Nuclear Issues

437 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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 1, 2018.

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

Putin’s Remarks on Use of Nuclear Weapons Are Confusing, But Unlikely to Constitute a Shift in Nuclear Posture

| Nov. 28, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s eschatological talk of nuclear Armageddon at this year’s Valdai forum has stirred up heated debates on how well his description of Russia’s potential use of nuclear weapons matches the country’s official military doctrine. However, a close look at Putin’s Oct. 18 remarks and Russia’s 2014 military doctrine reveals that, while Putin deviated from the language in the doctrine, he did not lie on the first use issue. Nor did he seem to be hinting at a shift in Russia’s nuclear posture. More likely, he was signaling to Washington that the existing nuclear arms control treaties need to remain in place for the sake of ensuring strategic stability in the U.S.-Russian nuclear dyad and avoiding an accidental war between the two countries.

Reagan and Gorbachev signing INF Treaty in 1987

(AP Photo/Bob Daugherty)

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

Center Experts Comment on Significance of Withdrawing from INF Treaty

Following the news that the Trump administration plans to abandon the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, ten Belfer Center nuclear and U.S.-Russia relations experts offered their thoughts on the significance and consequences of this action.
 

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."

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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, foreground, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, attend a meeting while visiting the Military Academy of Strategic Rocket Troops of the Peter the Great in Balashikha, outside Moscow on December 22, 2017.

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Moscow Times

Putin’s Missile Envy Doesn’t Bode Well for International Stability

| Mar. 02, 2018

Of all the annual addresses Vladimir Putin has delivered to Russia’s Federal Assembly since becoming president in 1999, Thursday’s speech was the most militarized. Although Putin began by talking about modernizing the Russian economy and reducing poverty, most of the speech — and accompanying videos — were devoted to guns rather than butter. While the parliamentarians clearly welcomed Putin’s military showcasing by offering frequent applause, the rest of the world felt a distinct Cold War chill.

The head of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, speaks in a conference called "A World Without Terror," in Tehran, Iran on Oct. 31, 2017. Jafari said that the country's supreme leader has limited the range of ballistic missiles it makes (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi).

AP Photo/Vahid Salemi

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

How to Stop Iran's Missile Program

| Dec. 10, 2017

Just four weeks ago, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s commander, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, told the Associated Press that Tehran was imposing a 1,242-mile range limit on its surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. Although lax (all of Israel’s bases, and most of America’s in the Gulf and Middle East, fall within this range), this limit should be seen as a start. The question now is how much further might the United States and other like-minded countries be able to push Iran to impose tighter controls.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

What Would U.S. Withdrawal From the Iran Nuclear Deal Look Like?

| Aug. 31, 2017

Judging the Trump administration to be incapable of formulating a diplomatic campaign in support of one of its highest foreign policy priorities, John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, published an Iran deal exit strategy in the National Review on Monday. The document is less about why the United States should leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and more about how to do so.

From left, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Defense Secretary James Mattis, shake hands

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Tokyo and Washington Have Another Nuclear Problem

| Aug. 17, 2017

This week, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera are meeting in Washington with their U.S. counterparts, Rex Tillerson and James Mattis, to discuss how the United States and Japan should respond to the latest North Korean provocations.