Even during the depths of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union often worked together to halt the spread of nuclear weapons to new countries. Unfortunately, the approaches being pursued by both countries will do nothing to slow Iran's ability to produce nuclear weapons, and a new approach and better coordination is desperately needed before it is too late.
Reports indicate that samples taken by international inspectors in Iran reveal the presence of enriched uranium. If true, this could be the first hard evidence that Iran has purified uranium outside of safeguards and in violation of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Article III of the NPT requires the full application of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards over all nuclear activities within a member country. Iran recently disclosed that it has been building a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and claims it plans to place the facility under safeguards. The United States and others maintain that the plant is intended for the production of uranium for use in nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.
A seminar on implementation of nuclear reductions now that the Moscow Treaty has entered into force, and the potential for cooperation on some of the proliferation “tough cases,” especially Iran and North Korea with an eminent group of Russian military and security experts.
Launch of an important new book, Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Emerging Threats in an Evolving Security Environment, featuring presentations by the book’s editor, Alistair Millar, and several of its contributing authors, including Joshua Handler, Timothy Hoyt, and Robert Nelson.
Despite predictions that the American march into Baghdad would unleash either a wave of democratization or a plague of repression throughout the region, in reality most Middle Eastern states are too preoccupied with domestic problems to be moved profoundly by events in Iraq. Iraq will have a political impact on the region, but changes are likely to come in smaller steps than commonly predicted.
The heat is on for Iran to clarify its nuclear ambitions. On June 19, the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on Tehran to stop plans to begin enriching uranium and to allow "all access deemed necessary" to clarify questions over Iran's nuclear program. But the Board stopped short of declaring Iran in violation of its treaty obligations, nor did it refer the matter to the UN Security Council, as some U.S. officials had urged.
The United States is currently pushing the International Atomic Energy Agency to press charges against Iran for technical violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But the answer to this nuclear challenge is in Iraq, not Vienna. Post-war, Iran's leaders are nervous enough to look for accommodations with Washington.
David Mosher and Lowell Schwartz of the RAND Corporation discuss the findings of their new report on U.S.-Russian relations and nuclear security.