Nuclear Issues

303 Items

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows an atomic warehouse in Teheran during his address the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 27, 2018.

AP/Richard Drew

Report - Iran Watch

Iran's Atomic Archive: Lessons Learned for Export Controls and Inspections

| August 2021

The Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control hosted two roundtables—in September 2019 and March 2021—to identify lessons that should be drawn from the archive of Iranian documents seized by Israel in 2018, related to the effectiveness of export controls, monitoring measures such as international inspections, and other efforts to prevent material and expertise from reaching programs to develop nuclear weapons. Informed by these lessons, the group sought to develop a set of findings and recommendations to support the policymaking and monitoring communities.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in 2017.

khamenei.ir/Wikimedia Commons

Book Chapter - Springer/T.M.C. Asser Press

Backchannel Non-Proliferation: Militarily Non-Aligned States and Nuclear Diplomacy

| July 27, 2021

What roles can small militarily non-aligned States play in nuclear non-proliferation diplomacy with actual or suspected proliferators? And how might international law shape such contributions? Current literature identifying effective approaches to nuclear non-proliferation and rollback is somewhat one-dimensional, emphasising the behaviour of great powers and international organisations. By contrast, this chapter analyses activities militarily non-aligned States may undertake supporting negotiations in accordance with international legal norms and institutions. More specifically, it explores Swedish and Swiss initiatives in the early 2000s, a period of growing tensions over the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programmes. Drawing upon resources including unpublished elite interviews, the chapter offers new insights into theoretical backchannel non-proliferation mechanisms. It complements existing literature on nuclear proliferation by offering a fuller account of diplomatic negotiations. Ongoing crises suggest many future challenges to the non-proliferation regime will emerge, and militarily non-aligned States may hold one of the few keys to facilitating dialogue. International law can both compel these States to act and provide them with influential—but often-overlooked—non-proliferation roles. Indeed, reconsidering dominant narratives about ‘players’ involved in nuclear diplomacy may provide new avenues for policy-making and theorising aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

Hassan Rouhani

Iranian Presidency Office via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy in Focus

Return to the Iran Nuclear Deal Before Talks on Other Issues

    Author:
  • Manon Dark
| Mar. 24, 2021

Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow Abolghasem Bayyenat addresses the following questions in a Foreign Policy in Focus interview: How Iran and the United States should go about reviving the nuclear agreement and what realistic strategy the Biden administration should adopt toward nuclear talks with Iran.

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.     

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

Iran Experts on Restoring Iran Nuclear Agreement

Following the recent Biden administration announcement that the U.S. would join European nations in seeking to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, we asked several of our Iran experts for their thoughts on the next steps: What should the U.S. goal be for a renewed Iran deal and what suggestions do you have for getting there? Matthew Bunn, Mahsa Rouhi, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, and William Tobey shared their thoughts.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the State Department in Washington on February 4, 2021. 

State Department via Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

The Iran Deal is Fragile — Here's What the Biden Administration Can Do

| Feb. 23, 2021

Rebuilding the JCPOA will require skillful diplomacy with Iran, the other parties to the deal, and Congress. It may not be possible. If it is possible, however, it cannot be done by ignoring or whitewashing the JCPOA’s flaws. The Biden administration should start with Congress. It should help to establish and offer to work with a congressional observer group, composed of supporters and opponents of the deal, to address their most pressing concerns. It should promise that, after rejoining the JCPOA, the United States will work from the inside to correct the JCPOA’s flaws (and there are provisions within the agreement for doing so). 

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.

Then-Defense Secretary James N. Mattis meets with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Pentagon on March 22, 2018.

Department of Defense/Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Program: Separating Real Concerns from Threat Inflation

| Oct. 08, 2020

In the highly charged political atmosphere surrounding nuclear initiatives in the Middle East, legitimate concerns are sometimes blown out of proportion, with potentially problematic results. This has been the case with recent coverage and commentary on Saudi Arabia’s nuclear activities, which have been characterized by a degree of what can be described as “threat inflation.”