Nuclear Issues

259 Items

President Joe Biden meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin

AP/Patrick Semansky

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Biden to Putin in Geneva: There's a New Sheriff in Town.

| June 17, 2021

No great breakthroughs or dramatic developments were expected at the Biden-Putin summit, and none was achieved. But the message was clear: There is a new sheriff in town. Putin noticed, describing Biden as very different from Trump—experienced, balanced, and professional.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin, left, American President Bill Clinton, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, and British Prime Minister John Major sign the Budapest Memorandum on Dec. 5, 1994.

Marcy Nighswander/Associated Press

Book Chapter - Ibidem Press

Damage Control: The Breach of the Budapest Memorandum and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime

| March 2021

The Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine’s Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), signed in 1994 by Ukraine, and the three NPT depositary states, the United States, United Kingdom and Russian Federation, is not a ratified, legally binding treaty, but a set of high-level political commitments. Its significance is in explicitly linking Ukraine’s sovereignty and security to the NPT, and the basic bargains enshrined in it. The NPT’s depositary states gave Ukraine security assurances in exchange for Kyiv’s renunciation of the world’s third largest nuclear weapons arsenal. Moscow’s manifest violation of this deal when it invaded Ukraine in 2014 not only eroded European security. It has also undermined the rationale of the international nonproliferation regime. While not directly related to the question of the North-Atlantic Alliance’s enlargement, Russia’s disregard for the NPT’s logic has, since 2014, escalated Ukrainian critique of NATO’s insufficient engagement in Eastern Europe, during the last quarter of a century.

Missile Launch

Iranian Revolutionary Guard/Sepahnews via AP, File

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

How to Make the Iranian Nuclear Deal Durable

| Feb. 28, 2021

Abolghasem Bayyenat and Sayed Hossein Mousavian advise the United States and Iran to aim for reaching a modus vivendi that keeps their political conflict within manageable limits. Otherwise, another round of dangerous mutual escalation in the illusory hope of building leverage and extracting more concessions from each other is inevitable.     

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the nation in a televised speech in Tehran on Feb. 10, 2021 (Iranian Presidency Office via AP).

Iranian Presidency Office via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Reviving the Nuclear Deal Gives the U.S. More Leverage Over Iran

| Feb. 15, 2021

While U.S. sanctions have caused Iran’s economy major challenges and limited Iran’s access to financial resources, they have not succeeded in changing Tehran’s behavior regarding its nuclear program. Indeed, Iran has not offered additional concessions. Instead, it has engaged in its own leverage-building strategy by ramping up its nuclear activities, missile program, and regional activities. Iran is not only closer to having the capacity to build a bomb, but even the political discourse of key officials on whether to cross that threshold has been shifting.

The main hall for the IAEA’s Talks on Supplying Nuclear Fuel for Iranian Research Reactor, Vienna, Austria, 19 October 2009. 

Dean Calma/IAEA

Paper

The Deal That Got Away: The 2009 Nuclear Fuel Swap with Iran

| January 2021

With concerns and uncertainties regarding Iran’s nuclear future persisting to this day, this paper seeks to review the TRR negotiations and the context in which they unfolded in order to capture some of the lessons of negotiating with Iran regarding its nuclear program, primarily from the viewpoint of senior U.S. officials involved at the time. The paper is also informed by the personal perspective of one of the authors (Poneman) who led the U.S. delegation in the 2009 Vienna talks, and who, prior to this publication, had not publicly elaborated on his experience. The other author (Nowrouzzadeh), who supported the TRR talks in an analytical capacity within the U.S. Department of Defense, also conducted an extensive interview with Poneman as part of their collaboration on this paper. By drawing on existing literature and recent interviews with several senior U.S. officials involved in the negotiations now that over ten years have passed, the authors seek to draw useful lessons from this episode that can assist policymakers in understanding Iran’s nuclear decision-making and in their continued efforts to shape the future trajectory of Iran’s nuclear program.

icbm

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

'What About China?' and the Threat to US–Russian Nuclear Arms Control

| 2020

The administration of President Donald J. Trump has consistently used fear of China to undermine nearly five decades of bipartisan consensus on US–Russian nuclear arms control. The negative consequences of these actions may last far beyond the Trump presidency. If generations of agreement between Democrats and Republicans on bilateral nuclear treaties with Russia erode, it will pose a significant setback to US national security and global stability. Future leaders may ultimately need to consider new approaches to nuclear risk reduction that preserve the benefits of the arms control regime.

Landscape of the Nevada National Security Site

NNSA/Nevada Site Office

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Donald Trump Could Lose the Election by Authorizing a New Nuclear Weapons Test

    Authors:
  • Benoît Pelopidas
  • Jonathon Baron
  • Fabrício Fialho
| June 23, 2020

Polls in the United States and nine allied countries in Europe and Asia show that public support for a nuclear test is very low. If the Trump administration conducts a test, then it shouldn't expect backing from Americans or its closest U.S. partners.

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Postponement of the NPT Review Conference. Antagonisms, Conflicts and Nuclear Risks after the Pandemic

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has published a document from the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs concerning nuclear problems and tensions in the time of COVID-19. The document has been co-signed by a large number of Pugwash colleagues and personalities.