of free country system  we moved a very sophisticated piece of equipment down to the desert, destroyed all the others.  There's an in-country solution to the 847 tons of diverse chemicals that doesn't involve shipping things between 15 militias and Libyans ...


... and getting involved (inaudible) with your interpretation of chemical weapons convention.

So sometimes, the simple solution is the right one, and I think at the end of the day we'll find a way to destroy these (inaudible).

ZANDERS:  Thank you for this.  Perhaps one element to add to your comment, the Executive Council had already made an exemption for some munitions in Austria to be transferred to Germany for destruction a couple of years earlier. 

But Craig, there was also part of the question to you.

WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I have a question about that question.  Are all of Libya's materials in one location, unlike Syria's that was spread out all over?

(UNKNOWN):  They're all in one place.

WILLIAMS:  That makes it a lot easier.  Thanks.

To answer your question about the Russian situation, my first engagement with our Russian colleagues happened shortly after the Soviet Union disintegrated and there was a lot of openness at the time and there were a lot of NGOs that were in existence. 
And like I said, we hosted the first international citizen's conference there in Saratov and there were in encampments in Chapaevsk, for example, where they wanted to burn these things and people just had this protest and encampment there, and they wouldn't let them do it and they didn't do it.

To make a long story short, the United States was engaged in a very high effort to try and get Russia to accept its technology and use it at all of their sites.  That effort was thwarted through the NGO community and their defense department decided to opt to a neutralization-based approach rather than a combustion-based approach that was in great deal result of the NGO communities putting pressure in post-Chapaevsk, Russia.

Unfortunately, things have gone the other way now where there is not that openness and there's not -- in fact a lot of NGOs are just outright banned.  And so -- and if folks know I'm sure that the -- the assistance that was given by outside countries in the construction of -- and the transportation efforts to get rid of the Russian Federation's chemical weapons came to a -- an abrupt end when it was time to start operating these facilities.  They weren't interested in having foreign people oversee their operations once the facilities were built.  And I'm not saying necessarily it wasn't because they were not going to adhere to strict environmental and public health standards, but you can draw your own conclusions about that.

As far as other countries go, it's -- the less open, the more challenging.  And there's very few options in some of these countries where the communities are being put at risk, and they have very little, if any, say in what the government is doing. 

The only suggestion that I could make would be to play the hand you're dealt.  In the -- in the instance of countries where there is the slightest bit of opportunity to engage with the political sphere on concerns of environment and public health, you need to take advantage of whatever opening there is and try to expand that opening gradually.  You're not gonna get there the way we did it which was continued opposition, protest, scientific research, congressional lobbying and finally legislation to execute our agenda because they don't have the mechanisms built in to do that.

I've had to work with all sorts of people in the political sphere on every side of any aisle you can imagine over 30 years.  And I've always adhered to the position that I am gonna work with whoever's there because I can't marginalize somebody because I don't agree with them on other issues.  I gotta keep myself focused. 

And in those types of countries, I think you have to do the same thing.  You gotta try to find somebody, some place that can move your agenda forward and gradually try to accomplish it.  It's just a very difficult challenge.

ZANDERS:  Thank you.  Well, I'm going to take, given the time schedule and we must stick to the agenda for the closing keynote, but I had one more question in the middle.

ZANDERS:  And if you can keep it short and ask both the speakers for a short reply. 

QUESTION:  Dennis Nelson, sir .

ZANDERS:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  I just wanted to ask...

WILLIAMS:  It's not on, I don't think.  There it is.

QUESTION:  I just wanted to ask what's the position of that Chemical Weapons Convention on things that are ancillary, like uranium hexafluoride, which is all over Kentucky and Ohio, and also things like rocket fuel and rocket oxidizer that were in the titan missiles, and also natural products like ricin and psychotropic agents like LSD?  What's the convention on those?


ZANDERS:  Peter.

SAWZCAK:  All right, well very brief because I'm not very really sure about some of this chemicals and substances.  But basically we have our schedules, schedules 1, 2, and 3 that are subject to transfer controls. Schedule 1 chemicals aren't allowed for any transfers to non-states parties.  Schedule 2 chemicals have -- have to be subject to an end-user certificate  -- sorry -- not traded with non-states parties.  And schedule 3 chemicals can be traded with non-states parties if it's got an end-user certificate for it.

Ricin is -- well I mean, in terms of other controls that we have, I mean, we have riot control agents aren't -- are prohibited only if they're used for warfare, so if they're used for domestic law enforcement purposes, they're not forbidden for use.  But of course, I mean, the general purpose criteria in relation to any toxic chemicals that's used as a weapon is a weapon under the Chemical Weapons Convention is defined by its use as a weapon.

But in terms the actual controls, we're limited to the schedules.  And we do declare -- states parties do declare their position of riot control agents and just so that we know, but they're prevented from using those in warfare.

ZANDERS:  Well thank you very much for that. 

In light of the next part of the program, may I ask you take your coffee, but be back at 3 o'clock sharp in about 10 minutes or so.  Meanwhile, I would like a hand for the two speakers in there.



KIMBALL:  All right, welcome back again, everyone, to the closing lap of the 2014 Jonathan Tucker Conference on Chemical and Biological Weapons Arms Control.  We've just had a very wide-ranging session on the challenges past, present, and future of chemical weapons demilitarization, and we've covered the last 100 years of efforts to eliminate chemical weapons in the first session and also a focus on the Syria chemical weapons removal episode in the second session.  And we're gonna return to that theme now with our special speaker Laura Holgate, who joined the National Security Council staff in 2009 as senior director for weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and threat reduction.  

Before that for nearly a decade, she was the vice president for Russia/New Independent States Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, one of the leaders who helped shape NTI's work over the years and put it on a very good footing as one of the leading non-governmental organizations in our -- in our field.

Before that, she was a director of the Department of Energy's Office of Fissel Materials Disposition and -- and special coordinator for Cooperative Threat Reduction at the Department Of Defense before that.  So Laura comes into this conversation with many, many years of experience on -- on these issues. 

And you've accomplished a heck of a lot over those years, but last year must have been one of the busiest in your career.  Because in addition to coordinating policy in interagency efforts on the Syria CW mission, she was simultaneously leading U.S. efforts in connection with the third nuclear security summit in The Hague.

So, Laura, thanks for being here.  Thanks for all you've done for -- on these issues through the years and making time with us today to share your perspectives on the Syria CW mission.  What has happened, what we've learned, what more is to be done, we've discussed a good deal over the -- the continuing concerns about the situation there.  And after your talk, I hope you've got a little bit of time to take some questions from our audience.

So everybody, please join me in welcoming Laura Holgate.


HOLGATE:  Thank you so much, Daryl.  And thanks to all of you for sticking around for the last speech of the day.  I really want to appreciate all that -- that Daryl and Paul do in support of our national WMD missions and, you know, most of you, as well.  And I see many government colleagues in the audience, so I'm counting on you to help keep me honest if I mischaracterize meetings you've been in or facts you know to be different, but it's -- it's wonderful to be here.

And I will say it's doubly -- I'm doubly honored to be here as part of this wonderful tribute to Jonathan Tucker.  Jonathan and I were grad students together at MIT way back when.  And this -- this kind of an intellectually-driven, policy-driven conversation I think is just a really fitting way to honor his many contributions in removing the scourge of chemical and biological weapons, so we really kudos to -- to those of who you who've conceived and -- and put this on.

It also makes me remember how long it is I have been working on chemical weapons.  Many people think of me as primarily a nuclear person, but my Masters dissertation at MIT was on chemical weapons -- the U.S Chemical Destruction Program, which is where I first came to know Paul.  So in some ways, the Syria chemical weapons issue, not that any of us would have welcomed it into our lives, but it was a little bit of a home coming for me and returning to deep work on that topic.

Not so long ago, any of us would have been called crazy had we predicted that the U.S. and Russia would have concluded a framework for the removal and elimination of the Syria Chemical Weapons Program, that it would have been incorporated weeks later into binding decisions of the executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the U.N. Security Council, that Syria would have acceded to the CWC, that the regime's 13,000 tons of declared chemical agent and related materials would have been removed from Syria or destroyed on site.

I mean, it really is -- we -- we owe ourselves a moment to pause and think about what a dramatic and unexpected set of events that was.  These accomplishments represent major victories for the people of Syria, for Syria's neighbors, and for the international legal and normative regime against chemical weapons and their use.

Two years ago, we were engaged in what I call concentric circles of fretting.  We've fretted at least weekly around my interagency policy committee table and more often than that, in deputies committees and principles committees in the sit room.  We were fretting with our P3 partners, and eventually we added Canada and Germany to a slightly larger fretting circle.  We fretted in separate conversations with Russia, with Israel, with Jordan, and with Turkey.

And because we didn't adequately -- we did not feel that our traditional partners and potential victims in Europe were adequately live  to the threat and to the need for response, we created a series of meetings first held in Prague to fret with yet an even wider circle of partners. 

By comparison to what we were fretting about then, our problems today are so much more manageable.  We were fretting about international chemical weapons attacks on Turkey or Jordan, or attacks on rebels near borders that accidentally spilled out of Syrian territory.

We were fretting about how to get samples out of Syria and into the hands of credible testing labs so that the U.S. would not be the only voice claiming instances of use.  We were fretting about theft of weapons or chemicals by rebels or accidental attacks by rebels on CW sites and whether it was more dangerous to reveal these sites to the rebels or to keep them hidden.

We were fretting about terrorist access to weapons, materials, and experts and clandestine removal across borders.  We fretted about how to secure the weapon stocks if Syria began to dissolve and how to destroy chemicals and precursors onsite to keep them out of the hands of anyone who might use them in the chaos of a disintegrating state.  There were not very many good answers to these concerns. 

But, as we see now, these are non-events.  These are dogs that did not bark, and most of them will never bark again, thanks to the agreements reached last fall and the enormous, enormous international effort to make sure that they were actually carried out. 

We should not lose sight of how much more complicated, how -- I'm sorry -- how much less complicated is the larger Syria problem, however complex and harrowing and -- and humanly tragic it is, how much less complicated it is with the significant diminishment of the wide range of chemical threats we faced only 18 months ago.

So what were the key characteristics of this success?  I would suggest that they -- that the main characteristics of our work here were uncertainty, creativity, and cooperation.  In all my years in government, I have never worked on such a whiplash-inducing file.

Beginning with the bizarre early reports in July 2012 that Assad was using chemical weapons, not in scuds or with rockets that we knew we had, but in small-scale, improvise devices against his own people.  Consider the truths that turned out not to be true.  And I put all of these in quotations.  `We have decided to strike Syria to prevent further use of CW'  Nope.  `Russia can't bring Assad to the table.'  Well, they did.  `There's no way we can move these chemicals in a war zone.'  Well, we did that too.  `We're going to destroy these chemicals in Albania.'  Nope. 


`NATO will provide maritime security.'  Not so much, although, members of NATO did.  `The Syrian materiel will all be removed by December 31st, 2013. ' Didn't meet that.  But the uncertainty of these events were creating enormous political and technical challenges.  In this uncertain context, we need creativity.

The story of The Field Deployable Hydrolysis System is truly an amazing contribution to the success of the Syrian operation.  Thanks to the foresight and risk tolerance of former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Undersecretary Frank Kendall, the Pentagon team had -- had invented a solution that because -- that they became a reality when we suddenly found ourselves in a position last October to begin putting together the elimination process. 

And we turned from land -- as we turned from land-based installations to maritime platforms for destruction, the team from the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center figured out how to take equipment engineered for two football fields and literally rack and stack it onto four decks of a repurposed cargo ship.

My visit to the MV Cape Ray last fall was among the most impressive and, frankly, upbeat of all of my WMD tourism experiences.  And I thank the Pentagon for having what we needed when we needed it. 

Creativity also came into play in The Hague.  This -- The Chemical Weapons Convention and the OPCW have proven even more flexible and capable than we thought we would need them to be when they were invented.

In addition to the -- to the significant technical and political tools that are -- were baked in to these tool -- these institutions in serving this mission so well, member states were able to use the CWC and the OPCW to invent the concept of an expeditionary joint U.N.-OPCW mission, which worked in some pretty harrowing circumstances and at great personal risk.

The -- we were able to launch Fact-Finding Mission, similarly at some personal risk to the people involved.  We were able to -- to figure out how to pull funds from dozens of countries to cover cost associated with destroying serious chemical weapons.  And the interlocking decisions of the OPCW Executive Council and U.N. Security Council Resolution 1218 provide unprecedented access to the highest levels of international decision-making for chemical weapons issues.

The role of the OPCW highlights another characteristic of the Syria's CW removal and destruction project, and that's the theme of cooperation.  That litany of fretting I mentioned earlier ended up bearing fruit, even though none of those truly dire concerns came to pass.  The quiet consultations with Russia, led by the National Security Council and the Russian Security Council, proved invaluable in creating a common understanding of the shape of the -- of the Syrian chemical weapons threat and in the personal familiarity that the individuals had that became the basis of the September 2013 elimination framework. 

The engagements with Syria's neighbors and with European partners about threat assessment and consequences and consequence management provided the basis of support across regions for our positions in proposals in the OPCW Executive Council and the U.N. Security Council.  And the U.N. OPCW Joint Mission provided a critical platform for coordination and cooperation among so many players in the removal and destruction process.

Here is where the force of international norms and structures really matters, as well as the availability of threat reduction tools and techniques.  The most compelling forces we were able to apply to Syria to get them to move their materials were Russia's impatience, the course of criticism in the E.C. and the U.N. Security Council, and the quiet cajoling and problem solving of the U.N. OPCW Joint Mission.  These cooperative compliance tools did not exist 18 months ago.  And they are the reason we are as far as we are.

Now, much has been said about the enormous and extremely skillful and productive diplomatic effort that underpinned this entire project.  But without the cooperation of the Danes, the Norwegians, the Italians, the Spaniards, the Fins, the Germans, the U.K. and yes, even China and Russia, we would not be where we are on the removal effort.

Numerous other countries have contributed funds and expertise.  Others have stepped up their own readiness to detect and respond to a CW attack or release.  The world and the Syrian people are safer as a result.  There is no clearer example of this administration's leadership in working with other countries and with multilateral institutions to achieve common goals.

As we move from the success of the removal destruction prep phase of the Syria CW challenge to what I refer to as the accountability phase, these same three elements uncertainty, creativity, and cooperation will also define our ability to achieve success.  We continue to see uncertainty about discrepancies between our knowledge of the Syrian CW program, the declaration submitted by the -- the Syrian government.

Some of these could be explainable by the speed with which Syria was required to submit its declaration compared with the years that some countries take to prepare their CWC submissions.  But other less benign explanations are also of concern.  Our concerns include accountability -- accountancy of materials, undeclared agents and munitions, undeclared sites, and programmatic inconsistencies.  We are also profoundly skeptical of the Syrian claims that no records exist to corroborate its declaration. 

The OPCW's declaration assessment team and I want to point out this is yet another bureaucratic innovation that has been incredibly powerful.  They've been making progress, and Syria has, in fact, provided several updates to its original declarations.

But fundamentally, the technical secretariat of the OPCW is unable to verify that all of the Syrian chemicals, munitions, and facilities have been declared and eliminated.  This is a profound statement of uncertainty  and that -- one that poses continued risks of further use.

There are those who will say that there will never be enough information to achieve complete certainty with respect to Syria's chemical weapons program.  And there is some truth in this.  It is very difficult if not impossible to prove a negative.  But the Assad's regime can -- regimes continued behavior and contravention of its obligations under the CWC and under 2118, demands that we press for as much certainty as possible.

As we look to the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Ypres in 2015, we must all be extremely distressed and haunted by the fact that the only country in the history of the CWC to have used chemical weapons against its people is Syria under the leadership of the Assad regime.

This should give us pause as we remember -- as we prepare to remember the World War I battlefield from which decades past have led to the international community to say enough, to say that this form of warfare was too abhorrent for any context in the horrors of war. 

One area where we have no uncertainty, however, is that chemicals weapons continue to be used in Syria.  The second report of the OPCW's fact-finding mission presents a compelling set of findings and conclusions from witnesses and victims' accounts and other evidence.  We have no doubt that these findings and conclusions point to the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons in attacks against opposition-controlled towns in northern Syria during April and May of this year.  The consistent -- the consistent presence of helicopters in these accounts unequivocally points to the Syrian government as the perpetrator of these attacks. 

The fact-finding mission is now addressing additional allegations of attacks in August and September.  The use of chlorine or any other toxic chemical as a weapon in Syria is a clear breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Security Council Resolution 20 -- 2118.

Regrettably, the Executive Council has been unable to reach consensus on condemning the Syrian government's continued use of chemical weapons and holding it accountable under the convention.  The extraordinary nature of this situation and the circumstances under which Syria joined the convention demands creativity.

How can member states in the OPCW itself use the tools of the treaty to clarify the uncertainty surrounding Syria's declaration?  How can we present a more compelling case of the realities of ongoing use by the Syrian regime to overcome the silence of too many countries in The Hague?

And let us be under no illusions.  Others are showing creativity as well.  I worry greatly about what non-state actors maybe taking away from this situation, despite the limited military effectiveness of Syria's CW use against insurgents, we've seen an uptick in interest in CW among terrorist groups, some associated with fighters in Syria.

Do they believe these weapons will be useful?  Do they believe the international community will tolerate their use?  Does the heightened visibility of chemical weapons over the last year attract attention or ambition that didn't exist before?  Does the improvised nature of the weapons used in -- by the regime lower their perceived barriers to acquisition or use by terrorists?  Might the terrorists gain access to undeclared elements of Syria's CW stockpile? 

We all have a stake in making sure the answers to these questions are no. 

As with the removal of -- as with the removal destruction phase, the only path to accountability for Syria's chemical transgressions is in cooperation.  Each nation has a vested interest in the outcome of Syrian behavior.

We each share a collective responsibility, an obligation to uphold the international standards and norms embodied in the convention that unequivocally bans the use of chemical weapons, as well as having any chemical weapons program.

In this regard, we actually share a common vision with partners around the world, whether in Latin America, Africa, Asia, or elsewhere.  We collectively believe that our world should be free of the scourge of chemical weapons.  We are bound by an international commitment to these principles, a global code of conduct.

Until the Assad regime addresses these open issues and ceases all continued chemical weapons use, we must all remain vigilant.  Can we trust the Assad regime?  Trust is earned and earned through sustained experience and action.  The Assad regime's action give us no reason to take it at its word alone, which is why we must continue to strongly support the OPCW and its internationally chartered and mandated mission to get to the bottom of the Assad regime's behavior and residual capability.

We all have a responsibility to support the OPCW in this regard.  Unfortunately, six states currently remain outside the convention and are therefore on the sidelines of this critical international responsibility.  We will continue to prioritize the universalization of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and we are conducting outreach to these states urging them to join as rapidly as possible and to lend their voice and their authority to this global imperative.

So whether in the removal destruction phase of the Syria CW crisis or in this current accountability phase, we see that in the face of uncertainty, creativity and cooperation are required.  By remaining firm and holding the Assad regime accountable, the international community honors the memory of all victims of chemical weapons use and the norms against such use, be it by states or non-state actors.

Thank you for your work on this issue, and I look forward to a rich discussion.


KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Laura, appreciate that very much.  And I think we do have some questions in the audience, and we have microphones that will come to you.  And if you could just state your name and your question. 

I think Shervin, we have one right here in front.

ZANDERS:  Thank you very much for your presentation.  I'm Jean Pascal Zanders, The Trench, Belgium. 

In your listing of the assistance that was provided in the elimination of Syria's chemical weapon capacity, what struck me when looking at the list was that not a single state from the Middle East has actually contributed to that effort. 

What -- what are your thoughts in this -- on this?  And, related to that, does it say anything about the prospects of getting a zone free of non-conventional weapons in the Middle East?

HOLGATE:  Well, I'm not gonna touch that last question because...


... not my job, as they say, which means not my knowledge either.  I -- I was not able in -- in a presentation like this to list the numerous countries who contributed in cash to the -- to the trust fund.  And I'm confident that in that list, you will find some Middle East countries.  I don't remember exactly which ones.  Someone is shaking her head vigorously there, so the -- I think it would -- I think you'd might be able to say it would be a challenge for them to have been involved in the operational phase of the activity. 

So actually, that list that I've mentioned were the countries that had been, you know, actively engaged, I think that's -- that that group speaks for itself.

But certainly, the Middle East has benefited from the removal of this threat.  And we hope to see further action there on universalization, on continuing to be ready to deal with any negative outcome that could happen from, you know, to the degree there are still things there to be helpful in managing that threat.

KIMBALL:  All right.  I have a question to ask Laura unless there's another one. 

All right.  While you all think about it, let me just ask you Laura a couple quick questions.  One is to maybe expand a little bit more on the funding sources that help make some of the early efforts possible.  To my understanding, the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund was a core element that made some of the early work on the Cape Ray and other things possible, and the Nunn-Lugar authorities made it possible for the administration to move some moneys around.

I mean, if you could explain that.  Because I think, you know, part of the -- the story that you're telling is about how worked on years before laid the foundation for what -- what happened in just a few short weeks. 

And then you talked about the fretting, the circles of fretting.  Simon Limage alluded to that in his presentation earlier this morning.  I'm just wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about one of the other things I would expect your team is fretting on given your long work with the -- the Nunn-Lugar Threat Reduction Program, which is the -- the future of the engineers, some of the scientist in the Syrian program who are still -- how shall we say -- you know, out of reach at the moment given the political situation?

You know, what thoughts do you have about what the international community can do in that regard, and particularly what Russia might be able to do as one of the countries with some better access to those -- to those people.

HOLGATE:  Good questions.  And I'm -- my -- because it happened six months ago, which is a lifetime ago in -- in my memory space, I'm -- you're -- I mean, I have to think a little hard about the -- the funding sources.  The -- certainly, we were starting from a very good point in terms of having both the tradition of the threat reduction concept and the -- and the funding streams to support it in multiple agencies.

The Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund was able to do some initial work in -- especially because we could move -- you know, access that fairly quickly, in purchasing gear and equipment in -- for work inside Syria, and doing so in a manageable way from an export control and -- and other constraints point of view. 

Because recall Syria was under sanctions, is under sanctions.  So we needed a few creative OFAC licensing processes and other such things to be able to send, you know, things like ISO containers and forklifts and big trucks to be used inside Syria by Syrians without the expectation that we would get them back.

So that the -- but I do not believe that the NDF actually supported the Cape Ray.  I mean, the Pentagon had the resources to do that.  And they -- that was under the CTR funding largely.  But also, the initial funding was not CTR funding.  The -- the funding to build the little, you know, the actual devices, which were only about $5 million a piece.  The actual field -- the field deployable hydrolysis units were pretty cheap.

It's putting them on a -- on a ship, having the ship, you know, carve  circles in the Mediterranean for several months, paying an incredibly crack, brave and talented team to be ready to go on a moment's instance -- on a moment's notice not knowing when that moment's notice was going to come.  You know, that all adds up pretty quick.

And I think in the end between the equipment that was provided inside Syria and the Cape Ray operation itself, CTR ended up bearing about $160 million worth.  But also, we had EUCOM providing some of the naval security resources for the Cape Ray once it got underway along with other NATO allies who helped provide a security cordon around the operating ship.

And -- so there were -- there were multiple strains of DOD money that were flowing towards this -- towards this process.  And then there were -- you know, other departments contributed not necessarily in financial ways.  But Jerry Epstein is here from DHS when we were having conversations about how do you bring that portion of the materiel that was going -- that is being eliminated in Texas.

We had a lot of interesting questions with the Department of Transportation, with DHS, in terms of the coastal security issues, in terms of the chemical, you know, just basic chemical security issues.  And so, as I mentioned earlier, we also had some export control issues, so Commerce and Treasury were definitely involved.

So, it's a -- when I bring -- when I -- there was period there.  When I was convening Syria IPCs, it was a lot of people around one table.  But almost everybody, you know, had to be there for that particular, you know, part of the conversation.  So, it really, I mean if you -- everybody loves to talk about whole of government, this was it, and importantly so, it would not have been doable.

And as I give credit to government colleagues, I have to give huge credit to the intelligence community.  I have never had a more detailed and actionable set of information made available as we did in this process. 

Obviously, I can't say much about the nature of that in this room.  But I had -- I had not understood on any other effort, you know, from personal experience, exactly how good we are at knowing things and finding things out and telling people, most importantly, telling people in time for them to do something with it.  And so, that's been a special joy working on that.

And Brian Lessenberry, who's now taking a well-deserved rest or a different work at CSIS, was just an amazing partner in that -- in that regard. 

To your point about the human factor, the wetware, if you will, the -- you're perfectly right to note that this is not a set of folks that the U.S. has access to by -- in order to apply our well-used and very effective set of tools that we have against this issue.

We do understand that the Syrian government, the Assad regime, has every interest in keeping those people at home and well employed.  So this is not really the same notion as we had in the early days of the collapse at the Soviet Union, for example, or even in the tail end of the Iraqi program.  The -- the Syrian government is keeping a tight rein on these folks, and it is giving them other things to do as far as we are aware.

So it may become an issue.  And certainly, we don't want to keep our -- take our eye off of that ball.  But it's not -- it's not as concerning as, frankly, I thought it was gonna be a year ago.  And so I hope that continues to be the case.

KIMBALL:  All right.  All right.  I think we've got a question in the middle Shervin.  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Agla Mosqueda  currently with the Consortium for Terrorism Studies.  So, I have a question about scientist engagement on a slightly different aspect.  I believe a number of us are running programs in the Middle East, in Southeast Asia trying to prevent scientist radicalization and promote good practice culture.

But would you be able to speak about the measures of how could we get scientists from a greater variety of countries to engage internationally? Because I believe when we had put in together the U.N. mission to -- you know, to send to Syria, when the resources from certain countries with great expertise were politically less desirable, it became problematic just because of how many scientists do we have on the payroll from countries that would be perceived as politically neutral on the issue.

And I understand that not so many scientists sign up for that or are recruited.  So perhaps we have a barrier of awareness that they just don't have the option to participate.  Do we perhaps have the barrier of countries' willingness to send them there?  Is there perhaps a knowledge barrier or a different standard?  So what obstacles do you see to that international engagement, and how could we advance that?  Thank you.

KIMBALL:  And as you think about that one, do we have any other question in the audience right now?  You want to raise your hand.  Yes, sir?  Why don't we take one more and...


QUESTION:  Hello, I'm Larry Hoffman from Johns Hopkins SAIS.  I'd like to ask you a little bit about, if you could expand a little bit on the cooperation that you were able to get with the Russian Federation on this mission, particularly given the recent difficulties that we've had in cooperation with Russia and Russian support for the Assad regime.  It seems to have been an incredibly successful diplomatic effort to get their cooperation on this issue.

And I wonder, A, how you were able to do that and are there any positive signs from this that -- that might help us sort of reset the reset, if you like, and maybe get back on a more positive track on other security, international security issues with the Russian Federation?

HOLGATE:  Two good questions.  And I'm going to be disappointing on the first because it's a really interesting question, and it's one I have given zero thought to before you asked it.  So thank you for posing it.  Thank you for thinking about it yourself.  I think you've identified already in the question you asked a number of the obstacles that are there.

I will say my observation, as someone who's worked in and around the scientist engagement mission space for 20 odd years, that it's my observation that engagement for engagement's sake is not very attractive.  And so, the question really is back into the community about what are the subject matters -- subject matter that would bring scientists together.  The subject matter might not have to be specifically on the thing you want to talk about.  But it has to be interesting to them so that you can, so that they will convene in a serious way around a serious topic.

And then, you know, can you then find a way to link that -- that scientific topic to the broader question that you're trying to get access to, or use that as a honey pot to find out who the cool people are and then engage them separately, you know, in different ways depending on where they're from.  I mean, it's a great, great challenge to think about.  And I encourage you to continue to think about that.  But -- but it's engagement to what end?

And there's the end of countering radicalization that may be the policy end , but that's not why they're gonna get together.  They're gonna get together because of science that they're interested in doing and with people that they're interested in doing it with.

And so, the challenge is to figure out what novel or what -- what value add your programs can create in that regard that they can't find elsewhere that then comes with a side order of counteract radicalization or the programming in that case.  So thank you for the question.

On Russia, this was actually -- the cooperation began well before the Crimea crisis began.  And in fact, the very first meetings we had with the Russians on the -- this topic came from a Russian initiative to try to develop closer ties between the Russian National Security Council and the National Security Council. 

And the -- which was an innovative thing.  I mean, it's a -- I've learned, you know, more from my Nuclear Sherpa, Nuclear Security Summit Sherpa work that very few countries actually have National Security Council like structures in terms of things that sit, you know, and support directly the head of state and have a coordination responsibility.

The Russians were trying to transform the Russian Security Council into more of that kind of role inside the Russian government, provided some greater accountability over their internal governance processes, and they thought that one way to do that would be to find a partnership with us and to pick some topics that we might have a shared interest in.

QUESTION:  And when was that...

HOLGATE:  And this was in 2012.


HOLGATE:  So certainly, we were all worried about the Syria stuff.  But it hadn't come, you know, quite so drastically into the forefront of awareness.  And so, the -- we open -- we put Syria chemical weapons on our list of things we'd like to have an NSERC dialogue about.  And the Russians accepted that. 

And so, I went over -- I was part of the first two consultations and was very reassured that the first -- the first consultation involved a senior general in the Russian military.  And that was in the -- that was kind of in the broad discussion of what are we all going to talk about in where we had some -- some real traction in terms of how -- what we might -- what we might say to each other about the Syrian program.

And there we were still thinking about, you know, attacks outside Syria or, you know, the cross-border nature of the problem.  We weren't thinking about the interior part of the problem that came to be the dominant issue over time. 

And then we met -- we had an initial meeting in Helsinki in December of 2012, a great time to go to Helsinki, I'll tell you that.  And it was -- in some ways, it was old home week  because we had populated our -- I mean, it was led by the National Security Council.  But we had each populated our sides with our true experts from across the interagency.  And as it turns out, the experts on the U.S. side and the Russian side has spent years working together on projects like Soucha .

And so, they were, you know, congratulating each other and, you know, greeting each other warmly on either side of the table.  And the -- we included each -- some folks who are intelligence community, and there was a common language that they were able to find. 

So it turned out to be extremely constructive, very business-like very substantive.  And we did a lot of kind of conceptual brush clearing of, you know, understanding how each of us talks about the challenge, you know, clearing up some vocabulary issues even that needed to be clarified and to -- so we were sure that we -- when we were talking about things, we were talking about the same things.

And it turns out that those were the two teams that gathered in Geneva after the initial framework was being or as the framework was being hammered out.  And that enabled them to -- to move seamlessly into, `OK, we know what the problem is.  We've -- you know, we've already designed the problem.  We've already, you know, designed the -- or we have a common picture of the problem.  We have a common picture of the challenges we're gonna face.  How do we put this together?  What's a rational time line?  What kind of technology do we need to think about?'

We'd already briefed them, for example, on the field deployable hydrolysis system.  They knew we had it.  We'd told them what it was like.  So it was -- really without that, it would have been really hard to have come to a quick resolution.  The confidence that the -- the aggressive time lines in the framework were realistic and were meetable and that we both had a stake in them being met.

So that comes to the second half of your question of the motivation.  It wasn't diplomacy that brought Russians to the table.  It was self-interest.  They work with us on this type of issue, but also non proliferation and threat reduction issues more broadly because they share the need to do it.

And that this is -- so in that case, this has been, you know, an especially bright part of our work, but also really part of a 25 year history of being able to protect our joint work on WMD threat reduction from the vicissitudes of -- of the politics of the day.  And while we're certainly undergoing the greatest threat to -- or the greatest challenge in our relationship since the end of the Cold War now, we are still having constructive conversations. 

And as the Crimea crisis heated up, Rose Gottemoeller and Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov were very explicit with each other that we will keep this conversation out of that other fight.  We are having that fight. It is a fight that we're both committed to one way or the other, for better or for worst.  But this is too important to be constrained by that.  We both have an interest in getting that stuff out of Syria, getting it destroyed, and doing so on as fast a scale as possible.

The challenge in the Syria case is that, as we move from that phase to what I'm calling the accountability phase, U.S. and Russia interest begin to diverge.  And while there are still constructive conversations going on, you know, the -- Syria is still Russia's client state.  They're still interested in protecting Assad. 

They're still interested in protecting their arm sales.  They're still interested in protecting their port access to the Mediterranean.  They're still -- and they're not interested in having Assad be brought up before the International Criminal Court or any other personal accountability system that would threaten that.

And so there -- at some point as we -- as we try to get in -- get to the bottom of the discrepancies, declaration discrepancies issues, we're gonna -- our -- our ways will part.   Our -- our interests will part. 

And so, while we're still now seeing, the Russians are saying, yes, there are still some -- you know, the Syrians need to do better, there's some unanswered questions, this whole business about there were never any documents.  I mean, that's just -- that's just silly.  The Russians know that's silly.

And so, they're still -- I think we've got a little bit more to do there.  But I do not expect to see the same kind of alignment of interests as we go forward as we have had in the last several months.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Question or two more this afternoon?  My -- my -- my crack staff doesn't have any questions?  I can't believe it.  Paul, why don't you give it a shot?  And you might have to wait a second for the microphone to come up.

WALKER:  Yeah.  Thanks, Laura for a nice presentation and thanks for coming today, too. 

I want to ask you about trying to handle the demilitarization of the Syrian chemicals and the fact that a lot of people were surprised that our European allies all turned us down in some way to do it on land, which I think would have been perhaps a little easier and maybe even less risky than at sea.

And I'm wondering, do you think -- you know, why did that happen?  Did we -- did we lack sufficient initiative or time?  Or was it a too rushed process?  Or was it just predictable that -- that the ambitious schedule, you know, would have overrun all their environmental and regulatory concerns and all the rest?  Could -- could we have done more in some fashion to do it on land in Germany or Italy or Albania or wherever we want to do it?

HOLGATE:  Well, I think you hit a -- hit the answer in your last option there, which is we needed -- we needed a firm, yes, we will do it within, you know, like weeks, in some cases, days.  As we -- as we got towards the second, third, and fourth ask, the amount of time we had to get a yes shrank and shrank and shrank.  And we started with the ones that we thought would be easier, so it was kind of a, you know, backwards way of doing it.  The ones -- the fourth and fifth were harder ones, but we had less time to give them.

But I think it's just that -- that they had, you know, either a combination of lack of political will to find ways around or through the -- the complex regulations.  And I don't want to be critical.  Ours -- I mean, I led a process to get us through ours, too.  I mean, this is -- this is not easy.  But we have national security waivers on some of our wrecks.  And if you -- if you know how to -- how to maneuver that, you can avoid having those stand in the away of a truly, you know, national security mission.

And I don't know whether those waivers or back doors or whatever you want to call them exist in European context or not.  But, it was -- I think there was also a large chunk of misperception, even among officials, about the nature of the materials. 

I mean, we talk about them as Syria chemical weapons.  They were absolutely on the schedules of the CWC.  But only the mustard was mixed.  Everything else was no more toxic or dangerous to a human handling it than the standard industric -- industrial toxins that were already being destroyed in many of these countries in industrial facilities.

And so, you know, chemical weapons, oh my god.  It -- I think it made it harder for politicians to look for those, you know, speedier ways to -- to get the problem done.  And so, you know, maybe that was a branding problem, but it was inevitable. 

I mean, they are -- they are on the list.  They are banned.  You know, we're gonna call them chemical weapons.  And, you know -- and there's all kinds of good reasons for that, too.  But I think we paid a price for that lack of -- lack of understanding and lack of kind of rational risk comparison.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Yes, question over here on the eastern side of the room please.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Thank you for a fascinating presentation, Samira Daniels .  I - in -- throughout the day, we've heard occasional statements that other countries don't exhibit that same kind of urgency perhaps that the United States does in, you know, pursuing certain goals and objectives?

Do you see -- do you think -- do you agree with that, with that -- that don't ?  And obviously, it's -- contingent  on different countries.  But in terms of the Middle East and South Asia, do you feel that, you know, you're -- that Westerners are more sort of scientifically driven and procedural and they are less so?  I'm just curious what your opinion is.

HOLGATE:  Well, I haven't sat there in The Hague during the E.C. meetings personally to kind of, you know, see how the tone and the body language and everything goes.  But I think all you have to do is look at the -- at either the whip count or the failed attempts to get consensus around, you know, some more meaningful statements by the E.C. to see that no, in fact, we are not convincing everybody.

You know, there's -- there are all kinds of politics that go into a consensus-based process, and particularly, a consensus-based process with regional groupings who themselves value internal consensus in solidarity.  And so, any -- I mean, we've all had this experience where you're talking to one country and you, you know, can -- you know, look at this fact-finding mission.  Look at what they found.  There is no other possible explanation for what this is.  Oh well, but there's questions and, you know.

But they'll -- and that's what they'll say in public, even if in private they might say, `Yeah, you know, you're right.'  And so, there is -- this is a much bigger problem and one that I known you work on of, you know, free riders in a system where -- where these countries are all getting the benefits of the bureaucratic technical and other heavy lifting that a certain number of countries are doing.

And they're not even taking hard votes.  They're not even -- you know, like, saying brave things out loud in many cases.  And so, it's a -- it is a challenge to try to -- to move forward.  What that means, though, is where you do have consensus, it's especially powerful and definitely, you know, meaningful in the fact that you could get that consensus in -- in September of 2013 and, you know, keep the -- keep the pressure up even if it wasn't consensus pressure all the time was, you know -- that -- that was the most important consensus. 

And -- but we've not been able to assemble it since then.  And I'm -- I'm personally just amazed by this that the fact-finding mission results did not create this outrage among other countries.  And -- but it just -- you know, it just kind of washed away.  And I don't know what's -- at this point, I don't know what it's going to take to -- to re-coalesce that consensus moment we had in September of 2013.

KIMBALL:  All right.  And perhaps that's also -- I mean, due to the numbing effect politically, psychologically of the casualty counts and -- and the war that goes on.  And so, I would say that's probably another human factor in the equation.

HOLGATE:  I wouldn't disagree with all of that, Daryl.

KIMBALL:  All right.  We've got time for one more question.  And we'll turn it over to the editor of the wonderful journal, Arms Control Today, Dan Horner.  I'm biased, of course.


QUESTION:  Thank you for the presentation.  First, a clarification on the Russian issue.  You said you expected some time in the future the -- the ways are gonna part.  Is that already happening?  Because some of the Russian statements seem to indicate that the removal of the materials from Syria was a high priority, but now, we can sort of go back to business as usual.  Is that -- so is that actually already happening?  That's my first question? 

And then I wonder if you could talk about, in your deliberations and concerns, how much you weigh the possibility of future use by countries of chemical weapons versus acquisition and use by -- by sub-national groups and how does that weigh?  And how do you assess those and which is the greater threat?  Or what do you spend more time thinking about and worrying about and staying up at night thinking about?  Thanks.

HOLGATE:  Well, I get to give you a very bureaucratic answer to that question because that's Jon Wolfsthal's problem now.  That's not my problem, the state problem.  My problem is the non-state actor problems.  So we both stay up at late, late at night. 

But the -- but I've -- I mean, and I'll -- honestly, I do -- I do think that the, you know, extremely unsettled nature around the Iraq-Syria border with the nature of the terrorist threat in that area is higher than what I would see in the near term from state actors.

But, I think it comes back to this question of -- and here's something where it would be nicer if it were more than my voice saying this -- is chemical weapons were militarily ineffective in Syria.  I mean, whatever it was that Assad thought he was doing, it didn't change in any fundamental way:  how the rebels held land, how the rebels recruited, how the rebels fought.  I mean, it was -- it was tragic, and it was awful, and it was, you know, illegal and -- to be -- you know, shameful.

But it was not -- it didn't do a good military job.  And that's how we got to the CWC, after all, was the generals finally realized these are not -- these weapons don't work for what we need them to do.  It wasn't only the moral outrage of publics and, you know, the advocacy of policy people.  It was a military judgment that these things didn't work.

And we need to make sure that that continues to be a judgment of generals in states of -- and in terms of getting at that state challenge.  The non-state actor challenge, it's a similar judgment of efficacy, but now you don't have the kind of, you know, structured military process that comes along with the state actor.

And so, you -- you have, you know -- it's a much more atomized process.  You can end up with individual, you know, military leaders who have a particular perspective that, you know, is not informed by civil society and policy advisers.  And so, it's a -- it's -- the barrier could be, you know, in that case, is a little lower if they had access to the -- to the materials and the means of delivery.

The first question, I think here I would make a bit of a distinction between the private conversations with Russia and Russia's public utterances.  Because even though, yes, now, they are still -- they are saying, you know, `Yay, Syria.  They did their job.  Let's move on,' the -- they were also making similar statements all throughout the removal process. 

I mean, they were highlighting, you know, the progress made and under -- underselling the work yet to be done.  And yet, even though that was their public posture, behind the scenes, you know, they're saying, `Hey, get on with things.  We gotta finish this.  This is not helping anybody. This is not helping you, Mr. Assad.'

And so, I think it's -- the current trend is not -- in public statements, it's not necessarily that much of a difference from what we saw before.  But over time, the -- the public version of their -- of their posture will -- will become more aligned with the -- probably their private version as we come into areas where their interests and Syria's interests are more aligned, and, in particular, in making sure that, you know, that Syria does -- is not -- you know, that the claims that Syria that are made about the attacks in August of 2013 do not -- you know, are not attributed to Syria because that's -- that's not in Russia's interest that that happened.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, to close out the session, I just wanted to thank you for your hard work and that of your team and the many people in this room who are part of this operation.  You know, there's an old saying -- I don't know where it comes from, "Victory has a thousand fathers and mothers," of course. 

This is -- and, you know, an episode that I think illustrates, you know, how many different people in different places over time dating back years that made this mission what it was.  There's still more work to be done. 

And there is -- speaking more work to be done, just -- if you'd just offer your thoughts very quickly about how the United States, how the world can use the April 2015, 100th anniversary of the Ypres attack as another way in which to reinforce the norm.

I heard about that this morning.  I think it's an opportunity for all of us to try to reinforce this norm, which is -- is strong but, of course, needs reinforcing.  So, I hope that as you -- you've got so many things coming down your pike; I hope at some point you all can think about that and work with us and others to try to use that opportunity.

So, please everyone join me in thanking Laura Holgate for being here today.


All right.  All right.  And as I said, we are running out of time here.  We're running actually on schedule, but about to close out.  And I just wanted to offer a few quick words of thanks to several people here who helped to make this event possible. 

I mean, first of all, I wanted to thank all of our excellent speakers today from all over the world.  I was blown away by some of these presentations, which took a lot of time and thought and energy to condense a lot of complex lessons and observations into a short bit.  So thank you all. 

Thanks everybody in the audience for your time, effort, and attention to come here. 

And I want to thank a couple of people and my staff, in particular Tim Farnsworth, our communications director, for kicking me in the pants at times to make sure that we're on schedule and for pulling everything together.  And for Jackie Barrientes  for design work and photography and Shervin Taheran  our project coordinator for this event.

And also of course many thanks to Jonathan Tucker for the inspiration for all of this.  Thank you very much.  We'll see you again at some future point.  We will also -- a final note, we'll have the presentations, the Power Points, as well as the video and eventually a transcript available online at www.armscontrol.org before the holidays. 

Thanks a lot everybody.  See you again.



First Jonathan Tucker Conference on Biological and Chemical Weapon Arms Control. Discussing Syria, OPCW, and history of chemical warfare.

Country Resources:

The Outcome of the Iran Talks and the Next Steps



Wednesday, December 3, 2014
9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

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

Negotiators from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran are racing toward a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program by the Nov. 24 deadline. Many issues, such as establishing a formula that limits Iran's uranium-enrichment capacity, are still to be solved, but both sides of the negotiating table have stressed the need to reach an agreement.

The Arms Control Association and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace host a briefing on the outcome of the negotiations and next steps.

Speakers include:  
  • George Perkovich, Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace;
  • Karim Sadjadpour, Senior Associate, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace;
  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association;
  • Elizabeth Rosenberg, Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Environment, and Security Program, Center for New American Security; and
  • Moderated by Kelsey Davenport, Director of Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association.


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

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  We’re about to get started, so if I could ask everybody to take their seats.

Thank you all so much for joining us today, and thanks of course to the Carnegie Endowment for co-sponsoring this event with the Arms Control Association.  I think it’s a very timely discussion, and I’m certainly looking forward to the remarks from each of our panelists.

Originally, I had hoped that we would be gathered here today to discuss a comprehensive nuclear agreement that was reached.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  And as many of you know, on November 24th, Iran, the United States and its P5+1 partners announced that they were going to extend nuclear talks for a second time.

Under the terms of this second extension, the parties will try and reach a political agreement within four months and then wrap up the technical annexes for the – to complete the comprehensive agreement by June 30th.

However, the length of this extension I think opens the space for critics, particularly in Washington and Tehran, to derail some of the significant progress that has already been made.

However, a good deal certainly still is possible.  The negotiators made progress on some of the most intractable issues in Vienna.  And if both sides are willing to be flexible, they can still get to a good agreement.

So speaking first today about the progress that has been made and the obstacles that remain to be overcome is Daryl Kimball.  Daryl is the executive director of the Arms Control Association.  Previously he served as the executive director of the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers.

Then we will have Karim Sadjadpour.  Karim is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  He previously was an analyst with the International Crisis Group based in both Tehran and Washington, and he’ll be looking more closely at the domestic scene sort of on the Iranian side.

He’ll be followed by Elizabeth Rosenberg.  She is the senior fellow and director of the Energy, Environment and Security Program at the Center of a New American Security. She previously served as a senior adviser at the U.S. Department of Treasury, where one of her key initiatives was to help oversee the tightening of global sanctions on Iran.  And if you missed Liz’s New York Times op-ed from last month, I would suggest you go back and read it.  It was highly relevant to both today’s discussion and the talks and an excellent piece.

And then finally, to close out our panel today, we will have George Perkovich.  George is the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where his research focuses on nuclear strategy and nonproliferation with a concentration on South Asia, Iran and the problem of international justice in the international political economy.  And he will be looking at some of the issues that still remain to be overcome and providing some ideas for how to move forward during the time of the extension.

So Daryl, I’ll turn it over to you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Kelsey.  Thanks, everybody, for being here.  Good morning.

It is certainly disappointing that the P5+1 and Iranian negotiators did not conclude a comprehensive nuclear agreement last month because they appear to have been very close to concluding an agreement.  According to diplomatic sources that we’ve talked to on both sides of the negotiating table, a historic, comprehensive, long-term verifiable agreement is within sight if the two sides act with determination and a bit more flexibility on two or three of the key remaining issues where there are gaps.  If Congress does not, as secretary – as Susan Rice, national security adviser, said last night, if Congress does not blow up the negotiations with a new set of sanctions, I believe it’s a matter of when, not if, Iran and the six powers will conclude this agreement.

Now, the decisions that the two sides still need to make in order to get to yes don’t become easier with time.  A number of us were a bit surprised that they did not use the final day of their period, the 24th, to try to work through the remaining issues, but they decided to spend that time talking about the terms of the extension of the Joint Plan of Action.

The conditions for the negotiations could deteriorate over time, and some of my colleagues will talk about that and how to deal with that.

So I would just say that both sides need to continue to work, not take a long holiday break.  They need to act decisively and with all due speed because the conditions right now are best for resolving these issues.

Now, just a word about what this is about.  OK, what is a good agreement?  We often forget what a good agreement is from a nuclear nonproliferation perspective.  This has to block all of Iran’s potential pathways to nuclear weapons.  As the Obama administration describes it, and I think it’s a good frame, that means the uranium enrichment path has to be blocked, the plutonium route and the clandestine route.  And that means that there need to be sufficient limits on Iran’s capabilities to give the United States and our other international partners sufficient time to detect and disrupt any potential future effort by Iran to pursue nuclear weapons.

So let me, as Kelsey said, in the few minutes I have, review some of the key issues, highlight some of the areas of progress, talk about some of the remaining differences that are out there.

So since last year, since the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action was agreed to, the two sides have worked out solutions on several of the key issues, including some that appeared to be ridiculously difficult a year ago.  For instance, they agree in principle that the design of and the fuel for Iran’s heavy water reactor project at Arak can and should be modified in ways that drastically cut the plutonium production potential of that reactor.  It could – is currently designed to produce enough fuel for about two nuclear bombs a year, if it were fully operational and the fuel were removed and reprocessed, but the modifications and the approaches they’re looking at could reduce that amount by some 95 percent.  They also agree that under a comprehensive deal, Iran would not build the reprocessing facility that you would need to separate the plutonium, the weapons-grade plutonium from that spent fuel.  So there is a solution on the plutonium path that is within sight.  Details need to be worked out.  But they appear to have agreement in principle on the solution.

To guard against the clandestine nuclear weapons path, it’s clear that the two sides agree that Iran can and should implement and ratify additional authorities for the International Atomic Energy Agency, particularly the additional protocol, which would give the agency the authority for short notice inspections of undeclared sites, military, nuclear, whatever the IAEA would deem to be of interest.  The other thing that they both agree to is that Iran should adopt something called Code 3.1 of their safeguards arrangements of the agency, which requires that Iran provides earlier notification about any new projects.  And all of this gives – would give the agency and the international community to ability to promptly detect and disrupt any clandestine effort that Iran might pursue.

On the issue of possible military dimensions, both sides understand that the ongoing IAEA investigation of past Iranian activities with possible and, I would say, probably military dimensions will continue after a comprehensive nuclear deal is reached.  At the same time it’s clear to both sides that major sanctions relief, including many of the UN Security Council-mandated measures tied to that issue, will not be removed until and unless the investigation is concluded.  And the agency has said that that could take some 12 to 18 months, so sometime in 2015, maybe sometime in 2016, if there is sufficient Iranian cooperation.

Now, this is a side note.  You know, there are some members of Congress who are now arguing that without a, quote, unquote, “full explanation” of Iran’s past weaponization efforts, it’s impossible to fully understand its nuclear capability.  It’s always better to understand more about Iran’s past, but it is incorrect to say that without all of the knowledge about the past, we cannot effectively verify what Iran is doing with its nuclear program in the future.  It’s already well-understood, Iran’s nuclear capabilities.  Its past activities are also well-understood by the United States and other Western governments.  It should be assumed that Iran’s scientists have acquired some information, important information for building nuclear weapons.  An admission from Iran that scientists once engaged in working to help build nuclear weapons is not going to erase that knowledge, and such admission is not going to happen.  It’s naïve to think, and I think it’s silly to suggest that Iran issue a mea culpa before the comprehensive nuclear agreement is concluded.  So, you know, realists and all members of the P5+1 understand and agree that the goal is not to extract such admission from Iran about their country engaging in nuclear weapons – work intended for nuclear weapons in the past but to ensure that the IAEA has sufficient information that no such efforts are taking place now or in the future.  And getting to that point is far more likely with a comprehensive agreement than without one.

Now, on uranium enrichment, the two sides have – understand that there is going to be a combination of measures that are necessary, a combination of limits that are necessary to establish verifiable, long-term limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity.  It’s been very difficult for the two sides to come up with the right formula because it has to be sufficient and irreversible enough so as to block Iran from quickly amassing enough fissile material for weapons while at the same time providing Iran with a politically and technically acceptable enrichment capability consistent with its practical needs.

Now, as we’ve said before, I think everyone here in Washington understands Iran’s nuclear fuel supplies needs today are very limited but theoretically could grow in future years.  Its current uranium enrichment capacity involving the 20,000 total centrifuges and the 10,200 operating machines exceeds its practical needs.  And theoretically, they could use the stocks that they have and the machines that they have to amass enough weapons-grade uranium gas sufficient for one nuclear bomb, 25 kilograms, in about two or three months if not detected first.  So the P5+1 have been up until the 24th of November and I think will continue to press Iran to significantly reduce its uranium enrichment capacity for a period of several years.  And that involves a number of different steps, not simply limits on centrifuge numbers.  Those are extremely important, but effective long-term limits on Iran’s overall enrichment capacity will involve several complementary measures.

So for instance, if you were to reduce the number of operating IR1 centrifuges by half, if you were to verifiably disable the centrifuge machines that are installed but not yet operating, if this agreement were to reduce the size of the country’s low-enriched uranium stocks to 200 kilograms and convert it to outside form or remove those stocks entirely to a third country, like Russia, the time it would take Iran to produce enough weapons-grade uranium ex-fluoride gas for one nuclear device would increase from where it is today to about nine to 12 months or more, which is certainly enough time to detect and disrupt any effort by Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

So the two sides are, according to our conversations with people on both sides, in agreement on some of these uranium enrichment-limiting measures but not all of them.  And in particular the uranium enrichment – I should say the centrifuge number is one of the issues that the two sides still remain divided on.  We understand that in the days leading up to November 24th, Iran proposed lowering the number of its operating IR1 machines to at least 8,000 – not sure for how long, and how long matters here, but it – I think it will – it must and can reduce that number even further for a significant number of years in order for the two sides to get to yes.

It is not clear exactly what number the P5+1 are looking for.  And I would urge you all to be very cautious about believing that there is some specific number – you know, 5,557 – that they’ve got to hit because as I’ve said, there are a number of variables that go into this complicated equation to determine how much uranium enrichment capacity Iran has and several different ways to combine these different measures.

Now, what does – what does the P5+1 have to do to get yes and to be flexible?  I think in exchange for a significant additional reduction in the number of operating IR1s, the P5+1 is going to have to be more flexible with respect to the issue of advanced centrifuge machine research.  It is unrealistic to expect that Iran is going to stick with its IR1 centrifuge, a very bulky, unreliable type of machine, for the indefinite future.  This agreement can and should in place verifiable restrictions that block Iran from manufacturing large numbers of advanced centrifuges for production-scale enrichment but would allow Iran, could allow Iran to test and research those machines for the duration of the agreement.

Now, another key issue of – that has divided the two sides has been the scale and the pace of sanctions relief.  You’ve heard and seen the reports from the Iranian side arguing for an immediate lifting of all sanctions in exchange for the very significant nonproliferation measures that Iran is being asked to take on.

Well, some of those measures cannot be immediately lifted because many of them are tied to the UN Security Council sanctions tied to a resolution of the investigation on the possible military dimensions issue.  But there are some things that I think the P5+1 could do to be more persuasive with the Iranians to encourage them to take the steps to limit their enrichment program that are necessary and to get to a win-win solution.

For instance, the EU sanctions that are in place now could be lifted much more quickly, certainly than the United States sanctions.  Maybe Liz can tell us more about that and other issues.  And then after the – after the agreement is concluded, it’s also possible for the P5+1 to lift some of the sanctions that apply to investments in non-nuclear items in Iran, which was part of UN Security Council 1737.  That could be viewed by Iran as a significant win.  It would be something that President Rouhani could pocket.  But it would still give the P5+1 a great deal of leverage to ensure that Iran follows through on its commitments.

So they are close, but there are issues that they still need to bridge.  Its’ going to require that both sides are a bit more courageous than they have been and take some risks.  And in the final analysis, I think this deal, if agreed to along the broad outlines that I described, would be a very good one in the sense that it is going to effectively prevent Iran from pursuing the nuclear weapons path.  We could easily detect any effort to try to break out.  And this agreement would remove a huge security risk from the Middle East for many years to come.

So with that, let me turn it over to Karim for the view from Tehran, so to speak, so –

MS. DAVENPORT:  Thank you, Daryl.

KARIM SADJADPOUR:  Thank you all for coming.  I preface my comments by saying I forgot my eyeglasses, so I can’t see beyond the second row.  And I also preface my comments by saying that I have a much less optimistic perspective than Daryl that we were close to a deal or that we are near a deal, and I really hope that he’s right and I’m wrong.  And I’m giving the view from Tehran, but I think one of the important rules about Iranian politics is that those who know don’t talk, and those who talk don’t know, and by definition, I’m up here on stage, so I’m in the latter category.  (Laughter.)

I – my cliff notes for following Iranian politics is to pay very close attention to what the supreme leader says and pay less close attention to what the foreign minister and the president say.  I think everyone in this room would probably agree that if it were only up to the foreign minister and the president, we would probably would’ve reached a nuclear deal a long time ago, but there’s a reason why we haven’t reached it.

So let me focus on what I would describe as the supreme leader’s three-part strategy for the nuclear talks, and I’ll give them to you upfront and then I’ll go over each one of them.  But part one of the strategy is to support negotiations; part two of the strategy is to undermine the negotiations with impossible red lines; and part three of the strategy is to prepare for unsuccessful negotiations.  So let me start with part one, which is to support the negotiations.

As we’ve seen, there’s been universal support of not only the negotiations, but there’s been universal support of the extensions – the extension of negotiations as well.  I haven’t seen anyone, even amongst the hardliners, come out and oppose the extension of negotiations.  So why would they support the negotiations if they’re not interested in resolving this issue?  I think for two reasons.

Number one is that there is – there is I think a recognition on the part of the leadership, on the part of the leader that Iran’s society overwhelmingly wants to see this deal.  This is a population which is suffering under tremendous economic pressure, and the society – this is one important reason why Rouhani won the presidency, to resolve this issue.  So he doesn’t want to appear to be, in the eyes of the Iranian public, the obstacle to reaching this deal.  So I think it makes very good political sense for him to continue to support negotiations.

The second reason:  I think they learned that during the Ahmadinejad years they gratuitously united the international community against Iran, and this time around, I think, if you continue to support the negotiations, to support diplomacy, the hope is that you split the P5+1 if things fail.  

So let me move on.  My presentation is – has the merit of being brief, although it’s pessimistic.  So I’m going to move on to number two, which is undermine the negotiations with impossible red lines.

The newspaper of note which is, I think, the one many who follow Iran pay close attention to is Kayhan newspaper.  The editor is Hassan Shariatmadari – Hossein Shariatmadari, who was – is someone who was appointed by the leader.  He came out with an editorial shortly after the extensions, calling for – saying Iran’s red line was the immediate lifting of all sanctions.

And this is an interesting twist, in contrast to the previous two decades, when the supreme leader and hard-line officials in Tehran used to praise sanctions.  They would – they will praise sanctions and say, we welcome sanctions because it forces us to become self-sufficient.

And so now they say the red line is the immediate lifting of all sanctions.  And I think the leader is smart enough to know that that’s not within the realm of possibilities, an immediate lifting of all sanctions.

We saw prior to the first extension last July that he came out shortly before the July 24th deadline, I believe it was, and said that Iran’s practical needs are 190,000 centrifuges.  That also, I think, came as a surprise to Iran’s negotiating team and undermined the negotiations.  It’s true he didn’t say that we – that Iran needs that overnight, but he said that – you know, in the next five to 10 years.

The other things I would say is that if you’re the supreme leader and you’re really interested in reaching an accommodation with the United States, you would probably refrain from tweeting that Israel should be annihilated shortly before these negotiations are to conclude, and you would probably avoid saying that ISIS was created by the CIA and the Mossad, if you’re really interested in reaching these – in concluding these negotiations.  And I thought it was quite interesting, as an aside, that the leader’s comments about ISIS we know now, in retrospect, came after President Obama’s letter to Khamenei saying that we a mutual adversary in ISIS, and his response has been to say that ISIS was created by the United States.

So why the opposition to a deal?  I have – I teach a class at Georgetown University, and I have a brilliant young guy from Argentina, who’s an engineering student, who is kind of tabulating the costs and benefits of Iran’s nuclear program, and he’s just totally perplexed that – why are they doing this?  You know, why do you cannibalize your main source of income, which is oil and gas, to pursue a nuclear program, which can at best provide 2 percent of your energy needs?  It doesn’t make much economic sense.

But I would argue, from the perspective of the leader, looking at it from a more macro perspective, not just the nuclear deal, but that the political risks of a deal with America outweigh the economic risks of no deal with America.  So if you’re the leader, you’ve risen to the top and you’ve sustained your room, you’ve sustained your authority, in this kind of somewhat closed status quo environment, maintaining this antagonism with the United States, I would argue it’s potentially more unsettling to you to reach an accommodation with the United States than it would be to significantly change course and do an economic deal, even though an economic deal certainly would be in the national interests of the population.  

But you know, I’ve always thought that the – kind of the ideological prerogatives of the Islamic Republic and the more parochial interests of the Islamic Republic have always come before the national interests of Iran.  This was the case of the hostage crisis.  The hostage crisis did tremendous damage to Iran’s international standing, to Iran’s economy, but it helped the Khomeinis consolidate power.  The Iran-Iraq War did tremendous damage to Iran’s economy, to Iran’s international standing, but it allowed the revolution to consolidate as well.  So I would argue that they’ve long put kind of their more parochial interests before national interests, and I would put the nuclear issue into that context as well.

And I think this is a fundamental contradiction in much of – much of the analysis of Iran, which is – I would argue, suffers from what we call motivation biases, motivated biases, and that I think most people would agree that if we can resolve this issue diplomatically, it’s in the interests of the United States, it’s in the interests of Iran, it’s in the interests of the region.  

But we make the argument that a deal concluding this nuclear issue, resolving it diplomatically, is going to weaken the hard-liners in Tehran and strengthen the moderates.  Well, it’s the hard-liners in Tehran who have to sign off on a deal.  So why are they going to agree to something which is going to strengthen the domestic adversaries and weaken themselves?  That’s something I think we haven’t managed to really reconcile.

So let me move on to point number three, which is if there is no negotiation, if there is no conclusion, what is the strategy to prepare for unsuccessful negotiations, to prepare for failure?

One of the themes you hear in every single speech from the leader, not just recently but going back the last several years, is this concept of resistance economy. Whereas the Rouhani government is talking about increased oil investment, increased foreign investment, reintegrating with the international economy, the leader is constantly talking about the notion of resistance economy, being self-sufficient, resisting international pressure.  He doesn’t talk about wanting Iran to become part of the G-20.  His argument is that we’re going to prevent the colonial powers from making us buckle, from bringing us to our knees.  That’s a common theme.  And he’s also said – he said in a speech afterwards that is there is no deal, that it’s going to be America which loses the most, not Iran.

Now I think the – a big X factor in these – in these negotiations and a reason why a lot of people are hopeful now is the drop in oil prices and the belief that maybe this precipitous drop in oil prices is going to force Iran to recalibrate its nuclear – its nuclear intentions.  

I would argue that when I first joined Carnegie I tried to do a study which looked at the correlation between – because when I first joined Carnegie in 2007, oil prices were, I believe, over a hundred dollars a barrel.  In 2006 I think they peaked at $147 a barrel.  So if you just look at two data points, you see that when Iran decided to swallow the poison chalice, to end the Iran-Iraq War, oil prices were around $10 a barrel, and Ahmadinejad started to deny the Holocaust and be very, you know, belligerent, oil was well over a hundred dollars a barrel.  So if you just look at these two data points, you say there’s a correlation between the two, because when oil prices are very high, Iran is very kind of hubristic and bombastic, and when oil prices are very low, Iran is keen on compromising.

But the reality is there’s not a great correlation between the two.  I haven’t seen a great correlation between the two.  The reality is that oil prices are not going – no one’s predicting oil’s going to drop to $20 a barrel, and no one is predicting that it’s going to go back up to 140 (dollars).  As long as it stays somewhere in this range between, I would say, you know, 30 (dollars) and 110 (dollars), I haven’t seen a real huge distinction in Iranian behavior.  

And looking at it from the vantage point of the leader, who’s been in power since 1989, oil prices at $70 are still pretty high.  That’s still historic highs for him.

So I think that – let me – let me actually – I’ll just end there and hand it over to George and happy to go until more questions.  Thank you.

MS. DAVENPORT:  OK.  I think we’re actually going to go to Liz next, to talk about sanctions now.  Thank you.


Thanks to the – our sponsors and hosts for having me here.

I’m going to talk about three things – can you hear me in the back?  Yeah.  OK.  I’m going to talk about three things in my remarks:  the first, Iran’s economic situation, picking up – that was a great segue; thank you for that – second, what the interim deal, this extension, provides for sanctions, so what happened new last week; and third, what new sanctions now –imposed by the U.S. Congress, for example – would look like and do to nuclear diplomacy.  

So on the first, Iran’s economy, as you all know, there have been sanctions on Iran for decades.  However, the sanctions of the last several years, since 2012, which have been which have been most punishing and imposed not just by the United States but of course also by the EU and a variety of other countries, they have caused major economic pain for Iran.  They have slashed oil revenues.  Iran has forgone perhaps 110 billion, 135 billion, more than that, even, in income because of these sanctions.  They’re rather – since 2012 highly correlated with the period of most intensive sanctions.  Oil revenue fell by more than half from 2012 to this year.  And also with this – what is as of yesterday a 37 percent slide in oil prices from highs in June, that adds a lot of additional pressure, budgetary pressure, on Iran, because it depends on two things:  one, a lot of oil revenue in its – for its economic planning, its revenue basis, and also a relatively high price for oil, and many analysts agree that it – that breakout – break-even price for Iran is about 140 dollars, which is well above 70-ish dollars, which it is at right now.

Unemployment is high, of course.  In Iran official rates may be around 10 percent.  Unofficial are at least double.  Inflation has been above 20 percent since this past summer.  The value of the currency has plummeted roughly 50 percent, over 50 percent drop, since January 2012.  Foreign investment has dwindled.  It’s very difficult to make payments into Iran or receive payments.  There was a massive GDP contraction in 2012 and 2013.  Estimates for this year are positive, slightly.  We’ll see what happens, based on the oil price slide.  And of course Iran’s foreign exchange reserves of over a hundred billion are primarily locked up abroad, inaccessible to Iran.  

So the poor economic performance in Iran is not only due to sanctions; also corruption and profound domestic economic mismanagement, particularly under President Ahmadinejad, were contributors.  But many people agree – and I certainly subscribe to this theory – that sanctions had a significant role in bringing Iran to the nuclear negotiating table.

So in these nuclear negotiations, what’s the relief that’s been given to Iran?  A number of areas of relief that extend from the beginning in January and will now extend, per the agreement last week.  They include rolling back of various auto industry, petrochemical, precious metals sanctions in both the U.S. and the EU.  The P5+1 committed to no new nuclear sanctions, though they can enforce, and have, existing nuclear sanctions.  

Iran has had access to about $7 billion of its foreign exchange reserves abroad and repatriated those, so far, and about another $700 million per month, going forward, through the remainder of this extension period.  

It’s able to sell oil at roughly a million barrels per day, a bit more if you’re including light quality – light API gravity, so high-quality crude, referred to as condensate.  It can stay steady at that level and doesn’t have to decrease, which would otherwise be required by statute.  

And there’s opportunities for greater facilitation of humanitarian transactions and ability to access replacement airplane parts.  

So recall, of course, that the entire framework for sanctions in the U.S., in the EU, as imposed by a variety of the other countries, is still in place, and the UN sanctions, of course, remain in place during this period.  

This economic relief that’s been granted to Iran, that I just went through isn’t enough to create structural economic reform for Iran, and even while GDP is projected to be slightly positive this year, I think we should compare this more to a confidence-building measure rather than a significant economic reform package.  And so it’s for this reason that Iran still would like to see very significant economic relief and is of course proceeding with negotiations to exact significant sanctions relief, including, of course, as was mentioned by Daryl at the beginning, would like to see a lot of relief up front in in a deal, and for reasons he mentioned, that’s pretty unrealistic.  Of course there needs to be a track record of Iranian concessions and participation – successful participation in a framework agreement and deal before major sanctions relief is offered.  That will take months and years and perhaps until the P5+1 have parallel normalization of diplomatic relations.  

And in any case, UN sanctions relief won’t come immediately.  The concerns that are laid out in the Security Council resolutions that set forth those sanctions won’t be addressed immediately, and also removing those is ceding too much leverage too fast.  I think it’s a total nonstarter.  

So new sanctions.  There’s a lot of momentum on Capitol Hill for new Iran sanctions now.  For some, this is out of a desire to urge Iran to move quickly towards a deal in the framework of nuclear diplomacy.  For some, it appears that this is – the motivation may be more to compel an Iranian capitulation, basically, on its – concession in its enrichment ambitions.  

This has always been a bipartisan effort for new sanctions, and it’s one of the few areas over the last several years where there’s been tremendous, even unanimous agreement about policy.  So it’s – there’s an awful lot of precedent here, and the framework is in place to do new legislation.  It’s possible that we could see something this December and even more likely in January.

So there’s two main areas I would characterize of the legislative efforts for new sanctions that we’re looking at right now on the Hill.  And one is on creating tougher sanctions on Iran, including forcing Iranian oil exports out of the market.  And that’s really the heart of the Kirk-Menendez bill.  That may include triggers to impose the sanctions tied to the deadlines that have now been announced in this most recent extension, so March and June.

This effort, I would say, has legs.  There’s even a majority of support for it, and I think it stands a pretty good chance of being passed.  

The second focus area for legislative efforts now is one more tied to the U.S. administration, specifically interested in tying its hands, in its use of discretion, its waivers that are written into statute, and measures also that could require congressional approval of a deal.  

So I think that it’s less likely that those kind of measures will make it into statute, and it’s certainly not as much of a priority for as many lawmakers as the first focus area I was just describing.

So the administration and those members of Congress opposed to more sanctions now were successful a year ago and in July in opposing new sanction – the imposition of new sanctions.  I think that will be much harder now and certainly in January.  But if that opposition effort is not successful and there are new sanctions, imposed by Congress, what’s the effect on nuclear diplomacy?

I have said publicly – as Kelsey mentioned, in that op-ed that I had last month – that new sanctions may very well be self-defeating, even fatal for talks, notwithstanding the positive intent of some of the backers of them to try and advance nuclear diplomacy and success of a potential deal.

There are three main effects I think that passing new sanctions will have now.  First, it will be seen as an act of bad faith in Iran on the part of the U.S. and a sign that the U.S. negotiating team will not be able to deliver what it promises and that it won’t be able to successfully coordinate with Congress.  That will elicit a response from hard-liners in Iran, a kind of reciprocal action, which could look like violation of the interim agreement, violation of sanctions.  It will escalate tensions.  It could cause the talks to stall or end.  

Secondly, as a unilateral act, I think it will frustrate deeply other members of the P5+1, who placed quite a great deal of emphasis, as has the U.S., of course, on multilateral coordinated approaches to nuclear diplomacy with Iran.  And because these new sanctions will come down quite hard on the countries that still engage in permitted trade with Iran, which includes most of the members of the P5+1, the European partners and China most significantly, of course, it’ll have an economic sting for them, and that will make them less willing to continue to participate in sanctions, and that could seriously jeopardize the effectiveness of sanctions on Iran, which are – that effectiveness is significantly due to the multilateral nature of them.

A third effect is that it – new sanctions won’t stop nuclear enrichment activities, and because of the ill will it could generate, that I’ve just described, there could be less insight into the Iranian nuclear program, much more confusion about the sanctions and how to follow sanctions, more cheating and a much difficult effort of enforcement of them.

So even if there is a trigger in new sanctions and they don’t kick in or ramp up until Iran misses a deadline or violates the terms of the interim negotiations, they can still backfire and cause Iran and other P5+1 members to walk away from these negotiations.  And the message of these sanctions will be seen as punitive and escalatory.  

And of great concern, the hurdle to turn them off and to certify that Iran has met deadlines could be too high.  Iranians may not believe that Congress won’t change the goal posts again, you know, coming up to the period at which these sanctions are supposed to be triggered, even if they do comply with the sanctions – or rather with the terms set out in an interim agreement.

And if these sanctions are mandatory, and they will be, the administration – and the administration therefore can’t create or control an off-ramp for the sanctions, then there is quite a diminished incentive for Iran to show good behavior with the P5+1 if the P5+1 don’t actually control the mechanisms for an off-ramp or for de-escalating these sanctions.  

So to summarize, more tough sanctions now may very well be self-defeating and fatal for negotiations.  They could make Iran and the other P5+1 members leave negotiations and fail to accomplish the meaningful achievements in halting Iran’s ability to create a nuclear weapon that of course these negotiations are designed to pursue.  I’ll stop there.

MS. DAVENPORT:  Great.  Thank so you much, Liz.  


GEORGE PERKOVICH:  Great.  Thanks.  And again, thanks, Daryl and Kelsey and the Arms Control Association.  And thank all of you for coming.  I’ll be brief.  I just want to say a few prefatory things, picking up on what my colleagues said, and then just make one proposal as a possible way forward.  

The first point was I think – I think when Karim said that, you know, the leader, Khamenei, is smart enough to know that the immediate relief of all sanctions is impossible, yeah, but then I’m listening thinking, U.S. leaders should be smart enough to know that Iran won’t accept several of the terms in proposed new legislation too.  So I start thinking that intelligence or IQ doesn’t actually equal comprehension and wisdom.  (Laughter.)  And it’s not limited to one place.

So while I could agree with almost everything Karim said about describing the leader, I could import that description to key actors in Washington as well.  And I think that’s part of the dynamic that we’re dealing with.  So maybe the answer is to have Forrest Gump and Chauncey Gardinar go out and negotiate – (laughter) – and we could get a deal.

I think a second point – and this is something that was alluded to in several of the other comments – is that for a long time I felt that as much as we worry about Iran fulfilling a deal, if there is a deal, and about bringing Iran to a deal, there has always been at least as great a worry on the leader’s side that the U.S. would ever fulfill a deal.  And there’s lots of examples that they can point to, that once you get a deal the actual implementation on the U.S. side has lagged, often because of Congress; that to fulfill longer-term deals it required the expenditure of money and Congress has to authorize it, whether it was North Korea or other instances.

And so if you were – if you were – I would ask anybody here, if you’re advising the Iranian leader and he calls you in and says, all right, we’re going to make this deal and it’s got phases – three years, seven years, 10 years, 12 years – and it requires cooperation by Congress over this time, are you telling me I should sign this deal because you’re confident that Congress is going to cooperate in lifting these sanctions and everything else?  Francois is going to raise a question and I can’t wait for it.  (Laughter.)  

Q:  (off-mic) Just that proving that there’s a bigger doubt on that.

MR. PERKOVICH:  Right, but there – so there’s this issue about delivery here.  And Liz just pointed to some of the reasons why this could come up again.  So you say, well, there’s waivers, but you can write new legislation to remove waiver clauses.  And so it is a problem of confidence building that has to work both ways.

Third is the issue of pressure.  And again, that lies behind some of the proposed new legislation.  I am among those also who have no doubt that we wouldn’t be in this negotiation were it not for Iran’s being isolated and sanctioned and so on.  So pressure is absolutely vital.  But you have to look at it in the fullness of the issue, which is pressure works both ways, because the higher the cost and the more pressure that you’ve experienced, also you may demand more in a deal to reach compromise.  

So you don’t entirely cave in, but in fact it raises your costs.  And we’ve seen this with the Iranians, that as we’ve put pressure on, each time we’ve added sanctions, they’ve increased the level of enrichment, the number of centrifuges, or whatever, to kind of change the term and try to maintain some parity in the costs that we’re imposing and the alarm that they’re causing in us.

And so one of the ways – I was in Iran in June talking to one of the chief negotiators, and he said, you know, why they won’t come down in numbers of centrifuges.  He said, look, we’ve paid for them:  hundreds of billions in sanctions, the martyred of our assassinated scientists and engineers.  We’ve paid in blood.  We’ve paid in treasure for these centrifuges.  We’re not giving them – we’re not giving them away.  So it works both ways, and I think we have to be mindful of that.  

And finally, on a prefatory note of optimism, while I agree with Karim’s kind of analysis and cautions about the leader, I think it’s also possible that the leader actually doesn’t have to sign off on a deal.  And in fact, his past habits would suggest there are ways he can have it both ways.  He can say the government has made this deal – namely the president and Zarif – and I’m not going to block it.  

And that way he gets it both ways.  If it goes badly he says, I told you, I – you know, this was the government.  It’s their fault.  If it goes well he says, well, you know, I didn’t – I didn’t block it.  And he’s done that so far in every step on the negotiations.  He says, well, I think you’re fools, I don’t think it will work, but I won’t stop you.  Go ahead and negotiate.  And so it’s not quite the same as having to sign off.  

All right, with that as background, I want to turn to the sanctions issue and kind of the next moves in Washington.  And I entirely agree with Liz that it will be better off if there were no injection or interjection of legislative action at this point.  And I tend to be on that side when there are Republican administrations as well.  And even when I worked in the Senate 25 years, I’d say, why don’t we just let them do their job?  But anyway – and that was when the first Bush administration was.

I’m a realist also, and so I sense that there is a move to do something, and so then I would suggest that if there is new legislation, at least it should serve a strategic purpose.  And it seems to me that the current proposals don’t serve a strategic purpose but that it wouldn’t be hard to structure legislation that would serve a strategic purpose.  And Karim has testified about this and others of our colleagues are working on this.  

It seems to me those purposes are, first of all, you – we want – we have an interest in locking in what’s Iranian conduct under the Joint Plan of Action with its, now, revision after November 24th, where they’ve agreed, we understand, to further turn material into fuel plates, where they’ve agreed, we understand, on basically protocols for doing R&D on future centrifuges.  

So the situation we’ve been living under since November of 2013, with Iranian kind of negotiated restraint, is much more positive than the situation between 2006 and 2013.  It’s in a lot of countries’ interests, including Israel’s – and we see this from statements by the Israeli government – after Netanyahu said this was the worst deal in the century they started amending it.  So now we were wrong, actually.  It’s positive.  So lock in that, at least don’t mess up that, should be one of the strategic objectives.  

Number two would be to deter Iran from undoing the restraint in the Joint Plan of Action, and certainly to deter Iran from now making moves that hasten the time in which it could make nuclear weapons, right?  So you want to deter that.  And what’s really missing is it seems you would want to give them incentives to actually take additional steps that would lengthen the time it would take them to make nuclear weapons.  You want them to take additional steps that reassure the international community that they don’t seek nuclear weapons.

And then the last strategic purpose is – again, Liz pointed at this – the U.S. shouldn’t want to weaken the international coalition that has pressed and isolated Iran and imposed the sanctions.

I would argue that you could design legislation that would do all of that but that we haven’t – that – none of the proposals do.  So you would have legislation that says you welcome the positive steps of the Joint Plan of Action, and then you say, you know, if Iran takes steps to increase its capabilities, you know, in dangerous ways, then these sanctions would kick in; if Iran takes further steps to reassure, then there would be – further sanctions relief would already be authorized.  And you would do this in a way where it’s not the U.S. Congress or the U.S. being to provocateur, the first actor that breaks up the process, but you let Iran be the one to change the dynamic in a negative way, and then you react to that rather than the other way around.  It seems to me this is strategically kind of self-evident that one would want to do that if the purpose was to be strategic.  And their – people on the Hill would have to explain, you know, what their purposes are.  But I think there is a way to do – to express themselves and to serve a positive purpose.

Let me stop there.

MS. DAVENPORT:  Well, I’m sure after such excellent presentations, we have a lot of questions, so I would ask that you please introduce yourself, wait for the microphone and be brief.

Yes.  Barbara.

Q:  Thank you very much.  Barbara Slavin from the Atlantic Council.  That was a great summary.

We had an event yesterday at the Atlantic Council where Cliff Kupchan suggested that where we’re headed is what we called JPOA forever.  And frankly, George, with your description of your legislation, it sounds like it is basically JPOA for at least a very, very long time, possibly improved over time but somehow never getting to the comprehensive deal.  Do all of you think that’s a realistic possibility, or is that bound to break down one way or the other?  Is that something that would allow people not – on both sides not to have the make the hard choices of a comprehensive deal?  Thanks.

George, would you like to start?

MR. PERKOVICH:  I think that would be – I mean, personally, I wouldn’t lose a lot of sleep with JPOA forever.  But I – but I think, you know, things happen and would make it hard to sustain forever.  But the issue to me, it seems like it’s – the alternatives are either worse or harder.  In other words, the alternative of a final resolution is just super-hard in Iran and is super-hard in Washington.

And by the way, I think it’s super-hard for friends in the Gulf – and Israel in a different way.  I mean, I think a diplomatic resolution for Israel, they would – they would want it if it’s a good deal, but something people haven’t thought about there is then a lot of tension would shift to Israel’s nuclear weapons because the international community would say, OK, fine, we saw the Iran problem and everything else diplomatically; now what about you?

Whereas right now, when the issue is confused as it is and stuff, there is not this pressure on Israeli weapons.  The Gulf Arabs don’t have to deal with their nightmare of rapprochement with Iran.  But Iran doesn’t have the bomb either.  The Iranians don’t have to make the hard decision, but, you know, we can live with it because they don’t have the bomb.  So there is a lot in the current situation that actually works better for many actors than either the alternative of a final deal or a war.  And so I – so I think that’s one of the reasons why we kind of landed here for now.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, what I would say, you know, Cliff’s a smart guy.  Yes, it is a true observation that policymakers often take the easiest path rather than the hardest path.  In this particular moment, the easier path was to extend by another seven months because they didn't make the hard decision necessarily to get a comprehensive deal.

But I think to say that we’re going to have a series of extensions assumes a lot.  It assumes that the current political conditions in the United States are generally stable, that the political conditions in Iran are stable, that the price of oil doesn’t go to $140 a barrel or drop or whatever.

So I would also just point out that from a nonproliferation perspective, there is a big problem, OK, which is that right now the international community does not have the ability to inspect undeclared sites.  The clandestine path is theoretically still there for Iran.  It would be extremely difficult, I think very unlikely, but it’s theoretically still there, and it’s the one that the intelligence community has said for many years is the more likely path if Iran were to pursue the bomb.  So for all those who are concerned about Iran’s nuclear program, including me, I think, you know, they should look at the JPOA as an interim measure and not a permanent solution.

The other thing is that Iran still has 20,000 installed centrifuges, OK, and those are theoretically capable of producing, you know, X amount at Y pace leading to a theoretical breakout capability that is shorter than I think we would like it to be.  And only with a comprehensive agreement are we going to get the better inspections we want and a verifiable, you know, limits on the overall enrichment capacity that lengthens the theoretical breakout time.

So that’s what I would just add to that that we have to keep in mind on that question.

MS. DAVENPORT:  Karim, you wanted to add anything?

MR. SADJADPOUR:  Well, I just say it’s unfortunately becoming like the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in that people say, well, once – a two-state solution is no longer tenable, but a one-state solution is impossible.  So where does that really leave you?

We always thought there is three potential outcomes here:  There is the comprehensive resolution, there is conflict, and there is managed resolution – what Cliff said, JPOA forever.

I would say maybe better-case scenario is JPOA-plus.  The – I know the philosophy on both sides has been that nothing is resolved until everything is resolved.  I’m not sure if that is necessarily the wisest approach, if you can kind of make forward progress by isolating one issue and keep that momentum going.  I think reaching an enduring, comprehensive deal, I don’t see how that happens.  So why not try to isolate certain aspects of the deal, improve on it to keep the momentum going?

MS. ROSENBERG:  Yeah.  I come down in roughly the same place as what you were just saying.  And, you know, are we headed to JPOA forever, JPOA-plus?  Perhaps.  But will that work?  Well, the question is, let’s look significantly at the external variables here.  And so one of those very significant external determinants will be what Congress does.  So Congress will do something.  It is of course technically possible to write reasonable legislation.  That we could brainstorm right here and figure that out.  But the question is can – will it be possible to match the political desire for sending a strong message with a version of legislation that does not sabotage, either intentionally or unintentionally, this JPOA-plus managed situation for the long haul?

MS. DAVENPORT:  I’m going to start taking I think two questions at once given that there are a lot of hands.  So if we could have Rachel and then this gentleman here in the front in the – in the red shirt, please.

Q:  Hi.  This question is for George and also Elizabeth.  George, could you – well, could both of you kind of expound on the specific components of a sensible legislation a little bit more?  And Elizabeth, could you talk a little bit about how U.S. sanctions are also wound up with Iran’s ballistic missile activities and support of terrorism and what that would mean for unwinding them if Iran doesn’t also make progress on those two fronts?

MS. DAVENPORT:  And then Rachel, if you could just hand it to the gentleman in front of you there.  Thank you.

Q:  Thank you very much.  I am Dr. Nisar Chaudhry with the Pakistan-American League.  As Karim mentioned also, lifting of sanctions is an impossibility at one time because if – once they are lifted, you will never be able to clamp them again because of veto power by other countries in the Security Council.  So that is understandable.  But at the same time, as George mentioned, both sides have to come up with a dignified, pragmatic and a realistic way to resolve the issue where both sides have to demonstrate flexibility, not only one side, both sides.  And still, as you mentioned, Saudi Arabia, Persian Gulf, Israel, none of them are really happy with this kind of negotiation.

And how would you bridge the gap in this case?  My question is Netanyahu says there should be zero uranium, and the parties are working out and deciding and negotiating and playing with 3 – between 3 to 4 percent.  So how would you bridge this gap, and how would you really conclude with the idea of resolving the issue instead of putting more pressure on Iran and you don’t push anybody against the wall and putting up – coming up with more legislations that will frustrate the negotiators, who are already putting so much of resources to resolve this issue.  Thank you.

MS. DAVENPORT:  Thank you.  

Liz, would you like to start with the elements of Rachel’s question?

MS. ROSENBERG:  Sure.  So what is sensible legislation?  We could – we could talk a long time about that, but I liked George’s principles.  I’ll get on board with those.  But the devil is always in the details, and let me make two smaller technical points.

I think that what will matter a tremendous amount is how you write into them the mandatory nature of them, what is mandatory and how, and when they kick in.  And so, wrapped up in mandatory is the kind of flexibility and implementation and the use of waivers or discretion.  So that’s one, is one of those devilish details.  

And the other one I want to call out is the certification clause.  So who has the authority to say whether Iran has missed a deadline or has violated it?  Is it the IAEA?  Is it the Congress?  Is it an independent body?  Is it the administration?  That matters so much.  And flipping the presumption is one way to try and foster a reasonable political – politically viable set of language that you could use there, but mandatory – the mandatory nature and also the certification clause.

So to your second question about how do you deal with sanctions that are tied up with – if I got this correctly – both nuclear concerns and also terrorism and other weapons proliferation concerns – ballistic missiles and others weapons proliferation issues?  So in the sanctions regime for the U.S., there’s a lot of interplay and interlocking nature of these authorities, and it’s politically infeasible to roll back terrorism-related sanctions or particular designations tied to terrorism authorities or human rights violation or regional destabilization concerns.  That’s not going to happen.

And so I think if you’re trying to create a sanctions relief scheme, both based on precedent – say Libya and Burma, for example – and also given the constraints here, what you’re looking at, realistically, is creating bands of commercial activity that you can license into availability for Iran.  And that avoids the problem of removing sanctions on persons or entities designated for their support for terrorism or regional destabilization or commitment to and participation of proliferation financing for ballistic missiles, that sort of thing.

So for people who think that sanctions relief may constitute removal of whole lists of SDNs off the U.S. sanctions list, that’s not what it will look like, and because of the reasons that you point out, for example, that they’re tied – the Iran sanctions in the United States are in fact – they exist under a variety of different legal authorities and they tie to a variety of different concerns related to Iran.

MS. DAVENPORT:  Will you add, George?

MR. PERKOVICH:  Just really quickly, and all of that complexity is another reason why, you know, the legislative branch ought to let the executive have more discretion in foreign policy in both parties.  

And I guess that would be part of my answer to Rachel is, you know, write it like you would want to write it if your party had the presidency, is one thing, because these things do create precedents and things get layered in sediment over time, and then it just totally impairs the conduct of foreign policy in general and then the reputation of the United States in the international community, and the conduct of business and so on.  So it’s not just like a game.  

More specifically, it seems to me you could acknowledge the benefits of the JPOA, which, again, are acknowledged in a lot of other places, and that would be – that would reinforce the negotiations, and I think the parties to the negotiations.

And then you can talk about, you know, steps to build international confidence, which, if taken by Iran, you know, would lead the Congress to welcome, you know, proportionate sanctions relief.  Those would be in the areas of greater transparency, access to, you know, nuclear sites and individuals, lower numbers of installed centrifuges, you know, designs – you know, new plans or modification of the Iraq reactor stuff that’s already been alluded to, that if Iran actually agreed to that, that would be welcome.

And then in terms of the steps that would trigger, again, it seems to me it would be, you know, clearly a – you know, violating the terms of the JPOA.  But then with Liz’s important point about how you certify that and everything else, it seems to me it’s very important to have the executive have the discretion, but with reporting requirements to Congress.  So you show them your work in classified fora, or whatever, saying, we certified it and here’s why.

So Congress gets to look at it, and if they totally disagree they can go out and erupt, but rather than making it something where the Congress or the IAEA – because this isn’t the IAEA’s job – would have to certify.  Those are just initial ideas.

MR. KIMBALL:  If I could just – a thought about what Congress ought not try to do, which some people are thinking about, and Liz alluded to this as one of the possibilities that’s in the works, which is to pass legislation that says that certain sanctions will go into effect if the negotiations do not produce a comprehensive agreement, or if the comprehensive agreement does not produce specific outcomes on specific issues, OK?  

And here’s just one example:  Today, at 2:00, there will be a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  The title is dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, or something like that.  This is a line that’s been in many letters written by members of the Senate to the – in the House to the president, calling for a dismantling of Iran’s illicit infrastructure.  

Well, if you’re going to be a serious legislator and you’re going to put together serious legislation that has a serious effect on U.S. international policy, you need to try to understand and explain what that exactly means.  For some people that means, like Mark Kirk, you’re going to take apart every centrifuge the Iranians have and put it in a trash bin.  For some people it means eliminating those centrifuges that the two sides don’t agree the Iranians are allowed to keep and continue to operate.

So, I mean, I think my point here is that there is a lot of misunderstanding about what it’s actually going to take to stop short – stop Iran short of pursuing nuclear weapons.  And there’s a lot of political posturing going on about the language that’s used.  And I’m afraid that Congress, at this point, at this juncture, is just not capable of making the fine distinctions that would be necessary to put together the very good legislation that George would outline.  I would be happy if you would sit down and write it all – (laughter) – and put it together.  But unfortunately George is not working up there at the moment.

So that’s one caveat I would just remind everybody about.  And I would remind the folks in the Hill that, you know, this is a point at which you need to start paying attention to the nitty-gritty details and understand the consequences of some of the words and provisions that you’re contemplating.

MS. DAVENPORT:  OK, let’s go to the back, please.  There are two gentlemen here along the center aisle, by it.  Thank you.

Q:  My name is Evan Lewis.  I work with the Program on Public Consultation.  My question sort of leads into George’s proposition of what if you were an Iranian negotiator and you had the ability to go and suggest a strategy.  What if one of – one possible strategy is to say, resist as much as possible but eventually come to a deal that – knowing that the United States is going to reject the deal in the Senate?  

And if that’s the case, you could then use that as leverage to break apart the multilateral sanctions as a means of getting the kind of economic relief that you need, because as several people have mentioned, it’s the multilateral sanctions that have had the greatest effect on Iran in getting them to come to the table.  So if you can break the P5 cooperation, then you can just blame the United States for not being able to affirm the deal and move on from there.

Q:  Good morning.  Erich Ferrari, Ferrari & Associates.  We talked about the sanctions relieve under the JPOA, and it falls into three categories.  We have waivers used on some of the secondary sanctions authorities.  Liz talked about the auto industry and so forth.  We have the financial channel that’s been set up for humanitarian transactions, and we have the licensing policy for aviation parts and services.  

Now, the financial channel is set up for transactions which are already exempted or otherwise authorized.  The licensing policy is merely an expansion of 31 CFR 560.528, which was an existing licensing policy in favor of licensing aircraft part exports to Iran.  And then the secondary sanctions authority is allowing foreign companies to engage in those transactions in those particular sectors.

However, if you look at it, we’ve had to set up a financial channel just so foreign banks would be willing to process transactions related to exempted activity.  And everything we’re hearing is that if foreign financial institutions are not interested in facilitating any funds transfers related to the type of activity for which waivers were granted.  So this all raises the question, one, did Iran get a bad deal; two, if so, is that bad deal a result of being outmatched from a technical expertise perspective; and three, how will the future negotiations be impacted by the kind of sanctions brain drain that’s going on with a number of key officials leaving both State and Treasury?  Thank you.

MS. DAVENPORT:  Thank you.

George, would you like to start with the first question?

MR. PERKOVICH:  Yeah, I’ll – I think that the possibility of, you know, the Iranians agreeing to a deal that they count on the U.S. to then break, and so I – that’s a little farther than I’d go, but I think the basic strategy is there.  And this is what Rouhani and Zarif did in 2003 and 2004, and they’ve come back to do it – see this as a contest of isolation.  Who can – you know, can the U.S. isolate Iran or can Iran isolate the U.S. in the international system.  And so I think that is part of their logic.  It will be kind of the blame game if the process breaks down.  (Inaudible) – said, they will publish whatever the kind of the last offer was if the talks break down.  They’ll publish and let the world see who is prepared, you know, to make the accommodations, and it’s precisely to then try to unravel the sanctions process in other ways.  And so one concern would be, depending on what the U.S. Congress does, that process could already start without a deal – without a deal that Iran had accepted.  If you get unilateral action here, you can start using that to break the isolation.  So I think that is a viable concern, and that’s what these guys are thinking.

MS. DAVENPORT:  And on the question of relief?

MS. ROSENBERG:  Right.  So I love technical questions like that, so thanks.  But to keep this for a general audience, let me just say, so did Iran get a bad deal from a technical perspective?  I think the real question here is, let’s look at what’s have – what they got on paper versus in practice.  So you’re right, that’s right, that in fact some of the relief that’s called out here is basically facilitation measures to try and make happen in practice what is permitted on paper.  So is it relief on paper?  Well, some of it, you might think that’s a little redundant, because these channels do exist.  But in practice, is it having that effect?  And I agree that in practice it hasn’t had as much effect as it could because, in fact, many financial institutions and companies still aren’t interested in doing this kind of business.  It’s not lucrative enough to pay for the compliance costs and to wade into the reputational risk.

You didn’t also mention the repatriation of money, so the $7 billion that Iran gets.  So that’s real.  It’s only $7 billion for a whole country, but the premise of this, I think we were coming from is, I think of this as relatively modest relief, but confidence building nonetheless.  

Is the – who’s outmatched here technically?  There are very few people in the world who – in this country, in this town, in this government who weighed in all the way and understand what these sanctions are, so it is very difficult for anyone else to have true technical mastery of this and furthermore be able to think creatively about opportunities for their modification and, and that’s a huge challenge, as is this brain drain.  So it’s not a deep bench in the administration.  It’s not a deep bench in Congress, of the staff who work on this and the members who do too, and there is attrition here.  That’s concerning.  But this is not impossible, and smart, careful people, oftentimes lawyers – though I am not, and spend a lot of time doing this myself – can develop this mastery and apply creativity to try and get to yes if there is a political will to do it.  But I think, actually, the political will is so much harder than the technical mastery.

MS. DAVENPORT:  Great, thank you.

Carolyn, let’s take this – a question from this gentleman here in the second row.

Q:  Thank you.  I’m – (inaudible) – representing the European Union, and the former negotiator with Iran, the first phase in 2005 – till 2005.  My question – just a small comment, if you’ll allow me, to George Perkovich on sanctions.  There is a fourth element for having sensible sanctions.  They have to be coordinated with the EU.  We are the one way.  You know, this has been mentioned by Elizabeth.  We have – (inaudible) – working with Congress recently.  It’s not impossible.  But this a real important prerequisite.

My question is mostly to Karim.  I am in the happy situation of agreeing with what has been said, which shows the main difficulty today is a – (inaudible) – political will in Iran and particularly with Khamenei and the hardliners.  So do you think that the present strategic situation, original situation, particularly with Iraq, where Iran feels, in a way, reintegrated in a way in the international society because the stability in Iraq and maybe also in Syria is partly dependent of Iran goodwill – flexibilize (sic) the guide and the hardliners, or the contrary, makes them feeling more empowered and then more radical?  And is it – are there measures that we could take in respect to our principles which could “flexibilizing” these hardliners and making them more interested in the deal?

MR. PERKOVICH:  What’s the French verb for “flexibilize”?  

Q:  “Flexibize” (ph).  (Laughter.)  (Off mic.)

MR. PERKOVICH:  Oh, is it really?  Oh, that’s great.  Oh, no, that’s good.  

MS. DAVENPORT:  And then, Paul, did you have – yes.

Q:  A couple of questions for Karim.  Karim, I wonder, what are your thoughts about how Iran would react if Congress does impose tough new sanctions?  And secondly, if you don’t think the supreme leader is willing to budge too much, what’s your – what’s your hunch – I’m just asking for a hunch – about how this will all come apart?  I mean, in other words, do you think that we’ll get up to the end of June, there will be no movement, the talks will collapse, or what would be your best guess?

MS. DAVENPORT:  Karim, if you would just address all of those questions please.

MR. SADJADPOUR:  Second question, which is hypnotically, if Congress were to sanction which would, let’s argue hypothetically, they’d take effect immediately, they wouldn’t just be deterrent in nature, but Congress passes new legislation, how does Iran react to that?  I think there’s – I would say there’s two possibilities.  Possibility number one is that Iran says, well, you’ve abrogated your end of the deal, so we’re going to leave negotiations.  There’s no point in negotiating.  But we’re not going to recommence our activities.  

Possibility number two, which I think is the more likely one, is they say you’ve abrogated your end of the deal, so we’re going to recommence our activities, but we’re going to remain in the negotiations.  I think that’s the more likely option.  I just mentioned possibility number one because we did a simulation with my Georgetown students and a young woman from Germany took option number one, which was she said, OK, we’re going to leave negotiations but we’re not going to – we’re not going to move forward.  And everyone was incredibly confused.  The other countries on the simulation – you know, China, Europe, the United States, you didn’t know what to really do aside from really try to get Iran back to the negotiating table.  But again, if I’m the leader, I think that if you – you know, you can argue well, you’ve – you are the ones who reneged on the deal, so we’re going to do what we were doing in the past.  And my sense is that going back to something that George has been talking about and maybe others in the audience have argued as well, is that they are confident that the world is going to blame the United States for the failure, not blame Iran, because it will say that it was Congress that exploded this deal.  

With regards to, you know, how Iran is feeling on a regional level, I was just reading a quote this morning from Khamenei’s adviser in the Revolutionary Guards, and he says – this is a quote – he says:  “No regional developments can take place contrary to the will of Iran.  The developments in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, must go through Iran.”  So I’d argue they’re feeling very confident at the moment.

ISIS doesn’t – it constitutes a nuisance to Iran.  It doesn’t constitute an existential threat to Iran.  And, you know, as always, whether it’s a correct calculation or a miscalculation, they feel that America needs their help in fighting ISIS more than – more than vice versa.  So, you know – so how could we perhaps change their regional calculations and, you know, is there a risk that they’re going to even, you know, further radicalize the regional policies?  My sense is that there’s been tremendous continuity and tremendous consistency in Iran’s regional policies for the last few decades.  If you remember during the time of the Khatami presidency, despite the fact you had a president who was calling for a dialogue of civilizations and a more constructive relationship with the United States, Iran was continuing to support Assad, continuing to support Hezbollah, continuing to support groups like Palestinian Islamic Jihad.  So whether or not there’s a nuclear deal, I don’t see Iran’s regional policies really changing dramatically.  

Now, you could make two arguments.  One is that if we try to work together with them and we engage them on regional issues, that could potentially moderate their behavior.  The most recent data point we have, as I mentioned earlier, is President Obama writing a letter to the Supreme Leader saying we have a common adversary in ISIS, let’s work together.  And Khamenei’s response was to say that ISIS has been created by the CIA.  What was interesting is when Foreign Minister Zarif was visiting the United Nations in September, he gave a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations in which he mocked conspiracy theorists who said that ISIS was created by the CIA.  And just a few weeks ago, his deputy, someone who works under Zarif, Abdollahian, came out and said that ISIS was created by the Mossad.  And the – you know, it’s a conspiracy theory, but there’s a logic to it in which they believe that, you know, the uprisings in the Middle East, which they call the Islamic Awakening, not the Arab Spring – the Islamic Awakening was movement against the United States to unite the ummah, and the United States and the Mossad have created ISIS in order to divide the ummah.  

So I could – so my argument, I guess, implicitly I’m trying to make is that I haven’t seen any signs that a more conciliatory rhetoric toward Iran changes the regional policies.  I think perhaps when things potentially start to change is when they feel that Assad is really facing existential threat; that he’s potentially on the verge of collapse.  Maybe then they start to engage more seriously in thinking about an alternative in Syria.  But, you know, I tell people, if you’re sitting in Tehran and you’re reading op-eds and you read in the New York Times that Ryan Crocker, who’s one of the most eminent U.S. diplomats of modern times, argues that as bad as Assad is, the alternative is worse, why would you feel that you have to – you compromise on Assad?  You feel that the world, the West, the United States, is gradually coming around to your point of view, which is that the alternative to Assad is worse.  I don’t think they feel that they’re in a position that they have to compromise on the regional policies.

MS. DAVENPORT:  We’re going to take two questions just very quickly here at the end.  If I could have this gentleman here in the middle, and then in the back, please.  And please make your questions very, very brief.

Q:  (Off mic.)  Hello.  I’d like to go back to a kind of macro question and long term, because I’ve got a feeling this is going to go on – this negotiation and these issues are going to go on for a while.  The basic element, it seems to me, is that – to ask the question:  Does Iran as a whole – not just the leader, but Iran as a whole – really want nuclear weapons, and what it thinks its risks are and what it thinks its benefits might be?  As against the other alternative, which is integrating Iran into a larger economic security structure that’s at work as process and whether that debate – I guess Karim might be a good person to do – look at that – is this debate possible and useful over the long term?  And what would be – given America’s interests?  Because the other alternative for Iran, by the way, seems to be war, which I don’t think would be good, or being isolated.  On the American side, the – ask the question is what do we want, and are we willing to do piece meal?  What is it – what is it that we are going to do?  What will either destroy the possibility of their looking rationally at it, or whether or not we have a strategy that works?  Thank you.

MS. DAVENPORT:  OK.  And then the final question, please.

Q:  A lot of talk here about what would be a good – some good legislation that could come out of Congress that would lead to a – you know, wouldn’t scuttle a deal.  But don’t you think a lot of the congressmen and senators really want to scuttle a deal, that they don’t think any deal would be a good one and that the – no matter what you get, the Iranians will always cheat and so on, so that the real approach is essentially to try and scuttle it?

MS. DAVENPORT:  All right.  Thank you.  Karim, would you like to address the first question about Iran’s intentions?

MR. SADJADPOUR:  Yeah.  So I would never deign to speak on behalf of 18 million Iranians to say, you know, what is Iran’s intentions as a whole.  I’d just make a couple points.  One is that the lessons they’ve drawn, which are obvious lessons that all of us can see, is that when Gaddafi gave up his nuclear program, made himself vulnerable to NATO intervention.  Ukraine’s abdication of its nuclear program made it vulnerable to outside intervention.  Iraq’s not having a nuclear weapon made it vulnerable to outside intervention.  So that’s not an argument to say that they are in pursuit of nuclear weapons – I’ve always thought their end game is more to have the capability – but it is an argument that they – they’ve seen – and the leaders said this publicly that, you know, when those countries – particularly Libya, I think, was a compelling case, from when they – when they abdicated the nuclear program, they made themselves vulnerable to outside intervention.  

I’d just say one thing about the popular discussion on this:  The last time I was in Iran, until I can no longer go there or stay – go there and stay out of prison, was 2005.  And I was based there between 2003 and 2005, and I can tell you even that time – we’re talking about almost 10 years ago – people were really tired of the nuclear issue.  They were really tired of reading about enriched uranium and centrifuges.  I don’t think people really cared that much about it.  This notion that it’s a source of national pride and dignity for all Iranians I think has always been exaggerated.  Remember, this is a population which experienced an eight year war with Iraq, so I don’t think people really romanticize about the prospect of further militarization.  And I think if you were to present to the Iranian people – this is outside – this is – I’m just talking about a hypothetical, which will never happen, but if you were to present to the people even this nuclear deal which was discussed last week in Vienna, and say, OK, either you can make a few compromises on the number of centrifuges and, you know, transparency in exchange for potentially billions – tens of billions of dollars of sanctions relief and increased foreign investment, which would – which would really bolster your economy, or you can forego those incentives in order to have a couple thousand more centrifuges, I think it would be a no-brainer for the Iranian people.  But the economic welfare of the Iranian public has never been the motivating factor of this nuclear program.  

And I just will make one point in conclusion, which is I’ve always thought one of the challenges of concluding this deal is that we’re trying to find a technical resolution to a political conflict and the – I think if President Obama and Secretary Kerry could push a button and normalize relations with Iran, they would and – but the opposite is not true, in that, you know, I think that the leadership in Tehran has made clear that this is only about the nuclear negotiations; we’re not interested in rapprochement.  Araghchi, one of the nuclear negotiators, said that, you know, America’s still the great Satan for us; the leader said this as well.  So that’s why I’m not terribly optimistic we’re going to conclude this deal, but I think, you know, containing the program where it’s at now, until there is, you know, leadership with different calculations and Tehran, is not – is not a terrible option.

MS. DAVENPORT:  All right.  Thank you.  Regarding the second question -- (inaudible) -- address that briefly?

MR. PERKOVICH:  I just have just a quick comment on the second question about – you know, look, in life, you run it – we all have an experience of having contradictory views at the same time.  My experience in talking with members of Congress about this is they have contradictory views and have the luxury of not having to reconcile them.  So they say no, no, of course I want diplomacy to succeed, of course I want diplomacy to succeed, but I want a really good deal and the Iranians will never agree to a good deal.  And then you say well, but your legislation would do X, and they go well no, it won’t – it won’t do that, and they just kind of leave it there as this kind of contradictory mess that the executive ultimately has to take responsibility for.  And then Congress will bash it, so –

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, I think one thing that we need to remember is that yes, there may be some people who don’t want a diplomatic solution, or they may be taking actions that undermine a diplomatic solution without realizing it, but – and we don’t know exactly what the Iranian leadership will – wants or will do 5, 10 years from now, but what we do have is despite all the difficulties, despite the history between the United States and Iran, there is a comprehensive, long term, verifiable deal that is within sight – it is, because the negotiators have been working extremely hard.  There are technical solutions to some of the problems.  Ultimately, political choices are going to have to be made about what appear to be technical issues, but they are there within close reach.  And so what I would say is, before Congress has a chance to either get things right, as George suggested, or get things wrong, as some people are suggesting, finish the job.  The choice for the Iranians, if you’re looking at it rationally, should be clear, also.  So we’ve got, I think, a short amount of time to get an agreement that is effective and is a win-win for both sides.

MS. DAVENPORT:  OK.  Well, we have to end on that optimistic note.  Thank you so much for coming and please join me in thanking our panelists.  (Applause.)



The Arms Control Association and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace invite you to attend a briefing on the outcome of the negotiations and next steps, on Dec. 3 in Washington D.C.

Country Resources:

US-Iranian Religious Leaders’ Dialogue: The Relevance of Moral Questions Related to Nuclear Weapons



The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Choate Room
Washington, DC 20036
October 29, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
A light breakfast will be served at 9:30 a.m.

A delegation of religious leaders from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) traveled to Iran earlier this year to engage in a religious and moral dialogue hosted by the Supreme Council of the Seminary Teachers of Qom, the preeminent center of religious scholarship in Iran. The religious leaders discussed nuclear weapons and Iran's nuclear program, among other issues.

The dialogue sought to promote greater understanding and peace between Americans and Iranians. In a joint declaration issued after the meetings, they explored foundational moral values and fundamental moral questions regarding weapons of mass destruction.

On October 29, the participants from the USCCB delegation will share reflections on their engagement with Shia religious leaders and scholars in Iran. They will discuss the moral questions both faith traditions raise related to nuclear weapons and the role religious actors can play in helping to create political space for further U.S.-Iranian engagement.


Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Panelists include:

  • Bishop Richard E. Pates, Chair, Committee on International Justice and Peace, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; and
  • Ebrahim Mohseni, Research Associate, Center for International and Security Studies, University of Maryland;
  • Dr. Stephen Colecchi, Director, Office of International Justice and Peace, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Transcript by

Federal News Service

Washington, D.C. 

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right.  Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome.  I’m Daryl Kimball.  I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association, and we’re an independent, nonpartisan membership organization.  We’re committed to raising awareness about and advancing solutions to deal with the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons, particularly nuclear weapons.  And we’re very honored to be co-sponsoring today this briefing on an important U.S.-Iranian religious leaders dialogue exploring the relevance of moral questions related to nuclear weapons, which was led by a delegation of religious leaders from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who we’re partnering with on this event today.  They traveled to Iran earlier this year, and they met with Iranian religious leaders at the Supreme Council of the Seminary Teachers of Qom, which is the preeminent center of religious scholarship in Iran, and they discussed nuclear weapons and Iran’s nuclear program, among other important issues.  And we’re going to be hearing from some of the key participants in this important religious and moral dialogue this morning.  And I should just note that their initiative and this morning’s briefing comes at a pivotal time in relations between Iran and the United States and between Iran and the rest of the international community.  After extending talks on Iran’s nuclear program beyond the original July 20, 2014 target date, Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany are right now closing in, we hope, on a long-term verifiable, comprehensive deal to address concerns about the nature of Iran’s nuclear program.  And such an agreement could – should – block Iran’s potential uranium and plutonium paths to nuclear weapons and remove a major threat to regional and international security for many years to come.  This briefing is not specifically about those negotiations, though we can discuss them in the Q&A session, but it is about the religious and moral context within which Iranian leaders and the Iranian people will be making decisions about their nuclear program and their future role in international affairs. 

And so we have a great lineup of speakers this morning who were part of this delegation from earlier this year, and we’re going to be starting in just a few minutes with Bishop Richard E. Pates, who’s chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  He’s also the bishop of Des Moines, Iowa.  He tells me the corn is growing very well in Iowa right now.  He’s the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace.  He was elected to that position by the full body of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in 2011, and he previously served as the secretary at the Apostolic Delegation of the Vatican Embassy in Washington from 1975 to 1981 and currently serves on the board of directors of the North American College of Rome and on other key boards.  So he’s been involved in these issues for many, many years. 

We’ll also hear from Ebrahim Mohseni, who’s research associate at the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland and a senior analyst at the University of Tehran Center for Public Opinion and Research.  He is filling in this morning for his colleague John Steinbruner, who is the Arm Control Association’s chairman of the board of directors, and John is the director of the Center for International Security Studies at the University of Maryland, who can’t be with us here this morning.  Ebrahim has played an instrumental role – played an instrumental role in coordinating the trip to Iran that we’ll hear about in just a few minutes. 

 And we’re also very pleased to have Dr. Stephen Colecchi, who’s the director of the Office of International Justice and Peace at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with Steve for many years, and he has been specializing in peace issues in the Middle East, among other topics. 

So with that introduction, I want to turn it over to Bishop Pates.  And after each of the panelists speakers, we’re going to take your questions and get into a discussion of these important issues.  So, Bishop Pates, it’s an honor to have you.  Thank you for collaborating with us on this event.

BISHOP RICHARD PATES:  Well, thank you, and delighted to be able to be with you, Daryl, and very grateful to you and to the Arms Control Association for hosting today’s event, and also to Kelly and Ploughshares for its generous support to today’s gathering.  So we’re very grateful for Ploughshares and tremendous interest that they take in this topic. 

I also bring the greetings from the heartland that – came in from Des Moines last night.  And as Daryl said, that despite the global warming, we’re going to have an all-time high corn and soybean crop in Iowa this year.  So China’s very happy about that since they import a great deal of our corn and makes them – feeds them well throughout the course of this year.

But anyway, the Catholic Church has been engaged in interreligious dialogue in earnest since the Second Vatican Council.  In 1965, the council declared, the Church regards with esteem the Muslim community.  They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself, merciful and all-powerful, the creator of heaven and earth.  So we have a very close relationship theologically, the understanding of one God who is the creator of all.

Secondly, in addition to its emphasis on dialogue since 1963, the Church has committed itself to seek a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons, with an effective system of mutual control, and that was spoken about by St. John XXIII in his landmark encyclical Pacem in Terris as, again, in 1963.

Our U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops took up this call in earnest in 1983 and again in 1993 with pastoral letters on peace and on nuclear weapons.  Since this time, we have been vigorous champions for nuclear disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation and a world without nuclear weapons. 

Just last April, I led a group of bishops and Catholic scholars at a colloquium “Revitalizing Catholic Engagement on Nuclear Disarmament,” held at the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.  There we met with former Secretaries George Shultz and William Perry, who have made it their – (inaudible) – life concern to again enable the world to live without nuclear weapons.

Next month I will speak at a seminar on less nuclear stockpiles and more development, sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Rome.  And that particular paper, it will be guided by the fact that if the United States kind of diverted its spending for nuclear weapons, that there would be $35 billion a year available for assistance with other countries, perhaps really leading to peace, as opposed to the utilization of nuclear weapons and the spending that’s going to occur there.

It is no secret that Iran and the United States have had a troubled recent history and continue to have a contentious government relationship, although I think our government is trying to move in a different direction in that regard.  And the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program is especially prominent this time as a negotiated solution is being sought. 

As the Conference of Catholic Bishops, we’ve been looking for ways to build bridges of understanding between the American people and the Iranian people.  To that end, I led a delegation of bishops to Iran for religious and moral dialogue with Iranian religious leaders.  Our committee on International Justice and Peace hopes to contribute to a climate in which the P-5 plus one negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program can succeed.  But I should emphasize that our dialogue with our Iranian counterparts was purely religious and moral in nature.  And in terms of receiving an invitation from the religious leaders of Iran, it was their understanding that since from a religious perspective we coincide an understanding of truth, justice and peace, that we speak the same message, both Iranian and the Catholic community throughout the world.  And it was their idea to join together in a discussion, in a conversation, in order that perhaps by our own dialogue, by our own conversation, we might be able to have some influence on the political leaders of our countries – in other words, to establish a foundation that could be used for discussion among our political leaders in terms of achieving common ground.

And this initiative flows from our Church’s commitment to dialogue in international affairs.  As Pope Francis has said on many occasions, dialogue is the key.  In his words:  The way to resolve open questions must be that of diplomacy and dialogue.  This is the royal road. 

And as we have heard Pope Francis time and again emphasizes that process:  encounter.  We must meet each other.  Secondly, we must have dialogue.  And thirdly, hopefully, what will evolve from there is relationship – relationship which leads to human resolution of conflict. 

And so he wants to open that door and to say that it’s really possible if we proceed down that path.

The bishops’ international committee had discussed this project for over a year, that is, going to Iran, and consulted with Church and policy experts in shaping it, including informing U.S. public officials.  Dr. John Steinbruner, a consultant to the Bishops Committee, secured funding for the school – from the school of Public Policy at the University of Maryland for our trip.  Our delegation traveled to Iran last March from 11th to the 17th of March to meet with members of the Supreme Council of the Seminary Teachers of Qom, the preeminent center of religious scholarship in Iran.  Our delegation consisted of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who is well known in this community for his leadership and dialogue and statesmanship; Bishop Denis Madden of Baltimore, chairman of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.  So his responsibility is to oversee the dialogues between our ecumenical partners and our interreligious affairs.  Dr. John Steinbruner, a professor of public policy, University of Maryland, who has contributed very much over the years to a peaceful understanding of moving forward in relationships with other nations.  Dr. Stephen Colecchi, who is with us today, director of the Office of International Justice and Peace, and Mr. Ebrahim Mohseni, a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland and also you have citizenship both in Iran and the United States.  So he is a bridge that enables us to have better understanding, and delighted that he is able to be with us.  And then I was the sixth member of the party.

We are very warmly welcomed by our Iranian guests.  Over a four-day period, we met with prominent ayatollahs and scholars in Qom, including Ayatollah Morteza Moghtadaei, vice president of the Supreme Council of the Seminary Teachers of Qom; Grand Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli; Ayatollah Jawad Shahrestani and Ayatollah Ali-Reza Arafi.

It’s worth noting that Ayatollah Moghtadaei serves on the Assembly of Experts, the body that elects the supreme leader in Iran, oversees the supreme leader’s work and periodically reconfirms him.  So the grand – or the supreme leader has not been anointed for life at this point in time, but also, as you see, has some accountability to render to a broader group.

Iranians feel profoundly misunderstood by America and the West.  They admit that many Iranians misunderstand America as well, and that the periodic slogan that we see on TV, “death to America” and chants by students, while aimed at government policies, clearly widen the gulf and the misunderstanding, unfortunately, that is portrayed on our screens.  Some think that the Iranians, the young Iranians perhaps need a new slogan.

But I have to tell you that our experience with the Iranians themselves was very positive from a human perspective.  We met some young students, probably teenagers, 14, 18 years old, who were on a tour.  And while we were visiting there, they came right up to us, took all kinds of pictures, and they wanted to be extremely friendly and just were totally taken interaction with ourselves like any of our U.S. students might do on a similar occasion.

And the service personnel could not have been kinder, could not have been nicer.  We were dressed in our black robes, obviously very Catholic.  We were chauffeured by three foreign officer individuals who are their chauffeurs, and the foreign service provided for us three Mercedes.  And the drivers were very friendly, and we felt very comfortable.  They put us up in a first-class hotel that was just completely – was just recently finished.  They were very warm, very kind, could not have done more for us.  We felt very much at ease with them, even friendly as we came to the end of it, that we felt that we had made friends and established good relationships.  This was quite contrary to the apprehension that I experienced before leaving.  People say aren’t you nervous, aren’t you scared, aren’t you aware?  And so that kind of highlights, I think, some of the perceptions that we have today that we need to the barriers that break – that really inhibit good understanding and moving forward, because the opposite is what we truly experienced.

It’s also a highly developed nation.  I’d say – suggest that next to Israel, it’s probably the most developed nation in the Middle East.  They have a 90 percent literacy rate, and the women outpace the men in terms of that literacy rate.  And we found also in our discussions, our social experience with the women, they’re extraordinarily warm, conversant and friendly with us, and enable us to have a good experience in feeling with them.

Of course, our own political media discourse in the United States often demonizes Iran and its leaders.  The Axis of Evil is part of our national lexicon, and the respected religious title of ayatollah has taken on a dark, almost sinister tone in our country.  So – and that their concern raised was, do we receive some of our interpretation through the lens of Israel?  Are we obtaining it directly, or do we have an intermediary lens that perhaps does not always provide the greatest accuracy of the people themselves?

The religious leaders and scholars with whom we met noted that terrorist attacks are more linked to Sunni extremists than to Shia Muslims.  They wondered why America and the West were closer to Arab governments that support many of these extremists.  And one concern that continues in terms of the relationship is an awareness of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1990s, and Iran suffered 130,000 casualties in that war.  And so they still have memory of U.S. support of Iraq during that time, and the utilization of chemical weapons, which were treated in that particular war, which were used by Iraq.  And so with that many casualties, you can just begin to imagine that the feelings of the families of people who lost individuals in that particular war.  So that continues to shadow from the popular perspective the relationship with the United States.

Nonetheless, we had productive religious and moral discussions, starting with general moral principles and moving towards specific applications to nuclear weapons when we were with the ayatollahs.  We have some general similarities between Shia Islam and Catholicism, including an emphasis on faith and reason – we found a very great similarity there – a devotion to saints, and a structure of teaching authority – some ways, ayatollahs have the roles that are similar to those who – those of us who serve as bishops in the Catholic Church.

What the Catholics and the Shia Muslim leaders in our dialogue repeatedly referred to the belief in that one God that unites Jews, Christians and Muslims and calls us all to work for the common good of the whole human family.  There is a real emphasis on Christianity, Islam cherishing a common heritage that cherishes above all love and respect for the life, dignity and welfare of all members of the human community.  Both traditions reject as reprehensible all forms of transgression and injustice.  We oppose any action that endangers the life, death, dignity or welfare of others.  Catholicism and Shia Islam hold a common commitment to peaceful coexistence and mutual respect no matter what the – what other boundaries there may be.

We then exported them how these foundational moral principles unite us in raising fundamental moral questions regarding the utilization of weapons of mass destruction.  We were told in the clearest terms that Shia Islam opposes and forbids the production, stockpiling, use and threat to use chemicals of mass destruction.  And this might be taken into consideration, that even though Iraq used chemical weapons in the war in the 1990s, Iran did not respond with the same use of similar weapons.  And so they shared stories of their own tradition that forbade indiscriminate weapons and the destruction of innocent people. 

We noted that the Catholic Church is also working for a world without weapons of mass destruction and has called on all nations to rid themselves of these indiscriminate weapons.  We specifically noted our support for both nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, and it has been a consistent policy stance of ours since Vatican II.

We pushed our Iranian dialogue partners in the status of the fatwa issued by Ayatolla Ala Khomeini.  They confirmed that it is a matter of public record and is highly respected among Shia scholars and Iranians generally.

And we heard from them, our understanding, a very simple rendition of this and that it – if there are any Jesuit-educated individuals here, it follows kind of the prescription of two propositions and a conclusion.  And the simple kind of explanation of it is that the Shia Islam, because all humanity is created by the divine, each of the human persons so created has a dignity, has a irreversible attribute of the divine within her or within him.  And because of that reality, that created reality, that we – that individual deserves respect.  That individual deserves kindness no matter what their religion, no matter what their situation.  So from the very beginning, there’s this utter respect that is attributed to the human being because of its divine creation and the relationship to the divine.

So how does this play out in reality?  Well, then you have the second proposition saying that there are two forces that are opposing one another, one lives upstream from the other and the other is downstream, and they are at war with one another.  So would it be moral for the upstream to poison the river so that when that water arrives downstream to the enemy, then it would be wiped out?  And the answer:  No, it is immoral because of the fact that it would be the indiscriminate killing of innocent persons who are made in the divine, who require our respect and our understanding.  And so this is immoral and cannot be used.

So then the question comes up, how about nuclear weapons?  Are nuclear weapons a moral force that could be used for the purpose – the same sort of purpose as described above, and the answer again is no, that they are immoral because of their indiscriminate nature and their powerful force of destroying all types of innocent community, so that from the religious moral perspective of Shia Islam and the fatwa, the teaching of the supreme leader, that these – which they affirmed as really being in existence, that it is immoral for them – for the utilization of nuclear arms and teaching.

So they argued that the fatwa could not be reversed so as to contradict itself, even if Iran’s strategic calculations changed.  This would undermine the authority of the supreme leader, which guides in a general way Iran’s political class so that the – Iran is based on a political class which runs the everyday government, that the ayatollah and the grand ayatollah and the supreme leader provide the moral direction for the community and that that is – the moral direction influences the political determination and in this case that they would continue to say that from a religious perspective that the utilization of weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons, utilization of them, is immoral and could not be sustained.

So both our Iranian interlocutors and our Bishops Conference have committed themselves to continued and deeper discussions in the future – and perhaps this will be spoken about a little later – that we anticipate a visit to the United States from our friends in Iran if it all can be arranged in the not-too-distant future, to carry on our dialogue, and also to hopefully make more public these stands that we have taken, at least disperse this news in a way that truly gets out of the religious leaders’ stance on these issues and trying to take away some of the – you know, the shadows that exist in the relationships and to get to the heart of the matter of what we truly believe.  So thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Bishop Pates.  And now, for more on these issues, Ebrahim Mohsensi, you have the floor.

Ebrahim Mohsensi:  I’ll be short so that we would have more time for the Q&A.

I was involved in coordinating, basically, this trip.  And the first thing I had to do was convince the ayatollahs in Tehran that this was a worthwhile endeavor, and that itself took, I would say, about a year of going back and forth between – you know, between Washington to Tehran and between Tehran to Qom.  And it was – it was an enlightening experience in the sense that a lot of the concerns – I’m sorry – a lot of the concerns that they initially would voice about such a trip were themselves rooted in the deep mistrust that exists between the two countries.  Some of these concerns were that – is this going to be, basically, used as a propaganda scheme by the U.S. government, that even the Iranian ayatollahs want to have dialogue with the Americans, you know?  These sort of concerns required a lot of negotiating back and forth and emphasis on the strict religious nature of this – of this delegation.

The Iranians – I think that the most important factor that really convinced them that this was a worthwhile endeavor was their concern that a lot of people outside of Iran judge them or talk about them without having any real information about them.  So on the issue of fatwa, they were really concerned that a lot of articles and, you know, opinion pieces have been written without any ayatollah ever being consulted on the matter.  And that itself was enough for them to – you know, to agree that perhaps this could be the beginning of injecting some truth into the debate that is occurring not only in Iran, but also – not only in Washington, but also other countries around the world. 

During the discussions, as Bishop Pates noted, I and Professor Steinbruner really pushed them as to the nature of the fatwa, as to how categorical is the fatwa?  Could it be changed?  Under what circumstances could it be changed?  And the responses we got, not only in our discussions with – you know, with the several ayatollahs that we met but also with the Shia scholars, were quite unequivocal, categorical, and without any qualifications.  And what is interesting is that their emphasis was that this is not something new, this is not something that Ayatollah Khamenei has come up with, you know, when they – you know, that this has deep roots in Shia jurisprudence, and that – and in our discussions with other grand ayatollahs, we basically heard the same kind of categorical opposition to weapons of mass destruction.  And as you know, grand ayatollahs are independent of each other.  Basically, one of the differences between the Shia school of thought and Catholicism is that they have several popes.  So each of these grand ayatollahs are – basically act as a pope; they could issue decrees.  So they are basically independent of each other.  And all these different grand ayatollahs that we met, they voiced the same opinion, religious opinion.  And the emphasis was that this is not something that, if even Ayatollah Khamenei would decide to – one day would, perhaps, change his opinion, it would be really tough for him to convince all these other ayatollahs that a new way of thinking is required on the issue of weapons of mass destruction.

One of the things that I do professionally is that I collect public opinion data from Iran and from other countries.  And one of the issues that we have investigated is, in fact, the – you know, the public attitudes from a moral perspective in regards to nuclear weapons.  And the results we get is quite similar to what you heard in Qom.  I’m just going to go through some of the numbers really quickly.

Back in 2008, we asked whether nuclear weapons was against Islam or not.  In 2008, 58 percent said that it was against Islam to produce nuclear weapons.  We asked the same question last week, and the data now stands at 65 percent of people who say producing nuclear weapons is against Islam.

Last week, we asked a question about Iran’s decision not to use chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War.  We basically said that, as you know, Saddam used chemical weapons during that war; Iran decided not to retaliate in kind.  Do you think that was the right decision, or should have – should Iran have retaliated in kind?  And the response we got to that, 19 percent said that we should have retaliated in kind as compared to 78 percent who say that it was the right decision for Iran not to have retaliated in kind.

And the views regarding the fatwa, there is overwhelming knowledge of the fatwa.  In fact, more people know about the fatwa than they know about the NPT.  Sixty-three percent have heard of the NPT, have some knowledge of the NPT, as compared to 71 percent who accurately identify what Ayatollah Khamenei’s opinion is in regards to nuclear weapons.  By the way, the 63 percent is quite a high number, I mean, on the NPT; in the U.S., it’s about 28 percent. 

So taking that into mind, I think it’s important – and I think one of the things we should try to do in this town is to try to safeguard as best as we can these perceptions in Tehran by giving weight to it.  You know, if we would dismiss these out of hand and would say these are not important, whatnot, we do not create the – not that our incentives really matter, but our incentives could help the Iranians and Iranian scholars in Iran try to reinforce these opinions, both among the public and among the religious community, because I think at the end of the day it is not the technical capability that really matters, it is that decision.

We know from literature on nuclear weapons and development that if a country really decides to create nuclear weapons, to develop it, they will eventually, you know, do it.  It is that decision which is, I think, the most important element, not the capabilities.  And I think what prevents that decision from happening is precisely these public opinions in opposition to nuclear weapons and those religious guidelines that prohibit the production of nuclear weapons.  With that, I will pass it.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.

Steve.  (Applause.)

STEPHEN COLECCHI:  Well, I’m sort of the clean-up batter here, and I will also be brief.

To some people, it might seem naïve to take religion seriously regarding such a major geopolitical issue, which has life-and-death ramifications, but I would argue that we ignore the influence of religion as a motivator and a validator at our own peril.  Religion is a powerful motivator of people, of cultures, of societies, including our own, and it affects political activity.

For many years, religious leaders in the United States have been talking to the State Department, trying to help the State Department to “get” religion.  And by “get” religion, we don’t mean become religious but rather to understand religion, to understand the role it plays in cultures, to understand the role – the influence it has in political systems.  And the U.S. State Department, to its credit, is working on that.  I think, to its great credit now, you know, Shaun Casey has been appointed special adviser to Secretary of State Kerry for faith-based and community initiatives.  The White House also gets this, and for some time has had an Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, currently headed by Melissa Rogers.

But I don’t think the impact of religion as a factor in political decisions has permeated either the State Department or, for that matter, our own culture.  We don’t – we have a caricature of what religion looks like in Iran, rather than a real grasp of what that looks like. 

I just want to recount one experience.  When we first arrived in Qom, their holy city, the place of their major seminary study, to meet with the Supreme Council, the very first place we were taken was to the shrine of Fatima – major figure in their – in Shia history and in the Shia faith.  A saint, as it were in Catholic lexicon. 

And entering that place – that was one of the places where the bishops were mobbed by young people wanting to get selfies with them.  They were obvious.  They had crosses on.  I mean, they looked even more bishopy than the bishop looks today.  (Laughter.)

BISHOP PATES:  Thank you, Steve.  (Laughter.)

MR. COLECCHI:  You’re welcome.  And – but when we went in there, the quietness of the place, the crowds moving through, the candles that were lit, the people praying and signs of reverence as they moved past her gravesite and so forth, I felt like I was in a Catholic cathedral.  This faith is real.  It’s palpable.  It was like being in a Catholic dedicated to the memory of a saint.  Iran is a very, very religious culture.  It’s also a very modern culture.  And it is not at all like the caricature of the sort of fanatic religion that we see depicted too often or used in political speeches.

And I think it’s this – that’s – in that light – the fatwa needs to be looked at in that light, in light of their whole culture and religious system.  You know, you’ve heard about the fatwa.  There’s not only the fatwa of Ayatollah Khamenei but also Khomeini.  I mean, both have – both issued fatwas.  One in relation to chemical but also nuclear, one specifically on nuclear.  I won’t – I won’t go over all those.  And they’re in several public places and you can get a sense of them.

Gareth Porter has just recently done an article that was really excellent, an interview with an individual who in several meetings with Ayatollah Khomeini – the founder of the Islamic Republic, the first supreme leader – you know, when the chemical weapons were being used, you know, they started actually developing the components of chemical weapons.  And the Ayatollah said – the supreme leader said no.  It’s forbidden.  It’s haraam.  One hundred and thirty thousand deaths later, they still did not employ those weapons.  I think we need to take that kind of evidence very, very seriously.

And I don’t think our State Department quite does yet, to be honest.  I don’t think our country does yet, to be quite honest.  On October 16th, a senior State Department official said – had this to say in Vienna:  Iran has said they don’t want a nuclear weapon, have never wanted a nuclear weapon, never will have a nuclear weapon, including a fatwa by the supreme leader.  What these negotiations are about is whether Iran is willing to take verifiable actions to show the world that their program is indeed for peaceful purposes.

So they mention the fatwa in an almost off-handed way and basically dismiss it, as if it has no relevance.  Now, I’m not saying it has every relevance, but it has some relevance.  The fatwa is clearly pervasively taught and defended within Iran.  It’s known by its people.  And we’ve got to understand their governmental system.  They have – they’re on an unprecedented kind of venture.  They are – at one point we – I made this mistake of referring to a theocracy.  And, boy, they jumped down my throat in several different – actually, it only happened once.  I’m a slow learning, but I’m not that slow. 

They said, no, we are democracy that is guided by moral principle.  So the role of the supreme leader is to articulate the moral principles within which government must operate.  And it cannot be contravened and so forth.  So they have this very interesting blending of authoritative moral guidance with representative government.  That’s kind of their – and it’s different.  It’s different than anyplace else in the world, really.  And they have, in Qom, 120,000 scholars and ayatollahs and students and seminarians studying to learn this rich, rich Shia tradition so that they can help be the interlocutors throughout Iran to help maintain the religious foundation of this state, which is representative government but guided by moral principles.

So the possibility of changing the fatwa overnight is nonexistent.  This should be part of a – what needs to be taken into account by diplomats.  You know, what it would take, not only – to change the decision, as it were, because it can’t be done like that.  That would undermine the whole teaching authority of their system.  It would be inconceivable to a Catholic that a pope would do that like that.  It’s inconceivable to them that an ayatollah or a supreme leader would do that as well.

Now, I’m not saying that every Iranian agrees with this, even at the time of the founding supreme leader, you know, there were those in the military who were preparing chemical weapons, right, or preparing the components for them.  But they did finally abide by the decision of the supreme leader.  It has a serious effect.  So maybe not every Iranian official in Iran today agrees with the direction that the Islamic Republic has taken, but they certainly have to take it into account.  It is serious.  It is very serious.

And I think that’s what the bottom line is, based on this religious dialogue, anyway.  We’re simply asking our people, our government and others – at least take this into account.  It is a factor and it might make the space for negotiations easier, to really understand this – about this – the nature of Iran the nature of the fatwa and how deeply embedded it is within their culture. Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, thanks to all of you for your incredible work with this initiative, which is truly ground breaking, and fascinating, from my perspective, working on these issues for many years, to focus on the moral dimensions.  So thank you very much.  It’s now time for our audience to offer their questions.  And let’s start with some of the journalists in the audience, if we could.  Barbara and then we’ll go to our friend here.  So if you could bring the mic – yeah, bring the mic up so our transcriber can hear you.  Thank you.

Q:  Thank you.  I’m Barbara Slavin from the Atlantic Council and also the Al-Monitor website.  Couple questions, if I may, to Steve Colecchi.  You talk about the fatwa, but there’s also something called maslahat, or expediency.  Things can change in Iran if it’s expedient and necessary to keep the system going.  So I wondered if you discussed that with your interlocutors. 

To Mr. Mohsensi, if you could tell us a little bit more about this poll?  Is this the first time you’re releasing these results?  And can we see the full poll?  Where can we find that?  And to Bishop Pates, you said you talked about moral dimensions.  Yes, Iran has a fatwa against WMD, but they executed 900 people last year.  And their human rights record is not good.  Did you talk about capital punishment?  Is this a subject for the future?  How do they explain, you know, the way in which they execute people for offenses that we would, even in this country, probably, not execute people?  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Why don’t we take those questions and then we’ll go to the next person.

MR. COLECCHI:  Sure.  That’s a trifecta, wow.  (Laughter.)

Q:  I’m glad you liked it.

MR. COLECCHI:  We did talk considerably about the fatwa and whether there was any condition, any expediency, any anything that could change it.  And the answer we got was categorically no.  That it was too clean. 

In fact they used an example, which I thought was rather interesting.  There used to be a fatwa against chess.  Chess was haraam, forbidden.  And the reason why there was a fatwa against chess is because people gambled on chess.  That was – that was the purpose of the game.  When chess became a game of the mind and no longer a game of gambling, then the fatwa was changed to be only against gambling, but not against chess.  I don’t know the details of it, I’m so sorry.

But they use this as an illustration of explaining that a fatwa can change and develop, but not by way of contradiction.  It just – it cannot by way of contradiction.  And so my answer to you would be no, I don’t think – I know the answer we got was expediency would not override the fatwa.

MR. MOHSENI:  Now, about the polling data – some of the data that I indicated, knowledge of the fatwa and the 2008 data on whether nuclear – production of nuclear weapons is prohibited or not – is on University of Maryland website.  So you can go to the worldpublicopinion.org website.  And the data on those would be available.  The data that I referred to about what they conducted basically last week is not yet up online, but it will be.  And if you want – I mean, if you give me your contact information, once it’s up I can – I can share the data with you. 

MS.     :  (Inaudible.)

MR. MOHSENI:  These are all probability sample – 1,000, margin of error, 3 percent. 

BISHOP PATES:  The invaluable situation with regard to dialogue is that we learn, and sometimes, they had presented in our discussions – I can’t think of any immediate examples – situations that really don’t exist, or misinterpretations of the activity of the United States, which we are able to clarify.  Unfortunately, we did not get to, I think, capital punishment, so it’s not – but it can be, certainly, put on the agenda for future discussion, and I think that’s an extraordinarily important point.  And – but we’d also have to consider our own position on capital punishment so it would be a true dialogue.

And then, secondly, I think that the Catholic Church has experienced a revolution in its understanding of capital punishment, too, so that we’re at the point that you know, we do not abide by it basically.  So I’ll – I think cultures are moving in a direction of – and so it would be a very interesting point, and thank you for suggesting it.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yes, ma’am.  And if you could wait for the microphone, I’m sorry.  Yes.

If you can just identify yourself.

Q:  Pat Zapor from Catholic News Service.  Bishop Pates, you talked a little bit about some of the fears in Iran before you came that it might be used for propaganda purposes.  What have any of you heard back about how news of this delegation – this meeting was received?  Was there pushback?  Was it – was the information well-received?  And I realize, in this country, I wrote a story, but there weren’t a lot of us doing that, and there really isn’t – hasn’t been a lot of information out.  But what feedback have you received from either side?

BISHOP PATES:  Well, two-fold.  One from our – we did briefings with our American government, both the Congress, State Department and the executive branch, and it was all well-received, I think, that they were appreciative of the dialogue and information from a religious perspective.  So I would say the bottom line there was positive and helpful to understanding of peoples moving forward, working together, coming at it from a different perspective. And then, secondly, just in my own conversations back home in Des Moines, that – after explaining it all, that they always said thank you – thank you for doing this; somebody must be about these issues and questions.  And I think that it reflects the real hearts of the Americans, that they want to have peace, they want to have dialogue, they want to have people working toward these goals.

And oftentimes, you know, our political portrayal, you know, does the opposite – (chuckles) – and creates an enemy so they can take action, when, in fact, it’s more of a creation, perhaps, than a reality.  So I think, on the local scene, that it was very well-received, and I think, among our bishops and others, that as a representative of the international justice that they’ve all thanked me and thanked our committee, to all of those who went for doing this in appreciation – very much appreciative of the work that we’re undertaking in this regard.

MR. COLECCHI:  If I could just add another comment, because at the conference of bishops – at the office, as opposed to in Des Moines, we actually receive any feedback that comes off of our website, or, you know, commentary on activities of the bishops and so forth, and I can – I can say that we did not receive any appreciable negative commentary on either of the two press releases that we made available to you – the joint statement that the bishops and the Shia scholars issued, or the initial press release about the trip itself.  We received – I don’t know if people weren’t paying attention; I don’t want to invite negative commentary necessarily – (laughter) – since that means drafting lots of responses, but there was not a lot of – there wasn’t any.

MR. MOHSENI:  And on the Iranian side, interestingly – and it was totally out of coincidence that our trip to Iran coincided with a series of religious delegations, going to Iran.  I know for a fact that that was not coordinated.  The press coverage that it got in Iran happened at two different levels.  One was the press relating to the religious communities of Qom, which primarily focused on the dialogue and what was exchanged between the Catholic bishops and the Ayatollahs, and it was – the tone of it was totally positive.

The more mainstream press saw this whole activity as one package.  And there were different types of commentaries on it.  Mostly it was positive – mostly, that this will encourage mutual understanding between the two nations, and hopefully, that would trickle up to the – to the politicians.  But then, there were some other negative commentaries as well, in the mainstream press, portraying these sort of trips as an agenda to undermine Iran’s resistance toward the United States, and the – you know, that whole narrative.  So – but in general, I have to say, in general both the local press and the national press in Iran – the coverage was quite positive.

Q:  (Inaudible) – official from the government – (inaudible) –

MR. MOHSENI:  There was only one official – not about our – as far as I know, not about our delegation, but about another religious delegation, when there was a question of whether that delegation was carrying a message from Obama or not, and the public statement was that – no, that this was a purely religious interaction.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Yes, and if you could bring the microphone over here.  Thank you.

Q:  Jo Biddle from AFP, Agence France-Presse – I wonder if I could ask the panel.  Given the fact that they were so insistent that this fatwa couldn’t be changed, whether you probed them on why, so far, the nuclear program has been so secretive, and why, up until the JPOA was agreed – the interim agreement – there had been no inspections, and they basically kicked the IAEA inspectors out of the country, and why they were, you know, pursuing their nuclear program?  And I wanted to ask Daryl – I know we’re not really talking about the nuclear talks about the moment, but what is your sense about whether there might be an extension beyond the deadline of November 24th?

MR. KIMBALL:  Do you all want to answer the first part of the question?

MR. COLECCHI:  I could offer some tentative thing.  The – I think the Iranian perception is different than the U.S. perception regarding transparency to some degree, first of all.  And Gareth, in a couple of recent articles, has talked about that, and I would refer you to Gareth Porter.  The other thing I would say is that there is – one thing to understand that I came to appreciate it – let me just put it this way – about the Iranians is, they are heirs of a very, very proud tradition.  And I mean, that Persian tradition – that Persian national identity, in addition to their Shia religious identity – you know, their – they don’t particularly like having their internal affairs dealt with differently than other countries’ might be dealt with.

And so that might be part of it, but I think they would argue that they are really working very hard to be as transparent as possible, and I believe the interim agreement has shown that.  But I don’t think they would quite agree with your characterization.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah, so regarding the talks – and just to clarify one of the things you said in your question – I mean, the Iranian program has been under inspection – IAEA inspection – they are a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  In the 2005-2006 periods, the last major time when there were international negotiations on Iran’s program, Iran had been allowing more extensive inspections under something called the IAEA additional protocol.  When those talks broke down, they no longer – decided no longer to implement that.  But there have been inspections at the – all the major Iranian nuclear facilities on an ongoing, regular basis.

With the joint plan of action that was struck a little less than a year ago, there were additional inspections that were agreed to at certain sites, like some of the centrifuge production sites.  So just as a matter of fact and the record on that.  But as I said at the opening, the two sides are working hard, very intensively to try to meet the November 24th deadline – a new deadline.  It is clear from our conversations with people involved in negotiations on both sides of the table that they’ve made progress in a number of areas.  But they are still trying to close the gaps on a couple of key areas.

And as you might have heard from Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman last Thursday, you know, the U.S. and the P-5 believe they have put forward solutions on those issues.  They’re waiting for the Iranians to respond.  It is not clear whether they’re going to be able to reach a political agreement on all of the major issues.  I think the main issue that they still need to reach relates to defining the overall capacity of Iran to enrich uranium, and uranium can be enriched to fuel grade or weapons grade over the course of this multi-year agreement.

So that is one of the main issues that they still need to deal with, and for the P-5 plus one, it’s definitely – what they’re aiming for is to reduce the capability while confidence is restored about the nature of the program.  And I don’t think that they’re going to be extending the joint plan of action.  That is not their first choice.  I think the P-5 plus one believe, and I think the Iranians believe that if there is going to be a comprehensive, multi-year agreement, the decisions necessary to reach that agreement can and should be made now, and extending the JPOA – the interim agreement doesn’t help them resolve those issues.

That said, they could very well announce in the next few weeks that they’ve achieved substantial progress on some of the remaining issues of disagreement, but they need more time to work out the technical details about how to implement those decisions.  So they may decide jointly to take more time to negotiate those additional technical details.  We saw this a little bit a year ago when the two sides reached the broad agreement on the interim agreement, and then they took several weeks to negotiate the detailed technical annexes defining terms and how to measure things and how to verify things.

So I think that’s what we’re looking at.  So, you know, bottom line is, a conference agreement is still within reach.  There is an agreement that is out there if the two sides can find the right formula that meets the bottom-line requirements of each side, and for Iran that means, I think, preserving their dignity and preserving a uranium enrichment program that can provide for a future larger nuclear energy program.  Their current needs for uranium enrichment are relatively low.  And for the P-5 plus one, it’s to reduce the capacity so that they have confidence that Iran could not make a fast break for producing weapons-grade material and to make nuclear weapons, which would require overcoming a number of hurdles.  And not just technical, but political, moral, religious – not just the fatwa, but the nuclear nonproliferation treaty itself.

So that’s how I see things playing out.  We’ve got several other questions here.  Let’s go to the gentleman in the second row, and then we’ll go to the third, and then we’ll come back over here.  Thank you, sure.  Right here, yep.

Q:  Alex Patico with the Orthodox Peace Fellowship.  You put an emphasis on the nature of the delegation and the discussions as moral and religious.  You obviously did get into the nuclear issue.  What – were there other substantive conversations on other topical issues such as the justification for or impact of Western-imposed sanctions or in Israel-Palestine?

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  And why don’t we just take another question here, and we can take a couple at a time with Mr. Levine right there.  Thank you.

Q:  Edward Levine, retired staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  I was very interested in your discussion of the Iran-Iraq War, because back in the days when I was active, an Iranian professor came and gave a briefing at which he said that it was the Iran-Iraq war that led Iran to start its nuclear weapons program, and he went into some detail about the decisions that were made and how that crucible of decision made it very unlikely that Iran would ever agree to completely give up its uranium enrichment.  So I’m wondering, to what extent your interlocutors discussed the period before 2003 and what they made of that?

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Who would like to take those two questions?  Bishop Pates?

BISHOP PATES:  Well, I might just make reference to the sanctions, et cetera.  While they were discussed just as an aside, they were more discussed informally with individuals as we moved around and were with the ayatollahs, et cetera.  And one ayatollah just said to me that, you know, it’s had an impact on the society, and the impact has basically been he had two sisters-in-law, both of whom had serious cancer which could have been addressed through medicines, but because the banks will not finance, you know, medicines – they’re off the sanctioned list, so to speak – but because they could not get financing to bring the medicines in, both of these women died. 

And he – of course, that’s a very touching issue for himself.  You know, we were conversing there and, I think, in a friendly way, but there have been, you know, repercussions, and of course, that – on a personal level that really has impact on them.  So I think that they would say basically that they’re surviving, et cetera.  The other thing he said that it really has kind of an opposite reaction than we might anticipate because it’s a call for the people themselves to come together, you know, maybe like in the course of the Second World War, where people came together in the restrictions as being a part of a country’s, you know, objective to obtain the war so that they’re willing to give up certain things for an objective of achievement. 

And so they made some reference to that too, that it, in a certain sense, has brought the people closer together in their loyalty to Iran.  But also, you know, just the individual ad hoc situations and conversations with the individuals that they really did say that perhaps it’s portrayed – you know, the medicines are reaching, at least that’s the public knowledge, but their own personal experience is quite the contrary. 

MR. COLECCHI:  No.  And I would agree with that.  They just can’t get it through the financial system, and I know that they’ve been working on that a little bit. 

Let me talk about the – it would be consistent with what we learned that Iran is trying to develop enrichment capacity and has been for some time.  I mean, they were quite upfront about that.  I would have to put together what we learned on the trip together with what I recently learned – again, I’m sort of citing the source a lot – Gareth Porter in his research piece – or investigative reporting piece October 19th, so not too long ago, when the Ayatollah said no to nukes. 

And it was clear from with inside the military establishment that during the Iran-Iraq war, the military moved – gathered researchers for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons capabilities, and they began to do that.  When that was brought to the attention of the supreme leader before they had weaponized anything, before they got anywhere close to that, he said no, no, no. 

And so yes, there probably are early antecedents of a nuclear program – I think Iran would be – would admit that.  I think it did grow out of the experience of the war.  I don’t think it went anywhere because it ran into the opposition of the religious leadership. 

MR. KIMBALL:  Right.  A couple of other questions.  Why don’t we try over here and then we’ll come back to Nancy. 

Q:  Teresa Welsh with U.S. News and World Report.  Bishop Pates, I was wondering if you could speak a little bit more about the conversations you said you had upon returning from the trip with White House, members of Congress and the State Department, and a little bit more about their reaction to what you found out.

BISHOP PATES:  Well, I think we had the discussion with those individuals.  I think Deputy Secretary Burns has been working on this for quite some time, and that they’re wanting to reach, you know, an agreement because it would be in the best interests of everybody.  And so he was very interested to learn about the religious factors and the religious leadership and how they’re addressing it from a moral perspective.  So I think it fed into the information that they wanted to receive in order to be able to, you know, move forward with their objective of – and the relationship with Iran.

So I think from that perspective, that they just received the information not necessarily from political, but it’s another sort of angle.  That’s all we were interested in, was sharing the religious outcome and moral perspective. 

So I think it gave them another perspective as Dr. Colecchi spoke a little bit earlier, that oftentimes this is not even part of the equation.  The religious and moral perspective that we do not even take that into consideration, but indeed, it’s a considerable factor in terms of the popular kind of support and development of these sorts of things and the way a nation goes, if they say they’re representative in the sense that their government is elected, and Rouhani, I think, is a different sort of individual than his predecessor.  And so that they are working in that direction. 

So I would say this, is that it can – we did not do it for a political reason, but just so that they have another information source, and so they were grateful for that information that – and our experience. 

MR. KIMBALL:  Steve, did you want to –

MR. COLECCHI:  The only thing I would add is we also had meetings at the White House with – and the experience was very similar.  In fact, I – we met at very high levels in the White House and also at the National Security Council with their whole team working on this, at the White House’s request.  So – the second – the second meeting.

And so I think there – they were very interested.  I mean, they asked all the tough questions, tougher questions than we’re getting here in many ways.  But they also appreciated the information.  I mean, it’s – you know, it’s – it’s a significant factor that they need to fold into all the other considerations they have as they are trying to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion.

BISHOP PATES:  I would add just one important point.  We are not agents of our government, and we went very independently apart from any – we would – we would have gone regardless if we had the discussions, but it was information to – and the theme that the, you know, the Iranians themselves has that were truth, peace and justice, and that’s our basic bottom line of what we’re about and how we try to – how we try to, you know, influence the common good for everybody. 

So we are – and we don’t want to say to the Iranians that we’re agents of our government; no way we were that.  But as a courtesy to our government, we brought that information.  But it was independent and basically a moral and religious undertaking. 

MR. COLECCHI:  Right.  And Bishop Pates has met with a number of members on the – on the Hill, with key staffers on the Hill, to also share this information.  In fact, we have another meeting scheduled this afternoon.

And – but, you know, there – the idea is we have something that we’ve learned and we need to share this as widely as possible.  And today is part of that effort.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Nancy and then Greg? 

Q:  Hi, I'm Nancy Gallagher from the University of Maryland, and I’m going to quickly remind Ibrahim about his poll that’s up on the CISSM website that actually has a lot of the data that he referred to on Iranian attitudes towards the nuclear negotiations. 

So for example, on the fatwa and the NPT, also a lot of information about perceptions of sanctions and whether or not the sanctions are changing attitudes towards nuclear policy.  That’s very consistent with what Bishop Pates said. 

I wanted to ask you about whether you talked to your interlocutors about the concept of forgiveness and how they think about that, how you think about that and how that applies specifically to how we handle the issue of possible military dimensions, of nuclear research that was done, but also the larger issue of how we handle the, you know, sort of legacy of mistrust and grievances that both sides have towards each other. 

BISHOP PATES:  I would think from a religious perspective, we didn’t get into that in great detail, but I think, you know, both of us want to move forward, and that would necessarily entail forgiveness for whatever activity that has been undertaken or perceived to have been undertaken.  And that’s the purpose of dialogue, and I think is – you know, Pope John Paul II and also Francis especially have emphasized the necessity of, you know, forgiveness and healing and moving forward.  And so I think that was a unspoken kind of reality, but again, thank you for bringing it up because it could be a part of our future discussions and our dialogue. 

MR. KIMBALL:  All right –

MR. MOHSENI:  Let me just add something to that.  One of the things that I have heard a lot, both on this trip and in my discussions with both Iranian policymakers and academics, the reference to the Iran-Iraq war is something that, you know, we have forgotten in this town, but they haven’t forgotten back in Iran. 

I mean, anyone who travels to Iran would immediately face the reality that that event, that episode is not dead, you know, in that country.  And the question of why – why were we attacked, why the international community turned a blind eye to Saddam’s aggression, why they turned a blind eye even as Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons.  You know, there’s a lot of reference to the U.N. Security Council resolutions that, you know, even though Saddam – it was well known that it was Saddam who was using chemical weapons, the U.N. Security Council resolutions demanded both Iran and Iraq to stop using chemical weapons. 

And the fact that we haven’t on this side come to terms with – you know, with that episode and our responsibility in that – you know, in that conflict is something that they are observing quite – you know, quite vigorously and they’re looking for signs of us being, you know, somehow, in some way, apologetic about our activities and our support during that period.  And they don’t see any. 

Q:  Madeleine Albright in – (off mic) –

MR. MOHSENI: Right.  You know, they are waiting for – from their point of view, our engagement in that conflict was – you know, in some ways, some say that the crime of the U.S. in that war was greater than the crime of Saddam Hussein, and – you know, and there are ways of – we need to understand at least – whether it’s right or not, we need to understand where they are coming from and the fact that that conflict and our involvement in that effort is still alive in Iran. 

MR. COLECCHI: Actually, I’d like to add one thing.  We didn’t use the term forgiveness that I can recall in the dialogue, but I remember a very poignant moment in our – in our dialogue.  This was with the Shi’a scholars where we sort of identified for each other the wounds in the relationship.  So I remember them talking about not only the Iran-Iraq war, but the overthrow of their first – of their democratically elected government and the installation of the shah.  They also talked about the sanctions as a wound. 

And then from our side, we talked about the hostage crisis, you know, which they interpreted for us a little bit being a defensive move.  They actually considered taking over the Russian embassy, but they decided once we took the shah in we might be trying to restore the dynasty, so then they switched to the U.S. embassy. 

They were quick to point out that none of the hostages were harmed, but – so both sides in a rather poignant moment acknowledged that our societies have wounded each other and we have deep-seeded reasons to be suspicious of the other and that we need to move beyond that history through some acknowledgment on both sides. 

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  We’ve got a couple more questions.  Greg Thielmann and then Pierce Corden please, and then –

Q: Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association.  It is hard for us Americans to understand the role of religion and how it’s balanced with the realpolitik in Iran.  I imagine it’s hard for the Iranian clerics to understand the role of religion in the U.S, and how it’s balanced with realpolitik. 

So I just wondered if – could you tell us how you would answer questions about what a predominantly Christian nation, a nation of churchgoers in comparison to the Europeans, how that nation could then have a nuclear policy of threatening the use of nuclear weapons, maintaining an enormous arsenal, and in the case of Iran, actually withholding a no first use pledge in Iranian contingencies. 

MR. KIMBALL:  Why don't we take the second question before we address them?  Thanks.

Q:  Pierce Corden with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  In your discussions about nuclear weapons, was there any specificity beyond the use of that term in the context of materials, in the context of ways of delivering a nuclear explosive to a distance – by that, I mean, ballistic missiles primarily – and of the involvement of other states in the Iranian nuclear industry?  You hear about the possible collaboration with the DPRK as an example. 

BISHOP PATES:  All right.  I’ll try to answer a little bit of the religious issue and then leave to our scientific experts some question. 

But the – I think for the religious question, you have the Bell Curve in the American religious experience – all the extraordinarily conservative extremes, I would say, on both sides of the spectrum and then you have a middle course.  And I think the middle course is perhaps what – the balance – the middle course is what we would advocate or try to advocate from the perspective of the U.S. American bishops and our relationships with other countries. 

But we are very definitely against – and so we could only speak from our perspective – and what I outlined a little bit before, you know, that the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII and then, I think, since then, our popes have emphasized that we are opposed to nuclear weapons, first of all, you know, that we may have been OK with them morally from a deterrence viewpoint, but we feel that that, now, also has been taken off the table and so that – our history is very clear developing and so, in that sense, it would coincide with the – you know, the Iranian or, I would say, the Shia position today. 

Now, we represent about – in the Church today, you know, at least in terms of identified Catholics – we don’t – I can’t say that they’re a solid force but, you know, 24 percent of the population – but that is our particular position and which, you know, going to Rome next week and, I think, speak directly about this and, you know, really looking at the U.S. utilization of nuclear arms and saying, would a much better investment be in development?  With – are we going to really have a much stronger defense of our values, our country, et cetera, if these dollars were invested in development as opposed to nuclear weapons?

So, from the position of the Church – the Catholic Church – it’s very clear, you know, where we stand and I think that there are many others who follow us but that religions have different viewpoints and that’s all we could share with our interlocutors – (inaudible). 

MR. COLECCHI:  No, I think that’s absolutely right, Bishop, and we have to – we had an – it was really interesting, when we arrived at the airport in Tehran, they wanted to welcome us and so they didn’t – they put us into the VIP lounge and the – and our guide from the – Qom would not allow us to be fingerprinted by the security – that’s a normal procedure, you get fingerprinted when you arrive, and it took about two hours of struggling back and forth, but the religion people won and we were not fingerprinted.  We enjoyed the VIP lounge, we were sipping on tea and then we finally got to our hotel room at an ungodly hour but – and I was just reflecting on how the influence of religion in our culture is so different, like, the likelihood that we can get them to bypass, in security, getting fingerprinted – rather unlikely. 

But let me just take on a little bit that thing about the specificity, Pierce.  Your question is a very good one and it has a very simple answer.  We’ve a – really a religious and moral dialogue, we did not get in to those kinds of technical questions.  The closest we got to technical questions was Dr. John Steinbruner really was able to push a couple of the Shia scholars on, so, here’s your religious teaching, what’s your strategic assessment?  And the two scholars that he was able to push on that, that were more in the political realm and so forth as scholars, as well as being religious scholars, they said, our strategic assessment is a nuclear weapon is not in Iran’s interest – that a weapon, first of all, was not a deterrent and it will simply invite attack – and so that they believe that there was a congruence between their religious teaching, which – the other thing to say about that is, Shia Islam is all about defense.  I mean, their whole history is one of persecution by a Sunni majority and – so their interpretation is that armed force is principally for defense, not for offense, and that’s why nuclear weapons are, you know – like, when the ayatollah was told, should we develop chemical weapons?  He says, no, we should be developing really good gas masks.  That was the answer. 

So no, we didn’t get into those – that kind of detail because it was a religious and moral dialogue, although we did have that sidebar conversation confirming that the strategic calculation matched the religious calculation. 

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  I think we’ve got time for a couple more questions.  Let’s go to this gentleman in the purple tie in the middle and then Mr. Culp.

Q:  I’m Eric Arnett from the State Department.  Bishop Pates, when you summarized the fatwa, you gave the usual canonical ban on production, possession and use, but the logic you gave only supports a ban on use.  I’m wondering what logic – two part question – I wonder what the logic they gave for opposing production and possession?  And the second part of the question is, although that’s the canonical way of phrasing the – what the fatwa covers, President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif often also say that the fatwa prohibits development of nuclear weapons.  Did anybody discuss, mention the word development or discuss reasons why development would also be prohibited?

BISHOP PATES:  I think the answer to some of this might be that they are developing it for the utilization of fuel et cetera, and so that would – envision the production of a weapon.  That Rouhani – I’m sorry, he said –

Q:  (Off mic) – often when Rouhani and Zarif summarize the fatwa, they say that it also bans development, not just production, possession and use.  But they’re the only two that I’m aware of who have ever said development.  So the question is whether that’s a policy of theirs or that’s an overlooked part of the fatwa, that other people aren’t so focused on – (inaudible) –

BISHOP PATES:  Well, I think the – yeah, the – excuse me – thank you.  So Rouhani would say development is involved with the – their fatwa and that the policy of the country is – if I’m understanding you correctly –

Q:  (Off mic) just – when he said what’s covered by the – (inaudible) – he said development of nuclear weapons was also banned – (inaudible) –

BISHOP PATES:  Well, I think that there are the three characteristics:  development, stockpiling and utilization, that they would say is immoral.  That’s what we have been told and the fatwa, that’s what it covers, so he is representing the teaching as it stands today.  So perhaps it means that they’re – they are democratically elected, these are elected representative, really, and so the government is not just strictly the supreme leader exercising total political control, but it’s – you know, somewhat of a – they’re working together and so perhaps what their position, you know, their – that this would have the moral influence is actually being, you know, exemplified now by the – Rouhani and what he’s trying to do and I think move forward in the political arena.

So it’s not a simplistic sort of an idea of the government that there’s three factors, there’s the supreme leader from a moral perspective.  There’s also the government and then the Revolutionary Guard, which are involved in this, also, which place the supreme leader in the position that he has.  So all of these factors have to be gradually integrated to understand fully the complexities of their government, you know.  So we’re learning more about that all the time and I think this dialogue helps us just like it helps them understand who we are and, you know, how we function and operate.

MR. KIMBALL:  Steve, do you want to provide some more insights on this?

MR. COLECCHI:  The only thing I would add is that production, stockpiling and use were clearly identified.  Development was also talked about and, clearly, is included because the – what makes it morally problematic is the actual killing, of course, of innocent people, right, but you also cannot intend to do that.  And that’s what deterrence requires; that’s why deterrence doesn’t have a moral standing – a permanent moral standing in the – in the Catholic Church, that we have to move beyond deterrence, we have to use deterrence as only a step toward disarmament because the intent to inflict massive casualties on civilian populations is inherently evil.  In the – in the Catholic tradition we would say intrinsically evil; under no circumstances can it be justified.  So that’s the use, but the intent to do it is also problematic, morally.  So the development of nuclear weapons technology, which would then precede production stockpiling – I just think we’re – I think, actually, at that point, we’re just splitting hairs.  That, clearly, is – would not be within the understanding that the Shia scholars or the ayatollahs would have regarding the fatwa.  They are insistent, repeatedly, that the only development that they are interested in is for peaceful nuclear uses.

MR. MOHSENI:  And it’s also important to – I don’t know if you guys have seen the joint declaration – you know, part of that – it, you know, emphasizes – and I would want to actually read it, and it says – yeah – that – it says –

MR. :  This is the joint declaration, dated –

MR. MOHSENI:  Yeah, this is a joint declaration, dated June 14th, between the Catholic bishops and the Shia scholars and says that, “Shia Islam opposes and forbids the production, stockpiling, use and threat to use weapons of mass destruction.”  So it basically covers the whole – the whole range of the activities. 


MR. COLECCHI:  Well – but – I mean, I – to be honest, I have to – I’ll just be honest with you, that is precisely the – that brushes aside a whole religious tradition and trajectory.  It’s looking for the loophole and I don’t think that they’re looking for a loophole, that – I do not believe that is the case because to develop the capability of having such weapons would be the threat to use because the only reason why you would develop them is so – but then you can threaten that we could get one and then we could use one.  And all of that is haram.  It’s forbidden. 

MR. KIMBALL:  OK, I think we’ve got time for a couple more questions.  Mr. Culp in the middle, please.

Q:  David Culp with the Quakers.  Bishop Pates, I want to thank you and the Catholic bishops for longtime leadership on these issues, and in particular Steve Colecchi. 

When you go to Rome next week, I would encourage you to urge the pope to think about issuing a statement – which the rumor mill is that he’s working on a statement on nuclear weapons – and encourage them to go bold.  I think there’s a lot of support way beyond the Catholic Church for new leadership, way beyond 24 percent. 

And a lot of high hopes in this country and also, I hear, from Europe.  There’s lots of people waiting for this statement from the pope on nuclear weapons.  So encourage them to go bold, go big.  And I think there’s still a lot of support way beyond the Catholic Church for that kind of a statement. 

MR. KIMBALL:  OK, why don’t we take these last two questions here and then we’ll close things out.

Q:  Another quick question.  You keep talking about how the ayatollahs believe very firmly in the fatwa that was issued and that nuclear development, stockpiling weapons, all of it is forbidden.  So what explains the disconnect between those very firmly held beliefs and the policy that the country is showing the rest of the world in these negotiations?  If they believe that so firmly, why are they having such a hard time conveying it to the rest of the world?

MR. COLECCHI:  Or maybe the rest of the world is having a hard time understanding where they’re at.  There is – the shadow is that earlier on, during the Iran-Iraq War, there was a move to develop – there were research put in place for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.  That was very much earlier on in their history before the fatwa was issued.  And when the fatwa was issued, then those programs were phased out. 

And so I think the world, when they see other enrichment activity and the development of a peaceful nuclear program, have some evidence that there was this other trajectory earlier on.  And I think that’s what the real disconnect is.  I mean, you know, they’ve been compliant during the interim agreement with transparency measures and so forth.  They submit to transparency measures that are – I mean, I don’t want to be an apologist for the Iranian regime.  It’s appropriate for the world to ask tough questions and to expect a transparency that is required under the NPT. 

That’s really important, but I think the reason why they’re having a difficult time convincing the rest of the world is based on historical reasons and based on a caricature both that they have of us and we have of them that gets in the way of – that undermines the trust that’s needed to reach a resolution.

BISHOP PATES:  I think there’s perhaps a growing understanding too – it’s evolutionary in nature – that if Rouhani is saying some of these things directly as a political leader, which necessarily we haven’t heard before, that there seems to be a confluence of both religious moral perspectives taking shape at this point in time. 

It’s our own evolutionary understanding how we explain that, you know, the church accepted deterrence as an explanation for nuclear development.  Today we don’t accept that.  It’s a moving kind of evolutionary understanding,  And I think that it’s through dialogue, understanding, and reaching hard conclusions that this is where they’re at that will really achieve what we want to achieve.  So I think that’s what the pope is trying to say. 

We have to have encounter.  We can’t say this is forever, you know, that the encounter dialogue and hopefully relationship will lead forth.  I think that only, within that bilateral relationship, would have a great deal to do with the Middle East, because that’s problematic, you know, with all – Iran’s position, Hamas, all those other situations that we’re talking about.  Perhaps we can begin to unpack those two and have Middle East, and see if we can move in a direction.  So it has implications, I think, for the direct nuclear issues, but I think it goes beyond that in terms of relationship in the whole Middle East and how we deal with that. 

We just returned from a pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine with 18 bishops.  So we see the relationship there too.  It’s all kind of interconnected.  So, you know, to say that they – is that a firm stand forever?  Perhaps it’s been portrayed that way but we did not get the feeling that we – that we can now move forward, and so we have to be open and continue the discussions. 

MR. KIMBALL:  Just one other additional perspective in response to your question about why it’s difficult for Iran to convince the world that they’re not pursing nuclear weapons.  I mean, technically speaking the same technologies necessary to produce fuel for nuclear power reactors is the same basic technology necessary to enrich uranium to weapons-grade for weapons.  And so, I mean, Iran is at the point where they can – with their 10,200 operating centrifuges, they could theoretically produce a sufficient quantity of highly enriched uranium within a matter of a few months. 

So given – and I think given where Iran is in the region, given the history, there is – there is distrust and there is the accusation that – and I think credible evidence – that experiments were conducted over a decade ago that have nuclear weapons applications.  How that fits into this fatwa I don’t think anyone on this panel can answer.  You know, how every individual in the Iranian program acted in connection with the fatwa is impossible to answer. 

Let me just also say that I don’t think that Iran is going to – Iran’s leaders are going to admit that they – their scientists were engaged in work relating to the development of nuclear weapons or the production of nuclear weapons certainly.  And even if they were to do so, I don’t think that would achieve too much, because if they did – if they were involved in those experiments they still have the knowledge.  Admitting it isn’t going to necessarily erase it.

What matters is building around this framework that the fatwa I think helps to reinforce, that Iran will not be pursuing nuclear weapons in the future, building a system of monitoring and verification that ensures that they don’t violate the restrictions that could very well be negotiated in the next few weeks to limit their nuclear program to something that is commensurate with their nuclear energy needs.

So, you know, that’s a long explanation but I think, you know, there are a lot of reasons why there is this distrust, but there is – the important thing is that there is a way to overcome it with time and partly with this dialogue that we’ve heard about today, with the teachings that Shia Islam has on this subject.  And I think what you all are doing is very important and I think it’s cast – it’s provided some information on another aspect of this issue that has not been explored very much over the course of the last few years as we deal with the relations between the U.S. and Iran. 

So we are out of time for today.  I want to thank each of our speakers.  And I want to thank the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for cooperating with us.  And we look forward to further discussions on this in the future.  Thanks.  (Applause.) 


Country Resources:

October 20 Annual Meeting "Preventing Proliferation and Advancing Nuclear Disarmament"

Preventing Proliferation and Advancing Nuclear Disarmament

Annual Meeting on October 20

Monday, October 20, 2014 
9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
*Informal Evening Reception 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (details below)

Special Sept. 15 Event: Nuclear Weapons Testing: History, Progress, Challenges




The Embassy of Kazakhstan in Washington, D.C. and Partners Hosted a Special Event to Mark International Day Against Nuclear Tests

"Nuclear Weapons Testing: History, Progress, Challenges"  

DATE: Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, 12:30-5:00pm

LOCATION: United States Institute of Peace
2301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC

The Embassy of Kazakhstan, the Embassy of Canada, Green Cross International, the Atom Project, and the Arms Control Association hosted a mini-conference examining the human and security dimensions of nuclear testing, as well as the progress achieved to bring an end to nuclear weapons test explosions.

1:00-1:05 Welcome

Paul Hughes
Senior Advisor, United States Institute of Peace

1:05-1:10 Opening

Yerkin Akhinzhanov
Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan


Dr. Ernest Moniz
United States Secretary of Energy (Moniz Prepared Remarks)


Panel 1

The Security and Human Dimensions of Nuclear Testing
Moderated by Dr. Paul Walker, Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability, Green Cross International

Andrew C. Weber, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs
Dr. Togzhan Kassenova, Associate, Nuclear Policy Pprogram, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Dr. Jessica A. Schwartz, Co-founder of the Marshallese Educational Initiative


Denis Stevens
Deputy Head of Mission, Canada's Embassy to the United States of America

Panel 2

Verification and Entry into Force of the CTBT
Moderated by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security (Gottemoeller Prepared Remarks)
Lieutenant General Frank G. Klotz, USAF (Ret.), Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator

Dr. Lassina Zerbo
Executive Secretary, CTBTO
Final Remarks 
Yerkin Akhinzhanov
Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Click here to view the photo album from this event on the Arms Control Association's Flickr account.


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

PAUL HUGHES:  Ladies and gentlemen, if I could ask you to take your seats, please.  I’m Paul Hughes, the senior advisor for international security and peacebuilding here at the Institute of Peace, and it’s my distinct privilege and honor to welcome all of you to the United States Institute of Peace, America’s center for the prevention of international violent conflict, the mitigation of such conflict and the work to promote the stabilization following such conflicts.  The Institute is celebrating its 30th year of existence and hard work around the world in some of the toughest spots you can imagine.

We are honored to have been selected as the site for this very important event on the important issue of the testing of nuclear weapons and we would like to welcome Secretary Moniz, Undersecretary Gottemoeller, Ambassador Akhinzhanov and the many other guests who will provide their thoughts about this issue.  USIP was proud to have facilitated the work of the strategic posture review commission that was chaired by former Secretary of Defense William Perry and vice-chaired by former Secretary of Energy Jim Schlesinger, a Congressional commission that examined this issue as well as the many other issues related to nuclear arms nonproliferation and arms control. 

As many of these – several of the panelists and members who will be speaking to you today were members of that commission, either as experts or as specialists advising the panelists.  I would like to now introduce to you Deputy Ambassador Akhinzhanov, the chargé d'affaires of the Kazakhstan Embassy, who will welcome Secretary Moniz.

 Thank you, again, for coming to the Institute of Peace and feel free to visit us at our website or any other time. Sir.

YERKIN AKHINZHANOV:  Thank you, Paul for your kind introduction.  Dear ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, in the outset I would like to note that it is very unfortunate that Ambassador Kairat Umarov could not be with us – cannot be with us – today.  He was traveling to Washington after trip to Kazakhstan but, unfortunately, in the middle of his trip, his wife was hospitalized and had to undergo a very urgent, unscheduled surgery.  And Ambassador Umarov was planning – still planning – to travel to Washington this morning, but the conditions of his wife didn’t allow him to do so and he sends his sincere apologies and his greetings to all of you.  And our hope is that his wife will be recovering very soon. 

So, thank you very much for your – for coming today.  It is a pleasure to welcome all of you on this important occasion to commemorate the United Nations International Day against Nuclear Tests and discuss the importance of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty.  As you may well know, the International Day against Nuclear Testing was first proposed by Kazakhstan and endorsed – adopted -- unanimously adopted – by the UN General Assembly in 2009.  The date marks the day in 1991, when this infamous Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site was closed, where the Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests, many of them in the air and on surface. 

Ironically, this is also the day when the first explosion on that test site was made and many of my colleagues – elder colleagues, our parents, our grandparents, remember those days.  My father, personally, was telling me stories when – as a kid, he was evacuated from that place.  He lived – he stayed there, and it was terrible.  And it is quite symbolic that this year marks the 25th anniversary since the establishment of a grassroots anti-nuclear movement, Nevada Semipalatinsk.  It brought people of Kazakhstan and United States together in their desire to eliminate the nuclear threat not only in our own countries, but all around the world.

More than one and a half million people in Kazakhstan have suffered early death, horrific birth defects and lifelong physical difficulties as a result of those tests.  That stark reality led Kazakhstan to unilaterally give up the fourth-largest nuclear arsenal in the world shortly after we achieved independence.  Since then, Kazakhstan has convincingly demonstrated to the international community (that a ?) peaceful foreign policy, openness and cooperation, known possession of weapons of mass destructions, or a threat to use it, is the main prerequisite for prosperity and security. 

Due to the grave consequences brought upon us by nuclear testing, my president, Nursultan Nazarbayev and people of Kazakhstan are the steadfast advocates for the strengthening of global nuclear security and promoting a permanent end to all nuclear weapons testing.  Having a comprehensive worldwide verification system in place, the time is right and conditions are right to make it happen.

So we are called – we call upon the remaining nuclear technology states, including the United States, to ratify and allow the entering into force of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.  Kazakhstan’s commitment to the – to the CTBT is strong and rests on the firm verification grounds.  We were among the first to sign the treaty back in 1996 and presently, five international monitoring stations, part of the worldwide global alarm system to detect nuclear explosions, are located on our soil, in Kazakhstan.  We welcome the decision of the five nuclear weapons states, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, to sign the protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear and Weapon Free – Weapons Free Zone.  It is a major positive development in the global nonproliferation efforts and we urge the United States and other nuclear arms states to ratify the treaty and -- in order for the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone to take effect.

Dear friends, together with our partners from the Arms Control Association, Green Cross International and the government of Canada, we sincerely hope that this conference will help us in educating the international community on the security benefits of the treaty, as well as the dangers to the health and environment posed by nuclear tests.

As President Nazarbayev stressed, a nuclear-free world isn’t achievable overnight, but we should proceed towards it and encourage all nations to support the cause.  Almost four years ago, speaking here in Washington, my president called for a unique approach to security focused on what unites us, and he proposed adoption of a universal declaration of a nuclear weapons-free world.  President Nazarbayev sees the case for such a declaration as both moral and political; nuclear disarmament is both the right thing to do and it is the most reliable means to prevent the use of such weapons.

In the interim, Kazakhstan calls for ending nuclear weapons testing through the CTBT, establishing and recognizing nuclear weapons-free zones, including in Central Asia, including in Middle East and elsewhere, and strengthening security assurances for countries like Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, which have renounced nuclear weapons.  Ladies and gentleman, supporting President Obama’s initiative, Kazakhstan has endorsed all nuclear security summit goals, including promoting the safe use of nuclear energy, augmenting the IAEA’s role and authority in nuclear safety and security, adopting stronger measures to secure radiological sources and encouraging commercial nuclear power producers to stop using highly-enriched uranium.  We are, indeed, strong partners with the United States on making world a safer place.

With this, we are privileged and honored to introduce Dr. Ernest Moniz, the United States secretary of energy, as the keynote speaker.  As all of you know, Dr. Moniz has held his current post since May 2013.  Immediately before his appointment, Dr. Moniz was professor of physics and engineering systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was the founding director of the MIT Energy Initiative.  Before that, Dr. Moniz was undersecretary of the Department of Energy, and he was responsible for overseeing the department’s science and energy programs.

His impressive resume includes serving as an associate director for science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House.  Dr. Moniz’s outstanding qualifications as a brilliant scientist and engineer are well-known and universally respected.  With regard to nuclear security, Dr. Moniz and – is unquestionably in a leading position in spearheading multilateral nonproliferation efforts and in bolstering peace and security on our planet.

And allow me to be egotistic, to know that the only thing that has not yet accomplished in his distinguished career is a visit to Kazakhstan.  So – but we hope that Secretary Moniz can do this to resolve this issue, as it is much easier as others we are going to discuss today.  And, without further ado, please join me in welcoming United States Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz.  (Applause.)


SECRETARY EARNEST MONIZ:  Well, thank you.  I wish my challenges and shortcomings could be as easily corrected as – and as pleasantly corrected as by going to Kazakhstan.  And certainly you are fair to point out the shortcoming, and we will try to rectify that.

I also want to extend my thanks to Ambassador Umarov for the invitation to be here, and to extend our best wishes, especially for his wife’s recovery in this unfortunate turn of events, but hopefully that will be resolved soon in a very positive way.

I also want to thank the Institute for Peace and – of Peace, and Paul, the Embassy of Kazakhstan, and other partners for hosting this conference.  Later on I’ll come back and talk a bit more about the important leadership that Kazakhstan has shown in support of banning nuclear testing.  I’ll do that towards the end of my remarks.

I’ll just note – and my public affairs people are going to be very angry with this, but since Paul mentioned Jim Schlesinger, who, as you know, was the first energy secretary, established the department in – on October the 1st – the birthday is coming up – 1977.  And Jim, of course, is a major figure and – as I think everyone here knows, he passed away in the – in this last year – and a major figure in both energy and security issues.  So I’ll just say not quite all the details, but we will be soon announcing a new award in honor of Jim’s major contributions, and that will be – that will be coming up soon.

This conference is focused on the issue of nuclear weapons testing and the road forward for the CTBT.  And let me just start out with two very simple messages.  First, the United States continues to observe, of course, its nuclear test explosion moratorium, in place since 1992.  Maintaining the moratorium is made possible by the Stockpile Stewardship Program, which in turn has allowed the United States to transform our nuclear security enterprise.  And I’ll be coming back to describe where we are with that Stockpile Stewardship Program and its important implications for the subject of this meeting.  Second, the United States remains committed to ratifying and entering into force the CTBT, which will lay the groundwork for a world with diminished reliance on nuclear weapons, reduced nuclear competition, and eventual nuclear disarmament.

To underscore the importance of our Stockpile Stewardship Program and this administration’s commitment to global nuclear security, I want to begin my remarks by highlighting the priority that President Obama has placed and continues to place on nonproliferation, disarmament and security.  So the president has made eliminating and securing nuclear material, reducing nuclear stockpiles and increasing global cooperation a pillar of his foreign policy.  Last summer in Berlin, the president echoed the vision he first put forward in his 2009 Prague speech, calling on the global community to secure vulnerable materials, decrease the number of nuclear weapons, and build a sustainable and secure nuclear energy industry.

Over the last five years we have seen some remarkable progress – lots to do but we also should note the progress.  A few examples:  Working with Russia under the New START treaty, we are reducing the number of deployed strategic warheads to the lowest level since the 1950s.  Since 2009, America has partnered with 26 countries in Taiwan to eliminate more than 3,000 kilograms of HEU and plutonium, enough material for well over a hundred nuclear weapons, and has eliminated all HEU from 12 countries.

Last December we reached a major milestone in the Megatons to Megawatts Program, the final delivery to the United States of low-enriched uranium derived from 500 metric tons of HEU from Russian nuclear weapons.  And this “Swords to Plowshares” partnership provided about 10 percent of American electricity over two decades.  President Obama also launched the Nuclear Security Summit process, the first in D.C., in 2010, and 47 delegations, including 38 heads of state or government, the largest number of national leaders convened by a U.S. president since the 1945 U.N. Conference on International Organization – I think indicative of the importance attached to this.

In 2012 that was followed in Seoul, focusing on the progress made on the – on the initial agreements, and then in 2014, the third in The Hague, March of this year, really centering on results achieved and some future opportunities such as the agreement we were able to announce between the United States and Japan.  And the president has announced, as I’m sure you know, that he will host a fourth summit here in the United States in 2016.

So the United States is committed to continuing to reduce the size of its active deployed stockpile while maintaining a credible and effective deterrent.  And as the president said in Berlin, and I quote, “After a comprehensive review, I have determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third."

The president made clear at that time our readiness to negotiate further nuclear reductions with Russia, but Russia indicated no interest.  Now, given current challenges with Russia, this is not a focus of our bilateral dialogue.  Nonetheless, whether at New START levels or potentially lower levels in the future, we must maintain confidence in our remaining nuclear weapons without testing.  And that’s where the Department of Energy’s science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program has allowed us to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of our nuclear arsenal in the absence of testing.

During my first tour at DOE as undersecretary of energy in the Clinton administration, the Stockpile Stewardship Program was in its early years and its future and successes were still unknown.  Many of the new facilities were in the design phase.  We had not fully established the role of large-scale numerical simulation and modeling, which works together with a new generation of high-performance computers that were developed with industry and our National Laboratories as an integrator of historical data with new non-nuclear experiments.

At the time, I served on the DOE-DOD Nuclear Weapons Council, and there was, frankly justifiably, a “show me” attitude about whether we could maintain the U.S. stockpile for an extended period with high confidence without nuclear testing.  And I might say that was true in Congress as well.  Today we can say with even greater certainty that we can meet the challenges of maintaining our stockpile with continued scientific leadership, not nuclear testing.

Next week will mark 22 years since the last United States nuclear explosive test, and because of the Stockpile Stewardship Program, the directors of the department’s National Security Laboratories have been able to certify the diminishing stockpile annually.  Our lab directors believe that they actually understand more about how nuclear weapons work now than during the period of nuclear testing.

Nuclear testing provided confidence through end-to-end tests of the weapon systems.  By contrast, our science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program has approached the problem by breaking down the operations of a weapon into a sequence of individual steps.  We are then able to step back and analyze each of these mechanisms at a level of detail that was never available during the era of nuclear testing.

With suitable continuing investment in the science base and the manufacturing complex, we can continue with confidence into the future.  The Stockpile Stewardship investments in supercomputing in the 1990s drove high performance computing to the 100 petaflops level.  Applications to scientific discovery followed closely behind.  Now there is a bit of a reversal.  The drive to exascale in high-performance computing put forward in our latest budget request to Congress is now driven principally by scientific discovery and energy technology, with Stockpile Stewardship benefitting from those investments.  This is a different type of swords-to-plowshares story.

The Department of Energy is committed to transforming the entire nuclear security enterprise to address a broad set of national and global security issues.  At the former Nevada Test Site, which is now called the Nevada National Security Site, we have moved well beyond the 928 nuclear explosive tests conducted there.  The site still hosts key Stockpile Stewardship work, but is also an experimental test bed and training ground for other missions, most notably nuclear nonproliferation and arms control, homeland security, and emergency operations.

Also last month, I was able to dedicate – to dedicate, with my colleague General Klotz, the new Kansas City Plant that is responsible for manufacturing non-nuclear components for the stockpile.  The plant footprint has been reduced by 50 percent and provides an example of our need to modernize the complex, but also to size it appropriately to our expectations of a smaller stockpile.

While it is necessary for some details of sensitive Stockpile Stewardship work to remain classified, we will continue to release a significant amount of material to the public to explain the rationale, plans, challenges and successes of Stockpile Stewardship.  So this – you know, 15 years beyond the CTBT hearing, Stockpile Stewardship really provides a very, very strong basis for going forward, reducing the stockpile and doing so with confidence without testing.

So again, I repeat that the United States remains committed to ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, along with the monitoring and verification regime.  And this administration will continue making the case for U.S. CTBT ratification to build bipartisan support.

I came to the Department of Energy in my previous role in 1997, soon after the United States was the first to sign the treaty.  I was also at the Department when the Senate considered the treaty for ratification in 1999 and remember sitting – not entirely happily – alongside Secretary Richardson at the Senate hearing on the treaty.

Clearly, we were disappointed that the ratification effort did not succeed at that time, but I believe we have a stronger case to make now due to two major developments:  first what I already described, the robust Stockpile Stewardship Program that I just described, but second, also the advancements in international monitoring and verification over the past 17 years, to which the United States has made a number of significant contributions.

I visited – I visited the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna last year, and of course will be returning to Vienna the end of this week for the General Assembly.  But in last year’s visit I was – I was impressed with the team of international experts in nuclear explosion monitoring and verification, supported by experts from the 183 state signatories.

The treaty’s verification regime, which was simply a concept, really, two decades ago, is now close to being a complete International Monitoring System, supported by the International Data Center.  This system has demonstrated its capabilities, detecting and helping states identify the three declared nuclear explosive tests conducted by North Korea over the past several years.  The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis proved also how the International Monitoring System can serve important non-verification-related purposes, such as tsunami warnings and tracking radioactivity from nuclear accidents.

I’m pleased that nearly 90 percent of the planned International Monitoring System stations are already certified or installed, with plans for additional stations.  A total of 89 countries spanning the globe will be part of the system.  Thirty-five of the planned 37 United States International Monitoring System stations, along with a certified radionuclide laboratory, are fully operational and certified by the CTBTO.

A great deal of the technology used by the stations and in the radionuclide laboratory originated from Department of Energy experts in seismology, infrasound analysis, hydroacoustics and radiation detection.  And recently I had the pleasure of giving one of the department’s highest honors, the E.O. Lawrence Award, to Dr. Stephen Myers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  Dr. Myers, and a team drawn from other laboratories, developed a computer model to greatly improve location accuracy for seismic events detected by the International Monitoring System.  And that’s just one of the many examples of technological advances that Department of Energy scientists have provided.

So again, on both the non-testing certification of our stockpile and on the global verification system, the two major issues which came up in the 1999 hearing, I believe we have seen now enormous progress in these 15 years.  As I said, I believe we have a stronger case to make today than we had at that time.

In moving towards conclusion, I do want to say a little of Kazakhstan’s leadership in nuclear security, and today’s conference is just the latest example in a long line of important successes, as described earlier.  So I may repeat a little bit, but this will provide, you know, verification.

On Kazakhstan's, again, first day of independence, August 29, 1991, the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site was shut down by a unilateral presidential decree.  And in the 20 years since President Nazarbaev’s dramatic decision, the United States and the Republic of Kazakhstan have worked together closely to achieve our shared nuclear security goals.

This collaboration, achieved with the support of many international partners, has helped eliminate or remove Kazakhstan’s nuclear stockpile of more than 1,400 nuclear warheads inherited after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and has led to the removal of hundreds of additional missiles and bombers.  Kazakhstan has been the driving force behind the annual United Nations Day Against Nuclear Testing held on August 29th, and in 2011, Kazakhstan hosted the International Forum for a Nuclear-Free World, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the closure of Semipalatinsk.

Kazakhstan has also been one of our strongest partners in nuclear nonproliferation.  Our collaborations have resulted in major accomplishments such as Project Sapphire, under which 600 metric tons of highly enriched uranium was removed from Kazakhstan, and the safe shutdown of Kazakhstan’s plutonium production reactor at Aktau was accomplished.

The Department of Energy is currently working with Kazakhstan to minimize the use of HEU in civilian application, cooperating to establish a Nuclear Security Training Center, and conducting ongoing work to enhance Kazakhstan's ability to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear and radiological materials.  Moreover, Kazakhstan helped lead the effort to create the Central Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.  The United States was pleased to join with the other NPT nuclear weapons states and sign the protocol to the treaty this past May in New York.

The United States looks forward to continuing to partner with Kazakhstan to strengthen nuclear security around the world and pursue our shared vision for a world without nuclear weapons.  But I might add that Kazakhstan is taking a leadership role in other important security areas as well.  The Central Reference Laboratory near Almaty, funded by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, will offer high security-security, high-tech lab space for studying dangerous pathogens.  So again, we look forward to our ongoing collaboration.

So to conclude, the world will – I think everyone in this room agrees the world will be a safer and more secure place if nuclear testing is relegated to the pages of history.  There was a time when an active and robust U.S. nuclear explosive testing program was necessary, but that time is more than 20 years in the past.  Global nuclear security is of utmost importance to the United States.  To achieve this goal, we need to advance arms control initiatives such as the CTBT, and to ensure that we continue to develop the science and technology that allow us to monitor arms control implementation.

So thank you again to the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Embassy of Kazakhstan and all the partners who are hosting this conference.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

PAUL WALKER:  Good afternoon, everybody.  My name is Paul Walker.  I’m with Green Cross, International, I think as a lot of you know – colleagues and friends here in the audience know already.  What we’ll do next is we’ll have our first panel discussion with three presentations of experts we have here, but first we’re going to show a short video, I think which will be quite interesting and help to introduce the subject matter of the first panel, which is on humanitarian aspects of nuclear weapons testing.

So if that’s ready to go, this will be, I think, 10 to 15 minutes, maybe, if I’m correct?  Oh, just five minutes.  OK, great.  And then I’ll – write after that shows, I’ll call up my panelists and we’ll get rolling on the first panel.  So if we’re ready in the back with audio/visual, we can roll the video. 


PAUL WALKER:  Good afternoon, everybody.  My name is Paul Walker.  I’m with Green Cross International, I think as a lot of you know, colleagues and friends here in the audience know already.  What we’ll do next is we’ll have our first panel discussion with three presentations of experts we have here.  But first, we’re going to show a short video, I think which will be quite interesting and help to introduce the subject matter of the first panel, which is on humanitarian aspects of nuclear weapons testing.  So if that’s ready to go, this will be I think 10 to 15 minutes maybe, if I’m correct.  Five?  Oh, just five minutes.  OK, great, and then I’ll – right after that shows, I’ll call up my panelists and we’ll get rolling on the first panel.  So if we’re ready in the back with audiovisual, we can roll the video. 

(Video plays.)

After that very moving introduction, I’d ask my panelists to come up.  Togzhan and Jessica and Andy, yeah, take any of the four seats, musical chairs here.  Let me first actually just express our appreciation for everyone who’s participated in pulling this conference together, particularly the Embassy of Kazakhstan, Ambassador Kairat Umarov, who we heard today is unable to make it and we wish his wife, you know, the best, best wishes really for a quick and speedy – speedy and full recovery.  And particularly, our colleagues Dana and Talgat, who worked with us at some length to pull this together for the last few months, and also of course the Arms Control Association, Daryl Kimball and Shervin Taheran there and also the U.S. Institute of Peace here, Paul Hughes has been very, very good to work with.

We have three expert – we are very fortunate to have three expert panelists today.  On my immediate left here is Andy Weber, who is the assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs at Department of Defense.  On the far left is Togzhan Kassenova, who’s an associate with the nuclear policy program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In the middle, in the black suit there, is Jessica Schwartz, who’s the assistant professor of musicology at UCLA and cofounder of the Marshallese Educational Initiative, along with her colleague, April Brown, who’s here in the second row in the audience.  We’re very pleased to have them all there.  I won’t read – I won’t read bios because I know they’re all in the program.  Urge you to look through the program at everyone’s bio here, and let me just say a few words in introducing this panel.

The Cold War, the two World Wars and the many regional wars of the last century have left enduring, dangerous, toxic legacies, which will haunt humankind for decades and possibly centuries to come.  We can cite the thousands of sites with unexploded ordnances, what we call UXOs in the field, which continue to take lives even today across Europe and elsewhere.

We can cite the hundreds of thousands of tons of sea-dumped conventional and chemical weapons in every ocean of the world, possibly entering our food chain, the thousands of training and firing ranges around the world which continue to pollute the soil and groundwater, the thousands of military bases and formerly used defense sites, what we call FUDS, as you all know, with all sorts of pollution from motor pools, weapon burn sites, buried weapons, the practice of open burn and open detonation, what we call OBOD, of toxic materials including rocket propellant, explosives and other highly poisonous military substances and even our own “spring valley,” quote, unquote, here in Northwest Washington, D.C., where the Army – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been surveying and excavating old chemical weapons and agents from World War I for the last 20 years.

But the most toxic and longest lasting of all military pollutants has been radioactive waste and fallout, especially from nuclear testing and nuclear weapons development.  These dangerous and toxic legacies will continue to haunt and position us for generations to come.  There have been about 2,055 nuclear tests since the first Trinity test in New Mexico on July 16th, 1945.  The U.S. has conducted over 50 percent of these and the Soviet Union another 715, about 35 percent, and the remaining 15 percent or so, about 300 nuclear tests, were conducted by France, Britain, India, Pakistan, likely Israel and North Korea.  That’s the bad news.

Now, for some good news.  The good news is that Russia stopped nuclear testing in 1990, Britain in 1991, the United States in 1992 – and I was on the armed services committee in the House of Representatives at the time and I can tell you that was not an easy thing to do from the Washington politics here – China in 1996, Pakistan and India in 1998.  The only recent nuclear tests have been by North Korea in 2006, 2009 and 2013.  So there’s been a de facto global moratorium on nuclear testing, as Secretary Moniz said earlier, for over 15 years now, with only three nuclear tests by North Korea since 2006.  In the United States, this moratorium has now endured for 22 years and in Russia for 24 years, and this is really a major step forward as we all I think can agree, the good news.

The other good news is that a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, sponsored by Australia and 127 other countries was presented in the United Nations General Assembly on September 9th, 1996, 33 years after the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, which drove testing underground.  The CTBT, as it’s called, was passed by the General Assembly the following day, September 10th, 1996, with the support of 158 countries, about three-quarters of the world or more.  And two weeks later, September 24th, 1996, it was signed by the P-5 and 66 other countries and we’re very fortunate to have later today the executive secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, from Burkina Faso and the CTBTO in Vienna with us here.

So today, the CTBT counts 163 ratifications.  That’s pretty good, 40-some-odd countries missing, 183 signatory states, a major step forward to permanently banning nuclear weapons tests globally.  It also has a global verification system that Secretary Moniz noted earlier of 278 certified stations.  I remember when I was dealing with this directly in the ’90s, we were talking about a few dozen stations back then.

Now, we’re up to 278 globally with another 59 on the way with seismic, hydroacoustic and radionuclide monitors which have shown their high value and capability, most recently with the three North Korean underground nuclear tests and the earthquake and tsunami and Fukushima nuclear meltdown about three years ago.  CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo, as I noted, will talk more – much more about this later today.

The legacy of nuclear testing has left serious public health and environmental impacts, as we’ve just seen in this video here from Kazakhstan, around the globe, especially downwind of the testing sites in Utah and Nevada, in Semipalatinsk, in Kazakhstan, in Lop Nur, in China, in North Africa, in the South Pacific islands and beyond.  Radioactive fallout from these nuclear blasts has impacted so-called atomic veterans, downwinders and many other innocent victims over the past half century and has left vast stretches of land uninhabitable.

We will hear from our three expert panelists this afternoon about the victims in the South Pacific, specifically the Marshall Islands, from Jessica Schwartz and in Semipalatinsk from Togzhan Kassenova, and about what has been done to address some of these challenges from Andrew Weber.  So with that as a short introduction, I will turn the panel over to Andy Weber first and you’re welcome to speak from here, Andy, or at the – we’re all miked up as well.  So we can speak from there too, whatever you prefer.  Thank you very much.

ANDREW WEBER:  OK, thanks.  Thank you, Paul, and thank you to the sponsors of this event, the government of Kazakhstan, the government of Canada, the Arms Control Association, Daryl, Global Green, Paul and the ATOM Project, which we just saw that very moving, powerful video, and especially I’d like to thank Ambassador Kairat Umarov and wish his wife a speedy recovery.  I’ve known Kairat Umarov since we were both much younger men and he was one of the members of the Semipalatinsk – Nevada Semipalatinsk movement, very involved as the Soviet Union was collapsing and that effort.  Also, Paul and USIP, thank you for hosting this event.

The 20-plus years since Kazakhstan’s independence and President Nazarbayev’s decision to seek prosperity and security by the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, it’s been an honor to have worked with that country in support of those efforts to implement that early vision for eliminating WMD test sites, closing the Semipalatinsk nuclear weapons test site, the Vozrozhdeniya Island biological weapons test site in the Aral Sea, which is on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and many, many other projects related to nonproliferation.

I was on hand in Almaty and – on December 13th, 1993, when President Nazarbayev and Vice President Gore noted that day that the Kazakhstan had ratified the NPT as a non-nuclear state, and also they signed the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement that day, and I’ve had the privilege of working on that program much of my professional life.

I’m going to talk about a couple of specific projects, one that Secretary Moniz mentioned called Project Sapphire.  When the Soviet Union broke up in a small factory in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, in East Kazakhstan, we learned of the existence of just under 600 kilograms of 90 percent enriched HEU that had been left there. 

It was, as I found out during a visit that was arranged based on a meeting here in Washington, down in Blair House down the street, in January of 1994, I went up with an expert from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in March of 1994 to visit the facility to take an inventory.  There’s a photograph here of some of the fuel rods, and that began a quiet partnership that led to the removal of nearly 600 kilograms of HEU for down-blending, and it was all at that time protected by a good padlock and a woman with a 9-mm Makarov pistol.

We had a major effort to package and transport this enormous amount of material in 448 of these barrel-sized containers in C-5 aircraft with no stops, aerial refueling.  It was the longest C-5 flight ever, 20 hours to Dover, Delaware, and then a ground shipment to the Oak Ridge facility Y-12 where it was down-blended into low-enriched uranium for the power industry.  And this was an incredible quiet success that was announced after its completion but for security reasons had been kept secret until then.

And after we finished, we were celebrating the success with one of the heroes of Kazakhstan’s nonproliferation effort, Vladimir Shkolnik.  He pulled me aside and said, Andy, this was – that was just a test.  He said, we have much more material.  And he led us to the BN-350 breeder reactor in Aktau, on the Caspian Sea where Kazakhstan had three tons of weapons-grade plutonium and 300 tons of spent fuel there.

And that launched a project led by the Department of Energy on our side to decommission the BN-350 reactor so it would stop producing plutonium and to move the spent fuel 2,000 miles by train across Kazakhstan in 60 of these large casks where it is stored under IAEA safeguards in Eastern Kazakhstan at the moment.  But it was enough material, according to the Department of Energy announcement, for over 775 nuclear weapons. 

Kazakhstan closed, upon independence, the nuclear weapons test site, which is a very large area.  It’s the size of Belgium, if you can imagine.  And within that site, there was an area called the Degelen Mountain massif, about 300 square kilometers, where the tunnels – the test tunnels were located.  And we launched a project in the mid-1990s to seal up those tunnels so they couldn’t be used for further nuclear weapons tests.  And then, we became concerned after – especially after 9/11, that metal scavengers were going into the tunnels to recover copper wire and nonferrous metal.

But we learned from the Russian nuclear weapons testers that they had done a series of experiments in the ’70s and ’80s, and even right up until independence, of no-yield or low-yield tests that did not burn up the plutonium.  So we launched a very quiet trilateral effort with the Russian experts who had done the experiments in the ’70s and ’80s and with the government of Kazakhstan to secure in place and remove to Russia several hundred kilograms of at-risk plutonium in the Degelen area. 

And it was a quiet effort until it was announced at the Seoul nuclear security summit by Presidents Nazarbayev, Medvedev and Obama.  They made a public announcement about this project.  And at the site – that’s one of the trenches, by the way, that the metal scavengers had dug to retriever copper wire.  So this was not just a couple of guys with shovels.  This was a major operation to retrieve metal from all over the site.  And we, of course, were worried of the potential that terrorists could hire some of these metal scavengers and direct them to recover fissile material.  There is a monument now at that site with three sides that says 1996 to 2012, the world has become safer. 

I’d also like to reinforce Secretary Moniz’s comments about how much progress has been made in the last 15 years in strengthening and in preparing the world for entry into force of the CTBT.  In 1999, there were zero certified monitoring stations in the international monitoring system.  Today, we have 278 of a planned 337 stations are certified.  It is a global network that’s extremely sensitive and would make it very, very difficult for any country to conduct even small-scale nuclear tests without being found out.  It’s an incredible capability to detect illegal testing.

The U.S. Department of Defense has contributed to this.  We provide, as our national commitment, so far we have provided 35 certified stations and we plan two more.  As well, we’re supporting the onsite inspection exercise this November in Jordan.  So with the international detection and monitoring network combined with the stockpile stewardship program that Secretary Moniz described, the United States has absolutely no need to conduct nuclear weapons tests.

The body that I’m the staff director of, which is between the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, is called the Nuclear Weapons Council.  Secretary Moniz mentioned he was serving on that in the late 1990s and Frank Klotz, who you’ll hear from, is a current member of it.

I’ve been attending Nuclear Weapons Council meetings for nearly five-and-a-half years as the staff director, and not once has there been a conversation about the resumption of nuclear weapons testing.  So we’re not even considering it.  The laboratory directors say there’s no need because of the science-based stockpile stewardship program and with our policy from the nuclear posture review of no new nuclear weapons or military capabilities, there is absolutely no need for the United States of America to conduct nuclear weapons tests. 

Finally, I’d just like to conclude by noting some of the global efforts to eliminate and reduce threats of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.  Recently we completed our support of an international operation led by the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to destroy Syria’s 1,300 tons of declared chemical weapons.  This was a huge global effort involving 30 countries.  And the Kerry-Lavrov agreement was signed a year ago yesterday and already that removal and destruction of Syria’s stockpile has been completed.

Later this month, the White House will host the global health security agenda meeting on the 26th of September, and that’s a global effort to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks, no matter what their cause, natural outbreaks, as we’ve seen in West Africa with the Ebola crisis, bioterrorist attacks or accidental releases.  The capacities that we need to detect and contain infectious disease outbreaks are common to all three of those, and we need to do more as a world, together with the World Health Organization and others, to put in place the capacities to prevent a situation like the one that we are seeing in Ebola.

As President Obama told Senators Nunn and Lugar when he honored them, we simply cannot allow the 21st century to be darkened by the worst weapons of the 20th century.  And that takes an unwavering commitment from leaders like President Obama but also it takes partners around the world.  All of these are global challenges and no single country can deal with them alone.  And countries like Kazakhstan have been just incredible leaders in this global effort to eliminate threats from weapons of mass destruction.  And it also takes people, dedicated, hardworking people like you, who I’m humbled to be with today, to make these efforts successful.  So thank you very much.  (Applause.)

MR. WALKER:  Thank you very much, Andy.  And I congratulate you for staying right on time.  So good example to follow.  So next is Togzhan Kassenova, who will talk to us about Semipalatinsk.  And we’ll – and we’ll break for Q&A after all three speakers. 

TOGZHAN KASSENOVA:  Could I ask for my presentation to be brought up?  Thank you.

MR. WALKER:  There we go.

MS. KASSENOVA:  In a horrific scene of incineration, animals disappeared, buildings, cars and bridges evaporated.  It was a rainy, windy early morning of August 29th, 1949, and the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear test in Eastern Kazakhstan at the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site.  That test was called the first lightning.  Soviet scientists, and especially military, were eager to understand the potency of the bomb, and for that reason, they built a whole mini-city around the testing area.

They constructed buildings, parts of railroad, even a part of a highway with a concrete-reinforced bridge.  They even built an electric power station, complete with diesel generators.  They dug a metro tunnel and brought in military equipment.  Animals, dogs, pigs, rats, mice and camels, oblivious to what was waiting for them, were also brought to the testing site. 

All of that disappeared in an instant when the bomb went off.  The Soviet Union officially became the nuclear power and the Kazakh Steppe became the first victim of this newly acquired might.  The first nuclear test that ripped through the Kazakh Steppe was the first of hundreds to follow.  The Soviet Union, determined not to be left behind by its enemy, the United States, threw its might into developing the nuclear arsenal and Kazakhstan was brought into this effort.  The land and nature Kazakhs relied on for survival for centuries were now exploited for the sake of the ultimate weapon. 

I work with quite a few archives because I’m trying to write a book on Kazakhstan’s experience and Kazakhstan’s nuclear history.  And it’s really painful to read about the rationale behind the choice of Eastern Kazakhstan as the testing site.  It’s all very scientific and of course non-emotional, ideal conditions, ideal geography.  It’s an uninhabited area but actually, as you saw from the documentary and if you go to Kazakhstan and talk to people, you would realize that quite a few people were living there.  There was a major city not that far away, but also several rural settlements.

And I know that every nation loves its land and has an affinity for it.  I just want to spend a couple of minutes to explain why Kazakhs have such a strong affinity for the land, and that’s because the ancestors of Kazakhs worshiped their land and nature.  They roamed the endless steppes in search of pastures for their cattle, the only source of their livelihood.  They worshiped the god of sky, Tengri, and believed that life should be lived in harmony with nature.  Centuries passed, religions changed and the nomads were gradually becoming a settled nation.  But even though Kazakhs became settled, they kept a special affection for the land and nature.

As was referenced a couple of times today, almost 500 nuclear tests took place at Semipalatinsk.  There were among them more than 80 atmospheric tests, around 30 ground and more than 300 underground tests.  On the slide, you see the three tests that were especially harmful for the population, the very first test on August 29th, in 1949, and also several others but especially the one from September, 1951, as well as the one from August, 1953, the Soviet Union’s first hydrogen device was tested on that day.

The first test was considered to be too important for military and political reasons and that’s why everybody was in a rush.  Nobody wanted to wait, even though it was clear that the weather would not be favorable.  Rain and winds were expected and, you know, it did happen that way.  Local people were completely unprotected and severe exposure happened on that day.  In one village engulfed by a radioactive cloud after the first nuclear test, 90 percent of its inhabitants received an external effective dose of up to 1,400 millisieverts.  And to put it in perspective, an average American is exposed to about 3 millisieverts of background radiation per year.  So it’s 1,400 compared to three. 

On August 12th, 1953, when the first hydrogen bomb was tested, some residents were evacuated because, you know, you can see from the potency, 400 kilotons.  So some destruction was expected.  But the local doctors, they now say what was tragic, that even though some of the settlements were evacuated, the residents were brought back, in some instances, nine days after the test took place.  It was too quickly.  During the first phase of testing, which is considered to be between 1949 and 1951, there were practically no public radiation safety measures.

The first official radiation safety standards which governed allowable outdoor and indoor doses of exposure were adopted only in 1969.  That is not to say that, you know, some measures were not taken before that.  But there were no official documents.  In 1957, the Soviet military established a clinic.  They called it dispensary number four and the name was the anti-brucellosis clinic, which was a disguised name for a clinic to study the effects of radiation on people.  And while the Soviet-era documents and, you know, some of the narratives that are coming out now outside of Kazakhstan would say that the clinic was there to protect people and to care about their health, some of the people who lived in that area during that time would say we saw it as though we were just as guinea pigs for that clinic. 

There was local expedition or a local effort on behalf of Kazakh doctors to study the effects of radiation, which took place for three years from 1957 to 1960 and the doctors actually found that there were definitely harmful effects that they were noticing in people who were living in this area such as hemorrhage of respiratory tracts, mouths and so on, blood diseases.

But when they sent their findings to Moscow, it was 12 tomes of information, clinical studies.  The findings were classified and they only became available after the Soviet collapse.  And it’s really painful to read how the Soviet military would say, oh, you know, all these people are sick because Kazakhs have poor hygiene.  They have vitamin C deficiency and, yeah, they’re just not eating well.  And while that might have been one of the factors, the complete denial that there was a harmful effect of radiation is really disturbing.

And I just wanted to give a couple of eyewitness accounts.  I recently went to Astana where the International Physicians against Nuclear War held their congress.  And for example, one of them, a lady, who was a girl, she was growing up at the railway station near the testing site, she recalls:  I remember the test vividly, how our windows would shake and how we ran outside to watch.  Every summer, I visited residents at grasslands, a place where my uncle looked after the cattle.  The road to the pastures was directly on the way to the test site five kilometers away.  With my own eyes, I saw a newborn lamb with two conjoined heads.  A lot of newborn cattle were born without limbs or different pathologies or deformities of the skull.  During that time, it was interesting and strange to me.  Only when I grew up I understood the reason for such pathologies.

Scientists from Kazakhstan, and very often they would be – they would receive help form Japan.  They conducted now numerous studies and they linked higher rates of different types of cancer to post-irradiation effects.  They found correlation between radiation exposure and thyroid abnormalities.  And they also noticed that people who used to live in those areas, they also suffered from mental – from mental diseases.  There is a very high rate of suicide.  They would have nightmares and very often the symptoms would be very similar to those experienced by Japanese hibakusha.

And I just wanted to make a point that the harmful effects didn’t stop, you know, with the past.  Again, as I’ve recently heard from the local doctors who are conducting studies with now – with the third generation of kids whose parents or grandparents were exposed, we are still suffering from the effects of all the testing that happened there.

I’m extremely proud of my nation and of the people, you know, the local people who actually rose up and organized themselves into a public movement and I think the tribute really should be paid to people who participated in that movement.  Well, before that, I recently went to this formerly closed city of Kurchatov.  This is where all the Soviet military and scientists lived during the testing program.  And it’s a very – it’s a very interesting experience because you drive for a very long time in the steppe.  It’s very remote.  Then you enter the city and you can see that formerly it was such a developed town and at the height of the Soviet testing program, the population of the town was 50,000 people.

When the Soviet Union broke up and when the testing finished, all the military, all the scientists left and the population went down to 5,000.  And now, the city is trying to find its new purpose.  You know, they work on peaceful application of nuclear energy.  But you can still see the leftovers of that humongous program.  And just this question of whether it was all worth it, all this talent and resources that were thrown into that program.  And when I asked this question of a local doctor from Semipalatinsk, I basically said, do you think the sacrifice was worth it.  And she said:  there is nothing more valuable than human life.  But back then, there was a mass psychosis, an arms race and now we will be dealing with the consequences of nuclear testing for decades.

And I guess I just wanted to conclude on the point that I just hope this psychosis doesn’t have to go on for too long, all the nuclear weapons program.  Just yeah, but not to leave you on a grim note, I find it very symbolic that the former nuclear testing site is now contributing to the noble goal of the CTBTO and it hosted several exercises, and in 2008, there was one of the larger onsite exercises.

And again, this is a very good audience to talk to because you just assume that we are all on the same page.  But when in force, the CTBT will provide the international community with the tools to detect and deter nuclear testing and it will act as the only appropriate tribute to communities in Semipalatinsk, Nevada, Marshallese Islands and other places throughout the world that endured nuclear testing.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 

MR. WALKER:  Thank you, Togzhan, very much.  And now, we’ll hear from Jessica Schwartz, and I’m told that this will be somewhat different I think from a lot of what we’re used to in this sort of high-tech, bombs and bullets environment.  And Jessica is actually a professor, as I noted, of musicology and will talk a lot about I think the problems of the Marshallese through song and culture.  So hopefully we’ll hear some good music.

JESSICA SCHWARTZ:  Yes, definitely.  So and thank you very much.  I’d like to first thank the organizers of this very important conference.  Thank you to the Embassy of Kazakhstan, the Arms Control Association and Dr. Paul Walker, with Green Cross International.  You know, nuclear testing, as we’ve heard, is kind of, as a weapon of mass destruction, the great leveler, right?  And we have to unite in this global cause.  But of course, part of the great leveling is the leveling of unique cultures that have their own solutions and their own ways of encountering the damages and the consequences of this nuclear legacy. 

So today, while there are many, many resonances with the previous talks, I want to share the Marshallese voices, which, as the Kazakh and other voices around the world, must be heard.  So on March 1st, 1954, the United States detonated its most powerful thermonuclear weapon, code-named Castle Bravo, at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.  Just 90 miles southeast, the population of Rongelap Atoll watched in confusion as the sun seemingly rose in the west.  A shockwave and resonant boom prompted screams from frightened children.

Later that day, irradiated coal dust from Bikini Atoll’s vaporized land made its way east and covered Rongelap.  Children played in the fallout because they thought that it was snow.  Men, women and children became violently ill and ran into the lagoon for respite, yet they could not sense that it was dangerously radioactive.  Forty-eight hours later, after much fear and confusion, the United States military came to Rongelap.  They ordered the Rongelapese onto a naval ship.  The Rongelapese were scared.  They were ill.  And they were humiliated after being told to remove their irradiated clothing.

Today, Rongelap remains contaminated and the Rongelapese remain in exile, displaced and disenfranchised, living on Majuro, which is the capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Mejato, an island in Kwajalein Atoll, the largest atoll in the Pacific, where the United States continues to have an active military base, and various locations in the United States, such as Costa Mesa, California, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Springdale, Arkansas, where one-tenth of the entire Marshallese population lives and also which is home to the RMI consulate.

On March 1st, 1954, Lijon was staying on Ailingane Atoll, just next to Rongelap.  It was her eighth birthday.  She experienced firsthand the consequences of the U.S. nuclear weapons testing program, of which she said:  having suffered multiple losses when bearing children, having uncontrolled weight fluctuations, having memory loss and tight curling fingers, having nearly lost my voice, I can say that nothing is more important than having my health and my voice to sing. 

I met Lijon in the Marshall Islands while I was conducting fieldwork from 2008 through 2010.  Lijon would meet with me week after week and share food, conversation and her life stories and song.  She would often ask if the U.S. thought that her people were like animals, like guinea pigs to be tested on.  Since she traveled the world to spread her message, nonproliferation, give a face and fight for the justice of her people and the global population.  She kept a Puerto Rican flag in her room, given to her by women from Viejas.

Two years ago, while I was visiting friends in Northwest Arkansas, I learned that Lijon had passed away.  From Facebook posts to international media, the outpouring from the Marshallese and global community attests to the importance of her antinuclear activism, of which music was a central part.  Today, I want to honor her voice, her voice to sing, along with the voices of others who inscribed their nuclear experiences in song, songs that sound their great challenges, cultural, social, political, physiological and psychological, of which we’ve heard about, and give us the opportunity to listen, perhaps differently, to an often forgotten component of our nuclear legacy. 

So here are some of the figures that we’ve heard and I just want to give this relative to the adult intake solely from Bravo.  It was estimated at 2,000 to 300,000 rads, exposing the Rongelapese to about a thousand times as much radiation as most Americans receive in a year and that was just from the Bravo shot.  And the Marshall – in the Marshall Islands, there were 67 nuclear weapons tested between 1946 and 1958 by the United States.

So documents declassified during the Clinton administration exposed how Marshallese were used as long-term human subjects by the Atomic Energy Commission, now the Department of Energy, to derive pertinent information on the human effects of exposure to radiation.  This boy, Magistrate John Anjain’s son, Lekoj, was in a coconut tree when the fallout from Bravo rained down on Rongelap.  He died from leukemia a few years after the picture was taken.  Under project 4.1, Marshallese from Rongelap and individuals from other atolls in the Marshall Islands, uninformed of their participation, were numbered and studied at laboratories both in the Marshall Islands and in the United States. 

The throat in Marshallese culture is the seat of one’s emotions, akin to the Western metaphorical version of the heart.  And singing is a central part of Marshallese culture, and it is crucial as an activity in intergenerational transmission of a rich oral tradition.  Women, being more susceptible to thyroid cancer and disease than men, had operations on and to remove their thyroids, which affected their voices.  Many of these women refrained from singing for fear of hearing their own altered, lowered voices and hearing themselves as ribaam, or bombed people. 

As Norio (ph) explained, oh, this is a nuclear-centered language that they came up with as they heard doctors speaking about these terms and these are some of the words that you’ll hear incorporated into the songs.  Going back to the comments about the voice, as Norio (ph) explained:  we used to love singing.  Personally, I don’t sing in public anymore because people stare at me.  And Ellen says:  at the time they cut my throat, well, I really can’t sing anymore but I want to sing again.  My voice won’t go high anymore.  Is that not from the contamination?

These are just two of many personal stories that expose the voice as a barometer of communal health or social balance and gender complementarity, which is central to social organization.  Marshallese social organization was also disrupted by the forcible displacement from their customary lands and thus subsistence way of life.  We must also acknowledge the severe impact of radiation on the reproductive capacity of women.  After the 1954 test, many Rongelapese women had multiple miscarriages, gave birth to severely deformed babies, often known as jellyfish babies that would die shortly after their birth, and had to undergo hysterectomies.

Never told that these birth abnormalities were a result of the radiation exposure, the women felt that they were being punished.  They felt ashamed, humiliated and feared additional stigmatization, often silencing themselves from sharing these problems.  So Nuclear Victims and Survivor Remembrance Day gives voice to some of these problems that were once silenced and concealed.  And Marshallese honor their nuclear victims and survivors every year on March 1st, the anniversary of the Bravo shot.  And Rongelapese women often perform at these ceremonies where they share their emotions by sharing their damaged throats from the thyroid surgeries.

I’ll share two songs.  The first song is called “177”.  On March 1st, 2004, the 50th anniversary of the Bravo explosion, 20 Rongelapese, mostly elderly women, donned maroon or black shirts that read in bold white, “Project 4.1,” and they performed the song “177,” irradiated sick and homeless.  “177” refers to a section of the compact of free association in which the United States categorizes people from Enewetak, Bikini, Rongelap and Utrik as eligible for nuclear compensation, even though the entire population of the Marshall Islands, in reality the entire world, was exposed to radiation from these tests and deals with their legacy.

The verses describe the suffering of being irradiated and sick, abandoned and homeless, unable to live on their customary lands due to contamination.  There is also an appeal for help and understanding in the pursuit of a peaceful life.  The words at the end of the refrain, “nomba en 177,” underscore the dehumanization of being identified as part of a number.  So I’m going to play a video now and this is the remainder of the chorus, as sung by Rongelapese woman, at Nuclear Remembrance Day in Arkansas, 10 years later, on the 60th anniversary of Bravo.  This should be playing and I’m not quite sure why it’s not.

MR. WALKER:  There’s no audio?  I think the audio’s coming.

MS. SCHWARTZ:  Or video actually.  (Off mic exchange.)  I was wondering OK, but it says it’s not available so I guess we’re not going to get to hear the music which is the central part of –

MR. WALKER:  Yeah. 

MS. SCHWARTZ:  Well anyways, these women sang this song and what I would like to do as I’m speaking about the concluding song is I’m actually going to get my computer and, you know, I’d like to at least play a song and discuss it.  So April, if you can please bring this up, because I would like to conclude with a song composed by Lijon, the woman I started with.  And the song is “Kajjitok in aō ñan kwe kiō,” (“These are my questions for you now”).  Kiō means still and now. 

And this was written in 2008 to archive the many health complications of and urgent health questions posed by Lijon and her community.  The Rongelapese first performed the song for their intended audience, which was the Department of Energy, when the Department of Energy visited the Republic of the Marshall Islands.  For Lijon, this song shares a responsibility to give voice to those who passed away and did not have the opportunity to share their suffering or receive answers from the United States.

So I would like to – I was going to play a recording of Lijon in the first verse where she details her health questions as open-ended – her health concerns as open-ended questions.  But I feel and I imagine that you cannot see so it doesn’t even matter.  I guess we can go to – I’ll go to the next slide if I’m able.  Those are the words that led up to that.  OK, so what I will be playing is a video.  All right, I think it’s important to see.  All right, is this even possible?  (Off mic exchange.)

Well, it’s the video of them singing.  So I’m going to describe this.  Basically the women are performing and this is – all right – about three minutes into the performance.  The volume of the song drops quickly.  The vocal timbres become thin and some voices stop sounding altogether.  The audience begins to applaud but Betty, who’s standing in front, she’s the conductor, she stops, turns to the audience, shakes her head and points to her throat – ah, thyroid, she says, and she turns back to the women, so.  (Video playback.)

So some of you might have seen her pointing and saying, ah, thyroid, as the volume drops and this is not the metaphorical voice of suffering or even strictly the political silencing of the voice.  It is the actual voicelessness (sic) of suffering where the throat, the seat of the emotions, is literally arrested in its social and political process.  As they summon their voices to sing, once again, the Rongelapese women communicate but the time for redress, to acknowledge the devastating consequences of nuclear testing across the globe and on their culture and their voices and to visit our nuclear legacy, as heard through their singing voices, is now and still kiō.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. WALKER:  Thank you very much, Jessica.  And I apologize that we had a few, you know, audio issues there.  But I think everyone gets the message regardless.  So with three very interesting, I think, and very diverse presentations here, we have about 25 minutes before coffee break and I’m sure, given the size of the audience, there are many, many questions in the audience.  So I’d like to just open it.  I will recognize people as I can pick you up.  So don’t jump up and ask a question unless I recognize you, all right?  And I see a hand up here on the left.  So why don’t we start right here?

Sure, and there are mikes on both sides.  So please wait for the microphone so people can hear you.  We’re being – we’re being broadcast live, webcast live and we will be – we’re taped.  We’re also being transcribed.  So this will be available on tape, on the Web later on and the full transcription of the day’s proceedings will also be available from the Arms Control Association, the Embassy of Kazakhstan and Green Cross International.  So please, go ahead.

Q:  My name in Winsome Packer, and my question is directed to Mr. Weber.  I wonder if you might – would you rate on the scale of 1 to 10 the strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Kazakhstan on nuclear nonproliferation.  Thank you.

MR. WEBER:  Well, that’s a good – that’s a good question.  Did everyone hear that, understand it?  Yeah?  The question was how would I rate on a scale of one to 10 the strategic partnership on nonproliferation between the United States and Kazakhstan.  And from the United States government perspective, it’s definitely a 10.  But what’s more important than our partnership is Kazakhstan’s leadership in this area, the moral authority that their experiences bring to this field and the actions and achievements since independence to show that it’s not just words. 

It’s results:  the work that was done to remove weapons-grade uranium, to get rid of the nuclear arsenal that was left on its territory at independence, to safely destroy the world’s largest anthrax factory, anthrax weapons factory in Stepnogorsk, Kazakhstan, to close the Vozrozhdeniya Island test site.

There are just so many examples of Kazakhstan’s leadership in nonproliferation.  And I think it’s very compelling when President Nazarbayev cites his own country’s experience and example to other countries in the region.  For example, Iran, that the world community is concerned that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.  And he can cite the example of Kazakhstan and their decision to forego weapons of mass destruction.  That has truly made Kazakhstan more secure and prosperous.  So it’s a good example backed by actions, by leadership and by moral authority.

MR. WALKER:  Thank you, Andy.  Other hands?  Other questions at all?  Yeah, Tom?  And everyone please introduce yourself briefly when you stand up and ask a question.  Wait – here’s the microphone, Tom.

Q:  Tom Cochran, NRDC.  Andy, does the U.S. and Russia have the same definition of what constitutes a nuclear test?  And separately, has there been any effort to jointly monitor one another’s sites where experiments are conducted, namely the Nevada site.

MR. WEBER:  That’s a good question.  I think in general we share the same definition.  There may be some slight ambiguities at the margins that we should work on together.  We had the joint verification experiment in 1989 and that was something that was very successful in getting our testers to work together, to know each other.  We do a lot of work together in support of the CTBT preparations, the international monitoring system.  We’ve had visits.  The Department of Energy hosted a visit together with the Department of State just either earlier this year or last year to the Nevada test site.  Earlier than that, there were exchanges between our nuclear weapons laboratories.

So there’s definitely more we can do in that area.  But from my experience, the technical people, politics aside, want to do more and see the value in working together.  That was the magic of the Degelen project, was that combination of – and the confidence that was built among the scientific communities, the people who had real experience.  And this is a pretty small group in the world, real experience testing nuclear weapons.  They knew the destructive capacity and they saw the importance and recognized the importance and acted together to make sure that the residual plutonium that was left behind would never fall into the wrong hands.

MR. WALKER:  OK, I saw a few more hands here.  Did I miss – did I miss somebody?  I’ll take the prerogative of the chair, even better.  I want to – so Jessica, I wanted to pose a question to you about the Marshallese.  I mean, how did you first get involved with the Marshallese?  It seems such – you know, from the United States perspective, anyway, the South Pacific islands are very remote.  I don’t think many people know about the horrors that have happened because of atmospheric nuclear testing there, both French as well as American.  And what brought you to study them and their song and culture?

MS. SCHWARTZ:  It was while researching the American atomic age actually for my dissertation project when I was working on my dissertation a while back.  I was planning on looking at music from the 1950s and looking at the generation gap.  And having been involved in the punk scene, I was privy to a lot of the discourses around nuclear disarmament and the activistic (sic) productions around that.  And so, I became very intrigued when I found the song “Sh-Boom” by The Chords that apparently was written after The Chords had witnessed this amazing spectacle from Bikini Atoll. 

And I thought, well, if Americans are writing about something that’s happening over in the Marshall Islands, well, first off, what are the Marshall Islands?  What’s Bikini Atoll?  Who are these people, and are they writing songs as well, being a music scholar.  And so, I called – I found Jack Niedenthal, the liaison for the Bikinians and I asked if there were more songs than the Bikinian anthem, which was on the website, a song of mourning, about the nuclear testing.  And he said, yes, people sing about these issues all the time.  They’re still present.  They’re still dealing with them and nobody has really researched this.  So you should come out.  So I went out there for two years.

MR. WALKER:  Spent two years in the Marshall Islands?

MS. SCHWARTZ:  Spent two years in the Marshall Islands. 

MR. WALKER:  Wow. 

MS. SCHWARTZ:  And not enough. 

MR. WALKER:  Were you in any of these pictures we saw on the –


MR. WALKER:  Were you in any of these pictures that we saw?

MS. SCHWARTZ:  I was behind the scenes.

MR. WALKER:  You were?  Oh, OK.


MR. WALKER:  All right.  Very good.  And Togzhan, I want to ask about Semipalatinsk. I mean, I was very fortunate to go to Semipalatinsk the last couple of years, at the invitation of President Nazarbayev.  I think you were there too, Andy, and a few others of us.  And I was really struck.  I mean, I’d been to the Nevada test site and I’d been to Las Vegas and the Atomic Testing Museum.  In fact, this necktie is from the Atomic Testing Museum, several people have commented on today.  But going to Semey and Semey is the town, you know, in the Semipalatinsk test range, I was really struck by, you know, going through the hospitals and the medical school there and the like, the enormous number of deformities and, you know, really serious, long-term health issues.

But one of the things that interested me is whether that in fact there was good data, good statistics.  It’s one thing to see all this and some of what you saw in the video.  But it’s another thing to try to, you know, scientifically relate the radiation and the fallout reported with in fact health data.  And one of the things that the director of the medical clinic in Semey told me, I posed this same question to him because he pulled out these enormously large handwritten books of personal health data of men and women and children that were done by the Soviets over the years.

But he said to me at the time that most of this data is missing.  And when Semipalatinsk was turned over from the Soviet Union over to Kazakhstan in 1991 – is that correct – most of that data was destroyed by the Soviets and their whole library of longitudinal health data.  He described it as a bonfire in front of the clinic at the time before they officially turned the clinic over to the Kazakhs.  And I’m wondering is there good health data do you think or is this still a challenge because of the reported destruction of health data in Semipalatinsk.

MS. KASSENOVA:  It’s definitely true that when the military were moving out, they were not leaving any useful data behind.  And it’s not only on nuclear but also on bio.  I know that doctors struggled quite a bit, those working on anti-plague mission and so on.  I think it’s still difficult, for example, for me as a scholar, especially as a non-scientist scholar.  You know, it’s difficult to judge and there is no one source that you can just take and everything will be laid down very neatly and clearly.

But I think over the last few years, there was a very good effort on behalf of the local doctors and very often working with Japanese scientists.  Japan both helps with funding but also with expertise.  And I now see very good publications coming out from the medical institutions around the area.  And it’s good that it’s coming out.  And also, in the past, something that I didn’t mention, even if they would have left behind all the –

MR. WALKER:  Handwritten data.

MS. KASSENOVA:  All the data, very often this data would be half lies because when I spoke to local doctors just, you know, two weeks ago, and some of them were very young internists at the time, they were not allowed to write down – for example, lung cancer.  They would switch the word.  They would be obligated to use the word illness instead of cancer.  So they would – you know, even if they – whatever cold have been left would be useful but I think there are so many black holes and some of that will never be filled. 

MR. WALKER:  Yeah.

MS. KASSENOVA:  But there is definitely now an effort to reconstruct. 

MR. WALKER:  Great.  Excellent.  Other questions at all or concerns?  Yes, please, right here.

Q:  Actually it’s a question.  My name is Bill Aiken.  I’m with the SGI Buddhist Association.  A question for Ms. Schwartz and then for Ms. Kassenova.  I’m wondering when these songs started appearing, “Sh-Boom” was out I think sometime in the ’50s.  I’m wondering when – number one, when the songs started appearing within Marshallese culture and have – did you find songs that were rooted in the ’50s that persisted?  It seems like – I don’t know when the songs that you were looking at were dated from. 

And a question I have for Ms. Kassenova is that – or did you see any similar kind of folk either stories that come from people?  How did people talk about this in other ways aside from the official ways that this is being transmitted or being shared?  So, thank you.

MR. WALKER:  Thank you. 

MS. SCHWARTZ:  Well, that’s a very important question because obviously I want to relate these songs to concrete movements, right, and events.  And “Sh-Boom” was written, I mean, became a hit in 1954.  Now, the songs you heard – well, both songs you would have heard – but the songs that I spoke about and the one song that you did hear were actually composed in the 2000s, around – the first one around the I believe signing of the second Compact of Free Association, or Compact 2.  And the one that was written in 2008 for the Department of Energy was written in 2008 because of the Department of Energy’s visit.

In terms of songs from the ’50s, there’s one song that circulates talking about the taboo nature of the doctors’ visits that would put, you know, men and women together and what the doctors would do.  But that is actually not circulated as much because women don’t want to sing that one in front of the men because it speaks of body parts and vice-versa.  It apparently was written by the men.  Many, many of the songs were written around also 1985, when the Rongelapese were moved from – were relocated from Rongelap after having been there since 1957 and then having increasing illnesses, and after Japanese scientists came, discovered the high contamination based on what the Rongelapese were saying of all these illnesses, the United States would not help with the relocation.

Greenpeace offered the Rainbow Warrior, which then helped the Rongelapese relocate and many songs came up during this time.  And so, this is around the time that the Compact of Free Association is being voted on, which is then signed off in 1986.  And so, you have a lot of political songs coming to the fore then.

MS. KASSENOVA:  Thank you for your question.  Kazakhs are quite musical by nature.  They love singing and they also are very into narratives and telling stories.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t a member of any punk scene.  So maybe I’m less exposed to the musical heritage.  I don’t think it was as maybe organized as in examples that Jessica gave us.

But, for example, there is an anthem that – there is an anthem of the antinuclear Nevada Semipalatinsk movement that was written 25 years ago.  It’s a very beautiful melody and the lyrics are in Kazakh.  And you know, it’s hard for me to judge because I’m Kazakh and, you know, I have a very strong emotional response to the song.  But there is definitely an anthem.  I think some of the images are coming out in paintings but maybe the scene is not as developed as in Marshallese Islands.  But in terms of how people tell their stories and, you know, whether they’re ready to tell them or not, people are definitely open and I think very often it’s very important for them not to be forgotten or for their story not to be forgotten.

But at the same time, I’ve noticed that with the people from the region, they don’t want to be defined just by that.  so they don’t want this history to be erased but they also I think are ready to kind of move forward and not have this tragic past to be their only thing that describes them, that defines them.

MR. WALKER:  Yeah, great.  OK, Daryl, up in the back, and there’s another – OK, next.  First, Daryl here.

Q:  Daryl Kimball, with the Arms Control Association.  Thank you each for your presentations, great presentations.  And I think this may be the first time in Washington we’ve had an ethnomusicologist and a Department of Defense official on the same panel. 

MR. WALKER:  Right. 

Q:  And it’s very interesting.  I have a question for Andy Weber and perhaps also for Togzhan, going to the question of the challenges that the people in the Marshall Islands and Kazakhstan and other former test sites face into the future.  There’s been a tremendous amount of international cooperation on nuclear security, on trying to bring the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty into force.  The Kazakh government has provided a great deal of leadership in bringing International Day against Nuclear Tests into being, to helping focus attention on this aspect of the problem.

But it seems to me that there is a deficit when it comes to the governments who are trying to handle the aftermath of the nuclear testing experience cooperating with one another and sharing some of this information, even across the nongovernmental sector.  There’s not as much communication as possible.

So my question for you, Andy, is given your wide-ranging experience with cooperative threat reduction program and dealing with a wide range of chem, bio, nuclear threats, has there been any discussion, might there be, regarding the governments that are dealing with the aftereffects of the test site environmental and health legacies to share on a scientific level some of the information, some of the best practices and lessons learned going forward in the future because it’s clear from this set of presentations that the people around the test sites are still suffering, still need a great deal of support and understanding.

MR. WEBER:  That’s a good question, Daryl.  Through the International Science and Technology Center that was established to provide peaceful pursuits for the weapons scientists after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there were many international projects to look at the health effects of especially the nuclear weapons testing at the Semipalatinsk test site.  There is a community connected through the scientific field as well as through NGOs between the different affected communities around the world that experience nuclear weapons testing, including our own residents of Nevada who were exposed to some of the radiation effects.

And we do – we do share data.  I think Togzhan pointed out that one of the real challenges for Kazakhstan after independence was the return of all of the classified data to Moscow.  And this applies to the work that was done on the test site.  This applies to the bioweapons testing on Vozrozhdeniya Island, some of the chemical weapons testing that was conducted on the Ustyurt Plateau in Uzbekistan.  Much of that remains classified and Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have made many, many requests to the Russian Federation over the years and received very, very little data in response.

MR. WALKER:  OK, and I saw another – another hand up here.  Yes, right here?

Q:  Thank you.  Finn Longinotto.  I’m with Global Green Cross.  I work with Paul Walker.  I’m just wondering if – two things – the difference between the effect radiation on surface and underground testing and, secondly, even without data, but with our science today we’re able to say what North Korea has been doing.  That seems to be more recent at least in the underground area.  Are we able to extrapolate from what has happened in Kazakhstan to what the likely effects are on the people in North Korea now that we have an idea of the size of their testing? 

MR. WALKER:  That’s more to you.

MR. WEBER:  I’ll let you take that.

MR. WALKER:  More to me?  Anyone want to – Finn, I think – I mean, to me the big difference between what we’ve talked about today and the video and the pictures you’ve seen is Semipalatinsk, the South Pacific and obviously other areas like Lop Nur, in China, and North Africa, have all experienced atmospheric testing.  And the atmospheric testing, of course, in the late ’40s and right up through the ’50s were some enormous blasts.

I think you all – Togzhan talked about that, you know, I don’t know, a hundred times the size of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which, you know, raised all sorts of very serious fallout downwind that circled the Earth, probably still does to some extent, whereas in North Korea, you know, the three tests they’ve done have all been very small.  They’ve all been a few kilotons, you know, or sub-kiloton, even what we call a fissile test.  And the three of them have been underground as well.  There have been radionuclides that have leaked out and that’s I think maybe Dr. Zerbo later on will talk about that a bit.

But fortunately, because of the monitoring system of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, what we call the IMS, the international monitoring system, those radionuclides have actually been picked up in the atmosphere as well as the seismic signals too.  So I would expect in North Korea, from the three recent tests – 2006, ’09 and ’13 – that the fallout was very, very minor and negligible, more or less, but remember still whereas when we talk about Semipalatinsk and the Nevada Test Site, there was enormous fallout.  I mean, I remember seeing the pictures of the soldiers, what we now call atomic veterans, sitting there, you know, watching the blast going up thousands of feet in the air and all the fallout just drifting downwind and probably for hundreds and thousands of miles.

So there’s a big difference I think between the radiation and the long-term health impact from those atmospheric tests and the much smaller, almost fissile test, that the North Koreans have undertaken in recent years.  But I must say, an underground test doesn’t guarantee there won’t be fallout.  I mean, if you go back and look at the underground tests, which I’ve looked at over the years, there are some very famous ones which have actually leaked fallout.  You know, they’ve punched through the surface of the Earth and do have in fact to some extent a mushroom cloud and some fallout as well.

So I think that’s kind of the point you were getting at.  The one point – one of the points I take from this discussion, that many of you I think are well aware of, is that the long-term impacts are to some extent unknown still.  And I think there’s a lot of denial amongst scientists and health officials that in fact – or politicians – that in act these victims have been badly hurt or killed over the years by the nuclear testing that goes on.  But I think, you know, if you think back 20 or 30 years before – long before the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty came, was opened for signature, people were really in denial about all of this.  Today, we see in Semipalatinsk and Nevada Test Site and Utah and Nevada downwinders, atomic veterans, even though many of them have died now because of the long period of time, we actually see that there have been very, very serious health impacts. 

And the best studies I’ve seen have been, of course, of the hibakusha and the Japanese from 1945 when we – the only times we’ve used nuclear weapons directly on civilian, human populations.  And I think the long-term studies by the Japanese in particular and the international community have been quite good on that, even though those weren’t in fact the worst – the worst fallout because of the height of the blast over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The fallout was actually much less there than it was in a whole range of testing – particularly the American, British, Soviet and French and Chinese with atmospheric tests.  Other questions?  Yeah, right here? 

Q:  David Culp with Quakers.  I have a question for Andy.  After watching all of this, I just wonder why we are still maintaining the Nevada Test Site.  Yes, I understand that parts of the test site have been repurposed for other things.  But we are still spending a lot of money maintaining the test site for the possibility of resuming testing.  And yet, you made some very strong statements, which I appreciate, that the U.S. government has no intention of ever testing again.  So why do we maintain the test site?  Why don’t we close it like Kazakhstan did? 

MR. WEBER:  Well, there’s a lot that goes on at the Nevada nuclear – or national security site and other areas related – unrelated to nuclear weapons that’s important to our national security.  So in terms of the actual capability to test, I would expect that if we can get ratification and entry into force, that those facilities would be closed.  But there is a desire to keep at least a limited readiness until the treaty enters into force.

And so, let’s hope we can – we can get it ratified and educating publics and our representatives about the progress that has been made since it was defeated in the Senate in 1999 in terms of the monitoring capability and the stockpile stewardship.  But the bottom line, and I agree with you, there’s no reason currently to even consider a resumption of nuclear testing.

MR. WALKER:  And with that as a really optimistic, I think, final note, I know there are some other hands in the audience but we’re only two minutes over time.  So that’s pretty good.  And we’ll break now for coffee break.  Be back here by 3:30 for the next panel and thank you all for being so attentive and to our speakers too.  (Applause.)


DARYL KIMBALL:  All right.  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome back from our halftime break in our conference on Nuclear Arms Testing:  History, Progress and Challenges.  My name is Daryl Kimball.  I’m the executive director of the independent Arms Control Association, based here in Washington.

And we’re extremely pleased and honored to be working with our partners on this event to mark International Day against Nuclear Tests:  the government and Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan; my friend and our Arms Control Association board member Paul Walker, with Green Cross International; our friends with the Atom Project, as well as the Embassy of Canada.  And without their strong support and the work of a number of behind-the-scenes staff persons at the embassy and in my organization and Paul’s organization, this event would not have been possible.

And just before we begin our second panel with Undersecretaries Klotz and Gottemoeller on the security value of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and issues relating to the United States’ efforts to maintain our moratorium, it’s my privilege and honor to introduce Mr. Denis Stevens, the deputy head of mission at the Canadian Embassy here in Washington, D.C., who’s going to briefly outline some of Canada’s perspectives on this very important issue.

If you could come up here, please, I would appreciate it, and I would just add that though I’m an American citizen, I’m very proud to have been born in Kingston, Ontario, and have lived there for six wonderful months of my early life.  (Laughter.)  And so it’s – it was especially good to see that our friends from Canada were interested in helping make this event possible. 

Mr. Stevens.  (Applause.)

DENIS STEVENS:  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  And I have to point out that the architect for this building is also Canadian.  So Canada’s quietly all around you.  (Laughter.)

Distinguished guests, it’s a real pleasure to join you here today as part of this conference commemorating the August 29th International Day against Nuclear Testing.  And I want to say thank you to Kazakhstan for organizing this event and for leading the effort in 2009 to adopt the General Assembly resolution to establish this day. 

Canada is pleased that its Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with Kazakhstan came into force last month.  This is an agreement that’ll allow us to conduct trade on nuclear-related items for peaceful purposes in a manner consistent with our shared nuclear nonproliferation obligations.

I’d also like to thank the co-sponsors of today’s event, the Arms Control Association, Green Cross International and the Atom Project.

I want to highlight in my very brief remarks to you the fact that Canada remains a strong proponent of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, most importantly, the completion of its verification system and its entry into force.  The CTBTO’s network of stations has already paid dividends in terms of successfully detecting nuclear tests conducted by North Korea, and Canada continues to fully support further development of its verification activities.

Indeed Canada was pleased to make a voluntary contribution in September last year of equipment and training to strengthen the treaty’s on-site inspection capabilities. 

With regard to promoting the treaty’s entry into force, I also want to take this opportunity to encourage all states to attend the ministerial meeting that Canada is co-hosting on September 26th and to sign the Joint Ministerial Statement to be issued at that meeting.  We’re striving to increase the number of endorsements of the statement beyond the record 101 that were garnered two years ago.

Canadians in general embrace realism and pragmatism.  We tend to focus on the practical work that’s needed to achieve near-term objectives that make progress towards an ultimate goal.  This ethos applies to our support for the progressive step-by-step process to halt the spread of nuclear weapons, cap existing stockpiles and irreversibly and verifiably eliminate them.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, CTBT and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty are key components of this process.  Our pragmatic approach also underlines our unwavering support for the full and universal implementation of U.N. Security Resolution 1540, which marked its 10 anniversary earlier this year.

The U.N. remains best equipped to lead the effort to strengthen nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament through its universal membership facilities and expertise within the secretariat, as well as within organizations such as the IAEA and CTBTO.  We must roll up our sleeves and use the tools provided by the U.N. to undertake the difficult work needed to make that vision a reality.

Thank you all for coming today and for letting me interrupt these interesting proceedings for just a few minutes.

All the best.  Thank you.  (Applause)

MR, KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Mr. Stevens, and to your – you and your colleagues in Ottawa, who really have been long-standing supporters of the test ban and practical nonproliferation and disarmament efforts – (end of audio).


DARYL KIMBALL:  And so we are – we’ve come to part two of our program, our second panel on verification and entry into force of the CTBT, though I’m sure we’re going to be talking about much more than that.  And for this discussion, we’re very, very happy to have with us here today Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller and Lieutenant General Frank Klotz, who is the undersecretary for nuclear security and the National Nuclear Security Administration here.

And as you can see from the short biographies in the conference program, both of these individuals have a tremendous amount of experience, depth of knowledge and commitment to reducing the nuclear threats facing the United States and the world.  And I would just note that Rose Gottemoeller earlier this year made the very long trip to the Marshall Islands to mark the anniversary of the Bravo Test – a very long trip, very important symbolically, I think, that she made that visit.

So with the two of them I think we have a critical mass of expertise and insight regarding the Obama administration’s perspectives on our ability to maintain the U.S. nuclear test moratorium into the future, our ability to monitor and verify and deter violations of the moratorium in the years ahead and the path forward to the formal entry into force of the CTBT, which of course requires ratification by eight more states listed in Annex 2 of the treaty. 

And I would just highlight, before I turn over the podium to General Klotz, one of the things that Secretary of Energy Moniz said earlier this afternoon, which is that it has been about 15 years since the Senate last formally considered the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  October 13, 1999 was the date of the vote.  And since then, as he suggested, much has changed.  The case for the treaty is much stronger today.

Many of the current concerns expressed by senators who voted no, in my view, have been addressed, but we’ve not yet had a chance for the kind of conversation that’s necessary to bring the treaty forward again for a debate and a vote.  And that’s, as I’m sure we’ll hear in a few minutes, a very serious enterprise that takes a lot of preparation and work.

But as Ambassador Umarov, Paul Walker and I wrote in an op-ed published over the weekend, we hope that this event today will help open the way for that conversation, help open the way for our friends in the Senate to take a fresh look at the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and how it helps U.S. and international security. 

So both of you, thank you for being here.  Frank, could I invite you up to the podium, where I think it’s a lot easier for folks to focus their attention on your remarks?  (Applause.)

FRANK KLOTZ:  Well, thank you very much.  Absolutely delighted to be here.  I see a lot of former colleagues and friends – not former friends – in the audience, so it’s great to be here.  And I’d like to join in my boss’s expression of appreciation to the government and Embassy of Kazakhstan and all the other partners for putting on this very, very important and timely conference.

And I’m delighted to join colleagues from the State Department, Rose Gottemoeller, and from the Department of Defense.  Andy Weber was here earlier.  I think our appearance at the same conference on the same afternoon clearly illustrates that the development of American nuclear weapon and arms control policy is truly a multiagency responsibility.  Each of our respective organizations brings unique experience, expertise and perspectives to the task of maintaining our deterrent and supporting a range of nuclear nonproliferation and arms control activities, including verification.

For its part, the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration, which I represent, we, through our laboratories, have a core competency in applying science, technology and engineering to solve a diverse array of national security challenges.  And one of these challenges, and one that has immense importance to our topic today, is the ability to guarantee the safety, security and effectiveness of America’s remaining nuclear stockpile, all without nuclear explosive testing.

A second challenge is to continue to refine the tools used by the U.S. government, as well as the international community, to detect clandestine nuclear explosive testing, which is an essential element of any test moratorium or any test ban regime, including that envisioned under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

So for my part this afternoon, let me briefly summarize the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s contributions to each of these efforts.  I realize that I’m going to be covering much the same ground that Secretary Moniz did earlier this afternoon, but I must tell you, at my advanced age repetition is an essential pedagogical method, and I hope it will be of some use to you as well.  (Laughter.)

Let’s start with stockpile stewardship.  As many of you know, since I served with you during the Cold War, the United States continuously developed new nuclear weapon design, each of which incorporated the latest safety, security and reliability features.  And the final step, as Secretary Moniz said this morning – or earlier this afternoon – the final step in ensuring these new designs would actually work was to conduct nuclear explosive tests.

And as you all know, between 1945 and 1992, the United States conducted 1,054 nuclear explosive tests, the majority of which tested design concepts, physics and engineering detail such as safety and radiation effects.  They also tested the competence of the designers, the engineers, manufacturing plants and, indeed, the entire nuclear infrastructure.

Well, in 1992, as you all know, the United States government voluntarily imposed a moratorium on nuclear explosive testing, a moratorium that has been observed ever since by four presidential administrations – four presidential administrations, both Democrat and Republican.

At the same time, no nuclear weapons have been developed since the end of the Cold War.  As the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review stated, the United States will not develop new nuclear weapons.  Life extension programs will use only nuclear components based on previously tested designs and will not support new military missions or provide for new military capabilities.

Now, in practical terms, this means that most nuclear weapons in the current U.S. nuclear stockpile were originally produced, on average, anywhere from 25 to 30 years ago.  The challenge then is how to maintain confidence in the safety, security and effectiveness of nuclear weapons in the stockpile without producing new nuclear weapons and without nuclear explosive testing.

The solution has been to field a suite of innovative, experimental platforms, diagnostic equipment, and supercomputers to model and to better understand the effects of aging, as well as the effects of replacing individual components, as we extend the service life of the weapons that remain in the nuclear stockpile.

This is an enormously complex scientific and engineering challenge.  And when the science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program was first proposed a few years after the 1992 test moratorium went into effect, there were many skeptics – many skeptics in policy circles here in Washington, D.C., many skeptics indeed in the scientific and technical community who thought it might not be possible or we might not have the will to expend the types of resources necessary to bring it into effect.  But it was, and remains, successful, thanks to the vision and determination of its proponents and to a significant investment in the necessary tools, facilities and human capital.

To perform this mission, the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration laboratories have developed a culture that allows for the rapid integration of multiple disciplines to solve highly complex technical problems, oftentimes with no previous known solution.  Through this framework, our laboratories have developed new techniques for understanding the dynamic behavior of materials with experimental and computational capabilities that have provided a wealth of data.  This innovation has allowed us to resolve long-standing technical issues that provide greater confidence in the existing stockpile. 

On the simulation side, we have supercomputing capabilities, as the secretary noted earlier this afternoon, at most of our DOE laboratories that not only ensure U.S. competitiveness in high-performance computing, but which also support a host of other national security missions and validate the experimental data on weapons performance in lieu of testing.

Thanks to this effort, today we have a greater understanding of how nuclear weapons actually work than we did when we were carrying out nuclear explosive testing.  This is a remarkable achievement in innovation for our national security, and it is foundational to an effective no-test regime.

Now, another critical part of an effective test ban is a robust monitoring and verification network that will deter regimes from conducting nuclear explosive tests and detect those who do.  The Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration develop, demonstrate and deliver advanced technologies that help monitoring systems detect nuclear explosions.  These technologies distinguish nuclear blasts from non-nuclear events by identifying and analyzing signatures such as seismic waves and sounds. 

One example of how our work helps to fine-tune many of these instruments is through an ongoing series of underground, conventional, high-explosive seismic experiments at the Nevada National Security Site, formerly known as the Nevada Test Site.  The experiments’ findings are advancing the United States’ ability to detect and to discriminate low-yield nuclear explosions amid the clutter of conventional explosions and small-earthquake signals.  Data from the first test shots are publicly available and future data sets will also be made available as they are completed and as they are validated.

The Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration also support the development of a model of the Earth’s crust which enhances the ability to locate the epicenter of seismic events.  This model integrates regional and teleseismic data to produce seismic information with greatly improved location accuracy.  Regional partners use it to achieve real-time computations with commonly available computers that exist at any seismic analytic center.  With this research, our department has successfully enhanced the accuracy of finding the epicenter of a seismic event and has stimulated increased cooperation in data exchange.

Related to the mission of improved understanding of seismic events, DOE and NNSA are also supporting research and development to advance the United States’ ability to monitor other key dynamic signatures, such as subsurface gas emissions and topographical changes.  These changes in capability will provide significantly useful information during an on-site inspection and for improving the effectiveness of the international monitoring system.  We have demonstrated this capability at the Nevada National Security Site and during numerous field tests with our international partner.  Two of these systems will be deployed this fall during the CBTO Integrated Field Exercise 2014, which simulates an on-site inspection involving an international team of inspectors. 

These examples demonstrate the research and development, technical leadership and essential expertise resident at the Department of Energy and at the NNSA labs that will continue to be an essential part of the United States’ monitoring, verifications and detection capabilities.

So let me conclude my brief opening and then turn it over to Rose Gottemoeller by saying that the Department of Energy and NNSA stockpile stewardship and nonproliferation missions lay the foundation for a world without nuclear explosive tests, a world under the entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, while maintaining – while maintaining our deterrent in a safe and secure and effective manner.  And our science and research and development work is an essential pillar in that endeavor.

So many thanks for letting me speak to you today, and I’m happy to turn the floor over and look forward to any questions you may have after Rose’s presentation.  (Applause.) 

ROSE GOTTEMOELLER:  Good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a real pleasure to be here again to see so many friends and colleagues in the audience and so many friends and colleagues from around the world.  So it’s a special pleasure to see Lassina Zerbo here today, the head of the CTBTO.  We’ll be hearing from him really shortly, but Lassina, always wonderful to see you in Washington.

I had a good chance to talk with Frank before these remarks.  We kind of planned the choreography, so I’m going to talk to you about some of the diplomacy and the policy efforts that we are pursuing here in the United States as well.  And so I invite you, during the question period, to stick him with all the technical questions and I’ll talk about the more – well, as we say, the more policy-oriented questions.

But it is truly a pleasure to be here today.  I want also to thank the Embassy of Kazakhstan.  Mr. Akhinzhanov, it’s really good to be here, and please extend my best wishes to the ambassador and hope for his wife’s speedy, speedy recovery.

I also work quite a bit with Daryl Kimball at the Arms Control Association, have for many years.  Paul Walker of Global Green.  Also work very much with our Canadian colleagues, and I want to say what giants of the multilateral diplomacy arena the Canadians are.  I worked very closely with your team, working on the fissile material cutoff treaty at the GGE in Geneva.  So it’s really wonderful to have you also involved in sponsoring this important meeting.

You know, Secretary Kerry was actually right here just a year ago to talk about the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, as well as our nuclear security agenda overall.  He quoted a line from President Kennedy’s American University speech that talked about a total ban on nuclear explosive testing, “So near and yet so far.”  This was at the time the limited test ban treaty was completed in the early 1960s.

We remain in this place somewhat today, 50 years later, so near and yet so far.  We know that the goal remains a worthy one, and we know that it is still the right one for American national security.  The difference today is that we know we have the tools to make this important goal a reality.

Frank has just covered some stockpile and verification issues, and I’m going to focus first of all on the national security benefits of the treaty, and then move to the process of moving the United States toward entry into force.  I will also give you a little readout on how I’ve been using my time over the last year to advance the case for the treaty here in the United States.

First and foremost, it is clear that CTBT is a key part of leading nuclear weapon states toward a world of diminished reliance on nuclear weapons, reduced nuclear competition and eventual nuclear disarmament.  As an in-force CTBT will hinder states that do not have nuclear weapons from developing advanced nuclear weapons capability, it will place, as I like to think about it, speed bumps in the way of acquiring advanced nuclear weapons capabilities.  States interested in pursuing or advancing a nuclear weapons program would have to either risk deploying weapons without the confidence that they would work properly, or accept the international condemnation and reprisals that would follow a nuclear explosive test.

An in-force treaty would also impede states with more established nuclear weapon capabilities from confirming the performance of advanced nuclear weapon designs that they have not tested successfully in the past.  Because of this, an in-force CTBT will also constrain regional arms races.  These constraints will be particularly important in Asia, where states are building up and modernizing their nuclear forces.

For our part, ratification will help to enhance our leadership role in nonproliferation and strengthen our hand in pursuing tough actions against suspected proliferators.  That is more important than ever in our current global environment. 

And by the way, I thought it was very impressive, the documentary film that was shown at the outset.  But that message was squarely there that it is only by reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons and fissile material that eventually you get to the point of confidence that nuclear weapons will never fall into the hands of terrorists, and that is a pre-eminent goal for President Obama and this administration.

All told, it is in our interest to close the door on nuclear explosive testing forever.  Daryl already mentioned that I was invited to speak in the Marshall Islands on the 60th anniversary of the Castle Bravo nuclear test.  It was quite an honor, and while there, I was able to meet with government and community leaders as well as the displaced communities.  I told them that it is the United States’ deep understanding of the consequences of nuclear weapons, including the devastating health effects, that has guided and motivated our efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate these most hazardous of weapons.

About a month after visiting the Marshall Islands, I also traveled to Hiroshima.  Upon arriving, I visited the Cenotaph and the Peace Museum, and spoke with an atomic survivor.  The day was a somber but critically important reminder that all nations should avoid the horrors of nuclear war.

We have made great strides over the past 40 years, achieving an 85 percent reduction in the U.S. nuclear stockpile since 1967 and creating agreements such as the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, START, New START and more.  But we still have far to go. 

It was President Reagan who, speaking before the Japanese Diet, pronounced clearly and with conviction that there can be only one policy for preserving our precious civilization in this modern age – a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.

These words had great resonance for the students that I spoke with at Hiroshima University last April.  My conversation with them focused on the CTBT and how it could contribute to reducing global nuclear threats.  Bright, engaged and motivated – it was early on a Saturday morning; I was astonished that they had such good turnout, because no students I know of will get up early on a Saturday morning.  But these kids did, so it was really good to see.

The students were eager to know what they could do to help push toward entry into to force.  I told them, as I tell all students with whom I meet, that the most important thing that supporters of the treaty can do is to educate their friends, their families and their communities.  That is something I will be continuing to do throughout the coming year with trips to various U.S. states to speak with students, church and community groups and expert audiences.  In fact, I will be at Stanford on Wednesday this week in California to do just that.

Now I will pivot to the question that is asked by each and every person I meet with when the treaty is discussed – what is the plan for Senate ratification?  The answer is simple.  First comes education, then comes discussion, and last and very importantly, debate.  It is only through that process that you get to a place where a vote can happen. 

We are reintroducing this treaty again to the American public after many years.  It’s been quite some time since it has been discussed outside the Capital Beltway.  We are and will continue to outline the clear and convincing facts about our ability to maintain the nuclear stockpile without explosive testing, and our ability to effectively monitor and verify treaty compliance.  Both Secretary Moniz and General Klotz have spoken clearly about these two issues this afternoon and they are strong allies in this effort.

We are and will continue to make it clear that a global ban on nuclear explosive testing will hinder an arms race in Asia and impede advancements in nuclear stockpiles around the world.  With an emphasis on a healthy, open dialogue rather than a timeline, we are working with the Senate to re-familiarize the members with this treaty. 

A lot of CTBT-related issues have changed since 1999, but the Senate has changed a lot since then too.  It is up to us as policymakers and experts before the American people to practice due diligence in consideration of this treaty.  That means briefings, hearings at the appropriate time, more briefings, trips to the lab, trips to Vienna and the CTBTO – Lassina, you should expect some visitors – and questions, questions, questions.

Do you know we answered over 1,000 questions for the record before the New START treaty was ratified?  And I think we ended to think about New START as our touchstone, going into this process.  The senators should have every opportunity to ask questions, and many questions, until they are satisfied. 

I want to make one thing very clear.  This administration has no intention of rushing into this or demanding premature action before we have had a thorough and rigorous discussion and debate.  I know that it is the official sport in Washington, but I would ask people to refrain from counting votes right now.  Our first priority is education and our focus should be on the hard work that goes into any Senate consideration of a treaty.

Again, I think the New START process is not only a touchstone, but a good example about how we can move forward.  I realize that it’s less fun than trying to count votes or read tea leaves, and I realize that it’s unglamorous and deliberate.  But that’s how good policy is made, and that’s how treaties get across the finish line, as difficult as it is.  So we owe this kind of process to the American people, and it’s exactly this process that we are embarked on during this year.

Of course, as we’ve said many times, there’s no reason for the remaining Annex 2 states to wait for the United States before completing their own ratification processes.  We’ve been pleased to hear some positive statements coming from Annex 2 states in recent months, and we hope that that positive vibe turns into action. 

I also wanted to just take a minute to congratulate Congo, which is the most recent state to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty a short time ago.  So – very good to hear that news.

Finally, we urge states to provide adequate financial and political support for completion of the CTBT verification regime and its provisional operations between now and entry into force of the treaty.  The CTBTO, now under the able guidance of Dr. Zerbo, has and will continue to do a fantastic job of readying the treaty’s verification regime for eventual entry into force. 

For those of you who have a chance to visit the CTBT headquarters in Vienna, it is an impressive place, and I urge you to ask if you can go up on the roof and look at the radionuclide detection equipment that is up there.  Not only is it an impressive sight, but you also get an impressive view of Vienna from way up there.

In closing, I will reiterate that we have a lot of work to do, but the goal is a worthy one.  An in-force Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will be in the national security interests of the United States of America and of every country around the world.  So let’s get to work on it together.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, both of you, for your presentations on this subject of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  We have about 12 or so minutes before we need to shift to the next part of the program, and I’m sure this audience has a few good questions that are not the reading-of-tea-leaves questions.  So if you could please raise your hand.  And Jonah, why don’t you go right there? 

And let me also just remind the members of the press who are here that this is also a chance for you to ask a question too.  So wave your hand because it’s hard to distinguish between the civilians and the members of the press.  Please. 

Q:  D.T. Trobet (sp).  Hi, Rose and Frank.  Rose, you just mentioned positive vibes from Annex 2 states.  Can you elaborate what you’ve heard, what the statements, be a little bit more explicit?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  You know, D.T., I’m a really good diplomat, so I don’t like to talk about too many details of positive vibes – or negative vibes, for that matter.  So I will just leave it at that.

MR. KIMBALL:  I would just, for the benefit of the audience who may not understand the diplomatic maneuverings here, just recommend to you that you look at some of the press coverage of comments of the prime minister’s office of Israel following a recent trip by Dr. Zerbo to Israel to talk about some of the technical issues.  Perhaps he’ll talk about this a little bit.

And thanks to Dr. Zerbo’s work, China has begun transmitting the data from its monitoring stations to the IDC in Vienna, something that was long overdue.  So those are two of the important signs that we’ve seen just in the last few months, and maybe we’ll get into some more discussion about that later.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  May I just add one thing, which I can say quite openly, and that is when we had our last P-5 conference last April in Beijing, we did have a chance to visit the International Monitoring System data center in Beijing, which had opened up not so long ago, thanks again to Dr. Zerbo’s efforts.  And they were extraordinarily proud to show us the premises, show us all the work that was going on there.

And frankly, I thought it was a great innovation that the Chinese had incorporated into the P-5 process.  That is, that in the course of this conference we did a field trip – not just sitting in a conference room the whole time and talking to each other and giving each other briefings, but actually going out and seeing what some of the Chinese experts were doing with regard to the CTBT.  So I really thought that was a good step forward.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  We’re going to take questions from both sides of the aisle, so to speak here, since this a nonpartisan event.

There is a gentleman in the middle here.  Shervin, if you could – Mr. Medalia.  You’re going to have to help get to her, Jonathan.  OK.  Thank you.

Q:  Yes, a question for Administrator Klotz.  My name is Jonathan Medalia.  I’m with Congressional Research Service.

Congress, as you know, has invested tens of billions of dollars in stockpile stewardship over the years.  When the CTBT comes up again for the Senate vote on advice and consent to ratification, the senators will need to have confidence that the U.S. can maintain its arsenal without testing.

How specifically will you give senators that confidence?  How do you translate the technical into the political?  Thanks.

MR. KLOTZ:  Thanks, Jonathan, and you could probably answer this question far better than I.  I learned from you, not the other way around.

No, we make every effort we can to inform members of Congress, but also the general public, on the importance of the Stockpile Stewardship Program and what it means for this particular country.

For those of you who are having an interest in diving more deeply into this, we annually publish something called the Stockpile Stewardship Management Plan, which we do post on a website.  It’s a biannual report, but every year we update it and just put out one a couple of months ago.

So that has a discussion of all the various types of scientific, technical and engineering efforts that are under way as far as the Stockpile Stewardship Program is concerned, the various tools that are associated with that, the various – we call them campaigns – to learn more about the process of aging and how you do component replacement.  So I would refer you to that for greater detail.

And then anytime members of Congress or members of the staff would like to visit one of our national laboratories or out to the Nevada National Security Site, we are more than happy to do that.  In fact, we have almost weekly visits by key staff members as well as members on both Houses. 

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

Yes, sir?

Q:  David Culp with the Quakers, and I have a question for both of you about the Nevada Test Site.  After the limited test ban treaty was ratified, the United States for decades maintained a atmospheric test site in the South Pacific, in the Marshall Islands.  We sent guys out there every year; get ready, just in case we’re going to do an atmospheric test.  We kept those guys down there for decades.  Looking back on it, it now looks like it was a pretty foolish waste of money.

Today we are maintaining the Nevada Test Site, 20 years after the end of testing.  Earlier today Andy Weber made a pretty declaratory statement; the United States is not going to resume testing.  Yes, I understand that parts of the test site are not related to testing; you’ve repurposed much of the test site.  But you also maintain the ability to resume testing there at the test site.  I’m guessing you’re spending on the order of roughly $200 million for that purpose, related to nuclear testing at Nevada.

At some point, you’re going to end this and people are going to look at this and say, they were pretty foolish to maintain this for decades.  When are we going to get to that point?  Couldn’t we use that money – better purposes, nonproliferation, arms control, rather than maintain the ability to resume testing at the Nevada Test Site?

So that’s both technical and policy, so both of you get a chance.

MR. KLOTZ:  Thanks, David.  Let me give the technical.  I heard that you had asked Andy this question earlier.

As Secretary Moniz pointed out, the name of the Nevada Test Site has changed to the Nevada National Security Site, which is reflective of the fact that its mission now is very broad and growing even broader.

There are a number of different government agencies which use the facilities that are out there, the sheer volume of land and airspace that’s out there, to do very unique testing that’s related to other national security challenges beyond this.  But also, an awful lot of the work that’s associated with the Stockpile Stewardship Program also resides at the Nevada National Security Site.  So that area continues, and that operation out there continues to be extraordinarily important to the work that we do.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  The only thing I would add – and for those of you who haven’t been out to the Nevada National Security Site, it’s well worth a visit.  They have some public days now and again.  It’s well worth a visit to see some of the broad-ranging work that’s going on there for a number of different customers, not only DOE customers, as well. 

But the other thing I would say that in this period when we are diving into a real effort to work on ratification of the treaty, I think it’s an important moment to ensure that we have in place a continuity in certain policies that are now well established, as we called them back in the 1990s, the kind of safeguards, including the Stockpile Stewardship Program.  It’s enormously matured over the last 15 years, but test site readiness was one of those safeguards.  So at the moment, quite obviously from a policy perspective, I take your point, David, in terms of the investment.  But I think it’s an important safeguard to have in place as we enter into the debate and discussion on the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. 

MR. KIMBALL:  Let me just add, since I saw Francois Rivasseau earlier today, from the French Embassy, it reminds me that when France signed and ratified the CTBT, they decided to close their former test site.  And so perhaps one of the benefits of ratification by the United States is going to be the savings of the hundreds of millions of dollars each year that are being invested in that.  But that is probably a debate to come after we have the long-overdue discussion and vote on the CTBT.

So I see a few other hands around the room.  There was one up in the upper left.  Shervin, if you could go up there, I think that’s Richard.  Thank you.

Q:  Hi.  Thank you, Daryl.  Richard Weitz, Hudson Institute.

Given the importance of the agenda that you’ve laid out and the ties that you’re developing with Kazakhstan and the more broader geopolitical environment with Russia, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan and so on, has there been some consideration to actually have President Obama become the first president to go to Central Asia – perhaps if they open the IAEA fuel bank, as a way to solidify his legacy, both regionally and in the nonproliferation dimension? 

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  It’s a shame we don’t have somebody here from the White House, but I do know that there’s a great deal of high-level interest in going to Central Asia now.  and I simply – I’m not in charge of the president’s schedule, so I can’t say, but I think there are some very good arguments, and you’ve rolled out a couple of them.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Yes, sir, over here?

Q:  Julian Cannan (ph), from the Second Line of Defense website.  My question is for Undersecretary Gottemoeller.  In the ‘90s, Ukraine consented to remove its – (inaudible) – nuclear weapons from the – (inaudible) – of territorial integrity through the multilateral treaty.  Do you think that your global effort in favor of nuclear arms control is now undermined by their recent breaks of this treaty?  Thank you. 

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  I’m sorry, are you – I think I didn’t catch --

MR. KIMBALL:  Repeat your question --

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  Well, just the last part.  Which treaty are you talking about? 

Q:  During the – Ukrainian government consented to remove its nuclear weapons through the treaty – (inaudible) – by the United States.  And with the Crimean --

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  I understand now.  Thank you. 

Q:  Do you think that this effort undermine your effort for the nuclear disarmament? 

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  Well, first of all, let me say that we have been deeply, deeply concerned about the Russian attitude toward the Budapest Memorandum because it was a significant step at the close of the Cold War that I think was very stabilizing in the way it ensured that there was a significant denuclearization in the region and we did not end up with a very unstable situation with nuclear weapons that perhaps would have been subject to lack of control or theft.

There were a lot of concerns in those days, in the early 1990s, about what some of the implications might be of the rapid dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Soviet nuclear arsenal.  So it had an enormously stabilizing effect during the period. 

So we’ve been very concerned about Russia’s behavior, frankly, across the board with regard to this terrible crisis in Ukraine and the flaunting of international law.  And we will continue to be very outspoken about the view that Russia is significantly stepping outside of the realm of international law in many things that it is doing in Ukraine.  The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine is really an enormously also difficult situation where that principle has been – has been starkly damaged.

So at the same time, I think we have to bear in mind that nuclear arms control has continued to play a stabilizing role.  I will note that during this current serious crisis, Russia has been continuing in a very pragmatic way to implement the New START treaty, which has given us significant insights into the Russian nuclear arsenal at this dangerous and difficult time.

So in terms of mutual predictability and confidence, in this particular realm, nuclear arms control’s been playing a positive and stabilizing role.  So I think we shouldn’t shoot ourselves in the foot in considering stepping away from any measures of that kind at this crisis period.

MR. KIMBALL:  We’re running out of time here for questions, so I think we’ve got – just got time for one or two more.  And I wanted to follow up myself on a question that Jonathan Medalia asked and I wanted to ask you, Rose, too.  Just elaborate a little bit more on one of the things you said in your remarks about how the case for the treaty has improved over time – the Stockpile Stewardship Program, the verification story, other factors. 

And as you discuss these issues with members and staff on the Hill, if you could just describe a little bit more about what are the pieces of evidence, so to speak, that you’re bringing forward?  I mean, since the Obama administration has come in and recommitted the United States to pursuing ratification, there have been some studies that the administration has commissioned from the National Academy of Sciences, the intelligence community, and I think the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

What are some of the basic tools that you’re working with to update senators on the technical and security case, and how would you summarize some of the core findings from those studies? 

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  Well, this is a topic for another afternoon’s session.  But honestly, I think the core issues re the ones that I – we’ve already spoken to considerably regarding the Stockpile Stewardship Program and also the – and also the verification regime for the treaty. 

By the way, it’s not only the international monitoring system and the work of the CTBTO, but our own – our own national capability to verify and monitor the treaty has been enhanced significantly.  And that point has not been brought out in our discussions so far this afternoon, but there’s a whole wealth of arguments to be made in that realm as well.

But in addition, I think, frankly, the juxtaposition of what has happened since 1999 in terms of the burgeoning arms race, nuclear arms race – particularly in Asia – against what the CTBT can do in terms of placing – I said speed bumps or road blocks – in the way of that arms race, I think that to my mind, that is one of the most significant national security arguments.  And as the senators, I think, come to understand the way that arms race is developing and how CTBT can play role in slowing and in some cases halting certain developments, I think that that will be a very powerful argument to make, and we will certainly be developing that.

But I want to stress in the first instance that we’re not talking about rushing up to Capitol Hill right away.  Although we are very open to any discussion and dialogue, we do also want to spend a good amount of time in the coming months working out in the states, working with the American public, working with, as I put it, religious groups – they were so helpful to us in the ratification of the New START treaty – and working with the other expert groups around the country, no-governmental groups and student groups.

I think we need to get that kind of groundswell of support going at the grassroots that will help us again back here in Washington to make the case for the treaty.  So that is the kind of strategy that we have in mind, but I think that there are clearly some very powerful arguments that were not available to us in 1999.

MR. KIMBALL:  Great.  Thank you.

All right.  We’ve got time for one more question and one more quick answer.  Who would like to take it?  There’s – right here in the front, if you could, Shervin.  I think she’s – Jonah’s got it.  A race to the middle.  There we are.  Thank you.

Q:  Thank you.  My name is Sarah Orndorff.  And looking at the International Monitoring System as a way to deter and detect nuclear tests, the piece that seems to be missing would be what comes after.  If a country that is a signatory to the CTBT decides to do a test and we find out about it, other than international condemnation, which doesn’t seem to be going very far these days, what other methods of recourse do we have?

MR. KIMBALL:  Maybe Rose? 

MS. GOTTEMOELLER:  Well, I think one of the more interesting things that will be happening this November is a on-site inspection exercise in Jordan.  In fact, I plan to be there as one of the VIP visitors for part – I’m not technically competent to participate in the IFE itself, but it’s just to give you a feeling for the great interactive potential of this aspect of the verification regime, doing on-site inspections.

So it is – it’s clearly, as a matter of international condemnation and forth, but also working together with states around the world to be able to work toward an on-site inspection and work with the states to do so, I think will be a  very important aspect of where we go from here with the treaty and with its implementation.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, thank you, everyone.  Thank you, Frank and Rose, for your presentations for further discussion.  We are out of time for this session.

And before I ask the deputy head of mission from the Embassy of Kazakhstan to come up and introduce our closing keynote speaker, Dr. Zerbo, please join me in thanking Rose Gottemoeller and Frank Klotz.  (Applause.)


YERKIN AKHINZHANOV:  Thank you very much.  What an excellent discussion.  I would like to thank, yes, Undersecretary Rose Gottemoeller and Frank Klotz for joining us today.  And I would like to thank all previous speakers, as well as commend all moderators for their excellent work.

And I also wanted to use this opportunity to thank personally Madam Rose Gottemoeller for her endless and -- support and efforts to -- for reducing and eliminating the nuclear threat.  And on a personal note, I have an inordinate privilege to know her in the past, also working together on some other very important but also arms control issues in some other part of the world.  So thank you very much.

And now, it is my pleasure to introduce our concluding speaker, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the CTBTO.  It is very fortunate that we have Dr. Zerbo today here with us who has made a stop here in Washington.  And we’re immensely grateful for this opportunity to have him with us this afternoon to share this -- his knowledge and perspectives on the status of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty regime.  During a professional career, spanning nearly 25 years, Dr. Zerbo has developed expertise ranging from scientific and technical competencies to results-based management and multilateral diplomacy.

For many years as a director of the CTBTO’s International Data Center, he has worked tirelessly to develop the organization’s global monitoring system and to promote ratification of the Test Ban Treaty.  Since assuming this post of the CTBTO Executive Secretary from last year, Dr. Zerbo has worked closely with the Kingdom of Jordan, as many have already mentioned and made reference, on the second full-scale integrated field exercise to improve on-site inspection under the treaty.  And as it was mentioned, it will be this November. 

And my country is very proud to have been the host of the first exercise -- integrated field exercise -- in 2008.  Under that -- under Dr. Zerbo’s leadership, the CTBTO has pioneered an innovative and focused approach to advance the CTBT’s ratification by the remaining annexed (ph) two states, by establishing a group of -- a group of eminent personalities and internally recognized experts, including former Secretary of Defense -- (inaudible) -- and Italian Foreign Minister Frederica Mogherini. 

So over a short tenure, he has already showed a strong leadership role in strengthening the international nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation framework.  And after Dr. Zerbo’s presentation, we will also, again, open the floor for questions from the audience.  With this, please join me in welcoming Dr. Zerbo -- please.  (Applause.)

LASSINA ZERBO:  Good afternoon, distinguished guests.  And thank you for your kind words.  And I would like to thank the sponsors and organizers for putting this event together, and then inviting me to join you in talking about nuclear test explosion -- banning nuclear test explosion and then the role of Kazakhstan in this.

Through the documentary that you’ve shown, the five minutes, I think you one can say that the people of Kazakhstan understand all too well the disastrous consequences of nuclear testing.  And I commend them and the government of Kazakhstan for their dedicated effort to achieve the discontinuance of nuclear testing for all time.

But I would like to thank my friend, Rose Gottemoeller and General Klotz, that I have just met together, because we are planning to have a meeting sometime in Vienna, or somewhere in the -- in the -- (inaudible) -- for all what you’ve done in showing today the process that is underway in the educational framework that you’re putting together on the CTBT.

I must admit as well, that it’s the first time -- I have been 10 years in this organization -- it’s the first time I hear so many times the word CTBT.  And I’m very proud to have been in this meeting today, because in 10 years I can tell you that today I’ve heard it far more than I used to hear it.  And sometimes, it’s been frustrating that people don’t talk much about CTBT.  But thank you and thanks to all.

Now, Secretary Moniz has done a fantastic job for me because he has laid out what the U.S. is doing for the CTBT and also where the CTBT stands today.  So I’m not going to go into far more detail, because I would like to give time for questions, but I will go through a few issues.

But let me first say that it is good to know that at least we can talk about the U.S. report to this treaty because in the developing world, where I come from, many people wonder if the U.S. is supportive of the CTBT.  But they don’t know that over 22 percent of our budget is coming from the U.S. taxpayers.  And what we have to do is to make sure those taxpayers are satisfied with the outcome.  And I’m coming from the industry, that’s why my job is always to make sure what you pay for, you get it in return.  That leaves you happy and then I can get more money from you and then do more work.  (Laughter.) 

And the more money will be to get closer and closer to the entry into force of the CTBT, which is what we’re working for.  It was said as well by Secretary Moniz that the world would be much safer if we didn’t have nuclear testing.  And if we don’t have nuclear testing, we have a CTBT into force.  But I’m not coming here to say ratify the CTBT.  I’m coming here to show how, together, we’re working in that educational framework -- together with the U.S. -- to get people to understand that ’99 and 2014 are completely different with regard to where we come from, and then were we are today and then were we want to be.

Where we want to be is we want the CTBT into force.  But we have to do the work, as Rose mentioned -- education, discussion and debate.  And we want to help in that process.  And we want to help in the education process.  We won’t help in the discussion process and then we won’t be in the debate.  But if we do our job in the education process, I feel we would have achieved a lot.

And as I said, my role when people ask me, when do you see the entry into force of the CTBT, I often say, look, I hope yesterday, I hope during my term.  But if it’s not during my term, what we have to do is to make sure we’ve done our best -- only our best to participate in that process that will get us closer into the entry into force.  And that’s what we want to achieve.  And doing this job, we have to be patient.  And we have to make sure that when we bring it again, we are sure that we’re getting the ratification of the U.S. to sustain that momentum that will foresee the implementing ratification and potentially the entry into force of the CTBT.

So what is the status today?  We have 183 countries that have signed the treaty, now 163 with Congo last week.  And we’re hoping by December to have 165.  That’s a milestone that we set for ourselves beginning of the year.  And we’re hoping that Anglo and Myanmar or Yemen will come through -- at least that’s -- we’re crossing our fingers for that.  But not only the ratification, but let me mention one point.  A journalist was asking me today, why you only have eight countries that ratification is required for the entry into force?

So I had to tell him that this treaty is unique in the sense where, for some reason, they are choosing 44 country who were in the research reactor business at the time when the treaty was negotiated, for their ratification to be a necessity for the treaty to enter into force.  So it means that if the 44 were the one to sign and ratify, the treaty would be into force today and we didn’t 163 or 183 to have ratified.  So that’s how this treaty is a bit bizarre.  So that leads me to a point, which is universalization.

So with 183 we’re nearly universal.  And we are universal -- many countries are saying no and never to nuclear testing.  We have the eight remaining and we’re working towards getting them to join us because people will tell me in the developing world, why do you let yourself be hostage of eight countries while 183 have signed the treaty?  And that’s the -- it’s a million-dollar question that I’m asking you, and then we can have that when you start getting your question.  But we’re working towards that. 

So my next point will be on the technical aspect.  It was mentioned – and we’re working closely with the – (inaudible).  We’re working with Aftec (ph) in sharing knowledge.  We’re not at the CTBT to say we are the best.  We’re opening our ears and eyes and brain to whatever science and technology can bring to the – (inaudible) – that we’ve started for the past 15 years.  And the U.S. is participating well in this endeavor.  Aftec (ph) is a close ally to the CTBT, and the labs have been involved in the work of science and technology conferences, and then you will see that during the integrated field exercise in – (inaudible) -- we have many experts from the U.S. from the lab that will participate.  And I’m pleased to – I’ll be pleased to welcome Rose (ph) there and Anne Harrington (ph) as well.  I think we’re planning – (inaudible) – including Daryl Kimball – Daryl Kimball who, as mentioned, some of the achievement – (inaudible) – where we start – where we stand with regard to the treaty and the annex to the eight remaining NS2 (ph) country.

Rose, you reminded me that I’m not a diplomat.  And since Daryl has shown that he’s not, he start talking about some of the positive vibe from the eight remaining countries.  So I’ll allow myself to pinpoint one of the last one that I see – the last one from our side, because we only talk positive vibe from the remaining country.  The positive vibe that we see in, I think, a share positive vibe is securing that – the phase one of the evaluation of the integrated field exercise will be in Israel.  And I can tell you it’s not easy to pull out a workshop there now at any meeting in that region.  It was a challenge, but a challenge that we achieved in close cooperation with the Israeli, and then a good understanding of all the 183 member state, because, indeed, they have to agree for a workshop of this nature to happen in Israel.  But it took us well – some, I would say, scientific ground, I want to say diplomatic ground, to get this underway.  And I’m – this is in close cooperation with Israel.  And another achievement is the fact that we will indeed, as part of our validation and testing, the commissioning of the international data center, get some of the station to turn for a period of time to primary.  Those are the auxiliary seismic station to deal with what people see as a gap in terms of coverage of our international monitoring system.  This was due to, indeed, an exercise which is similar to – (inaudible).  It’s basically assimilation.  We’re trying to see how we can better use – better close the gap that we have in not having some station in some part of the world by turning some of the legacy station primary for a period of time so that we can achieve the modeling that will serve as confidence-building for countries that are yet to ratify the CTBT.

So this is indeed part of the work that we do to show how credible and how trustworthy our international monitoring system is right now.  Secretary Moniz has talked about DPRK one, two and three.  I just wanted to add one last point on the DPRK three.  This is our detection capability on the (mobile ?) gas.  You all recall for those who follow our work that it took us nearly 55 days for one of our stations in Japan to detect (sniff of radionuclear ?) that could be related to the event that happened in 2013 in Korea.  Fifty days, it’s long.  And 55 days shows as well how effective our system is, because no one else was able to detect the sniff of radio isotope despite sending a plane around there.  It shows how important the international monitoring system is, how important the verification regime is and how the CTBT adds value to the national technical means of the countries that have signed and/or ratified the treaty.

And that was one important point that I wanted to add.  Due to the work of our expert, but in close cooperation with expert from around the world, from the weapons – the nuclear weapons state and also from the developing world as well, because we have stations scattered around the world, including Niger.  And Niger also one of our, I think, most effective seismic station, because in term of signal to noise ratio, it’s one of the quiet station in the world, and it’s in Niger.  And I can tell you three weeks ago, I hosted the director general of the atomic energy of Niger, and then she was frustrated about the way she was dealing with some of the expert at the CTBT to a point where she said, you know – (inaudible) – wondering if we shouldn’t close this station because your people are not cooperating well, and then we’re wondering if this station is not a spy, what’s happening in Niger.  So there is working to be done in the developing countries as well, and this is probably why we have problem in Zimbabwe.  Since I’m not a diplomat, I can’t mention some of it.  But I’m African, so it’s easy to deal with them, I can tell.  (Laughter.)  Whereby we have difficulty to commission a station there for the simple reason that people felt that is this station – what they say.  But if the U.S. hasn’t ratified, why should we have a station that served a purpose?  It was the same thing in Ecuador, and we managed to get Ecuador to change their mind with regard to this perception by telling them that although they haven’t ratified, they’re committed to this treaty and then they’re cooperating well with us in developing the international monitoring system and the verification regime.

So I’ve talked about the U.S. cooperation.  I’ve talked where we stand with regard to 2006-2009.  Let me go into one little aspect, which is some of the spinoff of the technology because that’s what the developing world is interested about, because when we go to them and then you talk about the CTBT banning nuclear tests or monitoring nuclear test explosion, I mean, it’s not their priority.  I can tell you, I don’t think it’s a priority in Burkina Faso either.

But we’ve proven through some of the agreement that we had with UNESCO IOC at providing data and product from the international monitoring system to tsunami warning institution, helping, opening ourselves as well to giving data to institution that are not directly linked to the CTBTO.  We’ve created what we call our virtual data exploitation center, whereby with a zero-dollar contract you can access the data from the international monitoring system and do research and work on topic that could be relevant to nuclear test monitoring and then shared no less with the CTBT in Vienna.

So all along, I want to say that we’ve done enough, but we are still called a preparatory commission.  In fact, I hate the word “preparatory.”  And I was telling somebody this morning that after IFE 14, when we have a feeling of success, I’ll try to avoid preparatory news commission – commission to say –English is not my native language, but I think I just want to give the tone that we’re commissioning the verification regime rather than preparing, because we’ve done the preparatory work already.  So I need you to help us take away this word “preparatory” and use the word “commission,” and that might help in the education process, because when you talk about a preparatory commission, people think that there are 10 people sitting in Vienna dealing with legal framework or diplomatic wording.  They don’t know that there is a science beyond this treaty and that there are 400 people sitting in Vienna and scattered around the world and working hard, making sure that nuclear-test monitoring is effective.  And that’s why the word “preparatory” doesn’t fit anymore.  And this is something that I would like to – not if I say this, I’m sure there are many lawyers in this room – forgive me – but I just want to find a way to help ourselves to get closer to the – (inaudible) – force of the treaty.  So help me use commission rather than preparatory.

So now, I’m turning into now the S&T, science and technology.  Science and technologies, every two years you’ve heard the importance from General Klotz of using science and technology.  They were using it for the (stewardship ?) in the U.S.  We’re using it indeed to try and see how we can share knowledge not only with the U.S. lab but with the international community.  And science and technology brings about an expert from overhanded countries in Vienna to discuss, including young scientists, because we do have what we call Young Scientist Award to try and encourage the younger generation to work on topics that are relevant to nuclear test monitoring.  And let me jump in talking about the importance of the educational framework that we have as well that John is leading, which is a policy course that we have for young diplomat.  Well, we managed to bring people from India, from Pakistan, from Israel, from Egypt, from, indeed, U.S. – although I didn’t want to say U.S., but since we talk about the eight remaining countries – but we haven’t managed to bring anyone from North Korea.  OK.  But the point is that bringing – when we bring them, the young experts from India and Pakistan that I see, the question they ask me, they say – they come to me, they say, Mr. Zerbo, how can I help to get my country to ratify?  That brings a smile.  OK.  And then I say, oh, yeah.  So at least we can count on those young experts if, I mean, someone was talking right now about the Senate in 1999 doesn’t – is not the same Senate today.  So let’s hope that (those ?) if we don’t achieve entering to force today, or we don’t achieve ratification in India and Pakistan, the young generation, they will be the one, the decision makers in five or 10 years.  And by talking today about how can I get my country to ratify, we’re putting the seeds for them to understand and to be educated well enough to show to the civil society in their respective countries that it is about time that this treaty get into force.  It’s the only way, or one of the way, we can make our world safe and secure.  And this is what I’m proud to link with Rose on this educational process and then do our part, as well, in Vienna to serve as a background for what you’re using in the United States and in elsewhere.

So, now we’ve talk about OSI, I think I’ve covered – but let me turn into when we talk about progress in the annex two countries, the eight remaining, I wanted to echo one thing, which is a treaty fatigue. A treaty fatigue – I had a feeling, when I was visiting Russia and then talking to Foreign Minister Lavrov, one of the things he said, was, look, we’ve signed and ratified this treaty long ago, what has other talking about?  And it’s a subtle message, but – which mean that we cannot sustain having this treaty so long not into force.  As much as we have to go slowly, we have to be mindful of those who have signed and ratified this treaty long ago, and been waiting for its entry into force.  And those who are set this organization to be a preparatory commission only for three years and now we nearly 17 years down the line and the treaty’s not into force yet.  And this is a big issue:  How long and how far can we go?  And we’ll go as far as we can, but we shouldn’t take that far too long, and that’s why the educational process should be done quicker and then it should be done in the way where, I think, people are more aware of what is done by that administration, more aware of what Rose is doing, because you have the opportunity to listen to her here but I can tell you, when I travel to those many countries, people, the question they ask:  What is the U.S. doing?  But now I can go and tell them because I not only heard from Rose and General Klotz and Secretary Moniz, but I had a discussion with Rose Gottemoeller and General Klotz and now I have a better feeling of what is being done and a little bit of the – I mean the setup that she put forward:  education, discussion and debate.  At least I’ll be able to say that to people where I go, and then they will know that there is a process.  So now we are in the education process.  The debate is – I mean, it’s still a little bit away, but we’re getting there.  And this is what people want to see.  They want to have a feeling that things are moving, there is a motion, motion towards a U.S. ratification and motion towards the entry into force of this treaty.

So – and that leads me to what, to the group of eminent person mentioned by the deputy head of mission to say one thing, that in everything you do, you have to be passionate, but you have to push.  When I initiated the group of eminent person, I was getting shot from all angle.  Why do you want to do this?  Why should we do this?  You will disturb, you will do this, you will not do this, and whatever.  But today I’m happy to say that for 2015, it’s even difficult to deal with all the offers that I have to host a meeting on the group of eminent person.  We have Italy, we have North – not – we have South Korea.  (Laughter.)  You see, I was tempted to say North Korea.  I wish.  (Laughter.)  But, no, we have – we have Japan, and then we have Hungary.  They all want to host a workshop with the group of eminent person. 

This – I’m not member of the group, although I initiated this group because the group wasn’t initiated for me.  The group was initiated to have people to keep the CTBT relevant, to talk about it and to be able to echo what is done, like what is done in the (U.S. ?), without interfering because our job is not to interfere to the domestic issue of the United States.  It’s to help the process, and this is our job.  If I can do it in Vienna or I can only do it in Vienna, I need people to take that further, and this is what the group of eminent person is doing for us.  And then I can tell you last week we had four op-ed from four member of the group of eminent person: former Prime Minister Gavinrod (ph); Chazuka (ph), Ambassador Chazuka (ph), who was in the negotiation of China, is talking about China-U.S. relationship with regard to CTBT ratification; Calvalu Pelo (ph) from Mexico; and I’m forgetting the fourth one.  Sorry?  Sergei Dwati (ph) from Brazil.  Thank you, Jennifer (ph).  So I can see you’re following CTBT very closely.  Thank you so much.  (Laughter.)  Much appreciated.

So, I mean, this is basically what we’re trying to achieve with the group of eminent person.  And as you know, we’ve – Federica Mogherini, in fact, (was testing ?) last week, and then she said, you know, I have to remember that you – the group of eminent person brought me luck, because when I choose, Federica Mogherini is somewhere (arguing ?), but Dr. Zerbo, can you tell us in which – there were two – the two young member of the group, in what those two are eminent?  OK?  But it takes one year to be eminent, OK?  So it takes you (as well to join the chairman ?) and you’ll be eminent, if you weren’t in the beginning.  But she said we brought her luck, and let’s hope that the luck we brought to Federica, she will bring back this luck for us to get closer and closer to the entering to force.  I think she’s doing it already because, as you know, the G-7 for the first time has mentioned the – (inaudible) – and the CTBT, I think, last June in their statement, and that was certainly something that we’re pleased. 

But let me say that I’m more happy today to have been here and to have listened to what I heard from Secretary Moniz to General Klotz and Rose to Andy Weber, to all of you.  And I want to just say that we need you.  We need you because without you we’ll not get closer to this entering to force.  We need you to broadcast what you heard today, to broadcast what you know and to broadcast what you think is important and to broadcast what you’ve heard.  And we thank the government of Kazakhstan for putting this together.  And then I can assure you that from our side we’ll do and make our best at the money you’re investing in the CTBT is well-spent.  And this is my job, and I’ll make sure this is indeed the case.  Thank you so much, and I thank you for your attention.  Daryl, thank you for inviting me.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  We are closing in on the finish line, but Dr. Zerbo has agreed to take a couple questions and – before we break for our reception afterwards.  So let me open the floor.  And again, we have microphones on either side.  Any questions for Lassina Zerbo?  The audience is speechless.  I think you’ve said it all.

All right, yes, this gentleman here in the second row.

Q:  Tom Collina, Ploughshares Fund.  Dr. Zerbo, thank you so much for being here.  Pleasure again to see you.

My question goes to something you said about to the extent that there is a – some kind of a time limit or you’re concerned that the longer the treaty is there without going into force, there are concerns that there could be concerns down the road of how long that viability continues.  Could you elaborate on that and give us a sense of, you know, what is your concern of what might happen if the test ban sits there unratified for too long?  Thank you.

MR. ZERBO:  The concern, I think it’s simple.  What I meant – I should have said it – but since, actually, I wanted to leave room for question, so, I mean, you asked the question.  I mean, the concern is simply that if this – we don’t get this treaty legally binding, OK, we don’t get the CTBT into force, the risk we have, the longer we go, people will say why not resuming testing?  That’s a risk.  And resuming testing for those who have done it, but you have to think of those who said, OK, why so and so? 

And I can tell you, I was in Japan, student, first year at university, I was giving a talk there and then the question they were asking, they said, Mr. Zerbo, you’re working at the CTBT, but what do you think with our neighbors doing testing and threatening us for developing nuclear weapon?  Do you think we should remain so silent?  I mean, this is a risk, because I’m talking about how the young generation could help us, but I mean, they are the risk because there is this feeling of national pride as well that you should see with the younger generation.

So if you’re not -- we’re not making sure that this treaty is legally binding and that -- I mean, a de facto norm is not enough.  I mean, it is true that since the treaty was put for signature they haven’t been many testing -- there haven’t been many tests.  And we had those three -- but three too many, let’s face it.  But I mean, if you don’t put a legal stop by saying the treaty is into force -- and that will lead me to the question the lady was asking, so what, if we detect what happens -- but at least we have a legal framework.

We detect, we know we’ve detected.  We have on-site inspection capability.  And then it goes on Executive Council, Security Council.  And then people decide what sanction can go to a country that has violated or hoped to have done the tests without being detected.  But I can assure you, today there is no room for any relevant test for the development of nuclear weapon that would go undetected if you combine national technical means and the international monitoring system.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Lassina.  I think we are out of time today.  Please join me in thanking Dr. Zerbo.  (Applause.)  And let me turn it over to you to close the meeting. 

MR. AKHINZHANOV:  OK, thank you very much.  Thank you, Dr. Zerbo, for your excellent presentation.  And it was really inspiring.  Yes, we have some news of concern, like you have posed the questions about why it takes so long, et cetera, et cetera.  But we also have good news about commitment and dedication of all present here to work towards final ratification of the treaty. 

And definitely good news that we have global monitoring system which works -- which actually works.  And I’m especially happy that Dr. Zerbo finally have heard a lot of times references to CTBT this time in Washington.  And this also is encouraging.  And why not make these type of events regular and to hear more?  And let us say maybe -- definitely to follow up developments, to report and to inform each other and to follow up on the developments.

So it’s been a long and very, very productive day.  We all had a chance to hear -- to share our views and to hear many things on human, environmental, many other costs of nuclear testing.  And it is -- it is our hope that all of you, including those who had a chance to view us through webcast, have a deeper understanding of all these -- of all these problems.

And with the presentations from our distinguished representatives from the U.S. government, our colleagues from Canada and from -- Dr. Zerbo from the CTBTO, we have a better understanding of the security value of a permanent, verifiable ban on nuclear testing, anywhere and anytime.  It is our hope that this event sparks renewed interest and consideration for the CTBT.

We are at the end of our time and our program.  And I would -- and I want to close this conference by thanking our co-organizers and partners, the Arms Control Association, Green Cross International, the Embassy of Canada and the Atom Project for the support in making this event possible.  So please visit the websites of our civil society partners for a transcript of this -- of this event, as well as more information about the consequences of nuclear testing, the benefits of nuclear test ban and my country’s initiatives to reduce and eliminate the nuclear threats at the Atom Project website.

Talking about the Atom Project, I would invite you please to put your signatures under the Atom Project petition to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into full force to end further nuclear weapons developments.  Help to tell world leaders to permanently end nuclear weapons testing and ultimately free the world from the nuclear weapons threat.

Now, with this, I would like to thank all of you.  And I hope that you will stay for the reception we have right after this conference.  I’m sorry that I cannot extend the same invitation to our webcast audience -- (laughter) -- but I hope that many of them will have a chance to come and personally participate in other events we hope to have in the future.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)



The Embassy of Kazakhstan in Washington, D.C. and Partners Hosted a Special Event to Mark International Day Against Nuclear Tests

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