33 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.

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Nuclear security: Continuous improvement or dangerous decline?

"World leaders face a stark choice at the final Nuclear Security Summit later this week: Will they commit to efforts that continue to improve security for nuclear weapons, fissile materials, and nuclear facilities, or will the 2016 summit be seen in retrospect as the point at which attention drifted elsewhere, and nuclear security stalled and began to decline? The answer will shape the chances that terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, could get their hands on the materials they need to build a crude nuclear bomb...."

Announcement - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

2016-2017 Harvard Nuclear Policy Fellowships

| December 15, 2015

The Project on Managing the Atom offers fellowships for pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and mid-career researchers for one year, with a possibility for renewal, in the stimulating environment of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. The online application for 2016-2017 fellowships opened December 15, 2015, and the application deadline is January 15, 2016. Recommendation letters are due by February 1, 2016.

Book Chapter - Routledge

Reducing the Risks of Nuclear Theft and Terrorism

This chapter assesses whether terrorists are actually seeking nuclear weapons; whether a terrorist organization could, if it had the needed nuclear materials, be capable of building a nuclear bomb; whether terrorist organizations could plausibly get the needed nuclear materials; and what the consequences of a terrorist nuclear attack might be. The chapter then describes the substantial progress made in reducing the risk of nuclear theft in recent years and the gaps that still remain. Finally, the chapter offers suggestions for strengthening nuclear security for the long haul.

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Don't Weaken Our Defenses Against Nuclear Smuggling

| May 20, 2015

William H. TobeyMatthew Bunn, and Nickolas Roth oppose proposed legislation that would prohibit funding for fixed radiation detectors to catch nuclear smugglers. They argue for a balanced program to defeat nuclear smuggling that includes strong security, effective law enforcement and intelligence work, and interdiction efforts and border controls backed by both fixed and mobile radiation detectors.

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Fresh Ideas for the Future: Symposium on the NPT

| April 26, 2015

The abstracts in this booklet summarise the research presented at an academic symposium convened on the sidelines of the 2015 NPT Review Conference. As we write this, journalists and seasoned experts in the nuclear policy field have been speculating about the particularly difficult challenges facing the Review Conference this year. To address those challenges, we would urge all concerned to consider the ideas and analyses presented at this symposium. Experts would be hard-pressed to find a better collection of fresh ideas and approaches for assessing and strengthening the NPT.

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

Decoding the Iran Nuclear Deal

| April 2015

On April 2, 2015, the E.U. (speaking on behalf of the P5+1 countries) and Iran announced agreement on “key parameters” for a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. The E.U.-Iran Joint Statement is buttressed by unilateral facts sheets issued by the U.S. and Iran, which provide further details of the framework accord. Negotiators now turn to translating this framework accord into a final comprehensive agreement by June 30, 2015. Members of Congress and their staffs, as well as informed citizens, are now focusing on the Iranian challenge and assessing the framework accord. The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School has prepared this Policy Brief summarizing key facts, core concepts, and major arguments for and against the current deal aimed at stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The purpose of this Policy Brief is not to advocate support for or opposition to the tentative deal that has been negotiated, but rather to provide an objective, nonpartisan summary to inform Members and others in coming to their own conclusions. The team of experts who prepared this report includes Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and internationals, who have many disagreements among themselves but who agree that this Brief presents the essentials objectively.

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Announcement

Symposium on the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Nuclear Disarmament, Non-proliferation, and Energy: Fresh Ideas for the Future

Dec. 15, 2014

The ninth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will be held at the UN Headquarters in New York from April 27-May 22, 2015. This is the fourth such conference since the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995. Participating governments will discuss nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy with a view to arriving at consensus on a number of issues.

Speech

Between an Elusive Peace and a Haunting War

    Author:
  • Mohamed ElBaradei
| Nov. 20, 2014

At 6:00 PM on November 20, 2014, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General Emeritus of the International Atomic Energy Agency, gave the Robert McNamara Lecture on War and Peace in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. Dr. ElBaradei spoke of the perils of poverty and income inequality in the modern world as they relate to nuclear security, mentioning the collective nuclear security problems that many impoverished third world nations may pose. The Forum was co-sponsored by The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and was moderated by its Director, Graham Allison.

Robert McNamara (1916–2009) was the Secretary of Defense under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He later served as President of The World Bank. McNamara Lecture speakers address the prevention of conflict, weapons of mass destruction, and nuclear terrorism.

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Bringing Iran into the Nuclear Security Summit

| November 6, 2014

"Iran would join a group of six other Middle Eastern states at the summit—Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. The meeting would thus provide a forum for these countries to engage on nuclear security issues, a rare and much-needed opportunity for the region. Currently, there are few venues where the Arab states, Iran, Israel, and Turkey can meet to constructively discuss anything."