Nuclear Issues

46 Items

nuclear power plant

Wikimedia CC/Korea Yonggwang NPP

Journal Article - Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle and the Proliferation ‘Danger Zone’

| May 27, 2020

Horizontal nuclear proliferation presents what is sometimes referred to as the "Nth country problem," or identifying which state could be next to acquire nuclear weapons. Nuclear fuel cycle technologies can contribute to both nuclear power generation and weapons development. Consequently, observers often view civilian nuclear programs with suspicion even as research on nuclear latency and the technological inputs of proliferation has added nuance to these discussions. To contribute to this debate, the author puts forth a simple theoretical proposition: En route to developing a civilian nuclear infrastructure and mastering the fuel cycle, states pass through a proliferation "danger zone."

The Bavand, one of two stranded Iranian vessels, sits anchored at the port in Paranagua, Brazil on July 25, 2019. In defiance of U.S. sanctions, Brazil's top court ordered state oil company Petrobras to supply fuel to two Iranian vessels that were stranded off the coast of Parana state since early June (AP Photo/Giuliano Gomes).

AP Photo/Giuliano Gomes

Journal Article - Washington Quarterly

A Financial Sanctions Dilemma

| Winter 2020

Over the last two decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the popularity of financial sanctions as an instrument of US foreign policy to address security threats ranging from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation and terrorism to human rights violations and transnational crime. Washington’s policymakers have prized these tools for their ability to rapidly apply pressure against foreign targets with few perceived repercussions against American business interests. The problem, however, is that Washington is ignoring a growing tension between financial sanctions designed to support economic statecraft (with non-financial goals) and those designed to protect the international financial system. Confusing the two sends mixed signals to adversaries as well as allies and undermines US credibility and commitment to upholding international banking rules and norms. If Washington cannot reconcile these competing processes, it is unlikely that future administrations will enjoy the same foreign policy levers, leaving the United States at a significant disadvantage.

Blogtrepreneur/Flickr

Blogtrepreneur/Flickr

Journal Article - Nonproliferation Review

Solving the Jurisdictional Conundrum: How U.S. Enforcement Agencies Target Overseas Illicit Procurement Networks Using Civil Courts

| September 2018

Over the past two decades, the United States has increasingly turned to targeted sanctions and export restrictions, such as those imposed against Iran and North Korea, in order to curb the spread of weapons of mass destruction. One vexing problem, however, is how to contend with jurisdictional hurdles when the violations occur overseas, in countries that are unable or unwilling to assist US enforcement efforts. To solve this problem, US prosecutors are turning to strategies with significant extraterritorial implications—that is, exercising legal authority beyond national borders. One such tool is to use civil legal procedures to seize assets linked to sanctions or export-control violations in jurisdictions that lack cooperative arrangements with US enforcement agencies. While this may be an attractive strategy to bolster enforcement efforts against overseas illicit procurement, using such tools is not without consequence. This article explores the political, legal, and technical implications of enforcing extraterritorial controls against overseas non-state actors by exploring the recent uses of civil-asset forfeiture against Iranian and North Korean procurement networks.

A U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A-90-GR Tomcat.

U.S. Navy

Journal Article - Strategic Trade Review

Tomcat and Mouse: Iranian Illicit Procurement of U.S. Legacy Military Technologies, 1979–2016

| Autumn 2017

Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has sought to illicitly procure parts for the U.S. origin fighter aircraft sold to the country under the rule of the Shah. The U.S. has taken steps to quash this trade—these efforts have constituted a relatively large proportion of U.S. export control enforcement over the past near-to-four decades. 

Journal Article - World Affairs

Was Ukraine's Nuclear Disarmament a Blunder?

| September 2016

"Ukraine's denuclearization had been a controversial issue even as it was negotiated, leaving bitter traces in the country's political and public discourse. As a student of political science in Kyiv in the mid-1990s, I remember being outraged by the sense of injustice: how could the states that rely on their own nuclear deterrents demand the nuclear disarmament of others? More so that one of these states, Russia, has never fully come to terms with Ukraine's independence. Since then, I came to research a doctoral dissertation on the denuclearization of post-Soviet successor states and, in the process, learned a great deal about Ukraine's nuclear disarmament that dispelled many of my preconceptions."

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Magazine Article - Forbes

What Lifting Iran Sanctions Means For India

| January 28, 2016

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog has certified Tehran’s compliance with the terms of a nuclear accord the United States, Iran and other world powers reached in April 2015. The historic agreement is aimed at curtailing Iran’s controversial nuclear program, and paves the way for longstanding sanctions against Tehran to be lifted. Sanctions targeting Iran, and particularly its lucrative energy sector, have crippled the country economically and isolated it diplomatically.

Ronak Desai examines what the lifting of Iran sanctions mean for India.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry disembarks from his plane after traveling from Kabul, Afghanistan, to Vienna, Austria, on July 13, 2014 for allied talks with Iran about its nuclear program.

State Dept.

Journal Article - Washington Quarterly

The Fool's Errand for a Perfect Deal with Iran

| Fall 2014

"The P5+1 should set aside the effort to craft an all-at-once comprehensive bargain and instead adopt a strategy of negotiating incremental agreements. An incremental approach has a number of advantages. The negotiators could focus on one sticking point at a time, without having to coordinate agreement on all of them at once. Negotiators could defer currently intractable issues, like enrichment capacity, until greater trust is built or new opportunities arise. Most importantly, the compromises already achieved under the JPA could be maintained and consolidated, independently of the ups and downs of ongoing negotiations."

Journal Article - Geopolitics, History, and International Relations

Iran and Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Military Dynamics of Non-Proliferation

| 2014

Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are not suitable for the Iranian Army, given its non-mechanized nature; its defensive military posture; its current status as a non-nuclear weapon state; and its sufficient conventional preparation to meet its protective security interests. This paper proposes three interlinked policy approaches to resolve the current impasse.