Nuclear Issues

403 Items

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.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosts the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial on the Ukraine crisis with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, right, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, left,

U.S. State Department

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Impeachment Backstory: The Nuclear Dimension of US Security Assistance to Ukraine

| Oct. 29, 2019

Mariana Budjeryn recounts Ukraine's surrender of its inherited nuclear arsenal and the signing of the Budapest Memorandum by the United States, United Kingdom, and Russia. While the memorandum did not specify the assistance Ukraine was to receive if it became a victim of aggression, Ukrainians were led to believe that the United States would uphold its commitments to their security in the time of need, as Ukraine upheld its commitment to nuclear nonproliferation norms.

a speedboat of Iran's Revolutionary Guard moving around the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero

Tasnim News Agency via AP/Morteza Akhoondi

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Never Waste a Good Crisis

| July 29, 2019

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has asked top experts from a variety of countries and with a variety of points of view to offer their best and most realistic advice on how the U.S.-Iran impasse might be broken, so a war that neither the United States nor Iran seems eager to begin can be averted. Chuck Freilich writes that the objective is a better deal, and a combination of coercive diplomacy, applied patiently over time, along with a willingness to compromise may make this possible. A "better deal" can only be achieved, however, if it is better for both sides. 

Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper arrives in Washington, D.C. to prepare for an upcoming trip to Europe to talk with the United States' NATO allies, June 24, 2019.

Andrew Harnik (AP)

Analysis & Opinions - The Boston Globe

War with Iran Will Cost More Than the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

    Authors:
  • Rosella Cappella Zielinski
  • Neta C. Crawford
| June 24, 2019

Like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, war with Iran would entail vast economic, budgetary, and environmental costs, argues Linda J. Bilmes. And this is to say nothing of the potential human costs—so why, then, is the United States slipping closer and closer to making the same mistakes it did 16 years ago?