Nuclear Issues

373 Items

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.     

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.

Tractors on Westminster bridge

AP/Matt Dunham

Paper - Institut für Sicherheitspolitik

The Global Order After COVID-19

| 2020

Despite the far-reaching effects of the current pandemic,  the essential nature of world politics will not be transformed. The territorial state will remain the basic building-block of international affairs, nationalism will remain a powerful political force, and the major powers will continue to compete for influence in myriad ways. Global institutions, transnational networks, and assorted non-state actors will still play important roles, of course, but the present crisis will not produce a dramatic and enduring increase in global governance or significantly higher levels of international cooperation. In short, the post-COVID-19 world will be less open, less free, less prosperous, and more competitive than the world many people expected to emerge only a few years ago.

bleached radiation warning sign

Wikimedia CC/ArticCynda

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

The Deadly Fallout of Disinformation

| July 08, 2020

Calder Walton writes that autocratic regimes — China, Russia and Iran — have been using social media to try to influence U.S. public opinion. History reveals how and why a one-party regime used disinformation to salvage its reputation following a disaster — the Soviet Union's 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, whose history also reveals how such disinformation can be countered.

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Postponement of the NPT Review Conference. Antagonisms, Conflicts and Nuclear Risks after the Pandemic

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has published a document from the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs concerning nuclear problems and tensions in the time of COVID-19. The document has been co-signed by a large number of Pugwash colleagues and personalities.

Photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks as he chairs a meeting on drafting constitutional changes at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. Putin proposed a set of constitutional amendments that could keep him in power well past the end of his term in 2024.

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Analysis & Opinions - The Boston Globe

What’s Putin’s plan now?

| Jan. 16, 2020

Putin is rumored to prefer focusing on foreign policy, where the Kremlin has proved itself to be a skilled player, while finding structural problems at home too boring to focus on. However, unless these are solved, he or his successor will continue to confront the reality that Russia remains too far behind the United States and China economically and demographically to be a true peer to these countries in the changing global order.

Photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the exhibition - 'Memory speaks. The road through the war' in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. Putin attends events marking the 77th anniversary of the break of Nazi's siege of Leningrad. The Red Army broke the nearly 900-day blockade of the city on January 19, 1943 after fierce fighting.

Alexei Danichev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

What Stops US and Russia From Stumbling Into War?

| Jan. 09, 2020

As we are all well aware, the original Cold War, which officially ended 40 years ago this month, featured a number of close calls that almost turned it into a hot war. Thankfully, neither the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 nor the Able Archer exercise of 1983 (nor any other perilous incidents), led to a war between Washington and Moscow. More recently, however, respected statesmen have again begun to sound alarms. “Not since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis has the risk of a U.S.-Russian confrontation involving the use of nuclear weapons been as high as it is today,” former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn warned in a recent article in Foreign Affairs. I have expressed some doubts about this proposition, but it is nevertheless worth asking what it is—other than the fear of mutually assured destruction—that keeps the U.S. and Russia from stumbling into a war today or tomorrow. Part of the answer lies in the bilateral and multilateral agreements specifically designed to prevent incidents that could escalate into a war. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin with U.S. President Donald Trump

Wikimedia CC/Kremlin.ru

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

How to Deal with a Declining Russia

| Nov. 05, 2019

It seems unlikely that Russia will again possess the resources to balance U.S. power in the same way that the Soviet Union did during the four decades after World War II. But declining powers merit as much diplomatic attention as rising ones do. Joseph S. Nye worries that the United States lacks a strategy to prevent Russia from becoming an international spoiler.

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.