"I find hope in the work of long-established groups such as the Arms Control Association...[and] I find hope in younger anti-nuclear activists and the movement around the world to formally ban the bomb."

– Vincent Intondi
Professor of History, Montgomery College
July 1, 2020

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal: Outcome, Implementation, and Verification



Thursday, July 16, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

Transcript available below.
Video available on CSPAN.

On July 14, negotiators from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran secured a comprehensive nuclear agreement designed to verifiably block Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons development and guard against a clandestine weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief.

On July 16, the Arms Control Association brought together former high-level government officials and experts to address the challenges of implementing the deal and discuss steps that can be taken to enhance prospects for the deal’s success.  

Speakers include:

  • Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association;
  • Ilan Goldenberg, Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Security Program, Center for a New American Security and a former Special Advisor on the Middle East and former Iran Team Chief in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy;
  • Richard Nephew, Program Director of Economic Statecraft, Sanctions and Energy Markets, Columbia University and former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Department of State, and former Director for Iran, National Security Staff; and
  • Daryl G. Kimballmoderator, Executive Director, 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 dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. 

KIMBALL: Well, good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Arms Control Association's briefing today on "The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal: The outcomes, implementation and verification." I'm Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, and we are an independent, nonpartisan organization. We were established in 1971 to provide information, ideas, solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

We have organized today's event to do discuss the recently concluded P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal, which is among the most complex and consequential of the nuclear age, which began 70 years ago today, with the first atomic bomb, which was detonated in New Mexico.

This agreement follows over two years of diplomatic machinations, intense negotiations involving seven nations, including long-time adversaries.

Our organization, the Arms Control Association, has intensively followed Iran's program and the diplomatic efforts to rein it in. And we have over this period of time sought to identify practical, technical and policy solutions to address the many different challenges on this issue so that the negotiators can help arrive at an agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran.

In our analysis, after looking at the document, which is over 100 pages, quite substantial, is that it can effectively and verifiably block Iran's potential uranium and plutonium pathways to nuclear weapons and guard against a clandestine weapons program for more than a generation.

That's a view shared by a wide variety of nonproliferation security experts. And we believe it will be a net plus for nuclear nonproliferation, the effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and for U.S. and regional security.

Congress now has 60 days to review this complex agreement, and we believe that each and every member needs to take a serious look at this agreement, get the answers to their questions -- and there are many questions -- and consider the benefits and the alternatives.

So to help contribute to this debate we have gathered three top-notch experts who are going to discuss the agreement, how it works, what its impact will be. We are going to start with the Arms Control Association's director for nonproliferation policy, Kelsey Davenport. She has been the author of our major research reports and policy briefs on this issue and she has been very closely monitoring the talks for more than four years or so. I think she is still recovering from her latest tour of duty, two and a half weeks in Vienna, the site of the final round of the talks.

And next we are going to hear from Richard Nephew, who is former principal deputy coordinator for sanctions policy at the U.S. Department of State, and director for Iran on the National Security Council staff. So he was one of the negotiators until the beginning of this year.

He is now the program director for economic statecraft, sanctions and energy markets at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University in New York, and is a nonresident senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Center at Brookings.

Then we are going to hear from Ilan Goldenberg, who is senior fellow and director for Middle East security programs at the Center for New American Security, and foreign policy and defense expert with extensive government experience covering Iran's program.

So after their opening comments and remarks about the agreement, its impacts, we are going to take your questions.

And I just want to make a final observation and thought before I ask Kelsey to talk about the nuclear nonproliferation elements of the agreement. Like any diplomatic agreement, this one is the product of give-and-take. It's not perfect. But if you look at it as a whole, we think it is very strong and is in many ways stronger than the framework that was reached in early April by the P5+1 and Iran.

Yet, it is clear already, just a couple of days after this agreement was concluded, that many critics believe that by rejecting the agreement, increasing sanctions pressure on Iran, the U.S. can somehow coerce, convince the leaders of Iran to dismantle its nuclear program or agree to better terms.

I think, many people think, I think the president thinks, because we heard him say this yesterday, this is basically a dangerous illusion. There isn't a better deal on the horizon, and if Congress somehow blocks this agreement, there are going to be very tough, negative consequences. We will have broken with our European allies. The necessary international support for Iran-related sanctions will dissipate. Iran would not be subject to limits on its nuclear program and could expand this program. We would lose out on enhanced inspections. The risk of a nuclear-armed Iran and a conflict would grow. It wouldn't be inevitable, but it would grow.

So a lot is at stake, and in the coming weeks we hope Congress is going to take a hard look at the agreement, what it does, and the alternatives.

So with that, let me turn it over to Kelsey Davenport, and then we will move briefly on to our other speakers. Thanks.

DAVENPORT: Great. Thank you, Daryl, and thank you all for being here this morning. At least I think it's morning. I'm still not quite sure what time zone I'm in.

So I want to talk today mostly about the nuclear elements of the deal, and while I won't be able to touch on all 158 pages of the agreement, during the question-and-answer we can explore the areas that I don't touch on, and would be happy to take any questions.

But from the perspective of the Arms Control Association, this is a very strong agreement from a nonproliferation perspective. In many ways it exceeds the expectations of what we thought a good agreement would need to achieve to block Iran's pathways to nuclear weapons and put in place an intrusive monitoring and verification regime that would ensure quick detection of any covert activity.

No, this deal is not perfect but it's good enough and it meets U.S. nonproliferation goals. It safeguards U.S. national security, and it's good for regional security as well.

So to get into first some of the details. The parameters that were agreed to in April in Lausanne, particularly on the uranium enrichment, were details. They were strong, and from our assessments, with these parameters in place it would take Iran more than 12 months to produce enough material for one nuclear weapon. That's about 25 kilograms of uranium enriched to above 90 percent.

And that will be achieved by reducing Iran's centrifuges from 19,000 down to 6,000, of which 5,000 will be operating. Iran's stockpile will also be capped at 300 kilograms. So all of that we knew.

But what we get from the final deal are a number of details that strengthen this assessment that Iran cannot quickly move toward nuclear weapons. One of the things that becomes clear in this deal is that all of the excess centrifuge machines will be removed, all of the infrastructure, the piping, vacuums, will also be taken out and stored under IAEA seal. These seals will feed directly to the agency so we have greater assurance that if Iran were to try and access these machines, the IAEA would immediately know.

Also, it's important to note that Iran will be using these machines to replace and repair any broken machines, and Iran will not be producing any additional centrifuges unless the stockpile of machines reduces to under 500. So this idea that Iran is going to use time to build up its centrifuges to quickly deploy them later is false, and it will be -- the machines will be counted and inventoried under the deal. So again, these are provisions that add a greater level of confidence.

Also, we have more information about the stockpile. In Lausanne, Iran agreed to reduce its stockpile of low enriched uranium, uranium enriched to about 3.67 percent, or reactor grade, from the approximate 10,000 kilograms it has now down to 300 kilograms. And that includes uranium in all forms.

Iran will not be able to simply convert the gas into oxide. Oxide can be converted back to gas and further enriched. So this is the entire stockpile will be capped at 300 kilograms.

Any scrap material that's in process, that's enriched to 3.67 percent, or even up to 20 percent, will be turned into fuel plates for the Tehran research reactor. The material that can't be turned into fuel plates will either be shipped out of the country, diluted, or mixed in a form that it cannot be enriched further.

So again, additional steps that Iran will take to ensure that there is not scrap material lying around that can be enriched further, providing more assurance that Iran cannot obtain the material necessary for a bomb under 12 months.

Now there is also been some concern about the fact that the agreement leaves about 1,000 centrifuges at the Fordo facility, which Iran originally began to build in secret, that's deep in a mountain near the city of Qom.

Now, the 1,000 centrifuges that will be there, about 350 of the centrifuges will be used for stable isotope production. Now these machines cannot then be transitioned back to uranium enrichment, so that leaves about 600 machines that are idle.

The rest of the centrifuges and the associated infrastructure will be removed and it will be placed under seal back at the Natanz facility, which is where the 5,000 operating centrifuges will continue to produce enriched uranium.

So Iran can't take these machines back to Fordo, begin operating them quickly and use this facility to reduce enriched uranium. The IAEA would be able to detect any of those moves because the centrifuges are stored off-site, and because the IAEA will have access on a daily basis, if it wants it, to the Fordo facility. So this facility really does not pose a threat for the duration of the limitations there, which is 15 years. So very strong on the Fordo facility.

Now one of the criticisms that frequently has been levered against this deal is, what will happen after 10 years? Because in 10 years Iran -- Iran committed for 10 years to operate 5,060 of its IR-1 centrifuges. Iran is not going to go over a cliff in 10 years, and this agreement makes very clear that the work on advance centrifuge machines will be limited and they will be phased in in such a way that one day after 10 years Iran cannot deploy thousands of IR-8 centrifuges and then be just weeks away from attaining the material for a nuclear weapon.

So to look a little bit more closely at the R&D, Iran currently has about 1,000 advanced centrifuge machines in various states at its Natanz pilot production facility. Iran will have a few months to finish up the testing with some of those cascades, and then it will remove nearly all of the advanced machines and store them under seal.

During the duration, the 10-year duration, Iran will be allowed to operate one IR-4 machine, one IR-5 machine, one IR-6 machine and one IR-8 machine for eight years. It can test these machines with uranium but it cannot use these machines to accumulate enriched uranium. So again, we are not going to see a proliferation of advanced centrifuge machines that Iran can quickly use to break out.

After about eight and a half years, Iran will be able to test about 30 IR-6 machines and 30 IR-8 machines. And at that point they can begin producing about 200 of each of these models per year, but they will not be producing the rotors for these machines.

So around year 10, then, when Iran begins to transition these machines, it's important to note that its SWU capacity also will remain relatively stable for the next about three years.

UNKNOWN: What's SWU capacity, Kelsey?

DAVENPORT: I'm getting to SWU capacity. So SWU capacity is the measure of efficiency of a centrifuge machine. So that means that the capacity of Iran's 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges will remain constant as new machines are introduced. So if an IR-6 machine, say, has 10 times the SWU capacity of an IR-1 machine, if Iran introduces an IR-6 machine, they have to remove 10 IR-1s.

So this again ensures that we won't see a ramp-up in Iran's nuclear capacity immediately after sort of the 10-year restrictions on just using IR-1s to enrich uranium expire.

It's also important to note that we should not view any of these elements in isolation. So in addition to these restrictions on the number of machines that are being produced, Iran's procurement of materials that can be used for centrifuge development will also be monitored by the joint commission, which is set up through the deal, and any changes that Iran wants to make to its R&D will also have to be approved by the joint commission.

So if Iran starts to move or try and sort of move away from the R&D plan that it will submit to the IAEA as part of its additional protocol, it will become clear very quickly to the joint commission.

So one of the other areas where there has been a lot of questions relates to the transparency and the monitoring and verification elements of the deal. And this is something that at the Arms Control Association we were very concerned about because of Iran's illicit nuclear activities in the past.

But we feel that the intrusive inspections and monitoring and verification regime produced under this agreement will provide the highest degree of confidence that Iran cannot pursue nuclear weapons, either at its declared facilities or covertly.

So first at the declared facilities. Iran will have to expand its nuclear declaration under its additional protocol, which Iran has agreed to implement and then ratify within the eight years of the agreement. Now the additional protocol is an agreement between Iran and the IAEA that expands upon Iran's comprehensive safeguards agreement. It expands the number of declared sites. It gives inspectors greater access, and access on short notice to inspect these sites.

And on top of this, the agreement lays down a number of provisions that allows for continuous monitoring across Iran's entire fuel supply chain. That's 25 years at the uranium mines and mills, and 20 years at the centrifuge production shops, and then the continuous monitoring at Natanz and Fordo as well.

Essentially this means that if Iran wanted to covertly pursue nuclear weapons, they would need to replicate the entire fuel supply. They would need to find a new source of uranium ore, they would need to convert that into gas, and then they would need to enrich it. And these are large programs. You're not going to be able to hide this in a basement or even, you know, in a warehouse at a military facility.

Now another check against sort of this covert -- the concern about a covert nuclear weapons program comes with the increased access that will be granted to inspectors under the additional protocol. And it's very clear in the deal that if concerns arise about illicit nuclear activities, the IAEA will be permitted managed access to sites of concern, including military sites.

Now managed access means that Iran can state some conditions to protect sensitive military information, but it's important to realize that ultimately it will be the IAEA's decision about whether or not the conditions Iran places on access are adequate. And if the IAEA feels like they are not adequate, there is an adjudication mechanism in place that will decide if the IAEA should be given expanded access.

So if Iran and the IAEA cannot come to a decision within 14 days about access, the joint commission, which includes members of the P5+1 countries, the European Union and Iran, will have seven days to decide on access. And that's decided by a consensus vote, so five of the eight members. So that means Iran, China and Russia together can't block access. And then Iran will have an additional three days to comply with the joint commission's recommendation.

So in total, if the IAEA wants to access the sites, they can only be blocked from doing that for 24 days. Twenty-four days may be time for Iran to remove any equipment that is put in place, but it isn't enough time for Iran to eradicate any indication that illicit nuclear activities had taken place, and that's in part due to the very sophisticated environmental sampling that the IAEA can conduct.

So these layers really demonstrate the strength of the monitoring and verification, and I think it's worth noting too that we consider monitoring and verification in this deal by looking at the IAEA, but it isn't just the IAEA that's going to have its eyes on Iran's nuclear program. The national intelligence organizations of the United States, of the European countries, and I'm sure of Israel, will continue to watch Iran very closely.

In short, to sum up, I think the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said this is as solid of a verification regime as you can get. No element is going to provide you a 100 percent guarantee, but together it provides the highest degree of certainty that Iran is not covertly pursuing nuclear weapons.

Also, I think it's important to note that Iran's nuclear decision-making generally has been guided by sort of a cost-benefit analysis. So with this deal in place, the cost of cheating becomes exponentially higher because this is an agreement that Iran voluntarily signed on to, and within the agreement there are further commitments by Iran not to undertake any experiments related to nuclear weapons development.

So if Iran was found to be violating this deal that it agreed to voluntarily, we'll see an extremely strong reaction by the international community. So it also changes the cost-benefit analysis.

There are a few additional elements that I think are important and worth noting that I don't think have gotten much coverage so far. There are conditions where Iran cannot export any nuclear material or technology unless it's approved by the joint commission. I think that's important when we think about sort of the spread of -- containing the spread of these technologies.

There will be joint work on the fabrication of fuel elements, which provides Iran the ability then to fuel the Iraq reactor using the domestic fuel that it produces. And then also if there are concerns about noncompliance, there will be sort of a time-bound sort of 35-day period that consists of review by the joint commission, review by the ministers if necessary, that really ensures that if any party is not satisfied with the breach then, it can move on and take the case to the Security Council.

So there are a number of other provisions in this deal that just add to its strength and amplify the non-proliferation value.

So finally, moving forward, Congress now has the opportunity to weigh in on this deal, but with the power that Congress has to vote on agreement comes a great deal of responsibility. And if they cause or prevent this deal from being implemented, I think they need to buy the consequences, which certainly will likely lead to escalation on the part of Iran, escalation -- sanctions from the U.S. side, and could increase the chances of a military conflict.

So when looking at this deal, it's important that Congress evaluates the deal on its merits. Does it block Iran's pathways to nuclear weapons? Yes. Does it put in place intrusive monitoring and verification? Yes. Does it provide recourse in the case of violation? Yes.

And really, also considered against the alternatives there is no better deal out there. We have heard about the need for any time-anywhere inspections. Those aren't necessary. The International Atomic Energy Agency can do its job with the flexibility granted to it under the additional protocol.

We have heard that more pressure would perhaps induce Iran to make greater concessions. I think a deal like this deal that allows Iran to say it met its strategic objectives of retaining a limited civilian nuclear program and receiving sanctions relief gives Iran greater buy-in to the agreement. It makes the deal more sustainable because Iran sees incentives to comply. So I think this idea that more concessions were necessary would not produce necessarily a stronger deal.

Also again, I think it's important that when evaluating this deal we don't miss the forest for the trees. All of these elements need to be viewed together. If we look too closely at any one particular detail, we may miss the symbiotic relationship between the entirety of the package.

And ultimately this deal removes the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon. It's good for U.S. security, it's good for regional security, and I think it deserves the support of policymakers here in Washington.

KIMBALL: All right, thank you very much, Kelsey, for that overview and the details on some of the new elements. And you mentioned sanctions. We are going to turn to that issue now and how that relates to this agreement from Richard Nephew.

Richard, thanks for being here.

NEPHEW: Thanks for having me, and thanks, everybody, for being here today.

I was just going to touch on three points to deal with the sanction-related issue. First, I wanted to touch on the contents of the relief and the timeline and sequence of how it would all be rolled out.

Second, I want to touch on what's left because I think while there is a sense out there that this means the entire U.S. or international sanctions regime has been taken away, that's simply not true. Some of the sanctions that remain in place frankly are going to continue to hamper Iran's ability to even take advantage of some of the relief, which may be in itself a future problem.

And last, I want to touch on the impact of sanctions relief and how the Iranian economy, how the Iranian population and how the Iranian security apparatus may use the benefits of sanctions relief.

So first off, I can say in terms of the contents, I actually have a much easier job than Kelsey because the sanctions relief package is fairly straightforward and it's fairly direct and it's fairly broad. The decision was made very clearly by the negotiating partners to make this an issue of the nuclear problem and how to get resolution of the nuclear problem by incentivizing rapid Iranian action.

So the timeline that's been established for implementation of relief was configured as such. The Iranians have to complete all of the nuclear modifications that Kelsey was outlining, with a few things that, just by their very nature, are going to have to continue on for eight, 10 years, in some instances going on for 25 before any new sanctions relief will be given.

So all this talk about signing bonuses and billions of dollars flooding into Iran before a single centrifuge has been dismantled is all false. The way the relief is structured at this point and the way that the deal puts it in place, the Iranians are not going to see anything beyond the joint plan of action's continuing relief until they have done their part. Period.

Now, when they have done their part, the relief that they are going to get is going to be substantial, and in the judgment of myself, and I think of the administration, it was worthwhile in order to get the kinds of nuclear concessions that Kelsey has laid out.

So what's in play? Well, first off, all of the U.S. sanctions that are going to be discussed here are secondary in nature. They do not include the U.S. primary embargo, which is off the table, with the exception of a few very specific license things.

What the U.S. has offered to do is to provide relief from the sanctions that it imposes on foreign companies' interactions with Iran. So if you are BP, if you are Totol (ph), if you are any number of other companies that reside out there in the world, you are now going to be able to do business with Iran after the Iranians have done the nuclear steps that they are supposed to do.

And it's going to be across a wide range of sectors. The energy sector, both in terms of the sale and purchase of products, investment, financial services, financial transactions, insurance, transportation. There's going to be a wide range of economic activity that the Iranians are going to be able to do. Again, with foreign companies and foreign actors, subject to their own laws.

Now this will not take place until after these nuclear steps have been taken, which is going to take a long time as well. The way that the timeline has been set up, we are now in a period that you could loosely call phase 1, but leading up to adoption day. And it's in this 90-day period in which every single country that's part of the P5+1 has to go to its national legislatures or any other legal procedures that they have and to get buy-in for the deal.

Upon the expiration of this 90-day clock, or sooner if the parties agree, and frankly I don't think that's possible, given our own 60-day clock here in the United States, then the Iranians will start to take their steps. And this will include removal of centrifuges, modification of the Iraq (ph) reactor, as well as a variety of other nuclear things that Kelsey was describing.

For the United States, European Union, there is a requirement to have in place the waivers and legal modifications to sanctions that will start upon IAEA verification that the Iranians have done what they were supposed to do. So there will be promulgation of new regulations and new executive orders and waivers and things along those lines, but they are all going to be tied to a trigger, and that trigger is a report by the IAEA director general that the things that the Iranians are supposed to do have in fact been done.

There are a variety of estimates out there as to how long this could potentially take. My own estimate, we can talk about this as we get into questions, is that it would be easily four to six months before the Iranians would be able to have achieved primarily the removal of centrifuges. It's theoretically possible that can go faster, but I wouldn't bet on that. I think four to six months is a pretty good timeline.

So if you add 90 days plus four to six months, we are really talking about April, maybe March, when the Iranians are actually going to be able to achieve sanctions relief, and when they are going to start to see new business start to flow.

That's very important because that basically means that for the time being the Iranians are highly incentivized to do all the things they are supposed to do, and we are going to see the Iranians take all the steps that they were required to do in order to see a dollar of the additional relief they're supposed to get.

Back during the joint plan of action I remember vividly there was a lot of suggestion that the Iranians were somehow going to stop implementing their obligations before the deal becomes implemented. I think, frankly, that the scope and scale of this relief suggests that that would not in fact be the case here.

There is then basically a hiatus in terms of additional sanctions relief for eight years or the IAEA's reaching a broader conclusion of the nature of Iran's nuclear program, whichever one comes first. And during this time relief will continue to exist, the Iranians will be able to take advantage of it, but they are also going to be under restrictions.

And Kelsey described some of these, but one of the most important ones that I want to touch on is the procurement channel and how it relates to the sanctions that still remain. Under this eight-year time period, the Iranians are going to have to go to the procurement channel established under the joint commission to ask for any nuclear-related items, and that's because the nuclear-related Security Council restrictions are going to remain in place.

And they are going to remain in place and require Iran to describe what it intends to do with these items and to submit itself to end-use verification checks and a variety of other different checks to ensure that they are actually going where they are supposed to be going. So in this instance it's both a restriction on the Iranians as well as a still being utilized part of the sanctions regime that will be in place.

The procurement channel itself will extend another two years beyond this adoption -- beyond this eight-year period until the U.N. Security Council's requirements themselves are canceled in 10 years' time.

There will be after this eight-year period, though, modification to other parts of the Security Council infrastructure and other legal instruments, including the United States and the E.U. These primarily deal with proliferation-related items and potential sources of concern.

It's notable, though, that if you look at the text, what's put in is not Iran will get to import whatever it wants to import from anyone it wants to import. Rather, certainly from the U.S. perspective, Iran will from that point forward be treated like anybody else, which means it will still be subject to export controls and still potentially subject to U.S. sanctions if we were to find that there were things going on there that we had concerns about.

That's basically it in terms of the sanctions lift timing. The Iranians don't get anything until after they have implemented their nuclear obligations. That will take between four to six months after this 90-day period, so around April of 2016, and then nothing really again for a number of years thereafter.

The question, therefore, becomes, what's left? Well, as I said, there are a number of very specific restrictions that remain in place with regard to Iran's ability to acquire nuclear-related items, plus missile-related technology, so on and so forth. But that's not the limit of it.

U.S. sanctions with respect to terrorism and human rights will remain in place. The U.S. primary embargo will remain in place, with the exception of some very specific licensable transactions involving, for instance, the sale of commercial planes.

However, even in that provision it's very clearly stated that they have to be used for civil uses. So if the United States were to find all of a sudden that a brand-new Boeing that arrived in Tehran was now funneling arms into Assad, assuming we're talking about Assad still in power many years from now, then that would be cause to terminate the licensing. That's clearly stated in the text.

And this also means, therefore, that the Iranians are going to have to be on their best behavior with respect to these planes because they are quite obvious. And as we've discovered, the United States has the ability to detect what kinds of planes are being used for what kinds of purposes and then to identify them back to the international community.

The Iranians are also going to have to deal with the continued sanction. They have a number of people that could be loosely described as bad guys, including the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is going to remain under U.S. sanctions, the Quds force, which remains under sanctions, Kassim Suleimani, who will remain under sanctions.

And there has been a lot of talk about this so I will just take a brief moment to describe it, about what is contained in the actual deal. Kassim Suleimani will in fact will be de-listed by the U.N. and by the E.U., and that's because he was designated for nuclear-related reasons by both of those institutions.

In the United States, on the other hand, he was designated for terrorism, and in the United States' system that means he stays in place as a sanctioned inpidual until such time as he stops engaging in things we consider to be terrorism. I don't really think that's a likely event.

This is also important because the United States is not removing infrastructure it uses to make these residual sanctions impactful. And that includes the very important tool of CISADA, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability Pestment Act, section 104. It's in this provision that the United States has exerted a lot of pressure on the international financial system with respect to designated entities.

Basically, when you boil it right down to it, the law provides for the United States to sanction those who conduct transactions on behalf of U.S.-designated people. Now the list of U.S.-designated people, inpiduals and entities, is going to go down when the nuclear-related targets are removed, but it will not go away, particularly for these terrorism, human rights and other related targets.

So the Iranians are still going to be under the pressure of having to face financial sector cutoff for all those entities and inpiduals who remain on the list, which means that institutions like Bank Saderat, which is a U.S.-designated bank for terrorism-related purposes, are going to remain and the financial impact on that bank is going to remain as well.

By the way, this means that any additional targets the U.S. identifies as being involved in terrorism or human rights-related violations also are potentially subject to the same sort of cutoff.

So the Iranians still are going to have to worry about what could potentially happen to their financial sector if in fact they amp up and start using the banks that we are even de-listing now for different purposes.

I think it's important at this juncture to note that the sanctions relief will not be this end-all and be-all restoration and renaissance for Iran. It's going to do a lot. But the very point that some sanctions remain, and the fact that there is going to be reputational and business risk attached to doing business in Iran means that the sanctions relief is going to take a long time to mature.

Now, from one perspective this is really good because that means that for those of us who are concerned about Iran's ability to do awful things in the region, and Ilan will speak to that, it means that there is a way of pacing and controlling and modifying Iranian behavior because if we continue to identify inpiduals and entities as involved in terrorism then the Iranians are going to have to deal with the consequences of that.

This is not U.S. unilateral sanctions disarmament. Period. This is a step to provide Iran palpable, useful relief, but they are going to be under the same threat with respect to these institutions that they were yesterday, the day before that, 10 years -- at this point five years ago once CISADA came into -- first into effect.

When you add that to the fact that a lot of businesses are going to be concerned about the possibility of snapback, I think you can see that there is going to take a long time for there to be a resurgence in a lot of really long-term trade with Iran. My own expectation is that the Iranians are going to see a lot of short-term business deals, purchases of their oil, things that people can do and then get out of Iran at they need to for the initial couple of years.

This is simple prudence on the part of international businesses. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to do multibillion dollars worth of investment in the country when you have the risk of either snapback, noncompliance finding or some other concern that could get you in hot water, both in Washington as well as with your stockholders.

There may be some businesses that are willing to do this, but I would bet that they're going to build force majeure clauses into their contracts to allow them to get out of Iran very, very quickly, if in fact there were to be a reverse in the sanctions.

So the business operating environment in Iran will be different than it will be in other countries in the Middle East. And this would frankly be, notwithstanding the presence of sanctions, because Iran is still a difficult place to do business itself. The bureaucratic red tape in Tehran is as cumbersome and difficult to deal with as anywhere else in the world, and it's notable the number of international oil companies have said that they don't find the current contracts that the Iranians are starting to beat about with respect to oil services is all that attractive. They are looking for better terms.

This speaks to the fact that it's going to take time for the Iranians to get through their own bureaucratic process and overcome resistance and nervousness on the part of companies to really plunge back in.

But Iran is going to get a benefit, and the real threat to, I think, the longevity of a deal is that this benefit is too slow in coming on, and there is, I think, a very significant risk that the Iranians at some point say, we are not getting what we need. And it's at that point that you could see them say, we need to reconsider the terms of this deal.

So I think basically the sanctions relief picture in Iran is favorable to the P5+1, it's favorable to the United States. It will provide Iran some advantages, but it is not something that is going to overnight change the Iranian economy. That's going to take time, and there are ways to control it still further. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thanks a lot, Richard. That was very helpful.

Now we are going to turn to Ilan Goldenberg, who is going to talk about the regional security dynamics related to this agreement.

GOLDENBERG: Thank you, Daryl, and thanks, everybody, for being here and for the Arms Control Association for having me.

I thought what I'd do is talk about the three major actors in the region who are reacting to this agreement and what's going to happen there, the first being Iran, the second being Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states around it, and the third being Israel.

Now I should start from the position that because of the nonproliferation benefits of the agreement, I very much agree with my colleagues up here that this is something that is in the national interest of the United States and that we need to be pursuing. But the regional ramifications are going to, I think, be much more complicated and mixed and there is going to be some negative downsides we are also going to have to manage, especially with some of our traditional partners over the next few years.

That doesn't mean we should be letting the tail wag the dog and not doing something that is in America's fundamental national security interests, but this is something that we are going to have to deal with.

So starting with how we expect the deal to shake out in Iran over the next few years. You sort of hear these two schools of thoughts and theories. One is, President Rouhani, Foreign Minister Zarif, these are the pragmatists inside the Iranian system. They are not democrats. They are men of the revolution.

I don't think they're looking for liberalism Western-style to break out tomorrow in Tehran, but they are more pragmatic when they weigh sort of the economic benefits and the benefits of international engagement versus support for terrorism and things like the nuclear program, and are more interested in those first set of interests for Iran.

Are they going to gain more influence and then be able to reflect into a more pragmatic Iranian foreign policy? And there's a real strong case to be made that's the case. Rouhani was elected based on the fact -- and allowed to come to power also by the supreme leader based on the fact that he would get the sanctions relief, that he would get this nuclear agreement. He's going to have tremendous credibility now and leverage.

We have parliamentary elections in Iran next March. It will be an interesting time in terms of the sanctions relief calendar that Richard just laid out, and to see if, you know, the pragmatic faction can pick up more seats inside the Iranian system. And we are going to have to see -- I do think that Rouhani and Zarif now could potentially have more influence in other areas of Iranian foreign policy where they haven't had as much effect.

On the other hand, you could also make the argument that the hardliners are going to double down, that they're going to want to batten down the hatches, they are not going to want to see this deal lead to more liberalization inside of Iran. They're going to take a harder line, they're going to use some of that money that comes in to increase their support for some of their activities in Syria and Iraq in Yemen and elsewhere in the region. That's going to happen too.

I would argue that the most likely scenario is both of these things are going to happen at the same time, and what you're going to end up with in Iran very likely for the next few years is a very intense political competition amongst the various factions around the supreme leader, who ultimately Ali Khamenei makes the final decisions.

Now Khamenei is someone who leans toward the hard-liner perspective, very skeptical the United States, has not left Iran in years. But he's also somebody who rules by consensus, so if all of his people come to him and all the key factions come to him and say, boss, this is what we should do, he usually goes in that direction.

I don't see him pursuing a major rapprochement with the United States in the years ahead, but he is going to pass from the scene at some point, I think before the expiration of this deal, given his health and his age, and at that moment we're really going to see, OK, what has this agreement and what has the aftermath in terms of political debate inside of Iran done? Who is his successor? What kind of system comes after him?

We haven't had a transition of power in Iran since 1989. It's been a long time. So this is going to be a major moment to indicate if we are going to see a fundamental shifting in Iran's foreign policy. Whether that fundamental shift happens or not, the deal is still implementable, the agreement still happens, but this is a potential huge benefit that we are going to have to watch over the next few years.

The second challenge is Israel. What happens there? Now obviously the Israelis are close partners of ours, and I spent years at the Pentagon working on Iran where one of our primary interests was in dealing with Israel and reassuring Israel and talking to them about the nuclear program, especially the time where speculation was much more rife that they might consider taking things into their own hands.

What I found from those exchanges was a couple of things. One, the Israelis, it's a small country surrounded by a lot of unfriendly neighbors in a very tough part of the world, and the approach that they take is they assume the absolute worst-case scenarios. I sort of like the joke that, you know, as American foreign policy makers we do our contingency planning based on worst-case scenarios and our policy based on most likely scenarios, whereas the Israelis do their contingency planning based on worst-case scenarios and their policy based on worst-case scenarios.

So this is where you get this difference in perception that has led to, I think, the break that we have got here with Israel. It's unfortunate that we've had this break, and I think part of it is personal between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu and their personal styles, and part of this is this problem that we've had historically with Israel in differing risk perceptions, you know.

I think that going forward -- well, one thing I'll say, one of the unfortunate side effects of it has been that I always found engaging with the Israelis was incredibly useful when you were doing things like negotiating with Iran because they would come in with a group of very smart people who spent all their time working on this, and they would give you all the worst-case scenarios.

They would red-team it for you in some ways really effectively, and sometimes you could say, well, I don't really believe that that's credible, we don't believe that scenario is credible. But sometimes you could say, well, actually that's something we haven't thought about. Then it helps improve American policy. I think it's unfortunate we've had this split and pide, which has I think limited that over the next few months.

What happens next there? The Prime Minister has made very clear that he is going to oppose this agreement and try to undermine it in Congress. I think that is a big mistake because I think at the end of the day I don't think it's very likely that he will succeed, and what he's doing by doing that is really -- he's taking a bipartisan issue and turning it into -- support for Israel into a wedge issue inside the U.S. Congress, which I think is very damaging for Israel's long-term interests.

And I think there's a lot of people -- the political establishment in Israel is absolutely against the agreement because Prime Minister Netanyahu has set the conditions where it's impossible to be for the agreement. Even his political critics will say, I don't like your approach to how you're dealing with the Americans but I hate this deal.

The security establishment is different. They are much more subtle about it. I think because they also take that lower risk perception, they are ultimately uncomfortable with some elements of the agreement, but at the end of agree they don't see it as this existential threat that the prime minister does.

And what we are likely to see there -- what they do also are very concerned about is the way the prime minister has decided to handle himself, which is a very public confrontation with the president, going directly into the American media, going directly to Congress on this and trying to circumvent the executive branch.

That's something that I think causes a lot of anxiety for Israelis because Iran might, in many of their views, be an existential threat but fraying of the U.S.-Israel relationship is a more existential threat and has more importance to Israel's long-term security for many of them.

So I think that the big question is what happens after the 60 days, what happens after the congressional vote. Do the Israelis finally say, does the prime minister, which he is being encouraged by many to do, finally say, OK, I'm going to take my disagreements quiet and we are going to go back and start quietly engaging with the administration and seeing if the United States can find ways to fill this security gap that we now feel and these insecurities to American reassurances, which is what we have traditionally done? Or has he decided to write off this president and spend the next year and a half publicly confronting him?

I would really hope that he chooses the former and not the latter, and I know that there's a lot of people in the security establishment in Israel that would hope to see that too, but we're going to have to wait and see. And the president has already reached out. President Obama reached out to Prime Minister Netanyahu in April and tried to bring him back into the fold and say, let's take our conversations quietly, back to those back channels that we often consult in those closed rooms, as opposed to this public spat.

And he was rejected at the time, and I believe he tried to do that again earlier this week and was rejected, but let's see if the prime minister's view changes in September. We'll have to wait and see about that.

Finally, there is the third element here, which is Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. They view things, I think, very differently than the Israelis. They have some overlap, but some differences too. Whereas Israel really is focused on the nuclear program, it also cares about Iran's regional behavior. Saudi Arabia really is focused on the regional question. They care about Iran's support for terrorism. They view what is happening right now in the region as Iran picking up influence in Syria and Iraq and Yemen and elsewhere, and that's their major anxiety.

People speculate that Saudi Arabia will respond to this by starting to build out its own nuclear infrastructure. I don't actually believe that's the problem. I think that's very unlikely. That's expensive, that takes time, there are costs that come to them in terms of international reactions, in terms of their relationship with the United States.

I think the real concern is that they are feeling -- they have this concern that the United States is pivoting to Iran and rearranging the alliance dynamics in the Middle East, which I don't think the Obama administration's intending to do, and certainly not what I would recommend to them. We still have a lot of things where we disagree with the Iranians.

Feeling that concern, the Saudis start to lash out in some destabilizing ways and take steps that we think are against our interests and against their interests in the region, and I think the best example of that might be what they have done in Yemen recently with this intervention without really a clear strategic plan about what happens after you start bombing the Houthis and pretty much putting a blockade on Yemen with really no endgame in sight.

So that's, I think, the more fundamental question for the Saudis, and one that, you know, the United States is going to have to wrestle with, both this president and the next. Because the reality is it's going to be hard for this president to do -- any president who is the one who cuts the deal with Iran, which I think we need it to do, is going to take a big hit in the Gulf and in Israel, as President Obama has done. In some ways it's almost the next president who has to come in and start to really do the big hug with some of our partners.

So what do we do going forward to try to address these challenges? I would argue there's three or four things that we need to do.

First, take advantage of the fact that we actually have this channel of communications with the Iranians for the first time in 35 years. That is meaningful and important, the fact that Kerry and Zarif have each other's email addresses and phone numbers, there is a channel. I can't tell you how many times when, you know, we wanted to, we were at the Pentagon, find ways to communicate to the Iranians, whether it was, hey, let's avoid a conflict here, or, knock it off, you are about to do something that you're going to regret if you go in that direction.

So having those channels I think it's very important. Talking is always better than not talking, and seeing if there are ways to start working together on some discrete issues. I think our interests in Afghanistan, maritime security and avoiding potential escalation in the Gulf, or inadvertent escalation in the Gulf are two interesting areas for early pursuit. There's other things, more people-to-people and things like that.

But even as we do that, especially as the sanctions are coming off, it makes sense to push back more forcefully on some of Iran's destabilizing activities in the region through joint efforts with our partners. Showing up in Saudi Arabia, for example, with a high-level delegation maybe led by Ash Carter and John Brennan, and saying, we are here to talk not about the nuclear program and not about how we deal with ISIS and Sunni extremists. We are here to have a serious and strategic conversation with you about how we are going to deal with Iran in the region. Let's talk about steps we can take together -- joint covert action, more aggressive interdictions, more -- potentially more serious efforts to train Sunni opposition in Syria and in Iraq, sort of partners we can work with in both those countries, things like that that will signal to our partners that we mean it when we say we are going to push back on this behavior that we don't find acceptable in Iran.

And also important signals to the Iranians that, you know, the nuclear deal doesn't give you free range over the region to pursue all these activities. We are going to push back. And one thing I will tell you is, when the United States pushes back against Iran, Iran backs off. Iran has no interest in a direct fight with the United States, and sometimes you do need to, you know, flex your muscles to show some deterrence. So I think that's another key thing that we have to be doing.

And the third element obviously needs to be just reassurance of other forms beyond those two, which for our partners I don't think we need to be selling the Saudis F-35s. I don't see -- they already outspend the Iranians dramatically. It's not about big weaponry, it's about the small stuff, but it's about training them to actually counter some of this low and asymmetric warfare.

But you know, security assurances, to some extent, there's things like that we can be doing with our partners in a set of activities, also with the Israelis, that can signal to them that we're sticking around, that this isn't a fundamental strategic pivot, that we're going to push back, even as we engage.

And we can do both. Just, you know, I'd say, I'll just close by saying that, you know, it's a very complicated balancing act to pull something like that off. It sends some mixed messages. But this has worked on Iran's nuclear program.

We just spent the last five, 10 years using a combination of pressure and engagement to get the Iranians to the table. And one on its own wouldn't have worked. And take that basic philosophy and apply it to the problems we face with Iran and the Middle East and the problems we face with our partners, and I think you can get there with this combination of tools.

So I'll stop there and hand it back now.

KIMBALL: All right. Well, thank you very much, Ilan.

As I said at the beginning, this agreement, this process is complex, it's consequential, and I think we've given you quite a bit to contemplate. It's now your turn to ask us a few questions that we're going to try to answer.

And I want to start out with some of the journalists that are here.

And Virginia, there's a question up here in front, if you'd bring the mike up.

And just identify yourself and tell us who you would like to answer the question. Thanks.

QUESTION: Yeah. Michael Gordon, New York Times. I have a question on the sequencing of sanctions relief, just a technical question, but just to clarify it in this 150-plus-page document.

The broad conclusion to be issued by the IAEA is obviously not going to come for a period of years. But Director General Amano on the day the agreement was promulgated presented a road map that's to lead to an assessment by December 15th. And he articulated a number of steps that are to be taken.

As you understand the agreement, what sanctions relief can be provided prior to this December 15th assessment of where Iran stands on possible military dimensions? And what sanctions relief can only be provided after this assessment is completed and if it's a favorable resolution?

KIMBALL: Richard?

NEPHEW: So that's a great question. And it's especially complicated because we've now got two processes that are working simultaneous here.

I would say very simply I don't see any sanctions relief happening before PMD has been laid to rest. That's in part because the obligation on Iran is somewhat different than the obligation that technology IAEA has taken unto itself. Right?

The timing of the obligation that the IAEA has accepted is that it gets Iran's compliance, Iran's cooperation by the 15th of October. Right?

Well, based upon the structure of the implementation phase of the deal, there is zero chance that any sanctions relief can happen before that cooperation has been given. Right?

It's written into the document as an obligation of the Iranians to have done this by adoption day. And so as a consequence of that, if they didn't provide the cooperation, the United States and the P5+1 partners would be in a position to say, well, you're not fulfilling the terms of the deal, and so they could walk away from the deal altogether, you could theoretically go the dispute resolution process, so on and so forth.

Bottom line is, because of when Iran has to take its steps, right, I don't think that there's any chance that any additional relief could be given.

Now, there is potentially a theoretical world in which adoption has taken place, the Iranians speed through implementation, right, and the director general has not issued his report by the 15th of December. I can see that as a theoretical possibility.

I think that is highly unlikely, I'd put it almost at impossible because of how long it would take them to do things like removing centrifuges. But that is something that theoretically could happen.

This then goes to the question of, what are you going to get out of that report from the director general, right? There are only two conclusions that could potentially come out of the report: Iran had a weapons program, Iran didn't have a weapons program. And either circumstance, we think we already know the answer to the first, right, and we think it's the first, and so there's nothing really that's going to change the timing of relief and the timing of what goes forward because we already know the answer to it and the access and transparency to verify, it's not ongoing, will have already begun.

So I don't see in reading the documents that there is an explicit bit of sanctions tied to the explicit bit of PMD. But I think the way the sequence works and what the requirements are on each part of this means that there won't be any relief until Iran's done its part and then the report itself will kind of be icing on the cake, to some extent.

KIMBALL: Well, let me just ask you, Richard and Kelsey, to clarify one aspect of this, which is when we say Iran does its part with respect to the IAEA investigation, that means what?

As I understand it and I'm reading it, that means the Iranians need to provide the cooperation, the information, the access that the IAEA believes is necessary for it to close out its investigation, right? But not necessarily the time it would take for the agency, which can take a long time to draw conclusions from that information.

Is that correct? Or what is your -- am I wrong on this?

DAVENPORT: Well, according to the road map, Iran has to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with the information access to answer all of the concerns that the agency laid out in the annex to its November 2011 report. And it needs to provide that information by August 15th.

Then the IAEA will evaluate that information. And by September 15th, if they want to ask Iran any follow-up questions, then that information can then be -- then Iran has some time to follow up with that information.

And ideally, this process is all concluded by October 15th.

Then by December 15th, IAEA has said it will issue its assessment about the sort of the full system of Iran's past PMD work. So that's according to the separate road map that the IAEA and Iran agreed upon and announced the same day as the deal, which was Tuesday.

KIMBALL: OK, thanks for the clarification.

All right. Other journalists who have questions?

Yes, ma'am? Thank you.

QUESTION: Hi. Jessica Schulberg, Huffington Post. This is mostly for Richard.

Is there any concern about kind of a contradiction or contradictory message that could be sent if Congress imposes new sanctions kind of immediately after the deal?

There were some efforts before the deal was reached to extend the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act for 10 years and I saw that part of that was addressed in the nuclear agreement. What kind of message would it send to extend sanctions under the guise of it being related to terrorism or human rights in the region?

NEPHEW: So I would definitely say there is always a risk of mixed messages here. And I think that there is a risk that acting, to some degree, precipitously with respect to imposing new sanctions is a real problem.

That said, I mean, let's be clear, the Iranians are not agreeing anywhere in this that they won't engage in things that look like to us terrorism or violations of Iranian human rights or other actions that we've got problems with. So they aren't changing their fundamental behaviors either.

What I think will have to happen, frankly, is navigating the tension between the Iranians doing bad acts in the region, but not pursuing nuclear-related bad acts that give us cause to walk away from the deal, us addressing Iranian bad acts, including through the use of sanctions, but not doing so to such a degree that the Iranians say, well, forget it, we're going to go get our nuclear weapons program back, you know, in effect because we think that the deal is coming unhinged through the back door.

And I think the text, it's interesting, tries to deal with this a couple of different ways. That the parties agree not to do things that are at variance with the purposes of the JCPOA, that the parties agree not to try and back-door things through regulations that were lifted as part of the deal.

So I think there's a tension here. I think it would be better to let the deal implement itself and get started before anybody on any side starts trying to rock the boat.

But ultimately, the true test really of the deal will be, can we keep it going, can we keep this arms control arrangement and this nonproliferation arrangement together, notwithstanding the fact that we've got all these other problems.

We were able to do so with the Soviet Union, we've been able to do so with the NPT if you think about it in a broader sense, so I think we can do that here. But I think we all have to be careful about what we do.

KIMBALL: All right. Other questions, please?

Why don't we go over here on this side, this gentleman, and then Nancy?

QUESTION: Hi. Adam Basiano (ph) with Senate Foreign Relations, minority side. This question is mostly for you, Kelsey.

Like you said, this is not a perfect deal, but I'm wondering, are there significant loopholes in the monitoring regime, in your opinion, maybe specifically with regards to secret facilities or past, undeclared nuclear efforts? Or are there no significant loopholes? Thank you.

DAVENPORT: I don't see any significant loopholes in terms of the monitoring and verification and that's in part because of the flexibility granted to the International Atomic Energy Agency under the additional protocol.

And also, I think it's important to remember that with this accelerated time line of the PMD investigation, the agency can still use the information gathered to inform its future decisions about what it monitors, what it looks for and where it goes.

Because when you consider sort of the entirety of Iran's nuclear program, with the expanded declaration under the additional protocol, the IAEA will now have much more regular access to every element of Iran's nuclear program that have far expanded from what it has access to now.

That includes the mines and the mills, the centrifuge production sites, the heavy water production plants for the Iraq reactor, all areas that the IAEA has had very little access to in the past.

There also is an element that will be put in place called modified Code 3.1 to the IAEA safeguards agreement and that ensures early notification for the IAEA of design changes to nuclear facilities or if Iran decides to build any new nuclear facilities.

So when you consider early notification, when you consider the expanded declaration and short notice access to all of the facilities in the expanded declaration, when you consider the flexibility that will allow the IAEA inspectors to access sites if concerns arise within 24 days, and then you layer on top of that the continuous monitoring, the use of these advanced technologies to check enrichment levels on a regular basis, to, you know, use radio seals, and then you add on top of that U.S. intelligence, the intelligence of other countries, including Israel, I think you have a system that is so layered that even if no one element is a 100 percent guarantee, an alarm bell will trip at some point because Iran would need to recreate the entirety of its process in order to covertly pursue nuclear weapons.

So I really think that this regime is as strong as it needs to be to provide sort of the highest guarantee that there will be no illicit activities, or if there are that they will be detected very quickly.

And then the U.S., the international community will have the time to respond.

KIMBALL: That is a very good explanation. It’s a reminder of one of the fundamentals of monitoring and verification that I think people lose track of. There's no such thing as 100 percent certainty of compliance with an agreement.

And one of the major purposes is to increase our confidence into the high 90s that we can detect militarily significant, non-compliant activity.

And so what does that mean for the cheater? It means the potential cheater is looking at a high 90 percent chance that they're going to get caught and that means that they've got to weigh the benefits and the costs.

And so in that sense, it can serve as a deterrent, especially when you factor in what the losses are.

So you know, there are going to be critics who are going to say, you know, this could be better here, that could be better there and those may be valid criticisms. But as a whole, as Kelsey said, the system needs to be considered as a whole and we need to consider what monitoring and verification is designed to do. It's not 100 percent certainty, but it is getting into the high, high 90s that we can catch major violations.

DAVENPORT: I would just add, too, before this deal was reached, before the interim deal was reached, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said with high confidence that the United States would be able to detect any Iranian attempt to pert material for a nuclear weapon before they were able to accumulate enough material for one bomb. So that is before all of these additional measures that are being put in place.

So I think that really does speak to how much the U.S. could do in the past, and when you add all of these other elements on top of that it provides an even stronger guarantee.

KIMBALL: All right. We had another question up front here.

Just wait for the microphone please, Nancy. Thank you.

QUESTION: Hi, Nancy Gallagher from the University of Maryland.

One of the issues that became a public controversy in the end game during the negotiations was what was going to happen with the U.N. sanctions on ballistic missiles and conventional arms. And some people have, in effect, said, oh, Iran tried to reopen something that had been settled at the very last minute. You know, other people have said, no, this was an open question all along that wasn't settled.

Given that the Luzan framework itself was never made public, but both sides, in effect, said different things about what was in it and they had agreed not to say anything that was inconsistent with what they had actually agreed, what I would like to know was, was there actually an agreement on that issue reached as part of the Luzan framework that the Iranians tried to reopen? Or was that one of the things that was genuinely an open question at the time?

KIMBALL: Richard, you want to take a whack at that? And folks should also read that newspaper, The New York Times, where there was an interesting account that speaks to that issue just this morning.

But Richard?

NEPHEW: Yeah. I mean, I guess my sense would be, I mean, frankly, you'd have to talk to the negotiators themselves. You know, I haven't been in the room since December, so I don't know to what degree it was agreed in Luzan.

I do think that there probably was a notional or provisional agreement on this point. I think the way that it erupted as a problem, particularly with the Russians coming in as hard on it (ph) as they did in support of the Iranian position, it struck me as being something that was being reopened. Or if it wasn't already closed, it was pretty closed, people were pretty confident that it was going to be closed and then it came back open.

But that said, the fundamental principle of this negotiation was always that nothing's agreed until everything's agreed. And so I am quite sure that the way the Iranians probably both described it to themselves and described it to the Americans, if in fact it is true that they tried to reopen something, is that no, other parts of the deal necessitated us coming back on this point.

And so in the end, I -- well, it's certainly interesting to know the back-and-forth. You know, I kind of look at the end result. And keeping a five-year conventional arms embargo in place against Iran when it was only adopted by the U.N. because of the nuclear-related issue I think is pretty good, especially when you have the complementary U.S. sanctions that will permit us to impose some pressure on people providing those systems to Iran going forward until whenever.

KIMBALL: All right. Well, we have a lot of questions.

All right, let's go here on the left, this gentleman. Go ahead, Steve.

QUESTION: I'm Steve Colecchi with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

I have a question, but I'd like to just make a brief comment first. I think one of the things we have that's going to be in the discourse is hope versus fear, right? Hope versus fear. And as a person of faith, of course I'd like to speak for hope a little bit.

I think we should not underestimate what implementation, painstaking implementation of this agreement will do to transform international relationships, particularly the U.S.-Iranian relationship long term, to build trust through verification, not just through good feeling.

But my question is this. We keep talking about the date by which Iran could rush to enough material for a bomb, and that's one year. And it seems to me like the assumption that then in a year they could have a bomb and threaten their neighbor. Well, they have to test it, they have to deploy it.

NEPHEW: Right.

QUESTION: Presumably, you'd want to have more than one bomb if you're going to become a nuclear power, I mean, because after you use the first one then you're kind of out of luck, you know?


So what is the realistic -- I mean, it seems to me we have a great deal of time even after that material is acquired before this becomes a genuine threat to the U.S. or anyone else.

KIMBALL: Well, the reason why the one-year breakout time line has been used as a measuring stick for the success of this, one of the reasons, is that once a country has enough fissile material for one bomb, it's very difficult to keep track of what they're doing with it.

But you're exactly right. Possessing one bomb’s worth of highly enriched uranium does not a nuclear arsenal make and there are many other steps that have to be taken. It has to be fashioned into a workable device. The country probably would want to test it to make sure it works, although there are some designs that don't have to be tested. And it also has to be mated with a delivery vehicle, a delivery system. So there's more time that would be necessary.

And of course, one nuclear weapon doesn't do too much good as a strategic weapon, maybe as a terror weapon.

But what's clear is this agreement does block all the pathways to acquiring even that much material so that Iran can't do it in any less than one year. And we didn't mention the plutonium route in the beginning, but the plutonium path to the bomb is, for all intents and purposes, completely blocked because the Arak reactor is going to be modified with some Chinese assistance so that it can't be producing a sufficient amount of plutonium in the spent fuel.

So, this is very strong in terms of preventing Iran from even amassing even that much of material.

All right. We have a lot of questions here. I’m going to try to get to a few of you but we're not going to get to all of you.

If you could, Virginia, the gentleman on your side near the middle row. Thank you. Yes.

QUESTION: Jose Chaboz (ph) from (INAUDIBLE) University.

My question is to Mr. Nephew. You know, one of several red lines of Iranians have been or their main concerns have been the sanctions, the (INAUDIBLE) sanctions as well as the sanctions against the central bank. Of course, as I recall, also there is European initiated and then followed by the American.

But in your view, what would happen to those entities, especially you spoke of the (INAUDIBLE) bank, but mostly the central bank, which is the monitor of all of the local banks in Iran, how that would be worked out.

And the second question, if I may...

KIMBALL: Very quickly, please.

QUESTION: OK. Mr. Goldenberg, if that what do you make of the comments that the president made yesterday about, you know, areas of Syria as perhaps an example of, you know, of the area that, you know, he mentioned that, you know, could be considered by Iran and the United States? What do you make of that comment?

KIMBALL: All right. So Richard and then Ilan.

NEPHEW: So, I mean, the terms of the deal basically remove the sanctions that are the most pressing on the central bank of Iran and permit Iran, generally speaking, have access to the swift system with respect to institutions that were previously designated.

So this will permit the Iranians to have broader financial ties internationally as well as to access central bank of Iran money that is located in bank accounts around the world, again, when the IAEA has verified Iran's done its nuclear bit.

GOLDENBERG: On the question of Syria, I would just say that I would argue that probably Syria is not where we want to start in terms of cooperation with the Iranians. It's probably the area where we have the most tension. If you're trying to sort of overcome 35 years of this taboo of not talking to each other, this seems to be an area where our interests are still pretty fundamentally opposed unless there's a recalculation on Iran's part that it wants to move to a political solution where Assad -- where they accept the transition away from Assad.

At the same time, I also think if we were to go tomorrow to the Iranians and say let's talk about Syria, it would just reinforce in the Saudis' in the rest of the region's mind all the worst-case assumptions about our plan to sell out Arab interests and just cut a deal with Iran.

So I would argue that probably it makes sense to start on issues that are less raw and also to think about if we're going to first spend some time pushing back in Syria and building up American leverage and investment and then coming to the negotiating table.

At the end of the day, there's only, you know, civil wars only end three ways: one, an outside power comes in and sits on the whole thing, not happening; two, one of the sides win, again, very unlikely at this point in Syria; and three, a negotiated political solution.

Iran will have to be part of that negotiated political solution. But I think first expectations on the ground, their calculus needs to change, our Sunni partners' calculus needs to change and we need to do some things to set the table for that through a policy of pushing back against Iran while finding ways to reassure our partners to do that.

KIMBALL: All right. I see Jessica Matthews who is a former president here at Carnegie and now a senior fellow. Why don't you go ahead, please.

QUESTION: Thanks, Daryl.

I wondered from all four of your points of view where are the soft spots in this thing, by which I mean the opportunities for one side or the other to fail to clearly meet their obligations that will lead to the kind of muddle that led to the unraveling of the North Korea deal, for example. Well, you violated first; no, you fell short first; no, you did.

Where are we likely to get in trouble in that respect?

KIMBALL: That's a good question. I haven't thought about it deeply since I woke up at 4 in the morning to look at the agreement. But why don't we ask each of you to give your take on that good question, starting maybe with Richard and then Kelsey and Ilan.

NEPHEW: Sure. I think the biggest risk is that because of the regional issues and terrorism-related issues, human rights-related issues, we have to continue an active sanctions policy that eventually chips away at the benefits provided in the relief.

And when you combine that with Iranian fiscal mismanagement and inability to do with their economy what they could do, either because of corruption or just because they screw up or because oil prices remain low or investment doesn't flow as fast, that the Iranian government says we're not getting what we're supposed to get.

Now, this might be honest that they're not getting what they're supposed to get because of some interaction of other sanctions. It may be just a front to cover what is bad economic policy on the Iranian part. But that could make the Iranians and certainly a populist figure like an Ahmadinejad, who knows who the next president of Iran's going to be, say we're going to pull out of this deal, it's the deal that's causing the problem, it's Rouhani who's causing the problem, you know, even though he's now in retirement.

QUESTION: (OFF MIKE) (INAUDIBLE) do you see the fact that the sanctions relief -- thank you -- might come after the parliamentary elections as a major problem here?

NEPHEW: I don't see it as a major problem, but certainly from an Iranian/Rouhani political stance, it would have been better for him and his guys had he started to have it beforehand.

But I would say this, though. The celebratory mood in Tehran is such that I think he's going to get a boost anyway through the parliamentary process. Frankly, it would have been worse for him if the relief was six months already in place and they hadn't seen real money coming back in. So the timing actually might be OK for him.

GOLDENBERG: Can I just add one point on Richard's in particular? Because I very much agree, that's the greatest risk of the deal.

But I think there is a sort of American policy solution to it. A lot of times we have multiple tools to go after terrorism, some of which are the intelligence community deploys, some of which are deployed by DOD, some of which are deployed by Treasury.

Oftentimes, the approach is, well, the Treasury approach, let's sanction something because that's the lowest-risk approach. It involves least kinetic action, the least risk of military escalation, things like that.

It might actually be that given, paradoxically, given we have this nuclear agreement, defaulting to sanctions to respond to Iranian terrorism might be the riskiest approach because it undermines a broader interest that we have in perpetuating the nuclear deal. And so maybe DOD and the intelligence community need to be thinking more and those tools need to be used more aggressively in some of the steps that we take because there's risks associated with that, too, obviously, but it's a way to compartmentalize and try to separate and protect the agreement and our nonproliferation interests from our other interests in the region.

KIMBALL: Kelsey?

DAVENPORT: I would certainly agree with both what Richard and Ilan said and add as sort of another concern about any party intentionally exploiting the review process and the ability then to go to the U.N. Security Council with the intention of not resolving the dispute, but actually trying to kill the deal.

Because essentially, if a party does not think, if any one of the states does not think that an ambiguity or a concern has been resolved in the joint commission or then through the ministerial level or using sort of an arbitration panel, then they can go directly to the U.N. Security Council.

And for the permanent five members, you know, vetoing, you know, a resolution then will start to put these sanctions back in place. And that could be deliberately used, I think, to prevent the agreement from moving forward. And that option will remain open sort of past this administration. And when you hear some of the presidential candidates explicitly talking about wanting to unravel the deal, there certainly is an opening there that gives me some concern.

KIMBALL: One other quick thought. This is not so much a big threat to the implementation of the agreement, but it's something that I think everyone needs to pay attention to, including the Congress and the other governments involved in the negotiation and the P5+1, which is that the IAEA will need additional resources to do the added work. The IAEA has a rotating team of about 50 people on the Iran file. They do a very good job, but they're going to need more people, they're going to need more resources.

And there is a zero budget growth policy affecting all U.N. agencies. And so it's going to require voluntary contributions, additional contributions from key states, the United States, to give the agency the resources they need.

We probably will be hearing from Director General Amano in the coming weeks about now that he knows, you know, exactly what the terms are and he's had a chance to look at what they need to do, we're going to be hearing more from him probably about what kinds of resources he thinks he needs on an annual and ongoing basis.

It can be done, it's just going require governments stepping up and providing those resources.

GOLDENBERG: Yeah. Can I just -- one small point because I want to add on to just one other key, I think, vulnerability in the agreement that Kelsey got at is, what happens with our presidential transition?

And I don't think that a next, even if it's a Republican or somebody who opposed the agreement, if it's implemented for the next year-and-a-half, I think that the next president will continue to implement it.

The question is, will they implement it holding their nose? Will it be the president of the United States and the secretary of state or a senior-level special envoy who has direct access to the president of the United States when something comes up and there's a problem? Or it will be some deputy assistant secretary of state deep inside the State Department that nobody's really listening to? And in that case, I think the agreement just falls apart by neglect.

And we have lots of cases where I think an example of that is North Korea, I think another example of that is, you know, the different levels of prioritization of the Iraq issue in the Bush and Obama administrations. I think Obama, in many ways, executed the Bush drawdown plan on the security framework agreement, but the level of senior-level engagement nobody watched the issue for a few years.

This matters a lot. It's also an example of -- another example is the Clinton-Bush handover on al-Qaida. This is a problem as a U.S. government we have and that we're going to have to deal with here.

NEPHEW: I would (INAUDIBLE) a lot back, so I just need to point out one other thing, too. We've talked a lot about risks coming from the P5+1 side.


But you'll have to bear in mind, you know, the Iranians have cheated on their treaty obligations for 30-odd years. Right? It is not at all outside of their capacity to either cheat intentionally, have some guy do something that he's not supposed to do and have it also become a much bigger problem. There are a variety of things on the Iran side that could also make this deal fall apart, too.

It just bears to be noted that I think, you know, we were thinking more about our own perspective here, but certainly we have to make sure the Iranians do their part, too.

KIMBALL: Well, I think we were -- that's part of our concern and we simply weren't expressing it because it's quite obvious.

We can certainly expect there will be problems along the way. This is a long-term agreement and there are going to be disputes. And there are the mechanisms available to deal with them, but it's going to take continued good judgment, political leadership and good-faith efforts, particularly on the part of the Iranians so that we don't have a major blowup along the way.

We are almost out of time. I want to see if there's one more quick question that we can answer and then we're going to be closing.

Why don't we go with this gentleman on the right side, please.

QUESTION: Jonas Plesner, ministry counselor with the embassy of Denmark.

I was actually going to ask the same question as Jessica first about the stumbling blocks you saw ahead. So I think that's pretty well-answered.

So the second one is very specific and to Richard was on the sanctions. There's a stipulation in the agreement that says that if anything is inconsistent at the U.S. state and local level, the U.S. federal government do whatever it can in its power to ensure that.

So I was just wondering whether you could clarify where that could possible that you could have sort of local, state government that would sort of put in their own Iran sanctions and if you see that as a stumbling block.

NEPHEW: Well, there are, I mean, there are state and local pestment campaigns, you know, primarily that deal with Iran that could be and I think are considered to be sanctions both by the people who come up with the idea as well as by the Iranians.

Frankly, under our federal system of government there are limitations as to what the federal government can do here. And I think that's why the language is stated as it is. You know, there is no commitment on the part of the United States federal government to force the states to abandon pestment strategies and things like that.

There are laws on the books in the federal system (INAUDIBLE) that basically give cover to pestment and say it's something that, you know, state and local officials ought to be able to do. I think you could see some attempt to modify that.

But I think more broadly there's going to be two things. One is a general statement of advocacy that, you know, pestment decisions that are inconsistent with the terms of the deal are not helpful under the foreign policy authorities given to the federal government. There should be -- a supremacy clause should grant that to the federal government and so state and local officials ought not do things that are inconsistent with that.

But second, I think there's a bigger concern about overuse of federal authorities by local jurisdictions, including sanctions that may be suspended. And I think what this is intended to say is, if you're a financial regulator, for instance, and the federal government has suspended a sanction, this covers you, too.

So what this may set up in the future is legal challenge, frankly, between the federal, state and local levels to deal with particular cases, especially if the Iranians were to complain that a particular case is inconsistent with the deal.

We'll just have to see, frankly, how the courts will deal with that if and when that comes up.

KIMBALL: All right, thanks.

Well, as we said, it's complex. There's a lot to this agreement. We hope we've clarified a good bit about how the agreement is supposed to work, what's at stake, and what are some of the other considerations down the road.

And also, we hope we've provided some insights as to why so many believe this is, on balance, in the U.S. national security interests and a major step forward for the nuclear nonproliferation effort, especially in the world's most volatile region, the Middle East.

I want to thank everybody who came here today in our audience. I want to thank the audience on C-SPAN.

And more than anything, I want to thank our speakers for the great presentations.

The transcript of this event is going to be on the Arms Control Association website within a couple of days. There's more information about the agreement, Iran's program, the time line and history of efforts to get to this point.

So please join me in a round of applause for our great speakers today.


And we are adjourned. Thank you.



Negotiators from the P5+1 and Iran are in the final stretch to secure a comprehensive nuclear agreement...

Country Resources:

May 14 Annual Meeting: Unprecedented Challenges for Nonproliferation and Disarmament



Thursday, May 14, 2015
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. Nw, Washington, D.C.

Transcript Below

The Arms Control Association 2015 Annual Meeting will examine three major challenges for nonproliferation and disarmament over the last two years of President Barack Obama's final term: the worsening relations between Russia and the West; the uncertain future of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty; and the quest for a comprehensive deal to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. The Keynote speaker will be Ambassador Alexander Kmentt of Austria, who will also be presented with the 2014 Arms Control Person of the Year Award.

Meeting Agenda




Daryl G. Kimball
Executive Director, Arms Control Association


Panel 1


The Big Chill: Russia, the West, and the Future of Nuclear Arms Control 

Catherine Kelleher, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, President Clinton Administration
Matthew Rojansky, Director, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


Panel 2


Mid-Life Crisis? The Future of the NPT

Lewis A. Dunn, U.S. Ambassador to the 1985 NPT Review Conference, and Principal with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)
Randy Rydell, former Senior Political Affairs Officer, United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs
Andrea Berger, Deputy Director, Proliferation and Nuclear Policy programme, Royal United Services Institute



(Buffet Luncheon begins) 




Ambassador Alexander Kmentt, Director of Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Austria


Panel 3


The P5+1 and Iran and the Comprehensive Nuclear Deal

Richard Nephew, Program Director, Economic Statecraft, Sanctions, and Energy Markets, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University, and former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Department of State and Director for Iran, National Security Staff
Ariane Tabatabai, Associate, International Security Program and the Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard University's Belfer Center, and current Associate Professor, Security Studies Program, Georgetown University


Closing Keynote -


Colin KahlDeputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President

2015 Annual Meeting

MAY 14, 2015

Opening Speaker:  Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

KIMBALL:  Good morning, everyone. If I could ask you to find your seats.  We're going to get things started in just a moment. 

So, good morning, everybody.  I'm Daryl Kimball.  I'm executive director of the Arms Control Association.  And as most of you know, we were formed in 1971 to deal with the world's most dangerous weapons, to try to eliminate the threats that they pose to all of us.  

And I want to welcome all of you to our meeting today, our 2015 annual meeting, including those of you online looking at us online through our webcast.  So, for those of you here, be careful about the strange faces you might make when I say certain things because you're on camera, too. 

This meeting and the work of the Arms Control Association is a result of a great team of people -- our staff, our board and our supporters, our loyal members of this organization.  And before we start on the great program that we have here today that's outlined in the program guide, I want to just quickly thank a few of our key staff people and loyal funders for their contributions and work that make all of this possible, including the Ploughshares Fund, the MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Prospect Hill Foundation, and others. 

And we're also very grateful to a few individuals who have made special contributions and table sponsorships to help defray the cost of this event, and they are David and Gina Hafemeister; Michael Klare, one of our board members; our Vice Chairman Paul Walker sitting here at the Walker table; and also -- yes -- and our friend and one of the parents of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Larry Weiler; and also one anonymous donor.   

And I also just want to say a few words about somebody else we're immensely thankful and grateful to, who isn't here today who helped shape this organization and guide and lead this organization for more than a quarter century, and he's John Steinbruner.  And John, as most of you know, our board chairman, our friend, our colleague and mentor, he passed away on April the 16th in his home in northwest Washington, following a nine-year struggle with multiple myeloma. 

And for many of us here who knew John and had the privilege to work with him, learn from him, I'm sure you'll all agree that he was an unusually insightful and creative thinker, persistent advocate for sensible security policies on a range of things, avoiding great power conflicts, regional war to guard against dangerous pathogens, slow climate change, prevent cyber attacks, regulate space weaponry, and more than anything else, to prevent nuclear war.  

He worked for many years down the street at the Brookings Institution, shaping their work.  And beginning in 1991, he joined the board of the Arms Control Association, became the chairman of the board in 2000 just before I arrived, and he oversaw the rejuvenation of the organization, encouraged us to work on a wider range of issues, and helped us through some tough organizational and policy challenges over many years.  

So, all of us in the Arms Control Association family and the wider peace and security community, are far wiser and stronger because of him and his dedication to a better world and, of course, on top of that, he was just a really wonderful, warm human being. 

So, let me just note that next week at 4 p.m on May 19th at the University of Maryland's Memorial Chapel, there's going to be a formal public memorial service for John that's open for anyone here who would like to go. I hope many of you can join us on the staff, his faculty colleagues at the University of Maryland, his many students and colleagues there to help celebrate his life. 

But for today with John in our minds, we want to continue the work that I think he would have wanted us to continue to pursue to deal with the problems that have to be dealt with, to deal with the issues that he was so concerned about for many, many years. 

And we're going to be looking at three main issues today -- Russia, the West, and the future of arms control, which we're calling the Big Chill; the future of NPT as it enters something of a mid-life crisis; and the ongoing challenge of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran through the P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal. 

So, as you can see from the program, we've got a really fantastic set of speakers to help us analyze all these issues and offer some concrete solutions about how to deal with them.  And after we have a buffet lunch, we're honored to have as our keynote speaker, Ambassador Alex Kmentt of Austria who just arrived from a long journey from New York, which it was not easy this week given the train tragedy outside of Philadelphia.  

He's going to describe in his lunch address the thinking behind the humanitarian impacts of the nuclear weapons initiative that's changed the global conversation on nuclear weapons, and also talk about the NPT. 

And then following, our panel on the P5+1 and Iran nuclear negotiations, after lunch, we're really lucky to have with us as a closing keynote speaker, Colin Kahl, the national security adviser for Vice President Biden, who's with us here today and not at Camp David with all of the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders, to talk about the P5+1, and Iran agreements, and the next steps in this long-running effort to deal with Iran's nuclear program.  

But first, this morning is our opening panel on the U.S.-Russian relationship, and I want to invite our moderator, Greg Thielmann, Catherine and Matt, our panelists to come on up right now, so we can get started.            

And as they come forward and get seated, let me invite those of you with your smartphones that can penetrate the thick walls of this building, or if you're online through the guest access wireless to tweet about what you're hearing, to tweet your thoughts with the hashtag #armscontrol2015, and if you could please turn your ringers off on your phones so that we're not disturbed. 

And then finally, before Greg takes over, I want to thank our friends at Hoover Institution for the complimentary copies of the new and important book edited by Ambassador Jim Goodby who's here, our long-time friend and collaborator, and former Secretary of State George Shultz, "The War That Must Never Be Fought."            

It's a meaty book with a lot of important ideas written by some of the best minds in the fields -- in the field, and there are some practical ideas and solutions to encourage us to transform our thinking about deterrence and nuclear weapons, and deal with what George Shultz writes and I agree, is the problem of nuclear weapons -- which were and are the greatest threats to humanity's survival. 

So, let me turn over the chair to Greg and the panel, and thank you all for being here today.  

(Back to the agenda)

Speakers: Matthew Rojansky, Director, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Catherine Kelleher, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia

Moderator: Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association

THIELMANN:  Thank you, Daryl.  It's not very controversial these days to describe our current times as manifesting the low point in Russia's relations with the West since the Cold War.  And yet, this big chill in relations is not quite a return to the Cold War, as I think many of you who are Cold War veterans in the room can attest to. 

After all, Russia does continue to abide by the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which I think it's -- is extremely important for moderating the worst case estimates of the two sides in maintaining a downward vector in the nuclear arsenals of the -- of the two largest nuclear powers, by far.

It's also true that Russia continues to be a constructive partner in the Iran talks that Daryl just mentioned.  And this is arguably, at least for the moment, one of the highest priorities for non-proliferation among the U.N. Security Council members.  

As everyone noticed, the U.S. secretary of state just spent a lot of time talking to Russian leaders in Sochi, first nearly four hours with the Foreign Minister Lavrov, and then four hours with President Putin. 

And as the New York Times commented, "You know, things are bad when a meeting that doesn't achieve anything is considered good news."  I think whether or not it's achieved anything, of course, is a little premature to say. 

But this kind of dialogue at this time, I think is definitely good news.  I can't resist the mention also of other U.S. and Russians in regular contact, even as we speak, they're flying overhead on the International Space Station, two American astronauts, three Russian cosmonauts, from the distance that you have to this picture of the -- are very hard to distinguish.  They just kind of all look like earthlings. 

The only one which you may be able to distinguish is there is an Italian woman there, that at least, is a different gender than the others, but it's an encouraging sight and useful sometimes to remember that at least in this case, the regular U.S. Russian contact seems to be quite harmonious, professional, and successful.

We have two experts on our panel today to help us sort out the reasons for Russia's chilly relations to the West, and also the implications for arms control.  You have many fun facts of a biographic nature in your program, but just to at least identify the current highlights, Matthew Rojansky is the director of the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and he's a former deputy director of the Carnegie Endowment's Russia and Eurasia Program. 

Catherine Kelleher is a professor at the University of Maryland's Public Policy School, Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, and an esteemed member of the ACA Board of Directors.  

And I would also mention that Catherine and I were both commissioners and are commissioners on the trilateral Deep Cuts Commission, and you will have noticed the second annual report on the table outside. 

This is another occasion for sustained contact between, in this case, Russians, Americans, and Germans, to discuss ways to deal with the challenges of making progress on arms control.  So we're going to first turn to Matt to give us some political context on this issue.

And I want to start with the often quoted remarks of President George W. Bush at their first meeting -- President Vladimir Putin in 2001.  He said, "I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country."  

So I want to ask Matt, in the course of his -- setting the political context to also discuss whether we need to update that assessment of Putin, and also get maybe at some of the personal dynamics that color our success or failure in pursuing arms control. 


ROJANSKY:  OK.  Thank you very much, Greg, and thank you, Daryl.  It's an honor to be here.  It's always an honor to be on a panel with Catherine.  We were both associated with another effort, called the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative, which was largely promulgated by the Carnegie Endowment with some international partners. 

And it was a very different time.  It was a time at which some very distinguished and impressive Russians, Europeans, Americans were able to sit down and come up with an inclusive and comprehensive vision for security from Vancouver to Vladivostok, that actually seemed pretty real and pretty achievable at that moment. 

From today's vantage point, it won't surprise you that I tend to think much of that effort has been completely overlooked, if not for naught.  Let me take a bit of a stroll down memory lane for many of you in this room. But -- and just try to elucidate how we got to where are, but with one particular theme, and that's the theme of cycles.  And it's very striking to me that this very week, coming on the heels of months and months in which the message from the White House, and the State Department, from the Chancellery in Germany, from Brussels, has been no more business as usual. 

We are done with cycles.  We don't trust the Russians.  We are done.  It's back to containment.  We're going to reestablish NATO as a credible deterrent, and we're going to treat Russia as the adversary that it now clearly is, and then once again, we have Secretary Kerry showing up and seeking to square the circle, perhaps in the Russian term the -- his counterpart, Minister Lavrov described it as seeking normalization, recognizing that one needs a normal relationship, so perhaps once again, we're starting on the upswing of yet another of these seemingly endless cycles. 

How did this -- how did this pattern begin, and why?  If you go back to the 1990s, you have what I refer to as the Bill and Boris show.  This was a very personality dependent relationship between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin.

They created a number of institutions, most of them, though, were heavily dependent on the will of the two presidents, and to some extent their deputies, Al Gore and Viktor Chernomyrdin, chaired the famous Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission with its many working groups.

But at the same time when all of this was happening, there were deep underlying political trends, which were from the Russian perspective fundamentally incompatible with the relationship that both sides expressed a hope was emerging in the post-Cold War period.

The one we hear the most about is NATO expansion, but it's by no means the only one.  There was a series, this a sort of theme of the 1990s, if you will, was a series of developments in the global political, legal, diplomatic, and economic order, all of which were seen from Moscow as being subservient to an American agenda.  With not surprising result that when you reach the end of the 1990s and came in to the 2000s, the election of George W. Bush and the selection of Vladimir Putin in Russia, the result was a Russia and an America which were fundamentally positioned to see the world in very different ways. 

George W. Bush had the idea that, rather than the kind of intense love and personality dependent relations of the Clinton years, which of course, famously came crashing down with the bombing campaign against Kosovo causing Primakov to literally turn his airplane around, cancel a visit to the United States, you know, and then the return of the -- of the Siloviki, the power ministries and the spies under the leadership of Vladimir Putin. 

That George W. Bush would seek to have a normal relationship with Russia.  That is, a relationship as one would have with any other country.  So, when you agree on things, you work together.  When you disagree on things, you sort of put those aside and you manage your differences.

Unfortunately, despite Bush's deep gaze into Putin's eyes, despite a relatively pragmatic, optimistic -- I would even say, realist Vladimir Putin 15 years ago, a man who frequently said to his American interlocutors, whom he insisted still on calling partners up until the last year, believe it or not.  He always referred the United States as partners.  Despite all of that, what we found ourselves falling into was a situation in which you could not treat Russia merely as just another country. 

What ended up happening was that Russia received almost no high level attention, when Condoleezza Rice herself versus national security adviser, Madam Secretary herself, a Russia expert was nominally tapped by George W. Bush to sort of head the institutional side of the U.S.-Russia relationship, that focus very quickly devolved first to her deputy, Steve Hadley, and then on down the line such that senior folks who worked in the White House at that time will tell you that there was essentially no one at the wheel of the Russia account for quite a long time. 

And the unfortunate truth with Russia is, whether the relationship is scary and dysfunctional or it's over promising and over optimistic, it can never be normal.  It always has to be a special relationship.  And I think we've seen that very clearly illustrated over the last quarter century.  The results were clear.  By 2008, the United States and Russia were nearly at blows over NATO expansion, color revolutions throughout the post-Soviet space, of course, the Russia-Georgia conflict and many other issues. 

So then along comes Barack Obama in 2009, through actually Vice President Biden, who first used the term in a speech.  He announces the idea of a reset.  And the idea of the reset at this time really is taken, I think by both sides in an effort to clear the air, right, that there had been too much, sort of cyclical love-hate, too much intense expectation, disappointment, and then frustration. 

The idea in particular with the arrival of President Medvedev a year before Obama comes to office, you know, these are modern guys.  They are lawyers.  They are constitutional law scholars.  They both use iPads and the Internet, right, unlike their predecessors. And, you know, they could have a working businesslike relationship.  They could agree to disagree, but then agree to cooperate in a way that their predecessors hadn't.  So, on a certain level, right?  This worked out rather well.

We achieved a whole host of, what a lot of folks have now called the low-hanging fruit in the relationship, including obviously the New START agreement.  But I would say it was characterized by two problematic phenomena, the underlying trends in this period. 

One, the relationship was still heavily personality dependent, to the extent that Obama and Medvedev were personally committed to it, to the extent that they had frequent and long personal interactions and largely positive, the relationship worked. To the extent that it fell to others who didn't have that same personal dynamic, the relationship didn't work. 

And second, that many of -- and I would even say most of the achievements and I won't go through the list, are not only low-hanging fruit, but they were things that were long overdue, or things that we had achieved before and thrown out the window.  For example, we created a bilateral presidential commission.

We had the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, except that we threw it out the previous time we had a crisis.  We got the New START agreement.  I seem to recall, may others in this room recall, we had had functional arms control agreements.  We just had failed to achieve within a timely manner, renewals, or extensions, or updates to those agreements.  Similarly with Afghanistan.  It's a 150-year-old problem.  We got a northern distribution network to kind of manage and keep that problem under control, but nothing resembling a fundamental transformation of the relationship.

So when people use the term reset, what they're really talking about was just clearing enough of the baggage and the garbage out of the way, that some reasonable progress could be made on obvious agenda items.

So how then did we get from relatively pragmatic cooperation from 2009 to 2011, '12, to where we are today?  I submit to you that the breakdown had very little to do with Ukraine, and happened long before the Euromaidan broke out. 

If you look at late 2011, 2012, Vladimir Putin was obsessed with the notion that the public protests then going on the streets of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and other large Russian cities, were orchestrated out of Washington, if not directly funded, if not American agents actually taking part in them on the ground.  And at that precise moment, Ambassador Mike McFaul, ironically the man who had been seen as the author of the reset inside the Obama administration, arrives in Moscow as the ambassador of United States.

And, of course, McFaul is famous for having written Russia's "Unfinished Revolution," and the perception very clearly was he was here to finish the job.  I suggest that was very bad timing, but certainly not seen -- almost nothing is ever seen as accidental for Moscow, let me put it that way. 

But adding insult to injury, though in 2012, the United States and Russia finally succeeded in pushing through Russia's accession to the WTO, it came at the cost of a new sanctions bill against Russia.  Jackson-Vanik is removed and the Magnitsky Act is imposed.

Magnitsky, of course, answering a very serious and grave human rights abuse that occurred in Russia, but the perception on the Russian side is, you know, you have never graduated from the notion that we are the enemy, that you have to sit in judgment of us, and that you have to tell us what kind of system we need to have.

So the relationship is deteriorating at this point already on all levels, Russia warns the United States it will respond asymmetrically.  It does so by banning U.S. adoptions of Russian children, then banning U.S. funding for Russian NGOs, and closing the doors on a number of NGOs, including many that I've been working with. 

And the message from Russia at this time -- you're now talking about mid to late 2012.  It's very clearly what I call kind of burning Moscow to defend it.  The idea that we will bring the house down around our own ears, even though losing partnerships and funding, losing the ability to send Russian orphans to loving well-off families in the West.

You know, none of these things are good for Russia, but to punish you and to demonstrate that what you are doing is unacceptable, we will burn the city down around us.  And that, I think, has been a consistent theme in Russia's response to United States and the West since that moment.

Of course, adding fuel to the fire further, we have the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013.  Remember how that's covered in United States, by the way.  Russian terrorists, right?  The Tsarnaev brothers, ironically from the Russian perspective, right, these are the terrorists they wish that we had helped them fight all along, going all the way back to the 1990s.

And here the Magnitsky Act comes into play again.  All stuff that, by the way, I mean, raise your hand if you saw any of this covered in the American press.  Two of the names on the Magnitsky Act were senior Russian security officials responsible for the exact region in the North Caucasus, Dagestan, where the Tsarnaev brothers had been holed up for about six months, ostensibly getting training and inspiration for what then became the Boston Marathon Bombing.

And we in United States were infuriated that these officials, whom we had put on a sanctions list a year and a half before, were not sharing intelligence with us about the Tsarnaev brothers, right?

Tragic situation, but based fundamentally on misperception, misunderstanding and offense and grievance.  The Ryan Fogle spying scandal, Edward Snowden, Russia's adoption of anti-gay laws, the conviction of Aleksei Navalny, this darling of the West Russian opposition leader.

Obama cancels his summit with Putin in August of 2013, and then finally in November, the protests break out in Ukraine, but initially, very much not a U.S.-Russia problem, very much a Ukrainian domestic problem.  The bigger factor in late 2013, early 2014, is the story of the Sochi Olympics, right?  This is an event in which Vladimir Putin has invested a huge amount of personal prestige, at least $50 billion we now know.  Again, what's the coverage of the story in the West?

Russia is a terrible country.  The Sochi Olympics are a joke.  The toilets don't work.  The sinks don't work.  It's a Potemkin village.  And more importantly, Western leaders aren't going to go.  They're not going to go, because Russia has human rights problems. 

And so what does Vladimir Putin do?  He releases Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the most notorious political prisoner, right, the Oligarch who had dared to oppose him 10 years earlier and was in Siberian exile. 

He releases Pussy Riot, right, the famous masked punk rockers.  He releases Greenpeace activists.  He even releases a number of the protesters who had threatened him in 2011, and 2012, and below that.

Am I saying that Vladimir Putin, you know, is trustworthy soul, a good man, a Democrat?  No, I'm not saying any of this.  I'm saying he really, really wanted to be respected by the West in late 2013, early 2014, and what did he get?  He got none of it. 

Senior Western officials by and large stayed away from Sochi.  And so this, I suggest is really the straw that broke the camel's back.  Vladimir Putin comes back from Sochi.  And the very next thing that happens we now know is he convenes his National Security Council and he says, "We need to take Crimea." 

From that moment forward, I think the story is very well-known to you, right, sanctions, isolation, tit for tat, and the relationship that we have today.  So, let me just say a quick word if I have two minutes, about what I think Russia is looking for in Ukraine.

I think there are three basic causes, and the first of them in the sequence here is very, very important, are domestic.  So number one is the precedent of removing Yanukovych by force, whether you think it was morally justified or not.  He was a duly elected leader who was removed through a street protest that became violent.

If life in Ukraine becomes better after that, if people are better off and if big businesses are better off in Ukraine, next year, five years from now, 10 years from now, whenever it happens, that message will be unacceptably dangerous for Putin in Russia, for the simple reason that Russians overwhelmingly believe that they and Ukrainians are the same, right, despite the rhetoric about Ukrainian fascists and Ukraine going to NATO and so on.

Fundamentally, deep family personal, historical, cultural, religious and all kinds of other ties, and the view is, if this happens in Ukraine and the result is better for Ukrainians, why not us?  Why not Russians?  And this is an unacceptable precedent for Putin and his system.  It's about survival. 

And second along that same line, again, domestic political is that, Vladimir Putin's role today is very different.  I described him 15 years ago as being kind of a pragmatist, a realist, certainly, that was the moment at which he and George W. Bush had the famous meeting in Slovenia. 

He was a very different man then.  Now, he is a Tsar, which means he has extremes, supreme, absolute power, but he is also isolated.  I think it's impossible to describe Vladimir Putin today as a realist. 

Many people talk about him as a strategist, as a realist.  In order to be a realist, you have to acknowledge your own fallibility, that you might sometimes be wrong.  And if you are at that pinnacle of absolute power, where you are isolated and surrounded by yes men and everyone is afraid of you, you can no longer be a realist. 

And what that means is, Putin cannot afford to acknowledge the possibility, publicly or privately, that his narrative about what has happened in Ukraine, again, CIA-backed coup, unleashing radical fascist Ukrainian nationalists to commit ethnic cleansing upon Russians, and then to bring -- reorient Ukraine into the E.U. and NATO.  That that might be wrong in any way.  That is an impossible premise to accept, because it is the beginning of the end of his absolute power, which is akin to that of a Tsar.

Only the third and final place in this logical scheme is occupied by geopolitics, which is what we tend to hear about first in the West, right?  Does Ukraine go East or West?  And the idea here is even more complicated. There's a positive version of the narrative, and that's simply that Russia or Ukraine, but Ukraine in particular by itself, is relatively small and relatively weak, right?  This is a country whose GDP is, you know, something around the net worth of Bill Gates plus Warren Buffet, maybe less than that, right?

And it's a pretty dysfunctional country.  And it's a country that has an awful lot of trouble borrowing on commercial markets.  So Ukraine doesn't have a lot of bargaining power.  And the message of Russia's Eurasian economic union is, if you join with us, you will have more bargaining power, right?

Russia alone is 140 million people.  Russia plus Ukraine plus Kazakhstan plus Belarus plus Armenia, et cetera, et cetera, is over 200 million people.  And the ability for that common market to then get better terms from say, China, or better terms from the E.U., and ultimately strive towards something resembling.  And Putin has talked about this, a Lisbon to Vladivostok common European market, or European and Eurasian.  That's actually a relatively appealing message.  What's the negative message, we know very well.  I call it "Gandalf Balrog" moment, right?  Where Putin throws down the staff and says, "You shall not pass,” to NATO, right? 

NATO cannot come to Ukraine.  It is a bridge too far, and so every time we see footage of American troops drilling with Ukrainians on the company level in Western Ukraine, it is a symbol of everything that is anathema and hateful to the Russians in Ukraine.

So, that's a sort of sense of how we've gotten to where we are.  What the Russians are looking for in Ukraine.  Let me just lastly say, in terms of broad principles, how we can deal with the Russians under these circumstances, and I hope that these are useful as we continue the conversation to talk about arms control and potentially -- very potentially, disarmament issues. 

I keep these principles in mind.  Number one, Russia is not going away, right?  This tends to be obvious to the nuclear community, it's far from obvious to almost everyone else.  I will tell you right now, coming from the highest levels of our government, the message about Russia policy is, our job is to manage the consequences for U.S. interest of Russia's inevitable decline into irrelevance, right?  If you perceive Russia that way, you do not take Russia seriously.  So principle number one is Russia is not going away.  We've got to take it seriously.  And it can't be bludgeoned. 

Number two, our ability to secure cooperation from Russia depends on the institutional foundation of the relationship, so if we have no trade, if we have no travel, visa exchange, if we have no official track to the relationship below the level of John Kerry doing shuttle diplomacy, or Barack Obama, or Angela Merkel as the middle man, we have no institutional foundations.  

How do you talk to Russia about the hard issues, the things that very quickly can derail issues like arms control when we want to work on those?  Find a common language to talk about problems like human rights.

Don't go lecturing to the Russians about what kind of democracy they should have.  Talk about the interests of U.S. businesses operating in Russia, that they need rule of law in order to operate, that they need rule of law in order to -- in order to invest and conduct business.

Talk about reciprocal commitments, the Helsinki commitments, the U.N. declaration on human rights, the Vienna Convention, the European convention on human rights, WTO, G8 -- of course, we kicked them out of the G8, so it makes it kind of hard to talk about reciprocal commitments and so on. 

And then -- and then a little bit more honesty about the political constraints of our process here in Washington.  I'd love to hear the Jerry Maguire line from President Obama, "Maybe it's too late, help me help you," right?  

When you do things domestically, when you do things in Ukraine that make it difficult for me to sell U.S.-Russia partnership to my own party, let-alone to the Republican side, you derail your own best interests here in the United States.

There's been very little of that honesty and there's a lot of kind of mirror-imaging, where Russians assume our system is like their system, right?  So if John McCain says something nasty about Putin, it must be because the president authorized him to do so, right? 

We need a lot more honesty about how our systems work.  And then lastly just know something about Russia, right?  There's been a precipitous decline, not only in broad public investment, private foundations, et cetera, in study of Russia, but by the government in particular, we're down to less than 20 percent of where we were in 1991 in terms of investment in University Russian Studies Programs, post graduate Russian studies, Russia exchanges like, for example, the Open World Program run by the Library of Congress. 

All of these things have been massively slashed, in most cases, either eliminated or more than 50 percent.  So if you've got no capacity to understand the other party, be wary of imposing constraints, sanctions, et cetera, and assuming you know how those are going to end.  Thanks. 

THIELMANN:  Thank you.  Very insightful.  Combining Tolkien and Napoleonic burning of Moscow is quite an achievement. 

Now, Catherine, Secretary Kerry said in his Tuesday meeting in Sochi, quote, "It is clearly possible to make real progress and make important things happen," unquote.  So my question to you is, is that true?  And what kind of arms control should we try to make happen through engagement with Russia?

KELLEHER:  Well, luckily, we have here through audiovisual aid, the Deep Cuts Commission and at least some specific recommendations about what we can do to -- at least bring up for conversation or dispute, should you choose to. 

But I'd like to say, perhaps a more general thing, and this very much in tribute to John Steinbruner, because I think -- he was my friend for almost 50 years.  We shared a love of Berlin as students, and doctoral advisers some time and place at Brookings and at Maryland.

And I think, also this approach, which he perhaps more than many other people in Washington, constantly reminded us of.  And it seemed to me it had three major dimensions that are very useful, particularly in contrast to the kind of minute by minute zigzag that Matt has so well described of our policy towards Russia, and particularly in the arms control field.

 His argument would have been, "I think, first keep your eye on the long haul.  Don't worry about what's happening today in specific, but concentrate on what your aims are, and what the kinds of objectives you have for the medium and longer-term." That it is only through doing that, that you have a realistic measuring stick against both what you do today and what you're hoping will add up cumulatively to a more positive result in terms of U.S. interests, and indeed, in terms of a more cooperative strategy.

I think secondly, and John very much stressed this not only in his own writing, but also I think in his teaching, which was the importance of transparency and openness in every single endeavor, that it is really the question about looking at yourself honestly as Matt just said.

And also, trying very hard to keep an open mind, to look for opportunities, where this kind of strategy will in fact lead to coincidence, if not necessarily joint outcomes.  That it is the light of day that will make the difference in the end on whether or not things are politically acceptable.

That much that is done behind closed doors not only should stay there, but perhaps never happen at all.  I think a third thing, and here probably his hallmark in all of his writing and things that he did, not only with ACA, but with the National Academy of Sciences activities and the American Academy of Sciences, their Arts and Sciences that he was involved in, was really the stress on innovation.

Let's think of a different way if we need to.  Let's put the pressure on ourselves to think about how we adapt and how we adjust to new circumstances, and surely that would be his message, I think, as we look forward to what is achievable at a time of considerable stress, a lot of tension, and a lot of turbulence in who knows what about what.

I think there is no question as most of the people in this room have reluctantly concluded over the last two years, that there is not going to be a rapid U-turn, short of some extraordinary black swan variety activity, or perhaps violence of a kind that none of us would like to see. 

I think, moreover, that the need to reconsider what we have done in the past as Matt has outlined, it is a very serious task and easy -- certainly, tried to do that in its time.  But more importantly, I think for the Deep Cuts Commission, and for our own activities individually and as a group, this community that is focused on arms control.  It's time to stop kidding ourselves about the things that we have carefully but rather casually assumed were going to be eternal verities that would extend into the future.  We've had a lot of reliance on institutions that we failed to support. 

We've not been terribly innovative.  We've just assumed that everything was linear development, rather than the zigzag that John would have been among the first mention is often the fate of human affairs.

It can get worse and it will get worse unless we do take this task seriously.  There are lots of cases, I'm happy to recount a long list of possible things that have gone wrong, taken a turn, and then never recovered.  I'm sure you have some both from your personal life.  The financial sector may be one of them that comes closest to mind at the moment, but that really have to do with the need, the unexamined life that someone once said is not worth living.

And I would say the unexamined policy life is even particularly not worthy of commanding attention or effort.  So enough of the philosophy, but I think an important way to start to remind ourselves that we -- there is plenty of guilt to go around about how we have gotten ourselves into this situation.

Mr. Putin may have taken 25 years of my professional life and thrown it into the circular file.  But that's OK, as long as out of that, I'm able to some rescue some hope and some positive direction for what I think is the future.

And here, I think, the Deep Cuts Commission at least provides us a handy discussion guide from which to go forward.  The Deep Cuts was a commission funded primarily by the German Foreign Office and several foundations, which is made up of 21 members with associated friends and relatives as we say, who has bravely have been looking at these problems for the last three years and with considerable results.

The first and second reports, there may yet be a third, I think are worth reading and thinking about.  Again, I think there is a great deal of emphasis on the kinds of values that I see John's work as comprising, particularly the emphasis on the willingness to take the context of where you are and to go forward. 

We are not going to have major breakthroughs, but we may yet do useful work that's preparatory for opportunities that we can't foresee exactly when they're going to happen, but where we suspect that if we keep working at the coalface there will be a chance in which to achieve the kinds of reductions, not only in nuclear arms, but in the control of the weaponry innovation process, and indeed, the many supporting functions and infrastructure that are so critical to the conduct of warfare.

It is an optimistic view, one that says, we can do it if we keep our eye on the ball, and not just either surrender to despair or to demagoguery as is too often the case in this town anyway.

I think probably the major push within the Deep Cuts Commission -- there were five really specific areas for recommendations in this current second report.  But the major one is clearly the continuation in discussions about strategic nuclear arms control. 

The push to continue to think about how it is possible to achieve, or to outline, or to find a basis for coincident interest, not just -- but primarily perhaps between the United States and Russia, but also including the three members of the -- of the members of the P5, and perhaps even stretching beyond to a P5+2, including India and Pakistan, in terms of targets for reduction. 

The idea that there are offers still on the table that involve considerably lower levels of nuclear weapons, that suggests that a partnership -- how many nations was it that came to the partnership in verification meeting recently?  That there is a partnership of like minded states that can take up verification questions, involve themselves in the kind of experimentation about verification, about satisfying the "how will ever know," complaint that has dogged arms control from its very beginning in the '60s. 

I think moreover, there is a push to think about what we are doing as we always have to think, in our present weapons acquisitions and weapons development that will, in fact, contain rocks or perhaps even explosions of our best intentions in the future. 

Here the hypersonic glide, the question of precision guidance, the question of new and improved conventional, or perhaps even nuclear cruise missiles, all are items that are mentioned in the Deep Cuts Commission, the need to worry now and to think about what we actually want to achieve in each of those areas if we have the chance to continue to push on our agenda. 

It gives pride of place in a way, at least in the present agenda, to restoring a kind of the strategic stability in Europe.  And here, particularly to take more seriously than anyone in the United States perhaps has ever done, the possibilities that exists in the one remaining forum in which are continuing to meet regularly with the Russians, the OSCE, and to try to think what we want that organization to be.  And how strong we need to make it in order to fulfill even its original mandate.  

If not that, what is it that we want in terms of an organizational framework in which we will be able to take account of the inevitable geopolitical fact as Matt described it, that Russia is not going away?  

And that it needs to be a partner.  It needs to be a conversation partner.  It needs to be a partner in common, perhaps only convergent interest-driven organizations.  And that without the kind of channel of engagement and information, it really is a question of how we communicate, fits and starts, things that can be turned off by either side with no particular price to be paid.

This includes the INF Treaty and the need now to think about how we want to use that mechanism, how we can strengthen it, how we can in fact either unilateral or perhaps even convergent methods, strengthen it for to include others, or to replace with something that represents a verifiable ban on a set of weaponry that has proved difficult, if not disastrous in the past.

Last but not least, it is, of course, the whole area that we are currently discussing in New York, namely the nonproliferation treaty and the associated the activities.  We've had a number of specific actions.  We have the action plan of the past that still is not what might be called implemented. 

We have other models that have been suggested and that need to be looked at.  Most importantly of all, we need to look at the "sorta kinda" proliferation that we're seeing on a number of levels, both in terms of our discussions with India and currently in the Iran context.

I think all of these things as discussed in the Deep Cuts Commission report suggests there is a great deal of work to be done, and that is not enough to say, "Mr. Putin promised that it would be 10 years before there would be any serious arms control again.  And it's a promise at least as long as he's in charge, he has every intention of making sure comes true." 

I think for lots of reasons, it will take even longer than that if his plan is to go forward.  What we have to think about in the meantime, and I think John would have joined me in this plea, is to say, "We have time and we had best make use of it to think about what it is that we really need to do, want to do, and what kinds of things we and other states that share our goals can do, not necessarily in opposition to Mr. Putin." 

That's his choice as well as ours, but rather, to think about how we can engage in cooperative strategies that will lead to the goals and to the eventual opportunity for agreements, unilateral actions, bilateral, multilateral agreements of all sorts -- formal and informal, that will push us forward into the kind of cooperative space that I think is so necessary to achieve our own goals.

THIELMANN:  Thank you, Catherine.  I'm not going to exercise the moderator's prerogative, I'm going to open right away from the floor, and I think we will try to bundle the questions just to -- in pairs so that we don't forget what the questions were, and we maximize the chance for you to ask them. 

So please raise your hand and we'll try to get a mike to you.  I see Michael over here, and then here, these two questions here.  

QUESTION:  Thanks.  So thank you, both, for wonderful presentations.  I hope we get to applaud them at some point.  I have a question for Matt, but either of you can weigh in on this.  How does the Russia-China relationship bear on U.S.-Russian relations? 

And I say this reading this morning that Ash Carter is talking about stationing B-1 Bombers in Australia.  That's going to drive the Chinese crazy is my -- I just imagine, and make them much more, you know, militarized in their response.  And is that going to turn them to Russia?  How does that affect Putin?  How does that affect U.S.-Russian relations?

THIELMANN (?):  (inaudible). 

QUESTION:  Thank you, both, for excellent speeches.  I enjoyed it very much.  I shouldn't call it a speech -- remarks.  I have a question for both of you.  You both talked about the idea of some kind of an organizational arrangement in the Euro-Atlantic region. 

Matt, you talked about what I thought was a very important report, the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative, and one other it, as Sam Nunn was involved in.  And Catherine talked about the OSCE, which I think is also a forum that needs a hard look.

But what can we do?  I'd really like to hear you talk more specifically about what kind of a forum you would like to see in Europe -- in the Euro-Atlantic region.  Is it something that grows out of the OSCE?  Is it something new as the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative suggested?  And is there any way of reviving some of those ideas?  Thanks.  

THIELMANN:  OK.  Let's go first, Matt, to the Russia-China question? 

ROJANSKY:  OK.  So, you know, I think it was Henry Kissinger who had the maxim about the United States should adopt a policy in which we have better relations with Beijing and Moscow than they have with each other, that that should be the maxim. 

That does not pertain today.  The opposite is true, full stop, without question.  We should have no illusions.  Whatever our mutual economic dependence with China, there is no doubt that Beijing and Moscow see each other as closer partners.

I won't say more important simply because of the size and the weight of the U.S.-China economic relationship, but closer partners than they are, with either of them is with us.  That is premised -- that is often dismissed in Washington.  If you read English language analysis of the Russia-China relationship, including a piece out yesterday in Reuters by several of my colleagues, whom I respect enormously, there is often a tone of, sort of, disbelief or non-seriousness based on history.  

The idea that the Russians and the Chinese have fought lots of wars with each other, lots of border skirmishes, and there are these sort of deep trends that will always keep the two of them distrustful and prickly towards one another.  

That's all true.  Let me tell you what else is true.  Putin and Xi have an excellent personal dynamic, and they will both be in power for the next decade or more.  The Russian and the Chinese cultural and historical narrative is finding increasingly common resonance in response to Western policy. 

So when we isolate, when we denigrate, when we talk about Russian and Chinese behavior as being 19th century, or uncivilized, or inappropriate to our sort of modern rules and norms, it echoes with a sense that both great powers as they see themselves have always experienced at the hands of the European West, and that is that you denigrate us.  You isolate us and we emerge stronger for it.

That is a common, I can go into details and the terminology for this, but it's suffice to say, it exists in both cultures.  The weapons trade is very real, as you may know, the S400s that were sold to China or recently promised to China by Russia, would give the Chinese essentially airspace denial capability over Taiwan.

That's a really, really big deal.  And the Russians, I think, are signaling something important by making that sale.  And then the economy, there is a functional modus vivendi between Russia and China in Central Asia, where the Chinese get economic dominance and the Russians get political and military dominance.

That's working, but more importantly the Russian-Chinese direct economic relationship is big and it's growing, and the half trillion dollar gas deal, although the details people sort of snicker, "Well, we don't know what the price is, oh, the Russians got screwed."

Look, we don't know is the operative term and they nonetheless signed the deal, and two leaders who are obsessed with personal prestige, you know, what I said earlier about Sochi, signed that deal in public, associated themselves with it in public, so I suggest to you that that's a very real deal, and it's very, very big. 

KELLEHER:  I would like to add a somewhat dissenting voice to this, and to argue that one of the hallmarks, I think of long-term Russian policy is the increasing nationalist xenophobic strand, and one in which is -- has more than a little of a racist trend.

And whether one talks particularly about the military, where it's rampant, or in terms of the general reliance in -- outside of Moscow in the major cities on this kind of definition of Russian-ness that is non-Asiatic, very definitely a cultural empire with long tradition, I think that is a major stumbling block as long as Putin and his successors are dependent on that kind of national support, it will always be a question from the Russian side about who is dominant -- and there is -- it seems to me if I were Mr. Putin, I would run that calculus very carefully, since there are many indications that suggest it will not be Russia that's the dominant partner. 

And once that becomes apparent, I think it puts a great deal of question into how long and how deep this particular present relationship will run.  But may I also speak to Jim Goodby's very good question? 

You know, lots of trees have died in the search for European security architecture.  I think at one point, I counted up.  There were either 52 or 53 different plans that had been published for how to set the organizational framework. 

I think it doesn't matter.  It's clear that the NATO-Russia ploy is over, at least for the foreseeable future.  And the question is, what's left?  We have tended, particularly in the years -- recent years, in which we've more or less neglected, I think, the organizational underpinnings of the U.S.-Russia relationship and they certainly, as Matt wisely pointed out, the amount of non-tending domestic expertise in this area. 

I think we really have to have a framework, however, where we meet, whether we want to or not.  That's one of the hallmarks of that framework.  It's like the U.S. having to go to NATO and meet its allies, whether or not it wants to meet them all at once, you know, it's the convening power if you will, and the fact that not showing up turns out to be disastrous. 

I think there -- OSCE is the only thing we've got at the moment.  And unless we pick up something like the organization that was suggested the -- a linked organization that was Brzezhinski's and Kissinger's idea in 2011 -- 2012, there have been other arguments about having kind of a mini U.N. in Europe kind of meeting. 

But whatever the framework is, we need one.  And the question is then to take it seriously.  United States has always held its nose in OSCE and said "Not much here, not our play, not our vocabulary."  And the fact is, as this crisis has shown, we have a need for this kind of organization and it's not just to engage the Russians.   It's to engage a number of other states, as well. 

THIELMANN:  Thank you, Catherine.  Let's take the next two questions, and I'm going to just mention that there is more specificity in the Deep Cuts report particularly on the OSCE forum, and also noting that the Germans are going to be chair of the OSCE coming out, and seeing opportunity for moving in that forum.

So the next two questions -- let me try to go to the back a little bit maybe in the middle there, the first (inaudible) and then over to Nick by the window. 

PROVEAUX:  Thank you.  Mr. Rojanski mentioned that we are losing slowly our Russian expertise, and I was wondering what your thoughts are on Peace Corps volunteers.  So obviously there's the problem of, we don't want other nations to think that we're spying on them, but at least for the case with Ukraine, there's at least, I think, there were at least 400 volunteers in Ukraine.  And they seem like they could be a good resource for getting the lay of the land, so to speak. 

I mean, they have very, very good relationships with the locals, et cetera, even in the east and Donetsk, so I'm just wondering what your thoughts are on that?  Thank you.

THIELMANN:  And at the end of the question I just ask you to identify yourself, sorry I should have mentioned that.

PROVEAUX:  Oh sure.  My name is Adam Proveaux.  I'm a graduate student at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. 

THIELMANN:  Thank you. 

ROTH:  Nick Roth, Belfer Center.  Thank you.  Both of your talks were very interesting.  One question I have is about a specific type of cooperation that was cut off early in 2014 between the U.S. and Russia, which is joint scientific research.  And that was cut off on the U.S. side. 

So my question for both of you is, based on your presentations, I would think that you would think -- you would decide that was not a wise decision.  But so, I guess, one question is do you agree with that or not, and if not, what case would make to the U.S. government on why, and -- or how that type of cooperation should continue or restart?

THIELMANN:  Anyone.  Yeah, Catherine. 

KELLEHER:  Yes, OK.  Let me pick up the cooperative question.  I think it -- I think there are two very good sides to the argument about whether or not we should have cut off cooperative links.  

How much of it was cutting off our own nose?  How much of it was real signal that we were serious this time?  So let's leave that discussion to the past.  It what we could think of is what is, the sequence.  What is the series of domains in which we want to gradually restore some of those links, because they are useful for us, or we see that this is a way to at least engage the Russians in a dialogue that is -- has the possibility of leading to further cooperation, if that's what we want?

I think there are two that I think have been very useful, and the Deep Cuts argument actually comes out and says, 1.5 and 2 level dialogues are the first place to invest.  I think it's been extremely useful to have the mil-to-mil dialogue.  It has not turned out always in the best way, I must say for the Russian military participants.  A large number of them have found themselves without jobs when they went home, or under great suspicion of having been turned by the CIA.

But the idea of having open meetings, which are transparent, that do in fact convince other observers that there is something to be discussed, is a very important one.  Let me give you one specific example. 

Almost nobody knows about the cooperative discussions that have gone on both in Northeast Asia at the colonels' level for well over 10 years.  And it's a question of not just arriving at individual personal knowledge, but a sort of background that has to do with signaling the, sort of, if you will, creation of trusted persons, people who are looked on as experts or points of contact from both sides as being of value. 

These turn out in specific crises, particularly when you need to send a signal fast, to be very, very useful techniques.  They are of -- in and of themselves a kind of confidence building measure that's of some value. 

I think in the scientific area, this is also the case.  I think there is much less emphasis on it.  Things like Pugwash, or the Dartmouth discussions, or any number of other scientific exchanges than there was, say, in the heydays of the '70s. 

But it is still -- there is a still vast area, in which even with the open -- relatively open scientific dialogues that exist in functional fields, it is a valuable resource to have, if only because it's precisely this kind of organization that can try trial balloons, develop stakeholders, do the kinds of things that are so difficult to do in something like the NATO-Russia forum where you started with adversarial relations from the first. 

ROJANSKY:  And do you want -- yeah, in which by the way is still frozen or suspended.  It might be good news to you and to others here, I don't think I'm violating any confidentiality by saying that the Dartmouth Conference at the plenary level, the high level that was suspended in 1990 has actually restarted with support from the Kettering Foundation, which sort of has taken over has brand since November of last year, and in fact the next high level meeting will be slated for the fall here on the U.S. side.

So -- and this scientific exchange is exactly on the agenda.  We have had very senior doctors, for example.  And -- the issue really is do you see useful capacity on both sides?  A problem from the U.S. side for a long time has been just general dismissiveness of Russia's relevance and capacity.

If they had nothing to offer, why do we need to do anything jointly with them, what, just for the sake of going through the motions?  No, we don't do that sort of thing.  And, of course, the reality is, they have a tremendous amount to offer, if you know basic economics, right?  It's the idea of comparative advantage.  

It doesn't matter if they are 10 percent less good than you, they may specialize in something that you don't, and that makes sense.  On the human capital issue, the answer Adam is, yes, returned Peace Corps Volunteers are extremely valuable.  I've actually hired at least two of them myself.

But, you know, that's not the only program, and the problem with Peace Corps is it's not in Russia.  It's only in Ukraine, and Georgia, and other former Soviet republics.  And that phenomenon has become a kind of troublesome two way street, where on the one hand, we can't actually go to the places and gain experience in the places where engagement with Americans and American knowledge is most urgently needed, because we're barred from those places, perceived as being some form of espionage or soft color revolutionary activity by Putin, initially back in 2002, which is why he booted the program. 

But on the other hand, we often come back with a version of post-Soviet knowledge that is skewed towards the countries where we have these large contingencies of a Peace Corps volunteers.

So, it tends over time, to shape the field such that throughout the State Department and the Defense Department and Commerce and other places now, when you're sitting now with a now mid-level working level official who started out as a Peace Corps volunteer, which is a common phenomenon, you know, they really -- their language was Ukrainian, right?

And so, it sort of deepens the problem.  And I'm not saying there's not a problem with engaging with Ukraine.  I'm all for it.  I started the Ukraine program when I was here at Carnegie.  It's just that the perception from the Russian side, again, it's a two-way street.  They banned us in the first place, but we invest in human capital that, as a result, makes it even harder for us to deal with them because we're perceived just being biased, so it's tricky.  

THIELMANN:  Thank you, one up front and one in the far back.  

QUESTION:  Should I do it now, or should I wait for (inaudible) 

THIELMANN:  You should wait for Michael. 

QUESTION:  OK.  My name is Richard Golden.  I'm a member of the ACA.  I'm also a Rotarian.  As a Rotarian, I have been active in the Russia and U.S. exchanges.  I have been told by people who I believe are much more knowledgeable than I, today, NGOS is where it's -- where it is at.  Do you have any comments as to whether NGOs might want to take the lead in reestablishing constructive exchanges between the two countries? 

QUESTION:  Hi, Brian Bradley from Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor.  One line in the Deep Cuts Commission report, particularly caught my eye and raised another question for me, the line where it said the U.S. and Russia should resist misleading calls to give up on the INF Treaty.

My question is, given the fact that both sides are basically accusing each other of violating the treaty, what is the action chain that would have to happen to get both sides basically to agree on the provisions and agree on cooperation on the treaty going forward?

And also, Ms. Kelleher, I believe you touched on the possibility of replacing -- negotiating a replacement for the INF Treaty going forward.  How do you envision that playing out, given the status of INF right now?

THIELMANN:  Let me say something about the INF Treaty, since that was one -- I'm sorry, one of the subjects I was significantly involved with.  One is struck by the absence of any activity in resolving the INF Treaty compliance concern on the table, of anything like that envisioned by the authors of the treaty, the special verification commission that was supposed to work on compliance concerns, last met in 2003.

It has not been engaged in any way in this -- in this dispute.  And there are some reasons for that having to do with the fact that there was only the Soviet Union once upon a time and now there were several members that kind of inherited the treaty. 

But the point is, and this came out very strongly in the Deep Cuts discussions, you really have to have technical experts, military professionals, people on the ground, on the spot working through these issues.  And when the U.S. and Russia try to resolve the U.S. complaint, it was at a very high level, and the Russians basically kept saying, "We don't know what you're talking about."  And the U.S. kept saying, "Yes, you do." 

And that -- and that sort of led us to where we are now.  I see an opportunity here in using the Russian complaints about U.S. violations of the INF Treaty, to use that as leverage.  The U.S. has been dismissive of all of those complaints, including the potential use of the launchers that are destined for Romania and Poland, that their maker Boeing bragged could also launch Tomahawk missiles.  And now we assure the Russians that neither the software nor the hardware would allow them to launch Tomahawk missiles.

That was a very easy opportunity for us to say, "Come and look at this equipment. We will show why this is impossible.”  We, as far as I know have not made such a suggestion at all.  Were we to suggest that then it would be much easier for us to say, "And we would like to look at our complaints about your testing of a ground-launched cruise missile."

So I think there needs to be an attitudinal on change first and foremost on the U.S. part, in order to try to make progress on what I think is very legitimate complaint about what the Russians have done.

Let me go to others, Catherine? 

KELLEHER:  Can I just add on to Greg's very cogent argument?  I think two mistakes were made specifically.  One is we decided for reasons that I still am not clear about in the Bush administration, to leave the Russians, to fight the extension of the INF Treaty scope, the joining perhaps of other countries, to leave that to a Russian lead, and we didn't make it a very important priority in terms of our own negotiating agenda.

And the -- we essentially said we didn't see it as terribly urgent, and this having to do with extending the treaties both perhaps to include the Chinese, the Indians, and the Pakistanis, all of whom have programs of interest, shall we say.

And we essentially allowed that one to run into the sand.  I think that was a mistake on our part, a serious mistake.  It would have looked like a much more important and persuasive push, I think, if we had enlarged the scope at least to force discussion.

If we couldn't do it in MTCR, we could have forced a discussion about their plans, what they saw as the in fact on strategic stability in their particular regions, in a way that would have been very useful for us at several points. 

The second think and I think the more important thing is, the escalation of this discussion with Russians resembles a schoolyard fight more than anything else, I mean, “so's your old man” is the sum of a lot of the discussion.

And I think we should -- we've been forced into a position that really is beneath our dignity, if you may allow me a judgment, and we could have done other things at other points.  And it's just been folded into the general discouragement, disappointment, disregard, whatever you want to say about policies too often in the last five years.

ROJANSKY:  I have to take this opportunity before this panel concludes to make a very important broader point in answer to the INF problem and a number of others, like Russian participation in the Nuclear Security Summit, what we may or may not get from them on the NPT RevCon.

The bottom-line is, we ourselves should know, imposing economic sanctions in response to military action, that all issues are linked, right?  You cannot deal in total isolation of one set of issues from another set of issues. 

And what that means is my well-meaning, but I think totally misguided colleagues, who write op-eds in the same week, publishing op-eds in the very same week saying, "Let's send weapons to the Ukrainians so they can believe to the Russians more, so they can send home more Russian body bags, and change Putin's calculus."

And in the very same week say, "Let's not give up on the INF."  It blows my mind, right?  I mean, we are not dealing with some kind of robot here, right?  We are dealing with people.  And with people, issues are linked.  We ought to understand that.  So I think that point just needs to stand.

And the on NGOs, Richard, this speaks to the two-way street problem, right, which is that the Russians have created a very tight environment for NGO activity in their own country.  They have a foreign agent law, which says, "Any NGO which is receiving foreign money, or which is acting in general on the interest at the behest of a foreign partner.”

That NGO will be labeled a “foreign agent," and that's essentially poison to -- in Russian society.  So what you're left with -- and my own organization has been evolving in this direction, is that you cannot invest overly in what you would ideally want to do, which is build institutions on the ground, you know, employ Russians, get Russians going in activities that are of mutual interest. 

What you have to do is look for opportunities where existing Russian institutions are looking on the basis of total formal almost very archaic seeming, almost cold war style equality, right?  You sit opposite at each other at the table and have little flags, and you negotiate memoranda of understanding, and you sign those.

That's the nature of the partnership that the Russian government is allowing today.  And if you try to circumvent that, you're likely to get yourself and your Russian NGO partner in a lot of trouble, so I would discourage that under the current circumstances.

But you've -- we've got to push through.  Pulling back completely and saying, we're going to punish you by not engaging, you know, that's obviously a mistake because you lose the Russian people.

THIELMANN:  Thank you very much for your questions.  I'm afraid we have run out of our allotted time, and I would urge you to join me in thanking our two panelists. 


KIMBALL:  All right.  And while we have a stage transition here to the next panel, we're going to take about four or five minute break, and we're going to reconvene at about 20 until the hour for our Nonproliferation Treaty Panel. 

(Back to the agenda)

Speakers: Andrea Berger, Deputy Director, Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme, Royal United Services Institute; Lewis A. Dunn, Principal, Science Applications International Corporation; Randy Rydell, former Senior Political Affairs Officer, United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs

Moderator: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

KIMBALL:  All right, everyone, we're going to get started in just a moment if I could ask you to sit down.  I'm sorry to interrupt your conversations.  We will have plenty of time during the lunch hour to share thoughts with one another.  

All right.  Welcome back.  It's great to have all of you here this morning at the Arms Control Association's 2015 Annual Meeting.  And just a correction to my earlier remarks about the hashtag for today's event, it's armscontrol15.  My communications team is grousing with me.  I told you the wrong hashtag before.  So, it's #armscontrol15. 

And this panel, the second panel of the day is going to be exploring the challenges facing the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, as evidenced by the ongoing 2015 review conference that's taking place this week at this hour in New York and which runs through May 22nd. 

So, as most everyone here knows the -- over the past 45 years the NPT has established an indispensable, but imperfect, set of interlocking non-proliferation and disarmament obligations and standards.  And rather than having dozens of nuclear armed states, as John F. Kennedy forecasted in the early 1960s, we have only -- it's too many -- but we only have four additional countries beyond the original five nuclear weapon states that are recognized as nuclear weapon states under the NPT.  

The taboo against nuclear weapons use has grown stronger.  The push for disarmament continues.  The effort to fortify the safeguards against the spread of nuclear weapons continues. 

And like any treaty, the NPT requires ongoing work to update, renew and implement key objectives to keep up with the times and the technologies.  And there have been and are and are going to be ups and downs and our job for the Arms Control Association and the rest of the international community is to make sure the ups are more frequent and more substantial than the downs.

And as we'll hear in a minute from some of our great speakers here, it's clear that, as the diplomats gather in New York, the treaty is reaching something akin to a mid-life crisis.  They are in the process in New York of reviewing implementation of the treaty, considering how to advance and accelerate the lofty goals of the NPT. 

I think this morning they were reviewing some of the latest drafts coming out of the working groups relating to the three pillars of the treaty, nonproliferation, peaceful uses and disarmament.  And it's clear as we'll hear the frustrations are mounting due, in part, to the great power tensions that we heard about in the first panel between the United States and Russia, as well as other problems in the Middle East and elsewhere.  

So, the probability for breakthroughs, I think, is probably low.  New initiatives are few and far between and the possibility for consensus is extremely low at this particular stage.  But success is not always -- does not always translate into a consensus final document.  That's not the only measure of success of these conferences.

So, we have three fabulous speakers to talk about these issues and more, especially to consider how after this particular conference is over the NPT states can move ahead with some concrete positive steps forward to reinforce the regime.  And so, I've asked them to focus on those issues this morning. 

And first, we're going to hear from Andrea Berger who is just arriving from New York, like Alex Kmentt, navigating the difficult northeast corridor in the past couple of days.  She is the Deputy Director of the Proliferation and Security Program and a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London.  

And then following Andrea, we're going to be hearing from Lew Dunn who among other things is the former Assistant Director for the Arms Control Disarmament Agency and the U.S. Ambassador to the 1985 Review Conference and knows the NPT very well. 

And another person who knows NPT and has overseen it extremely well is our friend and our board member Randy Rydell who served for some 17 years, I think it was, at the United Nations Secretariat as a Senior Advisor to several high representatives for Disarmament Affairs and he was a lead researcher for the Blix Commission which released its report in 2006, among other things. 

So, we've got an enormous amount of expertise on the panel, and in the crowd as I said before we have Larry Weiler with us.  We have one, two -- we've got two other U.S. representatives to NPT review conferences -- Susan Burke and Norman Wulf.  And so, we've got a great set of people here and I hope the conversation afterwards is very good. 

So, Andrea, thanks for being here.  Take it away.  

BERGER:  Thanks very much, Daryl.  And thanks to the Arms Control Association for inviting me here to speak today.  It's a great pleasure to be with you this morning.  As Daryl mentioned, I've been asked to speak a little bit about what's happening at the review conference at the moment and what states parties can do to strengthen the treaty in years to come. 

And as you might imagine, those are two very big topics to cover in 12 to 15 minutes, so I hope you'll allow me just to touch on a few points with relation to each.  And actually, the one I wanted to start with dovetails very nicely from the last session. 

And it strikes me from the first few weeks of the review conference that there's some very real direct and pressing threats to the treaty that aren't being addressed necessarily in the way that one might expect them to. 

You have Russia, as we discussed, in the last panel who's consistently using threatening language about its nuclear forces.  In London in January, it put the P5 -- counterparts of the P5 process meeting on notice that its participation in the process should not be taken for granted.  We know that they're becoming, shall we say, disinterested in certain arms control obligations that they have.  So, if we're talking about reducing the role of nuclear weapons in national doctrine, that's a pretty pressing issue, I would say.                                    

China then for its part is, of course, by all accounts developing its nuclear forces in a way that I think contravenes the very basic norm that we might think we've established over 20 years of indefinite extension of the NPT, which is that arsenals should move in a downward direction. 

So, if the review conferences are meant to be something of a health check for the treaty, I think we need to try to get creative and find better ways to diagnose and treat the most malignant issues.  And I know that's difficult because you don't want to have those countries become even more uncooperative or have review conferences turn into a giant finger-pointing match.  

But we do need to think a bit more, in my view, about how we can better address some of the really big and most serious issues here.                 

There are two related risks, I think, at this juncture if you call it a mid-life crisis or have another term for it.  One is, of course, that states party to the treaty fail to strengthen the treaty and really outline concrete new steps that can be taken to do so.  I think some of the other panelists are going to talk to that a bit more.  And so I'll offer a few suggestions in the next few minutes, but I know that they're potentially going to offer many more. 

A second risk here is that both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states in the process of expressing their legitimate frustrations with the treaty and seeking to rectify those frustrations swiftly inadvertently create very deep fractures, even deeper ones than we already see, potentially downplay the centrality of the Non-Proliferation Treaty or confidence in it.  And perhaps set off on other avenues where it's difficult later to course correct, if we find that we need to. 

And so, that's one of the issues that I'm going to touch on in the next few minutes and in particular two themes that are being debated in the Main Committee, one that deals with disarmament at the review conference as we speak.  Those are the so-called legal gaps on disarmament and the issue of timelines and deadlines.  

On the issue of legal gaps in disarmament, this is one of the really big talking points.  And a good example was Monday's meeting in Main Committee I in which this was really what took up the bulk of the time in states' comments.  

And sitting in the gallery, the NPT Review Conference for that session, it was clear that the discussion is quite frayed over the concept of the legal gap.  International law is something that I think should be very carefully thought out before it's formed and certainly before it's attempted to be formed.  

And it's clear that some states have thought through that better than others.  And so, to give you sort of an overview of what the conversation looks like at the moment, you have some states who argue there's a legal gap on disarmament because nuclear weapon states are not -- nuclear weapons are not outlawed in the way that chemical and biological weapons are.  

You have some states who argue there's a legal gap because the term "effective measures" as is stated in Article VI of the NPT is not defined.  You have some states who argue there's a legal gap because we have no legally binding assurance that is unconditional over the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and that’s one of the key constituencies that's pushing that discussion.  

You have some states who say that, while unilateral disarmament measures are an excellent bonus, they don't really count towards Article VI implementation because Article VI implementation specifies multilateral negotiations.  So, I've seen Ireland, for example, make this argument a few times.  

Some others take it even further and say that multilateral negotiations under Article VI because it's in the NPT mean actually all NPT states party.  So, we need to be having multilateral disarmament negotiations with everyone. 

And then, of course, you have states who say that Article VI is clear and intentionally leaves open the possibility of legal possession of nuclear weapons the threat of their use and indeed even their use and that, therefore, there is no legal gap.  So, that's the discussion over whether here is a legal gap.  

Now, then there's the divisions over how to rectify the legal gap that we're not in agreement over the nature or even the existence of.  So, you have a number of countries -- a growing number of countries actually -- that suggest that we need in the near future either a ban treaty or a comprehensive convention that covers the whole range of issues in one document so, possession, stockpiling, use, et cetera.                                    

As we know, over 70 states have signed on to the Austrian pledge that calls for an instrument to prohibit and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons.  Then, of course, you have a discussion over where this comprehensive agreement should be negotiated. 

Some say it needs to be put into a subsidiary body of the Conference on Disarmament in the next review cycle.  Iran on Monday, for example, was curiously arguing that it needs to be concluded there by 2022. I'm still not sure if that was a misreading of their notes but they very specifically were saying 2022.  You have some states that say it used to be in the general assembly because the general assembly has broader membership and doesn't have the threat of veto looming over it.                           

The New Agenda Coalition, or the NAC, says that actually let's put all that aside for a second because there's a second option here that maybe we should be thinking about more clearly which is that you could have an overarching legal instrument with subsidiary arrangements negotiated underneath it. 

So, there's a real range of views here.  You have then on top of that the Non-Aligned Movement who says that whatever you do on either of those points, there needs to be a treaty negotiated in the Conference on Disarmament beginning in the next review cycle on negative security assurances -- legally binding negative security assurances.                                    

So, as you can see, the debate is still, I would say, slightly messy.  And all the while, you have countries like France who are sitting in the corner and turning to their P5 counterparts, especially the U.S. and UK, and are saying, we told you so. 

And to be honest, this is becoming a very difficult discussion to have.  The French are arguing that the -- all this talk of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, of new information and its significance, of legality and illegality may mean that in the near future some non-nuclear weapon states push to revisit the 1996 ICJ advisory opinion.  

And actually, I wanted to bring out one of the pieces of the first draft which the French have been pointing to that says sort of look, we have a point here.  The Main Committee I draft that was circulated on Friday last week reads: "The conference recalls the ICJ advisory opinion on the legality of the threats or use of nuclear weapons issued at The Hague on the 8th of July 1996.  The conference acknowledges that new information has emerged regarding the humanitarian consequences of any nuclear weapons and that this information raises significant implications for assessments of nuclear weapons under international law."                                    

And as a consequence of that sort of formulation, I've heard P5 colleagues warn the U.S. and U.K., for example, that their participation at future humanitarian conferences or the statements they make there may be used to further de-legitimize the step-by-step approach and build a body of customary international law against deterrence doctrines in particular.  

I think that's a bit overblown, but the word "legal" is being used so much at the moment in Main Committee I that it's partially understandable to see why there's some nervousness on the part of P5 states and especially on their NATO counterparts who are becoming, I think, slightly sympathetic to the French table-banging.  They're not necessarily to the way that the French are expressing their dissent, shall we say.                         

This whole dynamic raises a number of issues and questions at a strategic and a tactical level that I think non-nuclear weapon states and nuclear weapon states need to think more about.  For example, does this whole discussion reduce the prospect that the U.S. and UK will want to engage constructively and positively in the humanitarian consequences initiative, which is something that I was very happy they did in the last year. 

Will it, perhaps, increase the likelihood that the P5 process withers during the next review cycle because here they've -- while they haven't done that much, they've done a little bit and wanted someone to encourage them to continue, at least certain P5 states did, and are seeing not that much of that positive encouragement at the review conference. 

So, still not going to get anything for it, perhaps, it might quietly fade away.  Will NATO states be more or less likely to participate in the humanitarian consequences initiative and would a broader fracturing of the community over this issue actually result in deep divisions that mean in the future certain NPT constituencies actively disregard the views of others and really just on the issue of forward movement on disarmament obligations we have a complete split.                            

So, those are some of the big questions, I think, that relate to this.  You can then talk about whether it's difficult for, if some states set off on a specific legal course of action and others ignore that whether in the future at some point when we have an opportunity to build a more inclusive or, some might suggest, a practical legal framework, whether that's going to become relatively impossible to do so. 

In short, I don't think we're -- at the moment -- that we're contemplating these issues in the way that we should be in devoting the time and attention to them when the issue is as important.  And I don't think that we should not have this discussion.  I actually would really encourage it.  And I would encourage nuclear weapon states to continue to engage with the humanitarian consequences initiative and for those who haven't in 2014 to do so in the future.                          

 But for focused and forward-looking discussions on these points and the potential pitfalls associated with them also need to happen before we set off on a specific course.  And equally, the situation suggests to me that not only do we need nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states to talk to each other more and better, but we need non-nuclear weapon states to talk to each other more and better.  

So, one of the things that I would advocate for in the next review cycle is actually another open-ended working group that can maybe treat some of these points in more detail with more time and out of the time-bound pressure that exists around a review conference.  

I would also encourage said working group, if it were to come to fruition, to give the P5 process some more concrete and specific requests.  If we're unhappy with the glossary because it doesn't have certain terms, say, we would expect that in version two of the glossary you will have these terms defined for us.  And to spell something out like that that's more narrow, concrete and that can actually really be taken forward as an expectation in the next review cycle. 

In the same vein on the second point I wanted to address, we need to think through our timelines and deadlines that we're pushing for in this review conference very carefully.  And this applies both to the disarmament and non-proliferation obligations and should really be one of the key lessons learned for us from 2010.      

Clearly, timelines and deadlines can be useful in catalyzing action and changing behavioral patterns when those timelines and deadlines build realistically on the status quo.  The deadline that we set for P5 transparency and reporting declarations in 2014 is a perfect example of this.  

However, our experience with the 2012 WMD-free zone conference in the Middle East deadline which was by most accounts, too ambitious, should also remind us that we really need to consider carefully whether those timeline commitments are feasible because all it takes is one angry state who is upset that their expectations were raised and then not met to prevent forward movement on an important issue like this. 

And we're seeing the Egyptians, for instance, advocating that the Finnish coordinator should no longer continue their mandates on this point.  So, things like the Non-Aligned Movement's proposed timeline for disarmament convention that completely eliminates nuclear weapons by 2030, Iran's insistence, I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but we need a convention by 2022.  The calls by a number of states that we need to have P5 annual reporting on things like stockpile numbers, et cetera, which the Chinese are still miles off agreeing to and annual reporting may not necessarily be that feasible at least yet. 

Those are the sorts of things that remind us that we need to think through what worked and what didn't work from the last review cycle very carefully.  And the review conferences are meant to be that opportunity to take stock of implementation of the treaty in the last five years to express frustrations when those expectations are not met and try to employ the collective to find ways to solve them in the future.  

But each part of that process the review, the reprimanding, if you will, and the rectifying need to be very closely related to one another.  So, for example, new timelines are unlikely to be effective unless we've considered in detail our experience with previous timelines and we reach out to those who would be bound by them to convince them that their cooperation would be helpful confidence-building measure in the future. 

So, this is, I would suggest, my new pitch for a three-part balancing act as it relates to the NPT processes as important perhaps in this instance as pillars as we have our NPT mid-life crisis.  So, I will leave it there, but I'd be happy to discuss any other points and questions.                          

KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Andrea.  That was a great overview of the questions and the situation in New York.  And I hope that Lew and Randy can now turn to the question of how might we in the future months and years address some of these issues.  And I will just note that just as Lew begins if you haven't seen it he wrote excellent feature article in the April issue of Arms Control Today.  I'm sure he'll touch on some of those points.  

So, Lew, thanks for being here.  Take it away. 

DUNN:  Thank you, Daryl.  I'm pleased to be here.  I'm pleased to offer some remarks on the topic at hand of, quote, "Mid-life Crisis, the Future of the NPT."  These are my personal remarks.  They reflect my long involvement in NPT matters, but they also reflect my well-known reputation as a free electron not constrained by official positions. 

As a preface, I would just remind us all that we were in the middle of the third week of the review conference.  There's still quite a bit of time left and the optimist that I am, I still believe that prospects are good to come up with some sort of cooperative outcome which moves forward the overall NPT process and gets us into the next stage of our life if we're in a mid-life crisis.   

I'd like to make five and one half points in the time allotted.  So, let me begin.  My first point is that today's stalemate between the NPT non-nuclear weapon states and the NPT nuclear weapon states with regard to how to advance the Article VI goals of the treaty serves neither of their interests. 

For the non-nuclear weapon states they have focused new attention on the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, on the need to reenergize the nuclear disarmament process, but they have not and they cannot alone advance nuclear disarmament.                           

For the nuclear weapon states -- for the nuclear weapon states, though they have steadfastly defended their record as well as their step-by-step approach, they risk creating a situation in which today's frustration among non-nuclear weapon states may yet undermine the legitimacy, effectiveness and support for the NPT.           

For both the non-nuclear weapon states and the nuclear weapon states, the type of fracturing that Andrea Berger has just speculated about serves neither of their interests. 

My second point, I believe that the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty remains an irreplaceable framework for a livable nuclear future, an irreplaceable framework for a livable nuclear future.  Now, we can all agree, I think, that it remains a bulwark against non-proliferation.  But I believe, as well, the NPT provides an irreplaceable framework to pursue the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. 

It provides a legal, moral and political obligation on the five NPT nuclear weapon states to pursue and ultimately achieve that goal.  And it has produced real nuclear disarmament progress, even if much less than desired.  It also comprises I believe, an obligation that in today's world -- in today's world will not be recreated and cannot be recreated in some type of new international or multilateral nuclear weapons framework ban or convention, call it what you will. 

Why?  Because for many reasons, none of the five existing nuclear weapons states will today join any such international framework or its negotiation.  At some point down the road in the nuclear disarmament process, such a framework may, indeed, likely will be a closing step toward a world of no nuclear weapons.  For now, pursuit of such a framework will, I believe, be self-defeating even if it's couched in the language of implementing Article VI.  

Third, I believe that the time has come for a full discussion among all NPT parties of Article VI's call for the negotiation of effective measures as a central part of a strengthened and continuing process of substantive engagement on nuclear disarmament among NPT parties after the review conference, a substantive process of cooperative engagement between all NPT parties.                             

I would argue that the review conference has the possibility of moving us towards that outcome with a wide-ranging and inclusive agenda.  What are these effective measures called for by Article VI?  In effect, what are all the actions needed for implementing Article VI's obligations?                                   

Some of those are very clear.  Some of those are stated in the preamble to the NPT and some of those, I think, are less clear.  What are the pluses and minuses of different approaches for pursuing effective measures?  If the nuclear weapons states believe in step-by-step, well, why not hold their feet to the fire and have a continuing discussion about, OK, what does this mean in practice.  If there are proposals for an international framework, what does that mean? 

Regardless of whatever approach particular countries may take to how we advance effective measures, there are building blocks that need to be taken to make progress on nuclear disarmament.  What are those building blocks? 

Finally, how can countries cooperate in practical and effective ways to advance this process?  Where are there realistic timelines that could be agreed to and pursued?  Where are there cooperative measures that can be put in place now such as the international verification initiative to try to deal with some of the tough questions that will result?                                    

But otherwise, how can all of the NPT's nuclear weapon states realistically take advantage of what is today's nuclear disarmament law? We just had a panel with regard to the United States and Russia, the outcome of which suggests to me that there isn't going to be any big nuclear disarmament between Russia and the United States anytime soon.  

How does one take advantage of this lull to put in place the necessary understandings, concepts, activities to take advantage of the possibility of progress later?  Fourth, it seems to me there are many different ways in which a new process of cooperative engagement amongst all NPT parties could be pursued after the review conference. 

Andrea mentions the idea of a UN open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament.  I believe this approach could work.  There are key details that would have to be worked out in terms of what do you call it, what's its mandate, what its duration, what's its rules or procedure.  A UN open-ended working group is one approach. 

My own personal preferred alternative actually would be which is, I think a heresy amongst most of my friends in the U.S. NPT community -- my own preferred alternative would be to establish an NPT intercessional process, an NPT intercessional working group for intercessional discussion of nuclear disarmament and other priority issues.  

In effect, this would draw on the successful precedent of the biological and toxin weapons convention.  Drawing it in terms of the BWC precedent in terms of approach, procedures and a cost-sharing which would be more in line with that of international organizations, rather than the NPT cost-sharing, which I have the misfortune of being the person who probably got the U.S. into 40 years ago which is very inequitable. 

If you went down the road of the intercessional approach, it would keep the discussion within the NPT family.  It would recognize the NPT with its irreplaceable obligations to my mind still offers the best chance for real nuclear disarmament progress.  

You could create also a group of governmental experts at the -- at the CD on these issues.  The precedent is that of the group of scientific experts.  And clearly, as the international partnership on nuclear verification -- disarmament verification goes forward, there are conceptual issues that need to be discussed.  

What do we mean by irreversible verifiable and transparent nuclear disarmament?  I can give you a definition, but that would be mine.  And my fifth point, humanitarian impact conferences have focused global attention on the consequences and risks of the use of nuclear weapons. 

As this process continues, the most important question now is how does one address those concerns?  How does one address concerns about the risks of use of nuclear weapons raised by this process? 

Participants in the humanitarian impact movement call for the total elimination of nuclear weapons as the only absolute guarantee against the risk of nuclear weapons.  This may be true but it's not going to happen anytime soon.                           

So, the challenge is how do we identify and pursue practical and effective measures to reduce to an absolute minimum the risk of use of nuclear weapons, ensure that the nuclear taboo is sustained pending the ultimate elimination of these weapons.                                    

The non-nuclear weapon states at the review conference have put forward in many cases the argument that there should be the full de-alerting of the nuclear forces of the United States and Russia.  The American and Russian officials have opposed this.  There's no reason to believe that somehow in the next week and a half they're going to change their mind. 

So, let me suggest two different ways in which the review conference and the nuclear weapon states could address these concerns raised by the movement.  First, I believe and it's sort of something which is kind of in there in one of the drafts now much more generally.  But I believe specifically the review conference could call for the United States and Russia to task their respective ministers of defense to assess jointly what, actions other than full de-alerting, they could take to address these concerns and to report the results back to the review conference.  There's a good timeline that you could have. 

OK.  You don't like de-alerting, you tell us that all you're doing is planning to, you know, launch these weapons into the open sea, if anything happens.  There must be something else that you two could do.  Go ahead and assess it and come back and tell us what it is.  We want -- we want to know what your alternative is.  

Second, it seems to me -- and this is something that the review process could encourage by encouraging the P5 process emphasizing its importance.  The five nuclear weapons states, the NPT nuclear weapons states, through the P5 process, I believe, should accept the responsibility to take practical and effective measures to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again. 

Through this P5 process which now exists, they can make sustaining the global nuclear taboo a priority, not because it will make the non-nuclear weapons states happy, but because it will serve their own interests amongst the P5.  The P5 will be amongst the most dramatically impacted by any use of nuclear weapons. 

What can they do?  They could create a P5 experts group.  We've had the glossary experts group, which is likely to continue.  Why not a P5 experts group to discuss amongst themselves how could the use of nuclear weapons occur and what cooperative actions can we take to prevent any such use, terrorist use, use amongst other nuclear weapon states or involving us?  

Second, I would propose that the five NPT nuclear weapon states could work to create amongst themselves a P5 code of nuclear conduct.  A P5 code of nuclear conduct in which they discuss amongst themselves and eventually put down on paper what are the rules of the road which govern our behavior with regard to nuclear security, nuclear safety, the changes of our nuclear postures, decision-making, modernization, crisis management.                           

Some of this will be controversial because in my P5 code of nuclear conduct, I would argue that it doesn't serve any of the P5's interest to make gratuitous comments about well, you know, we nearly went on nuclear alert at the beginning of Ukraine.       

But the P5 could have this kind of a nuclear code.  Is there a review conference role here?  Yes.   I think there is a review conference role -- to call for the P5 to intensify their discussions of those risks and, again, to report back to the review process. 

The reporting mechanism is a tremendously important precedent that was set in 2010.  And kicking and screaming, the five nuclear weapon states met their obligation to report.  Now, I think, there are other ways it could be used.  

OK, let me finish up with my half point.  The moderator asked me to address issues of the Middle East WMD-free zone.  This is a quick half point.  

KIMBALL:  Only a half point? 

DUNN:  It's only a half point.  


DUNN:  First, to my mind the Finnish facilitator has made unprecedented progress.  What this Ambassador achieves I never would have thought he ever could have achieved. 

The review conference participants should let this process continue and they should accept the lesson of nearly 50 years of nuclear-free zone process which is that the results of nuclear-free zones have to come from within the region and it can't be imposed from without.  

Second, it seems to me that the review conference participants as we go into this end game next week should not allow success in breaking today's nuclear disarmament stalemate, if it's achieved, should not allow that success to be held hostage to the Middle East nuclear issue.                         

Or ultimately, I believe, both nuclear disarmament and pursuit of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East both of those will be the big losers.  Thank you. 

KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Lew.  And thanks for putting on the table very practical, concrete suggestions.  And I think, by the way, it's -- the term is not free electron, it's free radical.  And so, some of those ideas are radical and we thank you for them. 

So, Randy Rydell, over to you for your thoughts on the future of the NPT and how we can improve it. 

RYDELL:  Well, I spent a little bit of time contemplating the title of this panel.  And to help me a little bit with this, I decided to consult Wikipedia's article on mid-life crisis.  

KIMBALL:  We didn't think deeply about it, Randy.  

RYDELL:  Well...

KIMBALL:  You've gone further than we have. 

RYDELL:  So evidently, that's the case.  The article says the following, "Despite popular perception of this phenomenon, empirical research has failed to show that the mid-life crisis is a universal experience or even a real condition at all." 


Well, "Mid-life," the article continues, "is also significant as a time adults come to realize their own mortality.  Also, it involves a condition involving a deep sense of remorse for goals not accomplished." 

Well, interesting.  This is a very fitting subject, by the way, for someone who just recently retired. 


The first question that we're posing before this panel is:  Why problematic?  And I hardly know where to begin.    

So, let's try a brief tour de tab.  There is a growing perception among many, if not most, states parties to the treaty that the treaty is unbalanced in its obligations.  That its basic fairness is being called into question at each -- serially, at each review conference.  This is not a new phenomenon, but it's getting worse. 

Detailed intrusive controls are called for in the non-proliferation area, but not matched by parallel commitments in the nuclear disarmament realm.  The President of the 1995 conference, Jayantha Dhanapala, once wrote that the NPT's grand bargain is looking more and more like a swindle to many states parties.  

There's much obvious dissatisfaction over the slow pace of disarmament or the lack of it altogether.  Long-term well-funded plans for modernization, qualitative improvement in nuclear weapons and delivery systems, nuclear deterrence remains deeply embedded in the security doctrine of all states with nuclear weapons.  

The nuclear weapon states have an allergy against negotiations required in Article VI, against timelines, against discussing even outlines of a nuclear weapons convention, against anything resembling what might be called a disarmament plan. 

There is a complete lack of congruence between lofty international commitments to a nuclear weapon-free world versus the lack of any reflection of this goal in domestic laws, regulations, budgets, plans and agencies. 

Where are the disarmament agencies?  It's hard to even find the word "disarmament" on government business cards anymore, at least in the nuclear weapon states.  This gross mismatch suggests that disarmament commitments are simply not being taken seriously. 

At the UN, there's even a growing concern over the uneven transparency.  Action 21 of the 64-point action plan of the 2010 review conference called upon my office, the Office of Disarmament Affairs, to establish a repository data on concrete actions taken to implement disarmament commitments. 

This repository looks more like Mother Hubbard's Cupboard with a very high ratio of rhetoric to facts.  Many calls for standardized detailed reporting have been made, especially by Japan and Canada, in recent years.  And -- however, enormous obstacles stand in the way, in particular China and the non-NPT states are especially problematic on transparency issues. 

Other longstanding disarmament standards are not being fully implemented such as irreversibility, international verification and others.  This brings me to the issue of the lack of progress in achieving treaty universality. 

The treaty growth process seems to have hit a stonewall— widespread doubts among non-parties joining.  Worse, the India deal and others that followed fostered the impression that benefits of international cooperation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy did not require NPT membership.  Why join?  Better to have your cake and eat it, too. 

It's an ironic consequence also of weakening incentives to remain in the treaty if benefits of membership can be benefited -- it can be enjoyed by those deals with non-parties.  The lack of progress on the Middle East zone is another thorn in the side of this treaty.  

The Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone was first introduced as a proposal in 1974 in the UN.  And many of you might not be aware of this but that proposal has been endorsed by the General Assembly each year since 1974 and each year, not once with one negative vote. 

The Israelis abstained for the first five or six years during those -- that period.  And ever since then, they have also joined the consensus.  There was a full consensus of all members of the UN on the goal of establishing such a zone.                             

The Arab group and Iran have been aggressively trying to internationalize this issue through a number of gestures.  First, they included it in the package deal that led to the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995, that resolution on the Middle East. 

Second, they've endorsed -- they've had numerous General Assembly resolutions endorsing this.  Third, they've involved the secretary general personally as a co-convener of the conference in 2012 and they have given him other roles and the current Arab Group proposal also envisages another role for the Secretary General to convene a conference after this review conference.  Yet, the whole debate on this is wrapped in a sterile, tiresome dispute over which must come first.  Peace or disarmament.

All right.  Next, we have the stalemate and the multilateral disarmament machinery: the C -- the Conference on Disarmament, the UN Disarmament Commission, and also, obviously deep, divisions in the first committee of the General Assembly on nuclear resolutions.  We have problems getting -- achieving the entry into force of the CTBT.  We have problems commencing negotiations on the fissile material treaty.  And we have a complete reluctance of the Security Council to take up disarmament per se as a serious issue.  

Add to this the deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations.  How do you get much nuclear disarmament when states with 75 percent of the world's nuclear arsenals are planning to retain them for decades into the future, while also making continued threats of use, implicit or otherwise?

Then there's the endless competition in non-nuclear military areas.  Intercontinental conventional weapons, space weapons, missile defense, cyber offensive warfare, and then weak international norms to the extent they exist at all governing military spending, conventional arms, production, stockpiling, and trade. 

Meanwhile, fundamental UN charter norms are routinely being ignored.  Including fundamental ones such as the positive obligation to settle disputes peacefully, the ban on threats of use of force, and the norm about limiting the diversion of funds from social and economic progress to military uses.  

NPT disarmament goals, as agreed in 1995, 2000, and 2010, are also extremely imprecise, lacking clear benchmarks or guidelines because they were the result of compromise and least common denominators.  This leads to endless debates over bad faith and compliance.  One of the classic illustrations of this is this phrase, "Reduce the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines."  Well, if you buy that, then you're suggesting that there is a legitimate role for nuclear weapons in security doctrines.  So, again, endless circle. 

There is also currently a deep and growing division between nuclear weapon states and their allies and the rest of the world on the issue of preconditions for disarmament.  A widening gap between step-by-step and comprehensive nuclear disarmament approaches is also apparent.  It's unclear what would become of the ultimate goal long agreed in the world community on general and complete and disarmament. 

It's become a little more than a rhetorical slogan now, yet it offers the only fully integrated view of the relationship between nuclear disarmament and WMD disarmament, conventional arms control, and the basic norms of the charter. 

It's interesting that the non-nuclear weapon states haven't yet started talking about their own preconditions for complying with their non-proliferation commitments.  There is no step-by-step process toward compliance with non-proliferation. 

So what does the future hold?  First, some dead-ends to avoid.  The NPT, I don't believe, is the ideal venue for advancing global nuclear disarmament.  The treaty is not a universal treaty.  Four possessor states are outside the regime. 

Second, NPT created a universal norm to negotiate in good faith on nuclear disarmament and the general and complete disarmament.  But it did not outlaw nuclear weapons per se.  Although the ICJ has advised that -- states parties are obligated to bring such negotiations to a conclusion.  The NPT also lacks institutional support structures with my office, the UNODA providing a de facto secretariat. 

I think the best hope for the NPT is in contributing to the larger process of pursuing a nuclear weapon-free world through the means of its -- it's what we call the strengthen and the review process.  To the extent that the review process can be focused on concrete evidence and results rather than policy statements and diplomatic posturing, the review process can indeed make a very significant contribution to this larger goal.  Even if only in building international confidence that disarmament commitments are in fact being fulfilled.  And secondly, in contributing to the de-legitimization of nuclear weapons.  

It remains to be seen if the data repository created by ODA, pursuant to Action 21, will be taken seriously by the nuclear weapon states.  But it does offer a good centrally-located place for registering such data.  Another key contribution promoting the establishment of the WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East is also very important because its fate will have a great bearing on the future of the NPT.  

I don't really hold much faith in the CD.  It is deadlocked.  It cannot start negotiations on a fissile maturity and has been unable to start negotiations on nuclear disarmament.  It faces the usual obstacles of the consensus rule.  And also the CD has a certain other problem, which is lack of universality. 

Now, there's a new movement under way to promote the idea of a plurilateral ban-the-bomb treaty, where a group of likeminded states will sign a treaty claiming to outlaw nuclear weapons as a global norm -- as a new global norm.  There's a bandwagon effect under way, building on strong international support for an international humanitarian approach to disarmament. 

Finally, this is an issue that has drawn significant support from young people.  I think it's important to emphasize that.  The problem is that the possessors and their allies won't join, making this treaty far from global or universal. 

In effect, it becomes a kind of NPT, too, without the nuclear weapon states or an initiative to disarm the unarmed.  Advocates insist that once such a treaty is negotiated, it will be possible to bring pressure to bear to on non-parties to join, yet they offer no compelling reasons why membership will, in fact, expand to include possessor states. 

Instead, they put forward a kind of faith-based argument.  Trust us -- those states will feel the pressure and will yield to it.  Yet, the models offered by other plurilateral efforts including the Ottawa Landmine Treaty and the Oslo Cluster Munitions Convention are still difficult to view as disarmament treaties, given that thousands of landmines and cluster munitions continue to exist and are used in many countries.  This does not really offer an auspicious model for nukes. 

Another alternative is the nuclear weapons convention.  And there are many strong arguments in favor as an approach to achieve a nuclear weapon-free world.  There are five key multilateral norms in disarmament:  verification, irreversibility, transparency, binding-ness, and universality. 

A fully comprehensive universal treaty is the only available means of advancing all of these norms in a coherent integrated way.  The very idea that global nuclear disarmament will ever be achieved without legal commitments is just absurd, even laughable.  The road to global nuclear zero will not -- will not be paved with toasts and press releases. 

A model nuclear weapons convention has already been proposed in 1997 and 2007 and circulated among the UN member states.  The lack of any serious discussion with the nuclear weapon states over this is one indicator of their lack of seriousness about the disarmament goal itself.  This is a case of willful blindness.  An unwillingness not to discuss, but even to think about what type of legal framework would be needed to achieve nuclear disarmament. 

Problems with the nuclear weapons convention are numerous, political in nature, especially.  It's hard to get it off the ground if the possessors and their allies are not part of the conversation.  

Unlike the NPT, the General Assembly does have a legitimate claim to universality.  And so, in theory, it would offer one possible means of approaching this issue through, for example, the organization of a major international conference with the initial goal of discussing the legal requisites for a global nuclear weapon convention.

This could later lead to actual negotiations on specific terms for an arrangement.  Although this would obviously require intensive bilateral engagement between the United States and Russian Federation as well as close consultation with the nuclear allies. 

Another problem with the nuclear weapon convention is its silence on the relationship between the obligations of the treaty and its wider international security environment.  A nuclear weapons convention is not, therefore, the end of the line for disarmament.  

The rule of law in disarmament is notoriously underdeveloped.  There is also the challenge of achieving universal membership and compliance with the other WMD regimes, the BWC and the CWC.  There is the challenge of achieving entry into force of CTBT.  There is the challenge of negotiating a fissile material treaty or of incorporating the fissile material issue in text of a nuclear weapon convention.  

There is the challenge of doing something about the lack of any multilateral treaties governing the production and stockpiling of conventional arms, of multilateral norms for the trade in such weaponry going somewhere beyond the very frail framework offered by the Arms Trade Treaty.  

All of these could be pursued -- must be pursued simultaneously because the security challenge will -- challenges that will exist in a nuclear weapon-free world are not -- must not be approached as a mere afterthought.  These other legal initiatives will help to answer the question of what kind of security will exist in such a world, once nuclear disarmament is achieved.  

There is a term for this approach to security.  It is general and complete disarmament under effective international control, a goal already found in Article VI of the NPT and a dozen other multilateral treaties.  A concept that has the -- that has been the international community's ultimate objective since the General Assembly's first special session on disarmament in 1978 and an issue that has been on the General Assembly's agenda since 1959.  

The alternative to this comprehensive approach to disarmament is some kind of step-by-step process.  Not the deceptive variety practiced today by the nuclear powers of steps toward disarmament, but steps actually in disarmament. 

This kind of step-by-step process requires benchmarks, yardsticks, and accountability process and commitments to timelines.  Precisely the empirically grounded approach now being explored in draft reports from the NPT's main committee one and its subsidiary body.  The other type of step-by-step process of viewing the disarmament as a mere goal is a dead-end and a non-starter for the vast majority of the UN member states.  

The longer it is touted, the worse will be the prospects both for the NPT and the future of disarmament.  We may one day find ourselves not facing an NPT midlife crisis but an NPT post-mortem. 

In sum, what's needed is reconsideration of a possible revival of a comprehensive approach to disarmament, with its various security components pursued simultaneously rather than sequentially. 

The step-by-step process towards disarmament should be abandoned for the charade that it is and replaced by a step-by-step implementation of disarmament commitments.  Transparency and accountability arrangements including those -- not limited to the NPT arena, can help to build confidence in implementation while also helping to further de-legitimize nuclear weapons. 

Finally, existing international commitments to disarmament must be grounded in domestic laws, policies, budgets, plans, and institutions rather than totally disassociated with them, as is now the case.  

I wish to thank ACA for inviting me and for their own dedicated efforts to pursue a safer more secure and saner world than the imperfect one we have today.  Thank you.  


KIMBALL:  All right.  Thanks all three of you for your provocative and helpful presentations.  I think you've kind of thrown down the gauntlet with some practical ideas, some practical problems, and some, perhaps impossible problems, too.  

But now it's time for all of you to join the conversation.  The microphones are circulating around.  Please raise your hands.  We're going to take a couple at a time.  Let's take this question upfront here and then we'll go to Norm Wulf in the middle.  So please identify yourself and tell us who you want to answer your question. 

LEAH:  Hi.  My name is Christine Leah from Yale University.  My question is about conventional arms control as it -- contributing to the goal of disarmament.  Frankly, I'm not surprised that disarmament is taken as a jerk. 

I mean the Russian and the Chinese will say, "OK, disarmament, that makes it safe for the U.S. conventional power in the world."  So my questions -- two big questions.  To what extent do you see nuclear disarmament as being a precondition for serious dialogue about conventional arms control or at what stage of nuclear reductions between the United States and Russia do you see a multilateral dialogue with states like China on sort of Northern Hemispheric arms control dialogue?  

KIMBALL:  All right.  And then into the middle please with Ambassador Wulf. 

WULF:  Thank you.  And thank you to the panel for such interesting presentations.  My question is to Lew Dunn and it concerns the obvious fact that as numbers go down, confidence and compliance must go up.  So we have this new effort I guess by the State Department or this international verification discussion.  I think they've had one meeting.  And I just wondered whether what Lew and the panelists think of that effort and what other things might be done to deal with what will be, if we're ever to achieve a world without nuclear weapons, will be a very daunting problem?  

KIMBALL:  All right.  A building blocks question.  All right.  Lew, Randy, Andrea, you want to try to answer the question about conventional nuclear relationship dynamics?  And then we'll go to the second question.  

DUNN:  Well, let me -- let me address both questions.  You know, first, I think there clearly is a relationship between conventional activities and what would be better put, I think, at this point in time in reality is as nuclear arms control process with the Russians and the desire and goal of creating some type of process of mutual strategic restraint in the nuclear field with the -- with the Chinese.  And that it becomes necessary in both of those areas to go after the issues both U.S.-Russia and U.S. China in a comprehensive fashion. 

With regard to the United States and Russia, my own prejudice is to argue that it's been tried over the course of quite a few years to find a way to meet the Russian concerns about missile defense as a conventional area. 

There have been very, very senior level track one and a half discussions of this which have actually identified ways where if the Russians were game, you could move forward on some type of cooperative missile defense.  

So the Russians are more pessimistic.  I think you're right.  You got to work all of these issues on the table at the same time.  And then in my own view with the Russians, is you don't really begin to work these seriously until you get to 2019, 2020 when the Russians probably start to say to themselves, "Oh my God, the START Treaty actually is going to go out of existence and this is not in our interest." 

It would be nice to do -- I think Catherine Kelleher was right.  We got to be working with all the building blocks issues.  With the Chinese, I think we're now at a key point in time.  What I've seen working with the Chinese over the course of the last four or five years is that the Chinese are starting to take onboard the notion that if there is a growing military competition between United States and China, it will serve neither of our interests. 

I believe the Chinese have taken onboard the -- both sides have taken onboard the notion that we understand what each side is nervous about.  In the United States, we understand what the Chinese are nervous about and the Chinese understand pretty well what we're nervous about.  But we can't figure out a way to move into a process first of mutual reassurance where we take some practical steps, not just talk, some practical steps to reassure the Chinese about what's happening with U.S. missile defense and the Chinese take some practical steps to reassure us about what's happening with their nuclear modernization.  

On Norm's question -- it strikes me, Norm, that the international partnership on nuclear disarmament verification.  As Catherine suggested and as I suggested, is the type of critical piece of building block work that needs to be done.  At this point in time, I don't think we have the slightest idea of a workable approach to monitor and verify the elimination of nuclear warheads. 

We all know that conceivably when the Russians come back to the arms control process, a next phase beyond START might actually include nuclear warheads as a (inaudible) of account.  And so it seems to me this is a -- this is a type of building block work that needs to be pursued and you can also fold into this building block work some of the kinds issues that have been raised in the review conference process.

So there's a lot of work to be done, which could be constructively done if everybody wants to become involved.  And a lot of work can be done to try to figure out how do you provide some sense, some involvement on the part of the non-nuclear weapon states.  Because the old answer that we would have given 20 years ago, "OK, we and the Russians, we're eliminating these weapons.  If it's good enough for you, it's good enough for -- you know, if it's good enough for us, it ought to be good enough for you."  Trust us, that's not going to go anywhere.  They want to have some involvement in this, and this allows us to work this issue in a real way with as many of the players as we can get. 

KIMBALL:  All right.  Any other more -- yes, Randy.  Andrea.  

RYDELL:  I'd just like to -- oh, I'm sorry.  

KIMBALL:  Go ahead.  

RYDELL:  I just have brief historical point I'd like to mention on this question about conventional arms control.  When the UN Charter was signed in 1945 in June, nuclear weapons had never -- had not even been tested at that time.  It's a -- it's a pre-atomic document. 

The first thing the General Assembly did when it met in London on 24 January 1946 was to adopt its first resolution.  The first resolution called for the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of -- adaptable to mass destruction, chemical and biological weapons. 

The challenge that the General Assembly faced in January '46 was to differentiate between two different goals that are found in the UN Charter.  There are two references in the charter to the word "disarmament."  There are other references to the word "regulation of armaments."  They are not synonyms.  

Disarmament was clarified in January '46 and has been there ever since as meaning the elimination of weapons of mass destruction.  Resolutions adopted later in 1946 clarified that regulation of armaments applied to conventional arms and also to reducing military spending. 

So what I'm trying to say here is that the basic framework for pursuing both disarmament and arms control -- or regulation of armaments simultaneously goes all the back to none other than the UN Charter itself.  

There's 70-year history here.  This is not new, OK?  What's new is trying to get it implemented and to try to actually have these be systematically pursued.  A classic example is Article 47 of the charter, which mandates the Security Council to prepare plans for the regulation of armaments.  Have they done so?  No, they have not done so.  Are they likely to?  Probably not. 

So the -- you can't blame an instrument when it's not used.  There's an issue of political will here that is inescapable.  And anyway, I'm -- I -- sorry about this long excursion here but it is important to the issue.  

KIMBALL:  Andrea. 

BERGER:  I was just going to add on your question, Christine, that I think this is one of the interesting aspects about when we discussed whether there's a way that you can try to get nuclear weapon states to talk about putting meat on the bones of -- what step-by-step process is because what wound up happening is it will look very much like something that is not just nuclear-centric in the way that some of the working documents that are currently on the table at the review conference might imply. 

There's -- I don't want to give too much credence to the French and the Russian insistence that you need to keep referring to general and complete disarmament because that's what's in Article VI and they do do that a lot.  But there are -- if you look at a step-by-step process and how that might realistically pan out, there are intervening variables, there's conventional issues, there's other WMD issues and that's one of the things that's going to make it very challenging, as I'm sure nuclear weapon states do not agree on when those intervening variables are likely to come in when the conventional discussions in a regional -- certain regional contexts are likely to come in, where WMD discussions other than nuclear are likely to come in, so. 

KIMBALL:  All right.  We've got lots of questions.  I'm going to try to get everybody -- we're going to do three at a time and I want your questions to be quick and I'd like to ask our panelists to be as brief as they can.  So let's go to the middle table to Susan and Larry please. 

SUSAN:  Thanks a lot.  One comment and one question.  On the verification point, picking up on Norm, I think this is something that there's a -- the initiative is a great one.  There's work that's been done on the issue of latency.  Joe Pilat has done some really important work on that and I think that's an area that needs to be explored both for disarmament and for non-proliferation.  

The question is, picking up on Catherine Kelleher, she talked about how there's enough blame to go around.  You know, FMCT, it's held up by the Pakistanis.  The P5 are only as strong as the weakest link or links.  

Bilateral arms control takes two to tango.  We've got three nuclear weapons free zones, sets of protocols on the Hill that the U.S. has submitted, no actions, CTBT, languishing.  And this is really mostly for Randy because of your past life, but also for Lew and Andrea if you have a comment. 

But ACA is doing a tremendous amount of work to try build a constituency for these issues and I've always felt, we don't have a natural constituency in this country for these issues.  What can be done because a lot of the holdup here is agreements that get negotiated, when they get negotiated, and you can't get them ratified and all of these other things.  I mean, you have to look at who's -- where's the problem and what can be done to fix the problem and the problems are all different. 

KIMBALL:  OK.  Question, Larry Weiler, right at the same table.  Right behind you.  Yeah, put up your arm, Larry.  He's right behind you.  All right.  Thank you. 

WEILER:  Just a couple of reflections and I'd like your views on them.  I remember when we and the Russians agreed on the text of the -- of the NPT a long time ago, and walking down the Rue de Lausanne, we sent off the telegram saying that we had agreed on a common text. 

And I thought -- at the time, my thought was I wonder how long it will last.  So I just offer that observation, we're getting so pessimistic.  We didn't know -- certainly, I didn't know, that it would go beyond the 40-day -- 40 years which was the original text at German insistence.

We don't have anyone arguing today for a limitation on the duration of the NPT.  So don't be too pessimistic.  On a more immediate practical thought, my view frankly is that combining nuclear disarmament with general and complete disarmament is a mistake because it leads people to think you're pie in the sky don't know what you're talking about, so.  We are -- it's legitimate to focus on the nuclear side because that's the one that threatens the future.  And it seems to me that this combining the two is a mistake and also, it's not factual in terms of what the real problems would be down the way.   


WEILER:  Another final observation is as long as the continual meetings that are held on the NPT review include a continuation to accept the general complete breakdown of the multilateral negotiation process in Geneva with this absurd arrangement that they have. 

But then it's no one but the -- but the owners of the cafes and the Rue de Lausanne and other places in Geneva, it's a -- it's a statement that they don't believe what they're writing... 

KIMBALL:  All right.  

WEILER:  ... in the resolutions. 

KIMBALL:  OK.  I mean, so -- let me re-interpret part of your observation there, Larry, and send this back to the panelists about, you know, how we can as, I think, Lew was trying to suggest, look for other venues for that bridge, that divides between the nuclear and the non-nuclear, the north and south, that apparently do need to be created in part because it's only the cafe owners in Geneva that are benefiting from the CD's paralysis.  So if we could just have quick responses to that and then we're going to try to get to two or three more questions before our time is up for this session.  Andrea?

BERGER:  I'll just add a very quick thought but one of the interesting thoughts of amendments that keeps going around the text the main committee one and the subsidiary body one at the moment at the review conference is the inclusion of the word "preferable" in front of the Conference on Disarmament as a forum.  

So I think there's notes that a sizable portion of the review conference community at the moment agrees with your last point there, that we can't continue to just say, "Well, you know, the CD is the only forum and we encourage it to start moving in the next review cycle."  There's definitely a number of states that are saying the word "preferable" must be going in there.  So just that as a thought. 

KIMBALL:  All right.  Others.  

DUNN:  Quickly.  I would not combine nuclear disarmament -- nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament, but I don't think you can -- you can't work the nuclear issues with Russia and China, unless you work the non-nuclear issues.  

They're interwoven and we're going to have to work them both together.  I agree we shouldn't be too pessimistic.   And as the great optimist, I don't -- I shouldn't be too optimistic either.  We need to be realistic optimists. 

That said, as someone who came out of Hudson Institute where we used to think the unthinkable back in my youth, I find it easier than I would care to believe to come up with scenarios whereby by the NPT because of this frustration gets itself in real trouble pretty soon.  I would do FMCT outside of the CD.  If you can't get the CD to negotiate, let's go and negotiate an FMCT out of the -- outside of the CD in some fashion, with whomever will play.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Randy. 

RYDELL:  Susan, your extremely cogent and difficult question on the -- on action has troubled me very deeply because in answering that question, I have to not look at my experience just working at the UN, but I also have 11 years working as an aide to Senator Glenn. 

And I'd compare the kind of political culture that we dealt with in the Glenn years between '87 and '98 with the circus that exists now and the rivalries and personal and ideological cleavages that are tearing that institution apart and it really breaks my heart to see what is going on there.  

I don't have a clue as to how to fix that problem.  I've thought a lot about it, but it has to be fixed because it comes back to the point I was trying to make about the lack of internalization of this great commitment we have to getting to a nuclear weapon-free world. 

Many of you will remember that when President Obama made his speech in Prague, he said that we seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.  He didn't say we seek peace and security so that we may achieve a world without nuclear weapons.  That's how it was interpreted and translated for the public. 

And I think that the public has to understand better how their security interests are benefited in a very, very concrete way by the serial elimination of these weapons.  I think the military has got to contribute to this -- to this conversation.  

Where are the military leaders?  They have enormous insights into these issues.  They have credibility that maybe people in Congress will listen to.  I think we need to increasingly hear from them as well because I don't think any of them are just serially going to oppose disarmament.  I think that -- hell, half the U.S. military, the two service -- branches are already non-nuclear, the Marines and the Army.  So it's a -- it's an important food for thought.  I think the military has an important role to play.  Sorry.    

KIMBALL:  All right.  We have time for one more question -- I'm sorry -- before we -- the lunch -- the lunch is on schedule, Tim?  OK.  Otherwise, you won't be able to eat and we'll be behind schedule and that would be a greater sin.  So I want to go -- the first person I saw in the next round, Edward Ifft, and then we're going to close out.  And I do apologize -- I mean, this subject could be the basis for about a month-long conference I think and that's why it is. 


So, Edward, very quickly, and then we're going to close out. 

IFFT:  Yes.  Sorry to be the last troublemaker.  Edward Ifft, Georgetown University.  A lot of good ideas have been put forward here, but nobody has really picked up the proposal made by the Four Horsemen two years ago, which was to create a joint enterprise, whose goal would be to create the conditions for going to zero.  

A lot of high-level studies, for example, the Congressional Commission, have said the conditions for going to zero do not exist today but then we don't seem to be taking the logical next step, which is to identify what are those conditions and what specifically are we doing to create them.  

I mean, the two obvious big problems are verification and how does deterrence work in a world with zero nuclear weapons.  As far as the forum goes, it seems obvious to me five is too small, 65 in the CD is too big, 190 in New York is way too big, but the four statesmen proposal was a group of maybe 20 or 30 states with high levels of nuclear expertise.  Thank you. 

KIMBALL:  All right.  On the subject of how to move the conversation forward to deal with what I think -- this is a term Jim Goodby coined, joint enterprise that addresses all these things in an intelligent way.  Lew, you talk about a few.  Randy, you've talked about another variation to Ed's question and then we'll close.  

DUNN:  That's the great beauty.  The proposal for the International Partnership on Nuclear Disarmament Verification.  Its whole purpose is to at least work one of the longest poles in the tent of a world without nuclear weapons.  And that's why I think it should receive broad support.

KIMBALL:  OK.  Andrea, any thoughts on this? 

BERGER:  My only thought is that part of the difficulty in the NPT discussion at the moment is that many non-nuclear weapon states want to see movement on some point somewhere, regardless of what those who possess nuclear weapons think might be the conditions for such a world, and would probably prefer not to spend the time discussing and debating what those might be, but want something in pretty short order. 

They sat there, they say, for 45 years and waited for more to happen.  Next year -- next review cycle, it will be 50-year mark of the treaty.  The treaty will be half a century old and they say, "Really, let's stop talking about the conditions here and have something happen."

I agree that the discussion on conditions should happen.  I agree that that's, you know, a realistic way forward, but there is also a frustration here that needs to be addressed in some other way and we need to think about how to do, too. 

KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, let me just also add one small thought on this.  I mean, I think Ed is asking I think a great concluding question.  It's the -- where do we go next, how do we carry this conversation forward problem.  And in my view, this is a question that has not been answered adequately by the non-nuclear weapon state majority and it is being resisted by the P5. 

And you can see that in New York right now.  They do not want to open up the conversation about nuclear weapons beyond their club and that is, I think, to their own detriment.  I think President Obama and his people are smart enough and really do have the vision enough to see that we need to broaden the conversation some way, somehow.  And there were inklings of this concept in not just the Four Horsemen op-eds but in Barack Obama's own statements in 2009 and '10.

So, you know, President Obama has another, what, 18 months or so left.  There will be opportunities for the United States working with some of the more thoughtful, active, and energetic non-nuclear weapon states, some of whom are represented here, we'll hear from them in a little bit, to forge some sort of new conversation about these issues that definitely have to be carried forward and worked through or else, as Randy said, the midlife crisis could turn into something terminal. 

So on that note -- sorry. 


But, you know, we're in the nuclear weapons business, so I'm sure that all of you have dealt with the terminal aspects of this subject, so it shouldn't be a shock to anyone here.  So with that, we need to conclude and move to our lunch session.  But first, let's all thank our panelists for their really thoughtful input. 


And we will continue to press on this topic.  And outside, let me just remind you of the logistical situation.  We have two buffet lines.  You only need to go through one to get your food. 


Don't go through both, because you'll notice it's the same menu in both.  So that's to ease the flow.  And so please take a quick break, get your food, come back in.  We're going to start in about a half an hour with our keynote luncheon speaker, Ambassador Alex Kmentt.

(Back to the agenda)

Speaker: Ambassador Alexander Kmentt, Director of Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Austria

Moderator: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

KIMBALL:  All right, everyone, if I could please ask you to settle in once again, find your seats.  I'm sorry to interrupt your conversations and your -- I hope you enjoy your lunch and desserts. 

So we're back here for the lunch segment of our program today.  And we've had a special segment today, because every year since 2007, the Arms Control Association staff has nominated several individuals and institutions that best exemplify leadership and action in pursuing effective arms control non-proliferation and disarmament solutions.

And each nominee on the list, which is about 10 or so people each year, in their own way has provided leadership to help to reduce weapons-related security threats.  And once we nominate, we open up the online polls to let you and others around the world decide who is the most deserving of the honor in any given year.

And we do this to highlight the fact that there are, in this sometimes very discouraging business, success stories each year, and there are heroes.  And there are bold acts of leadership, there are new ideas to solve tough problems, acts of dogged determination, and people who take personal and political risks in the hope of reducing the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. 

And we're pleased this year to have with us, as our keynote speaker, our 2014 Arms Control Person of the Year, otherwise known as Alexander Kmentt of Austria.  And he earned the highest number of votes in our end of the year online poll last December, surpassing nine other worthy candidates.

And those other worthy candidates included the runners-up, Ahmet Uzumcu, the director general of the OPCW and Sigrid Kaag, head of the OPCW-UN joint mission for their work in removing 1300 metric tons of chemical weapons from Syria.  

And Pope Francis, none other than Pope Francis -- who is on the cover of this month's Arms Control Today was the second runner-up in online voting, though I'm not sure if the Catholic world was aware that we had this online poll. 

Nonetheless, campaigning for the title is allowed and encouraged, and Alex won this year's honor.  And now, we've had several winners in the past, this is the first time we are bestowing the award in person.  

Alex Kmentt is now Austria's director for Arms Control Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.  And he started his career at the Austrian Federal Ministry for European International Affairs in 1994.  And I'm sure even before then was active.

And he's been a leader on a range of arms control issues over that time, from the Nonproliferation Treaty to cluster munitions, Conference of Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and other topics. 

And the 2014 Arms Control Person of the Year Award is in recognition for his work to organize and host the third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons from December 8th to 9th in Vienna, which included delegations representing some 158 states, I think it was, the United Nations and many, many more from civil society around the world. 

And this conference built upon the work of the two previous Humanitarian Impacts Conferences.  And the Vienna meeting, in particular, expanded the agenda to talk more about the physical impacts of nuclear weapons use in modern circumstances, the health effects of nuclear weapons production and testing, the application of international law to the consequences of nuclear weapons issue, and the shortfalls in the international capacity to address a humanitarian emergency triggered by the use of nuclear weapons.

And as many of you, if not all of you know by now, for the first time in this series of conferences the list of participant countries included two of the nuclear weapon states recognized by the NPT, the United Kingdom and the United States.  And two other nuclear-armed countries, India and Pakistan, took a part in the Vienna meeting in the previous two meetings.

And the award is also in recognition for something you heard about earlier this morning, Austria's pledge at the close of the Vienna Conference, quote, "To cooperate with all relevant stakeholders in efforts to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks." 

And that Austrian pledge has been endorsed by 80 states, perhaps more at this -- 84, at this -- at this stage. 

And truly the Vienna Conference and all three of these conferences, and the renewed focus on the global health consequences of nuclear weapons production, testing, and use, has changed the international conversation, I think, for the better, and provided renewed urgency to the long-running effort.  As we heard before, it will continue to be a long-running effort to move toward a world free of nuclear weapons. 

So Ambassador Kmentt, thank you very much for your hard work, dedication, and vision.  And we're very pleased to bestow you with this award, modest in size and appearance though it may be, it represents a great deal of work, and we thank you very much for all you've done.

KMENTT:  Thank you very much.


KIMBALL:  Why don't you put it there?  And now, Alex will address the topic of the Humanitarian Initiative and the NPT.

KMENTT:  Thank you so much.  Thanks for the very, very kind words.

It's a great pleasure and honor for me to be here today.  First I have to apologize to Daryl, because I know that this is also supposed to be a fund raising event for the great work that the Arms Control Association is doing.  Of course it's a significantly bigger challenge to do this with me as keynote speaker than it would have been with Pope Francis. 

But I'm -- I'm of course, extremely happy to be here and to get this great recognition.  I'm aware of course, that I got elected because there was a civil society campaign to push me over the finishing line, because friends and family alone would not have made that happen.

But I know, of course, that the real Arms Control Person of the Year is the Humanitarian Initiative and the intensive focus of the past few years on the consequences and risks of nuclear weapons. 

So, I'm extremely happy.  This helped me a great deal.  It went down extremely well with the Austrian Foreign Ministry.  Even the Foreign Minister made a press release because of that.  So, it didn't hurt. 

I also realize that this is of course the real expert audience here, an audience very much tuned in, in the nuclear weapons debate, from a nuclear weapons state perspective.  Expert on Russia relations, China relations, very much focused on the Iran and DPRK issue.

So an expert audience that may -- and if I'm wrong please I apologize -- an expert audience that may not have been so tuned in, in the humanitarian debate, and may not be so tuned in, in the way nuclear weapons are seen by the non-nuclear weapons states, the vast majority of UN member states. 

And so, I thought I would use this opportunity to try to explain this perspective, which now enjoys a clear support of three quarters of international community and UN member states. 

So, I'd like to give first my take on the development of the initiative of the past few years.  And secondly, make a few points where I think this initiative has had, and will have, a significant impact on the nuclear weapons debate.

Of course the humanitarian focus or the humanitarian issue itself is not a new one.  That's very clear.  It underpins all efforts that we do in multi-lateral work to establish a global disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  This notion is encapsulated in all the preamble paragraphs of essentially all the treaties.  

But of course, the focus has been very much on the security dimension, on the nuclear deterrence dimension, especially in the Cold War. So the recent focus, I always say the Humanitarian Initiative is inspired by the Prague speech from President Obama, because he re-energized the disarmament community. 

Another specific focus on the humanitarian dimension, I think can be traced back to the International Committee of the Red Cross, where former President Kellenberger gave a very important speech to the Geneva diplomatic community just a few weeks prior to the last NPT review conference.

He recalled the ICRC experience as the first humanitarian respondent present in Hiroshima.  And he highlighted the completely inadequate capacities to address the humanitarian emergencies that would result from any use of nuclear weapons.  And of course, as the guardian of international humanitarian law, the ICRC president also stated the ICRC finds it difficult to envisage how any use of nuclear weapons could be compatible with the rules of international humanitarian law.

So this speech by the president of the guardian of international humanitarian law was intended to be, and proved to be, a very important input for the 2010 review conference. 

The final document included the following reference, and I quote, "The conference expresses its deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and reaffirms the need for all states at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law." 

It was actually the first time since the adoption of the treaty that such a reference was explicitly included in an NPT review conference document.  

But Action 1 of the 2000 action plan also included the following reference.  It committed all states parties to pursue policies that are fully compatible with the treaty and the objective of a world -- and the objective of achieving a world without nuclear weapons. 

So the expression of the humanitarian concern, plus Action 1, became a sort of de facto mandate for many states to pursue the humanitarian initiative as a means to implement their own treaty obligation of Article VI.

So there are, of course, those actions that only nuclear weapons states can do, but there are others including a deepening understanding on the humanitarian dimension that non-nuclear weapon states can do.

And this focus then became operationalized very substantively in the course of the subsequent years.  First, through joint cross-regional declarations, initiated in 2012 by a group of 16 countries, including Austria -- and at subsequent meetings of the NPT and the general assembly, the group of 16 countries endorsing these joint statements grew to 160. 

And the latest statement endorsed by 160 countries was delivered by the Austrian Foreign Ministry just a few weeks ago at the beginning of the -- of the NPT Review Conference.

And it's actually to our knowledge, the biggest cross-regional joint declaration ever on a substantive issue in the UN context, so more than three quarters of UN member states have felt compelled to highlight the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, and the need to prevent such consequences through urgent progress on nuclear disarmament.

And it also includes, of course, a lot of states whose voices are hardly ever heard on this issue.  And I think that also must be considered a significant shift in the discourse on nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament. 

And the second track, of course, are the three -- are the international conferences specifically dedicated to this issue, first of all in Norway in 2013, and then two last year in Mexico and in Vienna.  And these conferences added very substantive evidence, research, and findings to the humanitarian debate, and there is not enough time to go into detail.  But very clearly it was seen as extremely interesting from the non-nuclear states' perspective to look at the actual impact of nuclear weapons.

And there are -- for instance, as a spin-off from the climate change debate, really disconcerting findings on the long-term consequences on the -- on the climate, on food security, which -- findings that go beyond the studies of -- and findings of nuclear winter from the 1980s.

So that the scope, the scale and the inter-relationship of these consequences are worse, and more complex than previously understood on the environment, climate, health, socio-economic development, social order, and so on.  And the -- and the -- and the systemic dimension of these consequences is hardly understood.

On the health side, for instance, new findings on a distinct gender perspective, that greater active contamination is disproportionately higher for girls and women, also new findings. 

Then the element of risk was examined in more detail, looking at doctrines and war plans, at risks of accidental mistaken unauthorized use, the vulnerability of command and control systems, human error, cyber attacks.  Eric Foss's book, for instance, was extremely instrumental in this context. 

So even when individual states take measures to reduce risk, as an aggregate globally the risks are increasing over time, and added to this of course are today the risks from non-state actors and terrorists gaining access to nuclear weapons or material. 

And then, of course, of key relevance to this debate were the very clear warnings from virtually every humanitarian responder from the UN system, from the ICRC, and also from a national perspective that no capacity exists to deal with the humanitarian emergencies, or the long-term consequences of nuclear weapons explosions, specifically of course in a populated area.  There aren't even any plans, because it's seen as a futile exercise. 

So the need and the urgency for prevention was focused -- was strongly into focus. 

At the conference in Vienna, we also looked at the -- at the legal aspect.  If you look at the consequences, what's the -- what does exist that international law has to say.  So international health law, environmental law, it is -- it is impossible to conceive the use of nuclear weapons without breaching existing international law.

And the ICRC, based on the new evidence, stated that in light of the new evidence further that we discussed on whether nuclear weapons could ever be used in accordance with international law.  And that of course, is also -- we also had it in Vienna.  We looked at the moral and ethical dimension.  We were extremely fortunate to have a message from Pope Francis there, and the position paper from the Holy See.  And the Holy See further developed its position from the 1980s. 

And I just wanted to quote one paragraph from this -- from the position paper.  I quote, "Since what is intended is mass destruction, extensive and lasting collateral damage, inhumane suffering and the risk of escalation, the system of nuclear deterrence can no longer be deemed a policy that stands firmly on moral ground."

I think this is a highly significant shift.  And it's echoed increasingly by other faith-based organizations.  And I think it will have a lasting impact on the nuclear weapons debate.  

So we aimed in Vienna to pull all this information together, and take it to the NPT with as much support as we can.  And I'm happy to talk about the -- how this impacts the NPT discussion right now in New York.  But I wanted to use the second half of my talk to make these few points that I think how the Humanitarian Impact may have -- or in my view, has had a lasting impact on the nuclear weapons debate.

The first one is that a large part of the appeal of this initiative, the statements and the conferences, lies in the openness of the process.  All states, even those who are normally very visible in the nuclear weapons debate, they can participate.  And that can actually make a pertinent point, because from that perspective they also have a clear stake. 

In this debate, in that context it's not as dysfunctional as the existing structures that we have.  We talked about the conference on disarmament.  So it's a -- it's a -- it's a positive and engaging debate in those-- in those meetings.

The non-nuclear states can make -- can set a progressive agenda, or make these voices heard without being procedurally stifled, which is unfortunately the case in the existing structures.  Then the role of civil society and academic experts is not only -- they are not only invited, they are welcomed as an extremely important contribution to a broader and more -- yes, to a more broader discussion on these issues, which of course brings in constituencies beyond the arms control community. 

And that's extremely important.  And it makes the discussion that we have in the other fora look sometimes more anachronistic and un-Democratic.  So the need for a more open discussion on those issues and broader discussion, I think, is one thing that has really come into focus. 

Secondly, the support from the -- the support for this initiative, of course, has to be seen in parallel with the developments that have taken place in the arms control world.  And as I said before, it was in a way stimulated by the Prague speech in 2009. 

But as high as the expectations may have been in 2009 and 2010, the developments that followed unfortunately didn't live up to them, and it became increasingly clear to the non-nuclear weapons state that the -- that the determination from nuclear weapon states, although of course there are big differences, but that this determination to really implement the action plan with the sort of sense of urgency that non-nuclear weapon states thought came out of 2010, that that wasn't there. 

And, I think, the nuclear weapons states haven't really grasped how much the modernization plans and budget allocations, which clearly indicate a willingness to retain and rely on nuclear weapons well into the second half of this century, how this undermines trust in the disarmament commitments given under the NPT.

So, the Humanitarian Initiative in a way gained strength also as a function of the increasing credibility and trust deficit experienced by the non-nuclear weapons state, and sort of as an outlet to express the sense of urgency.

So that's the second point, which I think will just simply get stronger, and we see that very much in the NPT context as well. 

And then thirdly I believe that the -- that the humanitarian -- that the substantive discussion from a humanitarian perspective, actually challenges the nuclear deterrence orthodoxy and the -- and the acceptance of that orthodoxy by a large part of the international community.

The case for nuclear deterrence rests, of course, on the credible threat of inflicting unacceptable destruction to a possible adversary.  But of course, we all bank on the assumption that the threat will succeed, that these capacities will never have to be deployed.  But we have to be clear that the credibility of the threat requires the readiness to use nuclear weapons, and since the mid and long-term consequences, based on these discussions and findings, of even a limited nuclear war would be considerably more serious than previously understood, and most likely global in the consequences.

In such a context, the notion of a credible first strike or counter strike, becomes largely irrelevant or winning a nuclear war is almost impossible and then seems like an absurd idea.  This doesn't square with the underlying foundation of nuclear deterrence, namely that it leads to rational behavior of all actors, because of the consequences for friend and foe alike and all humanity, that's the logic of it, are devastating and essentially suicidal, the threat itself becomes incredible.

What's left is of course the considerable danger of escalation and crisis situations between nuclear weapons state, and the trust that in the end it will not come to the worst.  But the reasoning that governments are always rational enough to handle nuclear deterrence, and that nuclear deterrence works because it makes governments always act rationally, is essentially a circular argument.

And then in order to avoid these global consequences nuclear deterrence is required never to fail.  But the new discussion on risk, or the new understanding on risk raise serious doubts to what extent this requirement can be fulfilled, because there is an inherent contradiction between maintaining nuclear weapons in a manner that demonstrates readiness to always use them, which of course, is required for the credibility of nuclear deterrence, and the need to ensure that they will never be used by accident, human, or technical error.

The measures that would be necessary to reduce the risks associated with nuclear weapons are the ones that restrict readiness to use nuclear weapons, thereby undermining the case for nuclear deterrence.  So it seems from the, I believe, broadly shared by non-nuclear weapons states, respective of the nuclear weapons states, are stuck in a vicious circle of maintaining an uncontrollable and ultimately uncontrollable risk of inflicting global consequences.  Or to reduce these risks, which is -- which essentially would remove the arguments in favor of nuclear deterrence itself. 

And then of course added to this, is the clear understanding that there is no capacity to deal with these consequences in a remotely adequate way.

So we heard before, nuclear weapon states are so concerned that the Humanitarian Initiative has the aim to make nuclear weapons illegal under international law.  But in reality, I think it's not the legality of nuclear weapons, but the legitimacy of nuclear weapons and the security approach based on nuclear deterrence that has come into clear focus as a result of the Humanitarian Initiative, and that is being challenged.

Nuclear weapons have catastrophic consequences, their possession carries considerable risks, their use would be illegal, except maybe for a small range of mostly hypothetical scenarios, and the combination of these factors together with the underlying readiness to commit mass destruction make them immoral. 

And these views, these line of argument, I think, is gaining significant grounds in the international community among the non-nuclear weapon states against the background of frustration and trust deficit, and credibility deficit.  And that's what we're seeing in the NPT at the moment. 

The fourth point of the Humanitarian Initiative, therefore, is that it's sort of exposes a very clear rift and we've talked about this before in the international community on the approach towards nuclear weapons, and what should be done to address these challenges. 

And states that continue to make the case for the step-by-step approach, even though from my perspective it's not very -- not a very credible approach at the moment, but the logic is that it has to be done, nuclear disarmament has to be done in a way that allows for the maintenance of nuclear deterrence.

But I think non-nuclear states increasingly see this as an argumentative stretch to insist on nuclear weapons for one's own security, but that these weapons should be kept out of the hand of everybody else, and at the same time, being in favor of nuclear disarmament. 

So, I think this argument has become increasingly more difficult to make.  And the Humanitarian Initiative has thus more clearly exposed a double standard there.  And I think it also puts into question whether reliance on nuclear weapons and support for nuclear disarmament are not essentially mutually exclusive concepts, or at least in the view of what nuclear disarmament should mean in the eyes of probably a majority of NPT member states, as against the view of what nuclear disarmament means from those who promote the step by step approach.

And it will be problematic of course for the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime if this rift cannot be overcome.  But I think nuclear weapon states need to realize that they -- they sort of can't have it both ways. 

To support -- to maintain support for the NPT on the global regime, much more credibility needs to be added to nuclear disarmament efforts.  It's difficult to imagine how support for non-proliferation can be maintained, if NPT nuclear weapon states -- well, of course are also the five permanent members of the Security Council, continue to advocate a security concept that is increasingly seen as illegitimate by the rest of the world.  And that has actually implication that goes beyond the nuclear weapons debate.

Let's have a look for instance at the P5+1 talks.  Of course they are broadly supported, because nobody wants to see a nuclear weapons program.  But the fact and the irony is not lost on anybody, that it's states who argue for the importance for nuclear weapons for their own security, while insisting on the unacceptability of these weapons for other states. 

So, nuclear weapon states are actually proliferating the concept and value of nuclear weapons.  And I think that is a -- that is a very damaging recognition by non-nuclear weapon states that that is actually the case. 

The credibility of non-proliferation efforts would be greatly enhanced if it would be accompanied with a much more determined move away from nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence.  And that leads to my very short fifth and final potentially lasting impact of what I hope the Humanitarian Initiative should be, because it strengthens the taboo about -- the taboo against nuclear weapons, against nuclear weapons as such.

Building case for the illegitimacy of nuclear weapons based on the consequences and associated risks that works as a strong set of arguments for disarmament and non-proliferation.  So the humanitarian focus should be or is maybe the best hope to shore up broad international support for the NPT, and for the creation of a strong -- and for the maintenance of a strong disarmament and non-proliferation regime. 

It should be seen as a -- as a wake-up call, and it should really be embraced.  And it should unite the international community into much more urgent action on these issues.  And unfortunately from the perspective that I have now after two and a half weeks in the NPT, that the push back is much more fundamental.  There's not even a recognition that there really is an issue.  And I think that makes me very pessimistic, or skeptical at to what extent we will be able to breach these differences.  But with that, I leave it. 

Thank you very much. 


KIMBALL:  Well, thank you very much, Alex.  I think it's very important to outline the origins and as you say, the implications of this effort, and to clarify misperceptions that are out there about it.

We have a few minutes for you to ask Alex your questions about -- your questions about this issue, the NPT Review Conference.  Just once again, please raise your hands.  We have microphones and we will bring the mic. 

Let's start here in the front with Paul Walker at the Walker table. 

QUESTION:  Thank you very much, Ambassador.  It's very, very helpful and very interesting. 

I want to ask you a little bit about the future of the Humanitarian Initiative.  Where do you think it's going to go after three, you know, very interesting conferences, as well as the NPT this year?

KIMBALL:  Why don't you go ahead? 

KMENTT:  I have no idea.  I think what I tried to outline is a broad support for the kind of -- the substantive notion behind it.  And I think some of the conclusions, there is a large convergence among the non-nuclear weapons states.  But in terms of how to operationalize this into a concrete way, I think that's still a very broad charge. 

And in the previous panel, we heard that in the NPT, it goes in a lot different directions.  There is, of course the sort of “banned” discussion is getting traction.  NAM still talks about everything has to take place in the conference on disarmament.  So I think it's still very unclear. 

The three-quarter support for this is on the -- is on the substantive dimension.  And I think the nuclear weapon states have, in my view, made the mistake to look at this initiative primarily from the question on the process, where does it lead to, rather than engaging really on the substantive and sort of legitimate questions that are being asked. 

Because -- I mean, even the proponents of a ban treaty would say of course it's not the best option.  Of course it's better to go forward broadly.  And I think that was very clearly also our intention in the way we tried to structure the conference in Vienna, to package it sort of as input for the NPT.  But what are we getting at the NPT in response to it? 

At the moment, it's not very clear what this is going to be.  So what will happen after the NPT, there could be a fragmentation of different initiatives?  But there is -- there is -- there is no clear plan.

There was some talk at some stage that South Africa may host a follow-up meeting, but they haven't -- they haven't made any concrete steps and haven't said anything specific.  But I believe that the narrative itself, the initiative itself will, of course, go beyond the NPT.  It will be raised, I think now from the proponents in every forum and every framework that we have.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.

There are also a couple of other questions.  Yes, over here and further on the background.  We take two at a time.

Please identify yourself.

QUESTION:  Hi, I'm Martin Fleck, Physicians for Social Responsibility.  And we are excited that you got the award.  Very well deserved.

And we spent considerable effort last year to urge the United States to send a delegation to Vienna, and we're glad that they did.  But my question for you is, as organizers in the United States, you've got 84 nations that have signed on to the Austrian Pledge.  We could wait for a long time before the United States signs on.  But what would you advise us to do, those of us who want to promote the Humanitarian Impact initiative here in the United States? 

What would be most helpful? 

KIMBALL:  All right.  And then, Stephen Young.

QUESTION:  Stephen Young with the Union of Concerned Scientists.  First, congratulations.  Well deserved award to you. 

Question actually for you is -- sorry, is to just could you -- have you give us your sense of how things are going in New York now, and what you expect what might happen in the next couple of weeks?

KMENTT:  We were extremely happy that two nuclear weapon states decided to come, and I hope that they didn't regret their decision.  I think it was also very important that because of the increasing debate here in Washington on whether or not to participate, also the expert community, think tank community got more engaged in these issues.

And I think this is probably the most important spin of -- that there should be at least -- I would say, the discussion should be primarily on the substantive issues.  

Is there really -- and we're getting a pushback from nuclear weapon states in the NPT who challenge the fact that there is even anything new, that there is even an issue.  And I think from, at least the perspective of the non-nuclear weapon states, who of course know less about these issues than nuclear weapons states.  But from their perspective, there is a lot of new and pertinent information.  I think that would be very helpful if there would be more of a discussion on these issues from a humanitarian angle, rather than the -- which I think is the normal type of discussion that takes place here, very much from a security policy and nuclear deterrence based focus.

So if you address nuclear weapons issues from the impact of nuclear weapons and the risk issue, I think that may have -- that may be a good contribution to the debate.  What it -- what it will lead to here in Washington, of course, I don't know and I don't want to comment.

But I think it's important to move away from an exclusive focus on process, but really get into the -- into the substance.  That is also -- at the moment, I'm very pessimistic, because we felt that we have spent five years building a case for a renewed urgency based on humanitarian arguments, better understanding on risk.

And what we're hearing in New York, from the nuclear weapon states, also of course with differences, but by and large, is that there is no new evidence, there is no issue. The French Ambassador, for instance, said, "Risk is a non-issue," so it doesn't -- I mean, there is no discussion on it. 

And that, of course, is perceived, I think is very frontal.  So we had the action plan.  We have the arguments and the sense of urgency, and the expectation of urgency.  So there needs to be more.  And if we don't get that, then I think the NPT will have taken a blow.  And the credibility of the NPT as a disarmament framework, which already is in -- is in dire straits will be further weakened. 

QUESTION:  I want to just ask you a further question on the NPT, if I could.  I mean, based upon what you've heard in the formal presentations from the five original weapon states, and in the closed conference rooms.  

Have any of them brought forward what you or some of your colleagues involved in this initiative, which say are, new ideas or new initiatives to move forward on actions, Step 5 of the 2010 Action Plan?  I mean, it??



KMENTT:  No.  I think it's -- I think the push from the nuclear weapon states is primarily a rollover of 2010, which of course is not -- is not -- it doesn't match up to the expectation that -- of course, the countries that have pushed the Humanitarian Initiative. 

I mean it's 160 countries of -- what is the number of NPT members, that it's 190 or so.  So it's a -- there is a clear feeling that consensus should be built around that view, that there is a sense of urgency.

Just as -- if I may, coming back to the previous panel and the discussion on an open-ended working group establishment.  It was an idea that Austria, Norway, and Mexico pushed in 2012.  And it was established -- they met in Geneva in 2013. 

But nuclear weapon states opposed the establishment of that group.  I mean, it met anyway and I think it did some useful work, but there was an explanation of vote in the general assembly by the P3 explaining why they'd vote against it, why they think it's a complete waste of time, and stating that they will disregard any outcome. 

So, I mean, it was a very difficult review cycle for the -- for the -- for the states that felt that the action plan and the positive agreement 2010 was actually a call for urgent action, because it didn't -- it didn't -- it didn't transpire on the -- in the multi-lateral battlegrounds, if I may say.

KIMBALL:  OK.  Why don't we go to Susan Burk in the middle and then over here on the right.

QUESTION:  Congratulations, Alexander. 

KMENTT:  Thanks. 

QUESTION:  And thanks for your remarks.  You made a comment that the nuclear weapon states made a mistake by looking at the initiative as a process.

And I want to say, I think looking at it from outside the government.  I'm not representing a government.  Maybe after Mexico that would have been illegitimate, because clearly the conclusion documents suggested that this was leading to a convention, which I think all the people I've indicated they're going to support.

And the Vienna conference seemed to put it back more on the track of addressing issues, say, the practical issues.  What's the likelihood or the appetite for using this to really have a substantive discussion with technical people about consequence management? 

I was kind of encouraged by the statements that have been made in New York that you're -- it's including the risk of non-state actors and terrorists.  And in the previous life, when I did Homeland Security for the State Department, that was one of the issues that was being looked at, was, you know, consequence management with the Department of Homeland Security and partner states, and these were public, you know, exercises, looking at how do you manage a plague event, or a radiological event, or something, being seen as the kind of thing that the nations needed to be concerned about.

If it went in that direction and sort of to create a confidence or have a discussion on issues that they may all could agree, yeah, these are legitimate concerns.  I mean, is there any appetite for doing that kind of thing?

I mean, it sounds like what you're saying, but I'm not -- I'm not sure.

KMENTT:  I think that the nuclear weapon states has really made a mistake.  The first conference was organized in Oslo.  It's a NATO country.

They were very cautious in how to structure the meeting, but received a coordinated P5 position on non-attendance, saying that it is a distraction from the NPT.  And I have to say I think this was a fundamental, tactical error from nuclear weapon states, because of course, Norway, of all countries certainly would have liked its NATO nuclear weapons states allies to be there. 

I think that in a way energized a sort of more political dimension, which we then saw in Mexico.  And the wish of states to make political statements there, which of course didn't happen in Oslo which was very much focused on the -- on the -- on the -- on the technical and fact-based side.

I think the -- to answer your main question I think it would be very important to engage on that -- on these substantive elements.  There was yesterday which I think was very welcome, was a briefing organized by the U.S. mission on the issue of de-alerting.

Of course it was a bit -- from the substantive side, it was a bit disappointing that de-alerting which sort of seems to -- pretty much everybody as the absolute logical first step to reduce risks that should be taken and could be taken, and there is vast support for a UN general assembly resolution in this issue.  And the U.S. basically gave a number of reasons why more concrete steps on de-alerting are not possible. 

But at least that kind of engagement on substance I think is extremely important.  So there should also be an engagement on response capabilities.  And of course, that's going to be a difficult discussion for nuclear weapons states to have, because if the consequences are global, how do you explain to -- for instance, countries in Africa who have done everything right.  They are all members of a nuclear weapon free zone, how can it be explained to them that the consequences would impact them as well?

But I think engaging on that kind of discussion has been mostly lacking so far.  So I think it would be very good to demonstrate these concerns are taken seriously, and that these are absolutely legitimate questions, and they shouldn't be just pushed aside into the -- to the -- this just has the agenda to push a legal ban.  I think that's a mistake. 

KIMBALL:  All right.  We have time for a couple of quick questions.  Right over here, Shervin, there she is.  And Edward Levine, and then we'll close.  Please? 

QUESTION:  Thank you. 

I'm Veronica Cartier and I'm always for the openness, in the sense that I would like to express that I'm glad.  I'm so happy that I voted for you.  You are the right.

KMENTT:  I hope all of you voted for someone.  Yes.

QUESTION:  Yes.  Maybe all of us, but I think you are in the right person for the right position.  You stated a non-deterrence orthodoxy, it is -- I think it is factual.

KMENTT:  I'm sorry, I didn't?

KIMBALL:  Deterrence orthodoxy.

KMENTT:  OK, yeah.

QUESTION:  Deterrence orthodoxy, and also the factual of threat, maintaining of readiness.  I think currently we are in the sense of looking for the readiness.  

And I would like to address a question in the sense of urgency, what direction and advice you can give for the nuclear proliferation states in the framework to reduce errors, because I think that is the -- we need to focus on that.  Thank you.

KIMBALL:  All right.  And then, let's take the final question, Edward Levine, please?

QUESTION:  Edward Levine, retired from the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The nuclear weapon states are clearly afflicted with contradictions as you have pointed out, in that if they are sensitive to the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, they still are not going to let that interfere with their reliance upon deterrence.  But it seems to me that the non-nuclear weapons states too often fall into a similar set of contradictions, in which they say, "If there is not enough urgency shown on disarmament we won't support non-proliferation," as though proliferation would be of any use to them from the humanitarian standpoint. 

So I wonder, from your position working with the non-nuclear weapon states, what can be done to focus your efforts more clearly on what is doable by everybody, rather than on the exchange of brickbats?

KIMBALL:  Easy questions, folks, yes. 

KMENTT:  Easy questions, yeah. 

On the issue of reduction of errors, I think that is -- that is a question that really nuclear weapon states have to address.  I think non-nuclear weapon states can make the point that the information, the findings that we hear is disconcerting, but how the command and control structures are set up, of course greater degree of transparency would be welcome.  But that is -- that is an issue that, really, nuclear weapon states can -- or should answer. 

On the question from Ed, well, I agree that if you're looking for contradictory positions, the disarmament and non-proliferation world is the right place to look.  Yeah, I mean, the Humanitarian Initiative has the support from some countries who probably have an agenda that's not totally humanitarian driven.  I think that's a problem.

The way I see it, it should -- I mean the NPT is a -- is a -- is an uneven treaty.  But of course it's clearly a security benefit to everybody.  But of course it clearly benefits primarily the nuclear weapon states.

So, what can be done through the humanitarian initiative is applied pressure.  And I think this is -- this is -- the pressure should not be that if you don't disarm, that everybody else will proliferate, that's absolutely clear.  But the bargain of the NPT holds only if nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation deals are upheld.  And the very clear voice coming that the nuclear disarmament bargain is not upheld, we hope will compel the nuclear weapon states to do more to upheld -- to uphold their end of the bargain.

I'm not sure that this is a satisfactory, specific answer.  There are a whole range of legitimate questions that are being asked.  There is, of course, an implicit building up of momentum that if the NPT is not delivering, that other developments could happen.  And I think in order to stop that from happening and maybe stopping some crazy things from happening, nuclear weapon states should really take this much more seriously to keep it all in the NPT, which is certainly what most countries that support the humanitarian initiative want.

So they want to see progress in the NPT.  But what's on offer?  

KIMBALL:  And that's the question I want to leave you with for now.  We're out of time for this session. 

I want to thank you once again, Ambassador Kmentt, for all your ground-breaking work, your dedication, your persistence. 

Like many of you here who've worked at treaty and negotiations -- I was just talking to Larry Weiler about this, it takes time from one's personal life.  And I know that you've dedicated a lot, and I'm glad that you can be here with us today, especially in the midst of the NPT review conference. 

Thank you. 


KMENTT:  Thanks a lot, everybody.  Thank you.

KIMBALL:  All right.  And if I could please ask Kelsey Davenport and our other panelists for the next session to come up here, so that we can make a quick transition.  Richard Nephew and Ariane Tabatabai, please come on up.

(Back to the agenda)

Speakers: Richard Nephew, Program Director, Economic Statecraft, Sanctions, and Energy Markets, Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy, and Ariane Tabatabai, current Associate Professor, Security Studies Program, Georgetown University

Moderator: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association

DAVENPORT:  Well, thank you all again for being here today.  We're entering this final stretch of the Iran talks with just about six weeks left before the June 30th deadline to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal.

The progress that's been made over the past two years is really quite incredible.  We've had over 15 months of successful implementation of the interim agreements, and on April 2nd, parameters were announced to guide the drafting of the final agreement that from a nonproliferation standpoint are very strong. 

And from our perspective at ACA a deal is not only possible at this point but it's probable.  So, I'm very excited today to have a panel to discuss where we are now in the talks, what remains to be done and then, look a little bit at implementation of the final deal.

So to start off today we have Richard Nephew.  Richard is the program director on the economic statecraft, sanctions and energy markets with the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, and prior to joining Columbia University, he was the principal deputy coordinator for sanctions policy at the State Department, a position which he held beginning in 2013. So he has been on the ground at the Iran talks until he took up his post at Columbia. 

Following Richard, we have Ariane Tabatabai.  She's an associate at the Belfer Center's International Security Program and Project on Managing the Atom and is now a visiting assistant professor at Georgetown University.  And she is going to give us a look at some of the dynamics inside Iran and reactions to the nuclear deal and the announcements that have made thus far. 

So, we'll start with you Richard.

NEPHEW:  Thank you very much.

And thanks everybody for being here.  These are very interesting conversations -- oops, that would help.  These are interesting conversations even more if the microphone is on, but I'm looking forward to offering you a few thoughts and then, most importantly, having a bit of a conversation afterwards. 

You know, I think - I was asked to talk a little bit about sanctions relief in the comprehensive plan of action that hopefully will be concluded by the end of June and in particular how to bridge whatever gap may exist between the P5+1 Iranian positions but also what they're saying in public and what this means really in terms of the talks.

And I think my fundamental conclusion would be that even though there is a gap in how the parties are talking about sanctions relief, I don't think that there is a real gap in understanding what will need to be part of a comprehensive deal, and nor do I think that there is a fundamental gap on what will need to happen on the Iranian side and on the P5+1 side to make sanctions relief a reality.

I think what's really at the heart of the debate that has happened in public between Iran and the P5+1 is a messaging problem, and it's a messaging problem that frankly speaks to the heart of the Iran nuclear issue. 

I think, you know, like Kelsey said, I believe that a deal at this point is highly likely coming out at the end of June, but I also think that at the end of June there is still going to be a strong dissimilarity between what the P5+1 and what Iran is saying about how sanctions relief is going to be implemented. 

And you can already see a number of people scratching their heads saying, well, how can that be when the deal is done?  That should be the time in which there is clarity between the sides.  But I think at the end of the day there will be this gap because both sides need to say different things, which may be true, not withstanding that.  And I'll speak a little bit as to why.

You know, I think the P5+1 view of the Iran nuclear negotiation has been very straightforward from the beginning.  It's really, truly an instance of pay for performance, that the Iranians will have to take certain specific nuclear steps on a specific timeframe in order to get specific relief.

But that's not Iran's position in looking at this negotiation.  You know, what I think what the Iranians have been very clear about is they are not seeking a transaction here.  What they're seeking is a rationalization of what they perceive to be a status quo, which is that sanctions are not actually working, that in various different ways they're helping Iran or they're immaterial to Iran, and so on and so forth. but that the nuclear program is proceeding regardless.  

And what I think they are trying to have is a nuclear deal in which there needs never be a concession that sanctions where in fact inflicting a great pain on Iran, they're instead more of an inconvenience. 

If that's the case, then it would be very difficult for them, in fact, to get into a transactional conversation with the P5+1, because to do so implies that there are costs being imposed on both sides and that those costs are to some measure equal. 

Well, that would cut against a lot of what Iranian rhetoric has been for a long period of time.  So, instead, what they have to say is sanctions will be relieved and they have to be relieved because it would be illogical for them to remain in place.  Not that, frankly, in every single negotiating round that the P5+1 has had with Iran, but they're the core of the issue and that getting sanctions relief in a timely manner has been the Iranian position from the get-go and continues to guide what their negotiating strategy is.

And I think at the end of the day, this is because they need to avoid being seen as having caved to Western pressure.  I think that cuts against their domestic narratives, it cuts against their own sense of self and it cuts against the clear negotiating instructions they've taken from the supreme leader.

So what they've had to do, I think, is to some degree perform a lot of verbal gymnastics to basically say we need to get sanctions relief, it needs to happen in a timely manner, it will be done in exchange for nuclear steps, but not as some sort of quid pro quo transactional basis, rather it was simply a logical outcome of a deal.

So what does that really mean, though, in terms of the results of the deal?  Not much.  You know, the two sides are going to talk about things in a different way, but just as that P5+1 has had to accept certain realities about Iran's nuclear program, Iran has to accept certain realities about sanctions relief. 

You know, enrichment will continue in Iran as part of this deal but so will the presence of some sanctions for a period of time as well as other sanctions that govern human rights, terrorism, so on and so forth, and the Iranians are going to have to reconcile themselves to that, they're going to find some way of having to describe that. 

And the words chosen by both sides will differ and differ markedly but Iran has already demonstrated that they're prepared to accept this lack of this consistency between the positions in the P5+1 Iran joint statement of April 2nd, where they said that they would be prepared to accept terms like cease the application of U.S. sanctions as opposed to terminating them on day one.

And I think what this means ultimately is that there is less actually being disagreed upon between the P5+1 and Iran on the substance, and it's more about making sure that the final day in which sanctions are supposed to be suspended is met with certain nuclear steps having been taken.

So what will that day look like?  In my view, I think it will be very similar on what happened on January 20th, 2014, which we were describing at that time as a long day in which the IAEA verified very early in the morning in Iran that certain nuclear steps had been taken, and it provided reports to Brussels and it provided a report to Washington as to what the nature of those nuclear steps were.

And we went through a list in which we review what Iran had to do consistent with the joint plan of action and confirmed that all of those steps had been taken.  And once we were able to go through that list and verify that those things had been done, we were able to trigger the sanctions relief that had been promised as part of the joint plan of action.

Now, Iran is going to have to do an awful lot of work in order to get there, but the Iranians have already started priming the pump and prepping their audiences for this, in Takht Ravanchi saying, for instance that there are preliminary works that will have to do be done as a way of getting ready for the day of implementation.

And what I think that basically means is they will be taking steps to modify the Arak reactor, to slow down enrichment, to remove centrifuges, to remove nuclear material, but that because that won't have been verified by the IAEA at that point, it will all be preliminary.  It will all be something that can be reversed until such time as the IAEA confirms that all has been done, and at that point sanctions relief can in fact start to flow. 

With respect to sanctions relief, there will have to be three almost simultaneous steps taken, and that's where there will be some complication. 

First, the UN Security Council will need to vote on a resolution that changes the character of the UN Security Council system.  Now, that resolution may be set in place earlier on as part of the time lag between the signature of the deal, if such a deal was signed, and its actual starting implementation.

But the practical impact of the UN system having been changed probably won't take place until after the IAEA has verified that these nuclear steps have been taken. 

The EU will have to vote to modify its sanctions, and this will come likely in the form of council resolution, council statement and council conclusion that establishes a new legal basis for whatever measures still are in place and then, establishes whatever the snapback criteria are going to be for the EU. And I think on that there's still a lot of work to be done, and I'll speak to that in a moment.  

And the United States will have to trigger its sanctions relief, which will be in the form of presidential waivers and State Department and Treasury Department modification of their implementation rules and regulations.

Now, that will probably be done in a variety, a blizzard of paperwork, and stacks and reams of paper will be signed off on, but ultimately, what it will come down to is a package that will go to the president, to the secretary of state, and to the secretary of treasury, triggering whatever relief has been agreed to and then, establishing what the process will be for implementing what measures are still in place.  I think this then will be the situation for a number of years.

If what we're hearing out of the negotiations is consistent with reality, then I think everything will basically happen on one day, that there will be a verification of a variety of nuclear steps being taken in the morning and sanctions will be suspended in the afternoon.  And that will be the situation that then pertains until one of two things happens.  Either the Iranians cheat and sanctions snap back, or we reach the end of either a time period or some milestone that Iran's nuclear program has to achieve in which further sanctions relief will take place. 

And that will largely be in the UN Security Council context and be a form of removing the existing restrictions on Iran's nuclear program, its ability to acquire sensitive items, so on and so forth.

And I think at that same time you would see then the United States begin the process of formally terminating its remaining legislation and any residual nuclear-related sanctions that have been suspended.  Now, that will require new law.  That will require drafting a new bill that changes the standards by which the current sanctions ought to be judged, because the termination clauses in many of these laws do in fact reflect terrorism, human rights and other related purposes.

But this is not that unusual a circumstance, law can be changed, that's the reason why we have an active legislature.  And I think the point at which we have finally decided that Iran has met certain benchmarks is when that bill can be put forth.  Whether, of course, it will voted on in year 10, 15 or 20 is a whole separate conversation.

I think I'll conclude with three items that I think are worth sort of thinking about.  First is how the EU will actually take its steps.  I think there's been a lot of discussion about the difference between the statements and the joint statements between the P5+1 and Iran, between how the EU would take a sanctions relief and how the United States would take its sanctions relief. 

I think it speaks to the different nature of the legislature processes in the two places.  For the EU, they have to get 28 countries together to vote to suspend or terminate legislation.  They then have to have the same 28 come together to put new sanctions in place.  I think the fact that the EU would be going to consider a termination of its sanctions does not mean that there would not be the possibility of snapback.  

And I think that you could see a snapback rule set up such that sanctions are formally terminated by the EU, but that the EU also decides that they will come back into place if some criteria has been tripped, and this could be something as simple an IAEA director general's report that Iran has violated some part of the conference of plan of action or it could be something much more complicated.  But there is still room within the termination of EU sanctions to have some kind of snapback arrangement. 

On the UN, I think it will be frankly a creative drafting exercise of a Security Council resolution. Paragraph one of a resolution will probably say something like we terminate the existing Security Council resolutions and their various provisions.  Paragraph two will say, except for the following paragraphs, and put them back in place.  At the end of the day, this isn't rocket science, it's just simply words.  And there is a way of making the words in a Security Council resolution say what you need them to say and to re-impose the restrictions that have been agreed upon in a comprehensive plan of action. 

The real tricky part is getting the political agreement on what those restrictions need to be.  And I think that's, again, part and parcel of the negotiations that are ongoing today.

On the issue of snapback more generally, I think a lot of attention is focused on whether or not there is legal mechanism for snapback, and that to me is an absurd way of looking at this.  Certainly, there's a legal way of doing snapback. 

The more important issue is under what circumstances snapback would be triggered because I don't think it's credible that for something as innocuous as a centrifuge valve being out of place, all the sanctions regime would go back in place.  And I don't, frankly, the Iranians would be all that concerned about that, because they know that that would then risk the entire plan of action. 

I think the bigger issue really is differentiating between material breaches and nonmaterial breaches, technical violations.  And I think that's actually where some more useful work ought to be done.  How we would respond to the things that are technical violations of the deal and how we respond to material breaches of the deal.

One would certainly trigger a snapback of all the sanctions that could be suspended, the other one may trigger something less, like, for instance, prohibition on the ability of an entity to engage in procurements for a year or six months, something like that.  But there ought to be a way of structuring a system in which certain violations are treated in a certain way and other violations are treated in another way.  

And I think this speaks to a larger issue about snapback.  Some of the debate on snapback has focused on whether or not snapback will preclude an Iranian breakout attempt.  I think that's a ridiculous abstraction.  If the Iranians decide to break out, sanctions are not going to be how we respond. A true Iranian breakout attempt with undeclared facilities and a brush past all the diplomatic efforts that will be taken to try and pull them back, sanctions are not going to be the way that they'll be arrested, instead that's when we're going to be in a place in which military force is going to have to be considered. 

So, therefore, the real question is not how to deal with a massive breakout and whether or not sanctions can arrest that, because at that point we would be on a very shrinking timeline with limited options other than military or how to deal with the technical, small violations which can be dealt with, but this middle space.  And it's in the middle space where the need for more breakout time is so important. 

If the Iranians are at a minimum a year away from having enough enriched uranium for a bomb, that does give you plenty of time to go down the sanctions path and to escalate the pressure on the regime in a very serious way.  The key issue will be context and how the United States and its partners choose to sell their decision to snapback on the sanctions. 

In instances in which there is widespread and systemic violations that will comparatively easily.  In instances in which there isn't, that's where the debate will be harder.  And I think what this all again speaks to is the need to be very careful in how we design our snapback, how we sell a deal, and then, how we implement the deal thereafter to assure that we have that maximum year to address the breakout attempt in the more sneak out sort of scenario.  And I think I'll stop my comments there.

DAVENPORT:  Great.  Thank you, Richard. 


TABATABAI:  Thank you, Kelsey.  Thank you, Daryl and the rest of the ACA team for obviously this event but also all the hard work you guys have been doing to support this very worthy process.

I'm really glad Richard brought up the issue of messaging and words, because that's what I'm going to be focusing on for the next 10 minutes.  I've heard from a number of cold warriors that one of the shortcomings of their efforts during the U.S.-Soviet arms control negotiations was that they often mistook rhetoric for policy. 

And a number of people have raised the question, are we doing the same with Iran?  And the answer is yes.  Every time the supreme leader says something, and it's very frequently, it's almost once a week, if not more, people around town start to raise questions and throw their arms in the air and say that's it, the negotiations are going to derail, that's the end of the process, we're not going to get anything out of this. 

And in the next, six weeks, I guess, is the time until we have until June 30th, this is going to become increasingly a challenge because domestic dynamics in Iran is -- are, you know, there's more and more conflict within Iran on this topic.  There are a number of conflicting forces.  And the rhetoric is going to be increasingly conflicted and increasingly contradictory, in fact. 

So I want to focus on the major actors inside Iran that are going to have a say on the nuclear issue.  And I want to sort of break it down and talk a little bit about what they've said so far on the negotiations and what that means for the implementation of a deal. 

So let's start with the supreme leader, obviously the person everybody thinks about when thinking about this issue.  The supreme leader, you know, as I said, he talks a lot, he says a lot of things, and he often says things that are interpreted as very strict redlines. 

For those of you who live in DC, you'll remember that about a year ago he came up and put a number, a figure, to the enrichment issue, which, until that point, was a very sort of vague discussion about, you know, Iran has a right to enrich.

A year ago he came out and said we need 190,000 separative work units to fuel Bushehr.  And at that point everybody was saying, well, that's it, 190,000 SWU, there's no way we're going to accept that.  Nobody sat down and thought, OK, let's think about this.  Do the Iranians actually have the capability to get to 190,000 SWUs?

Obviously, the answer is no, not right now.  All you have to do is read the second sentence to find out that what he was saying was you may not need it in the next two years, three years or five years, but eventually we will need to get to that point.  So we need enrichment and we need to be able to get to that point at some, you know, at some point in the future.  

Why am I talking this - why am I reminding you of this?  Because since the extension of the agreements in November 2014, there's been a number of instances where he's come out and said things that have been interpreted again as very strict redlines that were going to derail the process.

So, for instance, shortly before the March deadline for an agreement, for a framework agreement, the supreme leader said, look, we don't want a phased process.  We're going to have a single process, and that's going to be it.  We're not going to have a framework agreement followed by a comprehensive agreement. 

And, in fact, what happened was that we did get a framework agreement and we're going to get a comprehensive agreement in June. 

Likewise, when the Lausanne agreement was announced, he said something about sanctions and whether or not sanctions should be lifted all at once, whether or not they should lifted right after an agreement is reached.  Obviously, that was interpreted again as, well, the supreme leader is saying that sanctions must be lifted right this instance, and that's not going to happen, so we can't have an agreement then.

But, you know, again, looking at what he said and interpreting what he says, reading between the lines, essentially, indicates that every time he comes up and fixes a redline, the redline can be crossed and it's not a strict redline. 

And in fact, I would argue that he has been giving flexible enough redlines for the negotiating team to be able to sell the deal domestically using the framework as it's been established by the supreme leader.

And that's exactly what the negotiating team has been doing in Iran in the few months.  Zarif, Salehi and others in the team have been giving interviews, very long ones, in Iranian media, trying to sell the deal to their domestic constituency. 

And I know I'm going to get into a lot of trouble for this but, you know, despite how conservative the supreme leader is on most issues, on the nuclear issue, he has been a moderating agent.

If it wasn't for him, first of all, we wouldn't have a process.  There would be no process, and this would be (inaudible).  And second, if the supreme leader didn't step in and tell the hardliners in Iran to quiet down essentially, there would be a lot more challenging of the agreement, of the process all together.  And the negotiating team would have a much harder time selling this deal and negotiating in fact than it has been having. 

So what he's doing is very similar in fact to what the IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has been doing, balancing conflicting interest, balancing various domestic constituencies, but at the same time trying to negotiate, because there is, I would argue, a national consensus around the idea that the negotiations need to happen, that there needs to be a deal in Iran.

So the IRGC has been essentially echoing what the supreme leader has been saying, which is, you know, the negotiations must happen.  We back the negotiations and the negotiators.  We believe that they are going to be acting within the framework of national interest.

They, of course, have a lot at stake, first of all for their sort of vague involvement in the nuclear program, second for reasons relating to sanctions, they have arguably benefited from sanctions.  It's very obvious, you know, walking around the streets of Tehran you can see that they play a huge role in most areas of sort of public life. 

So they have been benefiting from this, and obviously the deal is going to change that dynamic to some extent.  So despite having these conflicting interests, they have been supporting the negotiations. 

For the most part, they were very cautious in doing that.  But after the Lausanne, it was a very sort of resonating endorsement.  They congratulated the supreme leader for the children of the revolution, quote/unquote, "achieving" what they achieved.

But the most, the biggest challenge is going to come from Majlis, and it has so far.  What Majlis does is that it essentially mirrors Congress.      So every time Congress does something, which is pretty frequently these days, within three days you know that Majlis is going to do something as well.

Most recently, they tried to pass a bill that negotiations would stop unless the United States stopped threatening Iran.  That's probably not going to go anywhere, like most of what they say.  But they have been trying to put a lot of pressure on the government, some members of Majlis, anyway.  And there are people who have a lot of influence in Majlis.  

But, again, this is where the supreme leader comes into play, because he has been backing the negotiators and the process altogether, Majlis hasn't been able to do as much as it would like to do.  Ultimately, what Majlis wants is what Congress wants, which is to supervise the process.

But much of the power play between Majlis and government has essentially manifested itself outside the nuclear issue even though it is deeply connected to the nuclear issue.  So, for instance, whenever Majlis wants to do something to put pressure on government, instead of trying to push back on the nuclear issue, it says, OK, I'm going to impeach this minister or we're going to give you a hard time while you're trying to do this other thing on the economy or domestic issues. 

So a lot of the sort of domestic dynamics there have been focused on other areas, trying to stop the Rouhani government from doing things that it's planned to do without necessarily crossing the redline of pushing too much on the nuclear issue.

The speaker of Majlis, even, Larijani, has come out and strongly supported the negotiators.  He's not by any means a, you know, someone who's sort of prone to supporting negotiations with the United States.  He's not a liberal by any means, but he has come out and supported the team. 

Last point I want to leave you with, but going back to the supreme leader is that, you know, one of the issues is we tend to look at some of his statements, and they're very often connected to a big deadline. 

So, for instance, after Lausanne, everybody was expecting him to say something.  So, everybody was tuning in and waiting for him to say something.  There, he didn't say his sort of -- his backing of the negotiations wasn't as resonating.

But when he does his resonating endorsement of the process, it's generally in response to something that is happening domestically.  So if the hardline newspaper Kayhan has a headline about the negotiations, the supreme leader might come out and say, look, I'm still behind the negotiators.  But he's not going to have the same level of endorsement following international events where he knows that everybody is going to be paying attention.  And I think that's sort of the going back to good cop bad cop sort of thing where he's saying, look, I'm fixing redlines, I'm asserting my authority, and I'm not going to, you know, give too much of the leeway so that the West doesn't think it can get as much from Iran. 

So I'm going to stop here and sort of wrap it up, and I'm happy to discuss any of these in more detail in Q&A.  Obviously, there's a lot to talk about. 

But essentially, my reading of the Lausanne agreement is that it does meet Iranian bottom lines.  Iran manages to walk away with exactly what it has said it would not negotiate on, enrichment itself.  It would not close down any facilities.  Arak will remain a heavy water reactor.

Now, I know that there's going to be some push and pull on so this means that it's a bad deal for us.  No, it's not.  The numbers and the sort of the details of that make it a good deal for the United States, I believe.  But the bottom lines, the sort of, you know, big things that Iran wanted to achieve, it's managed to get out of this. 

So, with this in mind, I think that the comprehensive deal, if it sort of follows what we've been -- what we've seen so far is going to be something that is going to be sellable in Iran.  The problem though is sanctions, going back to Richard's presentation.  The issue of sanctions is that with the Lausanne agreement, unlike everything else which was very much detailed in the agreements, the sanctions bit was not.

And so, there's been a lot of push and pull in Iran about sanctions.  Zarif, Salehi and others have made it clear that they would get sanctions relief once Iran starts to implement the agreements.  But that's not fully clear for most Iranians I think.  And so far, there's been a lot of back and forth on this.  I suspect there's going to be a lot more once we get closer to the June 30th deadline. And I suspect that there's going to be a lot more going on in Majlis on that front. 

So, yes, I'll stop here.

DAVENPORT:  Great.  Thank you both for the excellent presentations.  Both of our speakers did a great job sticking to the time limits, probably because I threatened to kick them under the table if they didn't.  So that luckily leaves us plenty of time for questions. 

So we'll start here with Barbara.

SLAVIN:  Thanks, Kelsey.  Barbara Slavin from the Atlantic Council. 

Can you explain how snapback is supposed to work for the UN Security Council?  The Russians yet again are saying there will be no automaticity to use the French phrase.  So how do you -- how do you arrange this in such a way that it doesn't take away their veto right? 

Also, you talk about one long day, but if memory serves, it took a very long time to implement many aspects of the JPOA.  They didn't get the channel for humanitarian transactions I think until four or five months after, you know, the implementation had been promised.  So is it going to also be a very slow process to have all the various provisions implemented?  Thank you. 

NEPHEW:  Sure.  So I would say a couple of things.  On the UN side, I think that's clearly something that still has to be negotiated, but I can give you a couple of thoughts and guesses.  

I mean, first is what does automatic snapback mean, right.  Some people think it means the moment that there is any breach whatsoever detected, sanctions snap back on, well, then, OK, that kind of automaticity might not be there, right?  It might not be the case that the moment, within seconds, of the IAEA director general finding something that's out of joint that sanctions are back in place. 

The real question is more of whether or not the time lag and the process between detection of a violation and reimposition of sanctions has got places where people can say no and turn it back off, right?

It may be that there has to be a prolonged review process.  Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that there's a vote of yes or no, right?   But there may be a prolonged review process for a couple of weeks while whatever the issue is discussed at the IAEA Board of Governors in some sort of emergency process, or an emergency meeting of the Security Council, but that if for instance there is not an agreement of the Security Council not to re-impose sanctions, that sanctions get re-imposed automatically. 

In other words, there may be a role to be played by every member of the Security Council to vote yes or no, right, but the question of whether or not that vote flips the logic here, that's up for debate, I think. 

And I would just sort of note, while it's true the Russians and Chinese have probably been the most vocal in talking about the need for the veto, they're not the only ones.  I mean the U.S. has got an interest in the veto of Security Council resolutions remaining in place.  So does France, so does the U.K., and a lot of countries might not like that, but at the end of the day, the five veto holders do want to hold their vetoes, and it's an important asset they want to keep.

So I would just sort of say I think there is a way of navigating the veto issue that gives countries a say, a chance to influence what the process is, but that does not mean that there cannot be a defined process that leads to sanctions coming back in place while the debates are still going on or if the debates are unresolved, you know, at the end of some number of days or something like that.

In terms of the long day, what I would say about the sanctions relief and how that manifested, it is not true that the channel did not exist on day one.  The channel, the humanitarian channel existed on day one, January 20, 2014.  Adam Szubin signed a number of different pieces of paper that authorized the humanitarian transactions and frankly those were already embedded in the law anyway.  The issue that we had was finding banks that were prepared to make that happen.  

Well, that's a different issue, right?  That's a commercial issue.  That's an issue of finding a bank that's willing to do it.  And the amount of time we had from when we had the first discussions on implementation with the Iranians in December to when it got implemented, that was a fairly short number of days to be able to get a bank to put itself at (inaudible) at risk. 

So what I would say is this, from a legal perspective, I think that it's certainly true, sanctions relief will be effective the day the paper is signed, and I would imagine that would be on the beginning of this long day.

That does not mean that commercial deals will start that day, right?  And I actually think the real concern that the Iranians ought to have is that there are going to be banks out there saying I'm not getting involved in Iran until I've seen six months of compliance, a year of compliance.  

That is not an issue of sanctions, that is an issue of questioning whether or not there's going to be a violation, that sanctions have to be snapped back, et cetera.  But I think that's an implementation challenge that is simply going to have to be dealt with through messaging and things like that.

DAVENPORT:  OK.  Let's take two questions this time.  Joseph, we have the gentleman in the middle and then, Shervin, back there. 

GOODBY:  Jim Goodby, Brookings -- not Brookings, but Hoover Institution. 


I am concerned about the dynamic under way now between the Sunni Arabs and the Iranians in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen.  And I'm wondering if that dynamic is going to continue, probably so, unless there's some change radically in the way the Revolutionary Guard see their role.

And isn't it going to be very difficult to insulate the nuclear agreement from those other things going on in the Middle East, that's - I would think that would be the major threat to the whole process, not the specifics, technicalities if you will, of the nuclear agreement.

DAVENPORT:  Yes, thank you.

BOHLEN: Avis Bohlen, retired Foreign Service Officer. 

I have a question for Richard Nephew.  Could you review for us, maybe this is elementary for some of the other members of the audience, but what will be the sanctions, the U.S. sanctions, that will come off on this long day one and what will be the ones that will be left by the legislation?  Thank you. 

DAVENPORT:  Thank you. 

Ariane, perhaps you could take Jim's question and then Richard can take...

TABATABAI:  So on the question about Sunni Arabs and Iran, yes, that's - yes, there's a lot going on, and, unfortunately, it's not going anywhere.  In Iraq, specifically, Iran feels a direct threat to its territorial integrity because of ISIS.  So it is going to remain involved in Iraq as long as ISIS is there, as long as the Iraqi situation doesn't change.  

With regard to Syria, it's not as clear.  Iran doesn't have as -- a vital threat as it does in Iraq, but it's still going to remain very much involved, especially now that it seems like the tides are turning and Iran believes, I think, that they have been right on Assad, now that, you know, the prospect of regime change is no longer really there. 

Is that going to have an impact on the negotiations?  I don't think so.  I mean all these issues have been ongoing for the past two years and, you know, the ISIS threat, Iran's involvement became very obvious already a year ago and yet the negotiations have been ongoing.  So I don't see a threat from, sorry, for the pun, but, yes, I don't see a threat from that issue for the nuclear negotiations.

NEPHEW:  And on issue of sanctions, it's easier really to talk about what's not coming off, as opposed to what's coming on, I think it's a much more distinct group.  

I think it's very obvious that the terrorism and human rights specific sanctions are going to remain in place.  So that includes things like Iran remaining a state sponsor of terrorism, designations of individual Iranian entities and people will remain in place if they were sanctioned for involvement in terrorism and human rights violations.  I mean those things will remain in place. 

I think it's also highly likely that the U.S. unilateral embargo will remain in place as well, right?  So what did the P5+1 in Iran joint statement talk about?  It talked about secondary sanctions.  Well, secondary sanctions is a term of art basically meaning U.S. interference in third party business with Iran. 

But the U.S. unilateral embargo with regard to Iran hasn't been talked about as coming off.  So I think it's still highly likely that General Motors and General Electric and any other U.S. company or bank you can talk about is probably not going to be going into Iran unless it's under a specific license for specific things, like in aircraft spare parts, you know, that's part of the joint plan of action.

In terms of, you know, what's coming off at that point, you're basically then talking about the entire structure of sanctions that have affected Iran's ability to do international financing, international transport and international energy, including having energy companies come in and help Iran with investment and structuring its fields. 

Is that all? 

DAVENPORT:  Great.  Thanks. 

I'd like to remind everybody too that the closing keynote will be given by Colin Kahl, the national security adviser to the vice president.  So some of your questions maybe better directed to him. 

But, Shervin, let's go to the back, and if we could take Joe's question and then, Andrea's question as well.

CIRINCIONE:  Thank you very much.  Joe Cirincione Ploughshares Fund and thank you, Arms Control Association for a very thoughtful and thought-provoking set of panels today.

This is for Professor Tabatabai.  I was struck by your comment of confusing statements for policy.  So, can you -- do you have an assessment of what you think the supreme leader's policy is right now on the Lausanne agreement, that is if we actually translate this into a final agreement, is he inclined to do it?  And if so, why? 

BERGER:  Hi, Andrea Berger, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.  A quick comment, if I may, sort of a reaction to one of the speakers.  And then, a question to Ariane. 

On the potential lag from the banking sector, it strikes me that actually that lag may come not necessarily as a result of banks wanting to see six months or a year of compliance, but banks maybe not being able to navigate what becomes a need for a nuanced picture. 

Banks have been used to doing this sort of blanket risk-based approach to implementing sanctions, where they don't do business with Iran.  That's very easy for them. They see an Iranian end-user, or suspect an Iranian end-user, they don't process that transaction.

Well, now, we're getting into a sanctions landscape where they're going to some sanctions on Iran.  They're still going to have counter proliferation finance obligations from 1540, and it's going to become much more difficult for them to distinguish between a transaction that they're allowed to process with an Iranian end user and one that they probably should avoid.

And I think it might take banks a little while to figure out exactly how to do that.  And I think the lag may come from that partially as a result, perhaps in addition to the questions over Iranian compliance.

But a question to Ariane briefly, you talked about mirror imaging between effectively the legislative bodies of the U.S. and Iran, and I wonder, we're having this discussion in the U.S. over how to determine what might be material breach.  Do you foresee that same discussion happening in Iran over what would be noncompliance on the part of the rest of the parties to this agreement? 

If there is a delay in releasing certain funds for example, how long the delay have to be before it becomes viewed as material breach by Iran?  Is that discussion happening? 

TABATABAI:  Yes.  Let me start with Joe's question. 

So my assessment of the supreme leader's policy so far is that he is cautiously sort of agreeing to what is going on.  It would be a mistake to think that the supreme leader doesn't know exactly what's happening, what's on the table at Lausanne or now in Vienna or wherever they are these days, because, you know, he has a direct channel to the negotiating team.  Araqchi, one of the negotiators, is within the supreme leader's circle.

So I don't foresee a scenario where essentially he would be presented with an agreement, and he would say, hey, what is this, I've never seen this.  I don't think I can sign up to this. 

I think that he is aware of the details, even though, again, and this is where policy and rhetoric should be distinguished, he said that he doesn't know the details.  He knows broadly what's going on but he doesn't have an understanding of the details. 

I believe he does, and I believe that if he is letting the negotiations go this far, it indicates that he is willing to sign up to the final deal. 

Obviously, you know, the framework agreement has essentially outlined the most important concessions Iran will have to make.  And so, if he wasn't OK with this, he would have said something, he would have done something.  And yet the negotiations are going on, the language is now being negotiated in various venues, and I think that's a good indication that he's onboard.

Now, we'll have to see what happens ultimately, but I think that he's aware of what's going on and he's onboard with this. 

Andrea, your question about mirroring of legislative bodies, what is Majlis talking about these days, my answer is not to the same level as in the U.S., there is not as much detail being discussed. And frankly, I think Majlis is more busy right now trying to put pressure on the Rouhani government to - and sort of to have an impact on the process itself, to talk about noncompliance.

That said, yes, there has been -- there have been a number of sort of discussions about noncompliance on this side.  The supreme leader again has come out and said, look, we can't trust the U.S., we know that there may never be sanctions relief in the end.  And that's something that has been echoed by Majlis, by Iranian media saying we may not get sanctions relief ultimately, but we are trying. 

And so, the discussion is not as detailed as it has been here.  And I think another part of that, it has to do with the fact that there has not been an Iranian equivalent of the fact sheet that we had in the U.S., which sort of laid out all the issues or broke down all the technical issues.  And so, Iran has not really dominated, has not really shaped that part of the discussion domestically. 


I want to give Richard a chance just to response to your comment.

NEPHEW:  So, just real quick, I mean, I think that's a good point about how the implementation side of the relief is going to lag just in part because banks have to figure out their due diligence requirements and things like that.

The only thing I would say though is, you know, to some extent that's all going to be dictated by their customers.  If they get a big, you know, customers, big energy companies for instance, that want to do start doing business inside of Iran, they'll sort themselves out relatively quickly.

I think ultimately the real issue is it's going to be a combination of pressures on banks and on companies to decide how they want to translate relief.  It will be made easier if relief is all in one big hunk and if they've got six months to prepare for it, right, because then they can work through all the due diligence requirements that they will have to have in place for that day when sanctions relief is triggered.

It would be quite different if all of a sudden the deal were to be implemented on the first of September.  You know, I think that's when you'll see even greater lag as they struggle to catch up.

But ultimately, I think the bigger question is will they decide to go in?  Sure, they will decide to go in and they will decide to go in when they have customers wanting to go in, when they've got confidence that they're not going to have the rug pulled up from under them and when they're confident that the reputational risk that they would take from doing so would be fairly modest.

DAVENPORT:  Great, thanks.  

I'll take the question here in the center, Joseph, and then, up here in front, please.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  This is -- I'm Norman Wulf, formerly of the State Department.  One question for Mr. Nephew, is on the verification side, is there going to be additional protocol alone, additional protocol plus, could you give a few comments on that?

And the second question is do either of you see that if the agreement is successfully implemented, that leading to any changes to Iranian behavior in other areas like terrorism, Hezbollah, et cetera?

DAVENPORT:  Great.  

Joseph, and then if you could come down over the front, please. 

QUESTION:  Richard Golden, a member of the association.  In the entire process, at this point is Israel irrelevant?


DAVENPORT:  Richard, why don't we start with you?


NEPHEWS:  Sure.  Hey, can I - can I not answer what question?  


So I'll be brave, I'll take a whirl at this.  No, Israel is not irrelevant to this at all.  I think, you know, look, the idea that the United States has not taken onboard the concerns of Israel with regard to this deal is simply false. 

I spent as many hours talking with Israeli government colleagues as I did with the U.S. Congress whenever we were out of sessions with the Iranians, and that was 18 months for the process.

I think that the fact that there was a secret sort of conversations with the Iranians for a few months before the big process emerged in November of 2013 has colored people's impressions of the amount of engagement that this government is having with the Israeli government.

The simple reality is there were video-conferences, trips to Israel, trips from the Israelis to Washington, there was lots of conversations.  Israeli's thinking and some of their specific comments and reactions form the basis of positions that we took in the talks, not the sole basis, but a basis, provided information, provided context, provided concerns. 

And I would just sort of say that Israel was relevant to our policy is we were pushing it before I left the government in December.  And I am quite certain that Israeli concerns at least at a technical level are part of the process now. 

So, no, I don't think they're irrelevant at all and they certainly won't be irrelevant going forward as this thing is implemented. 

On the issue of whether or not at a political level it will interfere with doing a deal or not, that I think has been demonstrated already that the Obama administration is, you know, wants to proceed. 

On the issue of AP, AP-plus, I would say this, I would say that certainly is the case of the additional protocol and its implementation will be part of this.  As you know quite well, there are ways to implement the additional protocol and then, there are ways to implement the additional protocol. 

And if you implement the AP very aggressively, and if there's agreement, for instance, that when the IAEA says I got to go to this facility or that facility, that it gets granted that access, that itself is not per se the additional protocol, but it's an enhanced implementation of the additional protocol.

I personally would guess, I'm not in government anymore, so I'm just guessing, but I would guess that that's the kind of thing we're going to see.  We're going to see an aggressive implementation of the initial protocol, but enough that gives the Iranians very clear legal ability to say we're just implementing the additional protocol, but gives the access and transparency that the United States and its partners really need to see in Iran on a day-to-day basis. 

TABATABAI:  Yes, I will just add to the -- I'll answer the question about the behavior, will Iran change its behavior following a deal?  Well, I guess, the answer is it depends, you know, in some places it won't. 

Again, on Iraq there is -- there is a very clear sort of threat to the national security as far as the Iranians are concerned.  So, Iran's behavior is not going to change. 

That said, there might be some more cooperation with the United States and I say this, you know, I'll go back to the supreme leader at the - I've been talking a lot about him today.  He - in one of his many speeches recently, he said that the nuclear negotiations serve as a test for Iran-U.S. relations.  That's not something that has been widely reported here, but that's something that he said and that is kind of —it's a pretty big deal.  He hadn't said this for a very long time as far as I remember.  So that might actually provide some grounds for further Iran-U.S. coordination anyway. 

On a number of other issues, it may change Iran's behavior.  In places where Iran doesn't have a clear interest, where it's really just trying to poke the U.S. in the eye or the Saudis in the eye, it might change a little bit.  But I think that it's a very much a case-by-case basis that we need to look at this issue.  But I think the sort of general assessment within the, Iran's regional sort of power play is no, it's not going to change too much.

DAVENPORT:  Great.  Thank you, both.  Unfortunately, we're out of time for this panel, but I would urge everyone to stay in their seats as we transition to our last keynote and before that, please join me in thanking both of our panelists.

(Back to the agenda)

Speaker: Colin Kahl, Deputy Assistant To The President and National Security Adviser To The Vice President

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association


KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  All right.

So as I said, we're moving into the closing round for our conference today, and we're very lucky to have with us one more dynamic speaker who's going to be addressing the P5+1 in the Iran nuclear negotiations, the Lausanne framework agreement, and the on-going talks, and the implementation steps beyond the June 30 target date for concluding the talks.

And he is Colin Kahl, the deputy assistant secretary to President Obama and the national security adviser to Vice President Biden.  And he has been deeply involved in the administration's effort to negotiate a comprehensive joint plan of action to address Iran's sensitive nuclear activities, and has been working in and out of government for more than a decade, Georgetown and elsewhere, the Defense Department, on the security challenges in the -- the Middle East.

And we're especially grateful to have him here today.  We're taking him away from Camp David and the festivities and the festivities and conversations there.

But I think it's very important that we have his voice here to talk about not just the agreement, but the broader Middle East issues that are being discussed up at Camp David.

So, we hope to have him talk about what a -- what the completion of a final deal based around the parameters we talked about and discussed in Lausanne would do to set back Iran's nuclear program, how the agreement would enhance regional security and that of our allies.

And before I ask him to come up and speak and take a few questions after his -- his talk, just note as Kelsey said that we at the Arms Control Association along with dozens of other non-proliferation experts across the United States and around the world judge the agreement that is emerging from these negotiations to be a net plus for -- for non-proliferation, and we wish Colin and the rest of the team good luck with the Iranians in the weeks ahead.

So, Colin, thanks for being here.  All right.  The floor is yours.

KAHL:  Well, good afternoon everybody.  Thanks Daryl.

Thanks to everybody here at the Arms Control Association for all the  tremendous work you do every day in the non-proliferation and nuclear security and disarmament arenas.  You also do a fantastic job in educating the public on enormously complex issues to include the issue that I'm going to talk about today, which is Iran.

As Daryl mentioned, I'm here really to talk about the prospects for achieving a comprehensive diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear challenge, and I hope perhaps most interestingly for you all, address a number of concerns and criticisms that have been expressed about such an agreement.

I hope that my remarks will be a useful companion to what I thought was a really terrific panel with Richard and Ariane.  And those of you, I didn't actually know Ariane very well until very recently, when I realized that she's teaching the class I used to teach at Georgetown.


So, in any case, I'm sure she's doing a much better job than I did, although I guess we'll see when the teaching evaluations are in.

I know -- I know she's having fun.  I miss being in the classroom for sure.

As all of you know, from day one, president Obama has been committed to using all instruments of national power to prevent the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran, an outcome that we believe could set off an arms race in the Middle East and raise the specter of a nuclear war in what is already the world's most troubled region.

To accomplish this objective, our administration has pursued a dual-track approach, combining unprecedented sanctions and pressure with a willingness to directly engage Iran and our international partners in the so-called P5+1, the other U.N. Security Council members plus Germany, to find a diplomatic means to ensure that Iran's nuclear program is used exclusively for peaceful purposes.

We took an important step towards this outcome in November of 2013 when we reached, alongside the P5+1, the joint plan of action, the so-called JPOA, an interim nuclear accord with Iran that froze Iran's program in place and rolled back some of its most troubling dimensions, to include its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium, while we continued negotiations to achieve a comprehensive solution.

On April 2nd, as was mentioned in the previous panel, we released the parameters for such a deal.  If finalized over the next two months, the deal we are negotiating will effectively prevent the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran by closing off the various pathways whereby Iran could pursue a bomb.

Notably, an attempt to break out -- so-called "break out," by producing weapons grade uranium at one of Iran's two enrichment facilities, Natanz or Fordow, a plutonium path using the Arak, that's Arak, not Iraq, the country, apparently they're completely different places, the Arak heavy-water research reactor, or what some call a "sneak-out" at new, covert facilities.

So, let me say a few words about hoe the deal, if completed, will block these pathways.

As it relates to enrichment, for the next 10 years under this deal, Iran's centrifuges will be cut by two-thirds, from around 19,000 today to a total of 6,000, only 5,000 of which will be operational.  All 5,000 will be present at Natanz, all 5,000 operational centrifuges will be at Natanz, and all of them will be the most basic IR-1 models.

In contrast, in the absence of this deal, Iran would likely install and being operating tens of thousands of additional centrifuges, including thousands of much more advanced models in a very short period of time.

For the next 15 years under the proposed deal, Iran will also reduce its current stockpile of 10,000 kilograms of low enriched uranium, enriched up to the 3.67 percent, which, if further enriched to weapons grade, would be sufficient for as many as eight nuclear weapons.  Under the deal that we're negotiating, they would reduce that stockpile by 98 percent, to a working stock of about 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, which is a fraction of what is required for a single nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, the deeply buried Fordow facility would be converted.  It would no longer be a place where enrichment can occur or uranium can be stored.

The result, for a decade under this deal, breakout time, which is the time it would take upon a political decision to do so, for Iran to produce one weapon's worth of highly enrichment uranium, that break-out timeline would be extended from the current timeline of about two to three months to more than a year.

That cushion, in our assessment, provides ample time to deter Iran from going down this road.  It would provide us plenty of time to detect it if they tried and marshal an effective enough response to stop them in their tracks.

And for years beyond this point, beyond the 10-year stockpile limitations and other constraints on Iran's enrichment program would produce, in our assessment, a longer break-out timeline than exists today.

The deal will also close off the plutonium path.  Once construction is complete in the status quo the Arak reactor, as currently configured, could potentially produce one to two bombs worth of weapons every single year.

Under the deal we're negotiating, however, Arak would be redesigned to produce zero weapons grade plutonium.  The spent fuel from which this plutonium could be extracted will also be shipped out of Iran for the life of the reactor.  And Iran will be barred from building a reprocessing capability that would be necessary to separate bomb-grade plutonium.

These steps, taken in combination, we believe, shut down the plutonium path using Arak forever.

What about "sneak-out"?  Under the deal we'll also put in place the toughest transparency and verification requirements ever negotiated, providing the best possible check against a secret pathway to a bomb.

From the outset, Iran will implement the so-called additional protocol to their safeguards obligations, which will allow the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, to inspect both declared facilities like Natanz and Fordow and Arak and Esfahan, and undeclared sites where illicit activities are suspected or may be under way.

This obligation, the additional protocol, is permanent, as is Iran's continuing obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the NPT, to never produce nuclear weapons.

The proposed deal will also place every link in the nuclear supply chain under international surveillance.  For the next 25 years, the next quarter century, inspectors will have access to Iran's uranium mines and mills, and for the next two decades, they will have access to Iran's centrifuge production, assembly and storage facilities.

Throughout the life of this deal, in addition, all purchases of sensitive nuclear equipment will be strictly monitored.  And as part of the transparency measures under a final agreement, Iran will also have to address IAEA concerns about the possible military dimensions of its past nuclear research.

Let me be absolutely clear about something.  This deal is not about trust.  OK?  Frankly, we don't trust the Iranians.

This deal is not about that.  It's about verification.  All right?  It's not even Reagan's old phrase of "trust, but verify."  This is distrust and make sure you verify.

And if at any point, Iran breaks its commitments under this proposed deal and goes for a weapon in the open or in secret, we're much more likely to detect is and we'll have much more time to respond under the proposed agreement than would be the case otherwise.

So the constraints and the verification measures in this proposed deal are significant.

Now, of course, Iran's willingness to sign up to something like this is not out of the goodness of the regime's heart.  They expect something in return, and that's where the issue of sanctions relief comes in.

So they expect that there will be a reciprocal commitment by the United States and our P5+1 partners to offer meaningful relief from nuclear and proliferation related sanctions.

But, again, let me be clear.  Iran must verifiably complete its implementation of nuclear commitments before it receives substantial U.S., E.U., or U.N. sanctions relief.  This could happen relatively quickly, but only if Iran acts quickly to meet its commitments.

Even then, many sanctions will be suspended, as Richard talked about in the previous panel, not terminated, and sanctions will only be ended once Iran has restored confidence in the peaceful nature of its program.  And throughout there will also be clear procedures in the final deal that allows both unilateral and U.N. sanctions to snap back into place, if Iran cheats.

Taking all of these elements into consideration, the accord outlined in the April 2nd parameters, if finalized, is a good deal.  It's a good deal for the United States, and it's a good deal for the world.

And when one considers what a world looks like without this deal, a world in which Iran's break-out timeline rapidly shrinks from its two to three months period already, a world in which its stockpile of enriched uranium grows, a world in which Arak becomes a plutonium factory, and our ability to detect a covert program diminishes, rather than increases, and we get back on  the road to a nuclear-armed Iran, a military combination or both, when one compares that world to a world of the deal, the conclusion that this is a good deal becomes incontrovertible in our judgment.

Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped a number of folks from pointedly criticizing the proposed deal.  It's worth noting, as many of you in this room know, that more than a year and a half ago, we heard some more skepticism about the JPOA from most of the same folks.

Yet, these criticisms ultimately proved unfounded.  And some of the JPOA's biggest critics today argue that it should be indefinitely extended.

They went from describing is as an historic mistake to a great deal.

This track record notwithstanding, the argument against a final deal we are working on must still be taken seriously, and we do take them seriously, because this is deadly serious business.

So in the time that I have left, I thought that I would address some of the major criticisms that we've heard about the proposed agreement head-on.

Some of our critics contend that the administration is so desperate for any nuclear deal with Iran that we're willing to settle for a bad one.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Indeed, if we were so desperate for a deal that we were willing to rush to a bad deal, we could have had one in July of last year or November of last year, when the JPOA was originally set to expire.

But instead we decided to extend the JPOA not once, but twice, to keep negotiating to drive towards a deal that met our bottom lines.

So there's simply no empirical reality to the notion that we're desperate for a deal.  We could have taken one a year ago.

Now, because of the parameters that have been agreed to, we're close.  We're much closer to a comprehensive deal that achieves our bottom line objectives.  But we're obviously not across the goal line yet.  And let me assure you, if the Iranians backtrack on the parameters or if unresolved issues related to sanctions or inspections are not resolved in ways that ensure Iranian compliance with a comprehensive agreement, there simply won't be a deal.  Period.

Other critics reject the deal we are negotiating on the grounds that there is a better deal out there.  If we just step back, dial up the sanctions, rattle the saber, make more military threats, and drive the Iranian regime to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure completely and forever.

There's just one problem with this line of argument.  It's wishful thinking.  We've seen this movie before.  And, spoiler alert, it doesn't end well.

In 2005, after a two-year suspension of Iran's nuclear program, the Bush administration refused to accept a final nuclear accord unless it mandated zero enrichment and associated infrastructure.  So we've run this play before, the United States has.  And what was the result?

Starting in early 2006, Iran went from 164 centrifuges, that's 164 centrifuges, to thousands of centrifuges.  The United States because of its position, rather than Iran, was viewed as the intransigent party, which made it very, very difficult in the latter part of the Bush administration, to marshal the type of effective pressure that we've been able to marshal in the last several years against Iran.

And it took the better part of a decade to get the Iranians back into serious negotiations and bring the world with us in those negotiations, and it only happened because President Obama succeeded in 2009 and 2010 in reversing the narrative, making it clear that it was Tehran, not Washington, that was to blame for the diplomatic impasse.

This is what allowed us to ramp up effective pressure and build an international coalition to support our efforts to put meaningful and verifiable constraints on Iran's program.

Moreover, it is not at all clear why today's proponents of a so-called better deal believe that Iran will fold and that they would fold in time before they crossed the nuclear threshold.  After all, this is a regime that is mortgaged its domestic legitimacy in the face of withering international sanctions on defending the country's nuclear program as a national right.

And this is the same regime which, two decades ago, during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, was willing to suffer perhaps 1 million casualties and $600 billion of economic damage, and it still took them eight years to agree to a tie.

So why do critics believe that Iran today is likely to completely capitulate just because we want them to, or just because they say they should?  Because no bona fide Iran expert inside or outside of the government believes it.  None.

There's no reason to think that if we abandon the good deal that we've placed on the table, one that the rest of our P5+1 partners have signed up to as tough but reasonable, if we abandon that in favor of a unilateralist, maximalist approach, that the international community would come with us?

Indeed, running that play, running the play that our critics oppose, pulling back and attempting to unilaterally escalate the pressure would likely backfire, producing less international consensus and thus less net pressure on Iran.  That would be the very definition of self-defeating.

Ultimately, if we go on our own, insisting on conditions that neither Iran nor, most importantly, the international community can accept, we're likely to end up with the worst of all worlds, the end of diplomacy, an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program, a shattered international consensus around sanctions and, as a result, a greater likelihood of an Iranian bomb, a military confrontation or both at a time when there's already so much turmoil in the Middle East.

In our view, that's a pretty high price to pay for wishful thinking.

Another criticism one hears focuses on the proposed sunset provisions of the deal.  Because some of the constraints in the proposed deal loosen over time, our critics charge, this deal, quote, "paves Iran's path to the bomb 10 or 15 years down the road."

But let's get something absolutely straight.  Iran already has a path to the bomb today, and blowing up diplomacy doesn't get you off that path, nor, frankly, would military action, which would delay the program for significantly less time than the duration of the deal we're talking about here.

Additionally, military action would likely incentivize Iran to kick out inspectors and double down on their efforts to build a bomb to deter a future attack.  In our view, that is hardly an enduring solution.

Indeed, when one considers what is necessary to block Iran's path to nuclear weapons, no other realistic alternative gets you a decade of a one-year breakout cushion, a generation of insight into their entire nuclear infrastructure and permanent commitments on Arak, the additional protocol and the NPT.  No other alternative gets you that.

And if 10, 15 or 20 years from now, Iran violates its NPT obligations and resumes its march towards nuclear weapons, no option available to deal with that threat today will be off the table down the line.  In fact, some of these options will be far better, because we'll know a lot more and we'll have a lot more capabilities.

So let me conclude by addressing one final criticism -- and I'm going to linger on this a little bit longer, because it's important -- the concern that the proposed deal would provide Iran with a windfall of cash, enabling the regime in Tehran and the Revolutionary Guard in particular to escalate their destabilizing activities and facilitate their domination of the greater Middle East.

Some critics have even gone so far as to argue that, quote, "a richer Iran is more dangerous than a nuclear-armed Iran."  Now, they tell us.


This concern, in all seriousness, should be taken seriously, and we do, but there are several, I think fundamental problems with it.  For one thing, it is not at all clear that Iran will spend the majority of its money from sanctions relief on troublesome foreign behavior.  Because Iran is in such dire straits economically, Iranian spending in the immediate aftermath of a deal is likely to focus on domestic priorities.  That is, at least for some period of time, on butter over guns.  As a result, consider this.

As a result of U.S. and international sanctions, the Iranian economy is probably 15 to 20 percent smaller than it would've been otherwise and it will take Iran a long time to dig out from this economic hole, even with substantial nuclear-related sanctions relief.

Our oil sanctions alone have probably deprived Iran of over $160 billion in oil revenues, just since 2012.  Because Iran's economy is in such disrepair, the majority of new revenues are expected to be used to address economic needs, including shoring up Iran's budget, building infrastructure, maintaining the stability of the real, and attracting imports.

Indeed, the scale of Iran's domestic investment needs alone is estimated to be at least a half a trillion dollars, which far outstrips the benefits of sanctions relief.

President Rouhani's political imperatives lend additional credence to this assessment.  Rouhani was elected on a platform that included economic revitalization, and Iranians are expecting tangible economic benefits from constructive engagement with the international community.

Politically, Rouhani and other Iranian leaders will be under immense pressure to deliver economic improvement once Iran starts receiving sanctions relief.

Of course, despite these objective economic and political imperatives,  it is certainly conceivable that the regime could choose instead to devote additional money to support Iranian operations abroad.  And the unfortunate reality is that many of these foreign operations are not very expensive, which is why Tehran continues to fund them despite sanctions, and will likely continue to do so whether or not the sanctions are maintained.

Much depends on what type of actor Iran ultimately chooses to be in the region.  It is conceivable, although far from inevitable, that a nuclear deal could incentivize Iranian moderation.  It is also possible that it won't.

Those of you who follow Iranian politics closely know that there is a major debate among Iran's fractious political elites.  Some pragmatic elites seek greater integration with the international community and more normal relations with the world and other regional powers.  Other hardliners however clearly aspire to dominate the greater Middle East via militant proxies.  There's no doubt about that.

A deal might empower pragmatists by giving them a big win, potentially allowing them to claw back more influence on Iran's foreign policy and push domestic reform.  By demonstrating the benefits of constructive engagement with the international community and dealing a blow to those elements within Iran who thrive under a sanctions economy and resistance to the West, it is conceivable that we would see a situation in which Iranian leaders begin to place greater emphasis on growing Iran's economy, re-entering the world community, and lessening Iran's provocations in the region.

But it is also possible, and we have to be mindful of this, that the supreme leader could seek to placate or compensate hardliners in the aftermath of a deal by doubling down on what he calls "resistance."

Because it could go either way, the nuclear deal that we're negotiating is not premised on making a big bet on Iran's future geopolitical orientation.  Let me say that again.  The nuclear deal that we are negotiating is not premised on the assumption that Iran will change its stripes in the region.  It simply is not.

So let's be clear.  The potential nuclear deal is not a grand bargain with Iran.  We do not see it as such.  We are not banking on the regime transforming itself.  But we do believe that the deal makes sense regardless of what type of Iran emerges in the aftermath of a deal.

The deal is also not a permission slip for Iran to continue to make trouble in the region, and we are communicating that to them very, very clearly.

If, and it's a big if, if Iran begins to moderate its behavior after a deal, there may be opportunities for further engagement to deescalate regional tensions, but where Tehran persists in destabilizing actions or chooses to escalate them, we will continue to push back against these activities and defend our allies and partners in the region.  That is why we will continue to call out Iran's leaders for their detention of American citizens, for their anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic statements, and their human rights violations.

And it's also why, irrespective of a possible nuclear deal, our sanctions targeting a broad array of Iran's non-nuclear activities, including human rights violations and terrorism will remain in full effect and will be vigorously enforced.

It is also important to understand, and this is a -- this is a very critical point.  It's important to understand that many of Iran's gains in recent years in the Middle East was more a byproduct of the weaknesses in many regional states where Iran and its proxies operate, rather than a manifestation of Iran's inherent strengths.

So the solution is to build stronger partners and pursue political solutions across the region that help stabilize countries and make them more immune to nefarious influence of all varieties.

That's why in places like Iraq and Lebanon, where Iran attempts to use proxies to exercise undue influence and build these parallel institutions, we will continue our work to strengthen national institutions and militaries to harden them against foreign interference.  And in places like Syria and Yemen, we will continue to promote political transitions and inclusive power-sharing arrangements to end the violence and ensure that all parties, not just Iran's proxies, have a say in governance.

Moreover, even as we pursue a nuclear deal, we will expand our already robust cooperation with Israel and other regional partners, including the Gulf states, to push back against Iranian threats.  With Israel, our security cooperation is as strong as its ever been, despite obvious policy disagreements, and we are committing and committed to strengthening it further.

Indeed, no president has done more for the security of Israel than President Barack Obama.  That's just a fact, and it's not going to change.  When I ran the Middle East office at the Pentagon the first three years of the Obama administration, Israel was in my portfolio.  I traveled to Israel 13 times.  The only country in my portfolio I visited more was Iraq.  I went there 16 times because we had more than 100,000 forces there.

But in all the -- of all the 14 other countries that were in my portfolio, no other country received the attention that Israel did.  I had more than 100 meetings in my three years with senior Israeli defense and political leaders.  So I know how much hard work has been done by this administration from the very outset to make Israel safer.

Our administration has worked with Congress to provide record-setting levels of U.S. security assistance, nearly $1 billion over and above our foreign military financing for -- for the Iron Dome system, to defend Israel against Iranian proxies, whether they be in Gaza or in Southern Lebanon.  And we've provided Israel with the F-35 fighter and other state-of-the-art technology to ensure Israel's qualitative military edge against any potential adversary in the region.

Our intelligence cooperation has also become deeper than ever.  And all of this, when taken together, and I could list quote after quote after quote after quote from senior Israeli official is unprecedented.

In the Gulf too, we have taken important steps to protect our partners.  On any given day, there are 35,000 U.S. forces in the Gulf region, stationed there to deter aggression and defend our partners against it.  We're also working to expand the defensive capabilities and collective security potential of our Gulf cooperation council partners by improving their air and missile defenses, their ability to coordinate on maritime security, critical infrastructure protection, and cyber defenses, as well as their counter-terrorism capabilities.  That's the purpose of the meeting the president is hosting today with both leaders in Camp David.

Of course, some of our critics want us to go a step further.  They believe that we should condition the removal of nuclear sanctions on changes in Iran's destabilizing behavior, including holding a nuclear agreement, not removing any nuclear-related sanctions until Iran ends all of its support for terrorism, militancy, subversion, and calls for Israel's demise.

By the way, we share the desire for Iran to end all of these abhorrent practices, and we will continue to push Iran to alter its behavior in all of these areas.  But the nuclear sanctions were put in place to pressure Iran to accept a nuclear deal out of recognition that as destabilizing as Iran's activities are today, a nuclear-armed Iran would be exponentially more dangerous.  It would be able to hide behind a shield of a nuclear deterrent to advance its hegemonic ambitions and support for terrorism and militancy across the region with impunity.

And its actions would now carry the risk of sparking crises that could spiral into a regional nuclear conflict: a risk that does not exist today.

So the purpose of these sanctions and this deal is to reduce that risk, not to resolve every problem we have with Iran and every threat and challenge that Tehran may continue to pose.  A similar rationale of course drove arms control agreements during the Cold War with the Soviet Union: another regime that engaged in reprehensible people at home and abroad, brutalized its own citizens, sponsored proxies, and threatened our allies.

The United States made repeated arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, even as they continued to engage in behavior that was far more threatening to our interests than  Iran's activities are today.  Why?  In order to reduce the nuclear threat and prevent a nuclear war.

As my boss, the vice president, reminded an audience just last month, Kennedy didn't condition the partial test-ban treaty on the Soviets surrendering Cuba first.

Nixon negotiated the SALT treaty without conditioning it on Moscow ending its assistance to North Vietnam.

Regan demanded to Gorbachev, "tear down that wall," but he didn't condition nuclear talks at Reykjavik on the Soviets tearing down the Berlin Wall first.

And throughout this entire period, we never demanded that Moscow recognize the legitimacy of global capitalism, or stop its support for communist regimes and insurgents in Africa, Central America, and elsewhere as a precondition to step back from the brink of armageddon.

These presidents pursued these arms control agreements with the Soviets because nuclear weapons pose an existential danger that must be dealt with, and refusing to do so, unless all of our other concerns are met, would leave us far more vulnerable to the threat of nuclear proliferation and devastating conflict.  We didn't do it during the Cold War.  We shouldn't apply that standard -- a different standard today.

Moreover, there's simply no reason to believe that conditioning sanctions relief on Iran fundamentally changing its behavior throughout the region would work.  Insisting on this highly ideological regime in Tehran ending all of its objectionable behavior in the region is tantamount to insisting on regime change as a condition for a nuclear deal.

It won't work because the regime won't accept it, and even more importantly, the world would not back this play, meaning it would leave us, not Iran, more isolated, and it would leave Iran freer, not more constrained, to cause mischief.

Last but not least, we can be just as confident that maintaining the current nuclear-related sanctions or attempting to escalate them in the absence of international consensus around that escalation won't be sufficient to solve the problem of Iran's nefarious activities either, since Iran has already proven both willing and able to engage in these activities, despite the sanctions.

Ultimately, it is geopolitical constraints, not financial ones, which will limit greater Iranian activity in the region.  That is why a strategy that simultaneously pursues a nuclear deal and takes steps to support our allies and counter Iran's destabilizing actions makes more sense than rejecting this deal as our critics would have us do, in the fanciful hope of driving the Iranian regime and its proxies out of business.

So, despite all the criticisms leveled against a potential deal with Iran, it is clear that the deal we are pursuing advances core American interests.  Is the deal we are negotiating perfect?  It is not.  Will it solve every problem in the Middle East?  It most certainly will not.

But if completed, it represents the best available option to address the looming threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran, and in the process would make the United States, our regional allies, and the world a safer place.

So thanks for your patience, and I look forward to your questions.


KIMBALL:  Well, thank you very much Colin.  Oftentimes one invites an administration official to give a talk about a serious topic, and it's not as substantive as you'd like, but that was a very meaty and serious and thorough presentation, so thank you.

So we have -- we've got time for several questions, and I want to give the reporters in the room a first crack at -- at Colin.  So, I see a hand over here from -- from Barbara, who has strategically positioned herself closer to the moderator.  So -- and then we'll come up here for another question up front, after Barbara.


Thanks, Colin.  Thanks for your spirited defense of the agreement.

We see reports all the time that the Iranians are continuing to try to procure various elements for centrifuges, other nuclear parts.  How are you going to define material breach in the comprehensive agreement?  How are we  going to know what is going to trigger this -- this attempt at least to snap back some of the sanctions, and what is -- is a relatively minor concern?  Will it be precisely defined?


KAHL:  Yeah, I mean I don't want to judge how it will be defined.  I think that clearly what's allowed under the agreement and what's not allowed will be clearly defined.  The degree to which, you know, a particular -- a particular action is defined as a material breach, I just -- I don't know that yet.  I don't know the answer to that question.

But it is -- it is something that we're going to have to come to closure on in the next -- in the next six weeks.  I will tell on the specific issue of procurement, a major piece of this agreement of course will be to establish a procurement channel, so that any sensitive nuclear-related technologies or associated dual-use technologies will have to be purchased through this internationally-monitored channel.

Anything that's purchased outside that channel, by definition, will be illicit.  So, I think that's actually quite an important part of the transparency and verification mechanisms that we're going to put in place.

KIMBALL:  All right.  We'll take this question here, if you could identify yourself, please.

QUESTION:  Hi, Jessica Schulberg from the Huffington Post.

Thanks for coming out -- very compelling.  Could you speak a little bit about the process by which the IAEA would grant -- gain access to certain sites?  There's been a lot of talk within Iran about military sites being off limits, and then we hear different things regarding the additional protocol. 

KAHL:  Yeah, so, I mean under the additional protocol, the IAEA can request access to any site in the country that they suspect there's illicit nuclear-related activity going on.  So, that means any site is open for them to request.

Now, Iran could deny that request.  If they deny that request, they would have to be able to provide to the IAEA information to settle the dispute, in the absence of getting physical access.  If they can't do that and they still deny access, then there will likely be an adjudication mechanism under the agreement.  They will have a finite period of time to come to closure.

And if Iran is basically required under that procedure to provide access and they do not -- they still do not provide access, then it's a violation of the agreement.  And any of the enforcement measures snap back, or other measures will kick in at that -- at that stage.

So under the additional protocol, there are no places that are off limits.  Obviously, the IAEA would have to make the case that they need access to it for, you know, to -- to verify compliance with the -- with the agreement, but there aren't going to be off-limit places.

KIMBALL:  All right.  We're going to go to the back.  I see Eli here.  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Thanks a lot.

If crippling sanctions didn't deter Iran from continuing to build centrifuges, why do you think that snap-back sanctions will deter them from cheating on the agreement?

KAHL:  I think that -- look, I think the deterrent is more comprehensive, frankly, than snap-back.  I think that the -- signing onto the agreement to begin with represents a strategic decision, a calculation by the regime that a world of the agreement in which they accept meaningful constraints on their program is better than a world in which they are isolated, pressured, and under threat.

And to the degree that violating the agreement puts them back into a world in which they are isolated, under pressure and potentially under threat, that alternative would be worse.

So I mean, I guess -- I guess you should direct that question to Iranian officials and ask them that.  I think it is our judgment that sanctions have had a meaningful effect in driving Iran to the table.  It's nonlinear, as you note, Eli, because of course we had gradually escalating sanctions from 2006 through 2010 and then a significant increase in sanctions from 2010 onwards, if you kind of put the -- put the -- plant the flag at the U.N. Security Council resolution 1929 in June of 2010.

And then obviously, the NDAA and CISADA and other steps that the Congress took, as well as the E.U. oil embargo and et cetera.  You had a substantial ramping up of pressure.

I think it's our assessment that it was the combination of that pressure and, frankly, some leadership changes in Iran as a consequence of their 2013 presidential elections.  Those two things coming together affected Iran's calculus and their determination to -- to strike a deal.

Now, we'll see -- by the way, it's not clear it will happen.  I think the chances are decent and improving, but not inevitable.  If Iran strikes this deal, it's basically then coming to the realization that a world with a deal is better than a world without a deal where the pressure will be increasing.

I think, you know, Richard's point in the previous panel is an important one, too.

I think a, you know, what -- if they violate the deal, it would be a major strategic decision as well, and it would put them at enormous risk: enormous risk of unraveling all the progress they would make in unwinding the sanctions and frankly, it would spark an international crisis that could put -- put folks on a path to a military confrontation, which the regime likely wants to avoid as well.

KIMBALL:  All right.  I think there was another question in the back.  Shervin, right there.


Tom Collina of Ploughshares Fund.

Colin, thank you very much, and Daryl, thank you very much as well.

Colin, a question about timing.  Assuming the Corker Bill becomes law, as it looks like it will be, but how will that impact the administration's timing and timeliness of suspending sanctions?

And as part of that question, do you expect the Iranian regime to, if you will, kind of pre-implement the deal in order to accelerate the time-frame where sanctions can be lifted?   Thank you.

KAHL:  You know, under the terms of the Corker legislation, if something nearly identical passes in the House, there's about a 30 day review period, and it could be extended under certain circumstances for a period of time.

So, I think the answer is that the -- that the entire deal would probably be delayed in implementation until the review period is -- is over.  So, it would delay.  It could delay Iran taking meaningful steps in the first 30 days, and obviously, because of the nature of the law, it doesn't allow any statutory sanctions to be waived, that is suspension of U.S. unilateral sanctions during that period.

So, I think the delay is kind of baked into the review period.  Of course, Congress may not take the entire review period.  They may look at it for a shorter period of time and pass their judgment, and then we would go from there.

Whether Iran will pre-implement, I think again, a question probably better directed towards Iranian officials than me.  If they started to take steps tomorrow to remove the calandria from Arak and dismantle centrifuges and do other things, I'm not sure why that would be a bad thing.  I don't see any indication that they're doing -- doing that yet.  And under the terms of the deal we're negotiating, they don't get major sanctions relief until they've taken the major steps associated with dialing back their -- their nuclear program.

So, you know, obviously the sooner they do that, the sooner relief might kick in, and if they calculate from that that it serves their interest to start taking steps to roll back their program earlier rather than later, I'm not sure why that would be a bad thing, but I haven't seen any signs they've done that yet.

KIMBALL:  All right.  And before we just take the next question, let me just ask you Colin, while we have a chance, if you could just describe in general how the talks are proceeding, what the schedule is, who is meeting between now and 30th, how -- how were the remaining details of the JCPOA based upon Lausanne framework being put together?

KAHL:  Yeah, I mean, we've had a number of expert-level meetings and political -- now political director level meetings.  Much of the discussion, at least out of the outset, and this has all been reported in the press, focused on sanctions and the -- and the timing and phasing of -- of sanctions.

But we continue to have conversations with them on other technical issues related to the annexes, on enrichment capacity, you know, research and development and other things.

We don't have a firm timeline.  That is when Wendy and her team, you know, will meet on the calendar, and when Secretary Kerry and Zarif will get back together at the -- at the ministerial level with the rest of the P5+1.  I think at the moment, we're trying to make as much progress as we can at the expert level in almost constant conversation with -- with the Wendy Sherman level, the political director level, you know, meeting every couple weeks.  And then as we get closer to crunch time, I expect that the ministers will lock themselves up in a hotel room somewhere in Switzerland or somewhere else, and hammer out the remaining details.

KIMBALL:  All right.  All right, a couple other questions here, into the middle, please.  Mr. Levine, and then we'll come over here to the left.

QUESTION:  Colin, thank you for a splendid presentation.  Nothing to object to at all, but I...


KAHL:  Could you tell my wife that?



KAHL:  Just in general.

QUESTION:  Yes, yes.


But I do think that at the very technical level, there will still be people raising questions that you have not quite addressed.

One would be what to do about the problem when conversion or down-blending of uranium is not easily achieved, and how reversible it might be.

A second would be, does the additional protocol really apply to a case in which Iran is -- is suspected of nuclear weapons activity that does not involve nuclear material, but rather involves something like explosive testing.

And thirdly, will the PMD issue be specifically tied to sanctions relief?  Or will it be sort of a floating obligation in the agreement?

Thank you.

KAHL:  Yeah.  I'll handle those in reverse order.  The -- the -- on the PMD issue, the answer is yes, it will be tied to specific sanctions relief.  It will not be something that's just floating that out in the ether.  And Iran will have to come to a resolution on the key issues associated with -- with the PMD investigation with the IAEA before they get the major tranche of sanctions relief.

KIMBALL:  That's made clear in the Lausanne framework.

KAHL:  It's -- and it's -- and it's actually -- by the way, from a timing perspective, this is just a question of political will on Iran's case, right?  They can -- they can provide access to people, places and things relatively quickly.

It may not mean that the IAEA finishes its investigation in that time period, but Iran has to give the IAEA the access required within that time period to get the major tranche of sanctions relief.  And, as Daryl mentioned, that's spelled out, or alluded to in the parameters of April 2nd.

Does the A.P. apply to -- I mean, in essence, you're asking would the additional protocol, as we're understanding it, apply to a Parchin-like situation in the future?  And the short answer is, yes, in our -- in our understanding of what would be allowed.  If there was -- because the agreement will also rule out of bounds certain weaponization-related activities.  So in the Parchin case, where the IAEA alleges, or suspects that there was explosive -- conventional explosive testing related to the possible experimentation surrounding an implosion warhead, those types of activities would be verboten under the type of agreement we're talking about.  And our interpretation of the additional protocol, at least as far as I understand it, would allow the IAEA to get access in a future Parchin-like scenario.

As it results -- as it relates to down-blending -- look, currently, you know, the 10,000 -- how do you get from 10,000 kilograms, roughly, of LEU at 3.67 percent in various forms, although mostly gas, as you -- as you know, down to a working stock of 300 kilograms?  The answer is dilution, not -- we're not -- we're not looking at oxidation, which I think raises the issue.

You know, under the -- under the Joint Plan of Action, they dealt with the 20 percent stockpiles through a combination of dilution and oxidation.  And some critics raised the problem of could you, you know, oxidation can be reversed, so you turn the powder back into gas.

Now, one of the ways the JPOA addressed that of course is that they didn't have the piping or the technology to do that, and any -- and setting that up in and of itself is a violation of the JPOA, and there's no evidence that they did that.

But under this, I mean, going down to 300 kilograms, we're not talking about putting the other 98 percent of material on the powder.  It's going to have to be diluted.

What happens to that material is obviously part of the negotiation.  There are various mechanisms.  Does it get shipped out of the country?  Does it get sold on the open market for reactor fuel?  You know, is it diluted and stored in the -- in the country?  I think there are different ways you could get at that, but we have to be confident that they don't have a working stock above 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium.

KIMBALL:  All right.  A question right up here.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Rebecca Gibbons, Georgetown University.

Hey, thanks for a great talk.

I'm wondering, as we have six weeks left, what personally is most boring (ph) to you, or what impediments do you see for the -- to get to a deal in the next six weeks?

And another way of phrasing this is, if we do not get to a deal in six weeks, what do you think are the most likely factors that would have caused that, and what are the implications moving forward?

KAHL:  Well look, I think getting a deal is going to take political will on all parties.  I think the parameters establish a great foundation, and also frankly a degree of momentum: not inevitability, but a degree of momentum.

My sense is that Iranian leaders, you know, if you -- you see the way in which the Iranian negotiating team was welcomed back home by -- by a lot of the Iranian public, I think there's a real sense of pent up expectations in the Iranian populace for their leaders to deliver on a deal.  I imagine, you know, there's real politics in Iran.  I imagine that puts some pressure on them to get across the goal line.

Obviously, they have issues that they're going to insist upon.  We have issues that we're going to insist upon.  And I -- and I -- you know, I foreshadowed a number of the areas where we're going to, you know, take a pretty hard line, and that things like we're not going to give a bunch of up front sanctions relief in the absence of -- significant implementation of -- on the Iranian side in terms of their commitments under the agreement.

There's not a something for nothing principle associated with this.  That's clear in the parameters that we released, and we're going to stick to that.

There are also these issues obviously as it relates to sensitive site access, and the -- the clarifying the writ of the IAEA as it relates to inspecting, you know, potentially clandestine activities somewhere.  And so we're -- and we're going to be pretty hard on that as well.  I'm sure there will be conversations on research and development and other topics that are -- that are controversial, which is a reason -- which is the reason why a deal at this point is not inevitable.  I think it is more likely than had you asked me six months ago, but you know, more likely doesn't mean it's a done deal.  Things could still come off the rails.

I think the good -- the good news is is that I think we have a fair amount of P5+1 consensus.  Well, first of all, we have total consensus around the parameters, and we have a -- and I think we have a good amount of consensus around those issues where there's controversy, and that's important, because being able to bring the rest of the P5+1 with us is important as we get -- as we get down to the wire.

Let me say one other thing on -- on sensitive site access too.  I think that there's been a lot of focus on -- one one particular part of the verification regime, and that is sensitive site access.  I think it's useful, which is important, and critically important, but I think it's useful to think about this -- this whole thing holistically.  A lot of people presume that all it takes for Iran to develop a clandestine nuclear weapon is to, you know, dig another hole in the ground like they did with Fordow, and fill it with stuff, and suddenly they have a nuclear weapon the next day.

That's actually not the case.  They have to dig the hole and not get caught.  They have to have a source of uranium and not get caught.  They have to turn that uranium into, in the first instance, yellow cake, and then convert it into hexafluoride gas.  They have to have a source of centrifuge components, construct those components, and then be able to deliver those to the facility.  And they have to put it all together without getting caught.

And the -- the thing that's I think quite promising about the parameters on this deal is that we have visibility across that entire chain.

Right?  For a generation, we will have access that beyond anything the IAEA's had in Iran before, to the uranium mines and mills, as well as their centrifuge production, storage, and assembly facilities, and the -- and then you pile on top of that the ability to go to access locations where the IAEA suspects illicit material.

And so if you're Iran and you're calculating how likely it is that you can get away with a secret program, you're a lot more likely to calculate that you can get away with it today or in a world without a deal than you are in a world with the deal.

And I just don't know any other option that gets you nearly as much confidence that you would detect a secret program as the deal that's on the table.  There's no other, I mean, in the absence of, you know, invading and occupying the country, it's hard to imagine a -- a -- a realistic, negotiated inspections and verification system that would be more likely to detect an Iranian sneak op than the one that we're talking about.

KIMBALL:  Yeah, that's a great point about the layered approach to verification.  I mean, there have been several questions here about the additional protocol.  It is more than just the additional protocol, it's important to remember.

All right, we've got time for one or two more questions before we -- we wrap up.  And I want to keep moving around the room, and I want to go all the way to the back to the person in the white.  Identify yourself.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Evandra Bernstein (ph), Sputnik International News.

So, it looks like the House is going to pass the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act.  Things could happen.  But I spoke with Senator Menendez after the Senate passed it.  He said that Congressional review would strengthen the U.S. negotiating hand rather than weaken it.

I'd like to get your thoughts on that and -- and also why once again, just why the administration changed its position on accepting the congressional review.

KAHL:  You know, I think -- I guess -- I guess we could -- you know, I think there are compelling arguments cutting in different directions about whether review itself intrinsically gives the negotiators more -- more leverage in the negotiations.  I mean, clearly the fact that Congress is skeptical, irrespective of the Corker Legislation, you know, means that the Iranians are under no illusion that this is an easy thing for us to do politically.

They understand that the deal has to be tough and that we have to be able to defend it, or we won't be able to sustain it in our own political system, and in the absence of doing that, it's difficult for us to have a deal and for them to get the sanctions relief they -- they want.

Now, whether you needed the Corker legislation to communicate that to the Iranians or not, I guess you could -- we, you know, there could be a debate about that.

I think that the administration is satisfied that the legislation as currently written, as it came out of the Senate, you know, provides a useful structure for Congress to weigh in on the deal, a predictable structure for doing -- for doing that, and hopefully if -- if the House passes something, it -- it tracks what the Senate -- what the Senate passes, because -- and the president has said he'd be willing to sign it at that point.

Why did we change our position on the Corker bill?  It's a long -- it's a long story, but the short of it is that there were certain things in the original legislation that were extraordinarily problematic for us.

There were -- there were elements of the bill that -- that on a plain reading, made it sound like it gave Congress an up or down vote on the deal itself, which our lawyers and the president himself had enormous concerns about from a precedent standpoint, since executive agreements and political understandings along the lines of this deal have been negotiated hundreds and hundreds of time without Congress weighing in, to include all of the status of forces agreements that we have protecting our troops all over the world, so pretty important national security issues, and there is not a -- a precedent for Congress weighing in on that.

And I think there's concern that Congress setting the precedent of weighing in on every executive agreement in the national security space could be quite problematic for the conduct of foreign policy, not just by this president, but by any president, Republican or Democratic.

So, it was useful when Senator Cardin and others got behind clarifying language, that what Congress is ultimately voting on is to approve or disapprove the ability of the president to use statutory authority to waive sanctions, which of course these are congressionally imposed sanctions, and it is within -- clearly within Congress's authority to weigh in on that.

And we've always said from the beginning that Congress had a role to play in this inevitably, because sanctions will never be terminated down the line unless Congress terminates them, because they're not in the power of the executive to do it.

So, I think once the legislation clarified that this was not an up or down vote on the deal, but an up or down vote on the sanctions portion of it, that helped.  There were also some problematic certification requirements associated with the deal, especially on terrorism, that are extraordinarily important in terms of the behavior that we're worried about on the Iranian side of things, but are extraneous to the nuclear issue per se, and would set up a circumstance in which the worst actors in Iran could engage in the worst activities around the world and do it to sabotage the deal, which doesn't strike me as something we want to encourage.

So, we took a pretty hard line on certification requirements, and that is certification for snapback, or imposition of additional sanctions, but those had to be tied actually to nuclear-related activities as covered by the deal, as opposed to being extraneous from the deal.

And so when that provision was modified and in addition to what I said previously, we became more comfortable with -- with the legislation.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Before we go to the last question, I wanted to ask you a question, Colin, that relates to today's GCC summit at Camp David and to the New York Times article that appeared this morning.  David Sanger wrote, quoting an unnamed leader or official from one of the states that is represented at the meeting, to the effect that we will match Iran's enrichment capacity step for step, et cetera.

Now, I mean, our answer at the Arms Control Association would be that it's clearly not in Saudi Arabia's interests or anyone else's interests to reject a deal that limits Iran's capacity and then to get into a centrifuge race.  But could you just give us a sense of what, if this is actually being communicated at -- at Camp David today, what you would anticipate the response from President Obama and others at the meeting might be to that sort of comment?

KAHL:  Yeah, it's a kind of strange argument.

Let's keep in mind, Iran's nuclear program started under the shah in the 1950s.  And Iran's enrichment program started in earnest in the mid to late 1980s when they started to acquire technology from the A.Q. Khan network.  So, the fact of Iranian -- of Iran's nuclear infrastructure and their enrichment program is not a new fact.  Right?  It has been a reality in this part of the world for, do the math, 60 years.

And so here's the weird part about the logic.  Their program's capacity, including their enrichment capacity, is here.  In the absence of a deal, it'll go to here.  With the deal, it'll go to here.  And yet somehow this, compared to this right as now, or this, where it'll be in a couple years, has a higher potential for the Saudis and others acquiring nuclear capabilities that would tee them up for nuclear weapons.

How does that make sense?  How is that world worse on net than a world in which their capacity is heightened, as we'd describe today, or in the future, in the absence of a deal?  It makes absolutely no sense.

Now, it is true that countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE and others have nascent nuclear programs at various levels, and the Gulf countries at various times have talked about consortiums and cooperating on nuclear energy, and we think that there's a role for nuclear energy in that part of the world.  We have a so-called one, two, three agreement with the UAE, which facilitates nuclear cooperation.  We don't think that there's any need for these countries to pursue domestic enrichment, neither for the domestic economic reasons, because it doesn't make much sense to produce this indigently, nor for the security reasons, since these countries already sit comfortably under a quite robust security assurance from the United States, so it's not clear why pursuing these capabilities would make them any safer than they would otherwise be.

And a major topic, obviously, of the GCC summit up in Camp David today is clarifying a couple of things to the leadership of the GCC.  One is actually describing what's in the deal and what's not in the deal.  Because there's at least as many myths among our partners and allies in that part of the world about what was actually negotiated as there are here in the halls of Washington.

And I think when Secretary Kerry met with his foreign ministerial counterparts from the GCC last week in Paris, he was able to really go into great detail on the nature of the deal, and found that a lot of them came away  much more reassured, simply by having the facts about what's in and what's out and realizing that this deal, relative to either the status quo or the future in the absence of this deal, puts substantially more constraints on Iran's program than there would be otherwise, and therefore addresses the motivation that has been bandied about in the New York Times and in other places.

And then the second component that's talked about -- that's going to be talked about up in Camp David, of course, is clarifying our overall security assurance to the Gulf states.  Again, this is nothing new.  I mean, you go back to Eisenhower, Nixon, and Carter,  it's been a mainstay of American foreign policy since the beginning of the Cold War to make it clear that any external attack on our partners in the Gulf region is an attack on the vital interests of the United States, and that we reserve all means to respond to that attack in consultation and joint action with our partners.

And the president will make that clear today in the joint -- in the joint statement.  I mean, I should say, he made it pretty clear at the 2013 U.N. General Assembly speech that he gave, where he made it clear that we would use all instruments of national power, including unilateral military action, if necessary to defend our partners in that part of the world against external aggression.

So, there's that.

The last point I would make is it's not clear to me why other countries looking at the totality of the Iran package would say, "you know what, I want to do that."

You know, suffer decades of crippling sanctions, and at the end of the day, roll back a program you've invested a lot of money in and provide more intrusive inspections.  I'm not sure that the average country looking at that suite of options, saying "that looks like a great path forward."


Right, so, it's hard in the totality of history to judge Iran as coming out a winner in this equation, and I think when countries recognize that there are better ways to achieve their economic and security interests than going down the pathway that Iran took, that we should be able to persuade them otherwise.

KIMBALL:  All right, I actually think that's a very good point to end on.  We're over time.

Please join me in thanking Colin Kahl for being here.


And for the hard work that you've done and the hard work that's ahead, this won't be the last time that we go over thoroughly the P5+1 and Iran talks.  And we're moving towards the conclusion of our session today, and I want to thank everybody here who has stuck with us through this detailed and rich discussion on various subjects.

I want to thank my hard-working staff, Greg Thielmann,  Kelsey Davenport, our non-proliferation policy director, for their moderation work.  Tim Farnsworth, our communications direction, Shervin Taheran for her work pulling all this together, and thanks to all of you for your support and for being here.

We will have a transcript of all of this, believe it or not, thanks to Federal News Service, online soon with the priority on Colin Kahl's remarks this afternoon.

So, thanks a lot for being here, and we are adjourned.


(Back to the agenda)


The Arms Control Association 2015 Annual Meeting will examine three major challenges for nonproliferation and disarmament over the last two years of President Barack Obama's final term. 

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"Winds of Chemical Warfare" Film Screening



The Arms Control Association and Global Green International Invite You to the U.S. Premiere and Discussion of the New Film 

“Winds of Chemical Warfare”

By the award-winning documentarian Fabienne-Lips-Dumas

In commemoration of
International Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare
The Anniversary of the Entry Into Force of the Chemical Weapons Convention

April 29, 2015
7:00pm – 8:30pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
1779 Mass. Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 

RSVP Today!

One hundred years ago this month, German forces launched the first major chemical weapons attack on the battlefields near Ypres, Belgium.

The new film, “Winds of Chemical Warfare,” traces the history and the human impact of chemical weapons; with a special focus on the 2013 Sarin gas attacks in Syria and the multinational operation to remove the Assad regime’s deadly chemical arsenal.

The screening will be followed by an informal discussion with the filmmaker and three of the world’s foremost experts on the subject: 

  • Dr. Paul Walker, Director of Green Cross International’s Environmental Security and Sustainability Program;
  • Fabienne Lips-Dumas, Filmmaker for "Winds of Chemical Warfare";
  • Michael Luhan, former Head of Media and Public Affairs, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; and
  • Andrew Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs.

To save your seat, please RSVP by April 27. 

# # #
The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.
Green Cross International (GCI), founded by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993, is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland with national affiliates in thirty other countries, including Washington D.C.  GCI responds to the combined challenges of security, poverty and environmental degradation to ensure a sustainable and secure future. 
"Winds of Chemical Warfare" produced by SEPPIA Film & Domino Production with ARTE GEIE, RTBF, & YLE.

The new film, “Winds of Chemical Warfare,” traces the history and the human impact of chemical weapons, with a special focus on the 2013 sarin gas attacks...

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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 – whic