Nuclear Issues

25 Items

The nuclear archive warehouse outside Tehran (Satellite image via Google).

Satellite image via Google

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

The Iran Nuclear Archive: Impressions and Implications

In mid-January, a team of scholars from the Belfer Center’s Intelligence and Managing the Atom Projects traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to examine samples of, and receive briefings on, an archive of documents related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The large cache includes some 55,000 pages of documents and a further 55,000 files on CDs that included photos and videos. A clandestine Israeli intelligence operation spirited the materials out of Iran in early 2018.

The documents that the Belfer group were shown confirm that senior Iranian officials had decided in the late 1990s to actually manufacture nuclear weapons and carry out an underground nuclear test; that Iran’s program to do so made more technical progress than had previously been understood; and that Iran had help from quite a number of foreign scientists, and access to several foreign nuclear weapon designs. The archive also leaves open a wide range of questions, including what plan, if any, Iran has had with respect to nuclear weapons in the nearly 16 years since Iran’s government ordered a halt to most of the program in late 2003. 

This brief report summarizes the group’s conclusions about what the archive reveals about Iran’s program and questions that remain open.

Iran Oil Sanctions: A Rare Case Where Transactional Diplomacy Should Work

AP/Hasan Jamali

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

Iran Oil Sanctions: A Rare Case Where Transactional Diplomacy Should Work

| Apr. 22, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s most recent announcement on Iran policy has raised some eyebrows. He indicated on Monday morning that the Trump administration will not renew waivers to importers of Iranian crude and that other suppliers (meaning Saudi Arabia) have agreed to increase production in to ensure the global oil market remains well-supplied. Skeptics question whether — after last summer’s debacle — there is sufficient trust between Washington and Riyadh for this arrangement to work. What skeptics may not have digested is that, while timing remains a problem, this is a classic win-win situation. It is a near-perfect example of the very limited universe of occasions when transactional diplomacy could actually work.

How Saudi Arabia and China Could Partner on Solar Energy

AP/Andy Wong

Analysis & Opinions - Axios

How Saudi Arabia and China Could Partner on Solar Energy

| Jan. 24, 2019

Last May, Chinese solar panel manufacturer LONGi signed an agreement with Saudi trading company El Seif Group to establish large-scale solar manufacturing infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. The deal came several months after the Trump administration's imposition of global tariffs on imports of Chinese solar panels and cells.

Trump’s Iraq Visit Alone Won’t Undo Damage He Did Last Week

The White House from Washington, DC/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

Trump’s Iraq Visit Alone Won’t Undo Damage He Did Last Week

| Dec. 26, 2018

The move of President Donald Trump to visit Baghdad on Wednesday is a small, good one, amid a week of calamitous decisions. The press will understandably highlight the time that Trump spends with U.S. troops. Yet a key objective of the trip will have been to shore up the new Iraqi government's confidence in the U.S., as Iraqi officials must be high on the list of those shocked by the president’s recent decisions to rapidly withdraw U.S. forces from Syria and Afghanistan. Perhaps the president has realized that his administration has some hard work to do if there is any hope of keeping his latest determinations from dramatically strengthening Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during their joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Analysis & Opinions - Just Security

Helsinki Summit: A Time for Choosing—Three observations by former senior CIA officer

| July 16, 2018

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen: "The US intelligence community can no longer trust the President’s judgment after he clearly sided with Russia in the Mueller investigation and the underlying intelligence information that formed the basis of the indictments of twelve Russian military intelligence officers."

Trump Wouldn’t Owe Putin a ‘Thank You’ for Selling More Oil

Kremlin.ru/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

Trump Wouldn’t Owe Putin a ‘Thank You’ for Selling More Oil

| July 14, 2018

After a tumultuous week of unpredictable twists and turns during President Donald Trump’s visit to Europe, anxiety levels have risen among experts and policy makers about the coming summit between Trump and President Vladimir Putin. As President Trump himself has noted, there is no shortage of issues demanding the attention of the two leaders: Syria, Iran, arms control and — who knows — maybe even Russia’s interference in America’s elections. But energy could snake its way onto the agenda, and Trump needs to be careful not to give Putin concessions in exchange for something the Russian president already plans on doing.

Donald Trump in Syracuse, New York, April 16, 2016; Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, April 14, 2016

Carlo Allegri/Reuters; Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Analysis & Opinions - The Cipher Brief

Top-Down Presidential Leadership: The Helsinki Summit

| July 11, 2018

Two conditions are clear as the U.S. and Russian Presidents prepare meet in Helsinki. First, U.S.-Russian relations are arguably at their lowest point since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Second, both presidents have domestic realities that constrain their flexibility to achieve compromise in the many areas that have caused relations to falter.

Vladimir Putin meets with U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 2017

Kremlin.ru

News

US Retired General: At the Meeting With Trump, Putin Will Have the Advantage

| July 09, 2018

On 16 July in Helsinki, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin will meet his American colleague Donald Trump. The leaders will discuss a number of complicated questions, but the summit will be a success, even if the government leaders cannot reach agreement - so thinks retired Brigadier General and Associate Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, Kevin Ryan. Ryan talked to "Eurasia Expert" about the significance of the meeting between the American and Russian leaders for relations between the two countries, the future of NATO, and explained how American space forces will differ from Russian or Chinese space forces.

OPEC Headquarters

i_csuhai/Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

Lessons for Trump After His Clumsy Dance With OPEC

| June 28, 2018

The world was in suspense a week ago wondering whether OPEC and non-OPEC producers would put more oil on tightening global markets. Turns out: Yes, they will. But, as the story does not end here, it is worth assessing where we are and how we got here. While the U.S. seems to have gotten what it wanted, it is not all good news.

The gas and diesel prices of the Chevron filling station outside of MIA on April 16, 2011.

Daniel Christensen

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

Trump Has Options If Oil Market Panics About Iran

| May 10, 2018

Oil markets have so far reacted to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal without either enthusiasm or panic — without even much apparent interest. There are many good reasons for this, but also many reasons to think oil markets’ complacency could change. Fortunately, the Obama-era sanctions that Trump has moved to reimpose have some lesser-known safety valves should oil markets later overheat as a result of the Iran decision.