"I salute the Arms Control Association … for its keen vision of the goals ahead and for its many efforts to identify and to promote practical measures that are so vitally needed to achieve them."

– Amb. Nobuyasu Abe
Former UN Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs
January 28, 2004

NATO Displays Military Might

British Army Royal Engineers take part in a patrol exercise October 25 in Telneset, Norway, ahead of Trident Juncture 18, NATO’s largest exercise since the Cold War. (Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images)Amid growing tensions with Russia, NATO held its largest exercise since the Cold War, involving about 50,000 military and support personnel from 31 NATO and partner countries, 250 aircraft, 65 naval vessels, and up to 10,000 military vehicles. The Oct. 25–Nov. 7 exercise, called Trident Juncture 18, was conducted in central and eastern Norway; the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, including Iceland; and the airspace of Finland and Sweden. About 20,000 U.S. forces participated. In September, Russia held what it described as its largest military exercise since 1981, involving some 300,000 troops, 1,000 aircraft, and 900 tanks along with some participation by Chinese forces. The Russian exercise was a bit of saber-rattling, directed toward the United States and NATO, and a demonstration to Russians of how their leader, President Vladimir Putin, has restored great-power status after years of decline and disarray following the end of the Soviet Union. The NATO exercise provided a chance to showcase sustained allied unity, something that is in question in the Trump era, and to reinforce deterrence against an emboldened Russia.—TERRY ATLAS

NATO Displays Military Might

Republican Senators Back New START

October 2018
By Kingston Reif

Several Republican senators are expressing support for extending the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) amid signals that the Trump administration may choose not to renew the pact.

A C-SPAN screen grab shows David Trachtenberg, deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, and Andrea Thompson, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, testifying September 18 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.Although it expires in February 2021, the treaty can be extended up to five years by agreement of the U.S. and Russian presidents without requiring further action by Congress or the Duma. Its expiration, without a replacement, would end treaty restrictions limiting the number of deployed strategic warheads on each side to a maximum of 1,550, a target each met this year and that is far below the tens of thousands deployed during the Cold War. (See ACT, March 2018.)

“We ought to be a little bit more pro-continuing the benefits the [New] START treaty gives us rather than getting the idea there might be some way we get out of it,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) Sept. 18 at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S.-Russian arms control efforts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly expressed interest in extending the treaty, which was ratified in 2011, although Russia has raised concerns about some of the procedures the United States has used to remove nuclear weapons launchers from accountability under the agreement.

The Trump administration has yet to formulate the U.S. position. John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, said that the administration remains in the “very, very early stages” of an interagency review about whether to extend, replace, or jettison New START or to pursue a different type of approach, such as the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, which only limited deployed warheads and did not include verification provisions. (See ACT, September 2018.)

Andrea Thompson, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, reiterated at the hearing that the administration is still considering its options. “I know this committee has sought the Trump administration’s view of extending the treaty,” she said. “A decision has not been made at this time.”

Thompson added that several issues would have an impact on an extension decision, including “Russia’s decision to manufacture compliance issues regarding U.S. weapons,” whether Russia would agree to limit the new strategic weapons systems Putin boasted about in a March speech, and Russia’s “behavior in other arms control agreements.”

In a pre-election address to the Russian Federal Assembly on March 1, Putin boasted about the development of several new nuclear weapons systems, including nuclear-armed hypersonic glide vehicles; globe-circling, nuclear-powered cruise missiles; and very long-range nuclear torpedoes for use against U.S. port cities. (See ACT, April 2018.)

Since 2014, the United States has accused Russia of testing and deploying ground-launched cruise missiles in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and is reviewing what the State Department calls defensive options in case Russia’s actions “result in the collapse of the treaty.” (See ACT, January/February 2018.) Moscow denies it is violating the agreement and instead has accused Washington of breaching the accord.

Neither Thompson, nor David Trachtenberg, the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, would provide their views on what the implications would be if New START were allowed to expire in 2021 with nothing to replace it. Trachtenberg testified alongside Thompson at the Sept. 18 hearing.

The testimony from Thompson and Trachtenberg seemed to surprise and trouble some Republican committee members, particularly the question of linking continuation of New START to disputes involving other arms control treaties. Further, administration officials have had little to say publicly about the benefits of New START limitations to restrain the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.

“My concern is that we could be…saying, “Well, they’re violating the INF [Treaty]…and all these other treaties, and we don’t like all the stuff they’re doing,’ which is true,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). “But I worry that we just throw, then, the New START treaty out.”

“If the [New] START treaty is being complied with and it’s yielding the benefits to us of not having to have so many nuclear armaments,” committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) asked, “we would not consider undoing the [New] START treaty because other treaties are not being adhered to, would we?”

Democratic members of the committee also criticized the administration’s position on the agreement and pointed out that their continued support for spending hundreds of billions of dollars to upgrade the U.S. nuclear arsenal hinged on the administration’s support for arms control, including extending New START. (See ACT, December 2017.)

“I…want to remind the administration that bipartisan support for nuclear modernization is tied to maintaining an arms control process that controls and seeks to reduce Russian nuclear forces, which inevitably means promoting military and fiscally responsive policies on ourselves,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the committee’s ranking member, said. “We’re not interested in writing blank checks for a nuclear arms race with Russia, and we don’t want to step off our current path of stability to wander again down an uncertain road filled with potentially dire consequences.”

Corker also acknowledged this linkage, stating that “the modernization piece, and the reduction in warheads piece go hand in hand.”

Will the Trump administration let the treaty expire?

Trump Challenges Europeans Over Iran Deal

October 2018
By Terry Atlas and Kelsey Davenport

The Iran nuclear deal remains on life support, as U.S. President Donald Trump redoubles his efforts to kill an arrangement that is successfully restraining Iran’s nuclear program.

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the UN General Assembly on September 25, denouncing what he called the “corrupt dictatorship” in Iran. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)Nearly five months after Trump unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 accord, Iran continues to comply with restrictions on its nuclear activities as the European Union, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom seek work-arounds to renewed U.S. sanctions on the Islamic republic.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote in a Sept. 23 column in The Washington Post that he is allowing a “short grace period” to see what the other parties to the accord, including Russia and China, are able to do to offset Trump’s pressure tactics, notably U.S. efforts to prevent Iranian oil sales. U.S. officials are pressuring states that import Iranian oil to cut purchases or face severe sanctions that will enter back into effect Nov. 5.

The other parties to the nuclear deal met at the United Nations on Sept. 24, the eve of Trump’s second General Assembly address, to assess what they called “practical proposals” to offset U.S. actions and to protect “legitimate business” dealings with Iran. Afterward, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, speaking alongside Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the parties agreed to establish a “special purpose vehicle” to facilitate purchases of Iranian imports and exports, including oil.

“In practical terms, this will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran, and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with European Union law,” she said. “And it will be open to other partners in the world.”

This puts the countries, including close U.S. allies, in direct defiance of Trump, who told the General Assembly on Sept. 25 that the United States will increase its “campaign of economic pressure” on Tehran. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, warned allies and others against trying to evade sanctions.

Bolton characterized the European plan as just rhetoric and suggested any such action would have consequences. “We do not intend to have our sanctions evaded by Europe or by anyone else,” he said in a speech Sept. 25 detailing the administration’s redlines for Iranian leaders.

Trump, at the UN, said the oil-related sanctions will be followed by other punitive measures to thwart what he characterized as a “corrupt dictatorship” that still harbors nuclear weapons ambitions and foments turmoil in the Middle East through its support of militant groups.

“We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues,” he said. Further, using language linked to potential regime change, he said, “[W]e ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.”

But it is the United States that appears isolated. At a special UN Security Council session chaired by Trump Sept. 26, called to highlight nonproliferation priorities, top leaders one after the other directly criticized his decision to abandon the Iran deal and urged Tehran to continue to comply with the accord.

The Trump administration, which denies an overt goal of regime change, has said it is seeking to force Iran to negotiate a more wide-ranging deal that includes restraints on its regional interference and ballistic missile program and tighter restrictions on nuclear activities.

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani addresses the UN General Assembly on September 25. World leaders gathered for the 73rd annual meeting at the UN headquarters in New York. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)Iran has ruled out such talks, at least until the United States returns to the nuclear accord negotiated during the Obama administration. Trump’s offer of direct talks “is not honest or genuine” given his actions, Rouhani said in his column. Rouhani told the UN General Assembly on Sept. 25 that beginning a dialogue starts with ending threats and unjust sanctions.

The Europeans have been particularly determined to try to preserve the 2015 pact because it has effectively halted Iran’s nuclear advances and reopened a lucrative market for European trade and because they are alarmed by a drift toward an imaginable U.S. war with Iran, encouraged by Saudi Arabia and Israel. It is unclear whether their new initiatives to shield companies from U.S. sanctions will have much effect, with major European companies already abandoning Iran.

More important may be what actions Iran’s biggest oil purchasers, China and India, take in light of the U.S. sanctions. Both have substantially reduced oil purchases, although it is uncertain what Beijing may decide in light of growing trade disputes with the Trump administration.

Iran agreed to the nuclear deal in return for the lifting of U.S., EU, and UN sanctions, hoping for a boost to the country’s struggling economy. In the face of rising tensions with the Trump administration and internal mismanagement of the economy, the value of the Iranian currency has plummeted by as much as 70 percent in the past year, fueling protests against Rouhani’s government.

Iranian officials have said they could restart nuclear activities, such as enriching uranium at prohibited levels, within days if there is a decision to do so. An Iranian decision to exit the nuclear deal might play well for anti-U.S. sentiment, but would pose a different set of risks for the regime.

Iran has continued to abide by the terms of the nuclear agreement, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Aug. 20, the first since the United States began reimposing sanctions Aug. 7. The report also said Iran is abiding by the deal’s more intrusive IAEA monitoring and verification mechanisms, which provide inspector access “to all the sites and locations” necessary to visit.

The IAEA reports do not contain any details on what sites the agency visits outside of Iran’s declared nuclear program, but there are some indications that inspections took place at two universities in Iran in July. According to several news outlets, protests broke out over the IAEA presence.

The report does not mention a reported new advanced-centrifuge production facility. The official Iranian news agency IRNA on Sept. 9 quoted Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, as saying that the facility is “fully complete and set up.” The construction of such a facility does not violate the deal, but it would be a violation if Tehran manufactured centrifuges outside of the narrow scope of production permitted by the accord.

The IAEA report also does not mention the stolen trove of secret Iranian documents, which Israel disclosed earlier this year, relating to Iran’s past nuclear weapons activities. But Nicole Shampaine, a U.S. official at the U.S. Mission in Vienna, told the IAEA Board of Governors Sept. 12 that the United States supports the “IAEA’s careful assessment of the newly acquired archive materials from Iran’s past nuclear weapons program. She said the existence of the documentation demonstrates that Iran “sought to preserve the information and expertise from that past program.”

EU plans steps to get around U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Biological Weapons Convention Signatories and States-Parties

November 2020

Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) currently has 183 states-parties, including Palestine, and four signatories (Egypt, Haiti, Somalia, and Syria). Ten states have neither signed nor ratified the BWC (Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Israel, Kiribati, Micronesia, Namibia, South Sudan, and Tuvalu). The BWC opened for signature on April 10, 1972, and entered into force on March 26, 1975. A country that did not ratify the BWC before it entered into force may accede to it at any time.

For a guide to the terms of the convention, see The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) at a Glance.

Country Signature Ratification/Accession
Afghanistan 4/10/72
Albania -
Algeria -
Andorra -
Angola -
Antigua & Barbuda - 1/29/03
Argentina 8/1/72 11/27/79
Armenia -
Australia 4/10/72
Austria 4/10/72
Azerbaijan -
Bahamas - 11/26/86
Bahrain -
Bangladesh -
Barbados 2/16/73 2/16/73
Belarus 4/10/72
Belgium 4/10/72
Belize [1] - 10/20/86
Benin 4/10/72
Bhutan -
Bolivia 4/10/72
Bosnia and Herzegovina [2] -
Botswana 4/10/72
Brazil 4/10/72
Brunei Darussalam -
Bulgaria 4/10/72
Burkina Faso -
Burundi 4/10/72
Cambodia 4/10/72
Cameroon - 1/18/13
Canada 4/10/72
Cape Verde -
Central African Republic 4/10/72 9/25/18
Chile 4/10/72
China -
Colombia 4/10/72
Congo -
Cook Islands - 12/4/08
Costa Rica 4/10/72
Côte d'Ivoire 5/23/72
Croatia [2] -
Cuba 4/12/72
Cyprus 4/10/72
Czech Republic [3] -
Democratic Republic of Congo [4] 4/10/72
Denmark 4/10/72
Dominica -
Dominican Republic 4/10/72
Ecuador 6/14/72
Egypt 4/10/72 -
El Salvador 4/10/72
Equatorial Guinea -
Estonia -
Eswatini -
Ethiopia 4/10/72
Fiji 2/22/73
Finland 4/10/72
France -
Gabon 4/10/72
Gambia 6/2/72
Georgia -
Germany [5] 4/10/72
Ghana 4/10/72
Greece 4/10/72
Grenada -
Guatemala 5/9/72
Guinea   11/9/16
Guinea-Bissau -
Guyana 1/3/73
Haiti 4/10/72
Holy See 1/4/02
Honduras 4/10/72
Hungary 4/10/72 12/27/72
Iceland 4/10/72
India 1/15/73
Indonesia 6/20/72
Iran 4/10/72
Iraq 5/11/72 6/19/91
Ireland 4/10/72 10/27/72
Italy 4/10/72
Jamaica -
Japan 4/10/72
Jordan 4/10/72
Kazakhstan -
Kenya -
Kuwait 4/14/72
Kyrgyzstan - 10/15/04
Laos 4/10/72
Latvia -
Lebanon 4/10/72 3/26/75
Lesotho 4/10/72
Liberia 4/10/72
Libya 4/10/72 1/19/82
Liechtenstein -
Lithuania -
Luxembourg 4/10/72
Madagascar 10/13/72
Malawi 4/10/72
Malaysia 4/10/72
Maldives -
Mali 4/10/72
Malta 9/11/72
Marshall Islands   11/15/12
Mauritania   1/28/15
Mauritius 4/10/72
Mexico 4/10/72
Moldova - 1/28/05
Monaco -
Mongolia 4/10/72
Montenegro [6] -
Morocco 5/2/72
Mozambique - 3/29/11
Myanmar 4/10/72  12/1/14
Nauru - 3/5/13
Nepal 4/10/72
Netherlands 4/10/72
New Zealand 4/10/72
Nicaragua 4/10/72
Niger 4/21/72
Nigeria 7/3/72
Niue   6/14/18
North Korea - 3/13/87
North Macedonia [2] -
Norway 4/10/72
Oman -
Pakistan 4/10/72
Palau - 2/20/03
Palestine - 1/9/18
Panama 5/2/72 3/20/74
Papua New Guinea -
Paraguay -
Peru 4/10/72
Philippines 4/10/72
Poland 4/10/72
Portugal 6/29/72
Qatar 11/14/72
Romania 4/10/72
Russia [7] 4/10/72
Rwanda 4/10/72
St. Kitts & Nevis -
St. Lucia [8] -
St. Vincent & the Grenadines [8] -
Samoa   9/21/17
San Marino 9/12/72
Sao Tome and Principe - 8/24/79
Saudi Arabia 4/12/72
Senegal 4/10/72
Serbia [2] [6] - 4/27/92
Seychelles -
Sierra Leone 11/7/72
Singapore 6/19/72
Slovakia [3] -
Slovenia [2] -
Solomon Islands [8] -
Somalia 7/3/72 -
South Africa 4/10/72
South Korea 4/10/72
Spain 4/10/72
Sri Lanka 4/10/72
Sudan -
Suriname -
Sweden 2/27/74
Switzerland 4/10/72
Syria 4/14/72 -
Tajikistan - 6/27/05
Tanzania 8/16/72
Thailand 1/17/73
Timor Leste - 5/5/03
Togo 4/10/72
Tonga - 9/28/76
Trinidad & Tobago - 7/19/07
Tunisia 4/10/72
Turkey 4/10/72
Turkmenistan - 1/11/96
Uganda -
Ukraine 4/10/72
United Arab Emirates 9/28/72
United Kingdom 4/10/72
United States 4/10/72
Uruguay -
Uzbekistan -
Vanuatu -
Venezuela 4/10/72
Vietnam 4/10/72
Yemen [9] 4/26/72
Zambia -
Zimbabwe -

Taiwan (the Republic of China) has also stated its intent to abide by the treaty, despite not being a state party. The Republic of China signed the treaty on April 10, 1972 and ratified it on February 9, 1973.

Source: UN Website

Research assistance by Marissa Papatola


1. Succession from the United Kingdom

2. Succession from Yugoslavia

3. Succession from Czechoslovakia

4. Ratification as Zaire

5. Ratification as East Germany and West Germany

6. Ratified as Serbia and Montenegro

7. Ratified as the Soviet Union

8. Succession from the United Kingdom

9. Ratified as South Yemen and North Yemen

Strategic Arms Control and Policy

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

NATO Presses Stand on Nuclear Weapons

September 2018
By Monica Montgomery

Leaders of the 29 NATO member nations approved changes to the alliance’s policies on nuclear deterrence and nonproliferation during their July 11–12 summit in Brussels.

NATO leaders gather for a working dinner at the Art and History Museum in the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels on July 11. (Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AFP/Getty Images)The 2018 Brussels summit declaration states that “NATO’s nuclear deterrence posture also relies on United States’ nuclear weapons forward-deployed in Europe,” a shift from the alliance’s 2016 Warsaw declaration stating that the posture relied “in part” on U.S. forward-deployed nuclear weapons. Neither the 2014 nor 2012 summit statements explicitly referred to the need for U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe. (See ACT, September 2016.)

This phrasing suggests that NATO credits an increased role to the 150 to 200 B61 nuclear gravity bombs believed to be deployed on the territory of five NATO states (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey). The move comes after the Trump administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review report published in February, which asserted that the B61 warheads contribute to the “supreme guarantee of Alliance security.” (See ACT, March 2018.)

The 2018 declaration also addressed in stronger terms alleged Russian violations of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The 2016 declaration highlighted the importance of the INF Treaty and called on Russia “to preserve the viability of the INF Treaty through ensuring full and verifiable compliance,” but the new declaration devoted greater attention to the issue. NATO leaders stated that “the most plausible assessment would be that Russia is in violation” of the treaty, as Washington has asserted for several years, and supported a renewed dialogue between the United States, Russia, and NATO allies to bring the treaty back into full force.

Further, the 2018 declaration deviated from previous summit documents on a number of international nonproliferation agreements and treaties, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Iran nuclear deal, and the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Although the 2016 declaration called for the universalization of the CTBT, the 2018 declaration called on all states “to declare and to maintain a voluntary moratorium [on nuclear testing]…pending the potential entry into force” of the CTBT.

The 2016 summit statement commended the Iran deal, but the 2018 document did not mention it. This reflects European efforts to preserve the agreement after U.S. President Donald Trump’s May 8 decision to have the United States withdraw from the accord, which he labeled “a horrible, one-sided deal.” (See ACT, June 2018.)

The 2018 declaration also praised U.S. and Russian reductions in strategic nuclear weapons under New START and expressed “strong support for its continued implementation,” while stopping short of calling for an extension of the treaty beyond its 2021 expiration date. New START had not been mentioned since the 2010 summit document.

The declaration follows the trend of recent NATO summits to highlight the importance of nuclear weapons in NATO strategy amid worsening tensions between Russia and the West.

In addition to changes on the nuclear policy front, the summit also took steps to buttress NATO’s conventional deterrence posture. These included the establishment of an Atlantic Command post, an invitation to Macedonia to join the alliance, and approval of the “Four 30s” initiative to provide in a NATO-Russia crisis 30 troop battalions, 30 squadrons of aircraft, and 30 warships within 30 days to bolster combat readiness.

Prior to the summit, many feared an explosive performance due to Trump’s worsening relationship with allies in recent months. Trump particularly has criticized NATO’s European members and Canada for failing to share the NATO financial burden, despite increases in their defense spending for the fourth year in a row. (See ACT, July/August 2018.)

The alliance meeting ended with leaders disputing Trump’s public assertion that he had won additional defense-spending commitments from them. Still, Jamie Shea, a NATO deputy assistant secretary-general, called the summit declaration “the most substantive…the most complete, [and] the most consensual” NATO agreement in years.

Leaders toughen language favoring forward-deployed U.S. nuclear weapons.

Senators Want Limits in Saudi Nuclear Accord

Energy Minister Suhail Mohammed Faraj al-Mazroui of the United Arab Emirates leaves the stage following his address to the Nuclear Power in the 21st Century International Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi on October 30, 2017. The U.S.-UAE nuclear cooperation agreement is considered the “gold standard” for nonproliferation safeguards.  (Photo: Nezar Balout/AFP/Getty Images)The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution July 26 calling for any U.S. civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia to prohibit the kingdom from enriching uranium or separating plutonium and require it to bring into force an additional protocol to its safeguards agreement. The resolution comes as the Trump administration negotiates a so-called 123 agreement with the Saudis, and it reflects the complications following recent threats by Saudi leaders to seek nuclear weapons if Iran does so. (See ACT, June 2018.) A 123 agreement, named after the relevant section of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act, sets the terms for sharing U.S. nuclear energy technology, equipment, and materials with other countries.

A key issue is whether the United States will insist that Saudi Arabia agree to forgo making nuclear fuel, as its neighbor the United Arab Emirates did in 2009 to obtain its 123 agreement. To date, Saudi Arabia has resisted the ban and suggested that it seeks to make its own reactor fuel. In addition, Riyadh has neither signed nor ratified an additional protocol, which provides the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with expanded verification rights. Prospects for consideration of the resolution by the full Senate are uncertain.—MONICA MONTGOMERY

Senators Want Limits in Saudi Nuclear Accord

EU Acts to Block U.S. Sanctions on Iran

July/August 2018
By Kelsey Davenport

The European Union adopted measures to protect European entities doing business with Iran from U.S. sanctions, but Iranian officials have said EU efforts are insufficient to persuade Tehran to remain in compliance with the accord.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj greets to her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif before a meeting in New Delhi on May 28. Like the EU, India is resisting renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran. “India follows only UN sanctions, and not unilateral sanctions by any country,” she said at a news conference. (Photo: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images)The European Commission action on June 6 updating its 1996 blocking regulation to include U.S. sanctions on Iran enters into force Aug. 5, unless more than half of the members of the European Parliament or the EU Foreign Affairs Council object prior to that date. The blocking regulation prohibits EU entities from complying with U.S. extraterritorial sanctions and allows companies to recover damages from such sanctions.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on May 8 withdrawing from the multilateral nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and reimposing sanctions triggered 90- or 180-day wind-down periods for companies and banks to exit Iran before penalties are assessed. (See ACT, June 2018.) The 90-day period ends Aug. 6.

Despite the EU action, a number of companies already announced they are pulling out of the Iranian market, including Maersk Tankers of Denmark, General Electric, Siemens, Lukoil, and Reliance Petroleum.

Although it was expected that multinational companies would exit the Iranian market irrespective of the blocking regulation, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told the European Parliament on June 12 that the focus is on small and medium-sized enterprises that “are less engaged in the U.S. market.”

Several companies, including French automaker Renault, said they intend to remain in Iran, while others, such as French oil company Total, said they will seek U.S. sanctions waivers to continue doing business with Iran.

In a June 4 letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mogherini along with the foreign ministers and finance ministers of the E3 (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom) requested sanctions exemptions that would allow European entities to maintain banking channels with Iran and allow existing contracts to go forward. They wrote that, as U.S. allies, they expect Washington “will refrain from taking action to harm Europe’s security interests” and reaffirmed that they consider the nuclear deal critical for protecting “collective security interests.”

There is no indication from the Trump administration that exemptions will be granted. Chris Ford, assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, said on June 11 that the United States is prepared to “lean hard on our partners and the international community” as Washington pursues its strategy of using sanctions to pressure Iran into new negotiations on its ballistic missiles and regional activities, as well as its nuclear program.

The U.S. officials have begun a “diplomatic roadshow” to discuss how to minimize exposure to U.S. sanctions and how to “work together in pursuit of a better, successor agreement,” Ford said at the Center for a New American Security.

Iranian officials have said they will not renegotiate with the United States and will continue abiding by the nuclear deal if the remaining parties can deliver on sanctions relief. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said on June 19 that the steps taken so far by the EU are insufficient.

The EU is working on additional options to realize the sanctions relief for Iran envisioned by the nuclear deal. Mogherini said that the “most important challenge now is to find solutions on banking and finance” to facilitate legitimate trade.

The European Commission agreed on June 6 to update the European Investment Bank’s mandate to enable lending to Iran. But it seems unlikely that the bank will decide to finance any activities in Iran. After the announcement, the bank said in a statement that it “is not the right tool” and that the bank cannot ignore the sanctions and remain a “solid and credible institution.”

Although the Trump administration appears unlikely to grant waivers for European entities, it may grant exemptions for projects specified by the nuclear deal. One of the entities redesignated under U.S. regulations as a result of the reimposition of sanctions was the AEOI, which puts at risk companies engaged on these priority nonproliferation projects.

Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to remove the core of its Arak reactor and modify it to produce no more than minimal amounts of weapons-usable plutonium. China is working with Iran on implementation. The nuclear deal also required Iran to convert its Fordow enrichment site into a stable-isotope research facility and refrain from any uranium-enrichment activities at the site for 15 years. Russia is assisting Iran in that project.

A State Department official told Arms Control Today on June 15 that no decision has been made on whether to pursue penalties against Chinese and Russian firms working on the Arak and Fordow projects.

Iran has continued to threaten to respond to the U.S. action by resuming prohibited nuclear activities if the remaining parties do not deliver on sanctions relief.

The most recent IAEA implementation report confirmed Iran’s compliance. But the report noted that although inspectors have had access to all sites necessary, more “timely and proactive cooperation by Iran” on access granted under an additional protocol to Iran’s safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would facilitate implementation and “enhance confidence.”

During the IAEA Board of Governors meeting, U.S. diplomat Nicole Shampaine said on June 5 that the agency “should never again have to appeal for ‘timely and proactive cooperation’ by Iran.”

Iran also notified the IAEA that it was opening a new centrifuge production facility. Reza Najafi, Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, said on June 6 that the decision to open the facility reflect preparatory work “for a possible scenario” and reiterated that Iran will not start “any activities contrary” to the accord at this time.

Building a new facility for centrifuge production is not a violation of the deal if Iran notifies the agency in accordance with its safeguards obligations, which Tehran appears to have done. But if Iran were to produce centrifuge machines at that location in the future, it might breach the limits of the nuclear accord.

Under the deal, Iran can produce advanced centrifuges in line with its research and development plan and can only produce IR-1 machines, which are currently used for enriching uranium, when the number of machines in monitored storage drops below 500. Iran has not yet reached that point.

European leaders try to keep Trump’s action from blowing up the Iran nuclear deal.

NATO Sees Defense Spending Rise

NATO expects to see a 3.8 percent increase in defense spending by its European members and Canada this year, as President Donald Trump hammers the closest U.S. allies to shoulder more of the defense burden.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg gives a press briefing June 7 during a Defense Council meeting at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels. (Photo: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)The increase would be the fourth in a row, although it lags behind last year’s estimated 5.2 percent increase, according to a chart released June 7 by the alliance. “All allies have stopped the cuts,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said following a defense ministers meeting. “All allies are increasing defense spending.”

The increases mean European allies and Canada will have spent an additional $87 billion on defense since 2014, he said. Trump has wrongly claimed credit for this turnaround, which began in 2015 spurred by Russia’s military moves against Ukraine and its subsequent annexation of Crimea, as well as by pressure from the Obama administration.

The increases are unlikely to end the criticism from Trump, who is scheduled to join the leaders of the other 28 countries at the NATO summit July 11–12. Trump’s souring relationship with key European leaders, particularly over his trade policies, may spill over to the defense alliance talks. Following this year’s Group of Seven summit in Canada, Trump tweeted his criticism that the United States spends money “protecting many of these same countries that rip us off on trade.”—TERRY ATLAS

NATO Sees Defense Spending Rise

Chemical Weapons Convention Signatories and States-Parties

June 2018 

Contact: Daryl KimballExecutive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) entered into force on April 29, 1997 and currently has 193 states-parties. One state has signed but not ratified (Israel). Three states have neither signed nor ratified (Egypt, North Korea, and South Sudan).

For a guide to the convention, see The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) at a Glance.





Afghanistan 1/14/93
Albania 1/14/93
Algeria 1/13/93
Andorra 2/27/03
Angola 9/16/15
Antigua & Barbuda 8/29/05
Argentina 1/13/93
Armenia 3/19/93
Australia 1/13/93
Austria 1/13/93
Azerbaijan 1/13/93
Bahamas 3/2/94
Bahrain 2/24/93
Bangladesh 1/14/93
Belarus 1/14/93
Belgium 1/13/93
Belize 12/1/03
Benin 1/14/93
Bhutan 4/23/97
Bolivia 1/14/93
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1/16/97
Brazil 1/13/93
Brunei Darussalem 1/13/93
Bulgaria 1/13/93
Burkina Faso 1/14/93
Burundi 1/15/93
Cambodia 1/15/93
Cameroon 1/14/93
Canada 1/13/93
Cape Verde 1/15/93
Central African Republic 1/14/93
Chad 10/11/94
Chile 1/14/93
China 1/13/93
Colombia 1/13/93
Comoros 1/13/93
Congo 1/15/93
Cook Islands 1/14/93
Costa Rica 1/14/93
Côte d'Ivoire 1/13/93
Croatia 1/13/93
Cuba 1/13/93
Cyprus 1/13/93
Czech Republic 1/14/93
Democratic Republic of Congo 1/14/93
Denmark 1/14/93
Djibouti 9/28/93
Dominica 8/2/93
Dominican Republic 1/13/93
Ecuador 1/14/93
El Salvador 1/14/93
Equatorial Guinea 1/14/93
Estonia 1/14/93
Ethiopia 1/14/93
Fiji 1/14/93
Finland 1/14/93
France 1/13/93
Gabon 1/13/93
Gambia 1/13/93
Georgia 1/14/93
Germany 1/13/93
Ghana 1/14/93
Greece 1/13/93
Grenada 4/9/97
Guatemala 1/14/93
Guinea 1/14/93
Guinea-Bissau 1/14/93
Guyana 10/6/93
Haiti 1/14/93
Holy See 1/14/93
Honduras 1/13/93
Hungary 1/13/93
Iceland 1/13/93
India 1/14/93
Indonesia 1/13/93
Iran 1/13/93
Iraq 1/13/09
Ireland 1/14/93
Israel 1/13/93
Italy 1/13/93
Jamaica 4/18/97
Japan 1/13/93
Kazakhstan 1/14/93
Kenya 1/15/93
Kuwait 1/27/93
Kyrgyzstan 2/22/93
Laos 5/13/93
Latvia 5/6/93
Lebanon 11/20/08
Lesotho 12/7/94
Liberia 1/15/93
Libya 1/6/04
Liechtenstein 7/21/93
Lithuania 1/13/93
Luxembourg 1/13/93
Madagascar 1/15/93
Malawi 1/14/93
Malaysia 1/13/93
Maldives 10/1/93
Mali 1/13/93
Malta 1/13/93
Marshall Islands 1/13/93
Mauritania 1/13/93
Mauritius 1/14/93
Mexico 1/13/93
Micronesia 1/13/93
Moldova 1/13/93
Monaco 1/13/93
Mongolia 1/14/93
Morocco 1/13/93
Myanmar 1/14/93 08/07/15
Namibia 1/13/93
Nauru 1/13/93
Nepal 1/19/93
Netherlands 1/14/93
New Zealand 1/14/93
Nicaragua 3/9/93
Niger 1/14/93
Nigeria 1/13/93
North Korea    
Norway 1/13/93
Oman 2/2/93
Pakistan 1/13/93
Palau 2/3/03
Palestine 5/17/18
Panama 6/16/93
Papua New Guinea 1/14/93
Paraguay 1/14/93
Peru 1/14/93
Philippines 1/13/93
Poland 1/13/93
Portugal 1/13/93
Qatar 2/1/93
Romania 1/13/93
Russia 1/13/93
Rwanda 5/17/93
St. Kitts & Nevis 3/16/94
St. Lucia 3/29/93
St. Vincent & the Grenadines 9/20/93
Samoa 1/14/93
San Marino 1/13/93
Sao Tome and Principe 9/9/03
Saudi Arabia 1/20/93
Senegal 1/13/93
Serbia 4/20/00
Seychelles 1/15/93
Sierra Leone 1/15/93
Singapore 1/14/93
Slovak Republic 1/14/93
Slovenia 1/14/93
Solomon Islands
Somalia 5/29/13
South Africa 1/14/93
South Korea 1/14/93
South Sudan    
Spain 1/13/93
Sri Lanka 1/14/93
Suriname 4/28/97
Swaziland 9/23/93
Sweden 1/13/93
Switzerland 1/14/93
Syria   9/12/13*
Tajikistan 1/14/93
Tanzania 2/25/94
Thailand 1/14/93
Timor Leste 5/7/03
Togo 1/13/93
Tonga 5/29/03
Trinidad & Tobago
Tunisia 1/13/93
Turkey 1/14/93
Turkmenistan 10/12/93
Uganda 1/14/93
Ukraine 1/13/93
United Arab Emirates 2/2/93
United Kingdom 1/13/93
United States 1/13/93
Uruguay 1/15/93
Uzbekistan 11/24/95
Venezuela 1/14/93
Vietnam 1/13/93
Yemen 2/8/93
Zambia 1/13/93
Zimbabwe 1/13/93

*Syria sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary General which said that Assad signed a legislative decree providing the accession of Syria to the Chemical Weapons Convention. In the letter, Assad said Syria would observe its CWC obligations immediately, as opposed to 30 days from the date of accession, as stipulated in the treaty.

    Source: Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

    Chemical/Biological Arms Control

    Country Resources:

    Subject Resources:

    EU Moves to Block U.S. Iran Sanctions

    June 2018
    By Kelsey Davenport

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions on that country is spurring Europe to block U.S. measures and shore up support to sustain the agreement.

    By pulling out of the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement, Trump delivered on a campaign promise to “tear up” the deal with Iran, which he has frequently disparaged as the “worst deal ever negotiated.” In doing so, he rebuffed personal last-minute appeals by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their visits to the White House in late April.

    President Donald Trump leaves the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House May 8 after announcing his decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)Trump said on May 8 that if he “allowed this deal to stand, there would soon be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.” Trump said the process he initiated in January to work with European partners to “fix” the accord is not possible under the “decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” despite U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling allies days before the announcement that he felt an agreement could be reached to address U.S. concerns. (See ACT, March 2018.)

    Following up the president’s action, Pompeo in a May 21 speech outlined a broad list of demands on Iran and said the United States will impose the “strongest sanctions in history” to force Iran to end certain nuclear activities and missile programs, aid to the Syrian regime and support for militant groups in the region. The set of demands, stopping just short of an explicit call for regime change, sets the stage for further U.S. tensions with European allies and the Islamic Republic.

    Even before Pompeo’s policy speech, Trump’s announcement earned sharp rebukes from Washington’s partners in the agreement, as well as the European Union, and commitments by those nations to continue implementing the accord. The extent to which that is possible is unclear, given that major foreign companies face being cut off from the U.S. banking system and other punishment if they do not adhere to U.S. sanctions on Iran.

    European Council President Donald Tusk was particularly direct in his criticism, tweeting on May 16 that “[l]ooking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think: With friends like that, who needs enemies?”

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated Iran’s commitment to continue abiding by the agreement, so long as Iran’s national interests are met, and said he was pleased that “the troublesome member has been eliminated” from the deal.

    But Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that he wants to see “definite reassurance” and “practical guarantees” that Iran will receive the sanctions relief envisioned under the deal.

    Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, said that guarantees are not possible but that the EU is determined to “act in accordance with its security interests and to protect its economic investments.” She met on May 15 with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and the UK to discuss moving forward without the United States.

    How Might Iran Expand Its Nuclear Capacity?

    In deciding to violate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, President Donald Trump has put at risk the extensive measures the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) imposed to block Iran from building nuclear weapons.

    How long would it take if Tehran’s leaders now decide to race for the bomb? One accomplishment of the nuclear deal is that it imposed hurdles intended to ensure that Iran could not do it in less than a year. Further, for now, Iran would not be able to attempt it without being detected, thanks to the robust international inspection and monitoring required by the nuclear accord.

    That timeline and the inspection tripwires could, however, become less reliable depending on Iran’s actions following the unilateral U.S. decision to reimpose sanctions.

    Iranian leaders have raised the possibility of abandoning some or all of the tough nuclear restrictions they accepted in 2015 in return for the lifting of nuclear-related international sanctions. Iran could take steps, such as scaling up its nuclear program or reducing cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors, that would violate its JCPOA commitments.

    “If necessary, we can begin our industrial [uranium] enrichment without any limitations,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on May 8. “We will wait for some weeks and will talk with our friends and allies and other signatories of the nuclear deal, who signed it and who will remain loyal to it. Everything depends on our national interests.”

    Iran currently has 5,060 installed IR-1 centrifuge machines and a relatively small inventory of low-enriched uranium of less than 300 kilograms. Iran could quickly begin enriching the material to 20 percent uranium-235, although it would still take at least 12 months to amass enough uranium enriched further to bomb grade for one nuclear device.

    Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said on April 21 that if the decision were made, it would take just four days to resume enrichment to 20 percent U-235. Enrichment to that level is short of the enrichment level of 90 percent necessary for weapons use, but it would reduce the time needed to produce bomb-grade material. The nuclear deal limits enrichment to levels below 3.67 percent U-235, suitable for fueling nuclear power reactors.

    Iran also could reorient the Fordow underground enrichment complex, which became a physics and technology research center under the deal, and use some 1,000 IR-1 machines there. Iran’s centrifuge-based nuclear infrastructure could be further augmented with the redeployment of some 1,000 advanced IR-2M centrifuges, which were put into monitored storage under the JCPOA. Because these are two to three times more efficient than the IR-1s, their use, along with the IR-1 machines at Iran’s disposal, would reduce the time necessary to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one bomb to two to three months.

    With the existing IAEA monitoring system in place, all of these steps would be promptly detected. But within months of a decision to exceed the JCPOA limits, Iran could have a vastly shorter “breakout” timeline.

    Breakout calculations must take into account the fact that, before 2004, Iran engaged in an organized program of experiments useful for the development and design of nuclear weapons. U.S. intelligence agencies and the IAEA report that program is no longer underway, although it is prudent to assume that Iran has the know-how to assemble a nuclear device.

    At present, Iranian engineers and scientists, building on past know-how, would likely need at least a year to assemble a workable nuclear device and mate it to a reliable ballistic missile delivery system.—DARYL G. KIMBALL

    Subsequently, at a May 17 meeting of the European Commission, the body agreed to take steps in response to Trump’s reimposition of sanctions, including revising a blocking statute used by the EU in the 1990s to protect entities from U.S. sanctions on Cuba. The blocking regulation “forbids EU companies from complying with the extraterritorial effects of U.S. sanctions, allows companies to recover damages arising from such sanctions from the person causing them, and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court judgements based on them,” according to a May 17 press release.

    The EU is aiming to have the measure in force by Aug. 6, the day some U.S. sanctions go into effect. Although the United States has reimposed sanctions, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced on May 8 that entities would be given 90 or 180 days to wind down activities in Iran before sanctions would be enforced.

    For large, multinational companies with a significant presence in the United States, the blocking regulation is unlikely to provide enough assurance for them to remain in the Iranian market. Several announced that they are winding down business in Iran and exiting contracts.

    The regulation sends a strong political signal, however, and may provide cover for smaller businesses with less of a presence in the United States to continue doing business in Iran. The EU also launched a process whereby the European Investment Bank will be able to support investment activities in Iran.

    EU measures to blunt the impact of sanctions call into question Trump’s plan to pressure Iran back to negotiations. Brian Hook, State Department director for policy planning, in a May 18 press conference described the goal of sanctions reimposition as creating “necessary pressure to bear on Iran to change its behavior and to pursue a new framework” that addresses Iran’s ballistic missile development and its support for terrorism, as well as its nuclear program.

    In the lead up to the 2015 nuclear agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), EU sanctions and EU compliance with U.S. sanctions were a critical part of the pressure campaign that pushed Iran to negotiate. With the EU and China, Russia, and other states retaining business ties with Iran, it is unlikely that the United States will be able to press Iran into new negotiations.

    Trump Draws International Criticism for Quitting Iran Deal

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal drew unusually strong criticism from U.S. allies and from partners in the negotiations. Some of those reactions:

    “France, Germany, and the UK regret the U.S. decision…. The nuclear nonproliferation regime is at stake.”—French President Emmanuel Macron

    “Imagine all the mutually contaminating civil wars and internecine conflicts that rage across the Middle East today. Then turn the dial, and add the possibility of a regional nuclear arms race triggered by Iran dashing for a bomb. That is the scenario which the agreement has helped to prevent.”—UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson

    Newspapers in Tehran on May 9 headline the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal. (Photo:  Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)“The [deal], agreed to with Iran in 2015 and endorsed by the UN Security Council, is not perfect. It has, however, helped to curb a real threat to international peace and security. Canada regrets that the United States has decided to withdraw…particularly given that, according to the [International Atomic Energy Agency], Iran continues to implement its…commitments.”
    —Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland

    “I believe that it’s not right to unilaterally cancel an accord that was negotiated, that was confirmed in the UN Security Council unanimously.”—German Chancellor Angela Merkel

    “The action plan does not belong to the United States alone but is a domain of the entire international community, which has repeatedly reaffirmed its interest in the preservation and long-term sustainable implementation of the [Iran deal] for the sake of strengthening international and regional peace and security as well as the nuclear nonproliferation regime.... Russia is open to further cooperation with the other…participants and will continue to actively develop bilateral collaboration and political dialogue with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
    —Russian Foreign Ministry statement

    “The agreement is not perfect, and we must continue to address concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program and its role in the region…. The U.S. decision is a step backwards. The Netherlands will work with our partners to find a solution that safeguards our own security and that of the entire European Union.”—Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok

    “Australia is disappointed.”—Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

    Iran has left open the option to resume troublesome nuclear activities in response to the U.S. violation and withdrawal from the deal. In a move likely meant to signal that Iran will leave the JCPOA if the remaining parties to the agreement cannot deliver on sanctions relief, Rouhani ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to be “fully prepared for subsequent measures if needed, so in the case of need, we will start up our industrial enrichment without limitations.”

    Other Iranian officials, including AEOI head Ali Akhbar Salehi, have specifically said Iran would resume enriching uranium to 20 percent uranium-235, a level that would put Tehran closer to the 90 percent U-235 required for use in nuclear weapons.

    Under the JCPOA, Iran is limited to enriching uranium to 3.67 percent U-235, a level suitable for nuclear power reactors, using no more than 5,060 installed centrifuges. The accord also limits Iran to a stockpile to 300 kilograms of uranium enriched to that level, a measure to hinder any nuclear-bomb effort.

    Yukiya Amano, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, confirmed on May 8 that Iran is meeting its commitments under the accord, and the agency’s May 24 quarterly report on Iran’s nuclear activities further confirmed that Tehran had not taken any steps to violate the deal after Trump withdrew.


    Close U.S. allies push back after Trump rejects personal appeals not to quit the Iran nuclear deal.


    Subscribe to RSS - EU / NATO