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

– Setsuko Thurlow
Hiroshima Survivor
June 6, 2016

Trump Decision to Respect Iran Deal Obligations Averts Self-Made Crisis, for Now.



Nuclear Agreement is a Nonproliferation Success that Must Not Be Squandered

For Immediate Release: January 12, 2018

Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy, (202) 463-8270 ext. 102; Thomas Countryman, chair of the board of directors, (202) 463-8270 ext. 110

(Washington, D.C.)—The Trump administration announced Friday that it will continue to waive sanctions on Iran in accordance with U.S. commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal between the P5+1 countries (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran, known as known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Meeting the U.S. obligation to continue sanctions relief is a common-sense decision that helps ensure that the tough restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program and intrusive International Atomic Energy Agency measures will continue to block Iran’s pathways to the bomb for years to come,” said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy.

"The deal dodged a bullet today, but Trump is setting up the United States to violate it down the road," warned Davenport. "Threatening to withhold future sanctions waivers in an attempt to force unilateral changes to the deal is dangerous, jeopardizes the future of the agreement, and creates a schism between the United States and its allies."

“The vast majority of nonproliferation and security experts agree that the successful implementation of the JCPOA has effectively neutralized the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapons program,” said Thomas Countryman, the chairman of the board of directors of the Arms Control Association and the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation.

“It would have been foolish for President Trump to disrupt a successful nonproliferation agreement that blocks the emergence of a significant new nuclear threat in a tension-filled region and contributes to strengthening the global nonproliferation regime,” Countryman argued.

“Trump continues to disparage the deal and is pressuring Congress to “fix” what it sees as flaws in the agreement,” noted Davenport. “In the weeks ahead, the administration and the Congress must refrain from imposing new sanctions that violate the JCPOA or seek to unilaterally alter the nuclear restrictions on Iran.”

“For example, legislative efforts by the U.S. Congress that automatically reimpose sanctions if Iran does not indefinitely abide by core nuclear restrictions that the JCPOA phases out over time would violate the accord and are strongly opposed by Washington’s negotiating partners,” she said.


Nuclear Agreement is a Nonproliferation Success that Must Not Be Squandered

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Core Group of Negotiators for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Voted "2017 Arms Control Persons of the Year"



For Immediate Release: January 9, 2018

Media Contact: Tony Fleming, director for communications, 202-463-8270 ext. 110

(Washington, D.C.)—Diplomats from the disarmament delegations of Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa, and Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica received the highest number of votes in an online poll to determine the"2017 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year” in recognition of their efforts to secure the historic 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

More than 2,500 individuals from over 90 countries voted in the contest, the highest number of votes from the widest range of countries in the 10-year history of the contest.

Nine individuals and groups were nominated by the staff and board of the Arms Control Association for their leadership in advancing effective arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament solutions or for raising awareness of the threats posed by mass casualty weapons during the course of 2017.

The diplomats leading the disarmament delegations from Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa were part of the “core group” of states who, along with the president of the negotiating conference, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica, played a central role in the multilateral talks on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The negotiations were brought to a successful conclusion in July and the treaty was opened for signature in September.

“In a year marked by rising tensions between the world’s nuclear-armed states, the negotiation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons stands out as a historic achievement,” noted Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

"The strong affirmative vote for the disarmament teams from Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa, and Ambassador Whyte Gómez, reflects their pivotal role in the negotiation of the treaty and the pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons,” Kimball said.

The runners-up in the vote for the 2017 Arms Control Persons of the Year were Toby Walsh of the University of New South Wales and a group of more than 137 founders and directors of over 100 robotics and artificial intelligence companies. They were nominated for their influential open letter warning of the dangers posed by uncontrolled development of lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS). Their efforts have helped push government delegations at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva to consider options for regulating this new class of potentially destabilizing weapons.

The second runner-up was Pope Francis for his declaration that the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral completing the Catholic Church’s shift away from conditional acceptance of nuclear deterrence, and for his call for a more inclusive and effective process to advance disarmament. Pope Francis and the Vatican convened a major international conference Nov. 10-11 to discuss the steps toward a world without nuclear weapons.

Online voting was open from Dec. 8, 2017 until Jan. 5, 2018. A list of all of this year's nominees is available at https://armscontrol.org/acpoy/2017

Previous winners of the "Arms Control Person of the Year" are:


PRESS RELEASE: Strengthening Checks on Presidential Nuclear Launch Authority



New Analysis Published in Arms Control Today

For Immediate Release: January 4, 2018

Media Contacts: Brett Adams, Princeton University, 516-841-1105; Daryl G. Kimball, publisher, Arms Control Today, 202-463-8270 x107.

(Washington, DC)—Bipartisan concerns about President Donald Trump’s temperament, loose talk about nuclear weapons, and bellicose rhetoric toward North Korea have prompted renewed interest in and questioning of U.S. nuclear launch protocol, which gives the president the sole authority to order the use of nuclear weapons, hundreds of which are available for prompt launch.

Last November, for the first time in over 40 years, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the subject of nuclear weapons launch authority.

In a new article published in the forthcoming journal Arms Control Today, Bruce Blair, a member of the Princeton University research faculty, cofounder of the organization Global Zero, and a former Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile launch officer, provides an authoritative summary of current U.S. nuclear launch protocol and its dangerous liabilities. The article includes new information about the process, including who is involved and how a nuclear use order would be executed.

Blair also offers several possible reforms to the current protocol to provide the president with more warning and decision time and reduce the risks of faulty decision making.

The article comes after Trump reacted to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s annual new year’s day address by tweeting: “Will someone from his [Kim Jong-Un’s] depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but that it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works.”

In the article, titled “Strengthening Checks on Presidential Nuclear Launch Authority,” Blair writes that “[m]ajor changes are needed to constrain a president who would seek to initiate the first use of nuclear weapons without apparent cause and to prevent him or her from being pushed into making nuclear retaliatory decisions in haste.”

“No single reform suffices,” writes Blair. “A combination of reforms is needed to reduce the risk.”

The reforms proposed by Blair include altering the current prompt-launch posture, adding more people to the chain of command, greater congressional involvement, and re-evaluating the legality of nuclear war plans.

Blair’s article will appear in the January/February 2018 issue of Arms Control Today.


New Analysis Published in Arms Control Today

U.S. and Russia Should Avoid Escalation and Commit to Resolve Lingering INF Treaty Dispute



Statement by Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which was signed 30 years ago today, eliminated an entire class of destabilizing U.S. and Soviet nuclear-armed weapons and helped end the Cold War. Although the INF Treaty is clearly in the security interests of the United States, Europe, and Russia, the treaty is in jeopardy.

Soviet inspectors and their American escorts stand among U.S. Pershing II missiles destroyed in accordance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in a photo taken January 14, 1989. (Photo credit: MSGT Jose Lopez Jr./U.S. Defense Department)

According the U.S. government, Russia has violated the INF Treaty by testing and subsequently deploying a small number of ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) with a range between 500 and 5,500 km. Russia denies that it has violated the treaty and has instead raised its own concerns about U.S. compliance with the agreement. This is a serious matter.

Both sides say they support the INF Treaty, but they have not been able to resolve the compliance dispute through the Special Verification Commission (SVC), a technical forum designed to resolve compliance concerns. The U.S. side has requested a second meeting of the SVC on December 12-14 to address the matter once again. This is an important opportunity that both sides must use to bring forward additional details about their concerns, as well as discuss concrete and practical solutions, rather than only exchange complaints and vague allegations.

The Trump administration announced today that it is committed to the INF Treaty and to bringing Russia back into compliance, which is helpful. What is not helpful is its proposal to recommit to the treaty by taking steps that would put the United States on the path to violating it. The administration announced that it is pursuing a tit-for-tat response: the development of new, INF non-compliant conventional missile.

As long as Russia remains in noncompliance with the treaty, the United States should make clear it clear that Russia will not be allowed to gain a military advantage from its violation.

But a symmetric response won’t make the United States or Europe any safer and will only make the problem worse. Earlier this year, the Republican-led Congress opened the door to this escalation of the problem by authorizing a program of record for such a weapons system.

The INF Treaty does not prohibit research or development, but going down this road sets the stage for Washington to violate the agreement at some point and it takes the focus off of Russia’s INF violation. Rather than persuading Russia to return to compliance, this action is more likely to give Moscow an excuse to continue on its current course.

New ground-launched intermediate-range missiles are not needed to defend NATO or Northeast Asian allies. U.S. forces are already stocked with formidable air- and sea-launched missiles that can cover the same targets. Furthermore, a new U.S. INF missile would take years to develop and cost billions of dollars that would drain funding from other military programs.

Most importantly, NATO does not support a new missile, and no country has offered to host it. It is thus a missile to nowhere. If the Trump administration tries to force the alliance to accept a new, potentially nuclear missile it would divide the alliance.

Instead, both sides must recommit to resolve this issue and use the existing treaty compliance resolution mechanism, the SVC, to evaluate competing technical claims and ultimately to remove from deployment any INF systems in Russia that do not comply with the treaty.

In addition to working to preserve and strengthen the existing bilateral arms control architecture, including the INF Treaty, the U.S. and Russia should begin to discuss the future of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which can and should be extended for another five years. These agreements constrain Russia's nuclear forces and provide stability, predictability and transparency. They have only increased in value as the U.S.-Russia relationship has deteriorated.



Statement by Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball

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2017 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year Nominees Announced



For Immediate Release: December 8, 2017

Media Contacts: Daryl Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext 107; Tony Fleming, director for communications and operations, (202) 463-8270 ext 110.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Each year since 2007, the Arms Control Association has nominated individuals and institutions engaged in advancing effective arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament solutions and/or raised awareness of the threats posed by mass casualty weapons.

This year’s nominees have, each in their own way, provided leadership to help reduce weapons-related security threats.

Online voting will be open from December 8, 2017, until January 5, 2018. The results will be announced January 8, 2018.

The 2017 nominees are:

  • EU High Representative Federica Mogherini for her steadfast diplomatic campaign on behalf of the European Union to resist attempts by the Trump administration to seek to “renegotiate” the terms of the July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Place of Action and for her strong advocacy for full implementation and compliance with the landmark nonproliferation agreement by all parties, especially by the United States and Iran.
  • The disarmament delegations of Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa, and Amb. Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica for leading the negotiations on the landmark 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to a successful conclusion in July and opening it for signature on Sept. 20, 2017.
  • The U.S. State Department’s special envoy on North Korea, Amb. Joseph Yun, for his unwavering efforts to establish a sustained diplomatic dialogue with North Korea designed to defuse rising tensions over the country’s rapidly advancing nuclear and missile programs despite skepticism from some quarters in Washington.
  • Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) for introducing H.R. 4415, a bill that would make it the policy of the United States not to use nuclear weapons first. In announcing the bill, Smith said:“The United States should not use nuclear arms in a first strike. They are instruments of deterrence, and they should be treated as such. A declaratory policy of not using nuclear weapons first will increase strategic stability, particularly in a crisis, reducing the risk of miscalculation that could lead to an unintended all-out nuclear war.”
  • Pope Francis for his declaration that the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral, completing the Catholic Church’s shift away from conditional acceptance of nuclear deterrence, and for his call for a more inclusive and effective process to advance disarmament through an international conference on “Perspectives for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Development,” held Nov. 10-11.
  • Members of UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and partners in Iraq for their exceptional work clearing more than 269,000 mines, IEDs, and explosive hazards from locations in Iraq formerly under the control of the Islamic State and instituting a civilian training program to ensure that civilians coming back are able to recognize them.
  • Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) for continuing to call attention to the negative security and humanitarian impact of U.S.-supplied weapons and ammunition in the ongoing Saudi military campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen. They pushed for a vote in June on a resolution supported by 47 Senators that opposed the provision of more than $500 million in precision-guided weapons to Riyadh.
  • Edmond Mulethead of the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism, for overseeing the investigations to determine the responsible actors for chemical weapons attacks in Khan Shaykhun and Umm Hawsh in 2017, thereby strengthening international accountability for chemical weapons use. On Nov. 7, Amb. Mulet, who is from Guatemala, reported to the UN Security Council that his team determined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) to be responsible for using sulfur mustard in a September 2016 attack in Umm Hawsh and the Syrian Government to be accountable for the release of sarin in an April 2017 attack in Khan Shaykhun.
  • Toby Walsh of the University of New South Wales and a group of more than 137 founders and directors of over 100 robotics and artificial intelligence companies for releasing an open letter warning of the dangers posed by uncontrolled development of lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS). Representatives from 86 countries participated in the Group of Governmental Experts of LAWS meeting held in Geneva in November and decided to continue their deliberations in 2018.

Previous winners of the "Arms Control Person of the Year" include: The government of Marshall Islands and its former Foreign Minister Tony de Brum (2016)Setsuko Thurlow and the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, (2015); Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Ambassador Alexander Kmentt (2014), Executive-Secretary of the CTBTO Lassina Zerbo (2013)Gen. James Cartwright (2012); reporter and activist Kathi Lynn Austin (2011), Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov and Thomas D'Agostino, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator (2010)Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (2009), Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his ministry's Director-General for Security Policy and the High North Steffen Kongstad (2008), and U.S.Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).



Since 2007, the Arms Control Association's staff and board of directors has nominated individuals and institutions that have advanced effective arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament solutions or raised awareness of the threats posed by mass casualty weapons.

New CBO Report Warns of Skyrocketing Costs of U.S. Nuclear Arsenal



Experts Call for Shift to More Cost-Effective Alternatives

For Immediate Release: October 31, 2017

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

(Washington, D.C.) – A new study published by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Tuesday highlights the skyrocketing cost of the current plan to sustain and upgrade U.S. nuclear forces and outlines several pragmatic options to maintain a credible, formidable deterrent at less cost.

The USS Wyoming, an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, returns to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia in 2014. The Navy is planning to replace the Ohio-class submarines, but the cost of the replacement is prompting a debate in Washington. (U.S. Navy)CBO estimates that sustaining and upgrading U.S. nuclear forces will cost taxpayers $1.24 trillion in inflation-adjusted dollars between fiscal years 2017 and 2046. When the effects of inflation are included, we project that the 30-year cost will exceed $1.5 trillion. These figures are significantly higher than the previously reported estimates of roughly $1 trillion.   

“The stark reality underlined by CBO is that unless the U.S. government finds a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the nuclear weapons spending plan inherited by the Trump administration will pose a crushing affordability problem,” said Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association.

The CBO study comes amid reports that the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, which is slated for completion by the end of the year, could propose new types of nuclear weapons and increase their role in U.S. policy.

“If the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review by the administration does not scale-back current nuclear weapons spending plans – or worse, accelerates or expands upon them – expenditures on nuclear weapons will endanger other high priority national security programs,” Reif noted.

The CBO report evaluates roughly a dozen alternatives to the current plans to manage and reduce the mammoth price tag. For example, according to CBO, roughly 15 percent, or nearly $200 billion, of the projected cost of nuclear forces over the next three decades could be saved by trimming back the existing program of record while still maintaining a triad of delivery systems. Additional savings could be found by shifting from a triad to a nuclear dyad. 

“The report blows apart the false choice repeatedly posited by Pentagon officials between the costly ‘all of the above’ plan to maintain and upgrade the nuclear force and doing nothing. There are cost-cutting alternatives that would still maintain a U.S. nuclear force capable of obliterating any potential nuclear adversary,” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

“The trillion and a half dollar triad is not just unaffordable, it is unnecessary. The United States continues to retain more nuclear weapons, delivery systems, and supporting infrastructure than it needs to deter or respond to a nuclear attack,” Kimball added.

Over the past several years, the Arms Control Association has repeatedly raised concerns about the need and affordability of the current spending plans, argued that these plans pose a threat to other military priorities, and suggested more cost-effective alternatives.

For more information see:


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.


A new study published by CBO highlights the skyrocketing cost to sustain and upgrade U.S. nuclear forces and outlines several options to maintain a credible deterrent at less cost.

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Thomas Countryman Elected as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Arms Control Association



Formerly served as Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control
and International Security

For Immediate Release: October 20, 2017

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Tony Fleming, director for communications, (202) 463-8270 ext. 110

(Washington, DC)—The Arms Control Association Board of Directors announced Friday that Thomas Countryman, former Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, has been elected to serve as the chair of the organization's board of directors. The Arms Control Association has been a leading voice in the field of nonproliferation, arms control and disarmament since it was established in 1971. 

Countryman served for 35 years as a member of the Foreign Service until January 2017, achieving the rank of minister-counselor, and served as acting undersecretary for arms control and international security, a position to which he was appointed Oct. 9, 2016. He simultaneously served as assistant secretary for international security and nonproliferation, a position he had held since September 2011. As acting undersecretary, he advised the Secretary of State on arms control, nonproliferation, disarmament and political-military affairs.

Countryman was elected to join the board of the Arms Control Association in June 2017. Since leaving government and joining the Association’s board, he has spoken on the Association’s concerns in interviews in The Guardian, Voice of America, CNN, and NBC News and has written for The Washington Post and other publications.

"In arms control, as in other fields of public policy,  the role of NGOs is to be an incubator of new policy ideas," Countryman noted. “My commitment to work for a more secure world for our citizens and our descendants led me to join the Board of the Directors of the Arms Control Association and I am honored by the Board’s confidence in electing me as chair.”

“As tensions between nuclear-armed states are increasing, key disarmament pillars are at risk, and public anxiety about the risk of nuclear conflict is growing,"  said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Association since 2001, "we are fortunate to have a proven leader with a depth and breadth of experience serving as our board chair.”

Countryman immediately succeeds as chair Dr. John Steinbruner, a leading international security affairs and arms control scholar, who served from 2000 until his death in 2015. Previous chairs of the Association's board of directors include William C. Foster, former director of the U.S. Arms Control Disarmament Agency, Gerard Smith, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Policy and Planning and lead negotiator of the SALT agreements, and Stanley R. Resor, former Secretary of the Army and lead negotiator on talks with the Soviet Union on conventional arms.


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.

Trump’s Stance on Iran Nuclear Deal Risks Proliferation Crisis




Arms Control Experts Say Efforts to Pressure Iran to Renegotiate Terms of 2015 Agreement Are Irresponsible and Dangerous

For Immediate Release: October 13, 2017

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

(Washington, D.C.)—Experts from the Washington-based Arms Control Association denounced President Donald Trump’s decision Friday to withhold a certification to Congress tied to the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The President’s gambit is irresponsible and dangerous. Any attempt by the White House or Congress to unilaterally change the terms of the highly-successful nuclear deal with Iran risks setting Washington on a course to violate the deal.” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

Trump signaled that he will withhold certification because he believes the sanctions relief granted to Iran is not proportional to the restrictions Iran is abiding by under the agreement. He further said he would push for Congress to pass legislation requiring sanctions to snap back into place if Iran does not meet additional limits that are not currently mandated in the JCPOA.

“It is critical that Congress refrain from any actions that would effectively seek to renegotiate the terms of the JCPOA. Any steps seeking to dictate an extension of the JCPOA restrictions or add additional requirements through U.S. legislation will create a major schism with U.S. allies and could push Iran to resume troublesome nuclear activities restricted under the deal,” Kimball said.

“Trump’s plan to unilaterally extend the limits of the current deal by holding Iran hostage to the threat of reimposing U.S. sanctions is a fantasy that jeopardizes an agreement that is verifiably blocking Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons,” said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy.

“Trump’s pressure-centric approach only risks undercutting Iranian incentives to remain in compliance with the accord and isolating the United States from its negotiating partners, all of whom reject reopening the agreement. With the looming threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program, the United States cannot afford to manufacture a second nuclear crisis,” she added.

"If the Trump administration is truly concerned about the future of Iran’s nuclear program, Washington should meet its obligations under the deal, vigorously enforce the accord, and seek global support to build on the innovative nonproliferation elements of the agreement.” Davenport said.

“Trump’s reckless actions have consequences beyond threatening the nuclear deal with Iran. He risks triggering a spiral of proliferation and destabilizing nuclear competition in the region, and beyond,” Kimball added.

For more information see:


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.


Arms Control Experts Say Efforts to Pressure Iran to Renegotiate Terms of 2015 Agreement Are Irresponsible and Dangerous

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Arms Control Association Applauds 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Winner ICAN



Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons a Turning Point
Statement from Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball

For Immediate Release: October 6, 2017

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107

(WASHINGTON, DC)—We are pleased and excited that the Nobel Committee has awarded the 2017 Peace Prize to our colleagues at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Their work in raising awareness about the catastrophic impacts of nuclear weapons and their years-long campaign for the negotiation of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has helped to reset the terms of the seven-decade-long struggle to prevent nuclear war and eliminate nuclear weapons in important and helpful ways.

At a time when nuclear dangers and tensions are rising, ICAN’s call to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons is the appropriate rejoinder to those governments and leaders who continue to promote the role and potential use of these mass terror weapons in the 21st century.

At a result of the TPNW, for the first time since the invention of the atomic bomb, nuclear weapons development, production, possession, use, threat of use, and stationing of another country’s nuclear weapons on a states party's national territory are all expressly prohibited in a global treaty. The treaty also requires states to provide assistance to those affected by nuclear weapons use and testing. Over time, the TPNW will further delegitimize nuclear weapons and strengthen the legal and political norm against their use. Steps aimed at reducing the risk of catastrophic nuclear weapons use are necessary and should be welcomed.

ICAN was a catalyst for the new treaty, which was negotiated by a group of over 130 non-nuclear weapon states and is an expression of the deep concern about the enormous risks posed by nuclear weapons and the growing frustration with the failure of the nuclear-armed states to fulfill their nuclear disarmament commitments. The initiative underscores the need for the nuclear weapons states’ to meet their existing legal obligations to end the nuclear arms race and pursue disarmament and the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.

Others involved in the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons initiative, including the winners of the 2014 and 2015 Arms Control Persons of the Year Award, Amb. Alexander Kmentt of Austria and hibakusha survivor and anti-nuclear activist Setsuko Thurlow, and their colleagues in government and civil society also deserve tremendous credit.

Serious work lies ahead. We will continue to partner with our friends in the ICAN network and with other nongovernmental leaders to inform and influence public and policy maker action on effective measures to reduce and eliminate the dangers posed by nuclear weapons.

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Urgent Need to De-escalate Tensions Between Washington and Pyongyang



Statement from Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball

For Immediate Release: September 22, 2017

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

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—The escalating crisis over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests has now reached an extremely dangerous level. The risk of conflict through miscalculation by either side is unacceptably high.

Mr.Ri Yong Ho, Foreign Ministrer of the Democratic People's Republic of KoreaWe are alarmed and strongly condemn the unecessary and provocative threat of massive retaliation against Pyongyang by President Donald Trump in his UN address on Sept. 19, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms the suggestion by the Foreign Minister of the DPRK on Sept. 22 that his government may conduct a nuclear test explosion in or over the Pacific Ocean in reaction to Mr. Trump’s remarks.

Such a nuclear test would be a threat not just to the United States, but would be a global security and health threat to the entire international community, which has prohibited all nuclear test explosions through the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. A nuclear test explosion over the Pacific could trigger events that escalate even further beyond the control of Washington and Pyongyang.

We strongly appeal to key leaders in the region, particularly the United States and North Korea, to immediately take steps ease tensions and refrain from making any further threats of nuclear or missile tests or military action of any kind. Each side must chose their words very carefully and seek open direct channel of communication to avoid miscommunication and miscalculation. The current path being pursued by both sides leads to catastrophe.

We call on the UN Secretary-General to convene a series of emergency, closed-door meetings with senior leaders from the members of Six-Party-Talks to intiate a serious dialogue designed to lower tensions and address issues of mutual concern.

US Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun (L) talks with South Korea's representative to the six-party talks, Kim Hong-Kyun (R), during their meeting at the foreign ministry in Seoul on March 22, 2017. The meeting came as a new North Korean missile test failed on March 22, according to the South's defence ministry, two weeks after Pyongyang launched four rockets in what it called a drill for an attack on US bases in Japan. (Photo: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)It is past time for a direct dialogue, without preconditions, that sets a new course — toward a negotiated or brokered agreement that addresses the concerns of the international community and the security concerns of the DPRK. Such a course begins with an immediate halt to further nuclear test explosions and intermediate- or long-range ballistic missile tests and any military exercises that could be interpreted to be practice runs for an attack.

As President John F. Kennedy said following the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis: “Above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to the choice of either a humiliating defeat or a nuclear war.”

Now is the time to back away from edge of a conflict that could escalate to the nuclear level all too quickly.

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