Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


May 14, 2009

2009 Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference
April 6-7, 2009, Washington, DC

The Obama-Netanyahu Meeting: Nuclear Issues
Avner Cohen and George Perkovich, Proliferation Analysis

No subject is as sensitive in U.S.-Israeli relations as Israel's nuclear weapons. That has been the case since the 1960s, the era when the Israeli media referred to the Dimona project as "the sensitive issue." In recent days, with the Obama-Netanyahu meeting looming, media reports from both Washington and Tel Aviv have retouched the nuclear nerve with innuendo that the Obama administration will break a long-standing nuclear accord with Israel.

The "rules" by which the U.S. and Israel manage the sensitive issue of Israel's nuclear weapons were born four decades ago, in September 1969, as a set of unwritten understandings between President Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir. These understandings were made in total secrecy and they are only vaguely acknowledged.

Obama Warns Netanyahu: Don't Surprise Me with Iran Strike
Aluf Benn, Haaretz

Editor's Note: Other media reports suggest that CIA Director Leon Panetta was the "senior American official," referenced in this article, who held talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials. Apparently, Panetta was assured that "Israel does not intend to surprise the US on Iran."

U.S. President Barack Obama has sent a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding that Israel not surprise the U.S. with an Israeli military operation against Iran. The message was conveyed by a senior American official who met in Israel with Netanyahu, ministers and other senior officials.

U.S. Warhead Disposal in 15-Year Backlog
Peter Eisler, USA Today

President Obama plans deep new cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal at a time when the government faces a 15-year backlog of warheads already waiting to be dismantled and a need for billions of dollars in new facilities to store and dispose of the weapons' plutonium.

The Risks of North Korea's Nuclear Restart
Siegfried S. Hecker, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

Refurbished nuclear facilities could yield Pyongyang additional nuclear weapons, but the greatest risk remains that it would export nuclear materials or know-how.

Will Russia Help the United States with Iran?
Mark N. Katz, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Russia's recent decision not to sell the S-300 antiaircraft missile system to Iran (at least for now) raised hopes that Moscow would cooperate more fully in the effort to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. Recent statements from Russian leaders indicating that they were on board with the U.S. strategy further buoyed optimism. Despite these promising signs, however, there is strong reason to doubt that Moscow's cooperation will continue.



Produced twice-weekly, Proliferation News provides a free summary of news and analysis on efforts to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons. Visit Carnegie's Nonproliferation website for further information and resources. Please send your comments and suggestions to the Editor at

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