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"In my home there are few publications that we actually get hard copies of, but [Arms Control Today] is one and it's the only one my husband and I fight over who gets to read it first."

– Suzanne DiMaggio
Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
April 15, 2019
Fact Sheets & Briefs

The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) At a Glance

October 2016

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

Updated: October 2016

President George W. Bush announced May 31, 2003 that the United States would lead a new effort, the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), to interdict shipments of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and related goods to terrorists and countries of proliferation concern. The initiative's aim would be "to keep the world's most destructive weapons away from our shores and out of the hands of our common enemies," Bush declared.

Participants: Ten countries originally joined with the United States to shape and promote the initiative. These countries are Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In total, 105 countries have publicly committed to the initiative. Membership in PSI only requires a state to endorse the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles, a non-binding document that lays out the framework for PSI activities. PSI participants have downplayed the concept of membership in the initiative, explaining in a press statement that PSI is "an activity not an organization." U.S. officials have courted China to join the regime, but so far it has kept its distance, citing concerns about the legality of interdictions.

Mission: The initiative aims to stop shipments of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, as well as missiles and goods that could be used to deliver or produce such weapons, to terrorists and countries suspected of trying to acquire WMD. Initiative participants intend to carry out cargo interdictions at sea, in the air, or on land. For some countries this is not a new practice but an enshrinement and expansion of current operations. The United States and other countries have long records of intercepting illegal trade and smuggling activities, including illicit weapons transactions.

Still, the initiative is designed to make it more costly and risky for proliferators to acquire the weapons or materials they seek. By doing so, members hope that other countries will be dissuaded from pursuing weapons in the first place or experience significant delays in their acquisition efforts.

PSI is limited to stopping shipments of WMD and dual-use goods-items that have both civilian, peaceful purposes and that can be used to make weapons-to those countries and nonstate actors viewed as threats by PSI participants. Then-Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton indicated in November 2003 that participants will not be targeting the trade of countries perceived as U.S. allies or friends, such as India, Israel, and Pakistan-all three of which possess WMD arsenals, including nuclear weapons.

Principles: The 11 original PSI participants released a set of principles September 4, 2003.[2] The principles call on PSI participants, as well as other countries, to not engage in WMD-related trade with countries of proliferation concern and to permit their own vessels and aircraft to be searched if suspected of transporting such goods. The principles further urge that information on suspicious activities be shared quickly to enable possible interdictions and that all vessels "reasonably suspected" of carrying dangerous cargo be inspected when passing through national airports, ports, and other transshipment points.

Legal Authority: The initiative does not create new law, but rather relies on existing international law to conduct interdictions in international waters or airspace. For example, a ship can be stopped in international waters if it is not flying a national flag or properly registered. It cannot be stopped simply because it is suspected of transporting WMD or related goods. PSI is primarily intended to encourage participating countries to take greater advantage of their own existing national laws to intercept threatening trade passing through their territories, where they have jurisdiction to act. In situations where the legal authority to act may be ambiguous, Bolton said participants might go to the UN Security Council for authorization.

Although the initiative does not create new law, PSI participants are encouraged to develop their national laws and help promote international treaties that criminalize WMD related trafficking.  PSI member states also seek to expand their legal authority to interdict shipments by signing bilateral boarding agreements with select countries to secure expedited processes or pre-approval for stopping and searching their ships at sea. The United States has concluded such agreements with Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Croatia, Cyprus, Liberia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Panama and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Liberia and Panama possess the largest fleets of registered ocean-going vessels in the world.

Structure: PSI is an informal arrangement among countries. To date, there is no list of criteria by which interdictions are to be made (except that the cargo is destined for a recipient that might use it to harm the United States or other countries). There is also no secretariat or formal organization that serves as a coordinating body. Instead, participants aim to readily share information among one another as appropriate and to act when necessary to help seize or thwart dangerous trade. One forum for coordination among PSI members is Operational Experts Group (OEG). The OEG consists of delegations from the most active PSI members, which meet periodically to plan exercises, discuss recent interdictions, and share relevant information. There are currently 21 states that participate in the OEG.

Activities and Interdictions: PSI participants have conducted nearly 50 interdiction exercises since the initiative's inception. The exercises, including mock ship boardings, are intended to increase the participants' capabilities to cooperate with one another. They are also intended to put a public face on the initiative and act as a deterrent to potential proliferators.

U.S. officials claim that there have been successful interdictions since the initiative's launch. In a June 2006 speech, then-Undersecretary of State Robert Joseph claimed that between April 2005 and April 2006 the United States had cooperated with other PSI participants on “roughly two dozen” occasions to prevent transfers of concern. Ulrik Federspiel, Denmark’s ambassador to the United States, asserted at a May 2005 event that “the shipment of missiles has fallen significantly in the lifetime of PSI.”

A recent example of a PSI success was the June 2011 interdiction of the M/V Light, a Belizean flagged freighter suspected of carrying ballistic missile technology from North Korea to Myanmar. U.S. naval forces intercepted the vessel, and forced it to return to North Korea. Although the M/V Light was turned back before it was inspected, the United States would have had the legal authority to do so through its ship-boarding agreement with Belize, a PSI member state.

Status: On May 28, 2013, representatives from seventy-two PSI member states held a High Level Political Meeting in Warsaw on the 10th anniversary of the PSI’s formation. Attending states affirmed four joint statements pledging to conduct “more regular and robust” PSI exercises; promote international treaties criminalizing WMD-related trafficking; share expertise and resources to enhance interdiction capabilities; and to expand “the influence of the PSI globally through outreach to new states and the public.” The United States pledged at the 2013 Warsaw meeting to accede to the 2005 Protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation. The United States deposited its ratification in August 2015. 

A mid-level meeting took place in Washington, DC in January 2016 that included representatives from 71 countries. Thomas Countryman, U.S. assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, said that participants discussed topics such as trends in proliferation, tactics that networks use to ship sensitive materials and technologies, and options to control proliferation financing. Countryman also said that countries shared expertise and resources that should contribute to building countries’ ability to carry out interdictions.

Updated by Ian Williams

Nuclear/Ballistic Missile Nonproliferation

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The Arms Trade Treaty At a Glance

August 2017

Contact: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107

Summary

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) establishes common standards for the international trade of conventional weapons and seeks to reduce the illicit arms trade. The treaty aims to reduce human suffering caused by illegal and irresponsible arms transfers, improve regional security and stability, as well as to promote accountability and transparency by state parties concerning transfers of conventional arms. The ATT does not place restrictions on the types or quantities of arms that may be bought, sold, or possessed by states. It also does not impact a state’s domestic gun control laws or other firearm ownership policies.

After nearly two decades of advocacy and diplomacy, a UN conference was convened to negotiate the ATT in July 2012, but fell short of reaching consensus on a final text. Another two week-long conference was convened in March 2013 to complete work on the treaty. However, Iran, North Korea, and Syria blocked consensus on the final treaty text, leading treaty supporters to move it to the UN General Assembly on for approval. On April 2, 2013, the UN General Assembly endorsed the ATT by a vote of 156-3, with 23 abstentions. The treaty opened for signature on June 3, 2013, and entered into force on Dec. 23, 2014.

(Read the full treaty text here)

What the Arms Trade Treaty Does

  • The Arms Trade Treaty requires all states-parties to adopt basic regulations and approval processes for the flow of weapons across international borders, establishes common international standards that must be met before arms exports are authorized, and requires annual reporting of imports and exports to a treaty secretariat. In particular, the treaty:
  • requires that states “establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list” and “designate competent national authorities in order to have an effective and transparent national control system regulating the transfer of conventional arms”;
  • prohibits arms transfer authorizations to states if the transfer would violate “obligations under measures adopted by the United Nations Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular arms embargoes” or under other “relevant international obligations” or if the state “has knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes”;
  • requires states to assess the potential that the arms exported would “contribute to or undermine peace and security” or could be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law, acts of terrorism, or transnational organized crime; to consider measures to mitigate the risk of these violations; and, if there still remains an “overriding risk” of “negative consequences,” to “not authorize the export”;
  • applies under Article 2(1) to all conventional arms within the seven categories of the UN Register of Conventional Arms (battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, and missiles and missile launchers) and small arms and light weapons;
  • requires that states “establish and maintain a national control system to regulate the export of ammunition/munitions fired, launched or delivered by” the conventional arms listed in Article 2(1) and “parts and components…that provide the capability to assemble” the conventional arms listed in that article;
  • requires each state to “take the appropriate measures, pursuant to its national laws, to regulate brokering taking place under its jurisdiction” of conventional arms covered under Article 2(1);
  • requires each state to “take measures to prevent…diversion” of conventional arms covered under Article 2(1);
  • requires each state to submit annually to the treaty secretariat a report of the preceding year’s “authorized or actual export and imports of conventional arms covered under Article 2(1)” and allows states to exclude “commercially sensitive or national security information”

Basic Treaty Obligations

To be in compliance with the ATT, states-parties must:

  • establish and maintain an effective national control system for the export, import, transit, and transshipment of and brokering activities related to (all defined as “transfers” in the ATT) the eight categories of conventional arms covered by the ATT, as well as exports of related ammunition and of parts and components that are used for assembling conventional arms covered by the treaty (Articles 3, 4, and 5.2);
  • establish and maintain a national control list (Article 5.3) and making it available to other states-parties (Article 5.4);
  • designate competent national authorities responsible for maintaining this system (Article 5.5);
  • designate at least one national contact point responsible for exchanging information related to the implementation of the ATT (Article 5.6);
  • prohibit transfers of conventional arms, ammunition, or parts and components for the eight categories of conventional arms covered by the ATT that would violate obligations under Chapter VII of the UN Charter or international agreements relating to the transfer or illicit trafficking of conventional arms or where there is knowledge that the items will be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, or other war crimes (Article 6);
  • review applications for exports of the eight categories of conventional arms covered by the treaty and conducting a national export assessment on the risk that the exported arms could have “negative consequences” for peace, security, and human rights, denying an arms export if the assessment determines that there is an overriding risk that the exported arms will be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian or human rights law or offenses under international conventions or protocols relating to terrorism or international organized crime and taking into account the risk of the exported arms being used to commit or facilitate serious acts of gender-based violence or violence against women and children (Article 7);
  • take measures to regulate conventional arms imports (Article 8);
  • when importing conventional arms, provide information to assist the exporting state-party in conducting its national export assessment, including by providing documentation on the end use or end user (Article 8);
  • take measures, where necessary and feasible, to regulate the transit and transshipment of conventional arms (Article 9);
  • take measures to regulate brokering taking place under its jurisdiction (Article 10);
  • take measures, including risk assessments, mitigation measures, cooperation, and information sharing, to prevent the diversion of conventional arms to the illicit market or for unauthorized end use and end users (Article 11);
  • maintain national records for each export authorization or delivery of conventional arms for at least 10 years (Article 12);
  • provide annual reports to the secretariat on export and import authorizations or deliveries of conventional arms to be distributed to states-parties (Article 13);
  • take appropriate measures to enforce national laws and regulations to implement the treaty (Article 14); and
  • cooperate with other states-parties in order to implement the ATT effectively (Article 15). 

Timeline of treaty negotiations

October 1995: Dr. Oscar Arias calls upon fellow Noble Laureates to promote an international agreement regulating the trade in conventional arms.

May 1997: The Noble Laureate Initiative is officially launched in New York City. The initiative endorses an arms trade Code of Conduct to lay the foundations of a future arms trade treaty.

October 18, 2006 - UN General Assembly passes Resolution 61/89 with 153 votes. The resolution instructs UN Secretary General to undertake an exploration for a future arms trade treaty. The United States votes against the resolution, the only country to do so.

September 2007: The UN Secretary General appoints a group of government experts to examine the “feasibility, scope and draft parameters for a comprehensive, legally binding instrument for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms.”

December 2008: The UN General Assembly (Res. 63/240) endorses the report and convened an Open-Ended Working Group to provide a more public forum for further discussion of these and other substantive issues.

October 14, 2009: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announces that the United States will support the arms trade treaty negotiation process, and would vote in favor of a General Assembly Resolution creating a treaty conference.

December 2009: The UN General Assembly adopts Resolution 64/48, establishing a treaty negotiating conference to be held in 2012 to draft the text of a legally binding arms trade treaty. The resolution also mandates all treaty negotiations will conducted on the basis of consensus.

July 2-27, 2012: ATT negotiating conference meets for four consecutive weeks in New York. The conference participants fail to reach consensus on a final treaty text.

November 2012: The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly passes a resolution mandating that a second ATT negotiating conference be convened in March 2013.

March 18-28, 2013: The second ATT negotiating conference convenes. A final treaty text is agreed upon. The treaty is blocked from consensus approval by Iran, North Korea, and Syria. A group of 90 countries, including the United States, push the treaty forward to the UN General Assembly for adoption.

April 3, 2013: The UN General Assembly adopts the Arms Trade Treaty by a vote of 153-3, with 22 abstentions.

June 3, 2013: The ATT opens for signature. Sixty-seven countries sign on the treaty’s opening day.

September 23, 2013: The United States becomes the 91st state to sign the ATT.

December 24, 2014: The ATT enters into force, 90 days after the date of the 50th ratification. 

August 24-27, 2015: The first Conference of States-Parties for the ATT is held in Cancun, Mexico.

- Updated by Shervin Taheran

Conventional Arms Issues

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Implementation of the Joint Plan of Action At A Glance

August 2017

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

On November 24, 2013, Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) reached an interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program. The agreement, or Joint Plan of Action, required Iran and the P5+1 countries to take specific steps while negotiators worked on a comprehensive deal. 

The obligations under the interim deal remained in place until October 18, 2015. At that point, each side began implementing the obligations under the comprehensive deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was agreed to on July 14, 2015. For more information about the JCPOA, see The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action at a Glance

Implementation of the interim agreement, the Joint Plan of Action, began on January 20, 2014 and was to last through July 20, 2014, although it was extended several times and additional commitments for Iran and the P5+1 were added.

During the announcement of the second extension on November 24, 2014, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said both Iran and the P5+1 implemented their commitments from the Joint Plan of Action. In total, the obligations froze Iran’s nuclear program and rolled back the most proliferation-sensitive elements. In return, Iran received limited sanctions relief and access to frozen assets.

The full text of the Joint Plan of Action is available here. The White House factsheet on implementation is available here and the European Union factsheet is available here. A summary of the key actions are listed below.

Iranian Actions

Status

By January 20, halt production of near-20% enriched uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6) and commit to only enrich up to 5%.

Completed

According to the January 20 IAEA report, Iran had halted enrichment to 20% UF6.

By January 20, disable the configuration of the centrifuge cascades Iran has been using to produce 20% enriched UF6.

Completed

According to the January 20 IAEA report, Iran had ceased operating its interconnected centrifuges enriching to 20% UF6. The February 20 IAEA report said that Iran is now using the four cascades at Fordow to enrich uranium to 5%.

On January 20, continue conversion of half of its stockpile of near-20% uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6) into uranium oxide powder as working stock for fabricating fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.

Completed

According to the July 20 IAEA report, Iran completed the process of converting half of its stockpile of 20% enriched UF6 gas (~104 kg) to uranium oxide powder.

On January 20, begin dilution of half of its stockpile of 20% UF6 to no more than 5% enriched UF6 and complete dilution by April 20.

Completed

According to the April IAEA report, Iran completed the dilution of half of its stockpile of 20 percent-enriched uranium.

Continue only its safeguarded research and development practices, including its current enrichment research practices, which were not designated for accumulation of the enriched uranium.

Completed

In the February 20 IAEA report, the agency verified that Iran was continuing its safeguarded research and development practices at Natanz and was not using the research to accumulate uranium as it tested advanced models.

By April 20, provide the IAEA with:

 
  • plans for nuclear facilities

Completed

Iran submitted details on site selection for 16 nuclear power plants to the IAEA, its initial plans for 10 future enrichment sites, and a light water reactor.

  • descriptions of buildings located on nuclear sites

Completed

  • the scale of operations for each location

Completed

  • information on uranium mines and mills

Completed

According to the May 23 IAEA report, Iran had visited the Gchine Mine, the Saghand Mine and the Ardakan Uranium production plant.

  • information on source material

Completed

Iran provided the IAEA with information about source material on April 20, according to the May 23 IAEA report.

Submit an updated Design Information Questionnaire (DIQ) for the reactor at Arak (IR-40).

Completed

Iran submitted at updated DIQ on the reactor to the IAEA on February 12, according to the agency's Feb. 20 report.

Take steps to conclude a safeguards approach with the IAEA for the Arak reactor.

Completed

The IAEA and Iran met on May 5 to discuss the revised safeguards approach. According to the June 20 report, Iran had reached an agreement with the agency on the safeguards approach.

Allow daily IAEA inspector access at Fordow and Nantanz, including scheduled and unannounced inspections and access to surveillance information on a daily basis.

Completed

As of the February 20 IAEA report, the IAEA was able to install surveillance measures at Natanz and Fordow to facilitate daily monitoring and came to an agreement regarding the facilitation of daily access.

(Prior to the Joint Plan of Action, the IAEA had accessed Fordow on a weekly basis, and Natanz on a biweekly basis.)

Allow the IAEA to conduct monthly inspections of the heavy water reactor at Arak and associated facilities.

Completed

The IAEA was able to make its first monthly visit and access the heavy water reactor on Feb. 12, according to the agency's Feb. 20 IAEA report.

(Prior inspections were conducted at the reactor once every three months, and other facilities at the site were not included.)

Provide information to allow the IAEA inspectors managed access to:

 
  • centrifuge assembly workshops

Completed

The IAEA was able to visit the facility between February 3-7.

  • centrifuge rotor production

Completed

The IAEA was able to visit the facility between February 3-7.

  • workshops and storage facilities

Completed

The IAEA was able to visit the facility between February 3-7.

 

  • uranium mines and mills

Completed

The IAEA had been able to access Iran's two uranium mines at Gchine and Saghand and the milling facility at Ardakan.

Provide figures that will allow the IAEA to verify that centrifuge production will be dedicated to the replacement of damaged machines.

Completed

The IAEA had access to Iran's centrifuge workshops and facilities.

Cap the size of the 5% enriched UF6 stockpile.

Completed

The November 24 IAEA report on implementation of the Joint Plan of Action noted that Iran's stockpile of UF6 gas was 7,400 kg, below January's level of 7,560 kg.

Iran Will Refrain From the Following Actions

Status

Refrain from installing a reconversion line to reconvert uranium oxide powder to 20% UF6.

Complied

The January 20 IAEA report said that Iran does not have a reconversion line in place.

Refrain from reprocessing or constructing a facility capable of reprocessing materials.

Complied

In a January 18 letter to the IAEA, Iran said it would not engage in reprocessing or construct a reprocessing facility over the six months of the deal. The January 20 IAEA report confirmed that no reprocessing was taking place at the Tehran Research Reactor or MIX facility.

Refrain from making any further advances of its activities at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant.

(This includes not installing new centrifuges and not feeding UF6 into the roughly half the centrifuges at Natanz that are installed but not yet enriching uranium.)

Complied

The IAEA verified in the February 20 report that Iran did not made any further advances and no new centrifuges were enriching uranium.

Refrain from making any further advances of its activities at Fordow.

(This includes not installing new centrifuges, not feeding UF6 into the three quarters at Fordow that are installed but not yet enriching uranium, and not interconnecting the cascades.)

Complied

The IAEA verified that Iran did not made any further advances and no new centrifuges are enriching uranium.

Replacing existing centrifuges only with centrifuges of the same type.

Complied

As of the February 20 IAEA report, the agency did not report any violation of this restriction, and surveillance has been set up to monitor any changes.

Refrain from commissioning the heavy water reactor at Arak.

Complied

The February 20 IAEA report said that Iran had not conducted any activities to further the Arak reactor.

Refrain from transferring fuel or heavy water to the Arak reactor.

Complied

The February 20 IAEA report said that Iran had not conducted any activities to further the Arak reactor.

Refrain from testing additional fuel or producing more fuel.

Complied

The February 20 IAEA report said that Iran had not manufactured or tested any reactor fuel, and the number of fuel rods produced remains at 11.

Refrain from installing any additional reactor components at the Arak site.

Complied

The February 20 IAEA report said that Iran had not conducted any activities to further advance the Arak reactor.

Limit centrifuge production to those needed to replace damaged machines.

Complied

The IAEA has regular managed access to centrifuge assembly workshops.

Refrain from constructing any new locations for enrichment.

Complied

In a January 18 letter to the IAEA Iran said it would not pursue any new uranium enrichment sites during the six months of the agreement.

 

P5+1 Actions

Status

Pause efforts to reduce Iran’s crude oil sales, allowing Iran’s current customers to purchase their current average amounts of crude oil, including the EU prohibition on providing insurance for vessels carrying Iranian oil.

Complied

In a January 20 press release, the EU Council of Foreign Ministers announced the suspension of sanctions preventing the insurance of vessels. However, not enough time has passed to determine if Iran's current oil customers were importing at their current average amounts.

Enable the repatriation of $4.2 billion of Iranian revenue held abroad on the following schedule:

 
  • Feb. 1: $550 million

Completed**

Iran received its first installment as scheduled on February 1. These funds were released from Japan.

  • March 1: $450 million (half of the dilution of the 20% stockpile of UF6 complete)

Completed**

IAEA Director General Amano confirmed that half of the dilution was completed on time in his remarks to the IAEA Board of Governors on March 3.

  • March 7: $550 million

Completed**

  • April 10: $550 million

Completed**

  • April 15: $450 million (dilution of the entire stockpile of 20% UF6 complete)

Completed**

  • May 14: $550 million

Completed

  • June 17: $550 million

Completed

  • July 20: $550 million.

Completed

Suspend US sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports and associated services.*

Completed

In a January 20 statement, the White House announced that the United States would begin suspending sanctions.

Suspend US sanctions on Iran's import and export of gold and precious metals as well as sanctions on associated services.*

Completed

In a January 20 statement, the White House announced that the United States would begin suspending sanctions.

Suspend U.S. sanctions on Iran imports of goods and services for its automotive manufacturing sector.

Completed

In a January 20 statement, the White House announced that the United States would begin suspending sanctions.

Suspend EU sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports and associated services.*

Completed

In a January 20 press release, the EU Council of Foreign Ministers announced the suspension of sanctions.

Suspend EU sanctions on Iran's import and export of gold and precious metals as well as associated services.*

Completed

In a January 20 press release, the EU Council of Foreign Ministers announced the suspension of sanctions.

License the supply of spare parts and services for safety of flight for Iranian civil aviation and associated services.*

Completed

In a January 20 statement, White House Press announced that the United States would begin suspending sanctions. On April 4, Boeing confirmed that it received a license from the Treasury Department for exporting spare aircraft parts.

License safety related inspections and repairs in Iran for Iranian civil aviation sector as well as associated services.*

Completed

In a January 20 statement, White House Press secretary said that the United States would begin suspending sanctions.

Establish a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade for Iran’s domestic needs using Iranian oil revenue held abroad:

  • food and agricultural products
  • medicine, medical devices, and medical expenses incurred abroad
  • Iran's UN dues
  • tuition payments to universities and colleges for Iranian students studying abroad.

Completed

Increase the EU authorization thresholds for transactions for non-sanctioned trade to an agreed amount.

Completed

In a January 20 press release, the EU Council of Foreign Ministers increased by tenfold the thresholds for authorizing financial transfers.

P5+1 Will Refrain From the Following Actions

Status

Not pass new nuclear-related UN Security Council sanctions.

Complied

There were no new UN Security Council resolutions sanctioning Iran.

Not pass new EU nuclear-related sanctions.

Complied

On December 16, the EU Council of Foreign Ministers committed not to impose any further sanctions on Iran during the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action.

Not impose new U.S. nuclear-related sanctions.

Complied

 

Iranian Actions ( to be completed as part of the extension before Nov. 24, 2014)

Status

Convert 25 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium powder from oxide form to fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor

Completed

According to the IAEA's monthly progress report, Iran completed the conversion.

Convert the stockpile of uranium enriched to less than 2 percent (about 3 metric tons) to natural uranium

Completed

According to the November 2014 quarterly IAEA report, Iran completed blending down the tails.

 

P5+1 Actions ( to be completed as part of the extension before Nov. 24, 2014)

Status

Enable the repatriation of $2.8 billion dollars in frozen Iranian oil revenues held abroad

Completed

Iran received $2.8 billion in repatriated funds.

 

Iranian Actions ( to be completed as part of the extension before June 30, 2015)

Status

Convert 35 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium powder from oxide form to fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor

Completed

Expand IAEA access to centrifuge production facilities to double the current frequency and allow for no-notice or "snap" inspections

Complied

Limit research and development on advanced centrifuges that move the machines to the next level of development including:

  • Iran cannot pursue semi-industrial-scale operation of the IR-2M, and without that Iran does not have the confidence to mass-produce this type of centrifuge, which would be necessary in any breakout scenario.
  • Iran cannot feed the IR-5 with uranium gas, the next step in its development.
  • Iran cannot pursue gas testing of the IR-6 on a cascade level, the next step in its development.
  • Iran cannot install the IR-8 at the Natanz Pilot Plant, without which Iran cannot move beyond mechanical testing and into gas testing.

(While most of this pre-existed the extension -- the extension helps plug the gaps and ensure that all models of Iran's advanced centrifuges cannot move to the next phase of testing.)

Complied

The IAEA has regular access to the research and development area for advanced centrifuges at Natanz and has noted no violations as of December.

Forgo any other forms of enrichment, including laser enrichment.

Complied

 

P5+1 Actions ( to be completed as part of the extension before June 30, 2015)

Status

Enable the repatriation of $700 million dollars per month in frozen Iranian oil revenues held abroad

Complied

*“Sanctions on Associated Services” means any service, such as insurance, transportation, or financial, subject to the underlying U.S. or EU sanctions applicable, insofar as each service is related to the underlying sanction and required to facilitate the desired transactions. These services could involve any non-designated Iranian entities.

**While the funds were released, there were reported difficulties in transferring portions of the funds to Iranian banks. It was unclear what portion of the funds remained to be transferred.

Strategic Arms Control and Policy

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Official Proposals on the Iranian Nuclear Issue, 2003-2013

August 2017

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

Before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, (JCPOA), there were several diplomatic proposals to address Iran’s nuclear program, several of which are discussed in detail below.

For a full account, see: Timeline of Nuclear Diplomacy with Iran.

Tehran devised a number of these proposals between 2003 and 2005, some of which included provisions to initially limit operations at its key nuclear facilities and implement transparency measures for its nuclear activities. 

France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the EU3) also offered Iran several proposals to resolve the nuclear issue during negotiations with Iran in 2004 and 2005. China, Russia, and the United States joined the three European countries in 2006 to offer “P5+1” proposals to Iran.

Below is a list of key proposals from 2003-2013.

2003

According to Tim Guldimann, former Swiss ambassador to Tehran, Iran issued a proposal to the United States in May 2003 calling for negotiations on a variety of contentious issues between the two countries. The document listed a number of agenda items that the two countries would negotiate and proposed the creation of three parallel working groups to carry out negotiations on disarmament, regional security, and economic cooperation. Key among the agenda items were:

  • Relief of all U.S. sanctions on Iran
  • Cooperation to stabilize Iraq
  • Full transparency over Iran’s nuclear program, including the Additional Protocol
  • Cooperation against terrorist organizations, particularly the Mujahedin-e Khalq and al-Qaeda
  • Iran’s acceptance of the Arab League’s 2002 “land for peace” declaration on Israel/Palestine
  • Iran’s full access to peaceful nuclear technology, as well as chemical and bio-technology

The Bush administration dismissed the proposal in favor of placing additional pressure on Iran.

2005

Several months later, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom agreed to discuss with Iran a range of nuclear, security, and economic issues as long as Tehran suspended work on its uranium enrichment program and cooperated fully with an investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). However, that agreement unraveled the following year when Tehran continued work on uranium conversion, the precursor to enrichment. Iran then agreed with the EU3 in November 2004 to implement a more stringent suspension. Negotiations between the two sides began shortly afterward.

Iran presented four proposals during the course of these negotiations. In addition to Iran’s nuclear program, the proposals covered subjects such as Tehran’s support for terrorist organizations, regional security issues, and economic cooperation.

January 17, 2005

This Iranian proposal to the EU3/Iran Political and Security Working Group outlined commitments on both sides in general terms, including:

  • An Iranian commitment not to pursue weapons of mass destruction
  • A rejection of any attacks, threats of attack, or sabotage of Iran’s nuclear facilities
  • Cooperation on combating terrorism, including intensifying the exchange of information and the denial of safe havens
  • Regional security cooperation, including on Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Cooperation on strategic trade controls and the EU removal of restrictions on transfers of conventional arms and dual use goods to Iran

March 23, 2005

The Iranian proposal to the EU3/Iran steering committee in March provided greater detail into the “objective guarantees” Iran was willing to discuss regarding its nuclear program, including:

  • Iran’s adoption of the IAEA Additional Protocol and continuous on-site inspections at key facilities
  • Limiting the expansion of Iran’s enrichment program and a policy declaration of no reprocessing
  • Immediately converting all enriched uranium to fuel rods
  • An EU declaration recognizing Iran as a major source of energy for Europe
  • Iran’s guaranteed access to advanced nuclear technology along with contracts for the construction of nuclear plants in Iran by the EU
  • Normalizing Iran’s status under G8 export controls

April 29, 2005

In April Iran’s proposal repeated some of the items in the March proposal, but focused more on short-term confidence-building measures than long term resolutions. Its key terms included:

  • Iran’s adoption of the IAEA Additional Protocol
  • A policy declaration of no reprocessing by Iran
  • Continued enrichment suspension for six months
  • Establishment of joint task forces on counter-terrorism and export control
  • An EU declaration recognizing Iran as a major source of energy for Europe

July 18, 2005

Iranian Message from Hassan Rouhani, then-Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, to France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In his statement Rouhani proposes:

  • An agreement on initial limitations on uranium enrichment at Natanz
  • Negotiations for the full-scale operation of Natanz
  • Arrangements to import material for uranium conversion and the export of UF6
  • Negotiation of an “optimized” IAEA monitoring mechanism for Natanz

August 2005

The three European countries presented their own comprehensive proposal for a long-term agreement, outlining the following:

  • Arrangements for the assured supply of low enriched uranium for any light water reactors constructed in Iran
  • Establishing a buffer store of nuclear fuel located in a third country
  • A commitment by Iran not to pursue fuel cycle technologies, reviewable after 10 years
  • A legally binding commitment by Iran not to withdraw from the NPT and Iran’s adoption of the Additional Protocol
  • Arrangements for Iran to return spent nuclear fuel to supplier countries
  • EU recognition of Iran as a long-term source of fossil fuel energy
  • EU-Iran cooperation in a variety of political-security areas, including Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism, and drug trafficking

Iran rejected that proposal days later, claiming that it did not recognize Iran’s right to enrichment. Tehran proceeded with uranium conversion, breaking the suspension agreement with the EU3 and ending negotiations.

October 2005

In order to support Iran’s talks with the EU, Russia proposed to Iran in October 2005 that Tehran share ownership of a uranium-enrichment plant located in Russia. Following months of discussions on that proposal, Iran ultimately rejected it in March 2006.

2006

June 2006

China, Russia, and the United States joined the three EU3 countries in June 2006 to offer another proposal for comprehensive negotiations with Iran. The proposal mirrored some of the previous offers for negotiations and included the following key points:

  • Iran’s suspension of enrichment-related and reprocessing activities
  • The establishment of a mechanism to review this moratorium
  • Iran’s resumption of the Additional Protocol
  • The provision of state-of-the-art light water reactors to Iran through joint projects, along with nuclear fuel guarantees and a 5-year buffer stock of fuel
  • Suspension of the discussion of Iran’s nuclear program in the UN Security Council
  • Cooperation on civil aviation, telecommunications, high-technology, and agriculture, and other areas, between the United States, EU, and Iran

August 2006

Tehran responded to this proposal in August 2006. It rejected the terms of the proposal due to its requirement that Iran suspend its enrichment-related activities, but noted that the proposal contained “useful foundations and capacities for comprehensive and long-term cooperation between the two sides.” It did not, however, identify what those useful foundations were.

2008

March 2008

In March 2008, the P5+1 agreed to “repackage” the June 2006 proposal in order to specify some of the benefits that they would offer Iran as part of a long-term agreement on its nuclear program and to better demonstrate the nature of those benefits to the Iranian public. This agreement to revise the 2006 proposal coincided with the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1803, the third UN sanctions resolution on Iran.

Before that package was formally submitted to Iran, however, Tehran issued its own proposal to the six-country group. While the Iranian proposal also called for comprehensive negotiations leading to cooperation on nuclear energy, and political and economic concerns, it offered very few details regarding the steps Iran would take to resolve concerns related to its nuclear program. Some of its key provisions were:

  • “Establishing enrichment and nuclear fuel production consortiums in different parts of the world-including Iran”
  • Improved IAEA supervision “in different states”
  • Cooperation on nuclear safety and physical protection
  • Cooperation on export controls
  • Cooperation on regional security and global economic issues

June 2008

The P5+1 group presented their revised package during a June 2008 meeting in Tehran which included participants from five of the six countries, excluding the United States. During the meeting, the six-countries relayed an understanding that preliminary talks could begin under a six-week “freeze-for-freeze” period in which Iran would halt the expansion of its enrichment program while the six countries would agree not to pursue additional sanctions against Tehran. The proposal also entailed:

  • The 2006 package remains on the table
  • Consideration of nuclear energy R&D and treatment of Iran’s nuclear program as any other NPT non-nuclear-weapons state once confidence is restored
  • Technological and financial assistance for Iran’s nuclear energy program
  • Reaffirmation of the UN Charter obligation to refrain from the use and threat of use of force in a manner inconsistent with the Charter
  • Cooperation on Afghanistan, including drug-trafficking, refugee return, reconstruction, and border controls
  • Steps towards normalizing economic and trade relations, including support for WTO membership for Iran
  • Further details on the prospect for cooperation on agriculture, the environment and infrastructure, civil aviation, and social development and humanitarian issues

July 2008

Representatives of the six-country group, including the United States for the first time, followed up the June meeting with a meeting in July 2008 in Geneva. At the meeting, Iran issued a non-paper proposing a process for negotiations, highlighting that such discussions would be “based on the commonalities of the two packages” issued by Iran and the P5+1 group in May and June. Both the P5+1 and Iranian proposals called for political, economic, and security cooperation but the Iranian proposal did not address steps that Tehran would take in regard to its nuclear program. The Geneva discussions were inconclusive.

2009

April 2009

Following the election of U.S. President Barack Obama, who sought to abandon the previous U.S. policy requiring Iran to fulfill UN Security Council demands to suspend nuclear fuel cycle activities prior to negotiations, the P5+1 sought to renew their negotiations with Iran. They issued a statement in April 2009 in which the other five countries welcomed “the new direction of U.S. policy towards Iran,” formally inviting Iran to talks once again. Iran did not respond to that invitation until that September, when Tehran issued a revised proposal. Although that proposal repeated several of the provisions of the one Iran issued in 2008, it did not include a section on the nuclear issue. Instead, the proposal covered the following:

  • Cooperation to address terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, and piracy
  • UN and Security Council reform
  • The codification of rights for the use of space
  • Promoting a “rule-based” and “equitable” IAEA oversight function
  • Promoting NPT universality and WMD nonproliferation

June 2009

Taheran Research Reactor "Fuel Swap" Proposal

In June 2009, Iran informed the IAEA that it was seeking assistance to refuel its Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), a U.S.-supplied 5 megawatt research reactor that produces medical isotopes. Following Iran’s entreaty, the United States proposed that, in return for a supply of 120 kilograms of fuel for the TRR, Iran ship out an equivalent amount of uranium enriched to 4%, totaling about 1,200 kilograms. The 1,200 kilograms accounted for roughly 80% of Iran’s LEU stockpile at that time, a percentage that diminished as Iran continued to produce LEU.

October 2009

At an initial meeting between the United States, France, Russia, Iran, and the IAEA on October 1, 2009, Iranian officials agreed “in principle” to the exchange.

  • Iran exports 1,200 kilograms of LEU in a single batch before the end of the 2009
  • Russia further enriches Iran’s LEU to about 20%, a process producing about 120 kilograms of 20%-enriched uranium for the TRR fuel rods
  • France manufactures the TRR fuel rods for delivery about one year after the conclusion of the agreement, prior to the depletion of the current TRR fuel supply
  • The United States works with the IAEA to improve safety and control implementation at the TRR

Following reservations expressed by Iran about the terms of the deal, the P5+1 indicated their readiness to take some steps to facilitate the arrangement:

  • A political statement of support by the six countries to guarantee that the TRR fuel would be delivered to Iran
  • Financing for the movement of LEU and fuel
  • An option for the IAEA to hold Iran’s LEU in escrow in a third country until the TRR fuel is delivered

In the months following the initial agreement of the TRR proposal October 1, Iran delayed giving the IAEA and the P5+1 a definitive response to the proposal, with many prominent Iranian politicians voicing their opposition to the arrangement, motivated at least in part by their opposition to President Ahmadinejad. Iranian officials publicly suggested alterations to the fuel swap proposal, including: staggering the export of Iran’s LEU over the course of a year or transporting 400 kilograms of LEU to Iran’s Kish Island to exchange for TRR fuel. These proposals, however, undermined or eliminated the confidence-building nature of the export of the bulk of Iran’s LEU. Tehran began to increase the enrichment level of some of its LEU to 20% in February 2010, ostensibly for TRR fuel.

2010

Brazil, Turkey, Iran Tehran Declaration

Brazil and Turkey carried out a diplomatic initiative in the spring of 2010 to broker the TRR fuel swap with Iran. In an April 20 letter to the leaders of the two countries, President Obama said Iran’s agreement to export 1,200 kilograms of LEU “would build confidence and reduce regional tensions by substantially reducing Iran’s LEU stockpile.” The initiative resulted in the May 17 Tehran Declaration agreed between Presidents Lula da Silva, Erdogan, and Ahmadinejad.

  • The three countries “recall the right of all State Parties, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy (as well as nuclear fuel cycle including enrichment activities)”
  • Iran transfers 1,200 kilograms of LEU to be held in escrow in Turkey within one month
  • Pending their approval of the Tehran Declaration, the IAEA, France, Russia, and the United States (the Vienna Group) would agree to provide 120 kilograms of 20%-enriched uranium fuel to Iran within one year
  • If the terms were not filled by the Vienna Group, Turkey would transfer the LEU back to Iran (which maintains legal possession of the material)

France, Russia, and the United States rejected the Tehran Declaration on a number of grounds identified in a June 9 letter to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. The key critique was that the declaration did not address Iran’s production of 20%-enriched uranium and Iran’s accumulation of a larger amount of LEU.

Russian Step-by-Step Proposal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov first publicly proposed a “road map” to implement the P5+1’s proposed incentives package July 12, 2011 during a speech in Washington. Its key elements were described by former Iranian deputy nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian as follows.

Step 1

  • Iran limits enrichment to Natanz, does not install any additional centrifuges, and halts the production of advanced centrifuges.
  • The P5+1 suspends some UN sanctions, including financial sanctions and ship inspections.

Step 2

  • Iran agrees to provide early design information to the IAEA under Code 3.1, caps its enrichment level at 5%, and allows greater IAEA monitoring over its centrifuges.
  • The P5+1 suspends most UN sanctions and gradually lifts unilateral sanctions.

Step 3

  • Iran implements the IAEA Additional Protocol.
  • The P5+1 suspends all UN sanctions in a phased manner.

Step 4

  • Iran suspends all enrichment-related activities for 3 months.
  • The P5+1 lifts all sanctions and begins to implement the group’s proposed incentives.

Although U.S. officials said that Washington would study the proposal, and held meetings with Moscow regarding the plan, and Iran publicly welcomed the proposal, it ultimately did not gain traction.

2012 

In April 2012, the P5+1 and Iran renewed diplomatic negotiations in Istanbul. Two more rounds of talks were held May 23-24 in Baghdad, and June 18-19 in Moscow. The negotiators decided in Istanbul to adopt a step-by-step process with reciprocal actions, in order to create momentum towards a long-term solution. Two proposals were discussed in the negotiations, one by the P5+1 and another from the Iranians. Both sides agreed to expert-level talks, which took place in Istanbul on July 3, to discuss the technical aspects of each proposal. 

    Iranian 5 Step Proposal

    Step 1 - Guidelines

    • Iran emphasizes commitments under the NPT and its opposition to nuclear weapons based on the Supreme Leader's fatwa.
    • P5+1 recognizes and openly announces Iran’s nuclear rights, particularly its enrichment activities, based on NPT Article IV.

    Step 2 - Transparency Measures

    • Iran continues broad cooperation with IAEA and will transparently cooperate with the IAEA on “possible military dimensions.”
    • P5+1 will end unilateral and multilateral sanctions against Iran outside of the UNSC resolutions.

    Step 3 - Confidence Building Steps

    • Beyond continuous IAEA monitoring of enrichment activities for Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) fuel, Iran will cooperate with P5+1 to provide enriched fuel needed for TRR.
    • P5+1 will terminate the UN sanctions and remove Iran’s nuclear file from UNSC agenda.

    Step 4 - Strengthening Cooperation on Mutual Interests

    • Parties will start and boost cooperation on: designing and building nuclear power plants and research reactors (Iran’s priorities);
    • And light water research reactors, nuclear safety and security, nuclear fusion (P5+1 priorities).

    Step 5 - Strengthening Joint Cooperation

    • Parties will start cooperating on: regional issues, especially Syria and Bahrain (Iran’s priorities);
    • And combating piracy and countering narcotics activities (P5+1 priorities).

        P5+1 Proposal

        Iranian actions:

        • Iran halts all 20 percent enrichment activities.
        • Iran transfers all 20 percent enriched uranium to a third country under IAEA custody.
        • Iran shuts down the Fordow facility.

        P5+1 Actions:

        • P5+1 will provide fuel assemblies for the Tehran Research Reactor.
        • P5+1 will support IAEA technical cooperation to modernize and maintain the safety of the TRR.
        • P5+1 could review the IAEA technical cooperation projects and recommend to the IAEA Board restarting some of them.
        • P5+1 has put together a detailed package to provide medical isotopes for cancer patients in Iran.
        • The United States is prepared to permit safety-related inspection and repair in Iran for Iranian commercial aircraft and provide spare parts.
        • The P5+1 will cooperate in acquiring a light water research reactor to produce medical isotopes.

          2013

          April 2013

          Iran and the P5+1 held talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan April 5-6. The two sides had resumed negotiations in Almaty in February 2013 after a nine-month interval. Each side brought a proposal to the April talks, but failed to reach consensus on a way forward and no further meetings were scheduled.

          Iran’s proposal on day 1 of the April Almaty talks was similar to the five-step proposal Tehran brought to the negotiations in 2012. However, after the P5+1 expressed dissatisfaction with this proposal, which it viewed as a step backward, Iran revised its proposal for the second day of talks.

            Iranian Proposal

            Iranian Actions

            • Iran freezes centrifuge installation at Fordow.
            • Iran continues talks with the IAEA.
            • Iran continues converting 20 percent enriched urnaium hexalfouride to uranium oxide.
            • Iran suspends enrichment of uranium to 20 percent.

            P5+1 Actions

            • The P5+1 lifts all sanctions against Iran.
            • The P5+1 recognizes Iran's nuclear rights.

                The P5+1 proposal was based on the proposal from the 2012 negotiations. The 2013 proposal, however, left open the possibility of resuming activities at Fordow, allowed Iran to keep part of its stockpile or uranium enriched to 20 percent, and provided some sanctions relief.

                  P5+1 Proposal

                  Iranian actions:

                  • Iran halts all 20 percent enrichment activities.
                  • Iran transfers part of its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium to a third country under IAEA custody.
                  • Iran suspends all operations at the Fordow facility.
                  • Iran provides the IAEA with information to address the outstanding allegations of possible military activities, commits to the additional protocol and the modified version of the subsidiary arrangement to Iran’s safeguards agreement, known as Code 3.1.

                  P5+1 Actions:

                  • P5+1 will provide fuel assemblies for the Tehran Research Reactor.
                  • P5+1 will support IAEA technical cooperation to modernize and maintain the safety of the TRR.
                  • P5+1 could review the IAEA technical cooperation projects and recommend to the IAEA Board restarting some of them.
                  • P5+1 has put together a detailed package to provide medical isotopes for cancer patients in Iran.
                  • The United States is prepared to permit safety-related inspection and repair in Iran for Iranian commercial aircraft and provide spare parts.
                  • The P5+1 will cooperate in acquiring a light water research reactor to produce medical isotopes.
                  • The P5+1 will provide sanctions relief on sales of precious metals and petrochemicals.
                  • The P5+1 will not impose any new proliferation related sanctions on Iran.

                    October 2013

                    Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 resumed in Geneva on October 15-16. Iran was represented by its new negotiating team, headed by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

                    Iran presented a new proposal during the talks, which outlined the broad framework for a comprehensive end-state agreement and specific steps for each side to take in a first-phase agreement. On November 24, Foreign Minister Zarif and Catherine Ashton, head of the P5+1 negotiating team, signed the proposal, known as the Joint Plan of Action. For more information, see: Implementation of the Joint Plan of Action at a Glance. The Joint Plan of Action was in place from January 20, 2014 until it was replaced by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, (JCPOA), known colloquially as the Iran nuclear deal. For more information, see The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) at a Glance. 

                     

                     

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                    Editorials Supporting an Iran Nuclear Deal, January - September 2015

                    A wide-range of newspaper editorials from across the country have noted the challenges facing the nuclear negotiations between the United States, its allies, and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program. 

                    The P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany) and Iran have agreed on a framework for a comprehensive nuclear agreement that will ensure Iran’s nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful.  

                    A wide-range of newspaper editorials from across the country have noted the challenges facing the negotiations, some of which have been dealt with and some of which remain—and the vast majority have expressed support for the emerging agreement. Below is a selection of recent editorials on the issue. 

                    America’s Role: U.S. Leadership is Maintained With the Iran Deal—“All in all, senators who worked to keep the Iran deal on track acted clearly in America’s interests.”—Pittsburg Post-Gazette [9/13/2015]

                    An Iran Agreement Worth Testing—“This agreement is a diplomatic advance worth testing. And if it fails as critics predict? A supportive United States will be in a much stronger position to lead the response.”—Akron Beacon Journal [9/11/2015]

                    Iran Deal is a Victory for Effective Global Diplomacy—"If the deal had been blocked in Congress, the sanctions regime likely would have unraveled, and Iran would have continued to be months, not years, from being able to develop a nuclear weapon."—Star Tribune [9/10/2015]

                    Iran Deal Warrants Approval—"Opponents claim they don't want war. Instead, they say, a rejection by Congress would force everyone back to the negotiating table for a "better deal." Let's get real. That simply won’t happen. America's negotiating partners — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — have warned that they won't return to the talks. And why would they, when Congress could simply reject any new deal all over again?"—USA Today [9/09/2015]

                    Peace Has a Chance With Iran Nuclear Deal—"What opponents have failed to do is consider what would happen if they did succeed in blocking the deal. If the deal fell apart now, the international sanctions regime — painstakingly put in place over years — would collapse as it became clear that the United States was not a serious negotiator."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch [9/09/2015]

                    A Senseless Delay on the Iran Deal—"The debate has been vitriolic and raw, with opponents waging a multimillion-dollar campaign that relied heavily on distortions and made supporters of the strong and worthy deal out to be anti-Israel or worse."—The New York Times [9/09/2015]

                    A Cautious ‘Yes’ on the Iran Deal—“It’s not a perfect deal by any means, but it’s better than any alternative that opponents have been able to cite. Congress should support it.“—Montgomery News [9/08/2015]

                    Sen. Heitkamp Makes Right Call on Iran Accord—“Opponents of the deal have offered no credible alternative (war?). Heitkamp said her decision ‘is about seeking diplomacy rather than conflict.’ She’s got it right.”—The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead [9/06/2015]

                    Good News on Iran Deal—"Even if President Obama hasn’t tended well to congressional egos, he’s certainly due credit for engineering a political victory on the Iran treaty that’s good for the country. He has ensured the affirmation of a multi-nation nuclear deal with Iran that will prevent that nation from developing a nuclear weapon for years to come."—The News & Observer [9/04/2015]

                    Deal Assured: The Iran Accord is the Best Option for the Future—"Although squashing for the time being Iran’s nascent nuclear weapons ambitions was the immediate objective of the accord, it and Iran’s resulting contact with other countries should also open up opportunities for that nation to rejoin a world that it left to a great degree in 1979 when the revolution took place. One result could be Iran’s playing a more positive role in the Middle East. All in all, this was the right outcome."—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [9/04/2015]

                    Let's Get on With the Iran Nuclear Deal—"But something else has become clear in the weeks of debate about whether Congress should approve this deal. There is not an alternative that would better protect U.S. interests. Rejection of the deal by Congress would likely isolate the U.S. and carry significant risks for this nation's security."—Chicago Tribune [9/03/2015]

                    Don't Bunker-Bust the Nuclear Deal With Iran—"The international nuclear deal achieved with Iran avoids Plan W — a future declaration of war by the United States in response to an Iran that might be developing nuclear weapons."—The Montclair Times [9/03/2015]

                    Good Luck, Mr. Biden, Selling Nuke Deal—"It's also worth noting that a majority of American Jews support the deal, 49 percent to 31 percent, according to a poll by the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. We support the deal, too, just as we have always supported Israel's right to defend its people. We know Israel has the most to lose if Iran develops nuclear capability. But we strongly believe this deal will make it more difficult for Iran to achieve that goal."—The Sun Sentinel [9/02/2015]

                    Casey Right on Iran Deal—"Iran knows how to make a nuclear weapon and there is no scenario where it will lose that knowledge. Mr. Casey’s exhaustive analysis has led him to the correct conclusion: The agreement is the best course available to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions."—Scranton Times-Tribune [9/02/2015]

                    Follow Merkley's Lead—"Wyden should join Merkley in announcing support for the deal and provide the Obama administration with what could prove the final vote it needs to protect the pact in Congress."—The Register Guard [9/01/2015]

                    Susan Collins Should Choose the Responsible Path on Iran—"A headline in The Hill newspaper last week called Collins 'Obama’s last hope for GOP support on Iran.' Collins’ vote might not determine the deal’s fate in either direction — President Barack Obama likely has enough support to veto a vote of disapproval and have his veto sustained — but the Maine senator has the chance to send a powerful message when everybody’s listening. That message should be that the deal negotiated with Iran, while not perfect, is the most responsible course of action available both in terms of containing the nuclear capabilities of a state sponsor of terrorism and preserving the United States’ position of leadership in the world."—Bangor Daily News [8/31/2015]

                    Weighing the Iran Nuclear Deal: Far From Perfect, but the Alternatives are Worse—"We urge members of Congress to vote against the resolution and, if it passes anyway, to support President Obama when he vetoes it, as he almost certainly would do. After that, Congress should press the administration to make good on its promises to counter Iran's dangerous meddling in the affairs of its neighbors and to respond decisively if Iran is found to have cheated on this agreement."—The Los Angeles Times [8/30/2015]

                    A Cautious "Yes" on the Iran Nuclear Deal—"It's not a perfect deal by any means, but it's better than any alternative that opponents have been able to cite. Congress should support it."—The Denver Post [8/29/2015]

                    Casey Should Support Deal—"The agreement has been endorsed by leading U.S. nuclear scientists, retired military leaders, several former U.S. ambassadors to Israel, Catholic bishops, many Christian leaders, a majority of American Jews and — despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bellicose opposition — much of the Israeli security establishment. Mr. Casey should join that group in supporting the agreement."—Scranton Times Tribune [8/25/2015]

                    Don't Toss Aside Iran Deal Lightly—"Reaching an agreement with Iran — not to mention Russia and China — was no small achievement, and the deal should not be lightly tossed aside."—Norwich Bulletin [08/24/2015]

                    Menendez Opposition to Iran Pact Risks War—"Menendez is no hawk. But he has his blinds spots. He's unreasonable on Cuba, opposing a détente even after a half century of futile sanctions. Derailing the Iran deal could have far more deadly consequences. Our fervent hope is that Sen. Cory Booker does not make a historic mistake by following his lead. Because Obama is right -- rejecting this agreement could put the United States and Iran on a path towards war."—New Jersey Star-Ledger [8/20/2015]

                    South Florida's Congressional Delegation Should Back Iran Deal—"But sensitive or not, a critical choice is coming up, and the votes of South Florida's delegation could very well affect the result. Elected officials must vote their consciences, but unless they can offer what President Obama calls a "plausible" alternative — and no, we haven't heard one — we urge the undecided members of our delegation to support the deal."—Sun Sentinel [8/18/2015]

                    The Case for the Iran Deal—“The deal in hand may not be perfect — what agreement ever is? — but it's far better than the alternatives. Those who think we can simply sit back and wait for Iran to come up with a better offer are dreaming.”—The Baltimore Sun [8/12/2015] 

                    Voices of Expertise and Reason for the Iran Deal—“Hard bargaining produced the agreement. Now the deal should be tested, leading scientists and engineers making a persuasive case that it is well worth trying.”—Akron Beacon Journal [8/10/2015]

                    As Obama Promotes Iran Deal, Hiroshima Echos Still—"The world has to remember and learn and choose a path that might lead to a diplomatic solution in Iran -- and not the destructive alternative."—Newsday [8/5/2015]

                    Obama Takes on Opponents of the Iran Deal—"President Obama on Wednesday made a powerful case for the strong and effective nuclear agreement with Iran."—The New York Times [8/5/2015]

                    Iran Deal Critics Sell A Fantasy: Our View"But those who insist there’s a better deal to be had, if only Congress rejects this one, are gambling that an international coalition, which joined the U.S. to place tough economic sanctions on Iran, can be reassembled. The odds of that happening are about the same as winning the lottery. As President Obama put it in his speech Wednesday, 'Those who say we can just walk away from this deal and maintain sanctions are selling a fantasy.' The fact is, the deal on the table took a decade of painstaking work."—USA Today [8/5/2015]

                    Republican Hypocrisy on Iran—“The exaggerations and half-truths that some Republicans are using to derail President Obama‘s important and necessary nuclear deal with Iran are beyond ugly.”—The New York Times [8/1/2015]

                    Iran Nuclear Deal is Better Than Status Quo—“Does the deal improve our ability to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon as compared to the status quo? Clearly it does. Unless critics can offer something better — something that is acceptable to the other nations participating in the imposition of sanctions — they should embrace the agreement as being beneficial, if not perfect.”—Decatur Daily [7/30/2015]

                    Heated Rhetoric on Iran Deal Does Nothing but Enrich the Few—“There are scads of money to be made anytime the United States wages war on another nation. If Iran is allowed to develop a nuclear bomb, there is no question that Israel will find a way to strike and that action could lead to a conflagration that makes the current upheavals in the Middle East seem petty by comparison. Are we ready to step back into that fray? Or are we willing to let this deal spin out? We choose the latter.”—Bennington Banner[7/29/2015]

                    Rigorously Enforce the Iran Nuclear Deal“If Congress kills the deal or significantly alters its terms, America would be blamed for the accord's failure and draw the ire of nations that joined the United States in hammering out an exhaustive pact only to see it crumble. The strong sanctions alliance would unravel and Iran would revive its bomb effort — and Washington's prestige and ability to marshal a global response to Tehran's renewed weapons push would be diminished."—Defence News [7/20/15]

                    Iran Deal a Gamble, but No Deal Would Be Worse—Without an agreement, however, Iran already is pursuing its aggression and terror. It is acting outside the sphere of responsible states. This agreement creates a scenario in which that fundamentalist dynamic might change. Is it guaranteed? Not at all. But none of the doubters have offered a better idea. This is what we've got.”—El Paso Times [7/20/15]

                    The Nuclear Deal With Iran is Better Than the Alternatives—War or No Deal at All—“A country of Iran’s size and sophistication will get a bomb if it really wants one. Nothing can change that. But this pact offers the chance of holding Iran back and shifting its course. The world should embrace it, cautiously.”—The Economist [7/18/15] 

                    Negotiations Produced Nuclear Agreement, Not Iranageddon“Sanctions brought Iran to the table. An agreement required accepting that the perfect is not possible. Now, Congress should read the agreement, debate the issues involved seriously, and make a final decision in the real world.”—Idaho Mountain Express [7/17/15]

                    Iran Nuclear Deal is a Path Away From War“The pact with Iran announced Tuesday is about diminishing the chances of the United States going to war to stop Iran from deploying a nuclear weapon. To that end, the U.S. and its negotiating partners forged a sound deal. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry should be hailed for a historic achievement."—Savannah Morning News [7/17/15]

                    Utah Politicians Attack Iran Deal With No Alternative—“If Iran cheats, the very unpleasant question of whether to attack that nation's nuclear facilities will still be before us. But even if the bombers do fly — now or 10 years from now — that would be no guarantee of a nuclear-free Iran. So the pact is well worth trying, if only because it stands to at least delay the threat of another costly and almost certainly pointless war in the Middle East.”—The Salt Lake Tribune [7/17/15]

                    Agreement Should be Given a Chance to Prevent Iran from Building Nuclear Weapons“Failure to craft an agreement all but guarantees that Iran will continue to seek nuclear weapons, perhaps igniting a war as the United States and Israel make good on pledges to prevent that nation from achieving nuclear capability. Only two paths are available, neither of them guaranteed to work: military or diplomatic. The Obama administration and other countries involved in the negotiations have chosen diplomacy. It was the right decision – really, the only decision – even given Iran’s behavior.”—The Buffalo News [7/17/15]

                    Iran Deal a Lesson in the Value of Diplomacy“Yet even so, here is a profound piece of evidence in favour of talking, of being willing to extend a hand, as US President Barack Obama once put it, if another country was "willing to unclench their fist". It tells us that violent enmities can be improved, and that common interests can be found. It tells us that nothing is pre-ordained – not the antagonisms we presume will last forever, or the conflicts that seem to replay themselves over and over.”—The Dominion Post [7/17/15]

                    Nukes Deal a Triumph for Iran and US“The deal agreed this week by Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany is, therefore, a triumph of perseverance and diplomacy. In one swoop, the prospect of Tehran developing nuclear weaponry has been largely eliminated and the chance of it playing a more constructive role in world, and especially Middle Eastern, affairs has been much enhanced.”—The New Zealand Herald [7/17/15]

                    Diplomacy, Not War, Goal of Iran Nuclear Deal“War is the ultimate failure of diplomacy, British politician Tony Benn once said. Right now, diplomacy holds the greatest promise of success.”—Detroit Free Press [7/16/15]

                    Enough With Netanyahu's Iran Deal Hysteria“Netanyahu’s pretention to teach the world history has no basis. His previous assessments regarding the materialization of the Iranian threat have proved false. Only five years ago, he objected to the same sanctions whose removal today he calls “a historic mistake.” Had he been given his wish at the time and had Iran’s nuclear facilities been bombed, either by Israel or the United States, the reactors would have been rehabilitated by now and Iran would be closer than ever to obtaining nuclear weapons.”—Haaretz [7/16/15]

                    Looking at Iran Nuclear Deal“Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that without a deal, Iran will be free to develop its nuclear program without any restrictions. Iran has everything it needs, including skilled scientists. Informed guesses range from months to years on how quickly Iran could create a nuclear weapon.”—Journal Star [7/16/15]

                    Iran Deal: Congress Should Think and Listen, ­Then Maybe Even Read the Agreement“Republicans understandably oppose the president on many fronts, which reflects honest philosophical differences, as well as party politics. But Obama’s support for something does not automatically constitute a logical reason to endorse its opposite. The Iran agreement is supposed to help keep nukes out of the hands of crazies. Denouncing it without actually knowing what is in it or hearing from military and foreign-policy experts about how it might work is irresponsible and dangerous.”—The Durango Herald [7/16/15] 

                    Diplomacy Creates Hope of a Responsible Iran“Mr Obama's Republican rivals insist they will tear up the agreement in given the chance. But what is the alternative to a deal? The Herald believes there isn't a viable one. Engagement at least offers some optimism, where before there was none.”—The Sydney Morning Herald [7/16/15]

                    Iran Deal: the World Becomes a Safer Place“The agreement, signed after 20 months of negotiations, offers real hope on at least two fronts. First, there are verifiable measures to contain and reduce the threat of Iran's nuclear capabilities for more than a decade. Under the terms of the agreement, Iran will dismantle much of its nuclear infrastructure. The country's capacity to enrich uranium will be be reduced by two-thirds, while its stockpile of enriched uranium will be reduced by 96 per cent. UN inspectors will be able to enter sites where they suspect any undeclared nuclear activity may be occurring. The impact of a successful containment of Iran's nuclear threat in a volatile Middle East cannot be overstated.”—The Age [7/16/15]

                    Few Seem Happy With U.S.-Iran Nuclear Deal — and Rightfully So“Yes, it’s a terrible deal, but breaking off negotiations and letting Iran run wild would be even more terrible. It would also likely lead to war, which is the most terrible alternative imaginable. With that perspective, this deal can be viewed as the least-worst of a number of very bad options.”—Desert News [7/16/15]

                    A Deal With Iran: The Accord Promises a Decade of Containment“Is the agreement perfect? Certainly not, but it is far better than allowing Iran to fester in dangerous isolation.”—Pittsburgh Post Gazette [7/15/15]

                    Despite GOP, Israeli Critics, the Iran Deal is a Good One“But the truth is, this is a good deal. It is not perfect, and it is time-limited (Iran will not be able to build beyond a limit on enriched uranium for 10 years) but it is preferable to war, which seems to be the Republican alternative.”—The News & Observer [7/15/15]

                    Congress Should Support Deal With Iran—“The Iran agreement helps America's national security, protects Israel and contains Iran's nuclear ambitions. It is a compromise, but that is not a criticism. Nothing except a compromise was possible.”—Sun Sentinel [7/15/15]

                    Better to See Iran Back Away From Nuclear Weapons“The president made a choice, one of those difficult calls that arrive in the White House. Worth adding is that he is not alone. Germany, France and Britain joined in the agreement, along with Russia and China. All concluded the greater danger resided in Iran becoming a nuclear power. To their credit, the partners (for this endeavor [sic]) gained a deal that puts clear and formidable obstacles in the path of Iran.”—Akron Beacon Journal [7/15/15]

                    Iran Deal is Better Than No Deal at All“After two years of grueling negotiations, the Obama administration has finally pulled off a historic deal with Iran that resolves — at least for the time being — one of the most pressing foreign policy challenges facing the world: concerns that Iran could be building a nuclear bomb.”—The Boston Globe [7/15/15]

                    Examine Iran Deal Carefully Before Deciding“So let's not rush to judgment. Before we allow cable news mavens of whatever stripe tell us what to think, let's spend time investigating and having an honest discussion with the goal of giving our government guidance on how to proceed.”—Contra Costa Times [7/15/15]

                    Outcomes Uncertain on Iran Deal, Political Future“The historic agreement announced by the United States and its partners with Iran on Tuesday offers the welcome prospect that, for the next 15 years, the Islamic republic will be restrained from producing a nuclear weapon.”—Santa Cruz Sentinel [7/15/15]

                    Iran Nuclear Agreement Imperfect but Realistic“Critics have offered no alternative other than a Middle East nuclear arms race among Iran and its rival Sunni states and Israel, and the prospect of a massive regional war. The agreement is realistic, more akin to President Richard Nixon’s outreach to China more than 40 years ago than to appeasement. China remains, in many ways, an adversary. But it is part of the global community and less dangerous than it might have been in isolation. The same prospect now arises relative to Iran.”—PA Citizen Voice [7/15/15]

                    A Historic Accord on Iran’s Nuclear Program“Yes, this agreement should be closely vetted. But until opponents come up with a realistic strategy, it is the best option available.”—The Fresno Bee [7/15/15]

                    Question but Give Fair Hearing to Iran Pact“Reaching agreement to freeze Iran’s march toward nuclear capability without resorting to war is a credit to the Obama administration’s persistence.”—Miami Herald [7/15/15]

                    Diplomacy Over War“[T]he Obama administration has won a victory that prevents another bloodbath. The treaty negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry will let international inspectors verify that Iran’s nuclear power program is doing nothing that might put an atomic bomb into the hands of suicidal terrorists, or governments.”—Charleston Gazette [7/15/15]

                    The Iran Deal Cuts the Risk of Another Mideast War“But critics of the deal tend to ignore two hard realities. One is that Iran is well along on the path to building nuclear weapons, and will surely acquire them if this agreement is rejected. Even if sanctions are kept in place, a nuclear Iran would be far more dangerous.”—The Star-Ledger [7/15/15]

                    Proponents Need to Sell Iran Nuclear Agreement“With the next step in the process soon to begin – congressional review of the pact – there'll be plenty of time for questions, but as a start, one should trump all others: Is an imperfect agreement better than no pact at all? That question is at least based in reality. It judges this deal against an actual alternative, not as opposed to some imagined perfect pact.”—The Republican [7/15/15]

                    The Nuclear Deal With Iran“To evaluate the agreement, let's keep in mind that the alternatives are not many and that there aren't more favorable [sic] ones if the goal is to control Iran's nuclear ambitions.”—Los Angeles Opinion [7/15/15]

                    Iran Deal Best One Available“But anyone who thought that Iran was going to abandon its nuclear capability was unrealistic. This agreement commits Iran to reducing its potential nuclear material stockpile by 98 percent and diminishing its capacity to produce that fuel by about two-thirds, and to allow independent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The provisions increase the period that it would take to produce a weapon from about three months to about a year.” The Times-Tribune [7/15/15]

                    Iran Nuclear Deal Needs Careful Study, Not a Political Pie Fight“Still, an agreement with a reasonable shot at success is worth trying because the alternative is another war, and that should be a last resort.”—San Jose Mercury News [7/15/15]

                    Is the Iran Deal Good Enough?—“Our preliminary assessment is that, if its terms are strictly enforced, the deal is likely to put nuclear weapons beyond Iran's reach for a decade or more, a significant achievement and probably the best outcome available.”—Los Angeles Times [7/15/15]

                    For Iran Nuclear Deal, Implementation Will Be Key“Which is scarier: An unconstrained Iran that already has enough fissile material to build ten to 12 nuclear bombs within two to three months? Or an Iran that's agreed to give up all of its highly-enriched uranium, all of its plutonium and key elements of the technology for achieving a bomb, while accepting intrusive and far-reaching international safeguards and inspections?”—Cleveland Plain Dealer [7/15/15]

                    Global Effort Needed to Prevent Iran Nuclear Deal From Fizzling Out“With Iran agreeing to shrink the program, the nightmare of Iran going nuclear has receded. And with the lifting of sanctions by Europe and the United States, Iran will emerge from its isolation that began with the 1979 Iranian Revolution and start rejoining the international community. The possibility of the United States and Iran working together to bring stability to the Middle East has become more real.”—The Asahi Shimbun [7/15/15]

                    An Historic Deal to Curb Iranian Nuclear Ambitions“The long-awaited Iranian nuclear deal finalized on Tuesday appears to be the very best — and most certainly the only realistic — shot at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.”—Chicago Sun-Times [7/14/15]

                    The Importance of Iran Deal“If the deal stops "the spread of nuclear weapons in this region," as Obama insisted Tuesday, it will be a magnificent achievement.”—The Denver Post [7/14/15]

                    Good Faith Needed on Iran Deal“Given this, Tuesday’s announcement that a U.S.-led effort to strike a deal limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions is welcome news if — and it’s a big if — all parties can stick to the terms of the accord. Count as a positive anything that puts off full-scale war and offers at least a chance of a more peaceful world.”—The Anniston Star [7/14/15]

                    An Iran Nuclear Deal That Reduces the Chance of War“The final deal with Iran announced by the United States and other major world powers does what no amount of political posturing and vague threats of military action had managed to do before. It puts strong, verifiable limits on Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon for at least the next 10 to 15 years and is potentially one of the most consequential accords in recent diplomatic history, with the ability not just to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon but also to reshape Middle East politics.”—The New York Times [7/14/15]

                    Iran Nuclear Deal Appears Promising“A seriously flawed agreement is worse than no agreement. But the initial overview of this deal is positive for the nation and for the world. As Congress wades into the details, it should measure them against the present and the possible — not against the perfect.”—Tampa Bay Times [7/14/15]

                    Is Iran Nuclear Deal Better Than no Deal? Yes: Our View“So what has been won by these arduous negotiations? First, an option other than war to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions, one that positions the U.S. as a leader in making the world a safer place with a stroke of a pen rather than at the tip of a sword.”—USA Today [7/14/15]

                    The Guardian View on the Iran Nuclear Deal: a Triumph of Diplomacy—“Instead of politicians opting for military solutions, this has been a triumph for diplomats and pragmatists, working hour after hour on the detail of a deal that secures a peaceful compromise – and which represents a heartening success in the global quest to halt nuclear proliferation.”—The Guardian [7/14/15]

                    Pushing Back Iran’s Nuclear Threat—“They may want to nudge back the hands of the Doomsday Clock. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders have managed to rein in Iran’s worrisome nuclear program, granting the Middle East a reprieve from the spectre of war.”—The Star [7/14/15] 

                    Bargaining With Tehran—“Republicans are right that we can't trust Iran, and we shouldn't. That's why the U.S. is insisting on a robust inspection and monitoring regime that can respond promptly to evidence of Iranian cheating.”—The Baltimore Sun [7/14/15]

                    Give the Iran Nuclear Agreement a Chance“The nuclear agreement signed Tuesday between Iran and the six world powers is an incredible diplomatic achievement and a historic milestone in the West’s relations with Iran since that country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.”—Haaretz [7/14/15]

                    Iran Nuclear Deal is a Path Away From War“But if Congress succeeded in clearing the high bar needed to reject the pact, our nation would be left with only one viable option for deterring a nuclear Iran. That option is war. And we know where that leads. The pact announced Tuesday is a path away from conflagration.”—The Kansas City Star [7/14/15]

                    Congress Must Fully Vet Iran Deal“On Tuesday, the U.S., its international colleagues and Iran reached an agreement that purports to bar Iran from developing nuclear weaponry. Sanctions against Iran will be lifted in return for Iranian promises to be nice. Congress will have an opportunity to assess the agreement. It would be presumptuous to pass immediate judgment when Congress will devote two months to the debate.” Richmond Times-Dispatch [7/14/15]

                    Give Iran Deal a Chance to SucceedThis deal wasn’t slapped together with little thought given to the consequences — it was reached after two years of negotiations involving six world world powers with vastly disparate views on Iran. That’s not appeasement, it’s pragmatism.”—The Ottawa Citizen [7/14/15]

                    A Historic Accord on Iran’s Nuclear Program“When you listen to the critics, ask yourself: Are they offering any kind of plausible alternative? Without this pact, we’re left with what? More economic sanctions that hurt the civilian population as much as Iran’s leaders? A military strike that may or may not completely wipe out Iran’s nuclear capability, but could spark a wider war in the Middle East, where there is more than enough bloodshed already?”—The Sacramento Bee[7/14/15] 

                    Deeper Opportunities in Iran Nuclear Pact“Its nuclear program was just one of many strategic aims to enable Iran to lead the Islamic world’s 1.6 billion believers, or 23 percent of the world’s population. Iran (the country) claimed geopolitical reasons for needing to acquire advanced nuclear know-how. But perhaps Iran (the religious revolutionary) decided its secretive, militarized nuclear program was hurting its reputation as the leader of all Muslims. After all, a violent and political version of Islam has lost much support since 9/11 in favor of an Islam that is peaceful.” The Christian Science Monitor [7/14/15]

                    Carefully Consider All Aspects of Iran Deal—“[I]t is precisely the nature of the regime that makes this accord so important. President Obama, who in his statement said the deal was “not built on trust, it is built on verification,” offered “extensive briefings” to members of Congress. They should take him up on that.”—Star Tribune [7/14/15]

                    No Need to Rush on Iran Nuclear Deal“It has always been a long shot, the hope that the U.S. could reach an accord with Iran that would keep that country from building nuclear weapons for many years. Yet the goal is attractive enough to justify the Obama administration's pursuit of such a deal.”—The Denver Post [7/9/15]

                    Take Time for Verifiable Iran Nuclear Deal“It’s true that Iran already is fomenting conflict in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and across the region. Iran, however, would be even more of a regional menace – and a global threat – if it were armed with nuclear weapons. Done right, a negotiated deal can stop that from happening for years to come.”—The Sacramento Bee [6/30/15]

                    Ayatollah Khamenei’s Fateful Choice“Compromises are part of any negotiation. Any agreement can really be judged only when the text is signed and details are made public. The April framework accord was a solid basis on which to build a credible final deal. Ayatollah Khamenei must decide whether he and his government can live with the economic and political consequences if he sabotages this deal.” —The New York Times [6/24/15]

                    Rubio on Wrong Side of Iran Deal“While nothing is perfect, we were disappointed to see Rubio try to scuttle the deal with political gamesmanship. As [Deputy National Security Advisor Ben] Rhodes said, ‘this deal is a far better choice than a military confrontation or a world in which Iran exists as a nuclear weapon state.’ Amen to that.”—Sun Sentinel [5/7/15]

                    Among Iran Options, One Makes Sense—"To put it simply, Wilkerson believes that it’s important for the good of the world that the United States cultivates a meaningful relationship with Iran. ...The art of diplomacy has marked the forward progress of mankind since the first victim of the first weapon of war fell dead to the ground. Be skeptical of any politician who claims the path to peace must run through fields of blood.”—Concord Monitor [4/21/15]

                    A Reckless Act in the Senate on Iran“Congress has formally muscled its way into President Obama’s negotiations with Iran, creating new and potentially dangerous uncertainties for an agreement that offers the best chance of restraining that country’s nuclear program.”—The New York Times [4/14/15]

                    Israel’s Unworkable Demands on Iran—“[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s] government made new demands that it claimed would ensure a better deal than the preliminary one that Iran, President Obama and other leaders of major powers announced last week. The new demands are unrealistic and, if pursued, would not mean a better deal but no deal at all.”—The New York Times [4/7/15]

                    Iran Deal Better Than Expected—“The agreement falls short of achieving the goals initially spelled out by the White House. But it does place enough restrictions on Iran's nuclear program to offer at least some hope its ambitions to produce a weapon will be significantly delayed, if not completely deterred.”—The Detroit News [4/4/15]

                    Nuclear Deal With Iran is Worth a Try—"Congress and others are correct to be wary of Iran and its intentions. Yet that is no reason not to attempt to negotiate a workable agreement. Who trusted the Soviet Union when Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan both negotiated arms control agreements with the Soviet regime? On both of those occasions, the Soviet Union had many nuclear weapons in place ready and targeted upon the United States and vice versa.”—West Central Tribune [4/4/15]

                    Critics of Iran Deal are Off-BaseIf a nuclear agreement were a reward for Iranian good behavior across the board — or if it were a clear first step toward a full rapprochement with the Islamic Republic — the critics might have a point. But that's not what the agreement is. Rather, it is more narrowly designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, a goal that (if it can be achieved) would serve the interests of the whole world.”—The Los Angeles Times [4/3/15]

                    Negotiating With IranMonths more of hard bargaining will be needed to work out the details of how those principles translate into a final agreement acceptable to both sides. But the fact that negotiators appear to have cleared this first major hurdle is a hopeful sign that the goal of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons through diplomatic means is achievable.”—Baltimore Sun [4/3/15]

                    Warmongers Aren't Happy About Iran Nuke Deal, the Rest of Us Should Be—“A nuclear Iran was not an option, and the Obama Administration has succeeded in outlining a comprehensive framework to defang the problem. Yet early criticisms of the plan seem to be rooted in a stubborn ignorance over the level of enriched uranium that is required to build a nuclear weapon.”—Star Ledger [4/3/15]

                    A Promising Step Toward an Iran Deal—“[T]his framework significantly reduces the risk of Iran covertly acquiring a nuclear weapon. It drastically reduces the number of Iran's centrifuges and the size of its uranium stockpile, dismantles or repurposes some of its most problematic nuclear facilities, places limits on its development of nuclear technology, and imposes a regime of surveillance and inspections that in some cases will continue for 25 years.”—Metro-West Daily News [4/3/15]

                    In Judging Iran Nuclear Deal Consider the Alternatives—“Would another war have been preferable? That's the simple, straightforward question that must be answered by those who'd dismiss the outline of a pact limiting Iran's nuclear capabilities.”— The Republican [4/3/15]

                    The Guardian View on the Iranian Nuclear Agreement: Diplomacy Shows Its Worth—“There are stronger reassurances on weaponisation, because – as a condition of getting sanctions relief – Iran has to provide the International Atomic Energy Authority with access to sites and people of interest. All told, it kicks the can down the road. It makes it almost impossible for Iran to go for a bomb in the next decade…”—The Guardian [4/3/15]

                    Give the Iran Nuclear Deal a ChanceBut Thursday, Iran and the so-called P5+1 — the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany — announced "parameters" for an agreement that were highly specific and, frankly, somewhat reassuring. At a minimum they justify continued negotiations with the aim of producing a final compact by the end of June. In the meantime, Congress should refrain from aggressive actions that could undermine the delicate process.”—The Los Angeles Times [4/3/15]

                    A Big Step to Stop Iran’s Nuclear Bomb Ambitions“[M]oving forward on the tentative framework announced Thursday is far more promising than the alternatives – giving up on diplomacy and increasing sanctions, or launching a military strike that could lead to a wider war in the Middle East.”—Sacramento Bee [4/3/15]

                     A Promising Iran AgreementAll that said, the framework's scope and strength are promising. Congress should refrain from passing any legislation that would impose additional sanctions and mandates on the talks, or otherwise seek to tie the president's hands.”—Bloomberg [4/2/15]

                    A Promising Nuclear Deal With Iran—“Over the long run, an agreement could make the Middle East safer and offer a path for Iran, the leading Shiite country, to rejoin the international community.”—The New York Times [4/2/15]

                    Iran Accord May Be the Real Deal—“The real naivete is among those who think Iran can be pressured into eliminating its nuclear program altogether or say the U.S. must never negotiate with an untrustworthy regime.”—Denver Post [4/2/15]

                    Outline of Iran Deal Offers the Best Chance to Thaw Relations“…[T]he concessions made by Iranian diplomats, and the level of specificity offered to the public, show that all sides were negotiating in good faith. It is now up to Congress to give the negotiators the time they need to finalize the deal — and they should do so by refraining from proposing more sanctions that could jeopardize months of hard work.”—Boston Globe [4/2/15]

                    Iran Deal Watchwords: Distrust and Verify—“…[T]he deal is crafted to block all pathways to a bomb. Iran would not be allowed to enrich uranium to weapons grade and would have to abandon its push toward plutonium production.”—Newsday [4/2/2015]

                    Give Nuclear Deal With Iran a Chance“The agreement the United States, other major world powers and Tehran announced Thursday for containing Iran's nuclear program could set the stage for peacefully resolving one of the longest-running threats to global security.”—Tampa Bay Times [4/2/15]

                    Gazette Opinion: Daines Was Wrong on Iran Letter“[Montana Sen. Steve Daines’] participation in this half-baked scheme doesn’t just make him look foolish; it has a destabilizing effect on the world and undermines U.S. credibility. In other words, he’s done just the opposite of what should be expected from our leaders: His actions make the world less safe, not more.”—Billings Gazette [3/17/15]

                    Letter to Iran—“Even in the current Washington environment, writing letters to hostile foreign governments at a time when the State Department is trying to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough seems well beyond the pale. The Republican senators did not serve their country or their party well with this stunt.”—Providence Journal [3/16/15]

                    With Letter to Iran, GOP Senators Place Spite Before Diplomacy“[The senators] said as much in a duplicitous, disrespectful letter to Iranian leaders that sought to undermine delicate international negotiations and the authority of the White House.”—The Kansas City Star [3/15/15]

                    Constitutional Lesson Lost in Letter to Iran—“To the 47 Republican senators who sent that letter to the Islamic Republic of Iran downplaying the significance of any nuclear development deal they might make with President Obama: Boy, did you whiff it.”—Daily Miner [3/15/15]

                    GOP Senators Demean Office With Letter“This extreme example of congressional interference in diplomatic negotiations begins with the condescending assertion that the leaders of Iran ‘may not fully understand our constitutional system.’ After providing a brief lesson in American civics, the senators make clear that they ‘will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Barack Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei.’”—The Press Democrat [3/14/15]

                    Who Needs the Civics Lesson: Ayatollahs or GOP Senators?“In reality, the letter was an orchestrated attempt to undermine U.S. efforts to negotiate an agreement with Iran on a critically important issue: the use of nuclear materials by one of America's most volatile foreign adversaries.”—The Des Moines Register [3/14/15]

                    Senate Republicans Should Not Interfere With Iran Negotiations“…[I]t is astounding that Sen. Marco Rubio and nearly all of his fellow Republican senators would send a letter to Iran looking to scuttle a potential diplomatic deal that could freeze Iran's nuclear program for at least a decade.”—Tampa Bay Times [3/13/15]

                    Capito Unwisely Joined ‘Rush to War’“The White House called these actions ‘a partisan strategy to undermine the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy and advance our national security.... The rush to war or at least the rush to the military option that many Republicans are advocating is not at all in the best interest of the United States.’ In other words, Republicans would rather unleash military strikes on Iran and sink America into another Mideast war, instead of letting international inspectors verify that Iran isn’t building nukes.”—Charleston Gazette [3/13/15]

                    Senators' Iran Stunt Takes Disrespect to New Level“It’s one thing to criticize the administration’s actions, or try to impede them through the legislative process. But to directly communicate with a foreign power in order to undermine ongoing negotiations? That is appalling. The only direct precedent I can think of for this occurred in 1968, when as a presidential candidate Richard Nixon secretly communicated with the government of South Vietnam in an attempt to scuttle peace negotiations the Johnson administration was engaged in. It worked, and the war dragged on for another seven years.”—The Journal Gazette [3/12/15]

                    Republican Idiocy on Iran—“Senator John McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate, is now sort of acknowledging his error. ‘Maybe that wasn’t exactly the best way to do that,’ he said on Fox News on Tuesday. He was referring to the disgraceful and irresponsible letter that he and 46 Senate colleagues sent to Iran’s leaders this week that generated outrage from Democrats and even some conservatives.”—The New York Times [3/12/15]

                    Interfering With Obama on Iran Comforts Our Foes“The letter sent by 47 Republican senators to Iran's leaders — saying that any agreement the U.S. reached with them without congressional approval could be reversed by the next president "with a stroke of a pen" — is wrong on so many levels that it is hard to know where to start.”—The Commercial Appeal [3/12/15]

                    GOP Letter to Iran Diminishes World Standing“The freelance foreign policy overture to Iran's clerics by 47 Republican senators was not quite the treason proclaimed by tabloid headlines this week. Nor was it the first time the party out of presidential power tried to scuttle a foreign policy initiative. But it was a stunning display of arrogance, and it may well have doomed the only chance of peacefully resolving Iran's nuclear status. That is bad enough.”—San Jose Mercury News [3/12/15]

                    47 GOP Senators Have Wrong Strategy on Iran“One has to wonder exactly what the Republicans were trying to accomplish. If they were trying to gain support of American opinion, this was a classic fail. If the hope was to derail the negotiations completely, they have likely only offended five other nations who also are working in earnest to control Iranian nuclear aspirations.”—Longview News-Journal [3/12/15]

                    47 GOP Senators Send Open Letter to Iran“The 47 Republican Senators who brazenly issued an open letter Monday to Iran’s leaders not only undermine President Barack Obama’s attempts to negotiate a nuclear agreement with Iran, but they undercut their whole purpose of writing the letter in the first place — to achieve Congressional buy-in of any accord.”—Canton Repository [3/12/15]

                    Our View: Risch, Crapo Antagonize Iran—"This isn’t about good policy. This isn’t about facing the challenges posed when desperate groups with desperate agendas have an interest in the same turf. The 47 Senate Republicans want only the status quo with Iran: continued isolation, which could culminate in escalating hostility and a nuclear state."—Times-News [3/11/15]

                    Corker, Alexander Refused to Sign Iran Letter. Good.—“The new Senate leadership has decided that instead of allowing experienced professional diplomats to try to negotiate a nuclear disarmament deal with America’s longtime enemy Iran, it should let a freshman senator lead an amateurish and unprecedented effort to undermine U.S. foreign policy.”—The Tennessean [3/11/15]

                    Senators’ Iran Stunt Off Base“But [Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake] also recognizes the executive branch has the responsibility for negotiating such agreements: ‘I’m not very bullish on the chance of these negotiations resulting in a good agreement, or an agreement at all, but we ought to explore it. We ought to give it every opportunity to succeed.’ That kind of maturity and restraint is too often missing today in a Washington where vicious sound bites and partisan one-upmanship are valued more than governance.”—The Tampa Tribune [3/11/15]

                    Republican Letter to Iran Puts Politics Above Nation“Just seven of 54 GOP senators had the good sense not to sign the letter. The others acted rashly and allowed their passions to rule the day. They imprudently and shamefully put politics above our national interest,”—The Republican [3/11/15]

                    Outrageous Senators"The American people do not want to find themselves engaged in a new ground war in the Middle East. Preventing Iran from having nuclear capabilities is a priority for U.S. officials and an imperative for Israel's security.”—The Record [3/11/15]

                    Republican Senators go Nuclear With Missive to Iran—“But what is most objectionable about the senators' letter is neither its condescending tone nor its legal analysis. It's the fact that the letter injects the senators into ongoing international negotiations that are properly the prerogative of the executive branch — with the obvious intention of subverting those negotiations.”— The Los Angeles Times [3/11/15]

                    GOP Letter to Iran was Outrageous“Senate Republicans hit a new low with their group letter to Iran’s leaders encouraging them to reject current nuclear talks with the United States and five other nations. It was a dumb move both in terms of its own cynical partisan goals and, more importantly, in how it might undermine national and global security.”—The Herald [3/11/15]

                    ‘Dear Iran’ Letter Subverts Nuclear Talks“It’s not every day that you see U.S. senators pressing leaders of a hostile power to help them kill off American-led negotiations aimed at removing a potential nuclear threat to the United States and its allies. In fact, nothing quite like that had ever happened until Monday, when 47 Republican senators wrote a letter to the leaders of Iran warning that any agreement they reach with President Barack Obama to curtail Iran’s nuclear weapons program might be reversed by a future president.”—The Daily Journal [3/11/15]

                    An Ignorable Letter From 47 SenatorsAn open letter to the 47 U.S. senators who signed a letter addressed to Iran’s political leaders: We are struck by your letter that condescendingly attempts to lecture Iran’s leadership on the fine points of the U.S. Constitution while at the same time blatantly trampled on the constitutionally defined roles in foreign affairs of presidents and members of Congress.”—The Anniston Star [3/11/15]

                    GOP's Political Posturing on Iran Could Ostracize the U.S.“[Senator Tom Cotton] has since been denounced by members of his own party. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said it best: ‘We ought to support the negotiations going on,’ he said, ‘and this effort does not do that.’”—New Jersey Star Tribune [3/11/15]

                    GOP Senators' Dumb, Destructive Letter“The sanctions that convinced Iran to roll back and freeze its nuclear program and join the talks are enforced by all the parties to the negotiations. The U.S., which has nearly no trade with Iran, depends on those who do – principally Russia and China – to apply the pressure. If these talks fall apart, Russia and China could make the sanctions effectively disappear, and there would be nothing to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Is that what the Senate Republicans want?”—Metro-West Daily News [3/11/15]

                    Where's Issue in Iran Deal?“There are, in fact, too many mysteries involving federal lawmakers, presidents and judges to list in this space. But now, we can add another mystery to the list — why would mostly Republicans in Congress not want Iran to agree to forego building a nuclear weapon?”—Lampoc Record [3/11/15]

                    GOP Senators Need Lessons in Both Civics and Politics—“Everyone wants to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. If diplomacy can delay the day of reckoning for a decade, that is far preferable than a military strike that could spark a wider war in the Middle East.”—Fresno Bee [3/11/15]

                    A Deeply Misguided Senate Letter to the Leaders of Iran“The signatories, who sadly include the usually rational Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and John McCain of Arizona, have lost sight of national interest -- and of how their letter is undercutting it.”--Cleveland Plain Dealer [3/11/15]

                    Hate Mail: Senators Seek to Sabotage Obama’s Foreign Policy“America’s partners in the talks are among the world’s most important nations — China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom. They can only be appalled at seeing Secretary of State John Kerry and the president, who are charged with making the nation’s foreign policy, hit from behind by one house of the federal legislature. The senators who signed the letter should be ashamed.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [3/11/15]

                    47 Senators Stomp on the Constitution—“A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Flake acknowledges he is "not very bullish on the chance of these negotiations resulting in a good agreement." But Congress nevertheless must give them every opportunity to succeed.”—Arizona Republic [3/11/15]

                    Burr, Tillis Add Their Names to Outrageous Letter to Iran—“This is one of the most horrid and tangible examples of pure partisanship run amok in modern times. So much do Republicans resent the fact that President Obama has won two terms they’ll now resort to blowing up a negotiation aimed at preventing war in the Middle East.”—The News & Observer [3/10/15]

                    'Dear Iran' Letter Subverts Nuclear Talks—“It's not every day that you see U.S. senators pressing leaders of a hostile power to help them kill off American-led negotiations aimed at removing a potential nuclear threat to the United States and its allies.”—USA Today [3/10/15]

                    Republicans Fumble Their Chance to Focus Attention on an Iran Deal“Congressional republicans are trying to obstruct President Obama from concluding a nuclear agreement with Iran, but the only tangible result of their efforts has been to impede serious debate about the legitimate issues arising from the potential deal.”—Washington Post [3/10/15]

                    GOP Senators Need a Civics Lesson and Should Stop Meddling in Iran Nuclear Deal“Everyone wants to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. If diplomacy can delay the day of reckoning for a decade, that is far preferable than a military strike that could spark a wider war in the Middle East.”—Sacramento Bee [3/10/15]

                    A Stunning Breach of Protocol“If the treaty is scuttled, there will be no inspection regime to make sure Iran is not cooking up a nuclear weapon. One gets the impression that Netanyahu and his fellow hard-liners want to proceed straight to a bombing campaign without any diplomatic do-si-do preceding it. If bombs fell on Iran, it would likely only forestall the development of a nuclear program there for a few years and further inflame passions in the Middle East.”—Observer-Reporter [3/10/15]

                    The Real Key to Any Nuclear Deal With Iran“The risk, however, is sabotaging the multination negotiations and leaving Iran unrestrained in building nuclear weapons. That's a bad path that could lead to use of military force to stop Iran's pursuit of a bomb.”—Newsday [3/10/15]

                    GOP Senators Play Dangerous Game With U.S. Foreign Policy“The 47 senators seem to be blithely ignoring necessary perspectives from London, Paris, Berlin, Beijing and Moscow, as well as other capitals influenced by these powers. If Iran is able to claim that it was Washington, not Tehran, that torpedoed the talks, the sanctions regime may well unravel without Iran having to compromise on its nuclear program.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune [3/10/15]

                    Letter of Intent“The letter is little more than a mischievous attempt to throw a monkey wrench into a years-long, multinational effort to obtain a secure, verifiable agreement with Iran to stop its nuclear-weapons program through diplomacy, rather than war.”—Miami Herald [3/10/15]

                    Was Iran Letter Traitorous or Just Treacherous for GOP Sens. Blunt, Roberts and Moran?“Obama and the leaders of several other nations are trying to find ways to get Iran to stop its efforts to obtain a nuclear bomb. It’s a reasonable quest. Properly so, even some in the GOP didn’t agree to sign the letter, saying it could backfire on the party. It could make Iran more likely to sign a deal with Obama — one that the Republicans might not like at all.”—Kansas City Star [3/10/13]

                    GOP Letter to Iran Disgraces America“America looks weakest when its internal arguments spill over into its international diplomacy — something that has been rare in the nation's history. That it is happening now is a blot on the 114th U.S. Senate; specifically, on the 47 Republican senators who signed an open letter to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a missive whose sole purpose is to end President Barack Obama's ongoing nuclear negotiations with that country.”—Detroit Free Press [3/10/15]

                    Senate Saboteurs“A blatant attempt to sabotage the discussions to limit Iran’s nuclear capacity, the letter is signed by by (sic) 47 GOP senators, aligning themselves — President Obama noted ironically — with hardliners in Iran who oppose any deal with the United States.”—Courier-Journal [3/10/15]

                    Ayotte Signs Up for a Dangerous Political Game—“The Iran nuclear situation is complex and worthy of vigorous debate. In fact, there are plenty of Democrats who are not thrilled with the goal of the talks, namely a 10-year pact that would reduce but not eliminate Iran’s nuclear program. But what they and seven Republican senators who didn’t sign the letter understand is that diplomacy is a fragile art that doesn’t happen in a vacuum.”—Concord Monitor [3/10/15]

                    GOP Letter to Iran is a Reckless Intrusion Into Nuclear Talks“Under the guise of an American civics lesson pointedly but also pointlessly aimed at Iran’s already isolated, mistrustful, hostile-to-the-United States leadership, Senate Republicans may sabotage highly delicate negotiations to persuade Tehran to curb its nuclear development program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.”—Boston Globe [3/10/15]

                    The GOP's Poison Pen Note“That Senate Republicans are so intent on denouncing anything that could possibly come out of the talks — even if it ultimately benefits the U.S. and its allies — suggests they are all too inclined to let the national interest take a back seat to partisan politics.”—Baltimore Sun [3/10/15]

                    GOP Senators Play Dangerous Game With U.S. Foreign Policy“The 47 senators seem to be blithely ignoring necessary perspectives from London, Paris, Berlin, Beijing and Moscow, as well as other capitals influenced by these powers. If Iran is able to claim that it was Washington, not Tehran, that torpedoed the talks, the sanctions regime may well unravel without Iran having to compromise on its nuclear program. If so, the next step could include military action, which could spiral into yet another major Mideast war. The GOP senators should be as blunt about this possibility as they are about their opinions on Obama’s diplomacy.”—StarTribune [3/10/15]

                    The Real Key to Any Nuclear Deal With Iran“In addition to flexing for their political base, the senators may be gambling that their intransigence will result in a better deal. The risk, however, is sabotaging the multination negotiations and leaving Iran unrestrained in building nuclear weapons. That’s a bad path that could lead to use of military force to stop Iran’s pursuit of a bomb.”—Newsday [3/10/15]

                    GOP Senators Need a Civics Lesson and Should Stop Meddling in Iran Nuclear Deal—“Everyone wants to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. If diplomacy can delay the day of reckoning for a decade, that is far preferable than a military strike that could spark a wider war in the Middle East.”—The Sacramento Bee [3/10/15]

                    Sabotaging a Deal With Iran—“After more than a year of negotiations, the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany can take credit for an interim deal that has sharply limited Iran’s nuclear activities, and they are on the verge of a more permanent agreement that could further reduce the risk of Iran’s developing a nuclear weapon. Congress needs to think hard about the best way to support a verifiable nuclear deal and not play political games that could leave America isolated, the sanctions regime in tatters and Iran’s nuclear program unshackled.”—The New York Times [3/7/15]

                    Let's Hope Netanyahu Loses“Netanyahu is it making it impossible to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians by relentlessly expanding housing settlements on the West Bank. He is using Israel's military superiority not just to secure the nation's borders, but to answer the demands of religious zealots and others who are determined to hold onto land that is essential to building a Palestinian state.”—New Jersey Star-Ledger [2/26/15]

                    Bipartisan Supporters of Israel Should Skip Netanyahu Speech“In a bald breach of protocol, Republican House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu without informing the Democrat in the White House, who sees negotiations with Iran as the best hope for preventing that country from obtaining a nuclear bomb. The alternative is military action. Like President Obama, we’d rather take a shot at peace first.”—Chicago Sun Times [2/26/15]

                    An Emerging Nuclear Deal With Iran“The agreement must be judged on the complete package, not on any single provision. Even if the deal is not perfect, the greater risk could well be walking away and allowing Iran to continue its nuclear activities unfettered.”—The New York Times [2/25/15]

                    Boehner's Netanyahu Ploy Runs Onto the Rocks“Even if the ploy succeeds in torpedoing the arms negotiations, it would be a costly win, raising troubling questions about the degree of control Netanyahu has over decisions that could cost American lives. There is no more sensitive task — or a more hazardous one — than trying to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran's hands. Throughout the talks, the six nations negotiating with Iran have shown remarkable unity. It would be a shame if all that effort was lost because of political gamesmanship here or in Israel. Politics, as they used to say, should end at the water's edge.”—USA Today [2/1/15]

                    Menendez Steps Back From Fight With Obama Over Iran—“If Obama is right about the political dynamic in Iran, Menendez's bill could scuttle a deal. And without a deal, pressure will build for air strikes against Iran's dozens of nuclear facilities. Military experts say such a campaign would require weeks of repeated bombings and lead to significant civilian casualties, since many of the targets are in cities and densely populated suburbs.”—Newark Star Ledger [1/28/15]

                    Strategic Arms Control and Policy

                    Country Resources:

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                    Background and Key Resources: Iran Nuclear Negotiations

                    Body: 

                    Top diplomats from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran are working to finalize a comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal to block Iran’s potential pathways to a nuclear weapon.  Negotiators have made significant progress toward a final deal since the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action was reached. On April 2 in Lausanne, Iran and the P5+1 agreed on key parameters for a final, comprehensive nuclear deal. Both sides aim to finalize a comprehensive deal by June 30, 2015.

                    Below are must-read resources to better understand the issues at state and the anticipated Iran deal. If you are a member of the media and would like to speak to one of our experts, contact Communications Director Timothy Farnsworth at 202-463-8270, ext 110 or email [email protected].

                    Analysis

                    “Iran Nuclear Policy Brief: An Effective, Verifiable Nuclear Deal with Iran,” Arms Control Association, Iran Nuclear Policy Brief, UPDATED: July 23, 2015.

                    Addressing Iran’s Ballistic Missiles in the JCPOA and UNSC Resolution," Arms Control Association, Issue Brief, July 27, 2015.

                    Iran Nuclear Brief: Iranian Missiles and the Comprehensive Nuclear Deal,” Arms Control Association, Threat Assessment Brief, May 7, 2014.

                    "IAEA Verification of the Iran Nuclear Deal: 10 Hot Issues," by Thomas E. Shea, Arms Control Now, July 23, 2015.

                    Under a Microscope: Monitoring and Verification in an Iran Deal,” Arms Control Association, Issue Brief, April 29, 2015.

                    Articles

                    The Verification Challenge: Iran and the IAEA,” by Thomas E. Shea, Arms Control Today, June 2015.

                    A Win-Win Solution for Iran's Arak Reactor,” by Ali Ahmad, Frank von Hippel, Alexander Glaser, and Zia Mian, Arms Control Today, April 2014.

                    Fact Sheets

                    Implementation of the Iran-IAEA Framework at a Glance,” Arms Control Association, Fact Sheet, June 2015.

                    Implementation of the Joint Plan of Action at a Glance,” Arms Control Association, Fact Sheet, February 2015.

                    UN Security Council Resolutions on Iran,” Arms Control Association, Fact Sheet, August 2015.

                    Timeline of Nuclear Diplomacy with Iran,” Arms Control Association, Fact Sheet, May 2015.

                    Description: 

                     

                    Country Resources:

                    Brief Chronology of START II

                    March 2019

                    Contacts: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107

                    Nearly a decade of efforts to bring the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) II into force ended in June 2002, a month after the United States and Russia concluded negotiations on the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which stipulates a 1,700-2,200 deployed strategic warhead ceiling for both countries' nuclear arsenals. The SORT limit effectively supersedes START II's cap of 3,000-3,500 warheads for each side. For more detailed information on the START II agreement, please see START II and its Extension Protocol at a Glance.

                    Presidents George H. W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin signing START II in Moscow on 3 January 1993. (Photo: Susan Biddle/National Archives)

                     

                    January 3, 1993: Presidents George H.W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin sign START II in Moscow.

                    January 15, 1993: President Bush submits START II to the Senate for advice and consent.

                    June 22, 1995: President Yeltsin submits START II to the Duma for ratification.

                    January 26, 1996: The Senate overwhelmingly approves START II by a vote of 87-4.

                    March 20-21, 1997: Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin address a number of arms control issues during their summit meeting in Helsinki. In a "Joint Statement on Parameters on Future Reductions in Nuclear Forces," the presidents agree to extend the deadline for SNDV elimination under START II by five years and to immediately begin negotiations on a START III treaty once START II enters into force (subsequently modified to occur once START II is ratified). They also agree that START III negotiations will include four basic components: (1) a limit of 2,000-2,500 deployed strategic nuclear warheads for each side by the end of 2007, (2) measures relating to the transparency of strategic nuclear warhead inventories and to the destruction of strategic warheads, (3) extension of the current START agreements to unlimited duration, and (4) deactivation of all SNDVs to be eliminated under START II by the end of 2003.

                    September 26, 1997: Codifying commitments made at Helsinki, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov sign a protocol in New York extending the deadline for the elimination of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles (SNDVs) under START II from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2007. In an exchange of letters, Albright and Primakov also agree that once START II enters into force, the United States and Russia will deactivate all SNDVs to be eliminated under the treaty by December 31, 2003, "by removing their nuclear reentry vehicles or taking other jointly agreed steps." Primakov's letter also states that Russia expects that START III will "be achieved" and enter into force "well in advance" of the START II deactivation deadline.

                    April 13, 1998: President Yeltsin submits the START II extension protocol to the Duma.

                    December 25, 1998: In response to the December 16-19 U.S.-British air strikes against Iraq, the Duma postpones a scheduled vote on START II ratification.

                    April 2, 1999: The Duma postpones a scheduled vote on START II ratification to protest NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, which started March 24 after Serbia refused to halt military actions against Kosovar Albanians seeking autonomy. (Moscow has historically allied itself with Serbia.)

                    April 14, 2000: The Russian Duma (lower house of parliament) overwhelmingly approves the START II ratification legislation 288-131 with four abstentions.

                    May 4, 2000: Putin signs the resolution of ratification for START II and its extension protocol. The legislation makes exchange of the instruments of ratification (required to bring the treaty into force) contingent on U.S. ratification of the 1997 extension protocol and ABM-related agreements.

                    December 13, 2001: U.S. President George W. Bush issues a six-month notice to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, stating, "I have concluded the ABM Treaty hinders our government's ability to develop ways to protect our people from future terrorist or rogue-state missile attacks."

                    May 24, 2002: Russia and the United States sign SORT, which calls for each country to deploy no more than 1,700-2,200 strategic warheads.

                    June 13, 2002: U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty takes effect.

                    June 14, 2002: Russian President Vladimir Putin declares that Russia is no longer bound by its signature of START II, ending his country's efforts to bring the treaty into force.

                    Strategic Arms Control and Policy

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                    The Lisbon Protocol At a Glance

                    July 2017

                    Contact: Kingston ReifDirector of Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, (202) 463-8270 x104

                    A pervasive fear surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union was the uncertain fate of its nuclear arsenal. In addition to Russia, the emerging states of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine inherited a significant number of nuclear weapons, raising concerns that the Soviet Union would leave four nuclear weapon successor states instead of just one. Aside from increasing the number of governments with their finger on the proverbial nuclear button, the circumstances simultaneously raised concerns that those weapons might be more vulnerable to possible sale or theft. The Lisbon Protocol, concluded on May 23, 1992, sought to alleviate those fears by committing the three non-Russian former Soviet states to return their nuclear weapons to Russia. In spite of a series of political disputes that raised some concerns about implementation of the protocol, all Soviet nuclear weapons were eventually transferred to Russia by the end of 1996.

                    When the Soviet Union officially dissolved in December 1991, the newly-independent states of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine inherited more than 3,000 strategic nuclear weapons (those capable of striking the continental United States), as well as at least 3,000 tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons. In 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union announced the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives to substantially reduce their respective tactical nuclear weapons arsenals. All dispersed Soviet tactical weapons were reportedly back on Russian soil by the end of 1992, but the strategic weapons posed a larger problem.

                    The United States and Russia reached a solution to this complex problem by engaging Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine in a series of talks that led to the Lisbon Protocol. That agreement made all five states party to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which required Washington and Moscow to each cut their deployed strategic nuclear forces from approximately 10,000 warheads apiece to down below 6,000 warheads on no more than 1,600 ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), and long-range bombers. The protocol signaled the intentions of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to forswear nuclear arms and accede to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear-weapon states, a commitment that all three fulfilled and continue to abide by today.

                     

                    Estimated Warheads in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine in 1991

                     

                     

                    Strategic Warheads

                    Tactical Warheads

                    Belarus

                    100

                    725

                    Kazakhstan

                    1,410

                    Uncertain

                    Ukraine

                    1,900

                    2,275

                    Sources: Robert S. Norris, “The Soviet Nuclear Archipelago,” Arms Control Today, January/February 1992, p. 24 and Joseph Cirincione, et al., Deadly Arsenals, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005, p. 366.

                     

                    Basic Timeline and Provisions:

                    • July 31, 1991: The United States and the Soviet Union sign START.
                    • Dec. 31, 1991: The Soviet Union officially dissolves, delaying entry into force of START.
                    • May 23, 1992: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the United States sign the Lisbon Protocol.
                      • Under the protocol, all five states become parties to START.
                      • Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine promise to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states “in the shortest time possible.”
                    • July 2, 1992: Kazakhstan ratifies START.
                    • Oct. 1, 1992: The U.S. Senate ratifies START.
                    • Nov. 4, 1992: The Russian State Duma refuses to exchange START instruments of ratification until Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan accede to the NPT.
                    • Feb. 4, 1993: Belarus ratifies START.
                    • July 22, 1993: Belarus submits its instrument of accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state.
                    • January 14, 1994: The Trilateral Statement is signed by Presidents Clinton, Yeltsin, and Leonid Kravchuk of Ukraine, allowing Ukraine to observe the transfer of weapons from its territory to Russia and the dismantlement of certain systems. It also commits Russia to send some of the uranium extracted from the returned warheads back to Ukraine for fuel.
                    • Feb. 14, 1994: Kazakhstan submits its instrument of accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state.
                    • Dec. 5, 1994: Ukraine submits its instrument of accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state.
                      • The five START parties exchange instruments of ratification for START, which enters into force.
                    • April 24, 1995: Kazakhstan transfers its last strategic weapon to Russia.
                    • June 1996: Ukraine transfers its last strategic weapon to Russia.
                    • November 1996: Belarus transfers its last strategic weapon to Russia, marking completion of Lisbon Protocol obligations.

                    Ratification and Implementation:

                    Belarus:

                    When the Soviet Union dissolved, the newly-established Republic of Belarus found itself in possession of roughly 800 total nuclear weapons deployed within its borders. Although Russia retained the warhead arming and launch codes, many worried that Belarus might attempt to take control of the weapons. Moreover, President Alexander Lukashenko twice threatened to retain some weapons if NATO deployed nuclear weapons of its own in Poland. However, when a constitutional crisis erupted in November 1996, Lukashenko was finally compelled to finalize the transfers.

                    Minsk signed the Lisbon Protocol on May 23, 1992, ratified it on Feb. 4, 1993, and deposited its instrument of accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state on July 22, 1993. By November 1996 all nuclear warheads in Belarus had been transferred to Russia.

                    Kazakhstan:

                    After gaining independence, Kazakhstan with extensive U.S. technical and financial assistance disposed of the strategic nuclear weapons that it inherited from the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan’s 1,410 strategic warheads were deployed on several different systems, including SS-18 ICBMs and cruise missiles carried by Bear-H bombers.

                    Kazakhstan’s parliament ratified START on July 2, 1992. All tactical nuclear weapons had been withdrawn to Russia by January 1992. The parliament approved accession to the NPT on Dec. 13, 1993, and deposited the state’s NPT instrument of ratification on Feb. 14, 1994. The last of the Kazakh-based strategic nuclear weapons were transferred to Russia by April 24, 1995.

                    Ukraine:

                    When the Soviet Union dissolved, Ukraine became the third-largest nuclear weapons power in the world behind the United States and Russia. Ukraine’s 1,900 strategic warheads were distributed among ICBMs, strategic bombers, and air-launched cruise and air-to-surface missiles. Although President Leonid Kravchuk signed the Lisbon Protocol on May 23, 1992, Ukraine’s process of disarmament was filled with political obstacles. Many Ukrainian officials viewed Russia as a threat and argued that they should keep nuclear weapons in order to deter any possible encroachment from their eastern neighbor. Although the government never gained operational control over the weapons, it declared “administrative control” in June 1992, and, in 1993, claimed ownership of the warheads, citing the potential of the plutonium and highly enriched uranium they contained for creating peaceful energy.

                    A resolution passed by the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, on Nov. 18, 1993, attached conditions to its ratification of START that Russia and the United States deemed unacceptable. Those stated that Ukraine would only dismantle 36% of its delivery vehicles and 42% of its warheads; all others would remain under Ukrainian custody. Moreover, the resolution made those reductions contingent upon assurances from Russia and the United States to never use nuclear weapons against Ukraine (referred to as “security assurances”), along with foreign aid to pay for dismantlement.

                    In response, the Clinton and Yeltsin administrations intensified negotiations with Kyiv, eventually producing the Trilateral Statement, which was signed on Jan. 14, 1994. This agreement placated Ukrainian concerns by allowing Ukraine to cooperate in the transfer of the weapons to Russia, which would take place over a maximum period of seven years. The agreement further called for the transferred warheads to be dismantled and the highly enriched uranium they contained to be downblended into low-enriched uranium. Some of that material would then be transferred back to Ukraine for use as nuclear reactor fuel. Meanwhile, the United States would give Ukraine economic and technical aid to cover its dismantlement costs. Finally, the United States and Russia responded to Ukraine’s security concerns by agreeing to provide security assurances upon its NPT accession.

                    In turn, the Rada ratified START, implicitly endorsing the Trilateral Statement. However, it did not submit its instrument of accession to the NPT until Dec. 5, 1994, when Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States provided security assurances to Ukraine. That decision by the Rada met the final condition for Russia’s ratification of START, and subsequently brought that treaty into force. For more information, see Ukraine, Nuclear Weapons and Security Assurances at a Glance.

                    Strategic Arms Control and Policy

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                    MANPADS at a Glance

                    March 2013

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

                     

                    Man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) are surface-to-air missiles that can be fired by an individual or a small team of people against aircraft. These weapon systems often are described as shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. The United States and the Soviet Union first deployed MANPADS—the Redeye and Strela systems respectively—in the 1960s to provide their infantries with portable anti-aircraft weapons. Since their introduction, more than 20 states have manufactured an estimated one million MANPADS for national stockpiles or export. At least 102 countries have or have had MANPADS in their arsenals. The US government estimates that approximately 500,000-750,000 MANPADS remain in stockpiles around the world, though it is difficult to estimate the number of operable systems.

                    Three general types of MANPADS exist: command line of sight, laser guided, and infra-red seekers. Command line-of-sight MANPADS are guided to their targets through the use of a remote control. Laser-guided or laser beam rider MANPADS follow a laser projected onto the target. The most common MANPADS, however, are infrared seekers that acquire their target by detecting the heat of an aircraft’s engine. They are considered the easiest to operate and include the Soviet-era Strela and Igla weapons, as well as the U.S. Stinger. Today average MANPADS can reach a target from a distance of 3 miles, which means commercial aircraft are most vulnerable during periods of takeoff and landing.

                    Although MANPADS production was originally limited to a few states, including the U.S., U.K., Russia and China, today over 30 countries manufacture MANPADS. Major MANPADS producing states today include China, France, Russia, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S. The most commonly produced MANPADS are the Soviet SA-7 and the U.S. Stinger.

                    MANPADS Proliferation

                    Although the vast majority of MANPADS are in national stockpiles, terrorists and other non-state actors have acquired the anti-aircraft missiles through deliberate transfers, the black market, or theft. All told, the Department of State estimates that as many as several thousand MANPADS exist outside state control, including in the hands of al Qaeda. Exacerbating the proliferation concern is the very long shelf-life of MANPADS, which can remain functional for up to twenty years.

                    The U.S. supply of Stingers to anti-Soviet Afghan fighters during the 1980s illustrates how MANPADS spread. Between 1986 and 1989, Afghan forces used the missiles to down an estimated 269 aircraft and helicopters. Many Stingers, however, remained unaccounted for after the conflict despite U.S. efforts to have unused missiles returned to U.S. control. Some of the missiles made it into the international black market and the hands of terrorists. Estimates of black market prices for MANPADS range from just a few hundred dollars for basic technology models to thousands for more advanced units.

                    The problem is not confined to U.S.-origin missiles. The Soviet Union supplied its allies with MANPADS and apparently some were re-transferred to non-state actors or stolen. Libya reportedly shipped Soviet-supplied MANPADS to at least the Irish Republican Army and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Numerous reports claim significant MANPADS looting from insecure military stores of the Soviet Union after its 1991 collapse. Similarly, after U.S.-led military forces in 2003 toppled Saddam Hussein and his regime from power, as many as 4,000 MANPADS went missing from Iraqi military holdings.

                    MANPADs were discovered in use in recent conflicts in Libya, the Gaza Strip, and Syria. Iran has been accused of smuggling weapons, including MANPADS, into other countries in the region to armed insurgents. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented to the Wall Street Journal, “There is no question when you start passing MANPADS around, that becomes a threat, not just to military aircraft but to civilian aircraft. That is an escalation.”

                    After the Libyan civil war, many feared that weapons from the Gaddafi regime may have been smuggled out of the country during the conflict to other countries in the region and into the hands of armed groups or terrorist units, like al Qaeda in the Magrheb, Hamas in Gaza, Boko Haram in Niger, or Syrian insurgents. At the end of the war 5,000 MANPADS left from the Gaddafi regime were located and destroyed by a multinational team, though some reports suggest that the regime was in possession of over 20,000, most of which remain unaccounted for.

                    During the November 2012 skirmish between Israel and the Gaza Strip Hamas released a video displaying its possession of MANPADS. A cable by Israeli Defense Intelligence also claimed Hamas possessed SA-7 MANPADS. These were likely smuggled into Gaza from Libya after the end of the civil war. It also suspected the smuggled Libyan MANPADS were transported into Mali and used by insurgents in that country.

                    In the Syrian civil war, video and photographic evidence proved rebel opposition forces possessed SA-16 and SA-7 MANPADs for targeting the aircraft of al-Assad’s government forces. Rebels acquired at least 40 MANPADS through captured government military stockpiles and international smuggling, including from Qatar, in their efforts to drive out the regime.

                    The Threat to Civil Aviation

                    The first successful MANPADS attack against a civilian aircraft occurred Sept. 3, 1978, when rebels of the Zimbabwe Peoples Revolution Army shot down Air Rhodesia Flight 825. The MANPADS attack with arguably the most severe consequences was the 1994 downing of a plane carrying the leaders ofRwanda and Burundi. That attack helped precipitate a war that killed more than 800,000 Rwandans; conflict in the region continues. More recently, in 2002, al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists in Mombassa, Kenya, fired two MANPADS at an Arkia Israel Airlines plane. Both missiles missed, but the act marked the first attack on a civilian airliner outside a conflict zone.

                    More than 50 MANPADS attacks against civilian aircraft have occurred, mostly in Africa and Asia. Aircraft are most vulnerable after take-off, during the initial climbing period, and while gaining altitude when the planes are at slow speeds and in regular flight patterns.  Some thirty attacks have been fatal and have resulted in almost 1,000 civilian deaths.  Most attacks against civilian plans occurred within active war zones.  Since 1998, an estimated 47 non-state groups are thought to be in control of MANPADS systems. While there has never been a MANPADS attack on a U.S. civilian plane, the estimated consequences of terrorists shooting down a U.S. airliner are severe. A 2005 RAND Corporation study projected that the direct costs of such an attack would approach $1 billion. The indirect economic costs, according to the study, would soar much higher. For example, if all U.S. airports stopped operating for one week after the attack, losses could climb past $3 billion. Depressed demand to fly in the following months could result in losses totaling up to $12 billion. In sum, RAND concluded that one anti-aircraft missile purchased for as little as a few thousand dollars on the black market could kill hundreds of people and cause economic damage exceeding $16 billion. The costs could be even higher if consumers shunned flying or airports remained closed for a long period.

                    Efforts to Reduce the MANPADS Threat

                    The U.S. government is pursuing three main strategies to prevent MANPADS proliferation and protect civilian aircraft: stiffening global export controls and transparency, funding MANPADS stockpile security and destruction worldwide, and researching defensive countermeasures.

                    Although the United States had been promoting new MANPADS security and export controls since 1998, the 2002 Mombassa attack galvanized U.S. efforts. In 2003, governments added MANPADS exports and imports to the list of weapons transactions that should be volunteered annually by states to the UN Register of Conventional Arms. That same year, the voluntary Wassenaar Arrangement (WA), a group of arms suppliers that seeks to coordinate their export controls, agreed to strengthen export procedures governing MANPADS transfers and urged governments to equip newly-manufactured systems with safety devices to prevent unauthorized use. Today the WA includes 41 participating states. Other international institutions, such as the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, have also focused more attention on strengthening MANPADS controls and stockpile security. A number of OCSE country plans have included destruction of MANPADS stockpiles as a priority.

                    Some countries exercise poor accounting and security of their MANPADS, making them vulnerable to theft. Aiming to mitigate this problem, the State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement and the Department of Defense’s Threat Reduction Agency operate programs to help foreign governments destroy excess weapons and improve protection of their missile stockpiles. The State Department claims these programs have destroyed approximately 32,500 MANPADS in over 30 countries since 2003, amounting to about 5-10% of the total world inventory.

                    The prospect of terrorists using MANPADS to attack U.S. airliners has led to some calls for equipping civilian airliners with defensive countermeasures, such as onboard lasers to confuse infra-red seeking missiles. Multiple versions of these counter-MANPADS technologies exist, such as the MANTA (acronym for MANPADS Threat Avoidance), a “multi-spectral multi-band high-energy laser-based system” that can counter several MANPADS attacks simultaneously, though the system is bulky and only suitable for certain types of planes. Other examples of active countermeasures include missile approach warning systems, flares, offset decoys, infrared countermeasure systems, and high-energy lasers.  The estimated cost of outfitting all U.S. airline planes with antimissile technologies would exceed $40 billion. This high cost is so prohibitive that the majority of civilian planes around the world do not have countermeasures and are thus vulnerable to attack. More behavioral safety precautions against MANPADS include improved pilot training on surviving a MANPADS hit on an aircraft, better airport security and improved stockpile safeguards.  While a MANPADS hit on an aircraft does not necessarily result in bringing down the plane, nearly 70% of recorded attacks on civilian planes caused crashes and fatalities.

                    New technologies are available to attempt to reduce the threat of MANPADS. These include infrared decoy flares that can confuse infrared seekers on the weapons. Directed Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCMs) cause the missile’s seeker to misread the location of the aircraft and miss its target. Missile warning systems (MWS) can alert an aircraft of an incoming missile. However, some studies have concluded that current available anti-MANPADS countermeasures would take years to install, cost upwards of $1-4 million per plane, and likely be ineffective against next-generation MANPADS given technological advancement. A solution that might be available in future MANPADS technology would be including GPS chips in the weapons that could be used to only allow activation of the weapon with a certain code or automatic disablement in the presence of U.S. or allied aircraft to prevent misuse of MANPADS in the wrong hands.

                    -Updated by Alexandra Schmitt

                    Conventional Arms Issues

                    Fact Sheet Categories:

                    Proposed U.S. Arms Export Agreements From January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012

                    January 2013

                    Contact: Jeff AbramsonNon-Resident Senior Fellow for Arms Control and Conventional Arms Transfers, [email protected]

                    Updated: January 2013

                    The value of proposed conventional arms sales agreements doubled from 2011 to 2012.  The increase in proposed arms sales was largely due to Qatar's request for $23.6 billion in arms, which was nearly equal to the total amount of arms sales requested in 2011.  The $53 billion in agreements requested in 2012 was $20 billion above the ten-year average from 2002 to 2011 ($33.5 billion).

                    The United States conducts government-to-government transfers through the Defense Department’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Not all notified sales result in final transactions. Under the 1976 Arms Export Control Act, Congress must be notified of proposed sales of “major defense equipment,” as defined on the U.S. Munitions List, that equals or exceeds $14 million; defense articles and services that are not defined as “major defense equipment” which total $50 million or more; and construction or design services amounting to or surpassing $200 million.[1] However, if the proposed sale involves NATO members, Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, or New Zealand, the notification thresholds are $25 million for major defense equipment, $100 million for other defense articles and services, and $300 million for construction or design services.[2] Once notified, Congress has 30 calendar days (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand) to block a sale by passing a joint resolution of disapproval, though it has never stopped a sale once formally notified.

                    Qatar requested the most expensive package of arms sales agreements in 2012, with $23.6 billion requested--a nearly $23 billion increase from 2011.  Doha requested two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Fire Units for $6.5 billion and 11 Patriot Configuration-3 Modernized Fire Units for $9.9 billion, totaling over $16 billion for anti-ballistic missile defense systems alone. In addition, Qatar requested over $6 billion in attack helicopters from Washington in 2013, including Black Hawks, MH-60Rs and MH-60Ss, and Apaches.

                    The Republic of Korea also requested $8.8 billion in arms from the United States in 2012. $7.2 billion of the total consisted of requests for various attack helicopters, such as $1.0 billion for the MH-60R Seahawk, $2.6 billion for the AH-1Z Cobra, and $3.6 billion for the AH-64D Apache. In addition, Seoul also requested four RQ-4 Block 30 (I) unmanned aerial vehicles and several UGM-84L Harpoon missiles.

                    For the first time cince 2007, the Middle East has been supplanted by another region, this time Asia-Pacific, as the region that requested the highest value of conventional arms from the U.S. in 2012. Three of the top five countries that sought the highest values of U.S. arms exports were located in the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea). The Obama administration's "pivot to Asia" is clearly illustrated by U.S. conventional arms sales in 2012 and is a pattern that is likely to continue in the near future as countries in the region attempt to bolster their conventional forces in the face of China's growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region.


                    Below are the five countries that sought the highest values in U.S. arms exports in 2012 and some of their specific requests.

                    Country

                    Total Value

                    Weapons/Services

                    Qatar

                    $23.6 billion

                    • 12 UH-60M Blackhawk Utility Helicopters
                    • 10 MH-60R Seahawk Multi-Mission Helicopters
                    • 24 AH-64D Apache Block III Longbow
                      Attack Helicopters
                    • 700 AGM-114K3A or AGM-114R3 Hellfire
                      tactical missiles
                    • 2 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Fire Units
                    • 11 Patriot Configuration-3 Modernized Fire Units
                    • 7 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System
                      (HIMARS) Launchers with various rockets

                    Republic of Korea

                    $8.8 billion

                    • 8 MH-60R Seahawk Multi-Mission Helicopters
                    • 18 UGM-84L Harpoon Block II All-Up-Round Missiles
                    • 367 CBU-105D/B Wind Corrected Munition Dispenser (WCMD) Sensor Fuzed Weapons
                    • 36 AH-64D Apache Longbow Block III Attack Helicopters
                    • 36 AH-1Z Cobra Attack Helicopters
                    • 4 RQ-4 Block 30 (I) Global Hawk Remotely
                      Piloted Aircraft

                    Saudi Arabia

                    $8.2 billion

                    • 10 Link-16 capable data link systems and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) suites
                    • 20 C-130J-30 Aircraft and 5 KC-130J Air Refueling Aircraft
                    • Spare parts in support of M1A2 Abrams Tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, equipment, support vehicles and other related logistics support
                    • Technical services to recertify the functional shelf life of up to 300 Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) (MIM-104D) Guidance Enhanced Missiles
                    • Follow-on support and services for the Royal Saudi Air Force

                    Australia

                    $1.7 billion

                    • 12 EA-18G Modification Kits to convert F/A-18F aircrafts to the G configuration

                    Japan

                    $1.6 billion

                    • Provide regeneration, overhaul, modifications and support for 6 KC-130R aircraft and associated engines
                    • 4 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft with an option to purchase an additional 38 F-35 CTOL aircraft
                    • Upgrade of previously provided Aegis Combat Systems

                    Below are all 26 countries that sought U.S. arms exports in 2012 according to FMS notifications and the total value of their identified requests (in billions of U.S. dollars):

                    Country

                    Total Value
                    ($ Billions)

                    Qatar

                    23.56

                    Korea

                    8.81

                    Saudi Arabia

                    8.24

                    Australia

                    1.70

                    Japan

                    1.59

                    Indonesia

                    1.51

                    UAE

                    1.17

                    Morocco

                    1.12

                    Poland

                    .647

                    Israel

                    .647

                    Iraq

                    .613

                    Singapore

                    .435

                    Mexico

                    .412

                    Kuwait

                    .409

                    United Kingdom

                    .300

                    Norway

                    .300

                    Oman

                    .299

                    Finland

                    .264

                    Thailand

                    .253

                    Brazil

                    .233

                    Bangladesh

                    .180

                    Turkey

                    .140

                    Belgium

                    .88

                    Columbia

                    .87

                    Lebanon

                    .63

                    Netherlands

                    .60

                    Below are the total values of all notified requests each year from 1997 to 2012 in billions of U.S. dollars as compiled each year, in current dollars (unadjusted for inflation):

                    Year

                    Total Value
                    ($ Billions, current dollars)

                    201253

                    2011

                    25

                    2010

                    103

                    2009

                    39

                    2008

                    75

                    2007

                    39

                    2006

                    37

                    2005

                    12

                    2004

                    12

                    2003

                    7

                    2002

                    16

                    2001

                    19

                    2000

                    12

                    1999

                    21

                    1998

                    12

                    1997

                    11

                     

                    -Written by Marcus Taylor

                     


                     

                    ENDNOTES
                    1. The Department of State is also required to report to Congress any commercial sales it approves of “major defense equipment” that amount to $14 million or more, defense articles and services that equal or exceed $50 million, and any items defined as “significant military equipment.” As in the case of FMS sales, Congress can block the sale with a joint resolution of disapproval within 30 calendar days of notification (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea). There are no official compilations of commercial agreement data comparable to the FMS notifications and what exists is often incomplete and less precise than data on government-to-government transactions (Grimmett, Richard F., Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2001-2009, Washington, D.C., Congressional Research Service, September 10, 2010, p. 23). The annual Section 655 report, prepared by the State and Defense Departments for Congress, details commercial licenses approved, but states have four years to act under the licenses. The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has final responsibility for license applications for commercial defense trade exports and all issues related to defense trade compliance, enforcement, and reporting.

                    2. Congress approved the higher notification thresholds for NATO members, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand in legislation passed in September 2002. South Korea was added to this list in 2008, and Israel was added in 2010.

                    Sources: Congressional Research Service, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, and Department of State.

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