July 7, 2015
Op-Ed, The National Interest
By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School
As the policy community prepares to assess an agreement between the U.S. and its P5+1 partners and Iran, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker asked me to review the history of analogous agreements for lessons that illuminate the current challenge. In response to his assignment, I reviewed the seven decades of the nuclear era, during which the U.S. negotiated arms-control treaties, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968; strategic arms limitation talks and agreements from SALT to New Start; the North Korean accord of 1994; the agreements that helped eliminate nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus in the early 1990s; and the pact that eliminated the Libyan nuclear weapons program in 2003.
Among many lessons and clues from this instructive history, five stand out
June 30, 2015
Magazine or Newspaper Article, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
By Ariane Tabatabai, Former Associate, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom, 2014–2015; Former Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom, 2013–2014
A discussion of the state of play in the apparent final days of the Iranian nuclear negotiations and the stumbling blocks remaining on the path toward a final deal
"Do Nuclear Weapons Affect the Guns-butter Trade-off? Evidence on Nuclear Substitution from Pakistan and Beyond"
Journal Article, Conflict, Security & Development, issue 3, volume 15
By Ahsan I. Butt, Former Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom, 2014–2015; Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, August 1, 2011–August 31, 2012
Scholars have argued that acquiring nuclear weapons should allow states the luxury of exiting conventional arms races. In turn, a decreased budgetary focus on conventional arms should make possible greater spending on social welfare. The author contests this logic of nuclear substitution by examining its most likely exponent, Pakistan. As a poor, underdeveloped state, a nuclear Pakistan should have welcomed the opportunity to cease its arms race with India, and spend greater sums on its population's welfare. Instead, the article shows that Pakistan has doubled down on its pre-nuclear conventional posture, mainly because of its revisionism over Kashmir.
By William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
A good nuclear agreement with Iran requires that we know first, what work has Iran conducted toward nuclear weapons, and second, can we guarantee that Iran has stopped and will not resume this work. If these questions are not answered correctly and completely before the negotiations conclude, the resulting agreement will be illusory.
Monday, June 29, 2015
By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
As the June 30 deadline approaches for the P5+1 - a group of nations including the US, Russia and China - and Iran to complete a nuclear agreement, all signs seem to be pointing to the fact that Britain alongside the US and France seem to be caving in on some of their long-standing central demands. Foremost among these is that Iran must be transparent about the “possible military dimensions” (PMDs) of its nuclear program.
June 29, 2015
Op-Ed, India in Transition
By Jayita Sarkar, Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom
"The middle powers' congruence between New Delhi and Paris expanded with French quest for nuclear technology partners outside Europe, especially for technology that had not already been proved to be economically viable. For much of the Cold War, French nonchalance toward nuclear safeguards, frequent foreign policy differences with Washington, and close ties between key Indian and French physicists helped further. From India's point of view, the CEA offered technological assistance, including active encouragement as in 1974, when no other atomic energy commission was willing to offer much."
June 28, 2015
Magazine or Newspaper Article, The New York Times
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator was heading back to Tehran on Sunday to consult with his nation’s leadership, as negotiators remained divided over how to limit and monitor Tehran’s nuclear program and even on how to interpret the preliminary agreement they reached two months ago.
June 26, 2015
Op-Ed, The National Interest
By Albert Carnesale, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
The parties to the talks over Iran’s nuclear program seek to reach an agreement by the self-imposed (and therefore extendable) deadline of the end of this month. No agreement has yet been reached, and statements made by the various parties provide an incomplete and not entirely consistent picture of the basic provisions to be included. Nevertheless, the question most hotly debated among political leaders and pundits is: “Is this a good deal?” The logical response to this question is: “Compared to what?”
Almost all of those who maintain that the emerging agreement is not a good deal have as their basis for comparison “a better deal.” But that’s of no practical use. Everyone would prefer a deal that they judge to be better than the one that appears to be emerging. Disagreements arise over what would constitute a better deal and over the feasibility of achieving it.
June 26, 2015
Russia in Review: a digest of useful news from U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism for June 19-26, 2015
June 24, 2015
By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Unfettered access to sites, facilities, material, equipment, people, and documents is imperative to the credible long-term verification of any nuclear agreement with Iran. This “anywhere, anytime” access and short notice inspections must not be subject to a dispute resolution mechanism, which would delay the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) access.