Nuclear Issues

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Rouhani

Russia President

Blog Post - Iran Project Iran Matters

A Possible Trump Administration’s Iran Policy: Constraints and Options

    Author:
  • Ephraim Kam
| Jan. 20, 2017

A key foreign affairs issue for the Trump administration will be its policy on Iran, as was the case also for the Obama administration. But we have no idea what approach it will take, an uncertainty amplified by the fact that Trump has no experience whatsoever in foreign policy, and no idea whose input he will accept in shaping it. It’s not as if we have no information about his attitude – during the election campaign, Trump made his intention on Iran very clear – but, as with other topics, it is unclear how he will act when once he is forced to translate his intentions into action and realizes that reality is far more complicated than he imagined.

Trump Israel Wisconsin tweet

AP

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Messiah Hasn't Come. He Only Tweets.

| Jan. 18, 2017

"Only one thing is clear: Trump will be a one-issue president — his own personal benefit — and that this consideration will guide his entire presidency. This predilection has already been manifested in a series of statements and actions, often in tweets, that are indicative of the impending changes in U.S. policy. Policy changes are legitimate, that is what he was elected for, but the overall impression is that Trump is motivated by fleeting political and personal gain, rather than deep strategic thought."

Japanese Flag

Grantuking/Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - Japan Forward

Japanese Nuclear Weapons Would Make Japan Less Safe, Not More

| January 18, 2017

This is not the first time that the idea of a Japanese nuclear capability has been floated: In the late 1960s, after the first Chinese nuclear test, the Japanese government under Eisaku Sato sanctioned multiple feasibility studies on how much time and money Japan would need to develop nuclear weapons. However, these studies unanimously argued against making the political decision to build the bomb, citing the tremendous losses Japan would incur in the forms of insecurity, economic costs, and damage to its diplomatic relations in the international community.

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with United States President Barack Obama during a bilateral meeting at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, September 21, 2016 in New York City.

Drew Angerer / Pool via CNP /MediaPunch/IPX

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Obama and Israel: Farewell to a True Friend

| Jan. 17, 2017

Addressing the delegates to the AIPAC National Conference on March 21, 2016, then candidate for president Donald Trump asserted that President Barack Obama “may be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel, believe me, believe me. And you know it and you know it better than anybody." This view is still shared by many right-wing Israelis as well as by many members of the American Jewish community. Yet nothing can be farther than the truth.

Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant

Wikimedia Commons

Policy Brief - Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Iran Stockpiling Uranium Far Above Current Needs

| January 10, 2017

In a televised speech on January 1, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran had imported 200 metric tons of yellowcake uranium and would import another 120 tons at an unspecified future date. The imports are permitted by the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but nonetheless significantly exceed Iran’s needs for natural (that is, unenriched) uranium over the next 15 years. Iran’s import of such high levels of uranium suggests it may be stockpiling uranium to reach nuclear breakout before the deal’s initial limitations expire in 2031.

The JCPOA permits Iran to buy natural uranium to “replenish” its stocks as it sells enriched uranium on the international market. To date, Iran has had difficulties locating a buyer for its enriched uranium stocks – unsurprising, given the current excess of commercially available enriched uranium. This, however, has not stopped Iran from buying and stockpiling more yellowcake.

A model of the Capitol Building is displayed on a giant planning map during a media tour highlighting inaugural preparations Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, at the DC Armory in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Policy Brief - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

A Conservative’s Prescriptive Policy Checklist: U.S. Foreign Policies in the Next Four Years to Shape a New World Order

| Jan. 09, 2017

Based on the rigorous definition of vital U.S. national interests, this essay proposes a prescriptive checklist of U.S. policy steps that would strengthen the domestic base of American external actions; reinforce the U.S. alliance systems in Asia and Europe; meet the Chinese and Russian challenges, while improving the quality of diplomatic exchanges with Beijing and Moscow; reshape U.S. trade policy; gradually pivot from the Middle East to Asia (but not from Europe); maintain the nuclear agreement with Iran; and confront international terrorism more aggressively, but with minimal U.S. boots on the ground in ungoverned areas and without nation building.

Korea Wolsong Nuclear Power Plant

IAEA Imagebank

Journal Article

Improving Nuclear Safety, Security, and Nonproliferation in Northeast Asia through Multinational Approach

| December 31, 2016

Reviewing recent developments in nuclear energy, it is clear that Northeast Asian countries have become the leading customers and suppliers of nuclear technology worldwide. However, regional cooperation in the nuclear field remains inadequate when compared to the close economic interaction between these states and their need for solutions to pressing issues, such as supply assurance and spent fuel management. At the same time, with events like the Fukushima accident or the ongoing nuclear crisis in North Korea, there is an urgent demand for Northeast Asia to improve the safety, security, and nonproliferation status of the regional nuclear programs as any nuclear-related incident in any regional state will have transnational impact on the economic and social stability of the whole region.

Analysis & Opinions - The Diplomat

Would South Korea Really Go Nuclear?

| December 30, 2016

"Until recently, calls for nuclear armament were considered extremist in South Korean political discourse. However, public support for nuclear armament is growing in South Korea due to North Korea’s nuclear provocations. In a recent Gallup Korea poll, 58 percent supported nuclear armament. If the U.S. security guarantee is not credible in the minds of South Koreans, and nuclear armament is the only way to defend South Korea’s security from North Korea, a nuclear option will seem even more appealing to the public."

Iranian Moves Offer Opportunity to Improve JCPOA

Iran Talks

Analysis & Opinions - Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Iranian Moves Offer Opportunity to Improve JCPOA

| December 23, 2016

Congress extended the Iran Sanctions Act earlier this month, prompting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to order retaliatory steps.  Tehran protested to the EU,  claiming the extension is a violation of last summer’s nuclear deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA – and requesting a meeting of the joint committee  established to settle disputes over the deal’s implementation. Based on Rouhani’s same directive, Iran has also ordered its scientists to develop a plan to design and manufacture a nuclear-propulsion system and fuel for marine transportation.

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The 2016 Iranian Parliamentary Elections and the Future of Domestic Politics under the JCPOA

| December 2016

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office, the status of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers is increasingly coming under question.  Since the nuclear agreement was the product of a realignment of Iranian elites toward moderate forces, the unravelling of the agreement holds the potential to disrupt Iranian politics once again. This report, The 2016 Iranian Parliamentary Elections and the Future of Domestic Politics under the JCPOA, by Iran Project Director Payam Mohseni, provides an in-depth analysis of Iran's factional political scene and assesses the impact of the agreement on the 2016 Iranian parliamentary elections and the future of Iranian politics.