Nuclear Issues

27 Items

Diplomacy and Sanctions, Yes. Left Unspoken on Iran? Sabotage.

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Newspaper Article - The New York Times

Diplomacy and Sanctions, Yes. Left Unspoken on Iran? Sabotage.

| January 20, 2016

WASHINGTON — President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have a simple explanation for their surprising success in getting Iran to dismantle much of its nuclear infrastructure, ship out 98 percent of its nuclear fuel and release five American prisoners: Patient diplomacy, backed by escalating economic sanctions, accomplished more than military action ever could have.

Test launching of Pakistan-made Ghaznavi missile at undisclosed location in Pakistan Thursday, May 10, 2012. Pakistan successfully test-fired a short-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, Pakistan's military said.

AP Photo/ Uncredited

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Why States Won't Give Nuclear Weapons to Terrorists

    Authors:
  • Keir A. Lieber
  • Daryl Press
| Summer 2013

Many experts consider nuclear terrorism the single greatest threat to U.S. security. The fear that a state might transfer nuclear materials to terrorists was a core justification for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and, more recently, for a strike against Iran’s nuclear program. The logical basis for this concern is sound: if a state could orchestrate an anonymous nuclear terror attack, it could destroy an enemy yet avoid retaliation. But how likely is it that the perpetrators of nuclear terrorism could remain anonymous? Data culled from a decade of terrorist incidents reveal that attribution is very likely after high-casualty terror attacks. Attribution rates are even higher for attacks on the U.S. homeland or the territory of a major U.S. ally—97 percent for incidents in which ten or more people were killed. Moreover, tracing a terrorist group that used a nuclear weapon to its state sponsor would not be difficult, because few countries sponsor terror; few terror groups have multiple sponsors; and only one country that sponsors terrorism, Pakistan, has nuclear weapons or enough material to manufacture them. If leaders understand these facts, they will be as reluctant to give weapons to terrorists as they are to use them directly; both actions would invite devastating retaliation.

A colonel of  Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Mohammad Seraj, left, talks to head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Fereidoun Abbasi, during a conference commemorating Iranian government officials who have been assassinated.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Nuclear Scientists as Assassination Targets

| January/ February 2012

Since 2007, international media have reported the violent deaths of four scientists and engineers connected with Iran’s nuclear program and an attempt on the life of a fifth. The news reports on such killings are murky, incomplete, and, in some instances, likely inaccurate...

Magazine Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Graham T. Allison: The Congenital Optimist

| September/October 2010

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, has consistently warned policy makers about the dangers of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorist groups such as al Qaeda. Allison spoke with the Bulletinof the Atomic Scientists about what he thinks needs to be done today to turn rhetoric about tightening nuclear security into stronger action.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arriving at Oroumiyeh, 900 km NW of  Tehran, Apr. 7, 2010. He ridiculed President Barack Obama's new nuclear strategy, which aims to stop the spread of nuclear weapons to rogue states or terrorists.

AP Photo

Journal Article - InFocus

Armageddon and the Threat of Nuclear Terrorism

| Summer 2010

"Nuclear terrorism poses a unique threat not only because of the magnitude of the destruction, but because those most likely to perpetrate an attack may be fundamentally nihilistic and therefore undeterrable — prepared to pay any cost in loss of life in pursuit of their objectives. As millennial movements for whom the crippling and even destruction of the U.S. and Israel are sacred missions, a nuclear terrorist attack where even a devastating response is assumed may be a worthy means of ushering in a messianic era."

The flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) flies in front of the Vienna headquarters at the Vienna International Center on March 27, 2009.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Daedalus

Alternative Nuclear Futures

| Winter 2010

"Our crystal ball is not clear enough to predict with confidence whether the global nuclear future will be characterized by peace and prosperity or by conflict and destruction. But we do believe that the choices made in the coming few years will be crucial in determining whether the world can have more nuclear power without more nuclear weapons dangers in the future."

A supporter of Pakistan Muslim League-N party arranges an oil lamp at the model of Chaghi Mountain, the site of Pakistan’s nuclear test, in connection with the celebrations of its 10th anniversary, May 27, 2008 in Islamabad, Pakistan.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Daedalus

The Minimum Deterrent & Beyond

| Fall 2009

"...[A] primary goal in the next decades must be to remove this risk of near global self-destruction by drastically reducing nuclear forces to a level where this outcome is not possible, but where a deterrent value is preserved — in other words, to a level of minimum deterrence. This conception was widely discussed in the early years of the nuclear era, but it drowned in the Cold War flood of weaponry. No matter how remote the risk of civilization collapse may seem now — despite its being so vivid only a few decades ago — the elimination of this risk, for this century and centuries to come, must be a primary driver for radical reductions in nuclear weapons."

A rendering of 4 nuclear power plants to be built by a South Korea–led consortium in Sila, 330 km west of Abu Dhabi, UAE, released Dec. 27, 2009. The consortium won a US$20-billion contract to build these plants.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Daedalus

Nuclear Power Without Nuclear Proliferation?

| Fall 2009

Will the growth of nuclear power lead to increased risks of nuclear weapons proliferation and nuclear terrorism? Will the nonproliferation regime be adequate to ensure safety and security in a world more widely and heavily invested in nuclear power? The authors in this two-volume (Fall 2009 and Winter 2010) special issue of Dædalus have one simple and clear answer to these questions: It depends.