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– Frank von Hippel
Co-Director of Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
Events

Statement by Daryl G. Kimball on Status of the CTBT

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Strengthening the Taboo Against Nuclear Testing
Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Association

Arms Control Association and Stimson Center Event:
The State of the Comprehensive Test Ban and Nonproliferation Treaties

February 11, 2016, Washington, D.C.

Two decades ago, on August 11, 1995, President Bill Clinton announced the United States would seek the negotiation of a true, zero-yield global nuclear test ban treaty, thereby ending the practice of using nuclear weapons detonations to proof-test new designs.

The decisions opened the way for the conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996. The treaty has effectively halted nuclear explosive testing worldwide (only North Korea has conducted nuclear tests since 1998) and slowed the global arms race.

The International Monitoring System (IMS) established by the treaty to verify compliance is operational. With 183 state signatories, the treaty is now a centerpiece of the international nuclear nonproliferation system.

As President Bill Clinton said upon his signature of the CTBT in September 1996:

“The signature of the world’s declared nuclear powers … along with the vast majority of its other nations will immediately create an international norm against nuclear testing, even before the treaty enters into force.”

But not every state accepts the norm. Not all states formally support the CTBT.

The door to further nuclear testing remains open, in large part because of the U.S. Senate’s highly partisan and rushed vote to reject ratification of the treaty in 1999 and the United States’ failure to reconsider the treaty in the 16 years since.

U.S. inaction has, in turn, given the leaders of the seven other states that must ratify the CTBT for its entry into force an excuse for delay.

At an event last month commemorating Clinton’s 1995 actions, Energy Secretary Moniz and Secretary of State Kerry suggested that the Senate should re-examine the CTBT in light of the proven success of the Stockpile Stewardship Program and the advances in the IMS to verify compliance with the treaty.

Such an effort is welcome and long overdue. A new push for U.S. CTBT ratification can and will succeed, but it cannot be done hastily.

Bringing the CTBT back to the Senate for another vote requires a lengthy, intensive educational and outreach campaign to present the new information, answer detailed questions, and dispel old myths and misconceptions. It was through such a process that the New START agreement was approved in 2010.

Senators serious about our nation’s security should carefully consider the new information and analysis of the issues surrounding the CTBT.

But unfortunately, there is not enough time for President Obama to launch such an effort before he leaves the White House.

Even if were to launch such an effort, the Republican-led Senate is simply not prepared for such a debate and vote, particularly in an election year.

Even though the concerns that led many Senators to vote “no” in 1999 have been addressed, the vast majority of today’s Senators were not in Congress in 1999 and they are not familiar with the newest information about the treaty and its value to U.S. security.

Perhaps in 2017 or 2018, with stronger presidential leadership and if the political conditions are better, there will be another opportunity to achieve secure Senate advice and consent for U.S. ratification.

Unfortunately, U.S. inaction gives other states, particularly China a cynical excuse not to ratify the treaty. This situation means that entry into force is some time – years – away.

In the meantime, it is essential that U.S. leaders seek and support ways, including actions by the UN Security Council, to reinforce the de facto global nuclear testing moratorium and make it clear that further nuclear testing would be a threat to international peace and security.

As Kazakh foreign minister Idrissov and Japanese foreign minister Kishida said at a special meeting on the CTBT on Sept. 29, “business as usual” efforts will not suffice.

We would recommend a two-part strategy in this, the 20th anniversary year of the CTBT.

Part one, requires a serious, high-level diplomatic outreach effort on the part of key “friends of the CTBT states” to encourage key states such as Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, and Pakistan to reaffirm their support for the global testing taboo and for the CTBT, and along with the United States and China, to pledge that they will consider CTBT ratification “at the earliest possible time.”

Japan, Kazakhstan, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, and the European Union, among others, have an important role to play.

There will be a high-level, foreign-ministerial meeting in Vienna in June that will provide an important opportunity to advance this effort.

Part two, could be the pursuit and adoption later this year or early next of a new UN Security Council resolution and a parallel UN General Assembly measure that:

  • Calls on all states to refrain from testing and calls upon those states that have not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to do so at the earliest possible time;
  • Declares that nuclear testing would trigger proliferation and undermine international peace and security;
  • Declares that the conduct of a nuclear test explosion would defeat the object and purpose of the CTBT; and
  • Determines that, in light of the threat to international peace and security posed by any further nuclear weapon test explosion, it is necessary to maintain a continuous, real-time global nuclear test monitoring capability and associated data processing, analysis, and reporting to provide states, including members of the Security Council, with timely, high-fidelity information necessary to detect, identify, and locate nuclear test explosions whenever they may occur, and
  • Recognizes the vital contribution of the Provisional Technical Secretariat and Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, including the International Monitoring System and International Data Centre, in providing the monitoring capabilities necessary to promptly detect, identify, locate, and attribute nuclear weapon test explosions.

Such an initiative, while not legally binding, would have tremendous political value in reinforcing the global norm against testing in the years ahead and possibly stimulating action by key hold-out states.

There was a similar initiative in 2009: UN Security Council Resolution 1887, which was approved in a special session of the Council chaired by President Obama.

Resolution 1887 expressed the Council’s grave concern about the threat of nuclear proliferation and the need for international action to prevent it. It reaffirmed that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery are threats to international peace and security and outlined a broad range of actions to address nuclear proliferation and disarmament, including the test ban treaty.

A new UNSC resolution focused on nuclear testing and the CTBT, especially if pursued in combination with a parallel UNGA resolution, would be in the interest of all but perhaps one nuclear-armed state and all of the nonnuclear weapon states.

This initiative would be entirely consistent with the letter and spirit of the treaty.

It would also help guard against the danger of treaty fatigue, including the possibility of the slow erosion of support for the CTBTO, including the maintenance and effective operation of the IMS and the IDC.

As we enter the 20th anniversary year of the CTBT, the time is right for a more robust effort in support of the CTBT and international security.

Thank you.

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Two decades ago, on August 11, 1995, President Bill Clinton announced the United States would seek the negotiation of a true, zero-yield global nuclear test ban treaty...

The PMD Report: Reactions and Implications for the Nuclear Deal with Iran

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Thursday, December 10, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Choate Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 

Transcript available below.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced in October that it had completed its decade-long investigation of Iran’s past activities related to nuclear weapons development, the so-called possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program. The Director-General's report and assessment of the PMDs was released on Dec. 2.

The IAEA Board of Governors will now meet on Dec. 15 to consider the agency’s findings. While separate from the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six countries that significantly limits Tehran’s nuclear activities, the PMD report could impact implementation of the deal and affect Tehran’s relationship with the IAEA.

Join the Arms Control Association on Dec. 10 for a discussion of the IAEA’s PMD report, its implications for implementation of the nuclear agreement, and the reactions in Iran to the report’s findings.

Speakers include:

  • Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme, International Institute for Strategic Studies;
  • Ariane Tabatabai, Visiting Assistant Professor, Security Studies Program, Georgetown University;
  • Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association; and
  • Kelsey Davenport, moderator, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association.

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. 


Transcript by: CQ Roll Call

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      DAVENPORT:  Thank you all so much for coming today.  We're going to get started.  We're thrilled to have such a great panel here to discuss such a timely issue as the International Atomic Energy Agency's report on Iran's past work related to weaponization.

      While this has been separate from the nuclear deal that Iran, the United States, and its E.U. negotiating partners, plus Russia and China, reached in July, it still is very closely tied to the actual implementation of that nuclear deal, with Iran sort of pegging its implementation of some of its nuclear commitments to the conclusion of this report. 

      Now, we've already seen some considerable progress in implementation of the nuclear deal.  The last quarterly report from the International Atomic Energy Agency showed that Iran has dismantled over 4,000 centrifuges.  They're working with the IAEA on the additional monitoring and verification mechanisms that will be part of the final agreement.  And we see from Iran's conversations with Russia that they're preparing to ship out their low-enriched uranium to Russia and that the United States, Iran, and China have come to an agreement on how to remove and replace the core of the Arak reactor.

      So there are some very positive developments.  And hopefully after the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors meets next week to consider the agency's report into the past weaponization work, we'll see even more progress, because as I'm sure Ariane will address, Iran has pegged some of its activities and fulfilling some of its commitments to the conclusion of that report. 

      So I'm going to turn it over to the panel.  I'll introduce our speakers.  We're going to start with Mark and then go to Ariane and Greg.  So Mark is going to speak on the report itself, what it means in terms of Iran's past weaponization work, and what it means and how it will impact the deal going forward.

      Mark is currently the executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in the United States.  He's recently returned from London, so welcome back.  We're thrilled to have you in D.C.  He's also the director of the Nonproliferation Disarmament Program at IISS.  He joined IISS in 2005 after a distinguished 26-year career in the U.S. Department of State, where he focused on nonproliferation issues. 

      Then we'll turn to Ariane Tabatabai.  She is a visiting assistant professor of security studies at the Georgetown Edmund A.  Walsh School of Foreign Service.  Tabatabai came to Georgetown University from the Harvard University John F.  Kennedy School of Government and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where she was an associate and involved in the project of managing the atom.

      Then we will turn it over to Greg Thielmann.  Greg will discuss the PMD report from the perspective of someone who spent time in the U.S. intelligence community and also delve a little bit into Iran's ballistic missile program, which also has been in the news recently, given that Iran is continuing to test its ballistic missiles.  Greg served more than three decades in the executive and legislative branches of the government, specializing in political and military and intelligence issues.  Before joining the Arms Control Association as a senior fellow in 2009, he worked for four years as a senior professional staffer of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  He was a U.S. Foreign Service officer for 25 years, as well. 

      So with that, I will turn it over to you, Mark. 

      FITZPATRICK:  OK, thanks very much, Kelsey.  And it's delightful to be speaking here at Carnegie on this ACA panel.  It's my first public appearance since returning to Washington.  I hope it goes well.

      Kelsey asked me -- when she first asked me to speak, she said want you to, you know, talk about what the PMD report says, but I'm assuming that you wouldn't be here if you didn't know what the PMD report says, so I'll talk a bit more about what it means.

      But, you know, basically it confirms the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.  That's not too surprising, because it draws from the same body of information, although supplemented now with eight years of additional information that the IAEA has accumulated. 

      It says very clearly that Iran worked on nuclear explosives.  So with that clear statement, one can remove the P from PMD.  It's no longer possible military dimension, just military dimensions.  And I have to give credit to Marty Malin for that observation.  It notes that, yes, there was an explosives chamber at Parchin that was removed, because it's not there anymore, along with other traces.

      It doesn't address Iran's intentions.  It focused on the what question, not why.  It says most of the exploratory work stopped in 2003, but some fragmented work continued thereafter.  But we now have a date on how long thereafter, 2009.  So there's no longer any mention of military-related nuclear work continuing possibly to the present, no evidence after 2009, which is relevant.  That's one of the new things in the report.  And it does say that this work after 2003 -- 2009 was incomplete and fragmented. 

      By the way, Iran is not the only country to have done computer modeling on nuclear explosives.  I think several Western European, non-nuclear weapons states have also conducted such work, which can be relevant to nuclear power plant construction.  This is not to exonerate Iran in any way, but not every element of the accusations is condemnatory. 

      The report does note that some of Iran's explanations just aren't convincing, particularly about Parchin.  So it's not an exoneration in any way.  You could read it to say, we know you were lying, you know we know, but these were venial lies and let's leave it at that, let's move on. 

      The report gives the Board of Governors with the IAEA a basis for closing the PMD or MD file.  This was a concession by the West, which could have insisted that the IAEA keep pressing for more answers.  You know, they could have demanded convincing answers to why the building at Parchin had a room with an unusual cross-section and incomplete ventilation system, but it would have meant keeping alive a distraction.  Parchin's a distraction from the real issues of what Iran is currently doing and what they may do in the future.

      Keeping it alive would also have meant calling the bluff on Khamenei's red line on PMD closure.  Not clear whether it was a bluff or not.  Probably it was.  But, anyway, that issue is now being us. 

      Now, some of Khamenei's red lines are unacceptable, and I'm sure Ariane will get into this, I mean, saying that there can't be any new sanctions at all for any activity or Iran will pull out of the deal.  Well, that's just totally acceptable.  If Iran violates international norms and rules and laws, sanctions have to be forthcoming.

      But you might ask, with regard to this PMD file, what overriding consideration would have been served by calling his bluff on the PMD closure?  It's not necessary for future verification of the JCPOA to know exactly what Iran did at every point in the past.  You know, John Kerry overstepped when he said we know exactly what they did.  But the IAEA knows basically what Iran did.  And they can make worst-case assumptions where there are some uncertainty. 

      As Hans Blix said at a conference in Brussels at the E.U. Nonproliferation and Disarmament Conference last month, putting the PMD issue behind allows the focus to shift to properly and promptly implementing the JCPOA.  So the IAEA's key responsibility now is to verify current and future nuclear activity. 

      Iran apparently sees the closing of the PMD file as meaning PMD will not be part of the AP, the additional protocol, broader conclusion exercise.  This misinterpretation by Iran, I think, has to be challenged publicly and firmly corrected so as not to restrict the scope of the Additional Protocol verification. 

      Examining the history of Iran's nuclear program will be important to being able to draw the broader conclusion under the Additional Protocol in eight years' time, if Iran is to be given a so-called, you know, certification of clean activity of no peaceful nuclear activity.  And then if any new information arises about weaponization work, obviously, the IAEA has to be able to continue to investigate that in order to assure the correctness and completeness of Iran's declarations.

      Relatedly, you know, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has an important new prohibition on weaponization activities.  But it doesn't say how that's going to be verified.  So I think that it's important that Iran not be able to use the closure of the PMD file to say that the IAEA cannot use its investigative powers to investigate weaponization activities, which are clearly prohibited under the JCPOA.  That's one of the big points that still has to be clarified.

      With the PMD file closing, I think it is now possible for Iran to take all the steps that would be required for implementation of the agreement to come in a month's time, by mid-January.  I don't think that's probable, but it is possible.  You know, Iran has been -- as Kelsey said -- removing centrifuges at a pretty fast clip, particularly the IR-1 centrifuges.  They obviously don't care about breaking a lot of the centrifuges in the process, the speed at which they're taking them out.  It indicates that these are -- they know these are bad machines and don't care if they break.  But, you know, also, if they break a lot of them, they would have an excuse to build new ones.  And that's a little bit worrisome.

      What Iran hasn't done yet is remove the calandria and ship out the accumulated low-enriched uranium stockpile.  Those are the two things that Khamenei said had to be conditioned on closing the PMD file.  I think both of those things can be carried out relatively quickly.  Removing the calandria can be done quickly and you don't have to worry about damaging it, because it's going to be damaged anyway purposely by pouring concrete into it, and the shipping out of the LEU isn't too tricky, except for the 20 percent enriched uranium that's been partly prepared for fuel elements.  Some of that is Turkey, as we saw in an article in the Wall Street Journal two days ago.

      But I think that's probably all now in train.  There are some of the commercial and contractual legal elements to shipping it to Russia that were being negotiated.  And, you know, Russia and Iran, whenever they get into a nuclear negotiation, could take years.  But that can all be short-circuited by a political decision, and I think that's probably what is happening.

      So, yeah, we could see implementation day as early as January 15th, although I just heard that actually from Iran's political point of view -- Ariane, you'll address this -- maybe mid-February would be better as to get the best bump for the elections in February. 

      Amano's report did not give the West any reason to delay implementation day.  You know, if he had said that Iran's answers were unsatisfactory, inconclusive, if he had been negative about their answers, it would have provided a political basis for delaying implementation, even though there would be no legal or formal basis for tying JCPOA implementation to Iran's answers.  But, anyway, Amano's report was studiously neutral.  He didn't provide any basis for stopping implementation, so I'm pretty sure the parties will all be going ahead.

      This clears the first of the hurdles for the JCPOA.  There will be many hurdles to come.  You know, we can imagine that there will be violations, particularly alleged violations, violations in Iran's procurement of nuclear materials that are not channeled through the official procurement channel.  The LEU stockpile is going to fluctuate over 300 kilograms.  Iran is going to do some work on R&D that's not strictly allowed. 

      In judging all these things, there will have to be a way of looking at this, differentiate what's an important significant violation -- and I would put the R&D excesses in that category with the less important, and I would put the -- if the stockpile goes above 300 kilograms, that's not so important if it's just temporary. 

      And then the responses to violations should also be calibrated.  You know, the sanctions' snap back is not going to be applied for minor violations, but there are other ways that the West has leverage over Iran both within the JCPOA, like the re-design of the Arak reactor, that could be slowed.  The repurposing of the Fordow, any assistance there could be slowed.  And then there are other leverage points that are foreseeable. 

      The JCPOA provision for lifting all sanctions in eight years upon either eight years' expiry or IAEA drawing a broader conclusion, I think that's going to be problematic.  If there's no broader conclusion in eight years, I think it's going to be difficult politically for the West to lift all sanctions.  But that's eight years from now; we can cross that bridge when we come to it.  For now, things are looking pretty good.  The JCPOA will go ahead, and I think the world will be better for it.  Thank you.

      DAVENPORT:  Great.  Thank you so much, Mark.

      All right.  Ariane? 

      TABATABAI:  Thanks, Kelsey, and thanks to the rest of the ACA team for having me.  It's always a pleasure.

      I'm going to build a little bit upon both what Kelsey and Mark said in their remarks and give a little bit of the Iranian perspective on what's happening.  Of course, this was a very vital piece of the puzzle for Iran.  It was a huge step.  And they were very much looking forward to the PMD case closing once and for all.  In fact, the supreme leader, Mark mentioned, in a letter that he wrote President Rouhani, essentially endorsing the deal after the deal passed to the parliament, said that nothing would be done unless the PMD case closed. 

      Now, those who watch Iran know that you have to take everything the supreme leader says with a whole shaker, not just a grain of salt. 

      (LAUGHTER)

      His red lines are -- some of them are more red.  Some of them are not even lines.  So, you know, it's very complicated, and you have to look very -- you have to look at it with a lot of -- you have to be very careful, essentially, when you examine his red lines. 

      Nevertheless, this was something that really was important to the entire mainstream Iranian political establishment.  And I'll dive a little bit into why that is.  There are economic factors that come into play.  There are domestic factors that come into play.  And there is the issue -- underlying trust issue that Iran and the P5-plus-one and the IAEA, I would say, have.

      So to come back to the supreme leader's speech, though, or letter, he mentioned that everything that Iran would do would essentially be conditioned upon the IAEA closing this file.  Excuse me.  A lot of it is posturing, as he often does.  A lot of it is domestic politics.  He wants to appeal to his conservative base that feels like it's lost on this -- with the JCPOA having been reached.  And other people, especially hard-liners, believe that Iran has made too many concessions.  They think that Iran's concessions are virtually irreversible, whereas the P5-plus-one can essentially take a step back whenever they want and impose more sanctions, if needed to. 

      In fact, a key part of the narrative around the JCPOA has been that the nuclear issue is just an excuse, there will be more sanctions.  And this brings us back to what Mark was mentioning about the supreme leader saying if there's any more sanctions, whether it's human rights- or terrorism-related, Iran would consider that as a violation of the JCPOA.

      Now, we're in a very sensitive period right now.  It's post-JCPOA.  The deal has effectively -- the implementation has effectively started.  But we have also something very important happening in February, and that is two elections, the Majlis elections, the parliamentary elections, that are generally speaking very heated, tend to be more conservative than the presidential elections in Iran are.  You have a lot more -- you have more battles between the two parties -- parties?  The two sides of the aisle.

      And whereas with presidential elections, you normally see a little bit of an opening up of the environment politically speaking and people have a bit more room to come out and express what they feel.  And, you know, we've seen it 2009.  We saw some of it is 2013, though a bit more limited because of the 2009 events. 

      The pre-parliamentary election cycle tends to be a bit more closed off.  So you have -- the hard-liners, who tend to push more, they have more room to do whatever they want to do, whereas the rest of the population is a bit more closed off.  It's also important to note that people don't show up to parliamentary elections as much as they do for presidential elections.  I think that's the case in most countries, but specifically in Iran.

      So all of this means that there are a lot of things that are being said that really are meant to appease a domestic constituency and not necessarily meant for outside consumption.  So let's break this down.  The first thing is the supreme leader has mentioned is that something you hear quite often in the mainstream Iranian establishment, political establishment, but also security establishment with the Revolutionary Guards and other parts of the military and paramilitary forces, is that Iran can't trust the West, but it cannot trust the International Atomic Energy Agency as an agent of the West. 

      What they say and what they provide as evidence to support these claims is the targeted killings of Iranian scientists that Iran believes were facilitated by information that was made available by the IAEA.  And the second main issue and that connects directly to the PMD file is that the nuclear issue is just an excuse, that the West will impose more sanctions.  If it's the nuclear issue, it will be human rights.  If it's not human rights, it will be terrorism.

      So for all these reasons -- and the IAEA essentially presented as a pawn in this game.  I'm not going to dive into the merits or lack thereof these claims, but these are some of the pieces that are put forward. 

      So the supreme leader and I would say the government itself, as well, really wanted the case closed because they didn't want the West to be able to take a step back later on and say, well, this case isn't closed yet, so actually we have decided that now you've removed certain centrifuges, we're going to impose more sanctions.  For them, this is some sort of guarantee that things are going to move forward, that whatever Iran does is going to be reciprocated with sanctions relief.  So this is the element of trust. 

      The second one is that Iranian hard-liners have been saying throughout the negotiations that the PMD file would not be closed, period.  And that is something that the Rouhani government pushed back on quite a lot.  And essentially the discussion here wasn't necessarily about the PMD file itself; it was about negotiations.  Should Iran negotiate or not? 

      If you believe that the PMD file is not going to be closed, you believe that there is no point in negotiating, because that case is not going to be closed and sanctions will continue to be imposed.  If you believe, on the other hand, that the IAEA is reasonable and will close the case if it is provided with enough evidence that Iran's activities were peaceful, then you would be more inclined to negotiate, which was the case of the Rouhani government and the team that engaged in the negotiations.

      So with now the PMD report out, the Rouhani government sees this as a way to undermine the hard-liners' arguments against the negotiations and against the JCPOA moving forward.  Again, because it is election season, it's not quite election season -- you know, election cycles don't last as long as they do here in Iran, but the sort of gearing up to the election cycle, to the campaigns last a very long time.  So the campaign itself will probably be about a month, a month-and-a-half starting in January, ending in February with the elections.  But the arrests that we've seen, the pushback by the hard-liners, all of that is part of this leading up to the campaign, and it has started with the JCPOA and will likely continue until the elections in February.

      The third issue here is economics.  Iran came to the table partly because it wanted sanctions relief, partly because it wanted -- the Rouhani government, anyway, wanted to engage with the rest of the world and wanted to normalize its relations.  If there is no economic recovery being felt, the Rouhani government would have effectively failed what was the most important promise of its campaign, that it will be seen as having made too many concessions and not having managed to do anything.  And what I'm hearing from Iran is that people are already feeling pretty fed up with how things are going.  A lot of people feel like before the JCPOA was reached, you know, the economic situation was actually a lot better, that the dollar was cheaper and they had more access to things than they do now.  So if this continues a few months from now, a year from now, the presidential elections in 2017 in Iran will look very, very different. 

      So from the Iranian side's perspective, the PMD issue was key in making sure that the benefits of the JCPOA will start to kick in.  In other words, there is not going to be -- companies are not going to go to Iran, businesses are not going to be diving into the Iranian market unless there was some sort of resolution of this issue. 

      With this done now, this is going to facilitate the next steps of the process.  It's going to allow for the next steps of the process to happen.  So for the Iranian government, it was key to get this out of the way.  They essentially saw it as a means to an end, to allow them to move forward with the plan of economic recovery and obviously for the Rouhani government, it's incredibly important to do as much as possible before the February elections, if they don't want the hard-liners to take over the Majlis, the parliament. 

      So I hear Mark's views that this is positive, that I think that things will start to move ahead.  Iran has, as both Kelsey and Mark mentioned, has started to take some of the steps, despite the supreme leader saying we're not going to do anything as long as the PMD issue is still on the table.  They have started to move ahead, and I do suspect that because they want to see economic recovery as soon as possible and they want to move on to other issues, the Rouhani government specifically wants to be able to start ticking off items on the list of -- on its agenda, essentially, things that promised to the population, it will start to take steps as fast as possible. 

      Part of it is facilitated by the fact that they don't care if they break centrifuges in the process, but part of it is also that they really do want businesses to start going into the country and start collecting the fruits of all the efforts they've made in the past couple of years.

      So I'll stop here and happy to dive into any of this more in-depth if you have any questions about it.

      DAVENPORT:  Great, thank you, Ariane, and thank you for ensuring that I will think of the supreme leader whenever I use a salt shaker.  We will now turn it over to Greg.

      THIELMANN:  Thank you, Kelsey. 

      Building on the excellent presentations by Mark and Ariane, I'd like to make a few points about the intelligence assessments and how they relate to the IAEA report we were discussing.  The United States had concluded for some time that Iran had a structured program to develop nuclear weapons.  But in 2007, the U.S. intelligence community produced a National Intelligence Estimate, which is sort of like our Oracle of Delphi, and this reported that Iran's nuclear weapons program was halted in the fall of 2003.  And recall that only two years before, a National Intelligence Estimate had concluded that Iran was, quote, "determined to develop nuclear weapons," unquote.  So this was a big deal. 

      At the same time, the 2007 NIE also assessed that Iran still had ongoing R&D projects with commercial and conventional military applications, some of which would also be of limited use for nuclear weapons.  The IAEA issued a report in 2011 which reflected the broad outlines of the 2007 NIE.  But the IAEA report provided more specificity to the public on some of the ongoing R&D activities mentioned in the 2007 NIE that were relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. 

      These concerns were included in a framework of cooperation drawn up between the IAEA and Iran in 2013, which later led to the IAEA's road map to investigate and resolve areas of concern regarding the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program.  And I accept Mark's deletion of the P here.  I think that was a good suggestion. 

      Throughout the process, which the IAEA has now completed, Iran consistently denied that it ever had a program to develop nuclear weapons or would ever have such a program, given its religious mandate, the public comments of former President Rafsanjani notwithstanding. 

      This month's IAEA report provides an evaluation of the 12 PMD issue areas in the road map.  Some of the agency's PMD suspicions have been relieved; others have not.  All in all, the report is neither an absolution of Iran nor a full-throated condemnation. 

      It relies heavily on information provided by various intelligence services, but it also sometimes reaches different conclusions based on its own investigations and judgments.  For me, and Mark's remarks reflected this, also, the report's most newsworthy aspect was the revelation that the agency has no credible indications of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009.

      And let me briefly elaborate on this point.  The NIE's conclusion about the 2003 halting of Iran's nuclear weapons program was rendered with high confidence.  But the estimate's conclusion that there had been no resumption of an organized program through mid-2007 was only reached with moderate confidence. 

      Then in 2011, four years after the NIE judgment, the IAEA mentioned specific ongoing activities of concern, leaving me in suspense about whether or not this month's report, adding on four more years of evidence, would bring into question the NIE's conclusion eight years ago about the program being halted.  It did not. 

      We have no specific information on whether the U.S. intelligence community has any specific dissents from the IAEA's conclusions about past Iranian activities.  Even though the Vienna agency has its own independent sources of information, it's difficult for me to believe that any credible information from Western intelligence agencies about ongoing Iranian nuclear weapons development activities would not appear in this report.

      So I assume that the U.S. intelligence community also believes that the program remains dormant.  It just has not deigned to share with the public this important information about what's not going on with Iran's nuclear program in recent years.

      There has certainly been a parallel cone of silence over most likely projections with regard to Iran's long-range ballistic missile program, even though such projections are directly relevant to issues like East Coast basing for strategic missile defenses and the scheduled deployment of missile defenses in Poland under Phase 3 of the European phased, adaptive approach. 

      After predicting for more than a decade that Iran could flight test an ICBM by 2015, the director of national intelligence and other intelligence agency heads started quietly backpedaling.  This was first done by attaching unhelpful qualifiers to the warning of what Iran could do by 2015, like Iran could have an ICBM by 2015 with sufficient foreign assistance.  And my line on that usually is:  So could Burma.

      Then recently, by noting that Iran had announced plans to put a satellite into orbit by the end of 2015, insinuating that substituting a space launch vehicle for an ICBM would be equivalent, since a space launch vehicle could test a lot of the technology needed for a military system. 

      Finally, during the last few months, in the form of an unclassified answer to a written question submitted by a member of Congress, the four-star head of the Northern Command, Admiral William Gortney, explicitly acknowledged that Iran would not likely be able to launch an ICBM until later in the decade at the earliest. 

      Even so, as far as I know, no estimate has been shared with the public of how the Iran nuclear deal reached in July could affect the timetable for Iran deploying a nuclear-armed ICBM that could target the United States.  Surely an update should take into consideration both the political obstacles of the JCPOA, as well as the technical obstacles to which Admiral Gortney referred. 

      We will see how rapidly members of Congress and the press can adjust to the loss of the imminent Iranian threat to Los Angeles that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and U.S. Senator Cruz have been warning them about.  In the meantime, those who believe an informed public and Congress are important for national security can at least be grateful for the information that the IAEA has shared concerning Iran's past and present nuclear activities. 

      Thank you.

      DAVENPORT:  All right, thank you very much, Greg.  So we've had three thought-provoking presentations.  I will now open up the floor for questions.  If you could just raise your hand, identify yourself, and please limit it to a question. 

      We'll start right here with Stephanie.

      QUESTION:  Yeah, I just have... 

      DAVENPORT:  Oh, if you could wait for the mike, please.  Thank you. 

      QUESTION:  Sorry, I didn't -- Stephanie Cooke with Nuclear Intelligence Weekly.  I just wanted to ask Mark if he would elaborate a little on the 20 percent enriched deal, what the problem is with that, and if that is included in the stockpile numbers, would have to be dealt with -- I get a little confused about where the 20 percent stuff fits.  Thank you. 

      FITZPATRICK:  I'll bet there are five people in the room that know the answer better than I do, so maybe they could elaborate.  I don't really know what the problem is, why Russia can't take that, as well.  That is included among the things that have to be removed.

      So it's just that, you know, Iran moved quickly to try to make fuel elements and some of it's stuck -- and it's in waste and there are some technical problem, but I really don't know why it would be possible to send it to Kazakhstan but not Russia, except that the Kazakhstan element seems to be they're going to just store it in Kazakhstan temporarily, whereas what goes to would be, you know, somehow further processed for making fuel for Iran.

The fabricated fuel or the part that was in the waste, that was part of the fabricating of fuel, I don't know the technical details, I don't know for certain that there's actually a contract being negotiated with Kazakhstan, although there seems to be enough news that that is the case. 

      QUESTION:  (OFF-MIKE) 

      FITZPATRICK:  Does anybody know this? 

      DAVENPORT:  I would just add to that that, you know, they're still in the process of trying to gather up all of this scrap material that was stuck in the conversion process from the 20 percent gas, when they turned it to oxide, and then when they turned the oxide into fuel plates.  They could choose to dilute some of that down, if possible, and then that could be sent to Russia, but what they can't dilute or convert, you know, could be sent to Kazakhstan. 

      I have seen some Russian reports saying that they are hesitant to take the 20 percent material because it does not fit with some of their fuel fabrication sort of facilities and plans.  But I don't know how credible that is.  So I think, you know, we'll have to wait and see how that turns out. 

      DAVENPORT:  Yes.  Ed? 

      QUESTION:  Edward Levine, Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation.  I want to pick on Mark, too.  On the question of the implications of this report and the draft resolution for going ahead, what are you hearing from the IAEA between the lines on the question of what access they got to people or to documents or to places and that precedents that access might set for the future?

      FITZPATRICK:  I didn't get a good reading on the access to people and documents and the access to Parchin we all know about.  The IAEA insists that the access that they got to investigate the PMD does not set any precedent for verification of the JCPOA going forward.  That's the line, but, I mean, let's face it, Iran certainly sees it as a precedent.  And the manner in which inspectors were not present at the environmental sampling at Parchin I think is worrisome, because it removed the possibility for spontaneous decision-making on the spot, where to make -- where to do swipe sampling.

      The IAEA says and justifies this on grounds of technological developments, that verification technology is moving swiftly ahead.  It's largely based on automated systems.  And given the pressure on the IAEA budget to have to make maximum use of such automated systems, to the extent to which they are real-time monitoring, that's for the better.  But the, you know, judgment of inspectors on the ground -- I don't think the automated systems can replace that.

      So I think member states need to insist that that didn't set a precedent for future verification, and I anticipate that the next time there is an issue that arises over allegations of nuclear activity at a military site, this is going to rise very quickly to -- you know, involving the dispute mechanism and a high-level political decision about how to proceed.

      DAVENPORT:  Great, thank you.  Other questions?  Yes?  Oh, if you could wait for the mike, please, sir.  Thank you.

      QUESTION:  I'd like to ask, basically, for speculations on the part of the panel about, you know, certainly Iran and others have always claimed that the IAEA is really acting more political than technical.  So with the report, and the consequence positioning by Secretary Kerry and others, how would you, you know, speculate about this political factor and whether it's going to get more or less in the eyes of the rest of the world?

      DAVENPORT:  Great, thank you.  So the question -- the politics of the IAEA, how political has their decision-making been, what will it be going forward.  Why don't we start at the end of the panel?  Greg, do you have any thoughts on that that you'd like to share?

      THIELMANN:  Well, I do see the IAEA as primarily technical, and it is infused in so much of their language and their judgments.  When they make a judgment, when they do not make a judgment, you can see a reluctance to enter into the political realm. 

      Having said that, the whole exercise on PMD is so incredibly political, and the language they choose has political implications, so, you know, it's really hard to say that there is no political role being played by the IAEA.

      But the IAEA knows that it loses credibility in a lot of quarters when its comments and conclusions are perceived as being political.  And I think they act accordingly.  I mean, I think they try to confine their judgments, their conclusions, their activities to the technical realm.  And I know it's something on which people can differ, and Iran obviously has motivations for putting a spin on the IAEA which is political.

      But I don't accept the arguments that the IAEA is a shell of the Americans or the West or anything like that.  And I think there are a lot of examples one can give where the IAEA says certain things both on this issue and in the past that have made the United States very unhappy.

      DAVENPORT:  Thank you, Greg.  Ariane, Mark, would you like to add anything?

      TABATABAI:  Yeah, I'll say a few things.  I agree with everything Greg said.  What's interesting with Iran is that on the one hand the Islamic Republic has essentially always presented international organizations, including the U.N. and the IAEA, of course, as political tools in the hands of the West, to impose their will on the rest of the planet.

      On the other hand, though, Iran has also tried consistently to say we are upstanding members of the international community and we have been abiding by our international obligations all the time.  So on the one hand, they dispute everything that the international community has been saying about Iran's nuclear program.  On the other hand, they've been saying, but we are abiding by the NPT, which is biased, granted, but we are doing everything we're supposed to under our international obligations. 

      I think what is interesting right now is seeing the shift between hard-liners, more conservative factions, and then the moderates who are involved in the negotiations.  They have a much better understanding of the IAEA's role.  I don't think that anyone in the negotiating team and people close to them have these perceptions of the IAEA as a merely political tool, though they do subscribe to some of the things that the more mainstream establishment says, like, you know, they tried -- they helped the West assassinate our scientists, basically. 

      On the other hand, though, they have taken everything the PMD report very specifically or the past and present issues report, as they like to call it, to remove the possible military dimensions out of the equation, they've taken that to say, look, we have been right all along, this has all been a very unfortunate issue, but, you know, Iran's nuclear activities were merely peaceful.  They have obviously highlighted the parts of the report that they want to highlight for their audience.  And they've essentially taken the IAEA as a seal of approval for everything that they've done in the past decade-and-a-half.

      The hard-liners have been very quiet on the report, interestingly.  They haven't had anything to say, I guess, because on the one hand if they dispute the report, then they look terrible.  And if they don't, well, then they're kind of empowering the government, so they've been pretty quiet on this issue.  But there's a bit of -- I guess there's a polarization of the views on the IAEA within the Iranian establishment, is what I would say. 

      DAVENPORT:  All right.  Mark, would you like to add... 

      FITZPATRICK:  So, in conclusion, to the extent to which the IAEA report is politicized, it's politicized in Iran's favor, because it closes the file.  And what the report says is so carefully worded that one cannot accuse the IAEA of being political in what it says, but one could say what it doesn't say has a political overtone.  You know, they could have said more about what Iran's -- how Iran's answers didn't all address all of the questions the IAEA had posed.  And I think it will probably be grounds for those who are opposed to the JCPOA to claim that the IAEA was pressured to provide a report that would allow the JCPOA to go ahead.

      But all my discussions with senior officials at the IAEA suggest to me that they're convinced that they've done this correctly in accordance with all the procedures and that they know enough to move ahead. 

      DAVENPORT:  Great, thank you.  Other questions?  Yes, Tom? 

      QUESTION:  Tom Collina, Ploughshares Fund. Thank you all very much for very excellent presentations.  Two questions.  One, looking forward at the future implementation of the deal, what are the one or two things that worry you the most that could cause problems, either here in Congress or in Iran?  And then second question, how important is the upcoming Majlis election for the Rouhani presidential election?  Does it matter at all?  Or is it completely definitive or conclusive?  Thank you.

      DAVENPORT:  I will sort of tack on a little bit of an addition to Tom's question about perceived problems.  You know, we've seen in the past few months two Iranian tests of what are likely medium-range ballistic missiles.  You know, those are prohibited in Iran -- Iran is prohibited from conducting those under past U.N. Security Council resolutions.  Iran has never said it's bound by those resolutions.  But there is similar language in the new resolution endorsing the deal that leaves some wiggle room for future tests, but encourages Iran not to conduct tests of these missiles. 

      You know, are we likely to see those?  Do those have a disruptive effect on the deal going forward?  So that may be a little more directed towards Ariane and Greg, but -- yeah, so maybe, Ariane, if you want to start with Tom's second question on the Majlis elections and then anything you'd like to add on implementation challenges.

      TABATABAI:  Sure.  They are fairly important, but I would say that they're not going to be vital to the 2017 elections.  They're important because if the Majlis does swing more toward Rouhani's direction, then that would be a huge victory for him.  And, you know, the JCPOA was a big success for him, and this would be -- this would sort of reinforce that and would give him a lot of political capital that he does need to move ahead on a number of other issues, I would say very specifically domestic issues, which is where he's been really lacking. 

      So come 2017, he would have a deal, economic recovery nowhere in sight right now, even if things start to move ahead.  We know that there's going to be so many challenges associated with sanctions relief and the psychological effect and the inability of different businesses to go into Iran, corruption, mismanagement.  All of that stuff will mean that Iranians won't really start to feel the impact of sanctions relief, in my view, until not before the 2017 elections. 

      So that is going to be problematic for him, which means that he needs to start delivering elsewhere.  And he's not really able to do that right now, because his priorities have been nuclear deal, fighting ISIS, and then perhaps maybe domestic issues, if I have the time to sort of deal with them I guess at some point.  So if he can't deliver anything on the economic front or not enough on the economic front, and he doesn't take any more steps on human rights, on domestic issues, he is not going to be in the best situation in 2017.

      In terms of things that I guess concern me, as your second question, but also tied to the first one, is the escalation domestically that I think is going to -- that has the possibility of affecting the implementation of the JCPOA.  Part of the ICBM tests, the cyber attacks that have been conducted, the increased pressure on dual citizens, the inability of the government, essentially, to have any kind of meetings with E.U. counterparts, for instance, because of the fear that people will get arrested, and so on and so forth, is really going to impact the government's ability to deliver some of these promises. 

      So what concerns me is, again, this escalation, the IRGC intel and other bodies doing their own thing, and by the same token also potentially hurting the implementation of the JCPOA. 

      THIELMANN:  Yeah, I'd just like to agree with Ariane that I think non-nuclear activities by Iran are what worries me more than things related to the limits on Iran's nuclear weapons program.  The missiles I think are going to be a concern and a continuing concern because -- not because -- I mean, the JCPOA is not about the missiles.  It's about the nuclear warheads that would go on them.  But this is one of those distinctions which is lost in a lot of the discussion. 

      And we do have both an existing U.N. Security Council resolution that bans nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, and that really is kind of a reflection of a technical term.  A system that has a range of 300 kilometers that can carry a 500-kilogram warhead is a nuclear-capable missile.  This means Iranian shorter-range ballistic missiles that can make it to the other side of the Persian Gulf, but can't make it to Israel, they're also prohibited from being tested. 

      Well, this is an incredibly onerous limit on a country that basically has no air force and is in a region with a lot of hostile neighbors.  So this is going to be a continuing problem.  Even though the existing U.N. Security Council resolution will soon be replaced by another one which instead of mandating, calls upon Iran.  That's a subtle distinction that many have complained about. 

      So it's slightly less prohibitive, but the main point is that for another eight years, Iran will not be allowed under the U.N. Security Council resolutions or at least it will be called upon not to conduct any ballistic missile testing.  That is not going to happen.  The Iranians are not going to accept that; they've never implied that they accept the legitimacy of the U.N. telling them they can't test ballistic missiles.

      It will get worse, of course, if they do a lot of medium-range ballistic missile testing, because those systems -- like the Ghadar and the Shahab 3 -- would be able to deliver a nuclear warhead to Israel.  If they get into the field of longer-run ballistic missiles, which could threaten northwestern Europe or the North American homeland, then the successful implementation of the agreement will get into even bigger problems, but not because the Iranians are necessarily reneging their obligations not to develop nuclear devices to put on the warheads, but for other reasons.

      FITZPATRICK:  So the missile testing is an issue.  It's a strategic issue.  It's a political issue in the United States, but it's not a political issue in Europe.  I don't think America's European partners would join in any exercise to sanction Iran or the missile tests because they don't want it to impede the implementation of the nuclear accord.

      So the answer is not to impose new sanctions.  To keep the imposition of sanctions as possible leverage, but then to negotiate some moratorium on missile testing, the way that the United States began to engage North Korea four years -- three years after the 1994 Agreed Framework.  They got pretty close under Clinton, before his term of office ran out, to actually negotiate something with the North Koreans.  There's no reason we couldn't bilaterally, but more likely multilaterally engage in negotiations with Iran over the missile issue.

      So Tom's question, what worries me the most, it's actually what happens toward the end of the second term of the next U.S. president.  In October, October 2023, all sanctions come off, right, under the JCPOA, after eight years.  And if at that time the IAEA has not been able to draw the broader conclusion that there's no non-peaceful nuclear activity in Iran, I just think it presents a huge issue.  You know, I think it'll be difficult for the United States and maybe other partners to lift all sanctions if there are still remaining doubts about Iran's nuclear activities. 

      So at that point, at eight years' time, if the broader conclusion can't be reached, I think we may be in for renegotiating the JCPOA.  But that's eight years ahead.  I think for the next couple of years, at least, Iran will have a strong incentive not to violate the nuclear accord in significant ways.  There will be less -- I mean, on the margins, there will be violations, there will be accusations of bigger violations.  That can be dealt with under the dispute resolution process, but the issue of no broader conclusion can't be dealt with under the dispute resolution, I just think it presents too big of a political issue, and right now so.  If there are doubts about what they're doing and significant doubts, I don't think sanctions should all be lifted and all leverage removed. 

      DAVENPORT:  Great, thank you.  Other questions?  Yes, Jessica Mathews.

      QUESTION:  Thank you.  I wanted to ask two questions.  One is, can we say anything more about the date of implementation day at this point, given what they've done and whether there have been any additional comments on the route they're going?

      And, secondly, I wondered if you could speculate as to why the U.S. intelligence community hasn't shared information about its views of what's not going on, this -- or whether there's any indication that they've done so in classified briefings?  Since this would have seemed particularly in the run-up to the vote a critical piece of information.  So if you could tell us a little more about that interesting point. 

      DAVENPORT:  Great, thank you.  Let's start with the first question.  Maybe we'll start with you, Ariane, and you can talk about what the Iranians are saying about implementation day. 

      TABATABAI:  Yeah, so one of the supreme leader's many things -- many comments was that implementation day should not be before -- well, let me rephrase.  Some of the interpretations of what the supreme leader said were that he didn't want implementation day to happen before the Majlis elections, and the reason that you often hear is because he doesn't really want the Majlis to swing toward Rouhani.  He wants a conservative Majlis, because that's generally where he gets his base.

      I think there is some truth to that, perhaps.  But more generally speaking, I do think that as far as the mainstream Iranian establishment is concerned -- that includes the supreme leader -- they would like something sooner, rather than later.  So I think that we're going to see sort of efforts to try to make it happen as soon as possible.

      In terms of whether they have given concrete dates and so on -- not that I am aware of -- I don't think they've said anything specific about weeks, months, or days where they think that this should happen -- I think that once the Board of Governors comes out with its assessment based on the report, and decides to close the case or not, more likely to close the case, the Iranians will be happy to move forward.

      DAVENPORT:  And that board meeting is going to be on December 15th, and the draft resolution being circulated indicates that the board is, indeed, going to close the file.  You know, estimates in the U.S. have been a little bit different.  Mark or Greg, would you like to address that?

      FITZPATRICK:  Yeah, I had been predicting Easter, and I chose Easter because it gives me some wiggle room.  I didn't specify whether it's Orthodox Easter or Western Easter.  It gives me a month leeway. 

      And I had said that because Secretary of Energy Moniz last April or so said it would take six months -- DOE estimates of six months for Iran to complete the technical measures that they would have to undertake.  But Iran has been moving quicker than most people expected, so I think that six-month period can be shortened. 

      And I have it on very good authority, only third hand, that mid-February is what Iran is hoping for.  I'm joking about good authority.

      (LAUGHTER) 

      But I think it could be done by mid-February.  You know, assuming that whatever the technical and contractual glitches about removing the 20 percent enriched uranium involve, and, again, Stephanie, I wish I could give you a better answer.  Maybe you'll dig somewhere and get an answer for us.     

      DAVENPORT:  Yeah, and I think the U.S. officials have also been conceding that their original estimates are shortening.  Some have said that end of January or early February -- Moniz has even hinted at that now, that that could be a possibility.  But I think it certainly will depend on how quickly Iran decides to move after the 15th. 

      But, Greg, if you have thoughts on that, and then also the intelligence question. 

      THIELMANN:  I won't presume to add anything to what Kelsey and Mark have said about the timing of implementation day.  I would offer a few thoughts on the very interesting question Jessica Mathews has raised about the intelligence community's willingness to share with the public its conclusions. 

      I first of all don't know -- in spite of my experience and friends -- I don't know what they are saying right now in classified settings behind closed doors.  I'm quite confident that there is back-and-forth on many of these issues, at least in the intelligence committees of the Congress, with a lot more specificity than the public is seeing with projections and best estimates and so forth.

      But the more general answer is that the default setting in the intelligence community is not to say anything to the public about what it does every day and its conclusions.  There is concern about jeopardizing sources and methods, that even when you just share bottom-line conclusions, you can jeopardize some information streams. 

      There is that kind of legitimate concern.  And that's always been the case with intelligence matters.  So it's always a tradeoff between the public getting the necessary information.  I also saw, though, on the Intelligence Committees of Congress, there is difficulty with people who have all the clearances necessary getting the information that they needed.  Sometimes it's because of an extremely sensitive stream of information that can only be shared allegedly with the chairman, the vice chairman of the committee, and two staffers.  I mean, I found myself as a senior staffer dealing with Iran issues that was closed out of some very important information because it was provided by a foreign country and they didn't want it widely spread, not even among the very few members of Congress and staffers that have top-secret code word clearances.

      So there is always that problem and tension.  What worries me more is that 10 or 15 years ago, the intelligence community would share a lot more with the American public about its conclusions than they do today.  You used to have a lightly sanitized executive summary that was shared with the American people.  That's why we know so much about what the intelligence community said in 1999 about the foreign ballistic missile threat.  That's why we know a lot about this very important 2007 document. 

      They're not doing that anymore.  Largely they're not even sharing the bottom line conclusions of the intelligence community on very important issues.  And I think they've gone too far in that, that the public and particularly members of Congress have a need to know what the $50 billion investment is providing in the way of information. 

      So I certainly have a complaint there.  And I think there is another element that I mentioned very cautiously, an element of concern by various people in the intelligence community that sharing information can only get them into trouble.  I mean, they are still burned by the Iraq WMD episode.  And they are -- I would even say traumatized.  The trauma led to a lot of very important reforms in the intelligence community process.  I saw them.  I'm fully convinced that we have a better intelligence community product today as a result of the 2004 reforms. 

      But unfortunately, one of the conclusions the intelligence community drew was, don't tell the American public anything.  You'll avoid all these problems and criticisms of the intelligence community.

      QUESTION:  Is it wound up, do you think, at all with the Snowden -- the whole set of Snowden issues that's in some ways holding them back?  There's such a powerful -- I mean, we focused on what could go wrong in Tehran.  An awful lot could go wrong here, as was said.  And one of the reasons I asked about the timeline was just thinking about the Republican primary process this spring.  This thing could still blow up here in lots of ways. 

      So the need to share is something that supports or validates or is consistent with an IAEA judgment is pretty -- it's pretty powerful.  So even your suggestions don't fully to me explain why there wouldn't have been maybe an NIE at this point, for example. 

      DAVENPORT:  You know, I'll let you add more Greg, if you want, but I think it could be interesting to see if James Clapper puts anything in the worldwide threat assessment that will likely come out in January, and usually there's a hearing -- and he testifies on that.  Because it was in the January 2014 threat assessment that he acknowledged that implementation of the interim deal with Iran provided -- would provide greater insights into Iran's nuclear program, and as a result likely decrease the threat of Iran's nuclear program. 

      So I think it will be interesting to see if anything comes out in that document, and usually that comes out in January.  I don't know if you had anything else you wanted to add there, Greg.  OK. 

      Yes, Ed? 

      QUESTION:  Meanwhile, up on the Hill, we have a House resolution calling for a cutoff of funds for the IAEA, unless they share their confidential agreements with Iran.  Now, we're used to House resolutions not going anywhere.  But the interesting thing about this one is that it's co-sponsored by a raft of committee chairs.  And I wonder whether this is something you think we ought to take seriously.

      DAVENPORT:  Anyone -- would anyone like to weigh in on that?  I mean, I'm happy to answer that.  I think that ensuring that the International Atomic Energy Agency has the funds to properly monitor and verify that Iran is fulfilling its commitments is crucial.  I mean, regardless of whether or not you support the deal, you should support that it is properly implemented and support the international community's agency that is actually overseeing those steps on the ground.

      So I am concerned that that resolution is gaining momentum.  But I think that, you know, cooler heads will prevail, because ultimately it's in the U.S. national security interest to ensure that the deal is monitored and verified.

      And I think that, you know, ensuring that the IAEA has the funding it needs is just, you know, one part of the puzzle.  I mean, there are, you know, agencies within the Department of Energy that do research and development on technologies that are used by the IAEA.  I think that ensuring their funding is a critical piece, as well, because the deal contains a clause in it that allows the IAEA to introduce new monitoring and verification technology as it becomes available.  So ensuring that there is still research and development into technologies and tools that can allow us to even -- to verify even more strongly the deal and provide more insight I think will be critical in the years ahead.

      THIELMANN:  I would just say one thing, too, Ed.  I mean, I don't need to tell you anything about who to take seriously in Congress and what to take seriously.  I would just say, from the outside, that this reminds me of putting holds on ambassadors that members of Congress admit are completely qualified to accept the position.  But they want to be heard on another unrelated issue or they want some respect from the administration and to be taken seriously.  And I think there are a lot of the same things here. 

      They're really frustrated, and they don't have access to IAEA documents.  What do you mean we in Congress can't see this?  They're furious.  They want to make the point, get the administration's attention.  And I think that they would probably behind closed doors admit that they have a gun to their own heads in doing this, but that's kind of beside the point for them.  That's my speculation from the outside. 

      DAVENPORT:  OK.  Shervin, there's a question here from this woman here in the back.  Right here. 

      QUESTION: My question is back again to the stockpile.  Under the July agreement, Russia expect the deal be implemented in January 2016, which is to swap Iran's stockpile with Russia.  What is the status on that?  Would you please elaborate if there is any changes or delay or any other different base on the July agreement?  Thank you. 

      DAVENPORT:  Sorry, do you want to... 

      FITZPATRICK:  The July agreement doesn't actually specify that the stockpile has to be shipped out.  It just says that it has to be eliminated, so Iran could choose to eliminate it in other ways besides shipping it out.  They could, you know, dilute it back to natural uranium, but that would lose all the value of having enriched it in the first place.

      So they've been negotiating with Russia on a commercial contract to swap it -- to send it to Russia in exchange for fuel elements down the line.  Those negotiations had originally seemed to get off to some usual to-and-fro of both sides trying to strike the best commercial advantage, but it seems to me that those dealings have now reached a point where the shipment can be made relatively quickly.

      I don't know that for a fact, but it seems to be the case, and the issue -- only remaining issue is this 20 percent bits that are caught up in the process of making fuel elements and that were in waste and how to dispose of them.  And that's why the Kazakhstan option came up as a way to just store it in Kazakhstan, not to sell it or in exchange for anything, but to store it there.  But I don't know any details about that. 

      I don't think the shipping out is going to present a difficulty in impeding implementation day.

      DAVENPORT:  I think that would be supported, too, by some rumors in the Russian press that Russia has relaxed some of its export-import laws in relation to uranium enrichment technology and materials in regards to Iran.  That I think is helping open that door for the shipment to take place.

      Shervin, we'll take a question here, and then Mort, and then I think we'll call it a day.

      QUESTION:  My name is Richard Golden.  I'm a member of the association.  I understand that there's been speculation in the foreign press that Iran may attempt to evade the proscriptions of the JCPOA by conducting proscribed activities outside of its own borders.  Is this a reasonable speculation? 

      DAVENPORT:  OK.  And, Shervin, let's take the last question and then we'll answer them both.  Yes?

      QUESTION:  Milton Hoenig.  Things happened in 2009, like discovery of Fordow and Iran's refusal to take 20 percent enriched fuel from abroad for the Tehran reactor.  Why do you think 2009 was a year in which Iran stopped development, any kind of work on nuclear weapons?  What was the significance of that?

      DAVENPORT:  All right, two great questions.  So would Iran conduct some of the activities prohibited under the JCPOA outside of its own borders?  We've certainly heard rumors about Iranian-North Korean connections in the past.  And then the second question, you know, sort of why 2009?  So I suggest we go this time in reverse order to address these questions, so we'll start with Greg and then work the way back to Mark.  And if you'd like to make any closing comments, as well, feel free.  So, Greg? 

      THIELMANN:  I think the first question is a very hard one about what kind of activities outside its borders Iran might accept, participate in, promote.  I'm not very confident in my answer to that question, except my gut tells me that Iran's pride and suspicion of other countries dictates that sensitive stuff be conducted by Iran alone and that it would be very dubious to contract out to North Korea or one of the other countries that might be interested in that kind of cooperation.

      But, again, I don't have high confidence in that judgment.  That's just what my gut tells me.

      I think Milton's question is a very interesting one that I've been pondering a little bit, why 2009?  Why is that -- if we can believe that that's kind of the date after which we don't evidence of continuing sensitive activities applicable to nuclear weapons programs? 

      I don't think it's because Ahmadinejad continued in office.  My best speculation on that is that the Iranians were dismayed and shocked at the extent to which Fordow was known and detected by the international community.  I mean, they invested a lot of money in that facility, and I think that may have had a sobering effect on them.  There may have been other aspects of perceptions about international solidarity to stop an Iranian weapons program.  I don't know.  But I think the Fordow -- the outing on Fordow was a significant event in that year. 

      DAVENPORT:  Ariane?

      TABATABAI:  Yeah, so I think Fordow is definitely a piece of the puzzle.  I also don't have a perfect answer; I don't think anyone does at this stage.  But I think Fordow definitely is an important one. 

      I do think that Ahmadinejad had something to do with it, not because he continued, but because 2009 was a very important year for Iranian domestic politics.  Iran essentially had its greatest crisis of legitimacy, the Islamic Republic, anyway, did, in the 37, 36, 37 years of its existence.  It was a difficult year for them.

      And I think that what happened after 2009 was a lot of re-evaluation of all of Iran's priorities and what it should do and policies, and some of it led to the 2013 election.  Some of it led to some policy changes.  So I think that in addition to, whoops, we have been, you know, Fordow has been discovered, there was also the idea that maybe we should do things differently a little bit, make sure we don't end up in the situation we're in currently.

      So I think that domestic politics had something to do with it, as well.  At that point, we're also how many resolutions in U.N. Security Council resolutions, three, four?

      DAVENPORT:  Four, I think?

      TABATABAI:  Four, I think.  So, you know, I think that that also had something to do with that.

      DAVENPORT:  Great, thank you.  And we'll give the last word to Mark. 

      FITZPATRICK:  I like the way Richard Golden phrased the question when he referred to foreign press speculation.  Because it's only speculation.  And I pay a lot of attention to the potential Iranian-North Korean nuclear cooperation, and I use the word potential, because I haven't seen any solid evidence that it exists.

      There's a lot of speculation.  One can assess that it is possible, probably even likely, some kind of cooperation.  But I think it's unlikely for the reasons that Greg said that Iran would contract out activity to North Korea.  The cultural -- Iran's view of North Korea is not so favorable, let me put it that way.  I just don't think they would do it.  But that doesn't mean there couldn't be some kind of cooperation. 

      What I think is far more likely is that Iran would conduct prohibited activity in Iran.  It's a large country.  The IAEA can't go everywhere, especially activity that is of the nature of two-dimensional, of work on blueprints, and that may well continue somewhere.  And that's very hard to get a handle on.

      But I think that the -- I think Iran probably realizes that it doesn't need to do a lot of physical activity beyond the limits of the JCPOA, because as a country with a 7,000 -- or somebody once said 8,000-year history, they can afford to wait 10 to 15 years to have this option.  They don't need to make a lot of further progress right now.  After the limits come off, they can have a lot of capabilities.

      But one hopes that by then, 15 years of implementation of this deal, of the intrusive verification measures, will provide a better basis of trust.  And maybe we will have negotiations on a missile deal, as well, in the interim.  So I'm not so pessimistic about the future, but I think there are reasons to be certainly on alert to cheating on the margins and not to let it escape undetected and unresponded to.

      DAVENPORT:  OK.  Well, thank you all so much for coming.  If you think that the negotiating teams from the U.S., the E.U., Russia, China, and Iran have done something significant to assist in national security, I would tell you that they've been nominated for the Arms Control Association Persons of the Year.  So if you'd like to vote for them, you can visit our website, armscontrol.org. 

      Thank you for your attention.  Thank you for your questions.  And please join me in thanking the panelists.

      END

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The Arms Control Association hosted a Dec. 10 discussion with experts  on the IAEA’s PMD report, its implications for implementation of the nuclear agreement, and the reactions in Iran to the report’s findings.

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Civil Society Statement Delivered by Daryl G. Kimball to the 9th CTBT Article XIV Conference

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Redouble Efforts for the CTBT

CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT TO THE 9TH CTBT ARTICLE XIV CONFERENCE
SEPTEMBER 29, 2015 

As Prepared for Delivery by Daryl G. Kimball,
Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Nearly all of the world’s nations recognize that nuclear explosive testing is no longer acceptable, yet the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) will not have entered into force by Sept. 24, 2016—20 years after the opening for signature of the Treaty—due to inaction of eight Annex II states.

The CTBT is an effective, verifiable, non-discriminatory, additional barrier to restrain the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons, and to stop the further spread of nuclear weapons, and it contributes to the establishment of the legal basis for a world free of nuclear weapons.

Bringing the CTBT into full legal force will require more energetic, more creative, more pragmatic and more focused efforts on the part of “Friends of the CTBT” states, eminent persons, responsible lawmakers, the scientific and technical community, and other members of civil society supportive of the CTBT.

We welcome the statements of support for the CTBT from two important hold-out states, China and the United States, but it is very disappointing that neither state has taken sufficient action to ratify the treaty.

The time available for President Barack Obama to pursue the “immediate and aggressive” action to win Senate advice and consent for ratification that he promised in 2009 is shrinking rapidly. More energetic White House leadership, however, would still improve the chances of success after his term expires. We urge bipartisan support for the U.S. ratification of the CTBT, which is clearly and demonstrably in the U.S. national security interest.

China’s leaders maintain that their ratification does not depend on the actions of other states and that they have no intention of resuming testing. We call on President Xi Jinping to show international leadership and pursue China’s ratification without further delay.

We welcome the support of the CTBT from the Russian Federation, which has already ratified the Treaty, and call upon President Vladimir Putin to actively encourage key Annex II states to move forward on the treaty and engage with his U.S. and Chinese counterparts on promoting the early entry-into-force of the CTBT.

Other states must do their part too. Ratification by Egypt, Iran, and Israel—three other key CTBT holdouts—would also reduce nuclear weapons-related security concerns in the Middle East and help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction—or at the very least, a nuclear weapons test free zone.

We welcome the support for the CTBT expressed by senior Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel has signed but has not yet ratified the CTBT. Israel’s ratification would bring that country closer to the nuclear non-proliferation mainstream and encourage other states in the region to follow suit.

We welcome the support for the CTBT expressed by senior Iranian leaders, including Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. At the first Article XIV conference in 1999, Mr. Zarif, then Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister, spoke in support of the treaty and endorsed the final conference report. The conference report urged its members to sustain the momentum for entry into force of the CTBT at the highest level and to hold informal consultations and promote cooperation aimed at bringing the Treaty into effect.

Neither India nor Pakistan say they want to resume testing, yet their governments have failed to take a serious look at joining the CTBT, which is a non-discriminatory measure that would help reduce global and regional nuclear tensions. In 1998, the leadership of both states said that they would not stand in the way of CTBT entry into force—nearly two decades later, now is the time for Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif to reconsider that position, reinforce their support for their non-testing policies, and become leaders, not followers on the test ban.

North Korea continues its nuclear pursuits in violation of its earlier denuclearization pledges and the NPT and may conduct yet another nuclear weapon test explosion, which would allow it to proof-test more advanced nuclear weapons capabilities. We call on North Korea to cease further nuclear testing and for the resumption of the Six Party Talks that should include support for the CTBT.

Given these realities, states at this conference have a responsibility to take practical steps to support the CTBT, to reinforce the global nuclear testing moratorium and prohibition, and to encourage nuclear-armed states to refrain from nuclear weapons modernization activities that lead to new types of warheads and new military capabilities.

In the interest of global security and out of respect for the victims and survivors of nuclear testing, we call on all states in the coming year to redouble diplomatic efforts to bring the CTBT into force. 

To do so, states parties should consider and undertake one or more of the following initiatives:

  1. Use this Article XIV Conference as a launching point for a powerful, high-level, ongoing multilateral diplomatic campaign, led by states such as Japan and Kazakhstan—two states that have experienced first hand the devastating effects of nuclear weapon explosions—to increase diplomatic efforts to create the conditions for ratification by one or more key Annex II states in the next year.
  2. Utilize the time leading up to the 20th anniversary of the opening for signature of the CTBT in September 2016 to launch a public campaign to raise governmental and public awareness about the dangers of nuclear testing, the possible resumption of nuclear testing, and the value of the CTBT as a critical element in a comprehensive global strategy to halt the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons, halt the further spread of nuclear weapons, and contribute to the realization of a world without nuclear weapons.
  3. CTBT States parties, the seven states observing nuclear testing moratoria, and the UN Security Council should explore new approaches to reinforce the global taboo against nuclear testing and clarify that nuclear test explosions by any nation are a threat to international peace and security.

For example, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States could jointly issue a formal joint statement committing not to be the first of the seven to conduct a nuclear test explosion. 

In addition, pending the permanent closure of nuclear test sites, voluntary transparency measures would further strengthen confidence in the CTBT monitoring and verification regime.

None of these options is easy or simple, but without fresh thinking and renewed action, the door to further nuclear testing remains open and the full potential of the CTBT, including the option for on-site inspections to investigate possible noncompliance, will remain unrealized.

Endorsed by:

Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice, Harvard Kennedy School, and former adviser to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Sandra Ionno Butcher, Executive Director, Pugwash Conferences on Science & World Affairs (International)*

David Culp, Legislative Representative, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Washington, DC

Dr. Sidney Drell, Stanford University 

Joe Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Fund

Robert J. Einhorn, former U.S. Department of State Special Advisor for Nonproliferation

Charles D. Ferguson, President of the Federation of American Scientists* 

Nancy Gallagher, Interim Director, Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland 

Richard L. Garwin, 
IBM Fellow Emeritus, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center

Amb. James Goodby, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution,* Stanford University, and former advisor to President Clinton on the CTBT

Jonathan Granoff, President, Global Security Institute 

Dr. Lisbeth Gronlund, Co-Director and Senior Scientist, and Dr. David Wright, Co-Director and Senior Scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

John Hallam, People for Nuclear Disarmament, Sydney, Australia

Morton H. Halperin, Director of Policy Planning, Department of State 1998-2001

Paul Ingram, Executive Director, British American Security Information Council

Dr. Happymon Jacob, Associate Professor of Disarmament Studies, Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University 

Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director, Project Ploughshares

Dr. Rebecca E. Johnson FRSA, Director, Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy

Togzhan Kassenova, Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace*

Ayman Khalil, Director, Arab Institute for Security Studies (Amman) 

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association 

The Honorable Mike Kopetski, former Member of the U.S. Congress (D-Oregon) and co-author of the Nuclear Test Moratorium Act of 1991-92

Michael Krepon, Co-Founder, The Stimson Center 

Fred McGoldrick, former Director of Nonproliferation and Export Policy, U.S. Department of State

Paul Meyer, Adjunct Professor of International Studies and Fellow in International Security, Simon Fraser University, and Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation 

Matt Pacenza, Executive Director, Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah 

Steven Pifer, Senior Fellow, the Brookings Institution* 

Dr. William C. Potter, Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey* 

Amb. Thomas R. Pickering, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Russian Federation, India, Israel, and Jordan

Jon Rainwater, Executive Director, Peace Action West

Amb. Jaap Ramaker of the Netherlands, Chairman of the CTBT negotiations in 1996, and former Special Representative to Promote CTBT Ratification

Tariq Rauf, Director of the Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)* 

Susan Shaer, Executive Director, Women’s Action for New Directions

Susi Snyder, Nuclear Disarmament Programme Leader, PAX, the Netherlands 

Sharon Squassoni, Senior Fellow and Director, Proliferation Prevention Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies* 

Tatsujiro Suzuki, Director, Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University (RECNA), and former Vice Chairman, Japan Atomic Energy Commission 

Honorable Ellen O. Tauscher, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, U.S. Department of State

Catherine Thomasson, M.D., Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility

Aaron Tovish, International Director, 2020 Vision Campaign, Mayors for Peace

Amb. Carlo Trezza, former Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-proliferation for Italy, and outgoing Chairman of the Missile Technology Control Regime

Paul F. Walker, Director of Director of Green Cross International’s Environmental Security and Sustainability Program

Honorable Andy Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs, U.S. Department of Defense 

Amb. Norman A. Wulf, U.S. Department of State (ret.), and Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation (1999-2002) 

Dr. Andrei Zagorski, Head of Department of Arms Control and Conflict Resolution, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences* 

*Institution listed for identification purposes only.

Click here for a PDF version of these remarks.

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Nearly all of the world’s nations recognize that nuclear explosive testing is no longer acceptable...

Why the Iran Nuclear Deal is a Win for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Security

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A Discussion on the Impact and Next Steps with the Deputy Assistant to the President/ National Security Advisor to the VP

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Choate Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 

The U.S. Congress began debate on a resolution on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: the July 14 agreement between the United States, other world powers, and Iran will effectively and verifiably block all of Iran’s potential pathways to developing nuclear weapons.

This is one of most important national security decisions that members of Congress have confronted in more than a decade.

The agreement has the support of 75 former members of Congress, a growing number of national security leaders, the vast majority of nuclear nonproliferation experts, retired generals and admirals, top scientific leaders, 100 former ambassadors, and the UN Security Council, among others.

Please join us at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for a discussion of the impact of the agreement and the potential consequences of a rejection of the deal by the U.S. Congress.

The keynote speech will begin at 9 a.m. and will be delivered by:

  • Colin Kahl, Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President.

At 10 a.m., we will pause our program as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) separately delivers remarks at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on the Iran nuclear deal and the future of U.S. foreign policy in the region. This event will be held in a separate event space at Carnegie, and attendees of the Arms Control Association event can view Senator Reid’s speech from the Choate room via video monitor.

Following the Reid address, our program will resume at approximately 11 a.m. with a panel consisting of:

  • Ellie Geranmayeh, Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations;
  • George Perkovich, Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace;
  • Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association; and
  • Daryl G. Kimballmoderator, Executive Director, Arms Control Association.

The following is an unedited transcript.

            KIMBALL:  All right, good morning, everyone, and welcome to today's Arms Control Association briefing on why the Iran nuclear deal is a win for nuclear nonproliferation and international security. 

            My name is Daryl Kimball, I'm the executive director of the independent, nonpartisan Arms Control Association, and we welcome you here to the Carnegie Endowment on this Tuesday morning after Labor Day, and we're ready to get to work. 

             This afternoon, the U.S. Congress is going to begin debate on a resolution on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the July, 2014 agreement between the United States, other world powers, and Iran, that we believe will effectively and verifiably block all of Iran's pathways to nuclear weapons. 

            This agreement has the support of 75 former members of Congress, a growing number of national security leaders, the vast majority of nuclear nonproliferation experts, retired generals and admirals, top scientific leaders, 100 former ambassadors, the U.N. Security Council, and, by the way, the American public, among others. 

            So the vast majority of those members of Congress who did take the time to review this very complex 159-page document along with the related U.N. Security Council resolution and the associated IAEA and Iran work plan, have, for the most part, come out in favor of the agreement.  

            And we at the Arms Control Association are increasingly confident that, at the end of the process, there will be enough votes to allow the implementation of this multifaceted, multi-year, multilateral agreement. 

            And one key reason is because it is a major plus for nonproliferation and international security, and because its rejection would turn this major diplomatic success into a geopolitical disaster.  

            So the theme of this morning's address with Colin Kahl, who is deputy assistant to the president and national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, is going to be about the implications of the deal, the benefits, and what would happen if it were to be rejected.  

            And so this address by Colin, followed by your questions, will end at about 9:45, at which point we're going to take a halftime break, as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid speaks upstairs.  You'll be able to view his address here if you want to grab an extra cup of coffee and watch, and then we will resume at 11:00 with an expert panel discussion that will go for about an hour.  

            So with that, Colin, we're very pleased to have you here once again.  This is the second time you've spoken before an Arms Control Association audience on this topic, and I think it's fair to say your remarks last time were very persuasive, because just after that, there was increasing support, so we welcome you back here. 

            Thanks for being with us.  

            KAHL:  Morning, everybody.  Thanks, Daryl.  Thanks to the Arms Control Association for continuing to do all that you do every day to educate people about this deal and a host of other important arms control issues.  

            You know, at the -- when you get on a airline, sometimes the pilot comes on and reminds you what flight you're on, in case you're on the right -- to make sure you're on the right flight.  So, for those of you who think you're at AEI listening to Dick Cheney...  

            (LAUGHTER)  

            KAHL:  ...this is a different flight. 

            Look, I know all of you know a lot about this deal.  I'm not gonna spend a huge amount of time going into the nuts and bolts of it.  I'm going to spend most of the time in my formal remarks talking about some of the most prominent criticisms of the deal. 

            But, as you're all aware from day one, with the possible exception of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, no other national security issue has received as much attention from President Obama and the rest of the administration as the quest to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. 

            We put in place a very effective dual-track strategy that blended crippling sanctions and direct diplomacy, and the result was the JCPOA, the comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran that was announced on July 14 and is now under review in the Congress. 

            Obviously, it is our view, and the view of the vast majority of experts inside and outside the government, that this is a good deal.  It's a good deal for the United States, it's a good deal for the world, and it's a good deal for our allies in the region, including Israel.  

            It's a good deal because, as Daryl mentioned at the outset, it closes off all the various pathways whereby Iran might acquire nuclear weapons.  It puts significant long-term constraints on Iran's enrichment program, blocking a uranium path to a bomb. 

            It requires fundamental changes in the design of the Arak heavy water research reactor, and requires that -- the spent fuel from that reactor to be shipped out for the life of -- of the Arak reactor, closing off the plutonium path using that reactor forever. 

            And it puts in place the most intrusive verification and transparency measures ever negotiated, including 24/7 surveillance of Iran's key nuclear sites, regular IAEA access to the entire nuclear supply chain -- that means mines, mills, conversion facilities, centrifuge production facilities, and all of their nuclear facilities, which effectively makes it impossible for Iran to divert materials from their known program to a covert program. 

            It also has a mechanism to ensure that IAEA inspectors have timely access to any site in Iran where we suspect Iran is engaged in suspicious activities, and a mechanism to ensure that no combination of Russia, China or Iran can block those inspections. 

            In exchange for rolling back their nuclear program and putting in place these transparency measures, Iran will receive some sanctions relief associated with nuclear-related sanctions.  But there will be no sanctions relief until the IAEA validates -- verifies -- that Iran has completed all of the key nuclear steps asked of it in the first part of the agreement.  

            If Iran violates its commitment, now or in the future, we have a procedure to unilaterally reimpose, or snap back, sanctions.  We can do that at the United Nations.  We can do it here at home, unilaterally through U.S. -- domestic sanctions, and working with our partners in the E.U.  So if Iran cheats, we'll know it, and there will be consequences.  

            So that's kind of the top line of the deal.  You're all aware of that.  On its merits, I think it's unquestionably a good deal.  A very good deal.  But I think it would be more useful, now that Congress has returned and are about to have a pretty full-throated debate on this deal this week, to maybe focus the remainder of my remarks on three major criticisms.  

            There are many more criticisms that -- that you hear, but I want to focus on three of the most prominent ones.  One is the notion that, somehow, after year 15 in the deal, Iran is allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.  All right? 

            Second, that the deal provides a windfall of cash for Iran that they can use to spread terrorism, mischief, subversion, militancy throughout the Middle East, threatening Israel and our other allies.  And third, the notion that, if we walk away from this deal, we can get a better one.  So let me focus on those three major critiques.  

            Some of our critics assert that the deal actually paves the way to an Iranian bomb, because after 15 years, certain constraints on their program end.  So let's be clear about two things: first, under this deal, Iran is never allowed to build nuclear weapons.  Never. 

            And second, Iran already has a path to the bomb, or what Colin Powell recently called a "superhighway" to a bomb.  And without this deal, they can get there in months, not decades.  

            Now, it is the case that some constraints on Iran's enrichment program under the deal loosen as Iran builds confidence, over many years, in the exclusively peaceful nature of their program.  As a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the NPT, Iran is allowed to access nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. 

            But under the NPT, Iran is never allowed to produce nuclear weapons.  That permanent obligation is reinforced by specific commitments under this deal, including permanent bans on research and development relevant to designing a nuclear warhead. 

             Iran is never allowed to produce weapons-grade uranium.  They are never allowed to produce weapons-grade plutonium for a bomb, either.  And if they expand their activities in ways that are inconsistent with a peaceful program, at any time, I have no doubt that this president or any future president would respond.  

            The intrusive transparency and inspections measures in this deal also stretch far beyond 15 years.  Some of them last 20 to 25 years, and others, like the additional protocol, which allows the IAEA extensive access to Iranian site, last in perpetuity. 

            And if, at any point -- at any point -- 16 years from now, 18 years from now, 20 years from now, 25 years from now, Iran moves towards a nuclear weapon or takes steps that are inconsistent with a peaceful program, every single option we have today, including the military option, will exist for a future president of the United States. 

            And some of those options, frankly, will be better as our capabilities and intelligence improve over time.  So this notion that Iran can waltz in through the front door of the nuclear club after 15 years is nonsense. 

            What about the second critique, that the plan somehow enables Iranian mischief by giving them a windfall of cash?  There's no doubt that this is a serious issue, and one we have to remain vigilant against. 

            But let's be honest: to argue that we can't lift any nuclear-related sanctions until Iran stops all of its nefarious activities outside the nuclear domain is really saying that we should never strike a nuclear deal with this regime. 

            All right?  So let's be honest about what this critique is.  If you can never lift any nuclear-related sanctions until Iran stops everything that we don't like, it's basically saying there will never be a nuclear deal. 

            I'm not a fan of this regime either, but as troublesome as they are, as anti-semitic as their rhetoric is, as horrible as their support for terrorism, subversion, and other activities are, these dangers would be exponentially worse if Iran acquired a nuclear weapon and could use the cover of a nuclear umbrella and a nuclear deterrent to shield their destabilizing activities. 

            That's why we focused, first and foremost, on eliminating this threat. 

            Our critics also exaggerate the amount of money Iran is likely to get.  They have about $100 billion trapped in these overseas escrow accounts from the -- in the countries that continue to buy Iranian oil.  But, of that money, our Treasury Department estimates they will only be able to access a little over $50 billion. 

            Our intelligence community and Treasury Department also calculate that Iran will have to spend the vast majority of this money on domestic needs, because they have a half a trillion dollars in urgent infrastructure and other economic requirements. 

            And while we don't think of Iran as a democracy, there are real politics there, and Rouhani got elected on a platform of saving the Iranian economy by breaking its isolation and -- and removing sanctions, and the supreme leader would never have endorsed this deal unless he felt the same. 

            So there are powerful economic and political imperatives to spend this money on domestic issues.  

            Does that mean there will be none left over for the Iranian military or the revolutionary guard?  No, it doesn't.  It is certainly possible that Iran could spend some of the cash from sanctions relief to funnel towards actors that we don't like.  

            Of course, this was always going to be a challenge if we ever got a nuclear deal, because the price of getting a nuclear deal was -- was removing some of the sanctions.  

            How Iran ultimately chooses to use its money regionally will depend in part on how the fractional competition within Iran plays out.  I can kind of argue this round or flat.  You can tell a story about how the deal could enable pragmatists and moderates to get the upper hand and eventually clawback more control over foreign policy, away from Qasem Soleimani and the revolutionary guard.

            You can tell a story about how sanctions relief and more integration into the international community would allow engagement in moderation via the Iranian people, who still remain overwhelmingly pro-American. 

            But I can also tell the story the opposite way, right?  That the supreme leader compensates for the nuclear deal by doubling down on his support for the hardliners and funneling some of the money in their direction. 

            I think we have to be honest, it could break either way, which is why we -- this deal wasn't premised on a bet that Iran would change its stripes, and its -- this deals not a grand bargain with Iran, nor is it a permission slip for Iran to dominate the region.  

            During the Cold War, recall that we confronted an enemy that was an evil empire, that controlled huge swaths of the global that literally killed tens of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of American allies that subverted our allies in Europe and Asia and Africa and in Central America.  And yet, we still struck deals with that regime to reduce the risk of nuclear war.  

            In the 70's and 80's, under Democratic and Republican administrations out of recognition that we can walk and chew gum at the same time, that it is possible to arms control agreements with our adversaries in ways that make us safer, while continuing to push back against their destabilizing activities elsewhere, and that's what we will commit to do moving forward. 

            A big part of this means continuing to sanction Iranian entities that commit acts of terrorism or engage in human rights violations.  None of our ability to do that goes away as a consequence of this deal.  A big part of that includes continuing to stand by our allies, Israel and our Arab partners, especially in the Gulf. 

            Look, I know there are significant policy disagreements with the Israeli government.  By the way, that's not unique.  If you look at the history books, there have been lots of American administrations that have not always seen eye-to-eye with Israeli governments.  But one thing is beyond question and that is that no administration in history has done more for Israel's security than this administration.  No president in history has done more for Israel's security than this president.  

            We've worked with Congress to provide more than $3 billion to Israel every single year in foreign military assistance.  We've worked to provide them another billion dollars on top of that for missile defense systems, including Iron Dome.  It has saved countless Israeli lives from rockets fired by Iranian proxies. 

            We have taken unprecedented steps to ensure Israel maintained its qualitative military edge against all potential adversaries, including Iran, by giving Israel -- providing them access to technology like the F-35 Stealth Fighter, which no other actor in the region possesses. 

            We have also offered, for months now, to engage in -- in discussions at the highest levels about what more we can do in the areas of intelligence and security cooperation with the Israeli government, and when the Israeli government is prepared to engage in that conversation, we'll be there. 

            We've also done -- taken actions to stand by our Arab partners.  As I speak, 35,000 American forces in the Gulf region, defending our interest, defending our friends and making sure that the -- that commerce flows freely through one of the most important straits in the world.  It's also why the president convened our Gulf partners at Camp David and also the meeting that he had with the king of Saudi Arabia just last week to explore ways we can expand our security cooperation, to build their capacity on things like cyber defense and critical infrastructure protection and maritime interdiction and ballistic missile defense and to conduct special operations. 

            Also, that they have greater capabilities to push back against any country's destabilizing activities in the region. 

            What about the notion that if we just walk away from this deal, we can achieve a better one?  By the way, let's be clear what the better one is frequently described as.  The better one that our critics usually describe is a deal that, instead of limiting Iran's program, dismantles their civilian nuclear program forever and conditions any lifting of sanctions to include nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, changing all of its behavior we don't like, right? 

            That's the better deal.  Drive them to zero forever and don't lift a single sanction until they stop doing everything we don't like.

             Let's be frank.  Even that deal wouldn't satisfy our critics.  Do you know why?  Because at the heart, they don't believe Iran will comply with any deal, which means even if they drove their program to zero, those same critics would argue, "You can't trust Iran, they won't follow through," and they would still argue against their own better deal.

             Let's be clear about another thing.  The rest of the world believes this deal is the better deal.  The rest of the world believes this deal is the better deal.  If we walk away now, there is no chance, zero, of the rest of the world going along with us.  As Brence Grocaugh (ph) said, if we walk away, we walk away alone.

             Keep in mind, the sanctions that we have put in place on Iran are not only costly on Iran, they are costly on countries that want to do business with Iran or buy oil from them.  Other countries have gone along with these sanctions, especially during the Obama administration, because they have agreed with our policy objectives of seeking a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue, and they've also believed our promise that sanctions would eventually be lifted when we got the kind of nuclear deal that we now have in front of us. 

           During the 1990's, we had secondary sanctions on Iran's energy sector, which the rest of the world ignored because they didn't agree with our policy objectives.  We've seen this movie before.  If we walk away, it's hard to see -- it's hard to see us keeping the international coalition currently isolating Iran together.  Europe would be divided, Russia would undoubtedly bolt and many Asian countries, especially China and India, would be eager to buy Iran's oil again. 

            Consequently, sanctions will erode and the international consensus around our Iran policy will collapse, and guess what?  You can't drive to a better deal with less leverage and less international support.  It defies the laws of political gravity.

            More broadly, killing the deal would cripple our global leadership.  My boss, the vice president, often remarks that as he travels the world, and he's gone to I think almost every world -- every country in the world across more than 40 years in foreign policy, he says the one thing that he hear more than anything else these days, and I heard my fair share of this as well, is concerns about whether the United States can govern.  

            It's not a questions about our power.  We are the most powerful country in the world.  We have the most powerful military, we have the most dynamic economy, we have the most vibrant population.  Nobody doubts that we remain the world's indispensable power.  What they doubt is whether we can govern.  

            So if Congress wipes away this deal, either through the actions this week or through future legislation aimed to tank this deal, others around the world will ask whether we can live up to our commitments and exercise the kind of leadership they expect of us.

            So if we walk away now, we will all be in a world of hurt.  We, not the Iranians, will be isolated.  Iran will be less constrained to advance its nuclear program and there is a very real chance that we could be on a path either to an Iranian nuclear weapon, a military confrontation, or both. 

            Now there may be some, although I suspect not in this room, who prefer the path of armed conflict against this regime.  Well, no one should doubt or question America's capability and will to do what it takes to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.  That is the policy of this administration, I have no doubt it will be the policy of future administrations.  No military strike will set back Iran's program a fraction of what this deal accomplishes.

            And no one, after a decade plus of war, should be cavalier about the cost and consequences of yet another war in the Middle East, especially -- especially when we have a peaceful, diplomatic solution at hand that does so much more to keep us safe. 

            Thanks, I look forward to your questions.

            (APPLAUSE) 

            KIMBALL:  Thank you very much Colin.  

            We have about 15 minutes or so for your questions and Shervin will bring forward the microphone, if and when you raise your hand for a question.  We have one up front, right here on the -- this side. 

            Please identify yourself.

            QUESTION:  Sam Gilston, with The Export Practitioner.  The American business community is concerned that the continued implementation of existing sanctions on Iran for terrorism and human rights abuse will put them at a disadvantage with European and Russian, Chinese business that won't have the same sanctions in place. 

            What will the administration do as far as guidance and implementation regulations to give U.S. business somewhat of the same opportunities in Iran, if at all, that the Europeans and others are going to get?

             KAHL:  Yeah, I think -- I think we have to be clear that American businesses are not going to have the same opportunities that other country -- that other countries' business are going to have. 

            I mean under -- under this agreement, the vast majority of our bilateral sanctions on the ability of U.S. persons and businesses to do business with Iran period don't go away.  So it's not just a byproduct of future terrorist or human rights sanctions, it's the fact that -- that sanctions architecture will remain in place. 

            There are certain things, like licenses for civilian aircraft, some trade like in carpets and pistachios and other things, which will be enabled and who knows where this thing will go, especially if Iran moderates its behavior down the road.  But yes, American businesses will not be in the same place as -- as European and Asian businesses. 

            I mean, part of this is that's going to have to emerge -- those opportunities are going to have to emerge in the context of where -- whether Iran changes some of its fundamental orientation and behavior. 

            I should also say, from a national security perspective, I don't think we want to take the view that it's not important to continue to put in place designations and sanctions against entities that, from this point forward in Iran engage in terrorism and human rights abuses. 

            This deal is a nuclear deal, it's not about the rest of their activities and if Iran continues to fund terrorism around the world, the treasury department will continue to go after the entities that -- that do that. 

            QUESTION:  And -- one -- one related question here, if I might ask, Colin, is this brings up the issue of the implementation process and how the administration is going to be managing this. I mean this multi-year agreement, many different moving parts. One question that we've been getting quite a lot lately is whether the administration is going to set up a dedicated office to deal with the various issues including the joint commission, dealing with some of the, the sanctions, relief issues and management issues. So could you give us a sense of what the thinking is about how -- I mean how much attention the administration is going to give to that and how that implementation work might proceed in the coming months?

            KAHL:  Sure. This is actually an issue we've been working on for months. In the last two or three months of a negotiating period we had a completely parallel track with a completely separate set of folks based out of the State Department but it was an inter-agency team, focusing on what would be required to implement the deal. Now, even before the details of the deal were finalized. So this is something we've been thinking about for a long time. We will have a dedicated senior officials with high level contacts to the Secretary of State and, and the President and others. 

            There will be an inter-agency team and obviously a lot of the resources that we have already devoted to the Iran question and the intel side and other things are directly relevant to monitoring and verifying the agreement as well. So without going to too many of the specifics of the, the -- the short answer is yes. There will be a very robust implementation team and it's already in training.

            But I don't want to do kind of the cart before the horse thing cause we have to do through the a review process with Congress. And once we got on the back into that, I can -- it's all in our interest to have a pretty full-throated conversation about implementation.

            KIMBALL:  All right, All right. We have a couple questions here. We'll start in the back and then we'll come forward please.

            QUESTION:  Christine Parthemore, Center for American Progress. Aren't right action (ph) programs focused on countering weapons of mass destruction threats in the Middle East really just started a few years ago in earnest. I'm wondering if focusing past the current debate in Congress and looking at implementation, if there's thought being put into expanding those programs as a way of bolstering regional stability and improving the capabilities for countering all WMD threats for some of the neighboring countries?

            KIMBALL:  And why don't we take  Tom's question up here Serbin)? Thank you.

            QUESTION:  Colin, I'm Tom Cochran (ph).

            I'm not suggesting walking back the deal but I'm, I'm curious why the P5 plus one didn't offer Iran a fuel bank of the final assembled -- assemblies, say a 10 or more a year supply for free stockpiled in Iran and suggest that they use that period to negotiate a fuel cycle that wouldn't be threatening to others?

            KAHL:  Both good questions. So Christine, great to see you again. Christine and I used to work together a long time ago at the Center for a New American Security. And then Christine did a bunch of great work on counter WMD stuff at the Pentagon. I think it's a great question actually. There are -- as we move through implementation, I mean there are going to be sensitive, trade sensitive technologies. Not only in the nuclear area but obviously things that could be relevant to chemical and biological weapons. Not exclusively with Iran, but across, across the region. And I think as we think about policing certain elements of this agreement like the procurement channel and making sure that Iran does not get access to a list of technology that we should bring to bear every tool in our tool kit to include some of these, some of these things.

            I also think obviously, we have to be mindful of other countries that may pursue WMD. I mean one of the things we try to be -- look, we think this is a -- we think this a very good deal. But what we've tried to be honest about is, it doesn't solve every problem with Iran and it doesn't solve every problem in the Middle East. So we're going to continue to have to work on all the issues that, that you've worked on to include a WMD beyond the contours of this particular deal.

            Tom, it's a great question. You know, I think we -- I think --look I think in a perfect world, Iran would have 0 fuel domestic indigenous fuel cycle activities. They wouldn't engage in any domestic enrichment period. But of course, we, we the U.S. government ran that play in 2003, 2004, 2005 during an earlier stage of negotiations with the Iranians where the Iranians basically temporarily froze their program and then came back to the Europeans who were beginning negotiations at a time to propose a deal that in many respects looks like the current deal and the Bush administration in 2005 rejected that as viable because they demanded 0 enrichment.

            So I don't know that -- you know we, we've tried to demand 0 domestic enrichment in Iran for year and it hasn't worked. And part of the issue Iran has a very strong culture and identity of self-reliance. They're not the only country in the Middle East to have a culture like, like that. But they think of themselves as a great civilization as a great scientific and technological leader and have for a long time.

            And I know that's not everybody's image of Iran, but it's their image of themselves. And the reason -- and, and they also have a narrative about how the international communities has reneged on a whole series of deals throughout the life of the Islamic Republic and even before that. So it's very difficult given that mindset, to get them in a place where they would be wholly reliant on international sources of fuel. Which is one of the reasons why I think that 0 enrichment option was never, never proved all that viable.

            So we explored that. It wasn't something we could get the Iranians and the rest of the P5 plus 1 to sign onto. So instead we shrunk their program to contain it in a way that I think prevents them from getting a nuclear weapon but through a different pathway -- different route.

            KIMBALL:  All right. We've got a couple of questions over here. And then we'll take this third one.

            QUESTION:  Thank you Dr. Kahl, I'm Ali D. Maffnesum (ph).

             The question has to do with the fact that it seems the deal is in the bag given what's happened in the Senate over the past few days. And because of that it seems like the remaining 16 months of the Obama administration are anything but a lame duck. And the question then becomes are there discussions underway among your colleagues and yourself regarding the real security threat in that region which is the calamity that's unfolding, has been unfolding is Syria and Iraq and Yemen and whether you think the success, the historic achievement that has been experienced by the U.S., led by the U.S., can be parlayed into a resolution or some kind of deal bringing in the various countries in the region. Thank you.

            KIMBALL:  All right. And then let's take Richard's question please. Right up front. Richard? Yep.

            QUESTION:  Thank you. Colin you mentioned three critiques of the agreement but there's -- and there are as you say many others. I wanted to ask if you would provide your perspective on critique about the Iran IIEA agreement, sort of the path forward to resolve the issue of possible military dimensions to previous historical Iran and nuclear work since that has been a times a big stumbling block for those in Congress and a lot of, I think misimpressions and misinformation have been out there in the public domain. 

            KAHL:  Okay. Great.  Pamedad (ph), actually I think we've done a lot  since the last wave of, of Congressional luncheons to demonstrate that this administration is not a lame duck. The administration in the area (ph) formed policy in Cuba. The Iran deal, obviously getting trade promotion authority through the Congress and hopefully heading towards the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement which would be a historic trade agreement that would link together economies that make up some 40% of the world's economy. 

            That's some serious business to get, to get done so I think -- the President said, "We're in the fourth quarter and big things happen in the fourth quarter." Whether you know, how this deal plays out as it relates to Syria is TBD. There's no question that what's going on in Syria is incredibly disturbing and heart-breaking. If there were easy answers, I mean I know some of our proponents, you drop a few bombs here, you put up a no-fly zone there and you snap your fingers and the war will go, go away. 

            As someone who used to oversee these types of things at the Pentagon in the first three years of the administration I can tell you that's not, that's not true. And our, our but, whether this deal allows us to pivot  into a different diplomatic space on Syria, it's it's completely unclear. You know, a lot of that ball is firmly in Iran's court. Up to this point, more pragmatic actors like Rohani (ph) and Zahrif (ph), have really, you know, while they've been predominate in the nuclear file, they've been less predominant in the regional file as a whole where the revolutionary guards and curb line (ph) elements have certainly been more upfront. More on the vanguard of Iran's activities.

            So, you know. We're certainly not going to, in a sense, cut a deal with Iran at the, at the, at the expense of the people in Syria or the rest of the region. The fundamental questions is whether Iran's calculation is starting to change and we don't know yet. But there -- one thing is, is clear.

             I think the Syrian regime is probably more -- under more battlefield pressure than at any time since at least 2012. If you look at a map, they've lost a lot of territory. They're kind of besieged by, by all sides. I do think the Iranians and the Russians are worried about that. 

            Whether that creates a moment for us to figure out a viable political transitions of -- which is ultimately what's going to be required to end this conflict, we'll have to see. But if the Iranians in the Russians are, are willing to engage in a serious conversation about that, you know, we'll engage in that conversation along side our other partners in the region like Turkey and Saudia Arabia and, and others.

            Richard. Yes, I didn't talk about the conspiracy theories of the secret side deals struck between the IIEA and Iran on the PMD issue, on the possibility of military dimensions issue. This is one of the greater misconceptions. There are no side deals. There are no pieces of paper in our possession that have not been given to Congress.

            All of the general requirements that Iran has to meet to provide access to the people, places and documents necessary for the IIEA to complete it's investigation into PMD are spelled out in the road map which is available to members of Congress. 

            It is true that there is a technical annex, or technical document that does the kind of tick tock of when, where, how or that. It's an IIEA document with the Iranians. It's quote unquote safe guards confidential as all IIEA documents of it's type are to include the ones they have with us. There are reasons why documents like that don't get published on the interwebs. And that's because you don't want the world's road states and terrorists to learn about every other country's nuclear program. 

            We have an interest in the IAEA not publicizing our information either. But because this information was so important to us, we were briefed in detail on the plan and we have in turn briefed any member of Congress who, who wants to know about it. I don't know if you've read, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's op-ed the other day, but she remarked that she was very concerned about some of the reporting about side deals and self inspections at Parchin and everything else until she got the briefing on it and then -- and then she -- her concerns were put aside.  

            So there's no side deals, there's no secret deals, there's no self inspections.  There's a process for the IAEA to get the access they need to conclude their investigation. 

            Last point I would make is let's all keep in mind, though, that this is (inaudible) set of past activities that we already know about, right?  This isn't really about getting more information, it's about establishing the president that the IAEA can get access to facilities moving forward if they suspected illicit activities.  And I'm satisfied and we're satisfied that the arrangements that the IAEA has with Iran on this issue are good enough, and that moving forward, they're very strong. 

            KIMBALL:  All right, two quick questions and then we're going to have to close.  I'm sorry. 

            (LAUGHTER)

             QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  Benjamin Tory (ph), retired Foreign Service officer.  

            Could you speak to the likelihood that supporters of the deal will be able to muster the 41 votes to block a vote opposing the deal to get out of the Congress? 

            KIMBALL:  All right.  And then one question right here.  And we'll do a third and then we'll ask Colin to answer all three. 

            QUESTION:  Thank you for doing this.  I'm (inaudible) from Kyodo News Japan.  I'm wondering, so Iranian President Rouhani is coming to New York later this month.   So do you think it's a good idea for President Obama to have direct talks with him to promote the deal and discuss other issues, security issues, in the region?  Thank you.  

            QUESTION:  All right.  And then Colin, if I could just tag onto the first question, which is related to whether it will be 41 votes in support.  Some members of Congress have hinted that they're going to be offering legislation that, in my view, seeks to try to modify the terms of the JCPOA, extend some sanctions provisions.  One of them is Senator Cardin of Maryland. 

            Could you comment on what you all know about Senator Cardin's bill and similar efforts to try to adjust the terms of the agreement please?  

            KIMBALL:  And Joe, last but not least.  You were going to ask about Cardin too?  Look at that, simpatico.

            KAHL:  Benjamin, 41 votes.  I'm not trying to be glib, you'll know when we know.  We've put the full court press on all of the undecideds.  There's only a handful left.  We'll know in the next few days whether we get to 41 or not. 

            On the Rouhani-Obama UNGA possibility for direct talks, I have no idea and I certainly don't have anything to announce.  

            Cardin.  Yes, there is -- there is some interest I think on the Hill to have some standalone legislation separate from the -- our review process on the deal itself that would put in place a combination of security assurances to our allies and a set of clarifications and other issues related to implementation of the -- of the deal.  

            Look, I think we have made clear consistently that we want to work with Congress on legislation that will help implement this deal because implementation is really important.  We've also been clear with Congress and with our allies and partners that we want to move forward on deepening our already extraordinarily robust security assistance and cooperation relationships with Israel and our Arab partners.  So we're ready to work with Congress on that.  

            I'll repeat something I said during my remarks.  I mean, we've had numerous conversations with the Israeli government for months already, and those have basically been put on hold by them until we get beyond the Iran deal process.   

            As it relates to any particular piece of legislation like the draft legislation that Senator Cardin has been involved in, I don't want to litigate every line of it.  I'll just say that the draft that I've seen is quite problematic.  It has -- it undoubtedly does some good things, but it has a number of very problematic interpretations about the actual terms of the JCPOA which are just at odds with the explicit language in the JCPOA. 

            It has some things on the sanctions front that I think the P5+1 and Iran might see as inconsistent with some of the obligations under the JCPOA.  And at the very least, it has a number of provisions in it that are quite provocative and not unnecessarily so at a time when what we should all be focused on once we get beyond this review is how to effectively implement this deal, because our number one national security objective as it relates to Iran's nuclear program at this -- once we get beyond the review is implementing the deal and making it effective. 

             And so it strikes me as an odd moment to put in place legislation that is unnecessary, gratuitous and provocative.  So without prejudging every part of the -- of the legislation, because there were certainly parts of the -- of the draft that were reasonable and seemed like good ideas, there were a bunch of other things that were much more problematic. 

            KIMBALL:  Great.  All right, we -- we're out of time for this segment of our program.  I want to ask everybody to join me in thanking Colin for an excellent tour de force presentation, for your hard work on this issue.  And we will reconvene at 11 a.m.  with our next panel of George Perkovich, Kelsey Davenport, Ellie Geranmayeh after the half-time show of Senator Harry Reid, who will be speaking upstairs on some of these congressional issues.  So please join me in thanking Colin.  Thank you very much.

            (APPLAUSE) 

            (BREAK) 

            KIMBALL:  All right, welcome back everyone. I'm still Daryl Kimball, still the executive director of the Arms Control Association. We welcome you back to the second half of our program on why the Iran nuclear deal is a win for a nuclear nonproliferation and security. 

            I hope that many of you appreciated the comments that Minority Leader Reid made upstairs, the earlier remarks from Colin Kahl and now we're going to turn to our panel to talk about the implications of the agreement, what the agreement does. We're also going to talk about the Congressional debates. That is about to erupt. We're going to talk about some of the legislation that's been referred to this morning from Senator Cardin and others. And to, to do all of this, we have a great line up this morning beginning with Kelsey Davenport who is the director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association. Kelsey has been tireless in her efforts over the last couple of years researching the subject, tending the talks in Vienna, Geneva and elsewhere. And is the co-author of a report that we published last month, solving the Iran nuclear puzzle. And she's going to start off with a review of what this agreement actually does and why it is a net plus for nonproliferation. 

            We're also very pleased to have Ellie Geranmayeh who is a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, who like virtually everybody else from Europe who's been working this issue has come to Washington to join in the fun the next couple of weeks as the United States Congress begins looking at this issue. He has been focusing intensively on this issue. On how it's going to impact regional dynamics and is going to be presenting her analysis on how governments in Europe look at this issue. And I think you'll find that it's a little bit different from many here in Washington, not all. So we're very pleased to have her perspectives here this morning.

            And then also George Perkovich fresh from his introductory duties upstairs with Senator Reid. George, long time collaborator here at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is the Vice President for Studies. And he has been working for decades on the problem of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament and has been looking closely at the Iran deal. And so he's going to offer his perspectives on the situation today and with the debate on the JCPOA and what's ahead.

            So, to begin, Kelsey, take it away, the podium is yours. And we're going to go, let me just remind folks, you know each speaker will speak for less than ten minutes or so so that we have sometime for Q and A from you all this morning. 

            Kelsey? 

            DAVENPORT:  Thank you Darryl and thank you all for staying with us today and spending most of your morning looking at the Iran deal. I want to talk today about what the Iran deal does and then address one of the fundamental concerns about the agreement. And that's what happens after year 15, and there I really want to make two points. One, that the restrictions that remain past year 15 will provide a significant amount of information and an early warning about any changes to Iran's nuclear program and also that there are a number of steps that can be taken both by the United States, the international community and within the region to strengthen the nonproliferation value of the deal itself. 

            So first, just to reiterate what we heard both from Colin Kahl and Senator Minority Leader Harry Reid this morning, particularly for the first decade, the Iran nuclear deal is extremely strong from a nonproliferation perspective. Currently if Iran wanted to produce enough fuel for a bomb it could do so in about two months. Under this deal that timeline would be pushed back to over a year because Iran's enrichment capacity will be cut in half. All of the additional centrifuges will be stored under seal. And Iran's stockpile of enriched material will be dramatically reduced, down to 300 kg. Just a fraction of what is necessary for a nuclear bomb.

            And also Iran will only be enriching to reactor grade levels, about 3.67% for 15 years. The plutonium pathway even stronger. Iran would have to remove the core of the Arak reactor, and replace it with another core that will produce very little weapons-grade plutonium. And for the next 15 years Iran will not build any reactors that would produce that type of fuel.

            As Colin noted this morning as well, the monitoring and verification is extremely strong as well, the strongest ever agreed to in a nonproliferation deal. Every element of Iran's nuclear supply chain, from the uranium mines to the enrichment will be under continuous surveillance. And the International Atomic Energy Agency, through the additional protocol and the additional restrictions in the deal, will be able to access sites if there are concerns about elicit nuclear activity within a timeframe of 24 days, which is unheard of. 

            So very strong particularly within the first 15 years of the deal. However, after 15 years, some of these restrictions begin to come off. Iran can increase its uranium enrichment capacity. The limits on centrifuges expire, the limits on stockpile expires. And that leads some critics of the deal to say Iran will be very close to a nuclear weapon and even some supporters of the deal to express concern about what Iran's uranium enrichment program will look like after 15 years. 

            However, I think the idea that Iran will dramatically ramp up its uranium enrichment at that point, is not a foregone conclusion. First, if Iran does decide to ramp up enrichment, there'll be a number of indicators that will demonstrate what Iran intends to do.

            First I think it's important to note that the continuous surveillance on Iran's centrifuge production areas last for 20 years. The continuous surveillance on Iran's uranium mines and mills lasts for 25 years. Taken together, these will provide an early indication of what types of advanced centrifuges Iran is producing and in what numbers. 

            There are also a number of restrictions that are permanent. And we have up here on the screen a chart that appears in our briefing book, and I know the type here is probably to small to see. But what I want you to note is that a number of these provisions with the arrows demonstrate permanent provisions that this deal puts on Iran. 

            One of the most important I think does not receive enough attention in discussions of the deal. And that's in section -- annex one, section T of the agreement where Iran commits not to undertake certain activities related to weaponization, even if those activities have conventional purposes.

            Essentially, this prevents some of the scenarios that we've seen in the past where Iran has conducted certain types of explosive experiments and said that they were conventional, for conventional purposes. Iran will not be able to do this in the future.

            Also, some of the monitoring and verification mechanisms that are so crucial will also be permanent. Iran will have to adhere to a mechanism known as code 3.1, which requires it to immediately notify the International Atomic Energy Agency when it intends to build a new nuclear facility.

            That gives the agency time to adjust and develop an appropriate safeguards' approach. The additional protocol will also be permanent because Iran needs to ratify that within the first eight years of the deal. And that's an extremely important  mechanism that the International Atomic Energy Agency can use to request access to any site within Iran if there are concerns about illicit activity.

            Iran can take some steps to safeguard sensitive information, but ultimately with this measure in place, it will be up to the International Atomic Energy Agency to determine whether or not it receives appropriate access to ensure that Iran's program is entirely peaceful and that there are no elicit activities.

            So these are some of the permanent measures that will give the international community a greater picture of where Iran's program is going after 15 years and provide an early warning of any significant changes to Iran's program. And like I said, it's not a foregone conclusion that after 15 years Iran will decide to dramatically ramp up its enrichment program.

            And I think it would behoove the United States, the international community and the Middle East to consider steps, both at the regional level and at the international level to head off such enrichment -- to head off and disincentivize Iran from pursuing a much larger enrichment program.

            One of the things that I think is important is that Iran has said in the past that some of the restrictions under this deal it would be willing to adhere to in perpetuity if other countries in the region were willing to accept those terms. The restriction on enrichment to reactor grade levels for instance. Iran said it would permanently cap its program at 3.67% enrichment if other countries in the region did the same.

            Let's take the next 15 minutes to test that intention, to work with other countries in the region. Perhaps as a confidence building step toward a Middle East weapons of mass destruction free zone. To see if it's possible to put such a ban region wide. Some of the additional monitoring and transparency measures, including some of the continuous monitoring on enrichment.  Iran has also said it would accept in perpetuity if other countries in the region were willing to accept similar constraints if they chose to pursue enrichment. That's another area that can be tested as a possible confidence building measure. 

            Also I think region wide there's some space to look at things like multi, multi-lateral enrichment. There's an excellent piece in Science from some of the scholars at Princeton that explore this in more detail. But if other countries in the region are looking at pursuing nuclear programs having them buy into the Iran's enrichment program would provide additional oversight and ensure that there's guaranteed fuel supplies for the region. So that's another area that I can be explored within the next 15 years.

            There are also elements that the United States and the larger international community can and should take to strengthen this deal and hopefully head off any sort of Iranian enrichment on a larger scale after year 15. Right now Iran's sole nuclear power reactor, Bushehr is supplied by the Russian. Russia has also entered in a memorandum of understanding for additional reactors with Iran and has said it would supply those for the lifetime of the reactor.

            We know that China is interested also in reactor contracts. Encouraging countries to provide lifetime fuel for reactors, not only in Iran, but in the Middle East, or really with any sale of reactors, disincentivizes the need for enrichment. We certainly know from Iran's past experiences with it's investments in Euro Diff for instance, that it has had experiences in the past where the international community has not delivered on nuclear fuel.

            So these permanent fuel supply guarantees will ensure that Iran has the fuel that it needs for its reactors. Also I think when the United States and other countries that supply nuclear reactors to any country in the region or the rest of the world, should ensure that these countries have an additional protocol in place. Right now in the United States that's not a requirement on the U.S. Atomic Energy Act. That is an area where the U.S. could strengthen it's own norms and prevent then the further proliferation of some of these technologies within the region. 

            There are also a number of multi-lateral volunteer control regimes that could be strengthened. The proliferation security initiative, the missile technology control regime. These would help stem the further transfer of enrichment technologies, of reprocessing technologies, or technologies related to ballistic missile development that could sort of head of future attempts by Iran to pursue solid fuel missiles that pose more of a threat or inter-continental ballistic missiles once the UN Security Council restrictions on Iran's missile program come off after eight years.

            The proliferation security initiative also has some potential in some areas where the international community could take steps to encourage further cooperative action on interdictions and information sharing both to ensure that technologies within Iran are not spread to non state actors, and that the established procurement channel that Iran will use for duel use technologies is not circumvented.

            So while this agreement is certainly very strong from a nonproliferation perspective, it can be made stronger and it would behoove the United States to think about the next 15 years, to work with countries in the region, to work with nuclear supplier countries and take some of these steps  that would prevent Iran from dramatically increasing its enrichment after 15 years or other countries in the region from pursuing enrichment if they are considering their own domestic nuclear power programs.

            KIMBALL:  All right, great, Kelsey, thank you very much. And another point that I think this chart and, and Kelsey's presentation makes is that there is no clear sunset date by which the JCPOA ends. This is a multi-part, multi-deadline, multi-requirement agreement.   

            Ellie, it's very good to have you here. We heard earlier this morning that if the United States were to walk away from this deal we would be alone. So tell us why that is and give us your perspectives on how Europe is looking at this agreement. 

            GERANMAYEH:  Thank you very much. Good morning everyone. It's a pleasure to back in D.C. where the politics on Iran always has interesting twist.  And thank you very much for the invitation. As Daryl said, for the last two years I've been looking at Europe-Iran relations and how they've been developing since the interim nuclear deal was signed. And looking also at the impact on the regional stakeholders in the Middle East particularly. And Kelsey and I were joking that it was really nice to see each other outside of lobbies, hotel lobbies following the nuclear negotiations. So it's good to be here.

            I wanted to highlight three problems that have arisen with the debate in Congress over the past two months, particularly from a European angle and also three potential consequences for E.U. and U.S. foreign policy going forward.

            But the headline I wanted to really start off with before that is that for European countries, this deal and this negotiation has always been seen through a multi-lateral lens. It's one that there are six or potentially seven stakeholders to. And for the most advanced nuclear states in Europe, mainly the UK and France and Germany, this is as good as a deal as it's going to get in their perspective. 

            They've also started looking at actively beyond this nuclear centric lens on Iran and really looking at, one, focusing on implementation of the deal for the 15 to 25 year process. And also beyond that, where European stakes are very high is one regional security issues in the Middle East, especially the ongoing conflict in Syria and also trade implications. And really the Europeans, unlike the United States, doesn't have the proximity luxury of being distant from the Middle East.

            And we've seen the blowback for homeland security for Europe in the past year, with the refugee influx which has unfortunately been very mishandled and also impacts such as Charlie Hebdo, et cetera, et cetera.  So they really feel that now shifting to a regional security focus with Iran is their number one priority.

            At the same time they're looking at the U.S. debate, which for the last two months, has really morphed into one of U.S. domestic politics. It's not being seen as a multi-lateral accord, it's being looked at as a U.S.-Iran deal, which is entangled therefore in a lot of political baggage and historic enmities between these two countries. They've seen the millions of dollars that are being poured by both sides, advocates and opponents of the deal against -- against what the negotiations have created or in defense of them, and really this debate on this alternative or fantasy deal is just completely absent in Europe at the moment. They're looking at what's next to come.

            And there's a worrying sense I think that Congress really expects Europe to follow suit in whatever is decided within the legislative organ here. There have been comments that Europe can either be persuaded or coerced into either renegotiating this deal or changing the parameters, and I think this is far from certain. And the tone that's actually come out of this debate, I think can have damaging repercussions for the Trans Atlantic Unity and Sanctions Framework going ahead.

            So three of these problem areas I'll highlight quickly is firstly, Senator Menendez's comments and repercussions from July when he essentially said that, "Europeans are frothing at the mouth..." I quote, "...at the business opportunities arising from this deal." And I think a lot of people in Europe have seen this as a stab in the back.

            I believe the Europeans were the ones who started this diplomatic initiative back in 2003 with Solanna (ph). They took the brunt of the sanctions framework. It wasn't the U.S., it wasn't Russia or China. It was the Europeans who essentially went from being Iran's first trading partner to its sixth now and even lower.  And I think for them, if it was worth taking the cost of sanctions at a time when they were the highest trading partner, they would also do so again now when they're a lower trading partner.

            So to question, as Senator Menendez did, whether Europeans would be willing to call a violation a violation because of business interests certainly took some people by surprise, particularly given the level of cooperation that European companies and policy makers have had with the U.S. Treasury over the past few years. 

            Secondly was comments from Senator Schumer who's seen -- you know, and the European see him as quite an influential member of the U.S. Congress. And this was in respect of the use of secondary sanctions going forward. He essentially said that this is a very powerful weapon for the U.S. Congress, and not only can Iran be persuaded to renegotiate a deal with increased sanctions but also that European members could be coerced back to renegotiating through the use of secondary sanctions. 

            Now, while there's no doubt that secondary sanctions have been very powerful particularly in targeting Iran's business interests with European companies, I think this statement ignores a history behind how secondary sanctions came to be imposed. And a big part of that was the cooperation of European Union member states with the U.S. administration on going along with imposing their own unilateral sanctions on Iran's financial sector and energy sector. So essentially what happened was that actions that were penalized under U.S. law were deemed to be similarly penalized under European Union law. 

            And so now for members of Congress to threaten European companies and European member states with the use of secondary sanctions is not being viewed very lightly in the debate in Europe. Certainly I think the recent developments of the weekend with Senator Cardin's opposition to the deal and the assumption really in his Washington, Washington Post op-ed that Europe will be on board and has no choice but to be on board with whatever the U.S. Congress does. I think there are, as Colin remarked before, there are certain problematic interpretations of the, this proposed bill in regard to how the final deal has been actually interpreted. And for Europeans I think this is going to create a dilemma in terms of, if this deal passes Congressional review, will there be more processes in Congress to settle it, or to undermine the parameters going forward?

            And really, how will this play out with the Iranian debate that is going to follow after Congress reviews it, because the Iranians are going to see this as another back-handed way of undermining the negotiations. And I think Europeans are also going to worried about that. 

             Now, very quickly, three costs that I think a no boat or a premature derailment of this deal by the U.S. deal will have on U.S.-European relations. This is particularly so if Iran isn't even given a chance to start implementing, or once it starts implementing there are new ways of sanctions that essentially through back door means change the deal.

            I think, first, the Europeans are going to be placed in a dilemma scenario.  It's going to be -- I've heard from officials time and time again, this is going to be a nightmare for them to essentially decide whether to go along with a legislative organ of a foreign country and how it sees this accord playing out versus, essentially, the decision of 28 heads of state in the European Union to unanimously endorse this deal and to put resource and energy into implementing the deal. 

            And I think if they see this as a unreasonable obstruction of a diplomatic initiative that has taken 10 years to unfold, that the European Union has backed all the way, that the U.S. president has backed all the way, that scientists around the world have backed all the way, it's going to be very difficult for them to digest then, having this altered by a U.S. legislative organ.

            Secondly, I think it's going to have costs for Western foreign policy and the unity on sanctions regimes going forward. 

            Iran has been a test case, essentially, for how the European Union and U.S. Congress works together in quite an unprecedented way to impose sanctions, and to have this snap-back mechanism also imposed is quite unprecedented for the European Union.  So if they lose this -- lose face in this Iran test case, I think they're not going to be on board for future cases. 

            You know, we've seen a lot of the liberation in Europe as well as in the U.S. on Russia, for example, and other countries coming under Western sanctions.  And I think for Europeans, sanctions have always been seen as a foreign-policy tool to achieve a means, a diplomatic end, and if they're being seen as perpetual punishment on Iran, which, as Colin said, if -- if Cardin's bill essentially is a back-door way of imposing nuclear-related sanctions but under a different name, then I think it's going to be very difficult to restore European Union countries that in the future -- that sanctions will be used wisely.

            And third and finally, I think one of the things that the senators here, in some of their discussions, don't expect and I think what they should give more consideration is a European pushback against new Sanctions on Iran, new nuclear-related sanctions or a bill that changes the parameters of the current deal, because if the European Union caves on this issue, it will really set a dangerous precedent for its own foreign-policy decision making.

            We've seen before in the 1990s, when it came to Cuba or Libya or Iran with the Clinton administration's push on sanctions on European companies, a real pushback by the European Union, and I think we may be able to see the same thing happening now.

            And for Europeans, really, the number-one goal is to curtail Iran's nuclear program so that it remains peaceful and secondly to prevent a military confrontation with Iran that's going to set a potentially incalculable fragility in the Middle East going forward.

            And if they can find some sort of economic package to provide to Iran to prevent them from either going nuclear or to a military confrontation, I think they would do so, and they would push back against U.S. Congress's trying to derail the nuclear diplomatic initiative. 

            I think the clearest sign of that is really what's happened in the last two months with the Europeans and Iran.  We've seen Frederica Mogherini, the E.U. High Rep visiting back to back Riyadh and Iran and really outlining that her goal and their foreign policy on the Middle East is about engagement on some of the most contentious and difficult issues.  And I think the mantra for her is really that you don't make peace with your friends.

            Secondly, we've seen Fabius, we've seen Foreign Minister Hammond, we've seen the German vice chancellor visiting Tehran for the first time.  Very high-level visit.  And I think this is the signal really for the domestic debate here in -- in Congress that Europe isn't going to wait for this domestic debate.  It's going to have its own agenda on Iran, and it's going to reopen embassies, and it's going to talk about the regional issues and talk about trade. 

            And so I think that's -- that -- those are some of the implications to take into considerations when certain senators think that Europeans are automatically going to follow suit, whatever decision is made here in this capital.

            KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.  That was very important and useful reminders here in Washington, which we often forget about.

            And to bat clean-up, I would like to invite George Perkovich to offer his thoughts about the -- the JCPOA, its impacts and the consequences of potential rejection down the line.

            So George, thanks for being here with us and...

            PERKOVICH:  Thanks, Daryl.  And I thought Kelsey and Ellie's presentations were terrific.  So I -- I -- I -- I want to, in a sense, take up after them and say that the more I've been looking at the debate in Washington and especially on the Hill -- sorry -- I -- I -- I conclude that you can't explain the vote based on an analysis of the deal or of its alternatives.

             So we're all doing our jobs, and Senator Reid, I thought, did a masterful job, made a very powerful case for the deal and -- and -- and -- and also suggesting the lack of alternatives.

            And -- and I don't think -- when you look at the explanations of the votes in -- in many cases, it's just -- it's not based on this kind of analysis.

            And I think there're a couple of ways to see that.  I mean, if it were based on the deal, which -- again, any deal is imperfect, so I'm not suggesting that -- that it is perfect.  But if it were based on a deal, you'd hear a lot more about some of the things that Kelsey mentioned on her list, and so I won't dilate on them, but I'll just mention some of them. 

            The -- the dedicated procurement channel, very important, very innovative.  If you really worried about a clandestine program and detecting that and -- and strengthening the intelligence community's capacity to detect that, you would focus a lot more on that.

             Something that Kelsey did mention, the weaponization R&D ban, that it specified that it's permanent, that it's unprecedented, that it fills a gap where the Nonproliferation Treaty never defined a nuclear weapon, never specified kinds of R&D that were out of bounds.  This agreement does.

            It also, the discussion, neglects the incentives for Iran.  So in other words, OK, it's, you know -- inevitably, Iran will cheat and everything else.  Well, there's so much in this deal that, on the negative side, should deter them from cheating.  So the different verification elements that are added, the detectability and -- and all that.

            But precisely because it -- it got some things it wanted, it has positive reasons also to -- to comply with the agreement, and -- and that kind of seems to be lost in a lot of the discussion here.  But so were some of the other incentives for the Iranians, I think, lost. 

            For example, I would argue that they have an incentive to trap us into demanding inspections, where we're going to think or allege that there's clandestine work going on and they're going to want us to do that, because then it's going to go be shown that there was nothing going on, and they can use that to humiliate us and to make it much harder for us to ask in the future when in fact, maybe there would be something going on.

            But there's very little discussion of -- of that kind of -- of -- of pitfall and the care that you have to take in going -- going forward on this.

            And then I think also what's missing, and this shocks me the most in a lot of ways, is that the most powerful thing I've read in this debate over the last months was by Reuel Marc Gerecht and, what's his name, Mark Dubowitz in the Wall Street Journal in July.

            And Reuel, who writes often for the Weekly Standard -- and I admire him.  He's a very intellectually honest guy.  He's advocated military force against Iran for at least 10 years and also advocated and said, "Look, this isn't like a three-week bombing campaign.  I'm talking about a 10-year warm," and goes into it in detail and says, "This is what we should do." 

            So they write this piece in July, and he says, "For those of us who believe that only military force will ultimately solve the Iranian problem because of the nature of the regime, this deal is required."  Because without a deal, without having demonstrated the United States' willingness to negotiate, to make compromises, to pursue diplomacy and then to reach an agreement, without that and then Iran breaking it, you can't get to military force.  You can only have that option if there is a deal and then Iran breaks it, which seems rather obvious and -- and, again, so surprising to try to -- "OK, what's the motive of the people who -- who are opposing this."  Because if they have a different strategy, the different strategy would be much stronger if Iran broke a deal than it is without a deal, where we're the ones who are blamed.

            So I think other things are -- are going on.

             One of the things that's going on, but it's an exhaustive list, is, you know, there is this sense -- and Senator Reid talked about, you know, people wanting it both ways.  Well, it's -- it's different -- it's -- and it's -- it's in our body politic now in a lot of ways.

             There's -- there's a view that you just don't negotiate.  You don't make compromises, It's unprincipled, it's a defiance of one's principles, it's immoral, it's -- it's bad to make compromises, so this wasn't -- so you shouldn't think about a negotiation.

            OK, fine.  How that gets manifested, one of the ways that gets manifested is, "Well, we shouldn't be relieving the sanctions, because the sanctions will strengthen Iran's capacity to do all of these other bad things on terrorism, so on and so forth."  All right, it's a genuine concern.

            But then I think that view is very -- I try to put it in Republican terms.  I mean, you always talk about, you know, taxes.  It's not our -- it's not the government's money; it's our money.  Well, these sanctions weren't America's money.  The sanctions were either Iran's money or the other companies and countries who were doing business with Iran, which then forewent that business.

            They agreed in essence to accept a tax in the form of sanctions in order to get us to negotiate with Iran a nuclear deal, where Iran would meet basic terms, right?

            So now our position is, "OK, we're going to take money we tax from them, we got the deal which was the explanation for why we needed the tax.  Now, we've changed our mind.  We're going to use your money to pursue regime change for Iran forever and not end the tax."

            And it -- it just -- the mind boggles that -- that they think that somehow you would've had this money if you hadn't promised to give it back to the -- to the Iranians.  But there's very little discussion.

            Similarly on the sanctions sequence, the problem is, the sanctions are being relieved immediately.  They should come later.

             I was walking in the Adirondacks hiking a couple weeks ago.  Like, I shouldn't -- I had a great vacation, but still, I think a lot about this. 

            (LAUGHTER)

            So I'm, like, hiking up the mountain, and I go, "F."  Like, have you ever watched a gangster movie where the gangster either gives you the hostage or the weapons that they're selling you and says, "Don't worry.  I'll take the payment in five years."  It's all -- the whole movie is about the timing of the exact coterminous nature of the transfer, and the worry that as I'm handing it Kelsey, I'm going to get shot or my guys are going to shoot her and how do we -- you know, it's all about simultaneous.  And so I'm trying to think of the Iranians, with whom we have total distrust and they mistrust us more than we mistrust them, like way more, if that's possible -- it is possible.

            And so the idea that somehow -- OK, we're going to deliver and you're good, you Americans are good for the congressional support of the sanctions relief in five years and I'll go back and tell the leader this was a deal I guess.  And yet, that's still part of our discourse, so it's -- it's -- it's shocking. 

            So the last thought I have, and this one is hard to talk about, but I think it's super important and Ellie alluded to it a little bit but she's very diplomatic.  If somehow the U.S. reneges on this by act of Congress, ultimately a big part of that motivation is going to be -- be very successful and talented work of the American Israel Public affairs committee, which when you go up on the Hill people will tell you privately is kind of the driving factor. 

            And if they derail it, they'll be public about it, because they need to claim -- they'll -- they'll want to publicize that because they will have satisfied their donors and that's their objective and it will be a great triumph there.

            The -- the longer-term issue that we don't talk about is the effect on U.S. power, including power to defend Israel's interest, over time if the rest of the world feels like you can't negotiate with the U.S. ultimately because you don't know what you're going to get, because the government of Israel has veto power on the United States capacity to make policy and agreements in the Middle East. 

            And if -- and if that's the conclusion, I would -- I submit that will be the conclusion drawn if this is -- if this is blocked, then what are the longer-term implications?  Now I don't -- I think the people who are voting this way and taking the money, I don't think they care, but -- but the Republic itself has an interest. 

            I would argue the Republican Party has a longer-term interest that they want to govern and that this is something our European allies are being polite -- you know, and not really articulating, but it will be a very active problem that we will have to confront going forward.  And so again, I -- I think it's something we ought to talk about, perhaps after the vote. 

            Thank you.

            KIMBALL:  Great George, those were are all very excellent points and I must say I must've had a more relaxing vacation than you, because I watched "The Maltese Falcon" with Humphrey Bogart and -- and it did not occur to me to -- to draw the analogy with the JCPOA.  I just enjoyed the movie.

            (LAUGHTER)

            PERKOVICH:  Mental health, that's good mental health. 

            KIMBALL:  So we've -- I mean -- our three panels have put a lot of good ideas and -- and points on the table and as we have been doing so, I would just note for those of you listening carefully and not watching your Twitter feed, that three additional senators have publicly expressed their support for the JCPOA: Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, Senator Gary Peters of Michigan. 

            I think there is one, maybe two more senators who have not expressed their view on this.  So how this debate plays out in the next few days, whether there is a filibuster of the underlying resolutions approval or not will get to be seen.  

            But one of the issues that -- that has been raised a couple times, and  I wanted to start out our discussion on this, is -- you know, is this just the -- the first vote, first debate on -- in an ongoing debate about the agreement?  And is -- is -- those opponents in Congress who oppose the deal, are they going to continue to try to find ways to undermine and re-litigate, renegotiate this deal?

            Kelsey and I had the pleasure of seeing one of the earlier drafts of Senator Cardin's legislation late last week, and I think it might be useful if she could offer some thoughts about what we see as some of the problematic elements of this draft legislation, which has not yet been introduced because that just may be a -- a preview of things to come.

            So if you could address some of that, Kelsey, that would be good to start us off with and then we'll open up the floor to -- to your questions.

            DAVENPORT:  So the legislation that Senator Cardin is proposing is problematic for several reasons.  One of the initial points that I think is worth highlighting is that it would transfer a bomb, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, the MOP, to Israel.  That's a 30-pound -- 30,000-pound bomb and that bomb can only be delivered, as we know, by the B-52 H bomber or the B-2 bomber.

            Now Israel does not have in its domestic capacity the ability to deliver the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, so it would -- we would also need to transfer these aircraft to Iran, and that would be a violation of the new START Treaty, given that these aircraft deliver both conventional and nuclear weapons.  So fulfilling this element of the legislation, if it becomes law as written, would then violate our new START Treaty obligations with -- with Russia, so very problematic element there. 

            Also, it is unclear if Israel has even asked for this weapon.  There is no sort of known Israeli request, given that they do not actually have the air filter delivery capacity for this weapon.  There are a number of elements of the legislation that also attempt to renegotiate the provisions of the deal.  While some of these are expressed only in a sense of Congress, the optics that it would present are still quite problematic. 

            One section, for instance, says that Iran will not produce highly-enriched uranium under the JCPOA.  Now Iran will not produce highly-enriched uranium for the first 15 years of the deal, but as we have demonstrated, elements of the deal far exceed 15 years and if Iran upped its enrichments after 15 years, while that is undesirable and unnecessary, it would not be a violation of the agreement. 

            So Iran's response to the U.S. Congress renegotiating elements, I think, would be significantly problematic in terms of implementation going forward.  Also problematic, the legislation requires the International Atomic Energy Agency to provide the United States with complete information regarding its past military dimensions investigation. 

            If you heard Colin this morning, he talked about these being phrased as the quote/unquote, sort of "secret side deals" with the IAEA and he remarked that there is a need for these agreements, particularly on access to military sites, to remain confidential.  The U.S. would demand this, it'd make sense that Iran demand this, because making this information public certainly provides a security problem. 

            So requiring the IAEA to report on the safeguards confidential document not only impinges upon the integrity of the agency and its processes, but also would again be unacceptable to Iran based on statements that we have heard from within Iran itself. 

            You know, there are other elements that are problematic relating to -- to U.S. sanctions and when that sort of relief would come in relation to the additional protocol, that could actually delay Iran's permanent ratification of the additional protocol. 

            So for a number of reasons, this legislation is problematic and a rush to consider legislation that increases support for Israel in this way and seeks to renegotiate terms of the deal, could actually erode implementation rather than strengthen the deal, even though there are some positive elements in Cardin's legislation, like ensuring funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency. 

            So as Congress considers legislation moving forward, it will be important not to -- to jump the gun and sign off on anything that actually erodes the chances of the agreement being implemented.  

            KIMBALL:  All right, thank you very much.  All right, so we'll open up the floor and it's always good at Carnegie to start with Jessica Matthews.  So... 

            QUESTION:  Not anymore.  

            KIMBALL:  Not anymore.  Always -- Jessica.

             QUESTION:  Thanks, Daryl. 

            I just wanted to follow up immediately on this question of the Cardin bill, because it -- it -- I mean, I think we're clear now, it's not going to be a clear no on this deal, but it could be a muddle.  And I look at the Cardin bill and I think of the Majlis writing their version of the Cardin bill and all of a sudden we will be very quickly in who violated first, right? 

            So I was surprised you didn't mention the question of re-imposing sanctions -- that -- that the phrase in there that nothing in the bill prohibits sanctions on human rights, terrorism, dah, dah, dah, whereas my understanding the JCPOA says you can't take sanctions you've just lifted for nuclear reasons and slap them back on. 

            So can you talk a little about that and also the -- is the current version also says, as the earlier one did, that Iran has no right to enrich?

             KIMBALL:  Well on the first point, and then I want to ask Ellie to address your -- your first question -- yeah, the draft that we've seen asserts that Iran does not have the right to enrich uranium.  That's in the policy language section.  I think that's a gratuitous statement, I mean, many of us would agree that no, Iran doesn't really have to enrich uranium for its domestic energy needs, but they have been very steadfast in preserving their right to pursue the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  

            I mean -- so this is the kind of a poke in the eye from Congress that is just not going to be helpful, it doesn't serve any purpose and it could lead to an equal and negative reaction from the Majlis.

             But Ellie, if you could -- why don't you address this broader question that Jessica is raising about the continued imposition of sanctions on human rights and terrorism and further sanctions, and how Iran might respond to that, both in the context the JCPOA and as well as broader relations?

            GERANMAYEH:  So I think it's a great question and comment.  Just to highlight, the debate in Congress has already delayed the implementation process for about two months.  This is a time that basically after it became clear we're going to review process, Iran was quick to say, "Then our Majlis has the right to review once Congress has review.

            So I think the supreme leader, for his constituencies, has played his card very smartly to say, "We're not going to fully sign off on this deal until the domestic debate in the U.S. is over."  My concern with Cardin's bill is that even once we pass this hurdle, hopefully this week, next week on the congressional review process, that that's not the end of it, that we're going to get Iranian process of review delayed because they're going to want to see what happens with these new bills and legislation's.  Or premise any implementation on the basis they're not going to remove the nuclear related sanctions label and put on human rights and terrorism -- label on it.  

            And I think one point, also the previous talk with Colin where there was conversation about the Europeans going into do business with Iran and forgetting the human rights and terrorism sanctions.  Well Europeans already have sanctions on terrorism and human rights, which will remain in place. 

            The point is they're not going to now impose a new set of sanctions which can be misinterpreted as essentially the same nuclear related sanctions.  And I think if that move is made, there's going to be a big debate in Majlis.  And I think it's important to remember that this team in administration now, the Zarif Rouhani team, these were the guys that worked on essentially making a deal with U.S. and Afghanistan in 2001 and afterward they were burnt quite heavily within the domestic debate in Iran after the axis of evil campaign.  And so, I think this for them -- if they now get burnt on this attempt to negotiate with America, I think our ability to again, go back and re-negotiate is going to be closed for quite a long period of time.

            KIMBALL:  All right, thanks a lot.  All right, why don't we -- let's see we've got five question.  We'll try to get to everybody.  Why don't we start with Dr. Mein(ph) and then we'll go to Mr. Certsioni(ph), and then we'll got to the other side.

             QUESTION:  Thanks.  George, my question is for you about your last point, about this -- about what lessons one can learn about the practice of American leadership of whatever word one uses to substitute for leadership?  Given the fact that in the letters that the president to various members of congress and Secretary Kerry said, "those letters are actually quite belligerent in tone," and stressed the enormous military commitment that the United States has made to Israel and will continue to make for the foreseeable future and to some of the gulf Arab states.  

            You know, 20% of the Israeli is American foreign military financing.  Now the president says -- and so, the question, what has that model of engagement bought in terms of actual policy outcomes for the United States in any significant way, either with Israeli or with the gulf Arab states, given the actual situations that were priorities such as the settlements, and the Palestinian and Syria and Iraq and so many other things?  So what lessons do you think the Washington community can learn from this experience over the last few years? 

            KIMBALL:  Now, why don't we take Joe's question and then we'll address the questions.

            QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  Excellent presentations by all three, and my questions is related, I want to take advantage of your presence here, Ellie, to have you comment on this last observation by George. 

            How does this look to the Europeans?  How does this look to the Europeans?  Is it -- does it seem as if Israel has a veto over U.S. National Security Policy? 

            PERKOVICH:  My certainty is obviously -- this is just a cursory response to you vary large question.  But that, the -- a big part of the impetuous for this model of policy and for the financial assistance and security assistance to Israel and everything else was -- well goes back before 1948 and after.  But in general in the region, a lot of emerged from Camp David and the process there.  

            And so there as a sense that there was a piece effort.  Israel had made piece at least, you know with Egypt and Jordan and others.  The U.S. needed to support that, so it allotted money to Egypt which then we've run into what happened since 2011 in Egypt.  A lot of money to Israel obviously, assistance to Jordan, and then I think some of the underwriting of the GCC states, which was originally about oil supply. 

            So that was before the shale revolution and everything else, we wanted their oil.  So that transaction took in a lot people's minds worked.  It was keeping gas prices, keeping oil and gas available, but also keeping prices manageable.  So that was a business proposition in a lot of ways. 

             And we haven't really changed much of it even though the perception of the need for that oil and such has changed.  But there was also an element of, "yes, they didn't normalize relations with Israel, but they would kind of go easy on the Israelis and wouldn't, you know, cause too much trouble."  Instead they ended focusing in Afghanistan as you know well and Taliban and the Salafi movements that don't focus so much on Israel but on sectarian conflicts on us about whether that was a good deal or not. 

            So I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't think it's -- that, that model has been ineffective and hasn't had positive outcomes from the U.S. point of view. But I would say, a lot of premises are debated -- deserve to be debated now.  A lot of the conditions have changed and we haven't adapted in any way or very slightly to those changes.  And so one of the ways that you see that one the Iran deal is that -- you know people on the hill -- I mean I testified in February and a Senator from Nebraska is like you know, " we should give a peace treaty to Saudi Arabia." 

            To Saudi Arabia?  I looked at him and I said," The UAE tried to buy a port, they tried to pay for a port in the U.S. and congress, I think 400 to you know 34 voted against it.  Now you want to guarantee Saudi Arabia's security?  You know, blah blah blah. 

            Well she goes, "well I think we should do."  And I said, you know, I looked her in the eyes and said, "well, you got the votes for that?"  So there and so there's very little awareness for example, like what the Saudi regime is, who they support, you know, what sides are on, on a lot of issues.  But there's still a lot of people out saying, that's the problem with the Iran deal.  Is that our poor Saudi friends we have to really reassure them.  

            So there's a lot of catching up that's going to have to be done on all of this.  I don't know who's going to do it because I don't see -- I mean you don't see in this debate people really raising that question.  So I guess it's going to have a you be you know, folks like you or us?  

            KIMBALL:  Ellie? 

            GERANMAYEH:  So I think the E3 in particular after this deal have been very clear on outlining the -- there are institutional lengths that the Israeli establishment remains firm and they are in addition to the United States.  Where you have examined their commitment to Israeli security, but I think the public discourse and also the policy discourse in Europe is very different on the position of Israel. 

             Europe has it's version of APAC, but they have no where near the same influential policy here in Washington.  And I think that there is now a conversation much more broadly happening across Europe about the issue of the Middle East peace process and re-igniting that.  And what costs are going to be imposed on Netanyahu's government for essentially ignoring every demand that the Europeans have made on this issue.  

            And this is one of their -- the issues that potentially Federica Mogherini is going to bring back to light in the Middle East -- her Middle East program and agenda.  But I think also the -- the appearance of Netanyahu in Congress back in March slightly shocked Europeans, and the debate that ignited from that.  

            In a way, the policy debate essentially shifted shifted from that moment from being one focused on the nuclear issue to all of the regional problems that we have with Iran, and they were very worried that that could impact the negotiation that had been so intensely focused on the nuclear issue. 

            And -- you know, I speak to European policy makers all the time, and they say, "well, you know, it was the Israeli government that told us not to link these issues at the beginning, and now they're insisting on us linking them again. 

             And, you know, even -- even speaking to the Saudis, I was in Saudi Arabia last week, speaking to high officials, including the foreign minister, and they said, "no, actually, from our standpoint, we're firm that the regional issues have -- shouldn't have been linked to the nuclear issue, because we wanted to be in the room when the regional issues were debated."  

            So I think that there are a lot of conflicting messages from Israel for -- for the Europeans, but they've managed to distance themselves in the public discourse, in the policy discourse, when it comes to Iran, on what is the intention of the Netanyahu government in a way that is quite different to the U.S. debate.  

            And I think that will essentially feed the conspiracy theory that if APAC does have this win on this issue, that Washington is somehow governed and ruled by the Israeli agenda on Iran. 

             KIMBALL:  All right.  We have some questions over here.  We're gonna start in the back with Ambassador Loris (ph), and then we'll come forwards to the man in pink.  Microphone, please.  

            QUESTION:  Daryl, I just would like to ask a very specific question.  It's been fascinating, thank you very much for putting it on. 

            About what this Cardin bill is supposed to do.  Presumably the earlier panel here discussed it, but I've talked to a lot of Democratic senators who I think are involved in a process, including Bennet and a couple of others, who want to turn this into some sort of a -- a partner of the actual approval bill, of the bill that will actually be discussed.  

            I don't know how that works from a legislative point of view, but my sense is that many of the Democrats who've signed on this have signed off -- have signed on to it with -- with the qualifications that you see reflected in the Cardin bill, and I don't know how that actually will play out, because we'll probably know in the next couple of days, but we're going to be spending some time on the Hill tomorrow. 

             Did -- did anybody illuminate that issue?  How this Cardin bill is gonna relate to the actual bill that will be voted on? 

            KIMBALL:  Well, let me try to address that, and let me just remind you that we're speaking here in real time, this bill is still in draft form.  The Senate is about to begin debate in two hours.  The supporters of the JCPOA have just reached 41.  

            So there are a lot of things that you've just asked about that we cannot answer sitting here at this very moment.  But let me say three things about the Cardin bill that I think will apply, going forward.  

            One is Senator Cardin had a chance to look very carefully at the JCPOA.  He came out with the wrong decision.  He's -- he's gonna vote no, even though he does not have a viable alternative, and his suggestion that there is the possibility a better deal out there is, as was  said over and over again, is pure fantasy.  So I think it's -- it's an ill-conceived decision on his part.  

            And now he's offering a bill that, as Kelsey described, would reinterpret the JCPOA, would suggest that certain sanctions be extended  for quite some time ahead, which sends the wrong signal to Iran, and that certain weapons should be transferred to Israel that can only be seen as -- you know, direct military threats to Iran.

             This is not the time for Congress to be trying to inject these kinds of ideas into the discussion and debate about the JCPOA as envisioned by the original Corker/Cardin Iran deal review bill.  There will be time for the Senate and the House to look at ways in which the United States can and should reinforce our security relationship with Israel and the Gulf states, but at some later point in time. 

            So, to those members of Congress who are seeking to attach parts of this bill to the resolution on the Iran deal itself, I would say this is just not the right time.  These things have to be considered carefully, and it has to be considered in the context of how this affects the implementation of this very important agreement.  

            So those are all good questions, Bill, but I just -- you know, I don't think we can really address all of them on... 

             QUESTION:  I'm just saying I think it's coming down to a potential that many of the Democrats who've already signed on will be signing on with Republicans... 

            KIMBALL:  Maybe yes, maybe no.  I think you're... 

            QUESTION:  But why -- wouldn't it have to -- would... 

             QUESTION:  I don't know. 

             QUESTION:  Isn't there a committee process, number one.  Number two, when Republicans then try to amend it because it's not strong enough for them, and once they start throwing amendments on, then some of the Democrats kind of go, "well, I didn't sign up for"...  

            QUESTION:  Look, Daryl's right.  Daryl's right, it's too difficult to speculate.  But we're gonna be meeting some staff members tomorrow, and I just don't know what the thinking is. 

            My sense is that there's a lot of Republicans who would agree with the Democrats who feel that this is the way to get a win, or a mini-win out of this vote.  And I think... 

            QUESTION:  Right now, Bill, there's one -- there's one Democrat who supports this bill.  It is Ben Cardin.  We don't know if there's any others supporting. 

            So let me just -- let's leave it there. 

            QUESTION:  I'm sorry. 

             KIMBALL:  Okay.  We could go on and on to speculate, but I was trying to say, we don't really want to speculate too much at this particular moment.  

            QUESTION:  Let me just say one thing about George -- George's remarks.  

            KIMBALL:  Very quickly, thank you. 

            QUESTION:  This has nothing to do with the issue of the bill.  I heard Cheney just before I came here.  I went to the AEA (sic) in my hat of talking with the enemy, and his presentation was about a totally different bill than you're talking about.  

            It had analysis that I've never heard before -- I mean, I've heard pieces of it, but you've gotta read this to know how little what we've been saying here relates to what is the word out there. 

            KIMBALL:  So, George, would this be the first time that Vice President Cheney has been operating in his own world, or... 

Seriously, I would say we haven't heard the former vice president's comments, but we'll look forward to that.  Let me go to the next question.  Yes, sir. 

            QUESTION:  My name is Mohamed Alaa (ph) from American University.  Just one question to Kelsey.  You suggested that Iran, over the coming 15 years, might take steps to sort of extend the terms of the agreement as long as -- as other powers in the region can participate. 

             My question is, can Israel court -- participate somehow?  Can there be some sort of measures to build confidence?  Can we, for a change, forget about the sort of -- you know, balance, traditional balance of power approach to solving nuclear issues, and, in the Middle East, think about nuclear-free zone, with Israel signing the non-proliferation treaty, participating in the region, setting an example?  

            Israel is the only country in the region with nuclear weapons.  This is one thing.  The other thing is, I just came from a visit to the Middle East, and I've talked to lots of people.  Speaking about public opinion in the Middle East, not about leaders, public opinion, people don't care about -- as much about Iran, which does not have a nuclear weapon. 

             People care more about Israel.  So what leverage does the United States have -- and diplomacy, and just -- even public diplomacy, to say, "let's think in terms of sort of a liberal approach to solving this issue."  Thank you. 

            KIMBALL:  Thank you.  Good question.  Why don't you take that Kelsey?

            DAVENPORT:  OK.  I think there are a number of steps that can be taken at a regional level to increase confidence.  I don't think that Israel signing on to the NPT is going to be the first step.  I think it's going to be the very last step. 

            Unfortunately, at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference this spring, the lack of consensus on a final document derailed some of the very limited progress that was actually being made on establishing a Middle East weapons of mass destruction-free zone. 

            Prior to that, the Arab League and Israel and Iran, when it was able to take time away from the nuclear negotiations, actually were sitting down at the -- at -- at the table together under Finnish facilitator Jaakko Laajava, and were making some progress on coming up with an agenda to hold a conference to establish a zone.  

            Now, that is a very long process when you consider that they're just holding meetings, not holding a conference.  But it demonstrated that there were steps that both sides were willing to take to compromise on the agenda for the zone, in which case, you know, Israel wants to include conventional weapons.  They want a -- a broader mandate for the -- for the zone, to discuss larger regional security issues, where the Arab League has traditionally been sort of more narrow.  

            I think -- so I think it -- it is unfortunate that that process was derailed, because Egypt is a very hard-line position on where they wanted the zone discussions to go over the next year.  That being said, I don't think the process should be abandoned. 

            I think, in the next year as -- you know, we -- we look forward to the -- the 2017 PrepCom, there could be opportunities to reinvigorate parts of that process.  And there are steps that the countries in the region can take, independent of the process.  

            If you look here at the Middle East, you know, Iran, Israel and Egypt, none of these countries have ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  That's a step that they could all take together to provide assurance that nuclear tests would be -- any nuclear test in the region would -- would be detected, and also reaffirm commitment to the general principle of working towards a Middle East weapons of mass destruction-free zone. 

            So I mean, yes, it will be desirable at some point for Israel to sign on to the NPT, but first, it will be necessary to build confidence, and I think, looking at some of these interim measures like restrictions on enrichment, like more comprehensive monitoring and verification, will help provide some of that confidence at the regional level that will allow Israel to eventually move to a position where it would be willing to discuss giving up its nuclear weapons. 

            KIMBALL:  All right.  We're gonna take two questions here  and then we're gonna be wrapping up, so, yes sir. 

             QUESTION:  Ellie, you mentioned that the Europeans will be maintaining their sanctions for human rights and terrorism, which the U.S. also.  To what extent, and this goes back to Menendez's statement and other people's statement, the expectation that European businesses will be running to Iran to do business, which I guess some trade missions have indicated.  

            But to what extent would the continuation of U.S. sanctions that are permitted under the agreement inhibit European companies from doing business in Iran, even after the agreement is -- goes forward?  

            KIMBALL:  All right, good question.  All right, and then Mr. Cochrane (ph), your second swing at the ball.  

            QUESTION:  George, I'm not in favor of using force, and I'm not arguing against the deal, but I want to challenge one of your arguments, if I understood it correctly, and that's where you said you need the JCPOA in order to justify using force if they violate it.  

            Iran violated its safeguards agreement when it -- it illicitly bought and loaded with uranium and spun centrifuges, and by violating its safeguards agreement, it violated the NPT, and it's violated sanction -- I mean, resolutions of the U.N. Security Council, of which it is a member of the -- so, isn't the justification enough for all of these violations that you don't need another deal to justify whatever you were gonna do in the way of force?  

            And that goes also -- do you believe, under the NPT, that Iran has the right to enrich if its enrichment capability was developed illicitly in violation of the NPT and its safeguards agreement? 

            KIMBALL:  All right.  So Ellie, you want to start out, and then go to George? 

             PERKOVICH:  Can I -- can I -- can I be -- can I be -- I've got to take my son to the airport, so can I try to answer that one really quick and then... 

            KIMBALL:  OK, you go first, then. 

            PERKOVICH:  I apologize, but he's very anxious. 

            (LAUGHTER) 

             KIMBALL:  I'm sure. 

             PERKOVICH:  So just quickly, on -- Tom, I -- I -- I think in politics and psychology -- you know, it's three strikes, you're out.  I mean, we know this in childrearing, and in all sorts of other ways, like -- and so it really matters to have a president who came in and, in a very controversial part of the 2008 election, said "I will do business with these people.  I will try to negotiate."  He was hammered for it. 

            He did it again in 2012.  So this is the guy who's really taken risk for diplomacy, but that's a very different predicate than the shah signed the NPT, All right, before the revolution, and, yes, and then the ambiguities about -- you know, clandestine sentry. 

            This is like a negotiated deal, after all these years with this president bending over backwards, being accused for it -- I mean -- for doing that, that if the Iranians make that agreement and then violate it, yes, it's going to be politically a very different thing than -- than what they did before.  

            So I think the dynamic of it would be very changed, especially for whatever president comes after this president.  So -- and I think the Iranians know that, by the way, which is a good thing.  So it strengthens the deterrent against cheating. 

            But yes, I would say it's a different predicate.  Then on the -- the right to enrich.  I mean, where I would disagree -- I mean, I don't think -- it's gratuitously asking for fights to say Iran doesn't have a right to enrich.  I think it happens to be the case, but they also don't not have a right.  

            The NPT doesn't speak to it one way or the other.  It's a political issue.  And I had this discussion in Iran in 2005, and the Iranian diplomats basically agree.  They say, "yeah, it's true.  I mean, as long as you're willing to acknowledge that we don't not have a right, yeah, fine, we, you know, can say it doesn't say we have a right." 

            But that's the issue.  So then the question of, okay, they acquired it by cheating.  My response is, well, they would have gotten it one way or the other, and then they can say, "no, no, we knew how to do it over here, and yes, we got -- you know, this centrifuge, but we could've gotten that centrifuge." 

             So you really -- I mean, seems to me that's a capillary issue rather than a big issue of how they acquired the capacity to -- to enrich.  It doesn't -- I don't think that one gets you very far. 

            KIMBALL:  Thank you. All right.  Ellie?  

            GERANMAYEH:  Can I just tag on a few comments of what George just said?  I think one thing from Colin's remark that was interesting to hear a U.S. administration official say is this importance of self-reliance for the Iranians, and the history of mistrust definitely goes both ways.

             And I think for them, in terms of the nuclear capacity issue from the -- from a peaceful program angle is one thing that probably they've been aspiring to get to since the Shah's time, it's been their way of balancing themselves with Israel.  And I think that had they not done it by cheating, George is completely right.  They would have gotten them some other way. 

            And secondly, this issue of America using military force, I think one thing that this administration has done is really revamped the image of the U.S. police copying (ph) the Middle East image after Iraq which had, I think, quite dramatic impact, particularly in Europe, how they viewed the U.S. policy on the Middle East. 

            So I think going to extreme lengths to exhaust the diplomatic angle will also bring with it, if there is cheating from the Iranian side, European support for any action, military action in Iran should it go to that length. 

            On the question about business from the European angle, since the interim deal, there's been trade delegations going into Iran, there's been attacks on these trade delegations for potentially boosting (ph) sanctions, and we know for a fact that that hasn't really been the case.  In fact, European business with Iran hasn't really increased, even in the -- in the allowed, permitted areas under the interim deal, because most European companies are so hands-off that the impact that the U.S. Treasury has had on European business has been quite blunt and quite huge in terms of scaring the living life out of them in doing business particularly with big financial sectors and the energy sector.  

            And really, those are the two sectors that Iran is hoping to re-integrate into the European business -- financial sector and the energy sector.  And my prediction has been talking with CEOs of major oil companies in Europe is they're going to tread with a lot of caution going back into Iran.  They took a big financial hit having to pull their resources and their projects out of Iran, and they're going to want to see at least a year or two of the successful implementation of this deal before they march back in. 

            And you know there's been worries that at a state level in the U.S., sanctions are going to be imposed in various forms on this nuclear issue, and I think they're going to watch very carefully how this plays out in the U.S. both at a state level and also in terms of the next U.S. president implementing this deal.

             So I don't think we're going to see a flood of energy investment that Iran needs in the next year or two, and I think it's a Burma (ph) case that will -- the level of sanctions on Iran have really been unprecedented.  So I think it's going to be a slower process than what people claim.  

            KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, thank you very much.  We're out of time for this morning's event.  Appreciate everybody being here.  With the presentations from Kelsey, Ellie and George, we've tried to underscore why this is a game-changer for nuclear nonproliferation, why it's in the U.S. national security interest and that of our allies and why we have 41 senators right now expressing their strong support for this agreement, despite the very partisan nature of the debate.  

            And so we thank you for being here and look forward to engaging in the future on how this deal plays out and the other problems that we all are concerned about.  So please join me in thanking the speakers. 

            (APPLAUSE) 

            END

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Statement by Daryl G. Kimball to the 25th UN Conference on Disarmament Issues, Hiroshima, Japan

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Addressing the Disarmament Deficit
Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director 

25th United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues, Hiroshima, Japan
August 27, 2015

In the seven decades since the U.S. atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons have become less and less relevant to the security of possessor states and their allies and the potential harm of their further use has become even more harmful to international security and human survival.

Yet the threat of nuclear war remains. As President Obama said in June 2013 in Berlin: “ … so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe.”

And thanks to the moving and inspiring testimonials of the hibakusha many of us have heard this week, we are better able to understand why the use of nuclear weapons is inhumane and unacceptable under any circumstances. 

To ensure the NPT and the broader global nuclear disarmament enterprise remains dynamic and effective, all states-parties must provide leadership and take action to fulfill the treaty’s lofty goals and aspirations.

Unfortunately, rather than help to advance the disarmament cause, the 2015 NPT review conference exposed the imperfections of the NPT and the divisions among key parties.

In addition, to the division on the Middle East Zone conference, the states-parties failed to produce an updated, meaningful action plan on disarmament that builds on the commitments they made at the 2010 review conference.

Although the recent downturn in U.S.-Russian relations and growing U.S.-Chinese tensions have made progress difficult, this does not excuse the NPT nuclear weapon states from their NPT Article VI disarmament commitments.

Without further U.S. and Russian nuclear reductions, until at least 2021, the United States and Russia will deploy more than 1,500 strategic warheads on several hundred bombers and missiles—far more than necessary to deter nuclear attack. If these weapons were used even in a “limited” way, the result would be catastrophic nuclear devastation. 

Making matters worse, the United States and Russia are both modernizing their Cold War nuclear inventories, which will cost of several hundred billion dollars over the next ten years.

Other nuclear arms states—China, India, and Pakistan in particular—are all pursuing new ballistic missile, cruise missile, and sea-based nuclear delivery systems. Pakistan has dangerously lowered the threshold for nuclear weapons use by developing tactical nuclear weapons capabilities to counter perceived Indian conventional military threats. 

And North Korea continues its nuclear pursuits in violation of its earlier denuclearization pledges and the NPT and may conduct yet another nuclear weapon test explosion. 

While they agreed to draft conference language outlining some useful new disarmament concepts, the nuclear weapon states did not come to the conference with significant new proposals for progress on disarmament, and they successfully brushed aside calls for new benchmarks and timelines on previous commitments.

In response, 114 governments joined an Austrian-led initiative known as the “Humanitarian Pledge,” which calls on states "to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons."   

Some states and civil society campaigners interpret this to mean that negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons possession and use should begin.

A ban is a necessary step toward a world without nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, will not, by itself, change dangerous nuclear doctrines or eliminate nuclear arsenals of the world’s nuclear-armed states. It is not a panacea for the hard work and bold leadership necessary to change the status quo. 

Thus, additional creative initiatives, new ideas, and bolder leadership are required to move forward.

And, as Amb. Kellerman of South Africa has reminded us, given that the next NPT Review Conference is five years away, given that the Conference on Disarmament is dysfunctional, a new and meaningful forum to develop and launch effective disarmament measures is required.

The following concepts and initiatives may help catalyze meaningful action:

1. Convene nuclear disarmament summits. As Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, William Perry, and George Shultz argued in an op-ed in 2013, a new multilateral effort for nuclear disarmament dialogue is needed.

In 2009, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon suggested that the UN Security Council convene a summit on nuclear disarmament.

I welcome Amb. Kang of the United States expressing support for the concept in the 2015 NPT draft conference document regarding an “open-ended working group” to “elaborate effective measures for the full implementation of Article VI of the treaty.” The working group could allow for the continuation of the discussions at the NPT Review Conference on disarmament and the introduction of practical new proposals for breaking the current deadlock.

Another, more impactful approach would be for a group of concerned states to organize a high-level conference involving the leaders of a representative group of 20-30 nuclear and nonnuclear armed states to a two- to three-day summit on the pursuit of a joint enterprise to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

The first such high-level meeting could be held in Hiroshima or elsewhere in Japan in 2016 on the margins of the G-7 Summit. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has opened the door to such a gathering with his very important invitation for other world leaders to visit Hiroshima at that time.

This could be an historic, new, and productive starting point to rejuvenate the nuclear disarmament effort. To bring all key states together is should be based on two principles: 1) a clear understanding of the humanitarian impact of the use of nuclear weapons; and 2) an objective assessment of the security concerns of states, including the threats posed by a range of nuclear risks.

All participants should be encouraged to bring “house gifts”—specific actions by states that would concretely reduce the threat of nuclear weapons use, freeze or reduce numbers of nuclear weapons, reduce the role of nuclear weapons, or make their nuclear programs more transparent.

For instance, the United States and Russia could jointly announce they will resume negotiations on a follow-on to the New START agreement, and/or one or more CTBT Annex II states could announce they have taken concrete steps to sign or ratify the treaty.

Such a summit could provide much-needed new momentum on disarmament.

2. Accelerate U.S.-Russian nuclear cuts and freeze other nuclear-armed nation stockpiles. Further nuclear reductions need not wait for a new U.S.-Russian arms control treaty. The United States and Russia could accelerate the pace of reductions under New START to reach the agreed limits before the 2018 deadline. As long as both sides continue to reduce force levels below the treaty limits, U.S. and Russian leaders could undertake parallel, verifiable reductions well below New START ceilings.

Other countries must get off the disarmament sidelines, particularly China, France, India and Pakistan, which continue to improve their nuclear capabilities. These states are all pursuing new ballistic missile, cruise missile, and sea-based nuclear delivery systems. In addition, Pakistan has dangerously lowered the threshold for nuclear weapons use by developing tactical nuclear weapons capabilities to counter perceived Indian conventional military threats.

To start, the world’s other nuclear-armed states should pledge not to increase the overall size of their stockpiles as long as U.S. and Russian reductions continue.  

A unified push for further U.S.-Russian arms cuts, combined with a global nuclear weapons freeze by the other nuclear-armed states, could create the conditions for multilateral action on disarmament.

3. Follow through on the CTBT. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the negotiation and the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

In the interest of global security and out of respect for the victims and survivors of nuclear testing, it is past time to bring the treaty into force.                 

Despite statements of support for the CTBT from China and the United States, neither state has taken sufficient action to ratify the treaty. Stronger leadership from Washington and Beijing is overdue and necessary. 

Other states must do their part too. Ratification by Egypt, Iran, and Israel—three other key CTBT holdouts—would also reduce nuclear weapons-related security concerns in the Middle East and help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction—or in the very least, a nuclear weapons test free zone.

As Amb. Badr of Egypt eloquently noted, we must respect the wishes of the hibakusha, and it is clear that one of their wishes is the CTBT. And, I agree with him that states cannot pick and choose which NPT commitments they decide to meet and which ones they do not. And so, I would like to invite Amb. Badr to explain whether Egypt still supports the CTBT and explain when Egypt plans to join the treaty.

Neither India nor Pakistan say they want to resume testing, yet their governments have failed to take a serious look at joining the CTBT, which, despite their protestations, is a non-discriminatory measure that would help reduce nuclear tensions throughout Asia.

Even if action by these states toward ratification begins soon, the entry into force of the CTBT is many years away, and it is vital that the international community seek ways to reinforce the global taboo against nuclear testing pending CTBT entry into force. 

To do so, it would be wise for the members of the UN Security Council to consider the adoption of a resolution next year that determines that nuclear testing by any state is a threat to international peace and security. Or the key nuclear testing states could issue a joint statement underscoring their commitment to the CTBT and the test moratorium.

_________________

None of these options is easy or simple, but without fresh thinking and renewed action on the 70-year old problem of nuclear weapons, the risk of the further use of nuclear weapons use will grow.

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In the seven decades since the U.S. atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons have become ...

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The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal: Outcome, Implementation, and Verification

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Thursday, July 16, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

Transcript available below.
Video available on CSPAN.

On July 14, negotiators from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran secured a comprehensive nuclear agreement designed to verifiably block Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons development and guard against a clandestine weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief.

On July 16, the Arms Control Association brought together former high-level government officials and experts to address the challenges of implementing the deal and discuss steps that can be taken to enhance prospects for the deal’s success.  

Speakers include:

  • Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association;
  • Ilan Goldenberg, Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Security Program, Center for a New American Security and a former Special Advisor on the Middle East and former Iran Team Chief in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy;
  • Richard Nephew, Program Director of Economic Statecraft, Sanctions and Energy Markets, Columbia University and former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Department of State, and former Director for Iran, National Security Staff; and
  • Daryl G. Kimballmoderator, Executive Director, Arms Control Association.

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. 


KIMBALL: Well, good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Arms Control Association's briefing today on "The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal: The outcomes, implementation and verification." I'm Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, and we are an independent, nonpartisan organization. We were established in 1971 to provide information, ideas, solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

We have organized today's event to do discuss the recently concluded P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal, which is among the most complex and consequential of the nuclear age, which began 70 years ago today, with the first atomic bomb, which was detonated in New Mexico.

This agreement follows over two years of diplomatic machinations, intense negotiations involving seven nations, including long-time adversaries.

Our organization, the Arms Control Association, has intensively followed Iran's program and the diplomatic efforts to rein it in. And we have over this period of time sought to identify practical, technical and policy solutions to address the many different challenges on this issue so that the negotiators can help arrive at an agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran.

In our analysis, after looking at the document, which is over 100 pages, quite substantial, is that it can effectively and verifiably block Iran's potential uranium and plutonium pathways to nuclear weapons and guard against a clandestine weapons program for more than a generation.

That's a view shared by a wide variety of nonproliferation security experts. And we believe it will be a net plus for nuclear nonproliferation, the effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and for U.S. and regional security.

Congress now has 60 days to review this complex agreement, and we believe that each and every member needs to take a serious look at this agreement, get the answers to their questions -- and there are many questions -- and consider the benefits and the alternatives.

So to help contribute to this debate we have gathered three top-notch experts who are going to discuss the agreement, how it works, what its impact will be. We are going to start with the Arms Control Association's director for nonproliferation policy, Kelsey Davenport. She has been the author of our major research reports and policy briefs on this issue and she has been very closely monitoring the talks for more than four years or so. I think she is still recovering from her latest tour of duty, two and a half weeks in Vienna, the site of the final round of the talks.

And next we are going to hear from Richard Nephew, who is former principal deputy coordinator for sanctions policy at the U.S. Department of State, and director for Iran on the National Security Council staff. So he was one of the negotiators until the beginning of this year.

He is now the program director for economic statecraft, sanctions and energy markets at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University in New York, and is a nonresident senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Center at Brookings.

Then we are going to hear from Ilan Goldenberg, who is senior fellow and director for Middle East security programs at the Center for New American Security, and foreign policy and defense expert with extensive government experience covering Iran's program.

So after their opening comments and remarks about the agreement, its impacts, we are going to take your questions.

And I just want to make a final observation and thought before I ask Kelsey to talk about the nuclear nonproliferation elements of the agreement. Like any diplomatic agreement, this one is the product of give-and-take. It's not perfect. But if you look at it as a whole, we think it is very strong and is in many ways stronger than the framework that was reached in early April by the P5+1 and Iran.

Yet, it is clear already, just a couple of days after this agreement was concluded, that many critics believe that by rejecting the agreement, increasing sanctions pressure on Iran, the U.S. can somehow coerce, convince the leaders of Iran to dismantle its nuclear program or agree to better terms.

I think, many people think, I think the president thinks, because we heard him say this yesterday, this is basically a dangerous illusion. There isn't a better deal on the horizon, and if Congress somehow blocks this agreement, there are going to be very tough, negative consequences. We will have broken with our European allies. The necessary international support for Iran-related sanctions will dissipate. Iran would not be subject to limits on its nuclear program and could expand this program. We would lose out on enhanced inspections. The risk of a nuclear-armed Iran and a conflict would grow. It wouldn't be inevitable, but it would grow.

So a lot is at stake, and in the coming weeks we hope Congress is going to take a hard look at the agreement, what it does, and the alternatives.

So with that, let me turn it over to Kelsey Davenport, and then we will move briefly on to our other speakers. Thanks.

DAVENPORT: Great. Thank you, Daryl, and thank you all for being here this morning. At least I think it's morning. I'm still not quite sure what time zone I'm in.

So I want to talk today mostly about the nuclear elements of the deal, and while I won't be able to touch on all 158 pages of the agreement, during the question-and-answer we can explore the areas that I don't touch on, and would be happy to take any questions.

But from the perspective of the Arms Control Association, this is a very strong agreement from a nonproliferation perspective. In many ways it exceeds the expectations of what we thought a good agreement would need to achieve to block Iran's pathways to nuclear weapons and put in place an intrusive monitoring and verification regime that would ensure quick detection of any covert activity.

No, this deal is not perfect but it's good enough and it meets U.S. nonproliferation goals. It safeguards U.S. national security, and it's good for regional security as well.

So to get into first some of the details. The parameters that were agreed to in April in Lausanne, particularly on the uranium enrichment, were details. They were strong, and from our assessments, with these parameters in place it would take Iran more than 12 months to produce enough material for one nuclear weapon. That's about 25 kilograms of uranium enriched to above 90 percent.

And that will be achieved by reducing Iran's centrifuges from 19,000 down to 6,000, of which 5,000 will be operating. Iran's stockpile will also be capped at 300 kilograms. So all of that we knew.

But what we get from the final deal are a number of details that strengthen this assessment that Iran cannot quickly move toward nuclear weapons. One of the things that becomes clear in this deal is that all of the excess centrifuge machines will be removed, all of the infrastructure, the piping, vacuums, will also be taken out and stored under IAEA seal. These seals will feed directly to the agency so we have greater assurance that if Iran were to try and access these machines, the IAEA would immediately know.

Also, it's important to note that Iran will be using these machines to replace and repair any broken machines, and Iran will not be producing any additional centrifuges unless the stockpile of machines reduces to under 500. So this idea that Iran is going to use time to build up its centrifuges to quickly deploy them later is false, and it will be -- the machines will be counted and inventoried under the deal. So again, these are provisions that add a greater level of confidence.

Also, we have more information about the stockpile. In Lausanne, Iran agreed to reduce its stockpile of low enriched uranium, uranium enriched to about 3.67 percent, or reactor grade, from the approximate 10,000 kilograms it has now down to 300 kilograms. And that includes uranium in all forms.

Iran will not be able to simply convert the gas into oxide. Oxide can be converted back to gas and further enriched. So this is the entire stockpile will be capped at 300 kilograms.

Any scrap material that's in process, that's enriched to 3.67 percent, or even up to 20 percent, will be turned into fuel plates for the Tehran research reactor. The material that can't be turned into fuel plates will either be shipped out of the country, diluted, or mixed in a form that it cannot be enriched further.

So again, additional steps that Iran will take to ensure that there is not scrap material lying around that can be enriched further, providing more assurance that Iran cannot obtain the material necessary for a bomb under 12 months.

Now there is also been some concern about the fact that the agreement leaves about 1,000 centrifuges at the Fordo facility, which Iran originally began to build in secret, that's deep in a mountain near the city of Qom.

Now, the 1,000 centrifuges that will be there, about 350 of the centrifuges will be used for stable isotope production. Now these machines cannot then be transitioned back to uranium enrichment, so that leaves about 600 machines that are idle.

The rest of the centrifuges and the associated infrastructure will be removed and it will be placed under seal back at the Natanz facility, which is where the 5,000 operating centrifuges will continue to produce enriched uranium.

So Iran can't take these machines back to Fordo, begin operating them quickly and use this facility to reduce enriched uranium. The IAEA would be able to detect any of those moves because the centrifuges are stored off-site, and because the IAEA will have access on a daily basis, if it wants it, to the Fordo facility. So this facility really does not pose a threat for the duration of the limitations there, which is 15 years. So very strong on the Fordo facility.

Now one of the criticisms that frequently has been levered against this deal is, what will happen after 10 years? Because in 10 years Iran -- Iran committed for 10 years to operate 5,060 of its IR-1 centrifuges. Iran is not going to go over a cliff in 10 years, and this agreement makes very clear that the work on advance centrifuge machines will be limited and they will be phased in in such a way that one day after 10 years Iran cannot deploy thousands of IR-8 centrifuges and then be just weeks away from attaining the material for a nuclear weapon.

So to look a little bit more closely at the R&D, Iran currently has about 1,000 advanced centrifuge machines in various states at its Natanz pilot production facility. Iran will have a few months to finish up the testing with some of those cascades, and then it will remove nearly all of the advanced machines and store them under seal.

During the duration, the 10-year duration, Iran will be allowed to operate one IR-4 machine, one IR-5 machine, one IR-6 machine and one IR-8 machine for eight years. It can test these machines with uranium but it cannot use these machines to accumulate enriched uranium. So again, we are not going to see a proliferation of advanced centrifuge machines that Iran can quickly use to break out.

After about eight and a half years, Iran will be able to test about 30 IR-6 machines and 30 IR-8 machines. And at that point they can begin producing about 200 of each of these models per year, but they will not be producing the rotors for these machines.

So around year 10, then, when Iran begins to transition these machines, it's important to note that its SWU capacity also will remain relatively stable for the next about three years.

UNKNOWN: What's SWU capacity, Kelsey?

DAVENPORT: I'm getting to SWU capacity. So SWU capacity is the measure of efficiency of a centrifuge machine. So that means that the capacity of Iran's 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges will remain constant as new machines are introduced. So if an IR-6 machine, say, has 10 times the SWU capacity of an IR-1 machine, if Iran introduces an IR-6 machine, they have to remove 10 IR-1s.

So this again ensures that we won't see a ramp-up in Iran's nuclear capacity immediately after sort of the 10-year restrictions on just using IR-1s to enrich uranium expire.

It's also important to note that we should not view any of these elements in isolation. So in addition to these restrictions on the number of machines that are being produced, Iran's procurement of materials that can be used for centrifuge development will also be monitored by the joint commission, which is set up through the deal, and any changes that Iran wants to make to its R&D will also have to be approved by the joint commission.

So if Iran starts to move or try and sort of move away from the R&D plan that it will submit to the IAEA as part of its additional protocol, it will become clear very quickly to the joint commission.

So one of the other areas where there has been a lot of questions relates to the transparency and the monitoring and verification elements of the deal. And this is something that at the Arms Control Association we were very concerned about because of Iran's illicit nuclear activities in the past.

But we feel that the intrusive inspections and monitoring and verification regime produced under this agreement will provide the highest degree of confidence that Iran cannot pursue nuclear weapons, either at its declared facilities or covertly.

So first at the declared facilities. Iran will have to expand its nuclear declaration under its additional protocol, which Iran has agreed to implement and then ratify within the eight years of the agreement. Now the additional protocol is an agreement between Iran and the IAEA that expands upon Iran's comprehensive safeguards agreement. It expands the number of declared sites. It gives inspectors greater access, and access on short notice to inspect these sites.

And on top of this, the agreement lays down a number of provisions that allows for continuous monitoring across Iran's entire fuel supply chain. That's 25 years at the uranium mines and mills, and 20 years at the centrifuge production shops, and then the continuous monitoring at Natanz and Fordo as well.

Essentially this means that if Iran wanted to covertly pursue nuclear weapons, they would need to replicate the entire fuel supply. They would need to find a new source of uranium ore, they would need to convert that into gas, and then they would need to enrich it. And these are large programs. You're not going to be able to hide this in a basement or even, you know, in a warehouse at a military facility.

Now another check against sort of this covert -- the concern about a covert nuclear weapons program comes with the increased access that will be granted to inspectors under the additional protocol. And it's very clear in the deal that if concerns arise about illicit nuclear activities, the IAEA will be permitted managed access to sites of concern, including military sites.

Now managed access means that Iran can state some conditions to protect sensitive military information, but it's important to realize that ultimately it will be the IAEA's decision about whether or not the conditions Iran places on access are adequate. And if the IAEA feels like they are not adequate, there is an adjudication mechanism in place that will decide if the IAEA should be given expanded access.

So if Iran and the IAEA cannot come to a decision within 14 days about access, the joint commission, which includes members of the P5+1 countries, the European Union and Iran, will have seven days to decide on access. And that's decided by a consensus vote, so five of the eight members. So that means Iran, China and Russia together can't block access. And then Iran will have an additional three days to comply with the joint commission's recommendation.

So in total, if the IAEA wants to access the sites, they can only be blocked from doing that for 24 days. Twenty-four days may be time for Iran to remove any equipment that is put in place, but it isn't enough time for Iran to eradicate any indication that illicit nuclear activities had taken place, and that's in part due to the very sophisticated environmental sampling that the IAEA can conduct.

So these layers really demonstrate the strength of the monitoring and verification, and I think it's worth noting too that we consider monitoring and verification in this deal by looking at the IAEA, but it isn't just the IAEA that's going to have its eyes on Iran's nuclear program. The national intelligence organizations of the United States, of the European countries, and I'm sure of Israel, will continue to watch Iran very closely.

In short, to sum up, I think the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said this is as solid of a verification regime as you can get. No element is going to provide you a 100 percent guarantee, but together it provides the highest degree of certainty that Iran is not covertly pursuing nuclear weapons.

Also, I think it's important to note that Iran's nuclear decision-making generally has been guided by sort of a cost-benefit analysis. So with this deal in place, the cost of cheating becomes exponentially higher because this is an agreement that Iran voluntarily signed on to, and within the agreement there are further commitments by Iran not to undertake any experiments related to nuclear weapons development.

So if Iran was found to be violating this deal that it agreed to voluntarily, we'll see an extremely strong reaction by the international community. So it also changes the cost-benefit analysis.

There are a few additional elements that I think are important and worth noting that I don't think have gotten much coverage so far. There are conditions where Iran cannot export any nuclear material or technology unless it's approved by the joint commission. I think that's important when we think about sort of the spread of -- containing the spread of these technologies.

There will be joint work on the fabrication of fuel elements, which provides Iran the ability then to fuel the Iraq reactor using the domestic fuel that it produces. And then also if there are concerns about noncompliance, there will be sort of a time-bound sort of 35-day period that consists of review by the joint commission, review by the ministers if necessary, that really ensures that if any party is not satisfied with the breach then, it can move on and take the case to the Security Council.

So there are a number of other provisions in this deal that just add to its strength and amplify the non-proliferation value.

So finally, moving forward, Congress now has the opportunity to weigh in on this deal, but with the power that Congress has to vote on agreement comes a great deal of responsibility. And if they cause or prevent this deal from being implemented, I think they need to buy the consequences, which certainly will likely lead to escalation on the part of Iran, escalation -- sanctions from the U.S. side, and could increase the chances of a military conflict.

So when looking at this deal, it's important that Congress evaluates the deal on its merits. Does it block Iran's pathways to nuclear weapons? Yes. Does it put in place intrusive monitoring and verification? Yes. Does it provide recourse in the case of violation? Yes.

And really, also considered against the alternatives there is no better deal out there. We have heard about the need for any time-anywhere inspections. Those aren't necessary. The International Atomic Energy Agency can do its job with the flexibility granted to it under the additional protocol.

We have heard that more pressure would perhaps induce Iran to make greater concessions. I think a deal like this deal that allows Iran to say it met its strategic objectives of retaining a limited civilian nuclear program and receiving sanctions relief gives Iran greater buy-in to the agreement. It makes the deal more sustainable because Iran sees incentives to comply. So I think this idea that more concessions were necessary would not produce necessarily a stronger deal.

Also again, I think it's important that when evaluating this deal we don't miss the forest for the trees. All of these elements need to be viewed together. If we look too closely at any one particular detail, we may miss the symbiotic relationship between the entirety of the package.

And ultimately this deal removes the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon. It's good for U.S. security, it's good for regional security, and I think it deserves the support of policymakers here in Washington.

KIMBALL: All right, thank you very much, Kelsey, for that overview and the details on some of the new elements. And you mentioned sanctions. We are going to turn to that issue now and how that relates to this agreement from Richard Nephew.

Richard, thanks for being here.

NEPHEW: Thanks for having me, and thanks, everybody, for being here today.

I was just going to touch on three points to deal with the sanction-related issue. First, I wanted to touch on the contents of the relief and the timeline and sequence of how it would all be rolled out.

Second, I want to touch on what's left because I think while there is a sense out there that this means the entire U.S. or international sanctions regime has been taken away, that's simply not true. Some of the sanctions that remain in place frankly are going to continue to hamper Iran's ability to even take advantage of some of the relief, which may be in itself a future problem.

And last, I want to touch on the impact of sanctions relief and how the Iranian economy, how the Iranian population and how the Iranian security apparatus may use the benefits of sanctions relief.

So first off, I can say in terms of the contents, I actually have a much easier job than Kelsey because the sanctions relief package is fairly straightforward and it's fairly direct and it's fairly broad. The decision was made very clearly by the negotiating partners to make this an issue of the nuclear problem and how to get resolution of the nuclear problem by incentivizing rapid Iranian action.

So the timeline that's been established for implementation of relief was configured as such. The Iranians have to complete all of the nuclear modifications that Kelsey was outlining, with a few things that, just by their very nature, are going to have to continue on for eight, 10 years, in some instances going on for 25 before any new sanctions relief will be given.

So all this talk about signing bonuses and billions of dollars flooding into Iran before a single centrifuge has been dismantled is all false. The way the relief is structured at this point and the way that the deal puts it in place, the Iranians are not going to see anything beyond the joint plan of action's continuing relief until they have done their part. Period.

Now, when they have done their part, the relief that they are going to get is going to be substantial, and in the judgment of myself, and I think of the administration, it was worthwhile in order to get the kinds of nuclear concessions that Kelsey has laid out.

So what's in play? Well, first off, all of the U.S. sanctions that are going to be discussed here are secondary in nature. They do not include the U.S. primary embargo, which is off the table, with the exception of a few very specific license things.

What the U.S. has offered to do is to provide relief from the sanctions that it imposes on foreign companies' interactions with Iran. So if you are BP, if you are Totol (ph), if you are any number of other companies that reside out there in the world, you are now going to be able to do business with Iran after the Iranians have done the nuclear steps that they are supposed to do.

And it's going to be across a wide range of sectors. The energy sector, both in terms of the sale and purchase of products, investment, financial services, financial transactions, insurance, transportation. There's going to be a wide range of economic activity that the Iranians are going to be able to do. Again, with foreign companies and foreign actors, subject to their own laws.

Now this will not take place until after these nuclear steps have been taken, which is going to take a long time as well. The way that the timeline has been set up, we are now in a period that you could loosely call phase 1, but leading up to adoption day. And it's in this 90-day period in which every single country that's part of the P5+1 has to go to its national legislatures or any other legal procedures that they have and to get buy-in for the deal.

Upon the expiration of this 90-day clock, or sooner if the parties agree, and frankly I don't think that's possible, given our own 60-day clock here in the United States, then the Iranians will start to take their steps. And this will include removal of centrifuges, modification of the Iraq (ph) reactor, as well as a variety of other nuclear things that Kelsey was describing.

For the United States, European Union, there is a requirement to have in place the waivers and legal modifications to sanctions that will start upon IAEA verification that the Iranians have done what they were supposed to do. So there will be promulgation of new regulations and new executive orders and waivers and things along those lines, but they are all going to be tied to a trigger, and that trigger is a report by the IAEA director general that the things that the Iranians are supposed to do have in fact been done.

There are a variety of estimates out there as to how long this could potentially take. My own estimate, we can talk about this as we get into questions, is that it would be easily four to six months before the Iranians would be able to have achieved primarily the removal of centrifuges. It's theoretically possible that can go faster, but I wouldn't bet on that. I think four to six months is a pretty good timeline.

So if you add 90 days plus four to six months, we are really talking about April, maybe March, when the Iranians are actually going to be able to achieve sanctions relief, and when they are going to start to see new business start to flow.

That's very important because that basically means that for the time being the Iranians are highly incentivized to do all the things they are supposed to do, and we are going to see the Iranians take all the steps that they were required to do in order to see a dollar of the additional relief they're supposed to get.

Back during the joint plan of action I remember vividly there was a lot of suggestion that the Iranians were somehow going to stop implementing their obligations before the deal becomes implemented. I think, frankly, that the scope and scale of this relief suggests that that would not in fact be the case here.

There is then basically a hiatus in terms of additional sanctions relief for eight years or the IAEA's reaching a broader conclusion of the nature of Iran's nuclear program, whichever one comes first. And during this time relief will continue to exist, the Iranians will be able to take advantage of it, but they are also going to be under restrictions.

And Kelsey described some of these, but one of the most important ones that I want to touch on is the procurement channel and how it relates to the sanctions that still remain. Under this eight-year time period, the Iranians are going to have to go to the procurement channel established under the joint commission to ask for any nuclear-related items, and that's because the nuclear-related Security Council restrictions are going to remain in place.

And they are going to remain in place and require Iran to describe what it intends to do with these items and to submit itself to end-use verification checks and a variety of other different checks to ensure that they are actually going where they are supposed to be going. So in this instance it's both a restriction on the Iranians as well as a still being utilized part of the sanctions regime that will be in place.

The procurement channel itself will extend another two years beyond this adoption -- beyond this eight-year period until the U.N. Security Council's requirements themselves are canceled in 10 years' time.

There will be after this eight-year period, though, modification to other parts of the Security Council infrastructure and other legal instruments, including the United States and the E.U. These primarily deal with proliferation-related items and potential sources of concern.

It's notable, though, that if you look at the text, what's put in is not Iran will get to import whatever it wants to import from anyone it wants to import. Rather, certainly from the U.S. perspective, Iran will from that point forward be treated like anybody else, which means it will still be subject to export controls and still potentially subject to U.S. sanctions if we were to find that there were things going on there that we had concerns about.

That's basically it in terms of the sanctions lift timing. The Iranians don't get anything until after they have implemented their nuclear obligations. That will take between four to six months after this 90-day period, so around April of 2016, and then nothing really again for a number of years thereafter.

The question, therefore, becomes, what's left? Well, as I said, there are a number of very specific restrictions that remain in place with regard to Iran's ability to acquire nuclear-related items, plus missile-related technology, so on and so forth. But that's not the limit of it.

U.S. sanctions with respect to terrorism and human rights will remain in place. The U.S. primary embargo will remain in place, with the exception of some very specific licensable transactions involving, for instance, the sale of commercial planes.

However, even in that provision it's very clearly stated that they have to be used for civil uses. So if the United States were to find all of a sudden that a brand-new Boeing that arrived in Tehran was now funneling arms into Assad, assuming we're talking about Assad still in power many years from now, then that would be cause to terminate the licensing. That's clearly stated in the text.

And this also means, therefore, that the Iranians are going to have to be on their best behavior with respect to these planes because they are quite obvious. And as we've discovered, the United States has the ability to detect what kinds of planes are being used for what kinds of purposes and then to identify them back to the international community.

The Iranians are also going to have to deal with the continued sanction. They have a number of people that could be loosely described as bad guys, including the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is going to remain under U.S. sanctions, the Quds force, which remains under sanctions, Kassim Suleimani, who will remain under sanctions.

And there has been a lot of talk about this so I will just take a brief moment to describe it, about what is contained in the actual deal. Kassim Suleimani will in fact will be de-listed by the U.N. and by the E.U., and that's because he was designated for nuclear-related reasons by both of those institutions.

In the United States, on the other hand, he was designated for terrorism, and in the United States' system that means he stays in place as a sanctioned inpidual until such time as he stops engaging in things we consider to be terrorism. I don't really think that's a likely event.

This is also important because the United States is not removing infrastructure it uses to make these residual sanctions impactful. And that includes the very important tool of CISADA, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability Pestment Act, section 104. It's in this provision that the United States has exerted a lot of pressure on the international financial system with respect to designated entities.

Basically, when you boil it right down to it, the law provides for the United States to sanction those who conduct transactions on behalf of U.S.-designated people. Now the list of U.S.-designated people, inpiduals and entities, is going to go down when the nuclear-related targets are removed, but it will not go away, particularly for these terrorism, human rights and other related targets.

So the Iranians are still going to be under the pressure of having to face financial sector cutoff for all those entities and inpiduals who remain on the list, which means that institutions like Bank Saderat, which is a U.S.-designated bank for terrorism-related purposes, are going to remain and the financial impact on that bank is going to remain as well.

By the way, this means that any additional targets the U.S. identifies as being involved in terrorism or human rights-related violations also are potentially subject to the same sort of cutoff.

So the Iranians still are going to have to worry about what could potentially happen to their financial sector if in fact they amp up and start using the banks that we are even de-listing now for different purposes.

I think it's important at this juncture to note that the sanctions relief will not be this end-all and be-all restoration and renaissance for Iran. It's going to do a lot. But the very point that some sanctions remain, and the fact that there is going to be reputational and business risk attached to doing business in Iran means that the sanctions relief is going to take a long time to mature.

Now, from one perspective this is really good because that means that for those of us who are concerned about Iran's ability to do awful things in the region, and Ilan will speak to that, it means that there is a way of pacing and controlling and modifying Iranian behavior because if we continue to identify inpiduals and entities as involved in terrorism then the Iranians are going to have to deal with the consequences of that.

This is not U.S. unilateral sanctions disarmament. Period. This is a step to provide Iran palpable, useful relief, but they are going to be under the same threat with respect to these institutions that they were yesterday, the day before that, 10 years -- at this point five years ago once CISADA came into -- first into effect.

When you add that to the fact that a lot of businesses are going to be concerned about the possibility of snapback, I think you can see that there is going to take a long time for there to be a resurgence in a lot of really long-term trade with Iran. My own expectation is that the Iranians are going to see a lot of short-term business deals, purchases of their oil, things that people can do and then get out of Iran at they need to for the initial couple of years.

This is simple prudence on the part of international businesses. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to do multibillion dollars worth of investment in the country when you have the risk of either snapback, noncompliance finding or some other concern that could get you in hot water, both in Washington as well as with your stockholders.

There may be some businesses that are willing to do this, but I would bet that they're going to build force majeure clauses into their contracts to allow them to get out of Iran very, very quickly, if in fact there were to be a reverse in the sanctions.

So the business operating environment in Iran will be different than it will be in other countries in the Middle East. And this would frankly be, notwithstanding the presence of sanctions, because Iran is still a difficult place to do business itself. The bureaucratic red tape in Tehran is as cumbersome and difficult to deal with as anywhere else in the world, and it's notable the number of international oil companies have said that they don't find the current contracts that the Iranians are starting to beat about with respect to oil services is all that attractive. They are looking for better terms.

This speaks to the fact that it's going to take time for the Iranians to get through their own bureaucratic process and overcome resistance and nervousness on the part of companies to really plunge back in.

But Iran is going to get a benefit, and the real threat to, I think, the longevity of a deal is that this benefit is too slow in coming on, and there is, I think, a very significant risk that the Iranians at some point say, we are not getting what we need. And it's at that point that you could see them say, we need to reconsider the terms of this deal.

So I think basically the sanctions relief picture in Iran is favorable to the P5+1, it's favorable to the United States. It will provide Iran some advantages, but it is not something that is going to overnight change the Iranian economy. That's going to take time, and there are ways to control it still further. Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thanks a lot, Richard. That was very helpful.

Now we are going to turn to Ilan Goldenberg, who is going to talk about the regional security dynamics related to this agreement.

GOLDENBERG: Thank you, Daryl, and thanks, everybody, for being here and for the Arms Control Association for having me.

I thought what I'd do is talk about the three major actors in the region who are reacting to this agreement and what's going to happen there, the first being Iran, the second being Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states around it, and the third being Israel.

Now I should start from the position that because of the nonproliferation benefits of the agreement, I very much agree with my colleagues up here that this is something that is in the national interest of the United States and that we need to be pursuing. But the regional ramifications are going to, I think, be much more complicated and mixed and there is going to be some negative downsides we are also going to have to manage, especially with some of our traditional partners over the next few years.

That doesn't mean we should be letting the tail wag the dog and not doing something that is in America's fundamental national security interests, but this is something that we are going to have to deal with.

So starting with how we expect the deal to shake out in Iran over the next few years. You sort of hear these two schools of thoughts and theories. One is, President Rouhani, Foreign Minister Zarif, these are the pragmatists inside the Iranian system. They are not democrats. They are men of the revolution.

I don't think they're looking for liberalism Western-style to break out tomorrow in Tehran, but they are more pragmatic when they weigh sort of the economic benefits and the benefits of international engagement versus support for terrorism and things like the nuclear program, and are more interested in those first set of interests for Iran.

Are they going to gain more influence and then be able to reflect into a more pragmatic Iranian foreign policy? And there's a real strong case to be made that's the case. Rouhani was elected based on the fact -- and allowed to come to power also by the supreme leader based on the fact that he would get the sanctions relief, that he would get this nuclear agreement. He's going to have tremendous credibility now and leverage.

We have parliamentary elections in Iran next March. It will be an interesting time in terms of the sanctions relief calendar that Richard just laid out, and to see if, you know, the pragmatic faction can pick up more seats inside the Iranian system. And we are going to have to see -- I do think that Rouhani and Zarif now could potentially have more influence in other areas of Iranian foreign policy where they haven't had as much effect.

On the other hand, you could also make the argument that the hardliners are going to double down, that they're going to want to batten down the hatches, they are not going to want to see this deal lead to more liberalization inside of Iran. They're going to take a harder line, they're going to use some of that money that comes in to increase their support for some of their activities in Syria and Iraq in Yemen and elsewhere in the region. That's going to happen too.

I would argue that the most likely scenario is both of these things are going to happen at the same time, and what you're going to end up with in Iran very likely for the next few years is a very intense political competition amongst the various factions around the supreme leader, who ultimately Ali Khamenei makes the final decisions.

Now Khamenei is someone who leans toward the hard-liner perspective, very skeptical the United States, has not left Iran in years. But he's also somebody who rules by consensus, so if all of his people come to him and all the key factions come to him and say, boss, this is what we should do, he usually goes in that direction.

I don't see him pursuing a major rapprochement with the United States in the years ahead, but he is going to pass from the scene at some point, I think before the expiration of this deal, given his health and his age, and at that moment we're really going to see, OK, what has this agreement and what has the aftermath in terms of political debate inside of Iran done? Who is his successor? What kind of system comes after him?

We haven't had a transition of power in Iran since 1989. It's been a long time. So this is going to be a major moment to indicate if we are going to see a fundamental shifting in Iran's foreign policy. Whether that fundamental shift happens or not, the deal is still implementable, the agreement still happens, but this is a potential huge benefit that we are going to have to watch over the next few years.

The second challenge is Israel. What happens there? Now obviously the Israelis are close partners of ours, and I spent years at the Pentagon working on Iran where one of our primary interests was in dealing with Israel and reassuring Israel and talking to them about the nuclear program, especially the time where speculation was much more rife that they might consider taking things into their own hands.

What I found from those exchanges was a couple of things. One, the Israelis, it's a small country surrounded by a lot of unfriendly neighbors in a very tough part of the world, and the approach that they take is they assume the absolute worst-case scenarios. I sort of like the joke that, you know, as American foreign policy makers we do our contingency planning based on worst-case scenarios and our policy based on most likely scenarios, whereas the Israelis do their contingency planning based on worst-case scenarios and their policy based on worst-case scenarios.

So this is where you get this difference in perception that has led to, I think, the break that we have got here with Israel. It's unfortunate that we've had this break, and I think part of it is personal between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu and their personal styles, and part of this is this problem that we've had historically with Israel in differing risk perceptions, you know.

I think that going forward -- well, one thing I'll say, one of the unfortunate side effects of it has been that I always found engaging with the Israelis was incredibly useful when you were doing things like negotiating with Iran because they would come in with a group of very smart people who spent all their time working on this, and they would give you all the worst-case scenarios.

They would red-team it for you in some ways really effectively, and sometimes you could say, well, I don't really believe that that's credible, we don't believe that scenario is credible. But sometimes you could say, well, actually that's something we haven't thought about. Then it helps improve American policy. I think it's unfortunate we've had this split and pide, which has I think limited that over the next few months.

What happens next there? The Prime Minister has made very clear that he is going to oppose this agreement and try to undermine it in Congress. I think that is a big mistake because I think at the end of the day I don't think it's very likely that he will succeed, and what he's doing by doing that is really -- he's taking a bipartisan issue and turning it into -- support for Israel into a wedge issue inside the U.S. Congress, which I think is very damaging for Israel's long-term interests.

And I think there's a lot of people -- the political establishment in Israel is absolutely against the agreement because Prime Minister Netanyahu has set the conditions where it's impossible to be for the agreement. Even his political critics will say, I don't like your approach to how you're dealing with the Americans but I hate this deal.

The security establishment is different. They are much more subtle about it. I think because they also take that lower risk perception, they are ultimately uncomfortable with some elements of the agreement, but at the end of agree they don't see it as this existential threat that the prime minister does.

And what we are likely to see there -- what they do also are very concerned about is the way the prime minister has decided to handle himself, which is a very public confrontation with the president, going directly into the American media, going directly to Congress on this and trying to circumvent the executive branch.

That's something that I think causes a lot of anxiety for Israelis because Iran might, in many of their views, be an existential threat but fraying of the U.S.-Israel relationship is a more existential threat and has more importance to Israel's long-term security for many of them.

So I think that the big question is what happens after the 60 days, what happens after the congressional vote. Do the Israelis finally say, does the prime minister, which he is being encouraged by many to do, finally say, OK, I'm going to take my disagreements quiet and we are going to go back and start quietly engaging with the administration and seeing if the United States can find ways to fill this security gap that we now feel and these insecurities to American reassurances, which is what we have traditionally done? Or has he decided to write off this president and spend the next year and a half publicly confronting him?

I would really hope that he chooses the former and not the latter, and I know that there's a lot of people in the security establishment in Israel that would hope to see that too, but we're going to have to wait and see. And the president has already reached out. President Obama reached out to Prime Minister Netanyahu in April and tried to bring him back into the fold and say, let's take our conversations quietly, back to those back channels that we often consult in those closed rooms, as opposed to this public spat.

And he was rejected at the time, and I believe he tried to do that again earlier this week and was rejected, but let's see if the prime minister's view changes in September. We'll have to wait and see about that.

Finally, there is the third element here, which is Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. They view things, I think, very differently than the Israelis. They have some overlap, but some differences too. Whereas Israel really is focused on the nuclear program, it also cares about Iran's regional behavior. Saudi Arabia really is focused on the regional question. They care about Iran's support for terrorism. They view what is happening right now in the region as Iran picking up influence in Syria and Iraq and Yemen and elsewhere, and that's their major anxiety.

People speculate that Saudi Arabia will respond to this by starting to build out its own nuclear infrastructure. I don't actually believe that's the problem. I think that's very unlikely. That's expensive, that takes time, there are costs that come to them in terms of international reactions, in terms of their relationship with the United States.

I think the real concern is that they are feeling -- they have this concern that the United States is pivoting to Iran and rearranging the alliance dynamics in the Middle East, which I don't think the Obama administration's intending to do, and certainly not what I would recommend to them. We still have a lot of things where we disagree with the Iranians.

Feeling that concern, the Saudis start to lash out in some destabilizing ways and take steps that we think are against our interests and against their interests in the region, and I think the best example of that might be what they have done in Yemen recently with this intervention without really a clear strategic plan about what happens after you start bombing the Houthis and pretty much putting a blockade on Yemen with really no endgame in sight.

So that's, I think, the more fundamental question for the Saudis, and one that, you know, the United States is going to have to wrestle with, both this president and the next. Because the reality is it's going to be hard for this president to do -- any president who is the one who cuts the deal with Iran, which I think we need it to do, is going to take a big hit in the Gulf and in Israel, as President Obama has done. In some ways it's almost the next president who has to come in and start to really do the big hug with some of our partners.

So what do we do going forward to try to address these challenges? I would argue there's three or four things that we need to do.

First, take advantage of the fact that we actually have this channel of communications with the Iranians for the first time in 35 years. That is meaningful and important, the fact that Kerry and Zarif have each other's email addresses and phone numbers, there is a channel. I can't tell you how many times when, you know, we wanted to, we were at the Pentagon, find ways to communicate to the Iranians, whether it was, hey, let's avoid a conflict here, or, knock it off, you are about to do something that you're going to regret if you go in that direction.

So having those channels I think it's very important. Talking is always better than not talking, and seeing if there are ways to start working together on some discrete issues. I think our interests in Afghanistan, maritime security and avoiding potential escalation in the Gulf, or inadvertent escalation in the Gulf are two interesting areas for early pursuit. There's other things, more people-to-people and things like that.

But even as we do that, especially as the sanctions are coming off, it makes sense to push back more forcefully on some of Iran's destabilizing activities in the region through joint efforts with our partners. Showing up in Saudi Arabia, for example, with a high-level delegation maybe led by Ash Carter and John Brennan, and saying, we are here to talk not about the nuclear program and not about how we deal with ISIS and Sunni extremists. We are here to have a serious and strategic conversation with you about how we are going to deal with Iran in the region. Let's talk about steps we can take together -- joint covert action, more aggressive interdictions, more -- potentially more serious efforts to train Sunni opposition in Syria and in Iraq, sort of partners we can work with in both those countries, things like that that will signal to our partners that we mean it when we say we are going to push back on this behavior that we don't find acceptable in Iran.

And also important signals to the Iranians that, you know, the nuclear deal doesn't give you free range over the region to pursue all these activities. We are going to push back. And one thing I will tell you is, when the United States pushes back against Iran, Iran backs off. Iran has no interest in a direct fight with the United States, and sometimes you do need to, you know, flex your muscles to show some deterrence. So I think that's another key thing that we have to be doing.

And the third element obviously needs to be just reassurance of other forms beyond those two, which for our partners I don't think we need to be selling the Saudis F-35s. I don't see -- they already outspend the Iranians dramatically. It's not about big weaponry, it's about the small stuff, but it's about training them to actually counter some of this low and asymmetric warfare.

But you know, security assurances, to some extent, there's things like that we can be doing with our partners in a set of activities, also with the Israelis, that can signal to them that we're sticking around, that this isn't a fundamental strategic pivot, that we're going to push back, even as we engage.

And we can do both. Just, you know, I'd say, I'll just close by saying that, you know, it's a very complicated balancing act to pull something like that off. It sends some mixed messages. But this has worked on Iran's nuclear program.

We just spent the last five, 10 years using a combination of pressure and engagement to get the Iranians to the table. And one on its own wouldn't have worked. And take that basic philosophy and apply it to the problems we face with Iran and the Middle East and the problems we face with our partners, and I think you can get there with this combination of tools.

So I'll stop there and hand it back now.

KIMBALL: All right. Well, thank you very much, Ilan.

As I said at the beginning, this agreement, this process is complex, it's consequential, and I think we've given you quite a bit to contemplate. It's now your turn to ask us a few questions that we're going to try to answer.

And I want to start out with some of the journalists that are here.

And Virginia, there's a question up here in front, if you'd bring the mike up.

And just identify yourself and tell us who you would like to answer the question. Thanks.

QUESTION: Yeah. Michael Gordon, New York Times. I have a question on the sequencing of sanctions relief, just a technical question, but just to clarify it in this 150-plus-page document.

The broad conclusion to be issued by the IAEA is obviously not going to come for a period of years. But Director General Amano on the day the agreement was promulgated presented a road map that's to lead to an assessment by December 15th. And he articulated a number of steps that are to be taken.

As you understand the agreement, what sanctions relief can be provided prior to this December 15th assessment of where Iran stands on possible military dimensions? And what sanctions relief can only be provided after this assessment is completed and if it's a favorable resolution?

KIMBALL: Richard?

NEPHEW: So that's a great question. And it's especially complicated because we've now got two processes that are working simultaneous here.

I would say very simply I don't see any sanctions relief happening before PMD has been laid to rest. That's in part because the obligation on Iran is somewhat different than the obligation that technology IAEA has taken unto itself. Right?

The timing of the obligation that the IAEA has accepted is that it gets Iran's compliance, Iran's cooperation by the 15th of October. Right?

Well, based upon the structure of the implementation phase of the deal, there is zero chance that any sanctions relief can happen before that cooperation has been given. Right?

It's written into the document as an obligation of the Iranians to have done this by adoption day. And so as a consequence of that, if they didn't provide the cooperation, the United States and the P5+1 partners would be in a position to say, well, you're not fulfilling the terms of the deal, and so they could walk away from the deal altogether, you could theoretically go the dispute resolution process, so on and so forth.

Bottom line is, because of when Iran has to take its steps, right, I don't think that there's any chance that any additional relief could be given.

Now, there is potentially a theoretical world in which adoption has taken place, the Iranians speed through implementation, right, and the director general has not issued his report by the 15th of December. I can see that as a theoretical possibility.

I think that is highly unlikely, I'd put it almost at impossible because of how long it would take them to do things like removing centrifuges. But that is something that theoretically could happen.

This then goes to the question of, what are you going to get out of that report from the director general, right? There are only two conclusions that could potentially come out of the report: Iran had a weapons program, Iran didn't have a weapons program. And either circumstance, we think we already know the answer to the first, right, and we think it's the first, and so there's nothing really that's going to change the timing of relief and the timing of what goes forward because we already know the answer to it and the access and transparency to verify, it's not ongoing, will have already begun.

So I don't see in reading the documents that there is an explicit bit of sanctions tied to the explicit bit of PMD. But I think the way the sequence works and what the requirements are on each part of this means that there won't be any relief until Iran's done its part and then the report itself will kind of be icing on the cake, to some extent.

KIMBALL: Well, let me just ask you, Richard and Kelsey, to clarify one aspect of this, which is when we say Iran does its part with respect to the IAEA investigation, that means what?

As I understand it and I'm reading it, that means the Iranians need to provide the cooperation, the information, the access that the IAEA believes is necessary for it to close out its investigation, right? But not necessarily the time it would take for the agency, which can take a long time to draw conclusions from that information.

Is that correct? Or what is your -- am I wrong on this?

DAVENPORT: Well, according to the road map, Iran has to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with the information access to answer all of the concerns that the agency laid out in the annex to its November 2011 report. And it needs to provide that information by August 15th.

Then the IAEA will evaluate that information. And by September 15th, if they want to ask Iran any follow-up questions, then that information can then be -- then Iran has some time to follow up with that information.

And ideally, this process is all concluded by October 15th.

Then by December 15th, IAEA has said it will issue its assessment about the sort of the full system of Iran's past PMD work. So that's according to the separate road map that the IAEA and Iran agreed upon and announced the same day as the deal, which was Tuesday.

KIMBALL: OK, thanks for the clarification.

All right. Other journalists who have questions?

Yes, ma'am? Thank you.

QUESTION: Hi. Jessica Schulberg, Huffington Post. This is mostly for Richard.

Is there any concern about kind of a contradiction or contradictory message that could be sent if Congress imposes new sanctions kind of immediately after the deal?

There were some efforts before the deal was reached to extend the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act for 10 years and I saw that part of that was addressed in the nuclear agreement. What kind of message would it send to extend sanctions under the guise of it being related to terrorism or human rights in the region?

NEPHEW: So I would definitely say there is always a risk of mixed messages here. And I think that there is a risk that acting, to some degree, precipitously with respect to imposing new sanctions is a real problem.

That said, I mean, let's be clear, the Iranians are not agreeing anywhere in this that they won't engage in things that look like to us terrorism or violations of Iranian human rights or other actions that we've got problems with. So they aren't changing their fundamental behaviors either.

What I think will have to happen, frankly, is navigating the tension between the Iranians doing bad acts in the region, but not pursuing nuclear-related bad acts that give us cause to walk away from the deal, us addressing Iranian bad acts, including through the use of sanctions, but not doing so to such a degree that the Iranians say, well, forget it, we're going to go get our nuclear weapons program back, you know, in effect because we think that the deal is coming unhinged through the back door.

And I think the text, it's interesting, tries to deal with this a couple of different ways. That the parties agree not to do things that are at variance with the purposes of the JCPOA, that the parties agree not to try and back-door things through regulations that were lifted as part of the deal.

So I think there's a tension here. I think it would be better to let the deal implement itself and get started before anybody on any side starts trying to rock the boat.

But ultimately, the true test really of the deal will be, can we keep it going, can we keep this arms control arrangement and this nonproliferation arrangement together, notwithstanding the fact that we've got all these other problems.

We were able to do so with the Soviet Union, we've been able to do so with the NPT if you think about it in a broader sense, so I think we can do that here. But I think we all have to be careful about what we do.

KIMBALL: All right. Other questions, please?

Why don't we go over here on this side, this gentleman, and then Nancy?

QUESTION: Hi. Adam Basiano (ph) with Senate Foreign Relations, minority side. This question is mostly for you, Kelsey.

Like you said, this is not a perfect deal, but I'm wondering, are there significant loopholes in the monitoring regime, in your opinion, maybe specifically with regards to secret facilities or past, undeclared nuclear efforts? Or are there no significant loopholes? Thank you.

DAVENPORT: I don't see any significant loopholes in terms of the monitoring and verification and that's in part because of the flexibility granted to the International Atomic Energy Agency under the additional protocol.

And also, I think it's important to remember that with this accelerated time line of the PMD investigation, the agency can still use the information gathered to inform its future decisions about what it monitors, what it looks for and where it goes.

Because when you consider sort of the entirety of Iran's nuclear program, with the expanded declaration under the additional protocol, the IAEA will now have much more regular access to every element of Iran's nuclear program that have far expanded from what it has access to now.

That includes the mines and the mills, the centrifuge production sites, the heavy water production plants for the Iraq reactor, all areas that the IAEA has had very little access to in the past.

There also is an element that will be put in place called modified Code 3.1 to the IAEA safeguards agreement and that ensures early notification for the IAEA of design changes to nuclear facilities or if Iran decides to build any new nuclear facilities.

So when you consider early notification, when you consider the expanded declaration and short notice access to all of the facilities in the expanded declaration, when you consider the flexibility that will allow the IAEA inspectors to access sites if concerns arise within 24 days, and then you layer on top of that the continuous monitoring, the use of these advanced technologies to check enrichment levels on a regular basis, to, you know, use radio seals, and then you add on top of that U.S. intelligence, the intelligence of other countries, including Israel, I think you have a system that is so layered that even if no one element is a 100 percent guarantee, an alarm bell will trip at some point because Iran would need to recreate the entirety of its process in order to covertly pursue nuclear weapons.

So I really think that this regime is as strong as it needs to be to provide sort of the highest guarantee that there will be no illicit activities, or if there are that they will be detected very quickly.

And then the U.S., the international community will have the time to respond.

KIMBALL: That is a very good explanation. It’s a reminder of one of the fundamentals of monitoring and verification that I think people lose track of. There's no such thing as 100 percent certainty of compliance with an agreement.

And one of the major purposes is to increase our confidence into the high 90s that we can detect militarily significant, non-compliant activity.

And so what does that mean for the cheater? It means the potential cheater is looking at a high 90 percent chance that they're going to get caught and that means that they've got to weigh the benefits and the costs.

And so in that sense, it can serve as a deterrent, especially when you factor in what the losses are.

So you know, there are going to be critics who are going to say, you know, this could be better here, that could be better there and those may be valid criticisms. But as a whole, as Kelsey said, the system needs to be considered as a whole and we need to consider what monitoring and verification is designed to do. It's not 100 percent certainty, but it is getting into the high, high 90s that we can catch major violations.

DAVENPORT: I would just add, too, before this deal was reached, before the interim deal was reached, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said with high confidence that the United States would be able to detect any Iranian attempt to pert material for a nuclear weapon before they were able to accumulate enough material for one bomb. So that is before all of these additional measures that are being put in place.

So I think that really does speak to how much the U.S. could do in the past, and when you add all of these other elements on top of that it provides an even stronger guarantee.

KIMBALL: All right. We had another question up front here.

Just wait for the microphone please, Nancy. Thank you.

QUESTION: Hi, Nancy Gallagher from the University of Maryland.

One of the issues that became a public controversy in the end game during the negotiations was what was going to happen with the U.N. sanctions on ballistic missiles and conventional arms. And some people have, in effect, said, oh, Iran tried to reopen something that had been settled at the very last minute. You know, other people have said, no, this was an open question all along that wasn't settled.

Given that the Luzan framework itself was never made public, but both sides, in effect, said different things about what was in it and they had agreed not to say anything that was inconsistent with what they had actually agreed, what I would like to know was, was there actually an agreement on that issue reached as part of the Luzan framework that the Iranians tried to reopen? Or was that one of the things that was genuinely an open question at the time?

KIMBALL: Richard, you want to take a whack at that? And folks should also read that newspaper, The New York Times, where there was an interesting account that speaks to that issue just this morning.

But Richard?

NEPHEW: Yeah. I mean, I guess my sense would be, I mean, frankly, you'd have to talk to the negotiators themselves. You know, I haven't been in the room since December, so I don't know to what degree it was agreed in Luzan.

I do think that there probably was a notional or provisional agreement on this point. I think the way that it erupted as a problem, particularly with the Russians coming in as hard on it (ph) as they did in support of the Iranian position, it struck me as being something that was being reopened. Or if it wasn't already closed, it was pretty closed, people were pretty confident that it was going to be closed and then it came back open.

But that said, the fundamental principle of this negotiation was always that nothing's agreed until everything's agreed. And so I am quite sure that the way the Iranians probably both described it to themselves and described it to the Americans, if in fact it is true that they tried to reopen something, is that no, other parts of the deal necessitated us coming back on this point.

And so in the end, I -- well, it's certainly interesting to know the back-and-forth. You know, I kind of look at the end result. And keeping a five-year conventional arms embargo in place against Iran when it was only adopted by the U.N. because of the nuclear-related issue I think is pretty good, especially when you have the complementary U.S. sanctions that will permit us to impose some pressure on people providing those systems to Iran going forward until whenever.

KIMBALL: All right. Well, we have a lot of questions.

All right, let's go here on the left, this gentleman. Go ahead, Steve.

QUESTION: I'm Steve Colecchi with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

I have a question, but I'd like to just make a brief comment first. I think one of the things we have that's going to be in the discourse is hope versus fear, right? Hope versus fear. And as a person of faith, of course I'd like to speak for hope a little bit.

I think we should not underestimate what implementation, painstaking implementation of this agreement will do to transform international relationships, particularly the U.S.-Iranian relationship long term, to build trust through verification, not just through good feeling.

But my question is this. We keep talking about the date by which Iran could rush to enough material for a bomb, and that's one year. And it seems to me like the assumption that then in a year they could have a bomb and threaten their neighbor. Well, they have to test it, they have to deploy it.

NEPHEW: Right.

QUESTION: Presumably, you'd want to have more than one bomb if you're going to become a nuclear power, I mean, because after you use the first one then you're kind of out of luck, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

So what is the realistic -- I mean, it seems to me we have a great deal of time even after that material is acquired before this becomes a genuine threat to the U.S. or anyone else.

KIMBALL: Well, the reason why the one-year breakout time line has been used as a measuring stick for the success of this, one of the reasons, is that once a country has enough fissile material for one bomb, it's very difficult to keep track of what they're doing with it.

But you're exactly right. Possessing one bomb’s worth of highly enriched uranium does not a nuclear arsenal make and there are many other steps that have to be taken. It has to be fashioned into a workable device. The country probably would want to test it to make sure it works, although there are some designs that don't have to be tested. And it also has to be mated with a delivery vehicle, a delivery system. So there's more time that would be necessary.

And of course, one nuclear weapon doesn't do too much good as a strategic weapon, maybe as a terror weapon.

But what's clear is this agreement does block all the pathways to acquiring even that much material so that Iran can't do it in any less than one year. And we didn't mention the plutonium route in the beginning, but the plutonium path to the bomb is, for all intents and purposes, completely blocked because the Arak reactor is going to be modified with some Chinese assistance so that it can't be producing a sufficient amount of plutonium in the spent fuel.

So, this is very strong in terms of preventing Iran from even amassing even that much of material.

All right. We have a lot of questions here. I’m going to try to get to a few of you but we're not going to get to all of you.

If you could, Virginia, the gentleman on your side near the middle row. Thank you. Yes.

QUESTION: Jose Chaboz (ph) from (INAUDIBLE) University.

My question is to Mr. Nephew. You know, one of several red lines of Iranians have been or their main concerns have been the sanctions, the (INAUDIBLE) sanctions as well as the sanctions against the central bank. Of course, as I recall, also there is European initiated and then followed by the American.

But in your view, what would happen to those entities, especially you spoke of the (INAUDIBLE) bank, but mostly the central bank, which is the monitor of all of the local banks in Iran, how that would be worked out.

And the second question, if I may...

KIMBALL: Very quickly, please.

QUESTION: OK. Mr. Goldenberg, if that what do you make of the comments that the president made yesterday about, you know, areas of Syria as perhaps an example of, you know, of the area that, you know, he mentioned that, you know, could be considered by Iran and the United States? What do you make of that comment?

KIMBALL: All right. So Richard and then Ilan.

NEPHEW: So, I mean, the terms of the deal basically remove the sanctions that are the most pressing on the central bank of Iran and permit Iran, generally speaking, have access to the swift system with respect to institutions that were previously designated.

So this will permit the Iranians to have broader financial ties internationally as well as to access central bank of Iran money that is located in bank accounts around the world, again, when the IAEA has verified Iran's done its nuclear bit.

GOLDENBERG: On the question of Syria, I would just say that I would argue that probably Syria is not where we want to start in terms of cooperation with the Iranians. It's probably the area where we have the most tension. If you're trying to sort of overcome 35 years of this taboo of not talking to each other, this seems to be an area where our interests are still pretty fundamentally opposed unless there's a recalculation on Iran's part that it wants to move to a political solution where Assad -- where they accept the transition away from Assad.

At the same time, I also think if we were to go tomorrow to the Iranians and say let's talk about Syria, it would just reinforce in the Saudis' in the rest of the region's mind all the worst-case assumptions about our plan to sell out Arab interests and just cut a deal with Iran.

So I would argue that probably it makes sense to start on issues that are less raw and also to think about if we're going to first spend some time pushing back in Syria and building up American leverage and investment and then coming to the negotiating table.

At the end of the day, there's only, you know, civil wars only end three ways: one, an outside power comes in and sits on the whole thing, not happening; two, one of the sides win, again, very unlikely at this point in Syria; and three, a negotiated political solution.

Iran will have to be part of that negotiated political solution. But I think first expectations on the ground, their calculus needs to change, our Sunni partners' calculus needs to change and we need to do some things to set the table for that through a policy of pushing back against Iran while finding ways to reassure our partners to do that.

KIMBALL: All right. I see Jessica Matthews who is a former president here at Carnegie and now a senior fellow. Why don't you go ahead, please.

QUESTION: Thanks, Daryl.

I wondered from all four of your points of view where are the soft spots in this thing, by which I mean the opportunities for one side or the other to fail to clearly meet their obligations that will lead to the kind of muddle that led to the unraveling of the North Korea deal, for example. Well, you violated first; no, you fell short first; no, you did.

Where are we likely to get in trouble in that respect?

KIMBALL: That's a good question. I haven't thought about it deeply since I woke up at 4 in the morning to look at the agreement. But why don't we ask each of you to give your take on that good question, starting maybe with Richard and then Kelsey and Ilan.

NEPHEW: Sure. I think the biggest risk is that because of the regional issues and terrorism-related issues, human rights-related issues, we have to continue an active sanctions policy that eventually chips away at the benefits provided in the relief.

And when you combine that with Iranian fiscal mismanagement and inability to do with their economy what they could do, either because of corruption or just because they screw up or because oil prices remain low or investment doesn't flow as fast, that the Iranian government says we're not getting what we're supposed to get.

Now, this might be honest that they're not getting what they're supposed to get because of some interaction of other sanctions. It may be just a front to cover what is bad economic policy on the Iranian part. But that could make the Iranians and certainly a populist figure like an Ahmadinejad, who knows who the next president of Iran's going to be, say we're going to pull out of this deal, it's the deal that's causing the problem, it's Rouhani who's causing the problem, you know, even though he's now in retirement.

QUESTION: (OFF MIKE) (INAUDIBLE) do you see the fact that the sanctions relief -- thank you -- might come after the parliamentary elections as a major problem here?

NEPHEW: I don't see it as a major problem, but certainly from an Iranian/Rouhani political stance, it would have been better for him and his guys had he started to have it beforehand.

But I would say this, though. The celebratory mood in Tehran is such that I think he's going to get a boost anyway through the parliamentary process. Frankly, it would have been worse for him if the relief was six months already in place and they hadn't seen real money coming back in. So the timing actually might be OK for him.

GOLDENBERG: Can I just add one point on Richard's in particular? Because I very much agree, that's the greatest risk of the deal.

But I think there is a sort of American policy solution to it. A lot of times we have multiple tools to go after terrorism, some of which are the intelligence community deploys, some of which are deployed by DOD, some of which are deployed by Treasury.

Oftentimes, the approach is, well, the Treasury approach, let's sanction something because that's the lowest-risk approach. It involves least kinetic action, the least risk of military escalation, things like that.

It might actually be that given, paradoxically, given we have this nuclear agreement, defaulting to sanctions to respond to Iranian terrorism might be the riskiest approach because it undermines a broader interest that we have in perpetuating the nuclear deal. And so maybe DOD and the intelligence community need to be thinking more and those tools need to be used more aggressively in some of the steps that we take because there's risks associated with that, too, obviously, but it's a way to compartmentalize and try to separate and protect the agreement and our nonproliferation interests from our other interests in the region.

KIMBALL: Kelsey?

DAVENPORT: I would certainly agree with both what Richard and Ilan said and add as sort of another concern about any party intentionally exploiting the review process and the ability then to go to the U.N. Security Council with the intention of not resolving the dispute, but actually trying to kill the deal.

Because essentially, if a party does not think, if any one of the states does not think that an ambiguity or a concern has been resolved in the joint commission or then through the ministerial level or using sort of an arbitration panel, then they can go directly to the U.N. Security Council.

And for the permanent five members, you know, vetoing, you know, a resolution then will start to put these sanctions back in place. And that could be deliberately used, I think, to prevent the agreement from moving forward. And that option will remain open sort of past this administration. And when you hear some of the presidential candidates explicitly talking about wanting to unravel the deal, there certainly is an opening there that gives me some concern.

KIMBALL: One other quick thought. This is not so much a big threat to the implementation of the agreement, but it's something that I think everyone needs to pay attention to, including the Congress and the other governments involved in the negotiation and the P5+1, which is that the IAEA will need additional resources to do the added work. The IAEA has a rotating team of about 50 people on the Iran file. They do a very good job, but they're going to need more people, they're going to need more resources.

And there is a zero budget growth policy affecting all U.N. agencies. And so it's going to require voluntary contributions, additional contributions from key states, the United States, to give the agency the resources they need.

We probably will be hearing from Director General Amano in the coming weeks about now that he knows, you know, exactly what the terms are and he's had a chance to look at what they need to do, we're going to be hearing more from him probably about what kinds of resources he thinks he needs on an annual and ongoing basis.

It can be done, it's just going require governments stepping up and providing those resources.

GOLDENBERG: Yeah. Can I just -- one small point because I want to add on to just one other key, I think, vulnerability in the agreement that Kelsey got at is, what happens with our presidential transition?

And I don't think that a next, even if it's a Republican or somebody who opposed the agreement, if it's implemented for the next year-and-a-half, I think that the next president will continue to implement it.

The question is, will they implement it holding their nose? Will it be the president of the United States and the secretary of state or a senior-level special envoy who has direct access to the president of the United States when something comes up and there's a problem? Or it will be some deputy assistant secretary of state deep inside the State Department that nobody's really listening to? And in that case, I think the agreement just falls apart by neglect.

And we have lots of cases where I think an example of that is North Korea, I think another example of that is, you know, the different levels of prioritization of the Iraq issue in the Bush and Obama administrations. I think Obama, in many ways, executed the Bush drawdown plan on the security framework agreement, but the level of senior-level engagement nobody watched the issue for a few years.

This matters a lot. It's also an example of -- another example is the Clinton-Bush handover on al-Qaida. This is a problem as a U.S. government we have and that we're going to have to deal with here.

NEPHEW: I would (INAUDIBLE) a lot back, so I just need to point out one other thing, too. We've talked a lot about risks coming from the P5+1 side.

(LAUGHTER)

But you'll have to bear in mind, you know, the Iranians have cheated on their treaty obligations for 30-odd years. Right? It is not at all outside of their capacity to either cheat intentionally, have some guy do something that he's not supposed to do and have it also become a much bigger problem. There are a variety of things on the Iran side that could also make this deal fall apart, too.

It just bears to be noted that I think, you know, we were thinking more about our own perspective here, but certainly we have to make sure the Iranians do their part, too.

KIMBALL: Well, I think we were -- that's part of our concern and we simply weren't expressing it because it's quite obvious.

We can certainly expect there will be problems along the way. This is a long-term agreement and there are going to be disputes. And there are the mechanisms available to deal with them, but it's going to take continued good judgment, political leadership and good-faith efforts, particularly on the part of the Iranians so that we don't have a major blowup along the way.

We are almost out of time. I want to see if there's one more quick question that we can answer and then we're going to be closing.

Why don't we go with this gentleman on the right side, please.

QUESTION: Jonas Plesner, ministry counselor with the embassy of Denmark.

I was actually going to ask the same question as Jessica first about the stumbling blocks you saw ahead. So I think that's pretty well-answered.

So the second one is very specific and to Richard was on the sanctions. There's a stipulation in the agreement that says that if anything is inconsistent at the U.S. state and local level, the U.S. federal government do whatever it can in its power to ensure that.

So I was just wondering whether you could clarify where that could possible that you could have sort of local, state government that would sort of put in their own Iran sanctions and if you see that as a stumbling block.

NEPHEW: Well, there are, I mean, there are state and local pestment campaigns, you know, primarily that deal with Iran that could be and I think are considered to be sanctions both by the people who come up with the idea as well as by the Iranians.

Frankly, under our federal system of government there are limitations as to what the federal government can do here. And I think that's why the language is stated as it is. You know, there is no commitment on the part of the United States federal government to force the states to abandon pestment strategies and things like that.

There are laws on the books in the federal system (INAUDIBLE) that basically give cover to pestment and say it's something that, you know, state and local officials ought to be able to do. I think you could see some attempt to modify that.

But I think more broadly there's going to be two things. One is a general statement of advocacy that, you know, pestment decisions that are inconsistent with the terms of the deal are not helpful under the foreign policy authorities given to the federal government. There should be -- a supremacy clause should grant that to the federal government and so state and local officials ought not do things that are inconsistent with that.

But second, I think there's a bigger concern about overuse of federal authorities by local jurisdictions, including sanctions that may be suspended. And I think what this is intended to say is, if you're a financial regulator, for instance, and the federal government has suspended a sanction, this covers you, too.

So what this may set up in the future is legal challenge, frankly, between the federal, state and local levels to deal with particular cases, especially if the Iranians were to complain that a particular case is inconsistent with the deal.

We'll just have to see, frankly, how the courts will deal with that if and when that comes up.

KIMBALL: All right, thanks.

Well, as we said, it's complex. There's a lot to this agreement. We hope we've clarified a good bit about how the agreement is supposed to work, what's at stake, and what are some of the other considerations down the road.

And also, we hope we've provided some insights as to why so many believe this is, on balance, in the U.S. national security interests and a major step forward for the nuclear nonproliferation effort, especially in the world's most volatile region, the Middle East.

I want to thank everybody who came here today in our audience. I want to thank the audience on C-SPAN.

And more than anything, I want to thank our speakers for the great presentations.

The transcript of this event is going to be on the Arms Control Association website within a couple of days. There's more information about the agreement, Iran's program, the time line and history of efforts to get to this point.

So please join me in a round of applause for our great speakers today.

(APPLAUSE)

And we are adjourned. Thank you.

END

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Negotiators from the P5+1 and Iran are in the final stretch to secure a comprehensive nuclear agreement...

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May 14 Annual Meeting: Unprecedented Challenges for Nonproliferation and Disarmament

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Thursday, May 14, 2015
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. Nw, Washington, D.C.

Transcript Below

The Arms Control Association 2015 Annual Meeting will examine three major challenges for nonproliferation and disarmament over the last two years of President Barack Obama's final term: the worsening relations between Russia and the West; the uncertain future of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty; and the quest for a comprehensive deal to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. The Keynote speaker will be Ambassador Alexander Kmentt of Austria, who will also be presented with the 2014 Arms Control Person of the Year Award.

Meeting Agenda

9:00-9:15

Welcome

Transcript

Daryl G. Kimball
Executive Director, Arms Control Association

9:15-10:30

Panel 1

Transcript

The Big Chill: Russia, the West, and the Future of Nuclear Arms Control 

Catherine Kelleher, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, President Clinton Administration
Matthew Rojansky, Director, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

10:45-12:00

Panel 2

Transcript

Mid-Life Crisis? The Future of the NPT

Lewis A. Dunn, U.S. Ambassador to the 1985 NPT Review Conference, and Principal with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)
Randy Rydell, former Senior Political Affairs Officer, United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs
Andrea Berger, Deputy Director, Proliferation and Nuclear Policy programme, Royal United Services Institute

12:00

Lunch

(Buffet Luncheon begins) 

12:30-1:15

Keynote

Transcript

Ambassador Alexander Kmentt, Director of Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Austria

1:20-2:20

Panel 3

Transcript

The P5+1 and Iran and the Comprehensive Nuclear Deal

Richard Nephew, Program Director, Economic Statecraft, Sanctions, and Energy Markets, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University, and former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Department of State and Director for Iran, National Security Staff
Ariane Tabatabai, Associate, International Security Program and the Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard University's Belfer Center, and current Associate Professor, Security Studies Program, Georgetown University

2:30

Closing Keynote -

Transcript

Colin KahlDeputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President

2015 Annual Meeting


MAY 14, 2015

Opening Speaker:  Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

KIMBALL:  Good morning, everyone. If I could ask you to find your seats.  We're going to get things started in just a moment. 

So, good morning, everybody.  I'm Daryl Kimball.  I'm executive director of the Arms Control Association.  And as most of you know, we were formed in 1971 to deal with the world's most dangerous weapons, to try to eliminate the threats that they pose to all of us.  

And I want to welcome all of you to our meeting today, our 2015 annual meeting, including those of you online looking at us online through our webcast.  So, for those of you here, be careful about the strange faces you might make when I say certain things because you're on camera, too. 

This meeting and the work of the Arms Control Association is a result of a great team of people -- our staff, our board and our supporters, our loyal members of this organization.  And before we start on the great program that we have here today that's outlined in the program guide, I want to just quickly thank a few of our key staff people and loyal funders for their contributions and work that make all of this possible, including the Ploughshares Fund, the MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Prospect Hill Foundation, and others. 

And we're also very grateful to a few individuals who have made special contributions and table sponsorships to help defray the cost of this event, and they are David and Gina Hafemeister; Michael Klare, one of our board members; our Vice Chairman Paul Walker sitting here at the Walker table; and also -- yes -- and our friend and one of the parents of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Larry Weiler; and also one anonymous donor.   

And I also just want to say a few words about somebody else we're immensely thankful and grateful to, who isn't here today who helped shape this organization and guide and lead this organization for more than a quarter century, and he's John Steinbruner.  And John, as most of you know, our board chairman, our friend, our colleague and mentor, he passed away on April the 16th in his home in northwest Washington, following a nine-year struggle with multiple myeloma. 

And for many of us here who knew John and had the privilege to work with him, learn from him, I'm sure you'll all agree that he was an unusually insightful and creative thinker, persistent advocate for sensible security policies on a range of things, avoiding great power conflicts, regional war to guard against dangerous pathogens, slow climate change, prevent cyber attacks, regulate space weaponry, and more than anything else, to prevent nuclear war.  

He worked for many years down the street at the Brookings Institution, shaping their work.  And beginning in 1991, he joined the board of the Arms Control Association, became the chairman of the board in 2000 just before I arrived, and he oversaw the rejuvenation of the organization, encouraged us to work on a wider range of issues, and helped us through some tough organizational and policy challenges over many years.  

So, all of us in the Arms Control Association family and the wider peace and security community, are far wiser and stronger because of him and his dedication to a better world and, of course, on top of that, he was just a really wonderful, warm human being. 

So, let me just note that next week at 4 p.m on May 19th at the University of Maryland's Memorial Chapel, there's going to be a formal public memorial service for John that's open for anyone here who would like to go. I hope many of you can join us on the staff, his faculty colleagues at the University of Maryland, his many students and colleagues there to help celebrate his life. 

But for today with John in our minds, we want to continue the work that I think he would have wanted us to continue to pursue to deal with the problems that have to be dealt with, to deal with the issues that he was so concerned about for many, many years. 

And we're going to be looking at three main issues today -- Russia, the West, and the future of arms control, which we're calling the Big Chill; the future of NPT as it enters something of a mid-life crisis; and the ongoing challenge of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran through the P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal. 

So, as you can see from the program, we've got a really fantastic set of speakers to help us analyze all these issues and offer some concrete solutions about how to deal with them.  And after we have a buffet lunch, we're honored to have as our keynote speaker, Ambassador Alex Kmentt of Austria who just arrived from a long journey from New York, which it was not easy this week given the train tragedy outside of Philadelphia.  

He's going to describe in his lunch address the thinking behind the humanitarian impacts of the nuclear weapons initiative that's changed the global conversation on nuclear weapons, and also talk about the NPT. 

And then following, our panel on the P5+1 and Iran nuclear negotiations, after lunch, we're really lucky to have with us as a closing keynote speaker, Colin Kahl, the national security adviser for Vice President Biden, who's with us here today and not at Camp David with all of the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders, to talk about the P5+1, and Iran agreements, and the next steps in this long-running effort to deal with Iran's nuclear program.  

But first, this morning is our opening panel on the U.S.-Russian relationship, and I want to invite our moderator, Greg Thielmann, Catherine and Matt, our panelists to come on up right now, so we can get started.            

And as they come forward and get seated, let me invite those of you with your smartphones that can penetrate the thick walls of this building, or if you're online through the guest access wireless to tweet about what you're hearing, to tweet your thoughts with the hashtag #armscontrol2015, and if you could please turn your ringers off on your phones so that we're not disturbed. 

And then finally, before Greg takes over, I want to thank our friends at Hoover Institution for the complimentary copies of the new and important book edited by Ambassador Jim Goodby who's here, our long-time friend and collaborator, and former Secretary of State George Shultz, "The War That Must Never Be Fought."            

It's a meaty book with a lot of important ideas written by some of the best minds in the fields -- in the field, and there are some practical ideas and solutions to encourage us to transform our thinking about deterrence and nuclear weapons, and deal with what George Shultz writes and I agree, is the problem of nuclear weapons -- which were and are the greatest threats to humanity's survival. 

So, let me turn over the chair to Greg and the panel, and thank you all for being here today.  

(Back to the agenda)

Speakers: Matthew Rojansky, Director, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Catherine Kelleher, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia

Moderator: Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association

THIELMANN:  Thank you, Daryl.  It's not very controversial these days to describe our current times as manifesting the low point in Russia's relations with the West since the Cold War.  And yet, this big chill in relations is not quite a return to the Cold War, as I think many of you who are Cold War veterans in the room can attest to. 

After all, Russia does continue to abide by the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which I think it's -- is extremely important for moderating the worst case estimates of the two sides in maintaining a downward vector in the nuclear arsenals of the -- of the two largest nuclear powers, by far.

It's also true that Russia continues to be a constructive partner in the Iran talks that Daryl just mentioned.  And this is arguably, at least for the moment, one of the highest priorities for non-proliferation among the U.N. Security Council members.  

As everyone noticed, the U.S. secretary of state just spent a lot of time talking to Russian leaders in Sochi, first nearly four hours with the Foreign Minister Lavrov, and then four hours with President Putin. 

And as the New York Times commented, "You know, things are bad when a meeting that doesn't achieve anything is considered good news."  I think whether or not it's achieved anything, of course, is a little premature to say. 

But this kind of dialogue at this time, I think is definitely good news.  I can't resist the mention also of other U.S. and Russians in regular contact, even as we speak, they're flying overhead on the International Space Station, two American astronauts, three Russian cosmonauts, from the distance that you have to this picture of the -- are very hard to distinguish.  They just kind of all look like earthlings. 

The only one which you may be able to distinguish is there is an Italian woman there, that at least, is a different gender than the others, but it's an encouraging sight and useful sometimes to remember that at least in this case, the regular U.S. Russian contact seems to be quite harmonious, professional, and successful.

We have two experts on our panel today to help us sort out the reasons for Russia's chilly relations to the West, and also the implications for arms control.  You have many fun facts of a biographic nature in your program, but just to at least identify the current highlights, Matthew Rojansky is the director of the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and he's a former deputy director of the Carnegie Endowment's Russia and Eurasia Program. 

Catherine Kelleher is a professor at the University of Maryland's Public Policy School, Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, and an esteemed member of the ACA Board of Directors.  

And I would also mention that Catherine and I were both commissioners and are commissioners on the trilateral Deep Cuts Commission, and you will have noticed the second annual report on the table outside. 

This is another occasion for sustained contact between, in this case, Russians, Americans, and Germans, to discuss ways to deal with the challenges of making progress on arms control.  So we're going to first turn to Matt to give us some political context on this issue.

And I want to start with the often quoted remarks of President George W. Bush at their first meeting -- President Vladimir Putin in 2001.  He said, "I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country."  

So I want to ask Matt, in the course of his -- setting the political context to also discuss whether we need to update that assessment of Putin, and also get maybe at some of the personal dynamics that color our success or failure in pursuing arms control. 

Matt?  

ROJANSKY:  OK.  Thank you very much, Greg, and thank you, Daryl.  It's an honor to be here.  It's always an honor to be on a panel with Catherine.  We were both associated with another effort, called the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative, which was largely promulgated by the Carnegie Endowment with some international partners. 

And it was a very different time.  It was a time at which some very distinguished and impressive Russians, Europeans, Americans were able to sit down and come up with an inclusive and comprehensive vision for security from Vancouver to Vladivostok, that actually seemed pretty real and pretty achievable at that moment. 

From today's vantage point, it won't surprise you that I tend to think much of that effort has been completely overlooked, if not for naught.  Let me take a bit of a stroll down memory lane for many of you in this room. But -- and just try to elucidate how we got to where are, but with one particular theme, and that's the theme of cycles.  And it's very striking to me that this very week, coming on the heels of months and months in which the message from the White House, and the State Department, from the Chancellery in Germany, from Brussels, has been no more business as usual. 

We are done with cycles.  We don't trust the Russians.  We are done.  It's back to containment.  We're going to reestablish NATO as a credible deterrent, and we're going to treat Russia as the adversary that it now clearly is, and then once again, we have Secretary Kerry showing up and seeking to square the circle, perhaps in the Russian term the -- his counterpart, Minister Lavrov described it as seeking normalization, recognizing that one needs a normal relationship, so perhaps once again, we're starting on the upswing of yet another of these seemingly endless cycles. 

How did this -- how did this pattern begin, and why?  If you go back to the 1990s, you have what I refer to as the Bill and Boris show.  This was a very personality dependent relationship between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin.

They created a number of institutions, most of them, though, were heavily dependent on the will of the two presidents, and to some extent their deputies, Al Gore and Viktor Chernomyrdin, chaired the famous Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission with its many working groups.

But at the same time when all of this was happening, there were deep underlying political trends, which were from the Russian perspective fundamentally incompatible with the relationship that both sides expressed a hope was emerging in the post-Cold War period.

The one we hear the most about is NATO expansion, but it's by no means the only one.  There was a series, this a sort of theme of the 1990s, if you will, was a series of developments in the global political, legal, diplomatic, and economic order, all of which were seen from Moscow as being subservient to an American agenda.  With not surprising result that when you reach the end of the 1990s and came in to the 2000s, the election of George W. Bush and the selection of Vladimir Putin in Russia, the result was a Russia and an America which were fundamentally positioned to see the world in very different ways. 

George W. Bush had the idea that, rather than the kind of intense love and personality dependent relations of the Clinton years, which of course, famously came crashing down with the bombing campaign against Kosovo causing Primakov to literally turn his airplane around, cancel a visit to the United States, you know, and then the return of the -- of the Siloviki, the power ministries and the spies under the leadership of Vladimir Putin. 

That George W. Bush would seek to have a normal relationship with Russia.  That is, a relationship as one would have with any other country.  So, when you agree on things, you work together.  When you disagree on things, you sort of put those aside and you manage your differences.

Unfortunately, despite Bush's deep gaze into Putin's eyes, despite a relatively pragmatic, optimistic -- I would even say, realist Vladimir Putin 15 years ago, a man who frequently said to his American interlocutors, whom he insisted still on calling partners up until the last year, believe it or not.  He always referred the United States as partners.  Despite all of that, what we found ourselves falling into was a situation in which you could not treat Russia merely as just another country. 

What ended up happening was that Russia received almost no high level attention, when Condoleezza Rice herself versus national security adviser, Madam Secretary herself, a Russia expert was nominally tapped by George W. Bush to sort of head the institutional side of the U.S.-Russia relationship, that focus very quickly devolved first to her deputy, Steve Hadley, and then on down the line such that senior folks who worked in the White House at that time will tell you that there was essentially no one at the wheel of the Russia account for quite a long time. 

And the unfortunate truth with Russia is, whether the relationship is scary and dysfunctional or it's over promising and over optimistic, it can never be normal.  It always has to be a special relationship.  And I think we've seen that very clearly illustrated over the last quarter century.  The results were clear.  By 2008, the United States and Russia were nearly at blows over NATO expansion, color revolutions throughout the post-Soviet space, of course, the Russia-Georgia conflict and many other issues. 

So then along comes Barack Obama in 2009, through actually Vice President Biden, who first used the term in a speech.  He announces the idea of a reset.  And the idea of the reset at this time really is taken, I think by both sides in an effort to clear the air, right, that there had been too much, sort of cyclical love-hate, too much intense expectation, disappointment, and then frustration. 

The idea in particular with the arrival of President Medvedev a year before Obama comes to office, you know, these are modern guys.  They are lawyers.  They are constitutional law scholars.  They both use iPads and the Internet, right, unlike their predecessors. And, you know, they could have a working businesslike relationship.  They could agree to disagree, but then agree to cooperate in a way that their predecessors hadn't.  So, on a certain level, right?  This worked out rather well.

We achieved a whole host of, what a lot of folks have now called the low-hanging fruit in the relationship, including obviously the New START agreement.  But I would say it was characterized by two problematic phenomena, the underlying trends in this period. 

One, the relationship was still heavily personality dependent, to the extent that Obama and Medvedev were personally committed to it, to the extent that they had frequent and long personal interactions and largely positive, the relationship worked. To the extent that it fell to others who didn't have that same personal dynamic, the relationship didn't work. 

And second, that many of -- and I would even say most of the achievements and I won't go through the list, are not only low-hanging fruit, but they were things that were long overdue, or things that we had achieved before and thrown out the window.  For example, we created a bilateral presidential commission.

We had the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, except that we threw it out the previous time we had a crisis.  We got the New START agreement.  I seem to recall, may others in this room recall, we had had functional arms control agreements.  We just had failed to achieve within a timely manner, renewals, or extensions, or updates to those agreements.  Similarly with Afghanistan.  It's a 150-year-old problem.  We got a northern distribution network to kind of manage and keep that problem under control, but nothing resembling a fundamental transformation of the relationship.

So when people use the term reset, what they're really talking about was just clearing enough of the baggage and the garbage out of the way, that some reasonable progress could be made on obvious agenda items.

So how then did we get from relatively pragmatic cooperation from 2009 to 2011, '12, to where we are today?  I submit to you that the breakdown had very little to do with Ukraine, and happened long before the Euromaidan broke out. 

If you look at late 2011, 2012, Vladimir Putin was obsessed with the notion that the public protests then going on the streets of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and other large Russian cities, were orchestrated out of Washington, if not directly funded, if not American agents actually taking part in them on the ground.  And at that precise moment, Ambassador Mike McFaul, ironically the man who had been seen as the author of the reset inside the Obama administration, arrives in Moscow as the ambassador of United States.

And, of course, McFaul is famous for having written Russia's "Unfinished Revolution," and the perception very clearly was he was here to finish the job.  I suggest that was very bad timing, but certainly not seen -- almost nothing is ever seen as accidental for Moscow, let me put it that way. 

But adding insult to injury, though in 2012, the United States and Russia finally succeeded in pushing through Russia's accession to the WTO, it came at the cost of a new sanctions bill against Russia.  Jackson-Vanik is removed and the Magnitsky Act is imposed.

Magnitsky, of course, answering a very serious and grave human rights abuse that occurred in Russia, but the perception on the Russian side is, you know, you have never graduated from the notion that we are the enemy, that you have to sit in judgment of us, and that you have to tell us what kind of system we need to have.

So the relationship is deteriorating at this point already on all levels, Russia warns the United States it will respond asymmetrically.  It does so by banning U.S. adoptions of Russian children, then banning U.S. funding for Russian NGOs, and closing the doors on a number of NGOs, including many that I've been working with. 

And the message from Russia at this time -- you're now talking about mid to late 2012.  It's very clearly what I call kind of burning Moscow to defend it.  The idea that we will bring the house down around our own ears, even though losing partnerships and funding, losing the ability to send Russian orphans to loving well-off families in the West.

You know, none of these things are good for Russia, but to punish you and to demonstrate that what you are doing is unacceptable, we will burn the city down around us.  And that, I think, has been a consistent theme in Russia's response to United States and the West since that moment.

Of course, adding fuel to the fire further, we have the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013.  Remember how that's covered in United States, by the way.  Russian terrorists, right?  The Tsarnaev brothers, ironically from the Russian perspective, right, these are the terrorists they wish that we had helped them fight all along, going all the way back to the 1990s.

And here the Magnitsky Act comes into play again.  All stuff that, by the way, I mean, raise your hand if you saw any of this covered in the American press.  Two of the names on the Magnitsky Act were senior Russian security officials responsible for the exact region in the North Caucasus, Dagestan, where the Tsarnaev brothers had been holed up for about six months, ostensibly getting training and inspiration for what then became the Boston Marathon Bombing.

And we in United States were infuriated that these officials, whom we had put on a sanctions list a year and a half before, were not sharing intelligence with us about the Tsarnaev brothers, right?

Tragic situation, but based fundamentally on misperception, misunderstanding and offense and grievance.  The Ryan Fogle spying scandal, Edward Snowden, Russia's adoption of anti-gay laws, the conviction of Aleksei Navalny, this darling of the West Russian opposition leader.

Obama cancels his summit with Putin in August of 2013, and then finally in November, the protests break out in Ukraine, but initially, very much not a U.S.-Russia problem, very much a Ukrainian domestic problem.  The bigger factor in late 2013, early 2014, is the story of the Sochi Olympics, right?  This is an event in which Vladimir Putin has invested a huge amount of personal prestige, at least $50 billion we now know.  Again, what's the coverage of the story in the West?

Russia is a terrible country.  The Sochi Olympics are a joke.  The toilets don't work.  The sinks don't work.  It's a Potemkin village.  And more importantly, Western leaders aren't going to go.  They're not going to go, because Russia has human rights problems. 

And so what does Vladimir Putin do?  He releases Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the most notorious political prisoner, right, the Oligarch who had dared to oppose him 10 years earlier and was in Siberian exile. 

He releases Pussy Riot, right, the famous masked punk rockers.  He releases Greenpeace activists.  He even releases a number of the protesters who had threatened him in 2011, and 2012, and below that.

Am I saying that Vladimir Putin, you know, is trustworthy soul, a good man, a Democrat?  No, I'm not saying any of this.  I'm saying he really, really wanted to be respected by the West in late 2013, early 2014, and what did he get?  He got none of it. 

Senior Western officials by and large stayed away from Sochi.  And so this, I suggest is really the straw that broke the camel's back.  Vladimir Putin comes back from Sochi.  And the very next thing that happens we now know is he convenes his National Security Council and he says, "We need to take Crimea." 

From that moment forward, I think the story is very well-known to you, right, sanctions, isolation, tit for tat, and the relationship that we have today.  So, let me just say a quick word if I have two minutes, about what I think Russia is looking for in Ukraine.

I think there are three basic causes, and the first of them in the sequence here is very, very important, are domestic.  So number one is the precedent of removing Yanukovych by force, whether you think it was morally justified or not.  He was a duly elected leader who was removed through a street protest that became violent.

If life in Ukraine becomes better after that, if people are better off and if big businesses are better off in Ukraine, next year, five years from now, 10 years from now, whenever it happens, that message will be unacceptably dangerous for Putin in Russia, for the simple reason that Russians overwhelmingly believe that they and Ukrainians are the same, right, despite the rhetoric about Ukrainian fascists and Ukraine going to NATO and so on.

Fundamentally, deep family personal, historical, cultural, religious and all kinds of other ties, and the view is, if this happens in Ukraine and the result is better for Ukrainians, why not us?  Why not Russians?  And this is an unacceptable precedent for Putin and his system.  It's about survival. 

And second along that same line, again, domestic political is that, Vladimir Putin's role today is very different.  I described him 15 years ago as being kind of a pragmatist, a realist, certainly, that was the moment at which he and George W. Bush had the famous meeting in Slovenia. 

He was a very different man then.  Now, he is a Tsar, which means he has extremes, supreme, absolute power, but he is also isolated.  I think it's impossible to describe Vladimir Putin today as a realist. 

Many people talk about him as a strategist, as a realist.  In order to be a realist, you have to acknowledge your own fallibility, that you might sometimes be wrong.  And if you are at that pinnacle of absolute power, where you are isolated and surrounded by yes men and everyone is afraid of you, you can no longer be a realist. 

And what that means is, Putin cannot afford to acknowledge the possibility, publicly or privately, that his narrative about what has happened in Ukraine, again, CIA-backed coup, unleashing radical fascist Ukrainian nationalists to commit ethnic cleansing upon Russians, and then to bring -- reorient Ukraine into the E.U. and NATO.  That that might be wrong in any way.  That is an impossible premise to accept, because it is the beginning of the end of his absolute power, which is akin to that of a Tsar.

Only the third and final place in this logical scheme is occupied by geopolitics, which is what we tend to hear about first in the West, right?  Does Ukraine go East or West?  And the idea here is even more complicated. There's a positive version of the narrative, and that's simply that Russia or Ukraine, but Ukraine in particular by itself, is relatively small and relatively weak, right?  This is a country whose GDP is, you know, something around the net worth of Bill Gates plus Warren Buffet, maybe less than that, right?

And it's a pretty dysfunctional country.  And it's a country that has an awful lot of trouble borrowing on commercial markets.  So Ukraine doesn't have a lot of bargaining power.  And the message of Russia's Eurasian economic union is, if you join with us, you will have more bargaining power, right?

Russia alone is 140 million people.  Russia plus Ukraine plus Kazakhstan plus Belarus plus Armenia, et cetera, et cetera, is over 200 million people.  And the ability for that common market to then get better terms from say, China, or better terms from the E.U., and ultimately strive towards something resembling.  And Putin has talked about this, a Lisbon to Vladivostok common European market, or European and Eurasian.  That's actually a relatively appealing message.  What's the negative message, we know very well.  I call it "Gandalf Balrog" moment, right?  Where Putin throws down the staff and says, "You shall not pass,” to NATO, right? 

NATO cannot come to Ukraine.  It is a bridge too far, and so every time we see footage of American troops drilling with Ukrainians on the company level in Western Ukraine, it is a symbol of everything that is anathema and hateful to the Russians in Ukraine.

So, that's a sort of sense of how we've gotten to where we are.  What the Russians are looking for in Ukraine.  Let me just lastly say, in terms of broad principles, how we can deal with the Russians under these circumstances, and I hope that these are useful as we continue the conversation to talk about arms control and potentially -- very potentially, disarmament issues. 

I keep these principles in mind.  Number one, Russia is not going away, right?  This tends to be obvious to the nuclear community, it's far from obvious to almost everyone else.  I will tell you right now, coming from the highest levels of our government, the message about Russia policy is, our job is to manage the consequences for U.S. interest of Russia's inevitable decline into irrelevance, right?  If you perceive Russia that way, you do not take Russia seriously.  So principle number one is Russia is not going away.  We've got to take it seriously.  And it can't be bludgeoned. 

Number two, our ability to secure cooperation from Russia depends on the institutional foundation of the relationship, so if we have no trade, if we have no travel, visa exchange, if we have no official track to the relationship below the level of John Kerry doing shuttle diplomacy, or Barack Obama, or Angela Merkel as the middle man, we have no institutional foundations.  

How do you talk to Russia about the hard issues, the things that very quickly can derail issues like arms control when we want to work on those?  Find a common language to talk about problems like human rights.

Don't go lecturing to the Russians about what kind of democracy they should have.  Talk about the interests of U.S. businesses operating in Russia, that they need rule of law in order to operate, that they need rule of law in order to -- in order to invest and conduct business.

Talk about reciprocal commitments, the Helsinki commitments, the U.N. declaration on human rights, the Vienna Convention, the European convention on human rights, WTO, G8 -- of course, we kicked them out of the G8, so it makes it kind of hard to talk about reciprocal commitments and so on. 

And then -- and then a little bit more honesty about the political constraints of our process here in Washington.  I'd love to hear the Jerry Maguire line from President Obama, "Maybe it's too late, help me help you," right?  

When you do things domestically, when you do things in Ukraine that make it difficult for me to sell U.S.-Russia partnership to my own party, let-alone to the Republican side, you derail your own best interests here in the United States.

There's been very little of that honesty and there's a lot of kind of mirror-imaging, where Russians assume our system is like their system, right?  So if John McCain says something nasty about Putin, it must be because the president authorized him to do so, right? 

We need a lot more honesty about how our systems work.  And then lastly just know something about Russia, right?  There's been a precipitous decline, not only in broad public investment, private foundations, et cetera, in study of Russia, but by the government in particular, we're down to less than 20 percent of where we were in 1991 in terms of investment in University Russian Studies Programs, post graduate Russian studies, Russia exchanges like, for example, the Open World Program run by the Library of Congress. 

All of these things have been massively slashed, in most cases, either eliminated or more than 50 percent.  So if you've got no capacity to understand the other party, be wary of imposing constraints, sanctions, et cetera, and assuming you know how those are going to end.  Thanks. 

THIELMANN:  Thank you.  Very insightful.  Combining Tolkien and Napoleonic burning of Moscow is quite an achievement. 

Now, Catherine, Secretary Kerry said in his Tuesday meeting in Sochi, quote, "It is clearly possible to make real progress and make important things happen," unquote.  So my question to you is, is that true?  And what kind of arms control should we try to make happen through engagement with Russia?

KELLEHER:  Well, luckily, we have here through audiovisual aid, the Deep Cuts Commission and at least some specific recommendations about what we can do to -- at least bring up for conversation or dispute, should you choose to. 

But I'd like to say, perhaps a more general thing, and this very much in tribute to John Steinbruner, because I think -- he was my friend for almost 50 years.  We shared a love of Berlin as students, and doctoral advisers some time and place at Brookings and at Maryland.

And I think, also this approach, which he perhaps more than many other people in Washington, constantly reminded us of.  And it seemed to me it had three major dimensions that are very useful, particularly in contrast to the kind of minute by minute zigzag that Matt has so well described of our policy towards Russia, and particularly in the arms control field.

 His argument would have been, "I think, first keep your eye on the long haul.  Don't worry about what's happening today in specific, but concentrate on what your aims are, and what the kinds of objectives you have for the medium and longer-term." That it is only through doing that, that you have a realistic measuring stick against both what you do today and what you're hoping will add up cumulatively to a more positive result in terms of U.S. interests, and indeed, in terms of a more cooperative strategy.

I think secondly, and John very much stressed this not only in his own writing, but also I think in his teaching, which was the importance of transparency and openness in every single endeavor, that it is really the question about looking at yourself honestly as Matt just said.

And also, trying very hard to keep an open mind, to look for opportunities, where this kind of strategy will in fact lead to coincidence, if not necessarily joint outcomes.  That it is the light of day that will make the difference in the end on whether or not things are politically acceptable.

That much that is done behind closed doors not only should stay there, but perhaps never happen at all.  I think a third thing, and here probably his hallmark in all of his writing and things that he did, not only with ACA, but with the National Academy of Sciences activities and the American Academy of Sciences, their Arts and Sciences that he was involved in, was really the stress on innovation.

Let's think of a different way if we need to.  Let's put the pressure on ourselves to think about how we adapt and how we adjust to new circumstances, and surely that would be his message, I think, as we look forward to what is achievable at a time of considerable stress, a lot of tension, and a lot of turbulence in who knows what about what.

I think there is no question as most of the people in this room have reluctantly concluded over the last two years, that there is not going to be a rapid U-turn, short of some extraordinary black swan variety activity, or perhaps violence of a kind that none of us would like to see. 

I think, moreover, that the need to reconsider what we have done in the past as Matt has outlined, it is a very serious task and easy -- certainly, tried to do that in its time.  But more importantly, I think for the Deep Cuts Commission, and for our own activities individually and as a group, this community that is focused on arms control.  It's time to stop kidding ourselves about the things that we have carefully but rather casually assumed were going to be eternal verities that would extend into the future.  We've had a lot of reliance on institutions that we failed to support. 

We've not been terribly innovative.  We've just assumed that everything was linear development, rather than the zigzag that John would have been among the first mention is often the fate of human affairs.

It can get worse and it will get worse unless we do take this task seriously.  There are lots of cases, I'm happy to recount a long list of possible things that have gone wrong, taken a turn, and then never recovered.  I'm sure you have some both from your personal life.  The financial sector may be one of them that comes closest to mind at the moment, but that really have to do with the need, the unexamined life that someone once said is not worth living.

And I would say the unexamined policy life is even particularly not worthy of commanding attention or effort.  So enough of the philosophy, but I think an important way to start to remind ourselves that we -- there is plenty of guilt to go around about how we have gotten ourselves into this situation.

Mr. Putin may have taken 25 years of my professional life and thrown it into the circular file.  But that's OK, as long as out of that, I'm able to some rescue some hope and some positive direction for what I think is the future.

And here, I think, the Deep Cuts Commission at least provides us a handy discussion guide from which to go forward.  The Deep Cuts was a commission funded primarily by the German Foreign Office and several foundations, which is made up of 21 members with associated friends and relatives as we say, who has bravely have been looking at these problems for the last three years and with considerable results.

The first and second reports, there may yet be a third, I think are worth reading and thinking about.  Again, I think there is a great deal of emphasis on the kinds of values that I see John's work as comprising, particularly the emphasis on the willingness to take the context of where you are and to go forward. 

We are not going to have major breakthroughs, but we may yet do useful work that's preparatory for opportunities that we can't foresee exactly when they're going to happen, but where we suspect that if we keep working at the coalface there will be a chance in which to achieve the kinds of reductions, not only in nuclear arms, but in the control of the weaponry innovation process, and indeed, the many supporting functions and infrastructure that are so critical to the conduct of warfare.

It is an optimistic view, one that says, we can do it if we keep our eye on the ball, and not just either surrender to despair or to demagoguery as is too often the case in this town anyway.

I think probably the major push within the Deep Cuts Commission -- there were five really specific areas for recommendations in this current second report.  But the major one is clearly the continuation in discussions about strategic nuclear arms control. 

The push to continue to think about how it is possible to achieve, or to outline, or to find a basis for coincident interest, not just -- but primarily perhaps between the United States and Russia, but also including the three members of the -- of the members of the P5, and perhaps even stretching beyond to a P5+2, including India and Pakistan, in terms of targets for reduction. 

The idea that there are offers still on the table that involve considerably lower levels of nuclear weapons, that suggests that a partnership -- how many nations was it that came to the partnership in verification meeting recently?  That there is a partnership of like minded states that can take up verification questions, involve themselves in the kind of experimentation about verification, about satisfying the "how will ever know," complaint that has dogged arms control from its very beginning in the '60s. 

I think moreover, there is a push to think about what we are doing as we always have to think, in our present weapons acquisitions and weapons development that will, in fact, contain rocks or perhaps even explosions of our best intentions in the future. 

Here the hypersonic glide, the question of precision guidance, the question of new and improved conventional, or perhaps even nuclear cruise missiles, all are items that are mentioned in the Deep Cuts Commission, the need to worry now and to think about what we actually want to achieve in each of those areas if we have the chance to continue to push on our agenda. 

It gives pride of place in a way, at least in the present agenda, to restoring a kind of the strategic stability in Europe.  And here, particularly to take more seriously than anyone in the United States perhaps has ever done, the possibilities that exists in the one remaining forum in which are continuing to meet regularly with the Russians, the OSCE, and to try to think what we want that organization to be.  And how strong we need to make it in order to fulfill even its original mandate.  

If not that, what is it that we want in terms of an organizational framework in which we will be able to take account of the inevitable geopolitical fact as Matt described it, that Russia is not going away?  

And that it needs to be a partner.  It needs to be a conversation partner.  It needs to be a partner in common, perhaps only convergent interest-driven organizations.  And that without the kind of channel of engagement and information, it really is a question of how we communicate, fits and starts, things that can be turned off by either side with no particular price to be paid.

This includes the INF Treaty and the need now to think about how we want to use that mechanism, how we can strengthen it, how we can in fact either unilateral or perhaps even convergent methods, strengthen it for to include others, or to replace with something that represents a verifiable ban on a set of weaponry that has proved difficult, if not disastrous in the past.

Last but not least, it is, of course, the whole area that we are currently discussing in New York, namely the nonproliferation treaty and the associated the activities.  We've had a number of specific actions.  We have the action plan of the past that still is not what might be called implemented. 

We have other models that have been suggested and that need to be looked at.  Most importantly of all, we need to look at the "sorta kinda" proliferation that we're seeing on a number of levels, both in terms of our discussions with India and currently in the Iran context.

I think all of these things as discussed in the Deep Cuts Commission report suggests there is a great deal of work to be done, and that is not enough to say, "Mr. Putin promised that it would be 10 years before there would be any serious arms control again.  And it's a promise at least as long as he's in charge, he has every intention of making sure comes true." 

I think for lots of reasons, it will take even longer than that if his plan is to go forward.  What we have to think about in the meantime, and I think John would have joined me in this plea, is to say, "We have time and we had best make use of it to think about what it is that we really need to do, want to do, and what kinds of things we and other states that share our goals can do, not necessarily in opposition to Mr. Putin." 

That's his choice as well as ours, but rather, to think about how we can engage in cooperative strategies that will lead to the goals and to the eventual opportunity for agreements, unilateral actions, bilateral, multilateral agreements of all sorts -- formal and informal, that will push us forward into the kind of cooperative space that I think is so necessary to achieve our own goals.

THIELMANN:  Thank you, Catherine.  I'm not going to exercise the moderator's prerogative, I'm going to open right away from the floor, and I think we will try to bundle the questions just to -- in pairs so that we don't forget what the questions were, and we maximize the chance for you to ask them. 

So please raise your hand and we'll try to get a mike to you.  I see Michael over here, and then here, these two questions here.  

QUESTION:  Thanks.  So thank you, both, for wonderful presentations.  I hope we get to applaud them at some point.  I have a question for Matt, but either of you can weigh in on this.  How does the Russia-China relationship bear on U.S.-Russian relations? 

And I say this reading this morning that Ash Carter is talking about stationing B-1 Bombers in Australia.  That's going to drive the Chinese crazy is my -- I just imagine, and make them much more, you know, militarized in their response.  And is that going to turn them to Russia?  How does that affect Putin?  How does that affect U.S.-Russian relations?

THIELMANN (?):  (inaudible). 

QUESTION:  Thank you, both, for excellent speeches.  I enjoyed it very much.  I shouldn't call it a speech -- remarks.  I have a question for both of you.  You both talked about the idea of some kind of an organizational arrangement in the Euro-Atlantic region. 

Matt, you talked about what I thought was a very important report, the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative, and one other it, as Sam Nunn was involved in.  And Catherine talked about the OSCE, which I think is also a forum that needs a hard look.

But what can we do?  I'd really like to hear you talk more specifically about what kind of a forum you would like to see in Europe -- in the Euro-Atlantic region.  Is it something that grows out of the OSCE?  Is it something new as the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative suggested?  And is there any way of reviving some of those ideas?  Thanks.  

THIELMANN:  OK.  Let's go first, Matt, to the Russia-China question? 

ROJANSKY:  OK.  So, you know, I think it was Henry Kissinger who had the maxim about the United States should adopt a policy in which we have better relations with Beijing and Moscow than they have with each other, that that should be the maxim. 

That does not pertain today.  The opposite is true, full stop, without question.  We should have no illusions.  Whatever our mutual economic dependence with China, there is no doubt that Beijing and Moscow see each other as closer partners.

I won't say more important simply because of the size and the weight of the U.S.-China economic relationship, but closer partners than they are, with either of them is with us.  That is premised -- that is often dismissed in Washington.  If you read English language analysis of the Russia-China relationship, including a piece out yesterday in Reuters by several of my colleagues, whom I respect enormously, there is often a tone of, sort of, disbelief or non-seriousness based on history.  

The idea that the Russians and the Chinese have fought lots of wars with each other, lots of border skirmishes, and there are these sort of deep trends that will always keep the two of them distrustful and prickly towards one another.  

That's all true.  Let me tell you what else is true.  Putin and Xi have an excellent personal dynamic, and they will both be in power for the next decade or more.  The Russian and the Chinese cultural and historical narrative is finding increasingly common resonance in response to Western policy. 

So when we isolate, when we denigrate, when we talk about Russian and Chinese behavior as being 19th century, or uncivilized, or inappropriate to our sort of modern rules and norms, it echoes with a sense that both great powers as they see themselves have always experienced at the hands of the European West, and that is that you denigrate us.  You isolate us and we emerge stronger for it.

That is a common, I can go into details and the terminology for this, but it's suffice to say, it exists in both cultures.  The weapons trade is very real, as you may know, the S400s that were sold to China or recently promised to China by Russia, would give the Chinese essentially airspace denial capability over Taiwan.

That's a really, really big deal.  And the Russians, I think, are signaling something important by making that sale.  And then the economy, there is a functional modus vivendi between Russia and China in Central Asia, where the Chinese get economic dominance and the Russians get political and military dominance.

That's working, but more importantly the Russian-Chinese direct economic relationship is big and it's growing, and the half trillion dollar gas deal, although the details people sort of snicker, "Well, we don't know what the price is, oh, the Russians got screwed."

Look, we don't know is the operative term and they nonetheless signed the deal, and two leaders who are obsessed with personal prestige, you know, what I said earlier about Sochi, signed that deal in public, associated themselves with it in public, so I suggest to you that that's a very real deal, and it's very, very big. 

KELLEHER:  I would like to add a somewhat dissenting voice to this, and to argue that one of the hallmarks, I think of long-term Russian policy is the increasing nationalist xenophobic strand, and one in which is -- has more than a little of a racist trend.

And whether one talks particularly about the military, where it's rampant, or in terms of the general reliance in -- outside of Moscow in the major cities on this kind of definition of Russian-ness that is non-Asiatic, very definitely a cultural empire with long tradition, I think that is a major stumbling block as long as Putin and his successors are dependent on that kind of national support, it will always be a question from the Russian side about who is dominant -- and there is -- it seems to me if I were Mr. Putin, I would run that calculus very carefully, since there are many indications that suggest it will not be Russia that's the dominant partner. 

And once that becomes apparent, I think it puts a great deal of question into how long and how deep this particular present relationship will run.  But may I also speak to Jim Goodby's very good question? 

You know, lots of trees have died in the search for European security architecture.  I think at one point, I counted up.  There were either 52 or 53 different plans that had been published for how to set the organizational framework. 

I think it doesn't matter.  It's clear that the NATO-Russia ploy is over, at least for the foreseeable future.  And the question is, what's left?  We have tended, particularly in the years -- recent years, in which we've more or less neglected, I think, the organizational underpinnings of the U.S.-Russia relationship and they certainly, as Matt wisely pointed out, the amount of non-tending domestic expertise in this area. 

I think we really have to have a framework, however, where we meet, whether we want to or not.  That's one of the hallmarks of that framework.  It's like the U.S. having to go to NATO and meet its allies, whether or not it wants to meet them all at once, you know, it's the convening power if you will, and the fact that not showing up turns out to be disastrous. 

I think there -- OSCE is the only thing we've got at the moment.  And unless we pick up something like the organization that was suggested the -- a linked organization that was Brzezhinski's and Kissinger's idea in 2011 -- 2012, there have been other arguments about having kind of a mini U.N. in Europe kind of meeting. 

But whatever the framework is, we need one.  And the question is then to take it seriously.  United States has always held its nose in OSCE and said "Not much here, not our play, not our vocabulary."  And the fact is, as this crisis has shown, we have a need for this kind of organization and it's not just to engage the Russians.   It's to engage a number of other states, as well. 

THIELMANN:  Thank you, Catherine.  Let's take the next two questions, and I'm going to just mention that there is more specificity in the Deep Cuts report particularly on the OSCE forum, and also noting that the Germans are going to be chair of the OSCE coming out, and seeing opportunity for moving in that forum.

So the next two questions -- let me try to go to the back a little bit maybe in the middle there, the first (inaudible) and then over to Nick by the window. 

PROVEAUX:  Thank you.  Mr. Rojanski mentioned that we are losing slowly our Russian expertise, and I was wondering what your thoughts are on Peace Corps volunteers.  So obviously there's the problem of, we don't want other nations to think that we're spying on them, but at least for the case with Ukraine, there's at least, I think, there were at least 400 volunteers in Ukraine.  And they seem like they could be a good resource for getting the lay of the land, so to speak. 

I mean, they have very, very good relationships with the locals, et cetera, even in the east and Donetsk, so I'm just wondering what your thoughts are on that?  Thank you.

THIELMANN:  And at the end of the question I just ask you to identify yourself, sorry I should have mentioned that.

PROVEAUX:  Oh sure.  My name is Adam Proveaux.  I'm a graduate student at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. 

THIELMANN:  Thank you. 

ROTH:  Nick Roth, Belfer Center.  Thank you.  Both of your talks were very interesting.  One question I have is about a specific type of cooperation that was cut off early in 2014 between the U.S. and Russia, which is joint scientific research.  And that was cut off on the U.S. side. 

So my question for both of you is, based on your presentations, I would think that you would think -- you would decide that was not a wise decision.  But so, I guess, one question is do you agree with that or not, and if not, what case would make to the U.S. government on why, and -- or how that type of cooperation should continue or restart?

THIELMANN:  Anyone.  Yeah, Catherine. 

KELLEHER:  Yes, OK.  Let me pick up the cooperative question.  I think it -- I think there are two very good sides to the argument about whether or not we should have cut off cooperative links.  

How much of it was cutting off our own nose?  How much of it was real signal that we were serious this time?  So let's leave that discussion to the past.  It what we could think of is what is, the sequence.  What is the series of domains in which we want to gradually restore some of those links, because they are useful for us, or we see that this is a way to at least engage the Russians in a dialogue that is -- has the possibility of leading to further cooperation, if that's what we want?

I think there are two that I think have been very useful, and the Deep Cuts argument actually comes out and says, 1.5 and 2 level dialogues are the first place to invest.  I think it's been extremely useful to have the mil-to-mil dialogue.  It has not turned out always in the best way, I must say for the Russian military participants.  A large number of them have found themselves without jobs when they went home, or under great suspicion of having been turned by the CIA.

But the idea of having open meetings, which are transparent, that do in fact convince other observers that there is something to be discussed, is a very important one.  Let me give you one specific example. 

Almost nobody knows about the cooperative discussions that have gone on both in Northeast Asia at the colonels' level for well over 10 years.  And it's a question of not just arriving at individual personal knowledge, but a sort of background that has to do with signaling the, sort of, if you will, creation of trusted persons, people who are looked on as experts or points of contact from both sides as being of value. 

These turn out in specific crises, particularly when you need to send a signal fast, to be very, very useful techniques.  They are of -- in and of themselves a kind of confidence building measure that's of some value. 

I think in the scientific area, this is also the case.  I think there is much less emphasis on it.  Things like Pugwash, or the Dartmouth discussions, or any number of other scientific exchanges than there was, say, in the heydays of the '70s. 

But it is still -- there is a still vast area, in which even with the open -- relatively open scientific dialogues that exist in functional fields, it is a valuable resource to have, if only because it's precisely this kind of organization that can try trial balloons, develop stakeholders, do the kinds of things that are so difficult to do in something like the NATO-Russia forum where you started with adversarial relations from the first. 

ROJANSKY:  And do you want -- yeah, in which by the way is still frozen or suspended.  It might be good news to you and to others here, I don't think I'm violating any confidentiality by saying that the Dartmouth Conference at the plenary level, the high level that was suspended in 1990 has actually restarted with support from the Kettering Foundation, which sort of has taken over has brand since November of last year, and in fact the next high level meeting will be slated for the fall here on the U.S. side.

So -- and this scientific exchange is exactly on the agenda.  We have had very senior doctors, for example.  And -- the issue really is do you see useful capacity on both sides?  A problem from the U.S. side for a long time has been just general dismissiveness of Russia's relevance and capacity.

If they had nothing to offer, why do we need to do anything jointly with them, what, just for the sake of going through the motions?  No, we don't do that sort of thing.  And, of course, the reality is, they have a tremendous amount to offer, if you know basic economics, right?  It's the idea of comparative advantage.  

It doesn't matter if they are 10 percent less good than you, they may specialize in something that you don't, and that makes sense.  On the human capital issue, the answer Adam is, yes, returned Peace Corps Volunteers are extremely valuable.  I've actually hired at least two of them myself.

But, you know, that's not the only program, and the problem with Peace Corps is it's not in Russia.  It's only in Ukraine, and Georgia, and other former Soviet republics.  And that phenomenon has become a kind of troublesome two way street, where on the one hand, we can't actually go to the places and gain experience in the places where engagement with Americans and American knowledge is most urgently needed, because we're barred from those places, perceived as being some form of espionage or soft color revolutionary activity by Putin, initially back in 2002, which is why he booted the program. 

But on the other hand, we often come back with a version of post-Soviet knowledge that is skewed towards the countries where we have these large contingencies of a Peace Corps volunteers.

So, it tends over time, to shape the field such that throughout the State Department and the Defense Department and Commerce and other places now, when you're sitting now with a now mid-level working level official who started out as a Peace Corps volunteer, which is a common phenomenon, you know, they really -- their language was Ukrainian, right?

And so, it sort of deepens the problem.  And I'm not saying there's not a problem with engaging with Ukraine.  I'm all for it.  I started the Ukraine program when I was here at Carnegie.  It's just that the perception from the Russian side, again, it's a two-way street.  They banned us in the first place, but we invest in human capital that, as a result, makes it even harder for us to deal with them because we're perceived just being biased, so it's tricky.  

THIELMANN:  Thank you, one up front and one in the far back.  

QUESTION:  Should I do it now, or should I wait for (inaudible) 

THIELMANN:  You should wait for Michael. 

QUESTION:  OK.  My name is Richard Golden.  I'm a member of the ACA.  I'm also a Rotarian.  As a Rotarian, I have been active in the Russia and U.S. exchanges.  I have been told by people who I believe are much more knowledgeable than I, today, NGOS is where it's -- where it is at.  Do you have any comments as to whether NGOs might want to take the lead in reestablishing constructive exchanges between the two countries? 

QUESTION:  Hi, Brian Bradley from Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor.  One line in the Deep Cuts Commission report, particularly caught my eye and raised another question for me, the line where it said the U.S. and Russia should resist misleading calls to give up on the INF Treaty.

My question is, given the fact that both sides are basically accusing each other of violating the treaty, what is the action chain that would have to happen to get both sides basically to agree on the provisions and agree on cooperation on the treaty going forward?

And also, Ms. Kelleher, I believe you touched on the possibility of replacing -- negotiating a replacement for the INF Treaty going forward.  How do you envision that playing out, given the status of INF right now?

THIELMANN:  Let me say something about the INF Treaty, since that was one -- I'm sorry, one of the subjects I was significantly involved with.  One is struck by the absence of any activity in resolving the INF Treaty compliance concern on the table, of anything like that envisioned by the authors of the treaty, the special verification commission that was supposed to work on compliance concerns, last met in 2003.

It has not been engaged in any way in this -- in this dispute.  And there are some reasons for that having to do with the fact that there was only the Soviet Union once upon a time and now there were several members that kind of inherited the treaty. 

But the point is, and this came out very strongly in the Deep Cuts discussions, you really have to have technical experts, military professionals, people on the ground, on the spot working through these issues.  And when the U.S. and Russia try to resolve the U.S. complaint, it was at a very high level, and the Russians basically kept saying, "We don't know what you're talking about."  And the U.S. kept saying, "Yes, you do." 

And that -- and that sort of led us to where we are now.  I see an opportunity here in using the Russian complaints about U.S. violations of the INF Treaty, to use that as leverage.  The U.S. has been dismissive of all of those complaints, including the potential use of the launchers that are destined for Romania and Poland, that their maker Boeing bragged could also launch Tomahawk missiles.  And now we assure the Russians that neither the software nor the hardware would allow them to launch Tomahawk missiles.

That was a very easy opportunity for us to say, "Come and look at this equipment. We will show why this is impossible.”  We, as far as I know have not made such a suggestion at all.  Were we to suggest that then it would be much easier for us to say, "And we would like to look at our complaints about your testing of a ground-launched cruise missile."

So I think there needs to be an attitudinal on change first and foremost on the U.S. part, in order to try to make progress on what I think is very legitimate complaint about what the Russians have done.

Let me go to others, Catherine? 

KELLEHER:  Can I just add on to Greg's very cogent argument?  I think two mistakes were made specifically.  One is we decided for reasons that I still am not clear about in the Bush administration, to leave the Russians, to fight the extension of the INF Treaty scope, the joining perhaps of other countries, to leave that to a Russian lead, and we didn't make it a very important priority in terms of our own negotiating agenda.

And the -- we essentially said we didn't see it as terribly urgent, and this having to do with extending the treaties both perhaps to include the Chinese, the Indians, and the Pakistanis, all of whom have programs of interest, shall we say.

And we essentially allowed that one to run into the sand.  I think that was a mistake on our part, a serious mistake.  It would have looked like a much more important and persuasive push, I think, if we had enlarged the scope at least to force discussion.

If we couldn't do it in MTCR, we could have forced a discussion about their plans, what they saw as the in fact on strategic stability in their particular regions, in a way that would have been very useful for us at several points. 

The second think and I think the more important thing is, the escalation of this discussion with Russians resembles a schoolyard fight more than anything else, I mean, “so's your old man” is the sum of a lot of the discussion.

And I think we should -- we've been forced into a position that really is beneath our dignity, if you may allow me a judgment, and we could have done other things at other points.  And it's just been folded into the general discouragement, disappointment, disregard, whatever you want to say about policies too often in the last five years.

ROJANSKY:  I have to take this opportunity before this panel concludes to make a very important broader point in answer to the INF problem and a number of others, like Russian participation in the Nuclear Security Summit, what we may or may not get from them on the NPT RevCon.

The bottom-line is, we ourselves should know, imposing economic sanctions in response to military action, that all issues are linked, right?  You cannot deal in total isolation of one set of issues from another set of issues. 

And what that means is my well-meaning, but I think totally misguided colleagues, who write op-eds in the same week, publishing op-eds in the very same week saying, "Let's send weapons to the Ukrainians so they can believe to the Russians more, so they can send home more Russian body bags, and change Putin's calculus."

And in the very same week say, "Let's not give up on the INF."  It blows my mind, right?  I mean, we are not dealing with some kind of robot here, right?  We are dealing with people.  And with people, issues are linked.  We ought to understand that.  So I think that point just needs to stand.

And the on NGOs, Richard, this speaks to the two-way street problem, right, which is that the Russians have created a very tight environment for NGO activity in their own country.  They have a foreign agent law, which says, "Any NGO which is receiving foreign money, or which is acting in general on the interest at the behest of a foreign partner.”

That NGO will be labeled a “foreign agent," and that's essentially poison to -- in Russian society.  So what you're left with -- and my own organization has been evolving in this direction, is that you cannot invest overly in what you would ideally want to do, which is build institutions on the ground, you know, employ Russians, get Russians going in activities that are of mutual interest. 

What you have to do is look for opportunities where existing Russian institutions are looking on the basis of total formal almost very archaic seeming, almost cold war style equality, right?  You sit opposite at each other at the table and have little flags, and you negotiate memoranda of understanding, and you sign those.

That's the nature of the partnership that the Russian government is allowing today.  And if you try to circumvent that, you're likely to get yourself and your Russian NGO partner in a lot of trouble, so I would discourage that under the current circumstances.

But you've -- we've got to push through.  Pulling back completely and saying, we're going to punish you by not engaging, you know, that's obviously a mistake because you lose the Russian people.

THIELMANN:  Thank you very much for your questions.  I'm afraid we have run out of our allotted time, and I would urge you to join me in thanking our two panelists. 

(APPLAUSE) 

KIMBALL:  All right.  And while we have a stage transition here to the next panel, we're going to take about four or five minute break, and we're going to reconvene at about 20 until the hour for our Nonproliferation Treaty Panel. 

(Back to the agenda)

Speakers: Andrea Berger, Deputy Director, Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme, Royal United Services Institute; Lewis A. Dunn, Principal, Science Applications International Corporation; Randy Rydell, former Senior Political Affairs Officer, United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs

Moderator: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

KIMBALL:  All right, everyone, we're going to get started in just a moment if I could ask you to sit down.  I'm sorry to interrupt your conversations.  We will have plenty of time during the lunch hour to share thoughts with one another.  

All right.  Welcome back.  It's great to have all of you here this morning at the Arms Control Association's 2015 Annual Meeting.  And just a correction to my earlier remarks about the hashtag for today's event, it's armscontrol15.  My communications team is grousing with me.  I told you the wrong hashtag before.  So, it's #armscontrol15. 

And this panel, the second panel of the day is going to be exploring the challenges facing the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, as evidenced by the ongoing 2015 review conference that's taking place this week at this hour in New York and which runs through May 22nd. 

So, as most everyone here knows the -- over the past 45 years the NPT has established an indispensable, but imperfect, set of interlocking non-proliferation and disarmament obligations and standards.  And rather than having dozens of nuclear armed states, as John F. Kennedy forecasted in the early 1960s, we have only -- it's too many -- but we only have four additional countries beyond the original five nuclear weapon states that are recognized as nuclear weapon states under the NPT.  

The taboo against nuclear weapons use has grown stronger.  The push for disarmament continues.  The effort to fortify the safeguards against the spread of nuclear weapons continues. 

And like any treaty, the NPT requires ongoing work to update, renew and implement key objectives to keep up with the times and the technologies.  And there have been and are and are going to be ups and downs and our job for the Arms Control Association and the rest of the international community is to make sure the ups are more frequent and more substantial than the downs.

And as we'll hear in a minute from some of our great speakers here, it's clear that, as the diplomats gather in New York, the treaty is reaching something akin to a mid-life crisis.  They are in the process in New York of reviewing implementation of the treaty, considering how to advance and accelerate the lofty goals of the NPT. 

I think this morning they were reviewing some of the latest drafts coming out of the working groups relating to the three pillars of the treaty, nonproliferation, peaceful uses and disarmament.  And it's clear as we'll hear the frustrations are mounting due, in part, to the great power tensions that we heard about in the first panel between the United States and Russia, as well as other problems in the Middle East and elsewhere.  

So, the probability for breakthroughs, I think, is probably low.  New initiatives are few and far between and the possibility for consensus is extremely low at this particular stage.  But success is not always -- does not always translate into a consensus final document.  That's not the only measure of success of these conferences.

So, we have three fabulous speakers to talk about these issues and more, especially to consider how after this particular conference is over the NPT states can move ahead with some concrete positive steps forward to reinforce the regime.  And so, I've asked them to focus on those issues this morning. 

And first, we're going to hear from Andrea Berger who is just arriving from New York, like Alex Kmentt, navigating the difficult northeast corridor in the past couple of days.  She is the Deputy Director of the Proliferation and Security Program and a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London.  

And then following Andrea, we're going to be hearing from Lew Dunn who among other things is the former Assistant Director for the Arms Control Disarmament Agency and the U.S. Ambassador to the 1985 Review Conference and knows the NPT very well. 

And another person who knows NPT and has overseen it extremely well is our friend and our board member Randy Rydell who served for some 17 years, I think it was, at the United Nations Secretariat as a Senior Advisor to several high representatives for Disarmament Affairs and he was a lead researcher for the Blix Commission which released its report in 2006, among other things. 

So, we've got an enormous amount of expertise on the panel, and in the crowd as I said before we have Larry Weiler with us.  We have one, two -- we've got two other U.S. representatives to NPT review conferences -- Susan Burke and Norman Wulf.  And so, we've got a great set of people here and I hope the conversation afterwards is very good. 

So, Andrea, thanks for being here.  Take it away.  

BERGER:  Thanks very much, Daryl.  And thanks to the Arms Control Association for inviting me here to speak today.  It's a great pleasure to be with you this morning.  As Daryl mentioned, I've been asked to speak a little bit about what's happening at the review conference at the moment and what states parties can do to strengthen the treaty in years to come. 

And as you might imagine, those are two very big topics to cover in 12 to 15 minutes, so I hope you'll allow me just to touch on a few points with relation to each.  And actually, the one I wanted to start with dovetails very nicely from the last session. 

And it strikes me from the first few weeks of the review conference that there's some very real direct and pressing threats to the treaty that aren't being addressed necessarily in the way that one might expect them to. 

You have Russia, as we discussed, in the last panel who's consistently using threatening language about its nuclear forces.  In London in January, it put the P5 -- counterparts of the P5 process meeting on notice that its participation in the process should not be taken for granted.  We know that they're becoming, shall we say, disinterested in certain arms control obligations that they have.  So, if we're talking about reducing the role of nuclear weapons in national doctrine, that's a pretty pressing issue, I would say.                                    

China then for its part is, of course, by all accounts developing its nuclear forces in a way that I think contravenes the very basic norm that we might think we've established over 20 years of indefinite extension of the NPT, which is that arsenals should move in a downward direction. 

So, if the review conferences are meant to be something of a health check for the treaty, I think we need to try to get creative and find better ways to diagnose and treat the most malignant issues.  And I know that's difficult because you don't want to have those countries become even more uncooperative or have review conferences turn into a giant finger-pointing match.  

But we do need to think a bit more, in my view, about how we can better address some of the really big and most serious issues here.                 

There are two related risks, I think, at this juncture if you call it a mid-life crisis or have another term for it.  One is, of course, that states party to the treaty fail to strengthen the treaty and really outline concrete new steps that can be taken to do so.  I think some of the other panelists are going to talk to that a bit more.  And so I'll offer a few suggestions in the next few minutes, but I know that they're potentially going to offer many more. 

A second risk here is that both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states in the process of expressing their legitimate frustrations with the treaty and seeking to rectify those frustrations swiftly inadvertently create very deep fractures, even deeper ones than we already see, potentially downplay the centrality of the Non-Proliferation Treaty or confidence in it.  And perhaps set off on other avenues where it's difficult later to course correct, if we find that we need to. 

And so, that's one of the issues that I'm going to touch on in the next few minutes and in particular two themes that are being debated in the Main Committee, one that deals with disarmament at the review conference as we speak.  Those are the so-called legal gaps on disarmament and the issue of timelines and deadlines.  

On the issue of legal gaps in disarmament, this is one of the really big talking points.  And a good example was Monday's meeting in Main Committee I in which this was really what took up the bulk of the time in states' comments.  

And sitting in the gallery, the NPT Review Conference for that session, it was clear that the discussion is quite frayed over the concept of the legal gap.  International law is something that I think should be very carefully thought out before it's formed and certainly before it's attempted to be formed.  

And it's clear that some states have thought through that better than others.  And so, to give you sort of an overview of what the conversation looks like at the moment, you have some states who argue there's a legal gap on disarmament because nuclear weapon states are not -- nuclear weapons are not outlawed in the way that chemical and biological weapons are.  

You have some states who argue there's a legal gap because the term "effective measures" as is stated in Article VI of the NPT is not defined.  You have some states who argue there's a legal gap because we have no legally binding assurance that is unconditional over the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and that’s one of the key constituencies that's pushing that discussion.  

You have some states who say that, while unilateral disarmament measures are an excellent bonus, they don't really count towards Article VI implementation because Article VI implementation specifies multilateral negotiations.  So, I've seen Ireland, for example, make this argument a few times.  

Some others take it even further and say that multilateral negotiations under Article VI because it's in the NPT mean actually all NPT states party.  So, we need to be having multilateral disarmament negotiations with everyone. 

And then, of course, you have states who say that Article VI is clear and intentionally leaves open the possibility of legal possession of nuclear weapons the threat of their use and indeed even their use and that, therefore, there is no legal gap.  So, that's the discussion over whether here is a legal gap.  

Now, then there's the divisions over how to rectify the legal gap that we're not in agreement over the nature or even the existence of.  So, you have a number of countries -- a growing number of countries actually -- that suggest that we need in the near future either a ban treaty or a comprehensive convention that covers the whole range of issues in one document so, possession, stockpiling, use, et cetera.                                    

As we know, over 70 states have signed on to the Austrian pledge that calls for an instrument to prohibit and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons.  Then, of course, you have a discussion over where this comprehensive agreement should be negotiated. 

Some say it needs to be put into a subsidiary body of the Conference on Disarmament in the next review cycle.  Iran on Monday, for example, was curiously arguing that it needs to be concluded there by 2022. I'm still not sure if that was a misreading of their notes but they very specifically were saying 2022.  You have some states that say it used to be in the general assembly because the general assembly has broader membership and doesn't have the threat of veto looming over it.                           

The New Agenda Coalition, or the NAC, says that actually let's put all that aside for a second because there's a second option here that maybe we should be thinking about more clearly which is that you could have an overarching legal instrument with subsidiary arrangements negotiated underneath it. 

So, there's a real range of views here.  You have then on top of that the Non-Aligned Movement who says that whatever you do on either of those points, there needs to be a treaty negotiated in the Conference on Disarmament beginning in the next review cycle on negative security assurances -- legally binding negative security assurances.                                    

So, as you can see, the debate is still, I would say, slightly messy.  And all the while, you have countries like France who are sitting in the corner and turning to their P5 counterparts, especially the U.S. and UK, and are saying, we told you so. 

And to be honest, this is becoming a very difficult discussion to have.  The French are arguing that the -- all this talk of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, of new information and its significance, of legality and illegality may mean that in the near future some non-nuclear weapon states push to revisit the 1996 ICJ advisory opinion.  

And actually, I wanted to bring out one of the pieces of the first draft which the French have been pointing to that says sort of look, we have a point here.  The Main Committee I draft that was circulated on Friday last week reads: "The conference recalls the ICJ advisory opinion on the legality of the threats or use of nuclear weapons issued at The Hague on the 8th of July 1996.  The conference acknowledges that new information has emerged regarding the humanitarian consequences of any nuclear weapons and that this information raises significant implications for assessments of nuclear weapons under international law."                                    

And as a consequence of that sort of formulation, I've heard P5 colleagues warn the U.S. and U.K., for example, that their participation at future humanitarian conferences or the statements they make there may be used to further de-legitimize the step-by-step approach and build a body of customary international law against deterrence doctrines in particular.  

I think that's a bit overblown, but the word "legal" is being used so much at the moment in Main Committee I that it's partially understandable to see why there's some nervousness on the part of P5 states and especially on their NATO counterparts who are becoming, I think, slightly sympathetic to the French table-banging.  They're not necessarily to the way that the French are expressing their dissent, shall we say.                         

This whole dynamic raises a number of issues and questions at a strategic and a tactical level that I think non-nuclear weapon states and nuclear weapon states need to think more about.  For example, does this whole discussion reduce the prospect that the U.S. and UK will want to engage constructively and positively in the humanitarian consequences initiative, which is something that I was very happy they did in the last year. 

Will it, perhaps, increase the likelihood that the P5 process withers during the next review cycle because here they've -- while they haven't done that much, they've done a little bit and wanted someone to encourage them to continue, at least certain P5 states did, and are seeing not that much of that positive encouragement at the review conference. 

So, still not going to get anything for it, perhaps, it might quietly fade away.  Will NATO states be more or less likely to participate in the humanitarian consequences initiative and would a broader fracturing of the community over this issue actually result in deep divisions that mean in the future certain NPT constituencies actively disregard the views of others and really just on the issue of forward movement on disarmament obligations we have a complete split.                            

So, those are some of the big questions, I think, that relate to this.  You can then talk about whether it's difficult for, if some states set off on a specific legal course of action and others ignore that whether in the future at some point when we have an opportunity to build a more inclusive or, some might suggest, a practical legal framework, whether that's going to become relatively impossible to do so. 

In short, I don't think we're -- at the moment -- that we're contemplating these issues in the way that we should be in devoting the time and attention to them when the issue is as important.  And I don't think that we should not have this discussion.  I actually would really encourage it.  And I would encourage nuclear weapon states to continue to engage with the humanitarian consequences initiative and for those who haven't in 2014 to do so in the future.                          

 But for focused and forward-looking discussions on these points and the potential pitfalls associated with them also need to happen before we set off on a specific course.  And equally, the situation suggests to me that not only do we need nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states to talk to each other more and better, but we need non-nuclear weapon states to talk to each other more and better.  

So, one of the things that I would advocate for in the next review cycle is actually another open-ended working group that can maybe treat some of these points in more detail with more time and out of the time-bound pressure that exists around a review conference.  

I would also encourage said working group, if it were to come to fruition, to give the P5 process some more concrete and specific requests.  If we're unhappy with the glossary because it doesn't have certain terms, say, we would expect that in version two of the glossary you will have these terms defined for us.  And to spell something out like that that's more narrow, concrete and that can actually really be taken forward as an expectation in the next review cycle. 

In the same vein on the second point I wanted to address, we need to think through our timelines and deadlines that we're pushing for in this review conference very carefully.  And this applies both to the disarmament and non-proliferation obligations and should really be one of the key lessons learned for us from 2010.      

Clearly, timelines and deadlines can be useful in catalyzing action and changing behavioral patterns when those timelines and deadlines build realistically on the status quo.  The deadline that we set for P5 transparency and reporting declarations in 2014 is a perfect example of this.  

However, our experience with the 2012 WMD-free zone conference in the Middle East deadline which was by most accounts, too ambitious, should also remind us that we really need to consider carefully whether those timeline commitments are feasible because all it takes is one angry state who is upset that their expectations were raised and then not met to prevent forward movement on an important issue like this. 

And we're seeing the Egyptians, for instance, advocating that the Finnish coordinator should no longer continue their mandates on this point.  So, things like the Non-Aligned Movement's proposed timeline for disarmament convention that completely eliminates nuclear weapons by 2030, Iran's insistence, I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but we need a convention by 2022.  The calls by a number of states that we need to have P5 annual reporting on things like stockpile numbers, et cetera, which the Chinese are still miles off agreeing to and annual reporting may not necessarily be that feasible at least yet. 

Those are the sorts of things that remind us that we need to think through what worked and what didn't work from the last review cycle very carefully.  And the review conferences are meant to be that opportunity to take stock of implementation of the treaty in the last five years to express frustrations when those expectations are not met and try to employ the collective to find ways to solve them in the future.  

But each part of that process the review, the reprimanding, if you will, and the rectifying need to be very closely related to one another.  So, for example, new timelines are unlikely to be effective unless we've considered in detail our experience with previous timelines and we reach out to those who would be bound by them to convince them that their cooperation would be helpful confidence-building measure in the future. 

So, this is, I would suggest, my new pitch for a three-part balancing act as it relates to the NPT processes as important perhaps in this instance as pillars as we have our NPT mid-life crisis.  So, I will leave it there, but I'd be happy to discuss any other points and questions.                          

KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Andrea.  That was a great overview of the questions and the situation in New York.  And I hope that Lew and Randy can now turn to the question of how might we in the future months and years address some of these issues.  And I will just note that just as Lew begins if you haven't seen it he wrote excellent feature article in the April issue of Arms Control Today.  I'm sure he'll touch on some of those points.  

So, Lew, thanks for being here.  Take it away. 

DUNN:  Thank you, Daryl.  I'm pleased to be here.  I'm pleased to offer some remarks on the topic at hand of, quote, "Mid-life Crisis, the Future of the NPT."  These are my personal remarks.  They reflect my long involvement in NPT matters, but they also reflect my well-known reputation as a free electron not constrained by official positions. 

As a preface, I would just remind us all that we were in the middle of the third week of the review conference.  There's still quite a bit of time left and the optimist that I am, I still believe that prospects are good to come up with some sort of cooperative outcome which moves forward the overall NPT process and gets us into the next stage of our life if we're in a mid-life crisis.   

I'd like to make five and one half points in the time allotted.  So, let me begin.  My first point is that today's stalemate between the NPT non-nuclear weapon states and the NPT nuclear weapon states with regard to how to advance the Article VI goals of the treaty serves neither of their interests. 

For the non-nuclear weapon states they have focused new attention on the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, on the need to reenergize the nuclear disarmament process, but they have not and they cannot alone advance nuclear disarmament.                           

For the nuclear weapon states -- for the nuclear weapon states, though they have steadfastly defended their record as well as their step-by-step approach, they risk creating a situation in which today's frustration among non-nuclear weapon states may yet undermine the legitimacy, effectiveness and support for the NPT.           

For both the non-nuclear weapon states and the nuclear weapon states, the type of fracturing that Andrea Berger has just speculated about serves neither of their interests. 

My second point, I believe that the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty remains an irreplaceable framework for a livable nuclear future, an irreplaceable framework for a livable nuclear future.  Now, we can all agree, I think, that it remains a bulwark against non-proliferation.  But I believe, as well, the NPT provides an irreplaceable framework to pursue the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. 

It provides a legal, moral and political obligation on the five NPT nuclear weapon states to pursue and ultimately achieve that goal.  And it has produced real nuclear disarmament progress, even if much less than desired.  It also comprises I believe, an obligation that in today's world -- in today's world will not be recreated and cannot be recreated in some type of new international or multilateral nuclear weapons framework ban or convention, call it what you will. 

Why?  Because for many reasons, none of the five existing nuclear weapons states will today join any such international framework or its negotiation.  At some point down the road in the nuclear disarmament process, such a framework may, indeed, likely will be a closing step toward a world of no nuclear weapons.  For now, pursuit of such a framework will, I believe, be self-defeating even if it's couched in the language of implementing Article VI.  

Third, I believe that the time has come for a full discussion among all NPT parties of Article VI's call for the negotiation of effective measures as a central part of a strengthened and continuing process of substantive engagement on nuclear disarmament among NPT parties after the review conference, a substantive process of cooperative engagement between all NPT parties.                             

I would argue that the review conference has the possibility of moving us towards that outcome with a wide-ranging and inclusive agenda.  What are these effective measures called for by Article VI?  In effect, what are all the actions needed for implementing Article VI's obligations?                                   

Some of those are very clear.  Some of those are stated in the preamble to the NPT and some of those, I think, are less clear.  What are the pluses and minuses of different approaches for pursuing effective measures?  If the nuclear weapons states believe in step-by-step, well, why not hold their feet to the fire and have a continuing discussion about, OK, what does this mean in practice.  If there are proposals for an international framework, what does that mean? 

Regardless of whatever approach particular countries may take to how we advance effective measures, there are building blocks that need to be taken to make progress on nuclear disarmament.  What are those building blocks? 

Finally, how can countries cooperate in practical and effective ways to advance this process?  Where are there realistic timelines that could be agreed to and pursued?  Where are there cooperative measures that can be put in place now such as the international verification initiative to try to deal with some of the tough questions that will result?                                    

But otherwise, how can all of the NPT's nuclear weapon states realistically take advantage of what is today's nuclear disarmament law? We just had a panel with regard to the United States and Russia, the outcome of which suggests to me that there isn't going to be any big nuclear disarmament between Russia and the United States anytime soon.  

How does one take advantage of this lull to put in place the necessary understandings, concepts, activities to take advantage of the possibility of progress later?  Fourth, it seems to me there are many different ways in which a new process of cooperative engagement amongst all NPT parties could be pursued after the review conference. 

Andrea mentions the idea of a UN open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament.  I believe this approach could work.  There are key details that would have to be worked out in terms of what do you call it, what's its mandate, what its duration, what's its rules or procedure.  A UN open-ended working group is one approach. 

My own personal preferred alternative actually would be which is, I think a heresy amongst most of my friends in the U.S. NPT community -- my own preferred alternative would be to establish an NPT intercessional process, an NPT intercessional working group for intercessional discussion of nuclear disarmament and other priority issues.  

In effect, this would draw on the successful precedent of the biological and toxin weapons convention.  Drawing it in terms of the BWC precedent in terms of approach, procedures and a cost-sharing which would be more in line with that of international organizations, rather than the NPT cost-sharing, which I have the misfortune of being the person who probably got the U.S. into 40 years ago which is very inequitable. 

If you went down the road of the intercessional approach, it would keep the discussion within the NPT family.  It would recognize the NPT with its irreplaceable obligations to my mind still offers the best chance for real nuclear disarmament progress.  

You could create also a group of governmental experts at the -- at the CD on these issues.  The precedent is that of the group of scientific experts.  And clearly, as the international partnership on nuclear verification -- disarmament verification goes forward, there are conceptual issues that need to be discussed.  

What do we mean by irreversible verifiable and transparent nuclear disarmament?  I can give you a definition, but that would be mine.  And my fifth point, humanitarian impact conferences have focused global attention on the consequences and risks of the use of nuclear weapons. 

As this process continues, the most important question now is how does one address those concerns?  How does one address concerns about the risks of use of nuclear weapons raised by this process? 

Participants in the humanitarian impact movement call for the total elimination of nuclear weapons as the only absolute guarantee against the risk of nuclear weapons.  This may be true but it's not going to happen anytime soon.                           

So, the challenge is how do we identify and pursue practical and effective measures to reduce to an absolute minimum the risk of use of nuclear weapons, ensure that the nuclear taboo is sustained pending the ultimate elimination of these weapons.                                    

The non-nuclear weapon states at the review conference have put forward in many cases the argument that there should be the full de-alerting of the nuclear forces of the United States and Russia.  The American and Russian officials have opposed this.  There's no reason to believe that somehow in the next week and a half they're going to change their mind. 

So, let me suggest two different ways in which the review conference and the nuclear weapon states could address these concerns raised by the movement.  First, I believe and it's sort of something which is kind of in there in one of the drafts now much more generally.  But I believe specifically the review conference could call for the United States and Russia to task their respective ministers of defense to assess jointly what, actions other than full de-alerting, they could take to address these concerns and to report the results back to the review conference.  There's a good timeline that you could have. 

OK.  You don't like de-alerting, you tell us that all you're doing is planning to, you know, launch these weapons into the open sea, if anything happens.  There must be something else that you two could do.  Go ahead and assess it and come back and tell us what it is.  We want -- we want to know what your alternative is.  

Second, it seems to me -- and this is something that the review process could encourage by encouraging the P5 process emphasizing its importance.  The five nuclear weapons states, the NPT nuclear weapons states, through the P5 process, I believe, should accept the responsibility to take practical and effective measures to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again. 

Through this P5 process which now exists, they can make sustaining the global nuclear taboo a priority, not because it will make the non-nuclear weapons states happy, but because it will serve their own interests amongst the P5.  The P5 will be amongst the most dramatically impacted by any use of nuclear weapons. 

What can they do?  They could create a P5 experts group.  We've had the glossary experts group, which is likely to continue.  Why not a P5 experts group to discuss amongst themselves how could the use of nuclear weapons occur and what cooperative actions can we take to prevent any such use, terrorist use, use amongst other nuclear weapon states or involving us?  

Second, I would propose that the five NPT nuclear weapon states could work to create amongst themselves a P5 code of nuclear conduct.  A P5 code of nuclear conduct in which they discuss amongst themselves and eventually put down on paper what are the rules of the road which govern our behavior with regard to nuclear security, nuclear safety, the changes of our nuclear postures, decision-making, modernization, crisis management.                           

Some of this will be controversial because in my P5 code of nuclear conduct, I would argue that it doesn't serve any of the P5's interest to make gratuitous comments about well, you know, we nearly went on nuclear alert at the beginning of Ukraine.       

But the P5 could have this kind of a nuclear code.  Is there a review conference role here?  Yes.   I think there is a review conference role -- to call for the P5 to intensify their discussions of those risks and, again, to report back to the review process. 

The reporting mechanism is a tremendously important precedent that was set in 2010.  And kicking and screaming, the five nuclear weapon states met their obligation to report.  Now, I think, there are other ways it could be used.  

OK, let me finish up with my half point.  The moderator asked me to address issues of the Middle East WMD-free zone.  This is a quick half point.  

KIMBALL:  Only a half point? 

DUNN:  It's only a half point.  

KIMBALL:  OK.

DUNN:  First, to my mind the Finnish facilitator has made unprecedented progress.  What this Ambassador achieves I never would have thought he ever could have achieved. 

The review conference participants should let this process continue and they should accept the lesson of nearly 50 years of nuclear-free zone process which is that the results of nuclear-free zones have to come from within the region and it can't be imposed from without.  

Second, it seems to me that the review conference participants as we go into this end game next week should not allow success in breaking today's nuclear disarmament stalemate, if it's achieved, should not allow that success to be held hostage to the Middle East nuclear issue.                         

Or ultimately, I believe, both nuclear disarmament and pursuit of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East both of those will be the big losers.  Thank you. 

KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Lew.  And thanks for putting on the table very practical, concrete suggestions.  And I think, by the way, it's -- the term is not free electron, it's free radical.  And so, some of those ideas are radical and we thank you for them. 

So, Randy Rydell, over to you for your thoughts on the future of the NPT and how we can improve it. 

RYDELL:  Well, I spent a little bit of time contemplating the title of this panel.  And to help me a little bit with this, I decided to consult Wikipedia's article on mid-life crisis.  

KIMBALL:  We didn't think deeply about it, Randy.  

RYDELL:  Well...

KIMBALL:  You've gone further than we have. 

RYDELL:  So evidently, that's the case.  The article says the following, "Despite popular perception of this phenomenon, empirical research has failed to show that the mid-life crisis is a universal experience or even a real condition at all." 

(LAUGHTER) 

Well, "Mid-life," the article continues, "is also significant as a time adults come to realize their own mortality.  Also, it involves a condition involving a deep sense of remorse for goals not accomplished." 

Well, interesting.  This is a very fitting subject, by the way, for someone who just recently retired. 

(LAUGHTER) 

The first question that we're posing before this panel is:  Why problematic?  And I hardly know where to begin.    

So, let's try a brief tour de tab.  There is a growing perception among many, if not most, states parties to the treaty that the treaty is unbalanced in its obligations.  That its basic fairness is being called into question at each -- serially, at each review conference.  This is not a new phenomenon, but it's getting worse. 

Detailed intrusive controls are called for in the non-proliferation area, but not matched by parallel commitments in the nuclear disarmament realm.  The President of the 1995 conference, Jayantha Dhanapala, once wrote that the NPT's grand bargain is looking more and more like a swindle to many states parties.  

There's much obvious dissatisfaction over the slow pace of disarmament or the lack of it altogether.  Long-term well-funded plans for modernization, qualitative improvement in nuclear weapons and delivery systems, nuclear deterrence remains deeply embedded in the security doctrine of all states with nuclear weapons.  

The nuclear weapon states have an allergy against negotiations required in Article VI, against timelines, against discussing even outlines of a nuclear weapons convention, against anything resembling what might be called a disarmament plan. 

There is a complete lack of congruence between lofty international commitments to a nuclear weapon-free world versus the lack of any reflection of this goal in domestic laws, regulations, budgets, plans and agencies. 

Where are the disarmament agencies?  It's hard to even find the word "disarmament" on government business cards anymore, at least in the nuclear weapon states.  This gross mismatch suggests that disarmament commitments are simply not being taken seriously. 

At the UN, there's even a growing concern over the uneven transparency.  Action 21 of the 64-point action plan of the 2010 review conference called upon my office, the Office of Disarmament Affairs, to establish a repository data on concrete actions taken to implement disarmament commitments. 

This repository looks more like Mother Hubbard's Cupboard with a very high ratio of rhetoric to facts.  Many calls for standardized detailed reporting have been made, especially by Japan and Canada, in recent years.  And -- however, enormous obstacles stand in the way, in particular China and the non-NPT states are especially problematic on transparency issues. 

Other longstanding disarmament standards are not being fully implemented such as irreversibility, international verification and others.  This brings me to the issue of the lack of progress in achieving treaty universality. 

The treaty growth process seems to have hit a stonewall— widespread doubts among non-parties joining.  Worse, the India deal and others that followed fostered the impression that benefits of international cooperation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy did not require NPT membership.  Why join?  Better to have your cake and eat it, too. 

It's an ironic consequence also of weakening incentives to remain in the treaty if benefits of membership can be benefited -- it can be enjoyed by those deals with non-parties.  The lack of progress on the Middle East zone is another thorn in the side of this treaty.  

The Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone was first introduced as a proposal in 1974 in the UN.  And many of you might not be aware of this but that proposal has been endorsed by the General Assembly each year since 1974 and each year, not once with one negative vote. 

The Israelis abstained for the first five or six years during those -- that period.  And ever since then, they have also joined the consensus.  There was a full consensus of all members of the UN on the goal of establishing such a zone.                             

The Arab group and Iran have been aggressively trying to internationalize this issue through a number of gestures.  First, they included it in the package deal that led to the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995, that resolution on the Middle East. 

Second, they've endorsed -- they've had numerous General Assembly resolutions endorsing this.  Third, they've involved the secretary general personally as a co-convener of the conference in 2012 and they have given him other roles and the current Arab Group proposal also envisages another role for the Secretary General to convene a conference after this review conference.  Yet, the whole debate on this is wrapped in a sterile, tiresome dispute over which must come first.  Peace or disarmament.

All right.  Next, we have the stalemate and the multilateral disarmament machinery: the C -- the Conference on Disarmament, the UN Disarmament Commission, and also, obviously deep, divisions in the first committee of the General Assembly on nuclear resolutions.  We have problems getting -- achieving the entry into force of the CTBT.  We have problems commencing negotiations on the fissile material treaty.  And we have a complete reluctance of the Security Council to take up disarmament per se as a serious issue.  

Add to this the deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations.  How do you get much nuclear disarmament when states with 75 percent of the world's nuclear arsenals are planning to retain them for decades into the future, while also making continued threats of use, implicit or otherwise?

Then there's the endless competition in non-nuclear military areas.  Intercontinental conventional weapons, space weapons, missile defense, cyber offensive warfare, and then weak international norms to the extent they exist at all governing military spending, conventional arms, production, stockpiling, and trade. 

Meanwhile, fundamental UN charter norms are routinely being ignored.  Including fundamental ones such as the positive obligation to settle disputes peacefully, the ban on threats of use of force, and the norm about limiting the diversion of funds from social and economic progress to military uses.  

NPT disarmament goals, as agreed in 1995, 2000, and 2010, are also extremely imprecise, lacking clear benchmarks or guidelines because they were the result of compromise and least common denominators.  This leads to endless debates over bad faith and compliance.  One of the classic illustrations of this is this phrase, "Reduce the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines."  Well, if you buy that, then you're suggesting that there is a legitimate role for nuclear weapons in security doctrines.  So, again, endless circle. 

There is also currently a deep and growing division between nuclear weapon states and their allies and the rest of the world on the issue of preconditions for disarmament.  A widening gap between step-by-step and comprehensive nuclear disarmament approaches is also apparent.  It's unclear what would become of the ultimate goal long agreed in the world community on general and complete and disarmament. 

It's become a little more than a rhetorical slogan now, yet it offers the only fully integrated view of the relationship between nuclear disarmament and WMD disarmament, conventional arms control, and the basic norms of the charter. 

It's interesting that the non-nuclear weapon states haven't yet started talking about their own preconditions for complying with their non-proliferation commitments.  There is no step-by-step process toward compliance with non-proliferation. 

So what does the future hold?  First, some dead-ends to avoid.  The NPT, I don't believe, is the ideal venue for advancing global nuclear disarmament.  The treaty is not a universal treaty.  Four possessor states are outside the regime. 

Second, NPT created a universal norm to negotiate in good faith on nuclear disarmament and the general and complete disarmament.  But it did not outlaw nuclear weapons per se.  Although the ICJ has advised that -- states parties are obligated to bring such negotiations to a conclusion.  The NPT also lacks institutional support structures with my office, the UNODA providing a de facto secretariat. 

I think the best hope for the NPT is in contributing to the larger process of pursuing a nuclear weapon-free world through the means of its -- it's what we call the strengthen and the review process.  To the extent that the review process can be focused on concrete evidence and results rather than policy statements and diplomatic posturing, the review process can indeed make a very significant contribution to this larger goal.  Even if only in building international confidence that disarmament commitments are in fact being fulfilled.  And secondly, in contributing to the de-legitimization of nuclear weapons.  

It remains to be seen if the data repository created by ODA, pursuant to Action 21, will be taken seriously by the nuclear weapon states.  But it does offer a good centrally-located place for registering such data.  Another key contribution promoting the establishment of the WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East is also very important because its fate will have a great bearing on the future of the NPT.  

I don't really hold much faith in the CD.  It is deadlocked.  It cannot start negotiations on a fissile maturity and has been unable to start negotiations on nuclear disarmament.  It faces the usual obstacles of the consensus rule.  And also the CD has a certain other problem, which is lack of universality. 

Now, there's a new movement under way to promote the idea of a plurilateral ban-the-bomb treaty, where a group of likeminded states will sign a treaty claiming to outlaw nuclear weapons as a global norm -- as a new global norm.  There's a bandwagon effect under way, building on strong international support for an international humanitarian approach to disarmament. 

Finally, this is an issue that has drawn significant support from young people.  I think it's important to emphasize that.  The problem is that the possessors and their allies won't join, making this treaty far from global or universal. 

In effect, it becomes a kind of NPT, too, without the nuclear weapon states or an initiative to disarm the unarmed.  Advocates insist that once such a treaty is negotiated, it will be possible to bring pressure to bear to on non-parties to join, yet they offer no compelling reasons why membership will, in fact, expand to include possessor states. 

Instead, they put forward a kind of faith-based argument.  Trust us -- those states will feel the pressure and will yield to it.  Yet, the models offered by other plurilateral efforts including the Ottawa Landmine Treaty and the Oslo Cluster Munitions Convention are still difficult to view as disarmament treaties, given that thousands of landmines and cluster munitions continue to exist and are used in many countries.  This does not really offer an auspicious model for nukes. 

Another alternative is the nuclear weapons convention.  And there are many strong arguments in favor as an approach to achieve a nuclear weapon-free world.  There are five key multilateral norms in disarmament:  verification, irreversibility, transparency, binding-ness, and universality. 

A fully comprehensive universal treaty is the only available means of advancing all of these norms in a coherent integrated way.  The very idea that global nuclear disarmament will ever be achieved without legal commitments is just absurd, even laughable.  The road to global nuclear zero will not -- will not be paved with toasts and press releases. 

A model nuclear weapons convention has already been proposed in 1997 and 2007 and circulated among the UN member states.  The lack of any serious discussion with the nuclear weapon states over this is one indicator of their lack of seriousness about the disarmament goal itself.  This is a case of willful blindness.  An unwillingness not to discuss, but even to think about what type of legal framework would be needed to achieve nuclear disarmament. 

Problems with the nuclear weapons convention are numerous, political in nature, especially.  It's hard to get it off the ground if the possessors and their allies are not part of the conversation.  

Unlike the NPT, the General Assembly does have a legitimate claim to universality.  And so, in theory, it would offer one possible means of approaching this issue through, for example, the organization of a major international conference with the initial goal of discussing the legal requisites for a global nuclear weapon convention.

This could later lead to actual negotiations on specific terms for an arrangement.  Although this would obviously require intensive bilateral engagement between the United States and Russian Federation as well as close consultation with the nuclear allies. 

Another problem with the nuclear weapon convention is its silence on the relationship between the obligations of the treaty and its wider international security environment.  A nuclear weapons convention is not, therefore, the end of the line for disarmament.  

The rule of law in disarmament is notoriously underdeveloped.  There is also the challenge of achieving universal membership and compliance with the other WMD regimes, the BWC and the CWC.  There is the challenge of achieving entry into force of CTBT.  There is the challenge of negotiating a fissile material treaty or of incorporating the fissile material issue in text of a nuclear weapon convention.  

There is the challenge of doing something about the lack of any multilateral treaties governing the production and stockpiling of conventional arms, of multilateral norms for the trade in such weaponry going somewhere beyond the very frail framework offered by the Arms Trade Treaty.  

All of these could be pursued -- must be pursued simultaneously because the security challenge will -- challenges that will exist in a nuclear weapon-free world are not -- must not be approached as a mere afterthought.  These other legal initiatives will help to answer the question of what kind of security will exist in such a world, once nuclear disarmament is achieved.  

There is a term for this approach to security.  It is general and complete disarmament under effective international control, a goal already found in Article VI of the NPT and a dozen other multilateral treaties.  A concept that has the -- that has been the international community's ultimate objective since the General Assembly's first special session on disarmament in 1978 and an issue that has been on the General Assembly's agenda since 1959.  

The alternative to this comprehensive approach to disarmament is some kind of step-by-step process.  Not the deceptive variety practiced today by the nuclear powers of steps toward disarmament, but steps actually in disarmament. 

This kind of step-by-step process requires benchmarks, yardsticks, and accountability process and commitments to timelines.  Precisely the empirically grounded approach now being explored in draft reports from the NPT's main committee one and its subsidiary body.  The other type of step-by-step process of viewing the disarmament as a mere goal is a dead-end and a non-starter for the vast majority of the UN member states.  

The longer it is touted, the worse will be the prospects both for the NPT and the future of disarmament.  We may one day find ourselves not facing an NPT midlife crisis but an NPT post-mortem. 

In sum, what's needed is reconsideration of a possible revival of a comprehensive approach to disarmament, with its various security components pursued simultaneously rather than sequentially. 

The step-by-step process towards disarmament should be abandoned for the charade that it is and replaced by a step-by-step implementation of disarmament commitments.  Transparency and accountability arrangements including those -- not limited to the NPT arena, can help to build confidence in implementation while also helping to further de-legitimize nuclear weapons. 

Finally, existing international commitments to disarmament must be grounded in domestic laws, policies, budgets, plans, and institutions rather than totally disassociated with them, as is now the case.  

I wish to thank ACA for inviting me and for their own dedicated efforts to pursue a safer more secure and saner world than the imperfect one we have today.  Thank you.  

(APPLAUSE) 

KIMBALL:  All right.  Thanks all three of you for your provocative and helpful presentations.  I think you've kind of thrown down the gauntlet with some practical ideas, some practical problems, and some, perhaps impossible problems, too.  

But now it's time for all of you to join the conversation.  The microphones are circulating around.  Please raise your hands.  We're going to take a couple at a time.  Let's take this question upfront here and then we'll go to Norm Wulf in the middle.  So please identify yourself and tell us who you want to answer your question. 

LEAH:  Hi.  My name is Christine Leah from Yale University.  My question is about conventional arms control as it -- contributing to the goal of disarmament.  Frankly, I'm not surprised that disarmament is taken as a jerk. 

I mean the Russian and the Chinese will say, "OK, disarmament, that makes it safe for the U.S. conventional power in the world."  So my questions -- two big questions.  To what extent do you see nuclear disarmament as being a precondition for serious dialogue about conventional arms control or at what stage of nuclear reductions between the United States and Russia do you see a multilateral dialogue with states like China on sort of Northern Hemispheric arms control dialogue?  

KIMBALL:  All right.  And then into the middle please with Ambassador Wulf. 

WULF:  Thank you.  And thank you to the panel for such interesting presentations.  My question is to Lew Dunn and it concerns the obvious fact that as numbers go down, confidence and compliance must go up.  So we have this new effort I guess by the State Department or this international verification discussion.  I think they've had one meeting.  And I just wondered whether what Lew and the panelists think of that effort and what other things might be done to deal with what will be, if we're ever to achieve a world without nuclear weapons, will be a very daunting problem?  

KIMBALL:  All right.  A building blocks question.  All right.  Lew, Randy, Andrea, you want to try to answer the question about conventional nuclear relationship dynamics?  And then we'll go to the second question.  

DUNN:  Well, let me -- let me address both questions.  You know, first, I think there clearly is a relationship between conventional activities and what would be better put, I think, at this point in time in reality is as nuclear arms control process with the Russians and the desire and goal of creating some type of process of mutual strategic restraint in the nuclear field with the -- with the Chinese.  And that it becomes necessary in both of those areas to go after the issues both U.S.-Russia and U.S. China in a comprehensive fashion. 

With regard to the United States and Russia, my own prejudice is to argue that it's been tried over the course of quite a few years to find a way to meet the Russian concerns about missile defense as a conventional area. 

There have been very, very senior level track one and a half discussions of this which have actually identified ways where if the Russians were game, you could move forward on some type of cooperative missile defense.  

So the Russians are more pessimistic.  I think you're right.  You got to work all of these issues on the table at the same time.  And then in my own view with the Russians, is you don't really begin to work these seriously until you get to 2019, 2020 when the Russians probably start to say to themselves, "Oh my God, the START Treaty actually is going to go out of existence and this is not in our interest." 

It would be nice to do -- I think Catherine Kelleher was right.  We got to be working with all the building blocks issues.  With the Chinese, I think we're now at a key point in time.  What I've seen working with the Chinese over the course of the last four or five years is that the Chinese are starting to take onboard the notion that if there is a growing military competition between United States and China, it will serve neither of our interests. 

I believe the Chinese have taken onboard the -- both sides have taken onboard the notion that we understand what each side is nervous about.  In the United States, we understand what the Chinese are nervous about and the Chinese understand pretty well what we're nervous about.  But we can't figure out a way to move into a process first of mutual reassurance where we take some practical steps, not just talk, some practical steps to reassure the Chinese about what's happening with U.S. missile defense and the Chinese take some practical steps to reassure us about what's happening with their nuclear modernization.  

On Norm's question -- it strikes me, Norm, that the international partnership on nuclear disarmament verification.  As Catherine suggested and as I suggested, is the type of critical piece of building block work that needs to be done.  At this point in time, I don't think we have the slightest idea of a workable approach to monitor and verify the elimination of nuclear warheads. 

We all know that conceivably when the Russians come back to the arms control process, a next phase beyond START might actually include nuclear warheads as a (inaudible) of account.  And so it seems to me this is a -- this is a type of building block work that needs to be pursued and you can also fold into this building block work some of the kinds issues that have been raised in the review conference process.

So there's a lot of work to be done, which could be constructively done if everybody wants to become involved.  And a lot of work can be done to try to figure out how do you provide some sense, some involvement on the part of the non-nuclear weapon states.  Because the old answer that we would have given 20 years ago, "OK, we and the Russians, we're eliminating these weapons.  If it's good enough for you, it's good enough for -- you know, if it's good enough for us, it ought to be good enough for you."  Trust us, that's not going to go anywhere.  They want to have some involvement in this, and this allows us to work this issue in a real way with as many of the players as we can get. 

KIMBALL:  All right.  Any other more -- yes, Randy.  Andrea.  

RYDELL:  I'd just like to -- oh, I'm sorry.  

KIMBALL:  Go ahead.  

RYDELL:  I just have brief historical point I'd like to mention on this question about conventional arms control.  When the UN Charter was signed in 1945 in June, nuclear weapons had never -- had not even been tested at that time.  It's a -- it's a pre-atomic document. 

The first thing the General Assembly did when it met in London on 24 January 1946 was to adopt its first resolution.  The first resolution called for the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of -- adaptable to mass destruction, chemical and biological weapons. 

The challenge that the General Assembly faced in January '46 was to differentiate between two different goals that are found in the UN Charter.  There are two references in the charter to the word "disarmament."  There are other references to the word "regulation of armaments."  They are not synonyms.  

Disarmament was clarified in January '46 and has been there ever since as meaning the elimination of weapons of mass destruction.  Resolutions adopted later in 1946 clarified that regulation of armaments applied to conventional arms and also to reducing military spending. 

So what I'm trying to say here is that the basic framework for pursuing both disarmament and arms control -- or regulation of armaments simultaneously goes all the back to none other than the UN Charter itself.  

There's 70-year history here.  This is not new, OK?  What's new is trying to get it implemented and to try to actually have these be systematically pursued.  A classic example is Article 47 of the charter, which mandates the Security Council to prepare plans for the regulation of armaments.  Have they done so?  No, they have not done so.  Are they likely to?  Probably not. 

So the -- you can't blame an instrument when it's not used.  There's an issue of political will here that is inescapable.  And anyway, I'm -- I -- sorry about this long excursion here but it is important to the issue.  

KIMBALL:  Andrea. 

BERGER:  I was just going to add on your question, Christine, that I think this is one of the interesting aspects about when we discussed whether there's a way that you can try to get nuclear weapon states to talk about putting meat on the bones of -- what step-by-step process is because what wound up happening is it will look very much like something that is not just nuclear-centric in the way that some of the working documents that are currently on the table at the review conference might imply. 

There's -- I don't want to give too much credence to the French and the Russian insistence that you need to keep referring to general and complete disarmament because that's what's in Article VI and they do do that a lot.  But there are -- if you look at a step-by-step process and how that might realistically pan out, there are intervening variables, there's conventional issues, there's other WMD issues and that's one of the things that's going to make it very challenging, as I'm sure nuclear weapon states do not agree on when those intervening variables are likely to come in when the conventional discussions in a regional -- certain regional contexts are likely to come in, where WMD discussions other than nuclear are likely to come in, so. 

KIMBALL:  All right.  We've got lots of questions.  I'm going to try to get everybody -- we're going to do three at a time and I want your questions to be quick and I'd like to ask our panelists to be as brief as they can.  So let's go to the middle table to Susan and Larry please. 

SUSAN:  Thanks a lot.  One comment and one question.  On the verification point, picking up on Norm, I think this is something that there's a -- the initiative is a great one.  There's work that's been done on the issue of latency.  Joe Pilat has done some really important work on that and I think that's an area that needs to be explored both for disarmament and for non-proliferation.  

The question is, picking up on Catherine Kelleher, she talked about how there's enough blame to go around.  You know, FMCT, it's held up by the Pakistanis.  The P5 are only as strong as the weakest link or links.  

Bilateral arms control takes two to tango.  We've got three nuclear weapons free zones, sets of protocols on the Hill that the U.S. has submitted, no actions, CTBT, languishing.  And this is really mostly for Randy because of your past life, but also for Lew and Andrea if you have a comment. 

But ACA is doing a tremendous amount of work to try build a constituency for these issues and I've always felt, we don't have a natural constituency in this country for these issues.  What can be done because a lot of the holdup here is agreements that get negotiated, when they get negotiated, and you can't get them ratified and all of these other things.  I mean, you have to look at who's -- where's the problem and what can be done to fix the problem and the problems are all different. 

KIMBALL:  OK.  Question, Larry Weiler, right at the same table.  Right behind you.  Yeah, put up your arm, Larry.  He's right behind you.  All right.  Thank you. 

WEILER:  Just a couple of reflections and I'd like your views on them.  I remember when we and the Russians agreed on the text of the -- of the NPT a long time ago, and walking down the Rue de Lausanne, we sent off the telegram saying that we had agreed on a common text. 

And I thought -- at the time, my thought was I wonder how long it will last.  So I just offer that observation, we're getting so pessimistic.  We didn't know -- certainly, I didn't know, that it would go beyond the 40-day -- 40 years which was the original text at German insistence.

We don't have anyone arguing today for a limitation on the duration of the NPT.  So don't be too pessimistic.  On a more immediate practical thought, my view frankly is that combining nuclear disarmament with general and complete disarmament is a mistake because it leads people to think you're pie in the sky don't know what you're talking about, so.  We are -- it's legitimate to focus on the nuclear side because that's the one that threatens the future.  And it seems to me that this combining the two is a mistake and also, it's not factual in terms of what the real problems would be down the way.   

KIMBALL: OK.

WEILER:  Another final observation is as long as the continual meetings that are held on the NPT review include a continuation to accept the general complete breakdown of the multilateral negotiation process in Geneva with this absurd arrangement that they have. 

But then it's no one but the -- but the owners of the cafes and the Rue de Lausanne and other places in Geneva, it's a -- it's a statement that they don't believe what they're writing... 

KIMBALL:  All right.  

WEILER:  ... in the resolutions. 

KIMBALL:  OK.  I mean, so -- let me re-interpret part of your observation there, Larry, and send this back to the panelists about, you know, how we can as, I think, Lew was trying to suggest, look for other venues for that bridge, that divides between the nuclear and the non-nuclear, the north and south, that apparently do need to be created in part because it's only the cafe owners in Geneva that are benefiting from the CD's paralysis.  So if we could just have quick responses to that and then we're going to try to get to two or three more questions before our time is up for this session.  Andrea?

BERGER:  I'll just add a very quick thought but one of the interesting thoughts of amendments that keeps going around the text the main committee one and the subsidiary body one at the moment at the review conference is the inclusion of the word "preferable" in front of the Conference on Disarmament as a forum.  

So I think there's notes that a sizable portion of the review conference community at the moment agrees with your last point there, that we can't continue to just say, "Well, you know, the CD is the only forum and we encourage it to start moving in the next review cycle."  There's definitely a number of states that are saying the word "preferable" must be going in there.  So just that as a thought. 

KIMBALL:  All right.  Others.  

DUNN:  Quickly.  I would not combine nuclear disarmament -- nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament, but I don't think you can -- you can't work the nuclear issues with Russia and China, unless you work the non-nuclear issues.  

They're interwoven and we're going to have to work them both together.  I agree we shouldn't be too pessimistic.   And as the great optimist, I don't -- I shouldn't be too optimistic either.  We need to be realistic optimists. 

That said, as someone who came out of Hudson Institute where we used to think the unthinkable back in my youth, I find it easier than I would care to believe to come up with scenarios whereby by the NPT because of this frustration gets itself in real trouble pretty soon.  I would do FMCT outside of the CD.  If you can't get the CD to negotiate, let's go and negotiate an FMCT out of the -- outside of the CD in some fashion, with whomever will play.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Randy. 

RYDELL:  Susan, your extremely cogent and difficult question on the -- on action has troubled me very deeply because in answering that question, I have to not look at my experience just working at the UN, but I also have 11 years working as an aide to Senator Glenn. 

And I'd compare the kind of political culture that we dealt with in the Glenn years between '87 and '98 with the circus that exists now and the rivalries and personal and ideological cleavages that are tearing that institution apart and it really breaks my heart to see what is going on there.  

I don't have a clue as to how to fix that problem.  I've thought a lot about it, but it has to be fixed because it comes back to the point I was trying to make about the lack of internalization of this great commitment we have to getting to a nuclear weapon-free world. 

Many of you will remember that when President Obama made his speech in Prague, he said that we seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.  He didn't say we seek peace and security so that we may achieve a world without nuclear weapons.  That's how it was interpreted and translated for the public. 

And I think that the public has to understand better how their security interests are benefited in a very, very concrete way by the serial elimination of these weapons.  I think the military has got to contribute to this -- to this conversation.  

Where are the military leaders?  They have enormous insights into these issues.  They have credibility that maybe people in Congress will listen to.  I think we need to increasingly hear from them as well because I don't think any of them are just serially going to oppose disarmament.  I think that -- hell, half the U.S. military, the two service -- branches are already non-nuclear, the Marines and the Army.  So it's a -- it's an important food for thought.  I think the military has an important role to play.  Sorry.    

KIMBALL:  All right.  We have time for one more question -- I'm sorry -- before we -- the lunch -- the lunch is on schedule, Tim?  OK.  Otherwise, you won't be able to eat and we'll be behind schedule and that would be a greater sin.  So I want to go -- the first person I saw in the next round, Edward Ifft, and then we're going to close out.  And I do apologize -- I mean, this subject could be the basis for about a month-long conference I think and that's why it is. 

(LAUGHTER) 

So, Edward, very quickly, and then we're going to close out. 

IFFT:  Yes.  Sorry to be the last troublemaker.  Edward Ifft, Georgetown University.  A lot of good ideas have been put forward here, but nobody has really picked up the proposal made by the Four Horsemen two years ago, which was to create a joint enterprise, whose goal would be to create the conditions for going to zero.  

A lot of high-level studies, for example, the Congressional Commission, have said the conditions for going to zero do not exist today but then we don't seem to be taking the logical next step, which is to identify what are those conditions and what specifically are we doing to create them.  

I mean, the two obvious big problems are verification and how does deterrence work in a world with zero nuclear weapons.  As far as the forum goes, it seems obvious to me five is too small, 65 in the CD is too big, 190 in New York is way too big, but the four statesmen proposal was a group of maybe 20 or 30 states with high levels of nuclear expertise.  Thank you. 

KIMBALL:  All right.  On the subject of how to move the conversation forward to deal with what I think -- this is a term Jim Goodby coined, joint enterprise that addresses all these things in an intelligent way.  Lew, you talk about a few.  Randy, you've talked about another variation to Ed's question and then we'll close.  

DUNN:  That's the great beauty.  The proposal for the International Partnership on Nuclear Disarmament Verification.  Its whole purpose is to at least work one of the longest poles in the tent of a world without nuclear weapons.  And that's why I think it should receive broad support.

KIMBALL:  OK.  Andrea, any thoughts on this? 

BERGER:  My only thought is that part of the difficulty in the NPT discussion at the moment is that many non-nuclear weapon states want to see movement on some point somewhere, regardless of what those who possess nuclear weapons think might be the conditions for such a world, and would probably prefer not to spend the time discussing and debating what those might be, but want something in pretty short order. 

They sat there, they say, for 45 years and waited for more to happen.  Next year -- next review cycle, it will be 50-year mark of the treaty.  The treaty will be half a century old and they say, "Really, let's stop talking about the conditions here and have something happen."

I agree that the discussion on conditions should happen.  I agree that that's, you know, a realistic way forward, but there is also a frustration here that needs to be addressed in some other way and we need to think about how to do, too. 

KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, let me just also add one small thought on this.  I mean, I think Ed is asking I think a great concluding question.  It's the -- where do we go next, how do we carry this conversation forward problem.  And in my view, this is a question that has not been answered adequately by the non-nuclear weapon state majority and it is being resisted by the P5. 

And you can see that in New York right now.  They do not want to open up the conversation about nuclear weapons beyond their club and that is, I think, to their own detriment.  I think President Obama and his people are smart enough and really do have the vision enough to see that we need to broaden the conversation some way, somehow.  And there were inklings of this concept in not just the Four Horsemen op-eds but in Barack Obama's own statements in 2009 and '10.

So, you know, President Obama has another, what, 18 months or so left.  There will be opportunities for the United States working with some of the more thoughtful, active, and energetic non-nuclear weapon states, some of whom are represented here, we'll hear from them in a little bit, to forge some sort of new conversation about these issues that definitely have to be carried forward and worked through or else, as Randy said, the midlife crisis could turn into something terminal. 

So on that note -- sorry. 

(LAUGHTER)  

But, you know, we're in the nuclear weapons business, so I'm sure that all of you have dealt with the terminal aspects of this subject, so it shouldn't be a shock to anyone here.  So with that, we need to conclude and move to our lunch session.  But first, let's all thank our panelists for their really thoughtful input. 

(APPLAUSE)

And we will continue to press on this topic.  And outside, let me just remind you of the logistical situation.  We have two buffet lines.  You only need to go through one to get your food. 

(LAUGHTER)

Don't go through both, because you'll notice it's the same menu in both.  So that's to ease the flow.  And so please take a quick break, get your food, come back in.  We're going to start in about a half an hour with our keynote luncheon speaker, Ambassador Alex Kmentt.

(Back to the agenda)

Speaker: Ambassador Alexander Kmentt, Director of Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Austria

Moderator: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

KIMBALL:  All right, everyone, if I could please ask you to settle in once again, find your seats.  I'm sorry to interrupt your conversations and your -- I hope you enjoy your lunch and desserts. 

So we're back here for the lunch segment of our program today.  And we've had a special segment today, because every year since 2007, the Arms Control Association staff has nominated several individuals and institutions that best exemplify leadership and action in pursuing effective arms control non-proliferation and disarmament solutions.

And each nominee on the list, which is about 10 or so people each year, in their own way has provided leadership to help to reduce weapons-related security threats.  And once we nominate, we open up the online polls to let you and others around the world decide who is the most deserving of the honor in any given year.

And we do this to highlight the fact that there are, in this sometimes very discouraging business, success stories each year, and there are heroes.  And there are bold acts of leadership, there are new ideas to solve tough problems, acts of dogged determination, and people who take personal and political risks in the hope of reducing the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. 

And we're pleased this year to have with us, as our keynote speaker, our 2014 Arms Control Person of the Year, otherwise known as Alexander Kmentt of Austria.  And he earned the highest number of votes in our end of the year online poll last December, surpassing nine other worthy candidates.

And those other worthy candidates included the runners-up, Ahmet Uzumcu, the director general of the OPCW and Sigrid Kaag, head of the OPCW-UN joint mission for their work in removing 1300 metric tons of chemical weapons from Syria.  

And Pope Francis, none other than Pope Francis -- who is on the cover of this month's Arms Control Today was the second runner-up in online voting, though I'm not sure if the Catholic world was aware that we had this online poll. 

Nonetheless, campaigning for the title is allowed and encouraged, and Alex won this year's honor.  And now, we've had several winners in the past, this is the first time we are bestowing the award in person.  

Alex Kmentt is now Austria's director for Arms Control Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.  And he started his career at the Austrian Federal Ministry for European International Affairs in 1994.  And I'm sure even before then was active.

And he's been a leader on a range of arms control issues over that time, from the Nonproliferation Treaty to cluster munitions, Conference of Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and other topics. 

And the 2014 Arms Control Person of the Year Award is in recognition for his work to organize and host the third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons from December 8th to 9th in Vienna, which included delegations representing some 158 states, I think it was, the United Nations and many, many more from civil society around the world. 

And this conference built upon the work of the two previous Humanitarian Impacts Conferences.  And the Vienna meeting, in particular, expanded the agenda to talk more about the physical impacts of nuclear weapons use in modern circumstances, the health effects of nuclear weapons production and testing, the application of international law to the consequences of nuclear weapons issue, and the shortfalls in the international capacity to address a humanitarian emergency triggered by the use of nuclear weapons.

And as many of you, if not all of you know by now, for the first time in this series of conferences the list of participant countries included two of the nuclear weapon states recognized by the NPT, the United Kingdom and the United States.  And two other nuclear-armed countries, India and Pakistan, took a part in the Vienna meeting in the previous two meetings.

And the award is also in recognition for something you heard about earlier this morning, Austria's pledge at the close of the Vienna Conference, quote, "To cooperate with all relevant stakeholders in efforts to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks." 

And that Austrian pledge has been endorsed by 80 states, perhaps more at this -- 84, at this -- at this stage. 

And truly the Vienna Conference and all three of these conferences, and the renewed focus on the global health consequences of nuclear weapons production, testing, and use, has changed the international conversation, I think, for the better, and provided renewed urgency to the long-running effort.  As we heard before, it will continue to be a long-running effort to move toward a world free of nuclear weapons. 

So Ambassador Kmentt, thank you very much for your hard work, dedication, and vision.  And we're very pleased to bestow you with this award, modest in size and appearance though it may be, it represents a great deal of work, and we thank you very much for all you've done.

KMENTT:  Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

KIMBALL:  Why don't you put it there?  And now, Alex will address the topic of the Humanitarian Initiative and the NPT.

KMENTT:  Thank you so much.  Thanks for the very, very kind words.

It's a great pleasure and honor for me to be here today.  First I have to apologize to Daryl, because I know that this is also supposed to be a fund raising event for the great work that the Arms Control Association is doing.  Of course it's a significantly bigger challenge to do this with me as keynote speaker than it would have been with Pope Francis. 

But I'm -- I'm of course, extremely happy to be here and to get this great recognition.  I'm aware of course, that I got elected because there was a civil society campaign to push me over the finishing line, because friends and family alone would not have made that happen.

But I know, of course, that the real Arms Control Person of the Year is the Humanitarian Initiative and the intensive focus of the past few years on the consequences and risks of nuclear weapons. 

So, I'm extremely happy.  This helped me a great deal.  It went down extremely well with the Austrian Foreign Ministry.  Even the Foreign Minister made a press release because of that.  So, it didn't hurt. 

I also realize that this is of course the real expert audience here, an audience very much tuned in, in the nuclear weapons debate, from a nuclear weapons state perspective.  Expert on Russia relations, China relations, very much focused on the Iran and DPRK issue.

So an expert audience that may -- and if I'm wrong please I apologize -- an expert audience that may not have been so tuned in, in the humanitarian debate, and may not be so tuned in, in the way nuclear weapons are seen by the non-nuclear weapons states, the vast majority of UN member states. 

And so, I thought I would use this opportunity to try to explain this perspective, which now enjoys a clear support of three quarters of international community and UN member states. 

So, I'd like to give first my take on the development of the initiative of the past few years.  And secondly, make a few points where I think this initiative has had, and will have, a significant impact on the nuclear weapons debate.

Of course the humanitarian focus or the humanitarian issue itself is not a new one.  That's very clear.  It underpins all efforts that we do in multi-lateral work to establish a global disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  This notion is encapsulated in all the preamble paragraphs of essentially all the treaties.  

But of course, the focus has been very much on the security dimension, on the nuclear deterrence dimension, especially in the Cold War. So the recent focus, I always say the Humanitarian Initiative is inspired by the Prague speech from President Obama, because he re-energized the disarmament community. 

Another specific focus on the humanitarian dimension, I think can be traced back to the International Committee of the Red Cross, where former President Kellenberger gave a very important speech to the Geneva diplomatic community just a few weeks prior to the last NPT review conference.

He recalled the ICRC experience as the first humanitarian respondent present in Hiroshima.  And he highlighted the completely inadequate capacities to address the humanitarian emergencies that would result from any use of nuclear weapons.  And of course, as the guardian of international humanitarian law, the ICRC president also stated the ICRC finds it difficult to envisage how any use of nuclear weapons could be compatible with the rules of international humanitarian law.

So this speech by the president of the guardian of international humanitarian law was intended to be, and proved to be, a very important input for the 2010 review conference. 

The final document included the following reference, and I quote, "The conference expresses its deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and reaffirms the need for all states at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law." 

It was actually the first time since the adoption of the treaty that such a reference was explicitly included in an NPT review conference document.  

But Action 1 of the 2000 action plan also included the following reference.  It committed all states parties to pursue policies that are fully compatible with the treaty and the objective of a world -- and the objective of achieving a world without nuclear weapons. 

So the expression of the humanitarian concern, plus Action 1, became a sort of de facto mandate for many states to pursue the humanitarian initiative as a means to implement their own treaty obligation of Article VI.

So there are, of course, those actions that only nuclear weapons states can do, but there are others including a deepening understanding on the humanitarian dimension that non-nuclear weapon states can do.

And this focus then became operationalized very substantively in the course of the subsequent years.  First, through joint cross-regional declarations, initiated in 2012 by a group of 16 countries, including Austria -- and at subsequent meetings of the NPT and the general assembly, the group of 16 countries endorsing these joint statements grew to 160. 

And the latest statement endorsed by 160 countries was delivered by the Austrian Foreign Ministry just a few weeks ago at the beginning of the -- of the NPT Review Conference.

And it's actually to our knowledge, the biggest cross-regional joint declaration ever on a substantive issue in the UN context, so more than three quarters of UN member states have felt compelled to highlight the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, and the need to prevent such consequences through urgent progress on nuclear disarmament.

And it also includes, of course, a lot of states whose voices are hardly ever heard on this issue.  And I think that also must be considered a significant shift in the discourse on nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament. 

And the second track, of course, are the three -- are the international conferences specifically dedicated to this issue, first of all in Norway in 2013, and then two last year in Mexico and in Vienna.  And these conferences added very substantive evidence, research, and findings to the humanitarian debate, and there is not enough time to go into detail.  But very clearly it was seen as extremely interesting from the non-nuclear states' perspective to look at the actual impact of nuclear weapons.

And there are -- for instance, as a spin-off from the climate change debate, really disconcerting findings on the long-term consequences on the -- on the climate, on food security, which -- findings that go beyond the studies of -- and findings of nuclear winter from the 1980s.

So that the scope, the scale and the inter-relationship of these consequences are worse, and more complex than previously understood on the environment, climate, health, socio-economic development, social order, and so on.  And the -- and the -- and the systemic dimension of these consequences is hardly understood.

On the health side, for instance, new findings on a distinct gender perspective, that greater active contamination is disproportionately higher for girls and women, also new findings. 

Then the element of risk was examined in more detail, looking at doctrines and war plans, at risks of accidental mistaken unauthorized use, the vulnerability of command and control systems, human error, cyber attacks.  Eric Foss's book, for instance, was extremely instrumental in this context. 

So even when individual states take measures to reduce risk, as an aggregate globally the risks are increasing over time, and added to this of course are today the risks from non-state actors and terrorists gaining access to nuclear weapons or material. 

And then, of course, of key relevance to this debate were the very clear warnings from virtually every humanitarian responder from the UN system, from the ICRC, and also from a national perspective that no capacity exists to deal with the humanitarian emergencies, or the long-term consequences of nuclear weapons explosions, specifically of course in a populated area.  There aren't even any plans, because it's seen as a futile exercise. 

So the need and the urgency for prevention was focused -- was strongly into focus. 

At the conference in Vienna, we also looked at the -- at the legal aspect.  If you look at the consequences, what's the -- what does exist that international law has to say.  So international health law, environmental law, it is -- it is impossible to conceive the use of nuclear weapons without breaching existing international law.

And the ICRC, based on the new evidence, stated that in light of the new evidence further that we discussed on whether nuclear weapons could ever be used in accordance with international law.  And that of course, is also -- we also had it in Vienna.  We looked at the moral and ethical dimension.  We were extremely fortunate to have a message from Pope Francis there, and the position paper from the Holy See.  And the Holy See further developed its position from the 1980s. 

And I just wanted to quote one paragraph from this -- from the position paper.  I quote, "Since what is intended is mass destruction, extensive and lasting collateral damage, inhumane suffering and the risk of escalation, the system of nuclear deterrence can no longer be deemed a policy that stands firmly on moral ground."

I think this is a highly significant shift.  And it's echoed increasingly by other faith-based organizations.  And I think it will have a lasting impact on the nuclear weapons debate.  

So we aimed in Vienna to pull all this information together, and take it to the NPT with as much support as we can.  And I'm happy to talk about the -- how this impacts the NPT discussion right now in New York.  But I wanted to use the second half of my talk to make these few points that I think how the Humanitarian Impact may have -- or in my view, has had a lasting impact on the nuclear weapons debate.

The first one is that a large part of the appeal of this initiative, the statements and the conferences, lies in the openness of the process.  All states, even those who are normally very visible in the nuclear weapons debate, they can participate.  And that can actually make a pertinent point, because from that perspective they also have a clear stake. 

In this debate, in that context it's not as dysfunctional as the existing structures that we have.  We talked about the conference on disarmament.  So it's a -- it's a -- it's a positive and engaging debate in those-- in those meetings.

The non-nuclear states can make -- can set a progressive agenda, or make these voices heard without being procedurally stifled, which is unfortunately the case in the existing structures.  Then the role of civil society and academic experts is not only -- they are not only invited, they are welcomed as an extremely important contribution to a broader and more -- yes, to a more broader discussion on these issues, which of course brings in constituencies beyond the arms control community. 

And that's extremely important.  And it makes the discussion that we have in the other fora look sometimes more anachronistic and un-Democratic.  So the need for a more open discussion on those issues and broader discussion, I think, is one thing that has really come into focus. 

Secondly, the support from the -- the support for this initiative, of course, has to be seen in parallel with the developments that have taken place in the arms control world.  And as I said before, it was in a way stimulated by the Prague speech in 2009. 

But as high as the expectations may have been in 2009 and 2010, the developments that followed unfortunately didn't live up to them, and it became increasingly clear to the non-nuclear weapons state that the -- that the determination from nuclear weapon states, although of course there are big differences, but that this determination to really implement the action plan with the sort of sense of urgency that non-nuclear weapon states thought came out of 2010, that that wasn't there. 

And, I think, the nuclear weapons states haven't really grasped how much the modernization plans and budget allocations, which clearly indicate a willingness to retain and rely on nuclear weapons well into the second half of this century, how this undermines trust in the disarmament commitments given under the NPT.

So, the Humanitarian Initiative in a way gained strength also as a function of the increasing credibility and trust deficit experienced by the non-nuclear weapons state, and sort of as an outlet to express the sense of urgency.

So that's the second point, which I think will just simply get stronger, and we see that very much in the NPT context as well. 

And then thirdly I believe that the -- that the humanitarian -- that the substantive discussion from a humanitarian perspective, actually challenges the nuclear deterrence orthodoxy and the -- and the acceptance of that orthodoxy by a large part of the international community.

The case for nuclear deterrence rests, of course, on the credible threat of inflicting unacceptable destruction to a possible adversary.  But of course, we all bank on the assumption that the threat will succeed, that these capacities will never have to be deployed.  But we have to be clear that the credibility of the threat requires the readiness to use nuclear weapons, and since the mid and long-term consequences, based on these discussions and findings, of even a limited nuclear war would be considerably more serious than previously understood, and most likely global in the consequences.

In such a context, the notion of a credible first strike or counter strike, becomes largely irrelevant or winning a nuclear war is almost impossible and then seems like an absurd idea.  This doesn't square with the underlying foundation of nuclear deterrence, namely that it leads to rational behavior of all actors, because of the consequences for friend and foe alike and all humanity, that's the logic of it, are devastating and essentially suicidal, the threat itself becomes incredible.

What's left is of course the considerable danger of escalation and crisis situations between nuclear weapons state, and the trust that in the end it will not come to the worst.  But the reasoning that governments are always rational enough to handle nuclear deterrence, and that nuclear deterrence works because it makes governments always act rationally, is essentially a circular argument.

And then in order to avoid these global consequences nuclear deterrence is required never to fail.  But the new discussion on risk, or the new understanding on risk raise serious doubts to what extent this requirement can be fulfilled, because there is an inherent contradiction between maintaining nuclear weapons in a manner that demonstrates readiness to always use them, which of course, is required for the credibility of nuclear deterrence, and the need to ensure that they will never be used by accident, human, or technical error.

The measures that would be necessary to reduce the risks associated with nuclear weapons are the ones that restrict readiness to use nuclear weapons, thereby undermining the case for nuclear deterrence.  So it seems from the, I believe, broadly shared by non-nuclear weapons states, respective of the nuclear weapons states, are stuck in a vicious circle of maintaining an uncontrollable and ultimately uncontrollable risk of inflicting global consequences.  Or to reduce these risks, which is -- which essentially would remove the arguments in favor of nuclear deterrence itself. 

And then of course added to this, is the clear understanding that there is no capacity to deal with these consequences in a remotely adequate way.

So we heard before, nuclear weapon states are so concerned that the Humanitarian Initiative has the aim to make nuclear weapons illegal under international law.  But in reality, I think it's not the legality of nuclear weapons, but the legitimacy of nuclear weapons and the security approach based on nuclear deterrence that has come into clear focus as a result of the Humanitarian Initiative, and that is being challenged.

Nuclear weapons have catastrophic consequences, their possession carries considerable risks, their use would be illegal, except maybe for a small range of mostly hypothetical scenarios, and the combination of these factors together with the underlying readiness to commit mass destruction make them immoral. 

And these views, these line of argument, I think, is gaining significant grounds in the international community among the non-nuclear weapon states against the background of frustration and trust deficit, and credibility deficit.  And that's what we're seeing in the NPT at the moment. 

The fourth point of the Humanitarian Initiative, therefore, is that it's sort of exposes a very clear rift and we've talked about this before in the international community on the approach towards nuclear weapons, and what should be done to address these challenges. 

And states that continue to make the case for the step-by-step approach, even though from my perspective it's not very -- not a very credible approach at the moment, but the logic is that it has to be done, nuclear disarmament has to be done in a way that allows for the maintenance of nuclear deterrence.

But I think non-nuclear states increasingly see this as an argumentative stretch to insist on nuclear weapons for one's own security, but that these weapons should be kept out of the hand of everybody else, and at the same time, being in favor of nuclear disarmament. 

So, I think this argument has become increasingly more difficult to make.  And the Humanitarian Initiative has thus more clearly exposed a double standard there.  And I think it also puts into question whether reliance on nuclear weapons and support for nuclear disarmament are not essentially mutually exclusive concepts, or at least in the view of what nuclear disarmament should mean in the eyes of probably a majority of NPT member states, as against the view of what nuclear disarmament means from those who promote the step by step approach.

And it will be problematic of course for the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime if this rift cannot be overcome.  But I think nuclear weapon states need to realize that they -- they sort of can't have it both ways. 

To support -- to maintain support for the NPT on the global regime, much more credibility needs to be added to nuclear disarmament efforts.  It's difficult to imagine how support for non-proliferation can be maintained, if NPT nuclear weapon states -- well, of course are also the five permanent members of the Security Council, continue to advocate a security concept that is increasingly seen as illegitimate by the rest of the world.  And that has actually implication that goes beyond the nuclear weapons debate.

Let's have a look for instance at the P5+1 talks.  Of course they are broadly supported, because nobody wants to see a nuclear weapons program.  But the fact and the irony is not lost on anybody, that it's states who argue for the importance for nuclear weapons for their own security, while insisting on the unacceptability of these weapons for other states. 

So, nuclear weapon states are actually proliferating the concept and value of nuclear weapons.  And I think that is a -- that is a very damaging recognition by non-nuclear weapon states that that is actually the case. 

The credibility of non-proliferation efforts would be greatly enhanced if it would be accompanied with a much more determined move away from nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence.  And that leads to my very short fifth and final potentially lasting impact of what I hope the Humanitarian Initiative should be, because it strengthens the taboo about -- the taboo against nuclear weapons, against nuclear weapons as such.

Building case for the illegitimacy of nuclear weapons based on the consequences and associated risks that works as a strong set of arguments for disarmament and non-proliferation.  So the humanitarian focus should be or is maybe the best hope to shore up broad international support for the NPT, and for the creation of a strong -- and for the maintenance of a strong disarmament and non-proliferation regime. 

It should be seen as a -- as a wake-up call, and it should really be embraced.  And it should unite the international community into much more urgent action on these issues.  And unfortunately from the perspective that I have now after two and a half weeks in the NPT, that the push back is much more fundamental.  There's not even a recognition that there really is an issue.  And I think that makes me very pessimistic, or skeptical at to what extent we will be able to breach these differences.  But with that, I leave it. 

Thank you very much. 

(APPLAUSE)

KIMBALL:  Well, thank you very much, Alex.  I think it's very important to outline the origins and as you say, the implications of this effort, and to clarify misperceptions that are out there about it.

We have a few minutes for you to ask Alex your questions about -- your questions about this issue, the NPT Review Conference.  Just once again, please raise your hands.  We have microphones and we will bring the mic. 

Let's start here in the front with Paul Walker at the Walker table. 

QUESTION:  Thank you very much, Ambassador.  It's very, very helpful and very interesting. 

I want to ask you a little bit about the future of the Humanitarian Initiative.  Where do you think it's going to go after three, you know, very interesting conferences, as well as the NPT this year?

KIMBALL:  Why don't you go ahead? 

KMENTT:  I have no idea.  I think what I tried to outline is a broad support for the kind of -- the substantive notion behind it.  And I think some of the conclusions, there is a large convergence among the non-nuclear weapons states.  But in terms of how to operationalize this into a concrete way, I think that's still a very broad charge. 

And in the previous panel, we heard that in the NPT, it goes in a lot different directions.  There is, of course the sort of “banned” discussion is getting traction.  NAM still talks about everything has to take place in the conference on disarmament.  So I think it's still very unclear. 

The three-quarter support for this is on the -- is on the substantive dimension.  And I think the nuclear weapon states have, in my view, made the mistake to look at this initiative primarily from the question on the process, where does it lead to, rather than engaging really on the substantive and sort of legitimate questions that are being asked. 

Because -- I mean, even the proponents of a ban treaty would say of course it's not the best option.  Of course it's better to go forward broadly.  And I think that was very clearly also our intention in the way we tried to structure the conference in Vienna, to package it sort of as input for the NPT.  But what are we getting at the NPT in response to it? 

At the moment, it's not very clear what this is going to be.  So what will happen after the NPT, there could be a fragmentation of different initiatives?  But there is -- there is -- there is no clear plan.

There was some talk at some stage that South Africa may host a follow-up meeting, but they haven't -- they haven't made any concrete steps and haven't said anything specific.  But I believe that the narrative itself, the initiative itself will, of course, go beyond the NPT.  It will be raised, I think now from the proponents in every forum and every framework that we have.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.

There are also a couple of other questions.  Yes, over here and further on the background.  We take two at a time.

Please identify yourself.

QUESTION:  Hi, I'm Martin Fleck, Physicians for Social Responsibility.  And we are excited that you got the award.  Very well deserved.

And we spent considerable effort last year to urge the United States to send a delegation to Vienna, and we're glad that they did.  But my question for you is, as organizers in the United States, you've got 84 nations that have signed on to the Austrian Pledge.  We could wait for a long time before the United States signs on.  But what would you advise us to do, those of us who want to promote the Humanitarian Impact initiative here in the United States? 

What would be most helpful? 

KIMBALL:  All right.  And then, Stephen Young.

QUESTION:  Stephen Young with the Union of Concerned Scientists.  First, congratulations.  Well deserved award to you. 

Question actually for you is -- sorry, is to just could you -- have you give us your sense of how things are going in New York now, and what you expect what might happen in the next couple of weeks?

KMENTT:  We were extremely happy that two nuclear weapon states decided to come, and I hope that they didn't regret their decision.  I think it was also very important that because of the increasing debate here in Washington on whether or not to participate, also the expert community, think tank community got more engaged in these issues.

And I think this is probably the most important spin of -- that there should be at least -- I would say, the discussion should be primarily on the substantive issues.  

Is there really -- and we're getting a pushback from nuclear weapon states in the NPT who challenge the fact that there is even anything new, that there is even an issue.  And I think from, at least the perspective of the non-nuclear weapon states, who of course know less about these issues than nuclear weapons states.  But from their perspective, there is a lot of new and pertinent information.  I think that would be very helpful if there would be more of a discussion on these issues from a humanitarian angle, rather than the -- which I think is the normal type of discussion that takes place here, very much from a security policy and nuclear deterrence based focus.

So if you address nuclear weapons issues from the impact of nuclear weapons and the risk issue, I think that may have -- that may be a good contribution to the debate.  What it -- what it will lead to here in Washington, of course, I don't know and I don't want to comment.

But I think it's important to move away from an exclusive focus on process, but really get into the -- into the substance.  That is also -- at the moment, I'm very pessimistic, because we felt that we have spent five years building a case for a renewed urgency based on humanitarian arguments, better understanding on risk.

And what we're hearing in New York, from the nuclear weapon states, also of course with differences, but by and large, is that there is no new evidence, there is no issue. The French Ambassador, for instance, said, "Risk is a non-issue," so it doesn't -- I mean, there is no discussion on it. 

And that, of course, is perceived, I think is very frontal.  So we had the action plan.  We have the arguments and the sense of urgency, and the expectation of urgency.  So there needs to be more.  And if we don't get that, then I think the NPT will have taken a blow.  And the credibility of the NPT as a disarmament framework, which already is in -- is in dire straits will be further weakened. 

QUESTION:  I want to just ask you a further question on the NPT, if I could.  I mean, based upon what you've heard in the formal presentations from the five original weapon states, and in the closed conference rooms.  

Have any of them brought forward what you or some of your colleagues involved in this initiative, which say are, new ideas or new initiatives to move forward on actions, Step 5 of the 2010 Action Plan?  I mean, it??

KMENTT:  No.

QUESTION:  No?

KMENTT:  No.  I think it's -- I think the push from the nuclear weapon states is primarily a rollover of 2010, which of course is not -- is not -- it doesn't match up to the expectation that -- of course, the countries that have pushed the Humanitarian Initiative. 

I mean it's 160 countries of -- what is the number of NPT members, that it's 190 or so.  So it's a -- there is a clear feeling that consensus should be built around that view, that there is a sense of urgency.

Just as -- if I may, coming back to the previous panel and the discussion on an open-ended working group establishment.  It was an idea that Austria, Norway, and Mexico pushed in 2012.  And it was established -- they met in Geneva in 2013. 

But nuclear weapon states opposed the establishment of that group.  I mean, it met anyway and I think it did some useful work, but there was an explanation of vote in the general assembly by the P3 explaining why they'd vote against it, why they think it's a complete waste of time, and stating that they will disregard any outcome. 

So, I mean, it was a very difficult review cycle for the -- for the -- for the states that felt that the action plan and the positive agreement 2010 was actually a call for urgent action, because it didn't -- it didn't -- it didn't transpire on the -- in the multi-lateral battlegrounds, if I may say.

KIMBALL:  OK.  Why don't we go to Susan Burk in the middle and then over here on the right.

QUESTION:  Congratulations, Alexander. 

KMENTT:  Thanks. 

QUESTION:  And thanks for your remarks.  You made a comment that the nuclear weapon states made a mistake by looking at the initiative as a process.

And I want to say, I think looking at it from outside the government.  I'm not representing a government.  Maybe after Mexico that would have been illegitimate, because clearly the conclusion documents suggested that this was leading to a convention, which I think all the people I've indicated they're going to support.

And the Vienna conference seemed to put it back more on the track of addressing issues, say, the practical issues.  What's the likelihood or the appetite for using this to really have a substantive discussion with technical people about consequence management? 

I was kind of encouraged by the statements that have been made in New York that you're -- it's including the risk of non-state actors and terrorists.  And in the previous life, when I did Homeland Security for the State Department, that was one of the issues that was being looked at, was, you know, consequence management with the Department of Homeland Security and partner states, and these were public, you know, exercises, looking at how do you manage a plague event, or a radiological event, or something, being seen as the kind of thing that the nations needed to be concerned about.

If it went in that direction and sort of to create a confidence or have a discussion on issues that they may all could agree, yeah, these are legitimate concerns.  I mean, is there any appetite for doing that kind of thing?

I mean, it sounds like what you're saying, but I'm not -- I'm not sure.

KMENTT:  I think that the nuclear weapon states has really made a mistake.  The first conference was organized in Oslo.  It's a NATO country.

They were very cautious in how to structure the meeting, but received a coordinated P5 position on non-attendance, saying that it is a distraction from the NPT.  And I have to say I think this was a fundamental, tactical error from nuclear weapon states, because of course, Norway, of all countries certainly would have liked its NATO nuclear weapons states allies to be there. 

I think that in a way energized a sort of more political dimension, which we then saw in Mexico.  And the wish of states to make political statements there, which of course didn't happen in Oslo which was very much focused on the -- on the -- on the -- on the technical and fact-based side.

I think the -- to answer your main question I think it would be very important to engage on that -- on these substantive elements.  There was yesterday which I think was very welcome, was a briefing organized by the U.S. mission on the issue of de-alerting.

Of course it was a bit -- from the substantive side, it was a bit disappointing that de-alerting which sort of seems to -- pretty much everybody as the absolute logical first step to reduce risks that should be taken and could be taken, and there is vast support for a UN general assembly resolution in this issue.  And the U.S. basically gave a number of reasons why more concrete steps on de-alerting are not possible. 

But at least that kind of engagement on substance I think is extremely important.  So there should also be an engagement on response capabilities.  And of course, that's going to be a difficult discussion for nuclear weapons states to have, because if the consequences are global, how do you explain to -- for instance, countries in Africa who have done everything right.  They are all members of a nuclear weapon free zone, how can it be explained to them that the consequences would impact them as well?

But I think engaging on that kind of discussion has been mostly lacking so far.  So I think it would be very good to demonstrate these concerns are taken seriously, and that these are absolutely legitimate questions, and they shouldn't be just pushed aside into the -- to the -- this just has the agenda to push a legal ban.  I think that's a mistake. 

KIMBALL:  All right.  We have time for a couple of quick questions.  Right over here, Shervin, there she is.  And Edward Levine, and then we'll close.  Please? 

QUESTION:  Thank you. 

I'm Veronica Cartier and I'm always for the openness, in the sense that I would like to express that I'm glad.  I'm so happy that I voted for you.  You are the right.

KMENTT:  I hope all of you voted for someone.  Yes.

QUESTION:  Yes.  Maybe all of us, but I think you are in the right person for the right position.  You stated a non-deterrence orthodoxy, it is -- I think it is factual.

KMENTT:  I'm sorry, I didn't?

KIMBALL:  Deterrence orthodoxy.

KMENTT:  OK, yeah.

QUESTION:  Deterrence orthodoxy, and also the factual of threat, maintaining of readiness.  I think currently we are in the sense of looking for the readiness.  

And I would like to address a question in the sense of urgency, what direction and advice you can give for the nuclear proliferation states in the framework to reduce errors, because I think that is the -- we need to focus on that.  Thank you.

KIMBALL:  All right.  And then, let's take the final question, Edward Levine, please?

QUESTION:  Edward Levine, retired from the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The nuclear weapon states are clearly afflicted with contradictions as you have pointed out, in that if they are sensitive to the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, they still are not going to let that interfere with their reliance upon deterrence.  But it seems to me that the non-nuclear weapons states too often fall into a similar set of contradictions, in which they say, "If there is not enough urgency shown on disarmament we won't support non-proliferation," as though proliferation would be of any use to them from the humanitarian standpoint. 

So I wonder, from your position working with the non-nuclear weapon states, what can be done to focus your efforts more clearly on what is doable by everybody, rather than on the exchange of brickbats?

KIMBALL:  Easy questions, folks, yes. 

KMENTT:  Easy questions, yeah. 

On the issue of reduction of errors, I think that is -- that is a question that really nuclear weapon states have to address.  I think non-nuclear weapon states can make the point that the information, the findings that we hear is disconcerting, but how the command and control structures are set up, of course greater degree of transparency would be welcome.  But that is -- that is an issue that, really, nuclear weapon states can -- or should answer. 

On the question from Ed, well, I agree that if you're looking for contradictory positions, the disarmament and non-proliferation world is the right place to look.  Yeah, I mean, the Humanitarian Initiative has the support from some countries who probably have an agenda that's not totally humanitarian driven.  I think that's a problem.

The way I see it, it should -- I mean the NPT is a -- is a -- is an uneven treaty.  But of course it's clearly a security benefit to everybody.  But of course it clearly benefits primarily the nuclear weapon states.

So, what can be done through the humanitarian initiative is applied pressure.  And I think this is -- this is -- the pressure should not be that if you don't disarm, that everybody else will proliferate, that's absolutely clear.  But the bargain of the NPT holds only if nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation deals are upheld.  And the very clear voice coming that the nuclear disarmament bargain is not upheld, we hope will compel the nuclear weapon states to do more to upheld -- to uphold their end of the bargain.

I'm not sure that this is a satisfactory, specific answer.  There are a whole range of legitimate questions that are being asked.  There is, of course, an implicit building up of momentum that if the NPT is not delivering, that other developments could happen.  And I think in order to stop that from happening and maybe stopping some crazy things from happening, nuclear weapon states should really take this much more seriously to keep it all in the NPT, which is certainly what most countries that support the humanitarian initiative want.

So they want to see progress in the NPT.  But what's on offer?  

KIMBALL:  And that's the question I want to leave you with for now.  We're out of time for this session. 

I want to thank you once again, Ambassador Kmentt, for all your ground-breaking work, your dedication, your persistence. 

Like many of you here who've worked at treaty and negotiations -- I was just talking to Larry Weiler about this, it takes time from one's personal life.  And I know that you've dedicated a lot, and I'm glad that you can be here with us today, especially in the midst of the NPT review conference. 

Thank you. 

(APPLAUSE)

KMENTT:  Thanks a lot, everybody.  Thank you.

KIMBALL:  All right.  And if I could please ask Kelsey Davenport and our other panelists for the next session to come up here, so that we can make a quick transition.  Richard Nephew and Ariane Tabatabai, please come on up.

(Back to the agenda)

Speakers: Richard Nephew, Program Director, Economic Statecraft, Sanctions, and Energy Markets, Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy, and Ariane Tabatabai, current Associate Professor, Security Studies Program, Georgetown University

Moderator: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association

DAVENPORT:  Well, thank you all again for being here today.  We're entering this final stretch of the Iran talks with just about six weeks left before the June 30th deadline to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal.

The progress that's been made over the past two years is really quite incredible.  We've had over 15 months of successful implementation of the interim agreements, and on April 2nd, parameters were announced to guide the drafting of the final agreement that from a nonproliferation standpoint are very strong. 

And from our perspective at ACA a deal is not only possible at this point but it's probable.  So, I'm very excited today to have a panel to discuss where we are now in the talks, what remains to be done and then, look a little bit at implementation of the final deal.

So to start off today we have Richard Nephew.  Richard is the program director on the economic statecraft, sanctions and energy markets with the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, and prior to joining Columbia University, he was the principal deputy coordinator for sanctions policy at the State Department, a position which he held beginning in 2013. So he has been on the ground at the Iran talks until he took up his post at Columbia. 

Following Richard, we have Ariane Tabatabai.  She's an associate at the Belfer Center's International Security Program and Project on Managing the Atom and is now a visiting assistant professor at Georgetown University.  And she is going to give us a look at some of the dynamics inside Iran and reactions to the nuclear deal and the announcements that have made thus far. 

So, we'll start with you Richard.

NEPHEW:  Thank you very much.

And thanks everybody for being here.  These are very interesting conversations -- oops, that would help.  These are interesting conversations even more if the microphone is on, but I'm looking forward to offering you a few thoughts and then, most importantly, having a bit of a conversation afterwards. 

You know, I think - I was asked to talk a little bit about sanctions relief in the comprehensive plan of action that hopefully will be concluded by the end of June and in particular how to bridge whatever gap may exist between the P5+1 Iranian positions but also what they're saying in public and what this means really in terms of the talks.

And I think my fundamental conclusion would be that even though there is a gap in how the parties are talking about sanctions relief, I don't think that there is a real gap in understanding what will need to be part of a comprehensive deal, and nor do I think that there is a fundamental gap on what will need to happen on the Iranian side and on the P5+1 side to make sanctions relief a reality.

I think what's really at the heart of the debate that has happened in public between Iran and the P5+1 is a messaging problem, and it's a messaging problem that frankly speaks to the heart of the Iran nuclear issue. 

I think, you know, like Kelsey said, I believe that a deal at this point is highly likely coming out at the end of June, but I also think that at the end of June there is still going to be a strong dissimilarity between what the P5+1 and what Iran is saying about how sanctions relief is going to be implemented. 

And you can already see a number of people scratching their heads saying, well, how can that be when the deal is done?  That should be the time in which there is clarity between the sides.  But I think at the end of the day there will be this gap because both sides need to say different things, which may be true, not withstanding that.  And I'll speak a little bit as to why.

You know, I think the P5+1 view of the Iran nuclear negotiation has been very straightforward from the beginning.  It's really, truly an instance of pay for performance, that the Iranians will have to take certain specific nuclear steps on a specific timeframe in order to get specific relief.

But that's not Iran's position in looking at this negotiation.  You know, what I think what the Iranians have been very clear about is they are not seeking a transaction here.  What they're seeking is a rationalization of what they perceive to be a status quo, which is that sanctions are not actually working, that in various different ways they're helping Iran or they're immaterial to Iran, and so on and so forth. but that the nuclear program is proceeding regardless.  

And what I think they are trying to have is a nuclear deal in which there needs never be a concession that sanctions where in fact inflicting a great pain on Iran, they're instead more of an inconvenience. 

If that's the case, then it would be very difficult for them, in fact, to get into a transactional conversation with the P5+1, because to do so implies that there are costs being imposed on both sides and that those costs are to some measure equal. 

Well, that would cut against a lot of what Iranian rhetoric has been for a long period of time.  So, instead, what they have to say is sanctions will be relieved and they have to be relieved because it would be illogical for them to remain in place.  Not that, frankly, in every single negotiating round that the P5+1 has had with Iran, but they're the core of the issue and that getting sanctions relief in a timely manner has been the Iranian position from the get-go and continues to guide what their negotiating strategy is.

And I think at the end of the day, this is because they need to avoid being seen as having caved to Western pressure.  I think that cuts against their domestic narratives, it cuts against their own sense of self and it cuts against the clear negotiating instructions they've taken from the supreme leader.

So what they've had to do, I think, is to some degree perform a lot of verbal gymnastics to basically say we need to get sanctions relief, it needs to happen in a timely manner, it will be done in exchange for nuclear steps, but not as some sort of quid pro quo transactional basis, rather it was simply a logical outcome of a deal.

So what does that really mean, though, in terms of the results of the deal?  Not much.  You know, the two sides are going to talk about things in a different way, but just as that P5+1 has had to accept certain realities about Iran's nuclear program, Iran has to accept certain realities about sanctions relief. 

You know, enrichment will continue in Iran as part of this deal but so will the presence of some sanctions for a period of time as well as other sanctions that govern human rights, terrorism, so on and so forth, and the Iranians are going to have to reconcile themselves to that, they're going to find some way of having to describe that. 

And the words chosen by both sides will differ and differ markedly but Iran has already demonstrated that they're prepared to accept this lack of this consistency between the positions in the P5+1 Iran joint statement of April 2nd, where they said that they would be prepared to accept terms like cease the application of U.S. sanctions as opposed to terminating them on day one.

And I think what this means ultimately is that there is less actually being disagreed upon between the P5+1 and Iran on the substance, and it's more about making sure that the final day in which sanctions are supposed to be suspended is met with certain nuclear steps having been taken.

So what will that day look like?  In my view, I think it will be very similar on what happened on January 20th, 2014, which we were describing at that time as a long day in which the IAEA verified very early in the morning in Iran that certain nuclear steps had been taken, and it provided reports to Brussels and it provided a report to Washington as to what the nature of those nuclear steps were.

And we went through a list in which we review what Iran had to do consistent with the joint plan of action and confirmed that all of those steps had been taken.  And once we were able to go through that list and verify that those things had been done, we were able to trigger the sanctions relief that had been promised as part of the joint plan of action.

Now, Iran is going to have to do an awful lot of work in order to get there, but the Iranians have already started priming the pump and prepping their audiences for this, in Takht Ravanchi saying, for instance that there are preliminary works that will have to do be done as a way of getting ready for the day of implementation.

And what I think that basically means is they will be taking steps to modify the Arak reactor, to slow down enrichment, to remove centrifuges, to remove nuclear material, but that because that won't have been verified by the IAEA at that point, it will all be preliminary.  It will all be something that can be reversed until such time as the IAEA confirms that all has been done, and at that point sanctions relief can in fact start to flow. 

With respect to sanctions relief, there will have to be three almost simultaneous steps taken, and that's where there will be some complication. 

First, the UN Security Council will need to vote on a resolution that changes the character of the UN Security Council system.  Now, that resolution may be set in place earlier on as part of the time lag between the signature of the deal, if such a deal was signed, and its actual starting implementation.

But the practical impact of the UN system having been changed probably won't take place until after the IAEA has verified that these nuclear steps have been taken. 

The EU will have to vote to modify its sanctions, and this will come likely in the form of council resolution, council statement and council conclusion that establishes a new legal basis for whatever measures still are in place and then, establishes whatever the snapback criteria are going to be for the EU. And I think on that there's still a lot of work to be done, and I'll speak to that in a moment.  

And the United States will have to trigger its sanctions relief, which will be in the form of presidential waivers and State Department and Treasury Department modification of their implementation rules and regulations.

Now, that will probably be done in a variety, a blizzard of paperwork, and stacks and reams of paper will be signed off on, but ultimately, what it will come down to is a package that will go to the president, to the secretary of state, and to the secretary of treasury, triggering whatever relief has been agreed to and then, establishing what the process will be for implementing what measures are still in place.  I think this then will be the situation for a number of years.

If what we're hearing out of the negotiations is consistent with reality, then I think everything will basically happen on one day, that there will be a verification of a variety of nuclear steps being taken in the morning and sanctions will be suspended in the afternoon.  And that will be the situation that then pertains until one of two things happens.  Either the Iranians cheat and sanctions snap back, or we reach the end of either a time period or some milestone that Iran's nuclear program has to achieve in which further sanctions relief will take place. 

And that will largely be in the UN Security Council context and be a form of removing the existing restrictions on Iran's nuclear program, its ability to acquire sensitive items, so on and so forth.

And I think at that same time you would see then the United States begin the process of formally terminating its remaining legislation and any residual nuclear-related sanctions that have been suspended.  Now, that will require new law.  That will require drafting a new bill that changes the standards by which the current sanctions ought to be judged, because the termination clauses in many of these laws do in fact reflect terrorism, human rights and other related purposes.

But this is not that unusual a circumstance, law can be changed, that's the reason why we have an active legislature.  And I think the point at which we have finally decided that Iran has met certain benchmarks is when that bill can be put forth.  Whether, of course, it will voted on in year 10, 15 or 20 is a whole separate conversation.

I think I'll conclude with three items that I think are worth sort of thinking about.  First is how the EU will actually take its steps.  I think there's been a lot of discussion about the difference between the statements and the joint statements between the P5+1 and Iran, between how the EU would take a sanctions relief and how the United States would take its sanctions relief. 

I think it speaks to the different nature of the legislature processes in the two places.  For the EU, they have to get 28 countries together to vote to suspend or terminate legislation.  They then have to have the same 28 come together to put new sanctions in place.  I think the fact that the EU would be going to consider a termination of its sanctions does not mean that there would not be the possibility of snapback.  

And I think that you could see a snapback rule set up such that sanctions are formally terminated by the EU, but that the EU also decides that they will come back into place if some criteria has been tripped, and this could be something as simple an IAEA director general's report that Iran has violated some part of the conference of plan of action or it could be something much more complicated.  But there is still room within the termination of EU sanctions to have some kind of snapback arrangement. 

On the UN, I think it will be frankly a creative drafting exercise of a Security Council resolution. Paragraph one of a resolution will probably say something like we terminate the existing Security Council resolutions and their various provisions.  Paragraph two will say, except for the following paragraphs, and put them back in place.  At the end of the day, this isn't rocket science, it's just simply words.  And there is a way of making the words in a Security Council resolution say what you need them to say and to re-impose the restrictions that have been agreed upon in a comprehensive plan of action. 

The real tricky part is getting the political agreement on what those restrictions need to be.  And I think that's, again, part and parcel of the negotiations that are ongoing today.

On the issue of snapback more generally, I think a lot of attention is focused on whether or not there is legal mechanism for snapback, and that to me is an absurd way of looking at this.  Certainly, there's a legal way of doing snapback. 

The more important issue is under what circumstances snapback would be triggered because I don't think it's credible that for something as innocuous as a centrifuge valve being out of place, all the sanctions regime would go back in place.  And I don't, frankly, the Iranians would be all that concerned about that, because they know that that would then risk the entire plan of action. 

I think the bigger issue really is differentiating between material breaches and nonmaterial breaches, technical violations.  And I think that's actually where some more useful work ought to be done.  How we would respond to the things that are technical violations of the deal and how we respond to material breaches of the deal.

One would certainly trigger a snapback of all the sanctions that could be suspended, the other one may trigger something less, like, for instance, prohibition on the ability of an entity to engage in procurements for a year or six months, something like that.  But there ought to be a way of structuring a system in which certain violations are treated in a certain way and other violations are treated in another way.  

And I think this speaks to a larger issue about snapback.  Some of the debate on snapback has focused on whether or not snapback will preclude an Iranian breakout attempt.  I think that's a ridiculous abstraction.  If the Iranians decide to break out, sanctions are not going to be how we respond. A true Iranian breakout attempt with undeclared facilities and a brush past all the diplomatic efforts that will be taken to try and pull them back, sanctions are not going to be the way that they'll be arrested, instead that's when we're going to be in a place in which military force is going to have to be considered. 

So, therefore, the real question is not how to deal with a massive breakout and whether or not sanctions can arrest that, because at that point we would be on a very shrinking timeline with limited options other than military or how to deal with the technical, small violations which can be dealt with, but this middle space.  And it's in the middle space where the need for more breakout time is so important. 

If the Iranians are at a minimum a year away from having enough enriched uranium for a bomb, that does give you plenty of time to go down the sanctions path and to escalate the pressure on the regime in a very serious way.  The key issue will be context and how the United States and its partners choose to sell their decision to snapback on the sanctions. 

In instances in which there is widespread and systemic violations that will comparatively easily.  In instances in which there isn't, that's where the debate will be harder.  And I think what this all again speaks to is the need to be very careful in how we design our snapback, how we sell a deal, and then, how we implement the deal thereafter to assure that we have that maximum year to address the breakout attempt in the more sneak out sort of scenario.  And I think I'll stop my comments there.

DAVENPORT:  Great.  Thank you, Richard. 

Ariane?

TABATABAI:  Thank you, Kelsey.  Thank you, Daryl and the rest of the ACA team for obviously this event but also all the hard work you guys have been doing to support this very worthy process.

I'm really glad Richard brought up the issue of messaging and words, because that's what I'm going to be focusing on for the next 10 minutes.  I've heard from a number of cold warriors that one of the shortcomings of their efforts during the U.S.-Soviet arms control negotiations was that they often mistook rhetoric for policy. 

And a number of people have raised the question, are we doing the same with Iran?  And the answer is yes.  Every time the supreme leader says something, and it's very frequently, it's almost once a week, if not more, people around town start to raise questions and throw their arms in the air and say that's it, the negotiations are going to derail, that's the end of the process, we're not going to get anything out of this. 

And in the next, six weeks, I guess, is the time until we have until June 30th, this is going to become increasingly a challenge because domestic dynamics in Iran is -- are, you know, there's more and more conflict within Iran on this topic.  There are a number of conflicting forces.  And the rhetoric is going to be increasingly conflicted and increasingly contradictory, in fact. 

So I want to focus on the major actors inside Iran that are going to have a say on the nuclear issue.  And I want to sort of break it down and talk a little bit about what they've said so far on the negotiations and what that means for the implementation of a deal. 

So let's start with the supreme leader, obviously the person everybody thinks about when thinking about this issue.  The supreme leader, you know, as I said, he talks a lot, he says a lot of things, and he often says things that are interpreted as very strict redlines. 

For those of you who live in DC, you'll remember that about a year ago he came up and put a number, a figure, to the enrichment issue, which, until that point, was a very sort of vague discussion about, you know, Iran has a right to enrich.

A year ago he came out and said we need 190,000 separative work units to fuel Bushehr.  And at that point everybody was saying, well, that's it, 190,000 SWU, there's no way we're going to accept that.  Nobody sat down and thought, OK, let's think about this.  Do the Iranians actually have the capability to get to 190,000 SWUs?

Obviously, the answer is no, not right now.  All you have to do is read the second sentence to find out that what he was saying was you may not need it in the next two years, three years or five years, but eventually we will need to get to that point.  So we need enrichment and we need to be able to get to that point at some, you know, at some point in the future.  

Why am I talking this - why am I reminding you of this?  Because since the extension of the agreements in November 2014, there's been a number of instances where he's come out and said things that have been interpreted again as very strict redlines that were going to derail the process.

So, for instance, shortly before the March deadline for an agreement, for a framework agreement, the supreme leader said, look, we don't want a phased process.  We're going to have a single process, and that's going to be it.  We're not going to have a framework agreement followed by a comprehensive agreement. 

And, in fact, what happened was that we did get a framework agreement and we're going to get a comprehensive agreement in June. 

Likewise, when the Lausanne agreement was announced, he said something about sanctions and whether or not sanctions should be lifted all at once, whether or not they should lifted right after an agreement is reached.  Obviously, that was interpreted again as, well, the supreme leader is saying that sanctions must be lifted right this instance, and that's not going to happen, so we can't have an agreement then.

But, you know, again, looking at what he said and interpreting what he says, reading between the lines, essentially, indicates that every time he comes up and fixes a redline, the redline can be crossed and it's not a strict redline. 

And in fact, I would argue that he has been giving flexible enough redlines for the negotiating team to be able to sell the deal domestically using the framework as it's been established by the supreme leader.

And that's exactly what the negotiating team has been doing in Iran in the few months.  Zarif, Salehi and others in the team have been giving interviews, very long ones, in Iranian media, trying to sell the deal to their domestic constituency. 

And I know I'm going to get into a lot of trouble for this but, you know, despite how conservative the supreme leader is on most issues, on the nuclear issue, he has been a moderating agent.

If it wasn't for him, first of all, we wouldn't have a process.  There would be no process, and this would be (inaudible).  And second, if the supreme leader didn't step in and tell the hardliners in Iran to quiet down essentially, there would be a lot more challenging of the agreement, of the process all together.  And the negotiating team would have a much harder time selling this deal and negotiating in fact than it has been having. 

So what he's doing is very similar in fact to what the IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has been doing, balancing conflicting interest, balancing various domestic constituencies, but at the same time trying to negotiate, because there is, I would argue, a national consensus around the idea that the negotiations need to happen, that there needs to be a deal in Iran.

So the IRGC has been essentially echoing what the supreme leader has been saying, which is, you know, the negotiations must happen.  We back the negotiations and the negotiators.  We believe that they are going to be acting within the framework of national interest.

They, of course, have a lot at stake, first of all for their sort of vague involvement in the nuclear program, second for reasons relating to sanctions, they have arguably benefited from sanctions.  It's very obvious, you know, walking around the streets of Tehran you can see that they play a huge role in most areas of sort of public life. 

So they have been benefiting from this, and obviously the deal is going to change that dynamic to some extent.  So despite having these conflicting interests, they have been supporting the negotiations. 

For the most part, they were very cautious in doing that.  But after the Lausanne, it was a very sort of resonating endorsement.  They congratulated the supreme leader for the children of the revolution, quote/unquote, "achieving" what they achieved.

But the most, the biggest challenge is going to come from Majlis, and it has so far.  What Majlis does is that it essentially mirrors Congress.      So every time Congress does something, which is pretty frequently these days, within three days you know that Majlis is going to do something as well.

Most recently, they tried to pass a bill that negotiations would stop unless the United States stopped threatening Iran.  That's probably not going to go anywhere, like most of what they say.  But they have been trying to put a lot of pressure on the government, some members of Majlis, anyway.  And there are people who have a lot of influence in Majlis.  

But, again, this is where the supreme leader comes into play, because he has been backing the negotiators and the process altogether, Majlis hasn't been able to do as much as it would like to do.  Ultimately, what Majlis wants is what Congress wants, which is to supervise the process.

But much of the power play between Majlis and government has essentially manifested itself outside the nuclear issue even though it is deeply connected to the nuclear issue.  So, for instance, whenever Majlis wants to do something to put pressure on government, instead of trying to push back on the nuclear issue, it says, OK, I'm going to impeach this minister or we're going to give you a hard time while you're trying to do this other thing on the economy or domestic issues. 

So a lot of the sort of domestic dynamics there have been focused on other areas, trying to stop the Rouhani government from doing things that it's planned to do without necessarily crossing the redline of pushing too much on the nuclear issue.

The speaker of Majlis, even, Larijani, has come out and strongly supported the negotiators.  He's not by any means a, you know, someone who's sort of prone to supporting negotiations with the United States.  He's not a liberal by any means, but he has come out and supported the team. 

Last point I want to leave you with, but going back to the supreme leader is that, you know, one of the issues is we tend to look at some of his statements, and they're very often connected to a big deadline. 

So, for instance, after Lausanne, everybody was expecting him to say something.  So, everybody was tuning in and waiting for him to say something.  There, he didn't say his sort of -- his backing of the negotiations wasn't as resonating.

But when he does his resonating endorsement of the process, it's generally in response to something that is happening domestically.  So if the hardline newspaper Kayhan has a headline about the negotiations, the supreme leader might come out and say, look, I'm still behind the negotiators.  But he's not going to have the same level of endorsement following international events where he knows that everybody is going to be paying attention.  And I think that's sort of the going back to good cop bad cop sort of thing where he's saying, look, I'm fixing redlines, I'm asserting my authority, and I'm not going to, you know, give too much of the leeway so that the West doesn't think it can get as much from Iran. 

So I'm going to stop here and sort of wrap it up, and I'm happy to discuss any of these in more detail in Q&A.  Obviously, there's a lot to talk about. 

But essentially, my reading of the Lausanne agreement is that it does meet Iranian bottom lines.  Iran manages to walk away with exactly what it has said it would not negotiate on, enrichment itself.  It would not close down any facilities.  Arak will remain a heavy water reactor.

Now, I know that there's going to be some push and pull on so this means that it's a bad deal for us.  No, it's not.  The numbers and the sort of the details of that make it a good deal for the United States, I believe.  But the bottom lines, the sort of, you know, big things that Iran wanted to achieve, it's managed to get out of this. 

So, with this in mind, I think that the comprehensive deal, if it sort of follows what we've been -- what we've seen so far is going to be something that is going to be sellable in Iran.  The problem though is sanctions, going back to Richard's presentation.  The issue of sanctions is that with the Lausanne agreement, unlike everything else which was very much detailed in the agreements, the sanctions bit was not.

And so, there's been a lot of push and pull in Iran about sanctions.  Zarif, Salehi and others have made it clear that they would get sanctions relief once Iran starts to implement the agreements.  But that's not fully clear for most Iranians I think.  And so far, there's been a lot of back and forth on this.  I suspect there's going to be a lot more once we get closer to the June 30th deadline. And I suspect that there's going to be a lot more going on in Majlis on that front. 

So, yes, I'll stop here.

DAVENPORT:  Great.  Thank you both for the excellent presentations.  Both of our speakers did a great job sticking to the time limits, probably because I threatened to kick them under the table if they didn't.  So that luckily leaves us plenty of time for questions. 

So we'll start here with Barbara.

SLAVIN:  Thanks, Kelsey.  Barbara Slavin from the Atlantic Council. 

Can you explain how snapback is supposed to work for the UN Security Council?  The Russians yet again are saying there will be no automaticity to use the French phrase.  So how do you -- how do you arrange this in such a way that it doesn't take away their veto right? 

Also, you talk about one long day, but if memory serves, it took a very long time to implement many aspects of the JPOA.  They didn't get the channel for humanitarian transactions I think until four or five months after, you know, the implementation had been promised.  So is it going to also be a very slow process to have all the various provisions implemented?  Thank you. 

NEPHEW:  Sure.  So I would say a couple of things.  On the UN side, I think that's clearly something that still has to be negotiated, but I can give you a couple of thoughts and guesses.  

I mean, first is what does automatic snapback mean, right.  Some people think it means the moment that there is any breach whatsoever detected, sanctions snap back on, well, then, OK, that kind of automaticity might not be there, right?  It might not be the case that the moment, within seconds, of the IAEA director general finding something that's out of joint that sanctions are back in place. 

The real question is more of whether or not the time lag and the process between detection of a violation and reimposition of sanctions has got places where people can say no and turn it back off, right?

It may be that there has to be a prolonged review process.  Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that there's a vote of yes or no, right?   But there may be a prolonged review process for a couple of weeks while whatever the issue is discussed at the IAEA Board of Governors in some sort of emergency process, or an emergency meeting of the Security Council, but that if for instance there is not an agreement of the Security Council not to re-impose sanctions, that sanctions get re-imposed automatically. 

In other words, there may be a role to be played by every member of the Security Council to vote yes or no, right, but the question of whether or not that vote flips the logic here, that's up for debate, I think. 

And I would just sort of note, while it's true the Russians and Chinese have probably been the most vocal in talking about the need for the veto, they're not the only ones.  I mean the U.S. has got an interest in the veto of Security Council resolutions remaining in place.  So does France, so does the U.K., and a lot of countries might not like that, but at the end of the day, the five veto holders do want to hold their vetoes, and it's an important asset they want to keep.

So I would just sort of say I think there is a way of navigating the veto issue that gives countries a say, a chance to influence what the process is, but that does not mean that there cannot be a defined process that leads to sanctions coming back in place while the debates are still going on or if the debates are unresolved, you know, at the end of some number of days or something like that.

In terms of the long day, what I would say about the sanctions relief and how that manifested, it is not true that the channel did not exist on day one.  The channel, the humanitarian channel existed on day one, January 20, 2014.  Adam Szubin signed a number of different pieces of paper that authorized the humanitarian transactions and frankly those were already embedded in the law anyway.  The issue that we had was finding banks that were prepared to make that happen.  

Well, that's a different issue, right?  That's a commercial issue.  That's an issue of finding a bank that's willing to do it.  And the amount of time we had from when we had the first discussions on implementation with the Iranians in December to when it got implemented, that was a fairly short number of days to be able to get a bank to put itself at (inaudible) at risk. 

So what I would say is this, from a legal perspective, I think that it's certainly true, sanctions relief will be effective the day the paper is signed, and I would imagine that would be on the beginning of this long day.

That does not mean that commercial deals will start that day, right?  And I actually think the real concern that the Iranians ought to have is that there are going to be banks out there saying I'm not getting involved in Iran until I've seen six months of compliance, a year of compliance.  

That is not an issue of sanctions, that is an issue of questioning whether or not there's going to be a violation, that sanctions have to be snapped back, et cetera.  But I think that's an implementation challenge that is simply going to have to be dealt with through messaging and things like that.

DAVENPORT:  OK.  Let's take two questions this time.  Joseph, we have the gentleman in the middle and then, Shervin, back there. 

GOODBY:  Jim Goodby, Brookings -- not Brookings, but Hoover Institution. 

(LAUGHTER)

I am concerned about the dynamic under way now between the Sunni Arabs and the Iranians in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen.  And I'm wondering if that dynamic is going to continue, probably so, unless there's some change radically in the way the Revolutionary Guard see their role.

And isn't it going to be very difficult to insulate the nuclear agreement from those other things going on in the Middle East, that's - I would think that would be the major threat to the whole process, not the specifics, technicalities if you will, of the nuclear agreement.

DAVENPORT:  Yes, thank you.

BOHLEN: Avis Bohlen, retired Foreign Service Officer. 

I have a question for Richard Nephew.  Could you review for us, maybe this is elementary for some of the other members of the audience, but what will be the sanctions, the U.S. sanctions, that will come off on this long day one and what will be the ones that will be left by the legislation?  Thank you. 

DAVENPORT:  Thank you. 

Ariane, perhaps you could take Jim's question and then Richard can take...

TABATABAI:  So on the question about Sunni Arabs and Iran, yes, that's - yes, there's a lot going on, and, unfortunately, it's not going anywhere.  In Iraq, specifically, Iran feels a direct threat to its territorial integrity because of ISIS.  So it is going to remain involved in Iraq as long as ISIS is there, as long as the Iraqi situation doesn't change.  

With regard to Syria, it's not as clear.  Iran doesn't have as -- a vital threat as it does in Iraq, but it's still going to remain very much involved, especially now that it seems like the tides are turning and Iran believes, I think, that they have been right on Assad, now that, you know, the prospect of regime change is no longer really there. 

Is that going to have an impact on the negotiations?  I don't think so.  I mean all these issues have been ongoing for the past two years and, you know, the ISIS threat, Iran's involvement became very obvious already a year ago and yet the negotiations have been ongoing.  So I don't see a threat from, sorry, for the pun, but, yes, I don't see a threat from that issue for the nuclear negotiations.

NEPHEW:  And on issue of sanctions, it's easier really to talk about what's not coming off, as opposed to what's coming on, I think it's a much more distinct group.  

I think it's very obvious that the terrorism and human rights specific sanctions are going to remain in place.  So that includes things like Iran remaining a state sponsor of terrorism, designations of individual Iranian entities and people will remain in place if they were sanctioned for involvement in terrorism and human rights violations.  I mean those things will remain in place. 

I think it's also highly likely that the U.S. unilateral embargo will remain in place as well, right?  So what did the P5+1 in Iran joint statement talk about?  It talked about secondary sanctions.  Well, secondary sanctions is a term of art basically meaning U.S. interference in third party business with Iran. 

But the U.S. unilateral embargo with regard to Iran hasn't been talked about as coming off.  So I think it's still highly likely that General Motors and General Electric and any other U.S. company or bank you can talk about is probably not going to be going into Iran unless it's under a specific license for specific things, like in aircraft spare parts, you know, that's part of the joint plan of action.

In terms of, you know, what's coming off at that point, you're basically then talking about the entire structure of sanctions that have affected Iran's ability to do international financing, international transport and international energy, including having energy companies come in and help Iran with investment and structuring its fields. 

Is that all? 

DAVENPORT:  Great.  Thanks. 

I'd like to remind everybody too that the closing keynote will be given by Colin Kahl, the national security adviser to the vice president.  So some of your questions maybe better directed to him. 

But, Shervin, let's go to the back, and if we could take Joe's question and then, Andrea's question as well.

CIRINCIONE:  Thank you very much.  Joe Cirincione Ploughshares Fund and thank you, Arms Control Association for a very thoughtful and thought-provoking set of panels today.

This is for Professor Tabatabai.  I was struck by your comment of confusing statements for policy.  So, can you -- do you have an assessment of what you think the supreme leader's policy is right now on the Lausanne agreement, that is if we actually translate this into a final agreement, is he inclined to do it?  And if so, why? 

BERGER:  Hi, Andrea Berger, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.  A quick comment, if I may, sort of a reaction to one of the speakers.  And then, a question to Ariane. 

On the potential lag from the banking sector, it strikes me that actually that lag may come not necessarily as a result of banks wanting to see six months or a year of compliance, but banks maybe not being able to navigate what becomes a need for a nuanced picture. 

Banks have been used to doing this sort of blanket risk-based approach to implementing sanctions, where they don't do business with Iran.  That's very easy for them. They see an Iranian end-user, or suspect an Iranian end-user, they don't process that transaction.

Well, now, we're getting into a sanctions landscape where they're going to some sanctions on Iran.  They're still going to have counter proliferation finance obligations from 1540, and it's going to become much more difficult for them to distinguish between a transaction that they're allowed to process with an Iranian end user and one that they probably should avoid.

And I think it might take banks a little while to figure out exactly how to do that.  And I think the lag may come from that partially as a result, perhaps in addition to the questions over Iranian compliance.

But a question to Ariane briefly, you talked about mirror imaging between effectively the legislative bodies of the U.S. and Iran, and I wonder, we're having this discussion in the U.S. over how to determine what might be material breach.  Do you foresee that same discussion happening in Iran over what would be noncompliance on the part of the rest of the parties to this agreement? 

If there is a delay in releasing certain funds for example, how long the delay have to be before it becomes viewed as material breach by Iran?  Is that discussion happening? 

TABATABAI:  Yes.  Let me start with Joe's question. 

So my assessment of the supreme leader's policy so far is that he is cautiously sort of agreeing to what is going on.  It would be a mistake to think that the supreme leader doesn't know exactly what's happening, what's on the table at Lausanne or now in Vienna or wherever they are these days, because, you know, he has a direct channel to the negotiating team.  Araqchi, one of the negotiators, is within the supreme leader's circle.

So I don't foresee a scenario where essentially he would be presented with an agreement, and he would say, hey, what is this, I've never seen this.  I don't think I can sign up to this. 

I think that he is aware of the details, even though, again, and this is where policy and rhetoric should be distinguished, he said that he doesn't know the details.  He knows broadly what's going on but he doesn't have an understanding of the details. 

I believe he does, and I believe that if he is letting the negotiations go this far, it indicates that he is willing to sign up to the final deal. 

Obviously, you know, the framework agreement has essentially outlined the most important concessions Iran will have to make.  And so, if he wasn't OK with this, he would have said something, he would have done something.  And yet the negotiations are going on, the language is now being negotiated in various venues, and I think that's a good indication that he's onboard.

Now, we'll have to see what happens ultimately, but I think that he's aware of what's going on and he's onboard with this. 

Andrea, your question about mirroring of legislative bodies, what is Majlis talking about these days, my answer is not to the same level as in the U.S., there is not as much detail being discussed. And frankly, I think Majlis is more busy right now trying to put pressure on the Rouhani government to - and sort of to have an impact on the process itself, to talk about noncompliance.

That said, yes, there has been -- there have been a number of sort of discussions about noncompliance on this side.  The supreme leader again has come out and said, look, we can't trust the U.S., we know that there may never be sanctions relief in the end.  And that's something that has been echoed by Majlis, by Iranian media saying we may not get sanctions relief ultimately, but we are trying. 

And so, the discussion is not as detailed as it has been here.  And I think another part of that, it has to do with the fact that there has not been an Iranian equivalent of the fact sheet that we had in the U.S., which sort of laid out all the issues or broke down all the technical issues.  And so, Iran has not really dominated, has not really shaped that part of the discussion domestically. 

DAVENPORT:  OK.  

I want to give Richard a chance just to response to your comment.

NEPHEW:  So, just real quick, I mean, I think that's a good point about how the implementation side of the relief is going to lag just in part because banks have to figure out their due diligence requirements and things like that.

The only thing I would say though is, you know, to some extent that's all going to be dictated by their customers.  If they get a big, you know, customers, big energy companies for instance, that want to do start doing business inside of Iran, they'll sort themselves out relatively quickly.

I think ultimately the real issue is it's going to be a combination of pressures on banks and on companies to decide how they want to translate relief.  It will be made easier if relief is all in one big hunk and if they've got six months to prepare for it, right, because then they can work through all the due diligence requirements that they will have to have in place for that day when sanctions relief is triggered.

It would be quite different if all of a sudden the deal were to be implemented on the first of September.  You know, I think that's when you'll see even greater lag as they struggle to catch up.

But ultimately, I think the bigger question is will they decide to go in?  Sure, they will decide to go in and they will decide to go in when they have customers wanting to go in, when they've got confidence that they're not going to have the rug pulled up from under them and when they're confident that the reputational risk that they would take from doing so would be fairly modest.

DAVENPORT:  Great, thanks.  

I'll take the question here in the center, Joseph, and then, up here in front, please.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  This is -- I'm Norman Wulf, formerly of the State Department.  One question for Mr. Nephew, is on the verification side, is there going to be additional protocol alone, additional protocol plus, could you give a few comments on that?

And the second question is do either of you see that if the agreement is successfully implemented, that leading to any changes to Iranian behavior in other areas like terrorism, Hezbollah, et cetera?

DAVENPORT:  Great.  

Joseph, and then if you could come down over the front, please. 

QUESTION:  Richard Golden, a member of the association.  In the entire process, at this point is Israel irrelevant?

(LAUGHTER) 

DAVENPORT:  Richard, why don't we start with you?

(LAUGHTER)

NEPHEWS:  Sure.  Hey, can I - can I not answer what question?  

(LAUGHTER)

So I'll be brave, I'll take a whirl at this.  No, Israel is not irrelevant to this at all.  I think, you know, look, the idea that the United States has not taken onboard the concerns of Israel with regard to this deal is simply false. 

I spent as many hours talking with Israeli government colleagues as I did with the U.S. Congress whenever we were out of sessions with the Iranians, and that was 18 months for the process.

I think that the fact that there was a secret sort of conversations with the Iranians for a few months before the big process emerged in November of 2013 has colored people's impressions of the amount of engagement that this government is having with the Israeli government.

The simple reality is there were video-conferences, trips to Israel, trips from the Israelis to Washington, there was lots of conversations.  Israeli's thinking and some of their specific comments and reactions form the basis of positions that we took in the talks, not the sole basis, but a basis, provided information, provided context, provided concerns. 

And I would just sort of say that Israel was relevant to our policy is we were pushing it before I left the government in December.  And I am quite certain that Israeli concerns at least at a technical level are part of the process now. 

So, no, I don't think they're irrelevant at all and they certainly won't be irrelevant going forward as this thing is implemented. 

On the issue of whether or not at a political level it will interfere with doing a deal or not, that I think has been demonstrated already that the Obama administration is, you know, wants to proceed. 

On the issue of AP, AP-plus, I would say this, I would say that certainly is the case of the additional protocol and its implementation will be part of this.  As you know quite well, there are ways to implement the additional protocol and then, there are ways to implement the additional protocol. 

And if you implement the AP very aggressively, and if there's agreement, for instance, that when the IAEA says I got to go to this facility or that facility, that it gets granted that access, that itself is not per se the additional protocol, but it's an enhanced implementation of the additional protocol.

I personally would guess, I'm not in government anymore, so I'm just guessing, but I would guess that that's the kind of thing we're going to see.  We're going to see an aggressive implementation of the initial protocol, but enough that gives the Iranians very clear legal ability to say we're just implementing the additional protocol, but gives the access and transparency that the United States and its partners really need to see in Iran on a day-to-day basis. 

TABATABAI:  Yes, I will just add to the -- I'll answer the question about the behavior, will Iran change its behavior following a deal?  Well, I guess, the answer is it depends, you know, in some places it won't. 

Again, on Iraq there is -- there is a very clear sort of threat to the national security as far as the Iranians are concerned.  So, Iran's behavior is not going to change. 

That said, there might be some more cooperation with the United States and I say this, you know, I'll go back to the supreme leader at the - I've been talking a lot about him today.  He - in one of his many speeches recently, he said that the nuclear negotiations serve as a test for Iran-U.S. relations.  That's not something that has been widely reported here, but that's something that he said and that is kind of —it's a pretty big deal.  He hadn't said this for a very long time as far as I remember.  So that might actually provide some grounds for further Iran-U.S. coordination anyway. 

On a number of other issues, it may change Iran's behavior.  In places where Iran doesn't have a clear interest, where it's really just trying to poke the U.S. in the eye or the Saudis in the eye, it might change a little bit.  But I think that it's a very much a case-by-case basis that we need to look at this issue.  But I think the sort of general assessment within the, Iran's regional sort of power play is no, it's not going to change too much.

DAVENPORT:  Great.  Thank you, both.  Unfortunately, we're out of time for this panel, but I would urge everyone to stay in their seats as we transition to our last keynote and before that, please join me in thanking both of our panelists.

(Back to the agenda)

Speaker: Colin Kahl, Deputy Assistant To The President and National Security Adviser To The Vice President

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

[*]

KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.  All right.

So as I said, we're moving into the closing round for our conference today, and we're very lucky to have with us one more dynamic speaker who's going to be addressing the P5+1 in the Iran nuclear negotiations, the Lausanne framework agreement, and the on-going talks, and the implementation steps beyond the June 30 target date for concluding the talks.

And he is Colin Kahl, the deputy assistant secretary to President Obama and the national security adviser to Vice President Biden.  And he has been deeply involved in the administration's effort to negotiate a comprehensive joint plan of action to address Iran's sensitive nuclear activities, and has been working in and out of government for more than a decade, Georgetown and elsewhere, the Defense Department, on the security challenges in the -- the Middle East.

And we're especially grateful to have him here today.  We're taking him away from Camp David and the festivities and the festivities and conversations there.

But I think it's very important that we have his voice here to talk about not just the agreement, but the broader Middle East issues that are being discussed up at Camp David.

So, we hope to have him talk about what a -- what the completion of a final deal based around the parameters we talked about and discussed in Lausanne would do to set back Iran's nuclear program, how the agreement would enhance regional security and that of our allies.

And before I ask him to come up and speak and take a few questions after his -- his talk, just note as Kelsey said that we at the Arms Control Association along with dozens of other non-proliferation experts across the United States and around the world judge the agreement that is emerging from these negotiations to be a net plus for -- for non-proliferation, and we wish Colin and the rest of the team good luck with the Iranians in the weeks ahead.

So, Colin, thanks for being here.  All right.  The floor is yours.

KAHL:  Well, good afternoon everybody.  Thanks Daryl.

Thanks to everybody here at the Arms Control Association for all the  tremendous work you do every day in the non-proliferation and nuclear security and disarmament arenas.  You also do a fantastic job in educating the public on enormously complex issues to include the issue that I'm going to talk about today, which is Iran.

As Daryl mentioned, I'm here really to talk about the prospects for achieving a comprehensive diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear challenge, and I hope perhaps most interestingly for you all, address a number of concerns and criticisms that have been expressed about such an agreement.

I hope that my remarks will be a useful companion to what I thought was a really terrific panel with Richard and Ariane.  And those of you, I didn't actually know Ariane very well until very recently, when I realized that she's teaching the class I used to teach at Georgetown.

(LAUGHTER)

So, in any case, I'm sure she's doing a much better job than I did, although I guess we'll see when the teaching evaluations are in.

I know -- I know she's having fun.  I miss being in the classroom for sure.

As all of you know, from day one, president Obama has been committed to using all instruments of national power to prevent the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran, an outcome that we believe could set off an arms race in the Middle East and raise the specter of a nuclear war in what is already the world's most troubled region.

To accomplish this objective, our administration has pursued a dual-track approach, combining unprecedented sanctions and pressure with a willingness to directly engage Iran and our international partners in the so-called P5+1, the other U.N. Security Council members plus Germany, to find a diplomatic means to ensure that Iran's nuclear program is used exclusively for peaceful purposes.

We took an important step towards this outcome in November of 2013 when we reached, alongside the P5+1, the joint plan of action, the so-called JPOA, an interim nuclear accord with Iran that froze Iran's program in place and rolled back some of its most troubling dimensions, to include its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium, while we continued negotiations to achieve a comprehensive solution.

On April 2nd, as was mentioned in the previous panel, we released the parameters for such a deal.  If finalized over the next two months, the deal we are negotiating will effectively prevent the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran by closing off the various pathways whereby Iran could pursue a bomb.

Notably, an attempt to break out -- so-called "break out," by producing weapons grade uranium at one of Iran's two enrichment facilities, Natanz or Fordow, a plutonium path using the Arak, that's Arak, not Iraq, the country, apparently they're completely different places, the Arak heavy-water research reactor, or what some call a "sneak-out" at new, covert facilities.

So, let me say a few words about hoe the deal, if completed, will block these pathways.

As it relates to enrichment, for the next 10 years under this deal, Iran's centrifuges will be cut by two-thirds, from around 19,000 today to a total of 6,000, only 5,000 of which will be operational.  All 5,000 will be present at Natanz, all 5,000 operational centrifuges will be at Natanz, and all of them will be the most basic IR-1 models.

In contrast, in the absence of this deal, Iran would likely install and being operating tens of thousands of additional centrifuges, including thousands of much more advanced models in a very short period of time.

For the next 15 years under the proposed deal, Iran will also reduce its current stockpile of 10,000 kilograms of low enriched uranium, enriched up to the 3.67 percent, which, if further enriched to weapons grade, would be sufficient for as many as eight nuclear weapons.  Under the deal that we're negotiating, they would reduce that stockpile by 98 percent, to a working stock of about 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, which is a fraction of what is required for a single nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, the deeply buried Fordow facility would be converted.  It would no longer be a place where enrichment can occur or uranium can be stored.

The result, for a decade under this deal, breakout time, which is the time it would take upon a political decision to do so, for Iran to produce one weapon's worth of highly enrichment uranium, that break-out timeline would be extended from the current timeline of about two to three months to more than a year.

That cushion, in our assessment, provides ample time to deter Iran from going down this road.  It would provide us plenty of time to detect it if they tried and marshal an effective enough response to stop them in their tracks.

And for years beyond this point, beyond the 10-year stockpile limitations and other constraints on Iran's enrichment program would produce, in our assessment, a longer break-out timeline than exists today.

The deal will also close off the plutonium path.  Once construction is complete in the status quo the Arak reactor, as currently configured, could potentially produce one to two bombs worth of weapons every single year.

Under the deal we're negotiating, however, Arak would be redesigned to produce zero weapons grade plutonium.  The spent fuel from which this plutonium could be extracted will also be shipped out of Iran for the life of the reactor.  And Iran will be barred from building a reprocessing capability that would be necessary to separate bomb-grade plutonium.

These steps, taken in combination, we believe, shut down the plutonium path using Arak forever.

What about "sneak-out"?  Under the deal we'll also put in place the toughest transparency and verification requirements ever negotiated, providing the best possible check against a secret pathway to a bomb.

From the outset, Iran will implement the so-called additional protocol to their safeguards obligations, which will allow the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, to inspect both declared facilities like Natanz and Fordow and Arak and Esfahan, and undeclared sites where illicit activities are suspected or may be under way.

This obligation, the additional protocol, is permanent, as is Iran's continuing obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the NPT, to never produce nuclear weapons.

The proposed deal will also place every link in the nuclear supply chain under international surveillance.  For the next 25 years, the next quarter century, inspectors will have access to Iran's uranium mines and mills, and for the next two decades, they will have access to Iran's centrifuge production, assembly and storage facilities.

Throughout the life of this deal, in addition, all purchases of sensitive nuclear equipment will be strictly monitored.  And as part of the transparency measures under a final agreement, Iran will also have to address IAEA concerns about the possible military dimensions of its past nuclear research.

Let me be absolutely clear about something.  This deal is not about trust.  OK?  Frankly, we don't trust the Iranians.

This deal is not about that.  It's about verification.  All right?  It's not even Reagan's old phrase of "trust, but verify."  This is distrust and make sure you verify.

And if at any point, Iran breaks its commitments under this proposed deal and goes for a weapon in the open or in secret, we're much more likely to detect is and we'll have much more time to respond under the proposed agreement than would be the case otherwise.

So the constraints and the verification measures in this proposed deal are significant.

Now, of course, Iran's willingness to sign up to something like this is not out of the goodness of the regime's heart.  They expect something in return, and that's where the issue of sanctions relief comes in.

So they expect that there will be a reciprocal commitment by the United States and our P5+1 partners to offer meaningful relief from nuclear and proliferation related sanctions.

But, again, let me be clear.  Iran must verifiably complete its implementation of nuclear commitments before it receives substantial U.S., E.U., or U.N. sanctions relief.  This could happen relatively quickly, but only if Iran acts quickly to meet its commitments.

Even then, many sanctions will be suspended, as Richard talked about in the previous panel, not terminated, and sanctions will only be ended once Iran has restored confidence in the peaceful nature of its program.  And throughout there will also be clear procedures in the final deal that allows both unilateral and U.N. sanctions to snap back into place, if Iran cheats.

Taking all of these elements into consideration, the accord outlined in the April 2nd parameters, if finalized, is a good deal.  It's a good deal for the United States, and it's a good deal for the world.

And when one considers what a world looks like without this deal, a world in which Iran's break-out timeline rapidly shrinks from its two to three months period already, a world in which its stockpile of enriched uranium grows, a world in which Arak becomes a plutonium factory, and our ability to detect a covert program diminishes, rather than increases, and we get back on  the road to a nuclear-armed Iran, a military combination or both, when one compares that world to a world of the deal, the conclusion that this is a good deal becomes incontrovertible in our judgment.

Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped a number of folks from pointedly criticizing the proposed deal.  It's worth noting, as many of you in this room know, that more than a year and a half ago, we heard some more skepticism about the JPOA from most of the same folks.

Yet, these criticisms ultimately proved unfounded.  And some of the JPOA's biggest critics today argue that it should be indefinitely extended.

They went from describing is as an historic mistake to a great deal.

This track record notwithstanding, the argument against a final deal we are working on must still be taken seriously, and we do take them seriously, because this is deadly serious business.

So in the time that I have left, I thought that I would address some of the major criticisms that we've heard about the proposed agreement head-on.

Some of our critics contend that the administration is so desperate for any nuclear deal with Iran that we're willing to settle for a bad one.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Indeed, if we were so desperate for a deal that we were willing to rush to a bad deal, we could have had one in July of last year or November of last year, when the JPOA was originally set to expire.

But instead we decided to extend the JPOA not once, but twice, to keep negotiating to drive towards a deal that met our bottom lines.

So there's simply no empirical reality to the notion that we're desperate for a deal.  We could have taken one a year ago.

Now, because of the parameters that have been agreed to, we're close.  We're much closer to a comprehensive deal that achieves our bottom line objectives.  But we're obviously not across the goal line yet.  And let me assure you, if the Iranians backtrack on the parameters or if unresolved issues related to sanctions or inspections are not resolved in ways that ensure Iranian compliance with a comprehensive agreement, there simply won't be a deal.  Period.

Other critics reject the deal we are negotiating on the grounds that there is a better deal out there.  If we just step back, dial up the sanctions, rattle the saber, make more military threats, and drive the Iranian regime to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure completely and forever.

There's just one problem with this line of argument.  It's wishful thinking.  We've seen this movie before.  And, spoiler alert, it doesn't end well.

In 2005, after a two-year suspension of Iran's nuclear program, the Bush administration refused to accept a final nuclear accord unless it mandated zero enrichment and associated infrastructure.  So we've run this play before, the United States has.  And what was the result?

Starting in early 2006, Iran went from 164 centrifuges, that's 164 centrifuges, to thousands of centrifuges.  The United States because of its position, rather than Iran, was viewed as the intransigent party, which made it very, very difficult in the latter part of the Bush administration, to marshal the type of effective pressure that we've been able to marshal in the last several years against Iran.

And it took the better part of a decade to get the Iranians back into serious negotiations and bring the world with us in those negotiations, and it only happened because President Obama succeeded in 2009 and 2010 in reversing the narrative, making it clear that it was Tehran, not Washington, that was to blame for the diplomatic impasse.

This is what allowed us to ramp up effective pressure and build an international coalition to support our efforts to put meaningful and verifiable constraints on Iran's program.

Moreover, it is not at all clear why today's proponents of a so-called better deal believe that Iran will fold and that they would fold in time before they crossed the nuclear threshold.  After all, this is a regime that is mortgaged its domestic legitimacy in the face of withering international sanctions on defending the country's nuclear program as a national right.

And this is the same regime which, two decades ago, during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, was willing to suffer perhaps 1 million casualties and $600 billion of economic damage, and it still took them eight years to agree to a tie.

So why do critics believe that Iran today is likely to completely capitulate just because we want them to, or just because they say they should?  Because no bona fide Iran expert inside or outside of the government believes it.  None.

There's no reason to think that if we abandon the good deal that we've placed on the table, one that the rest of our P5+1 partners have signed up to as tough but reasonable, if we abandon that in favor of a unilateralist, maximalist approach, that the international community would come with us?

Indeed, running that play, running the play that our critics oppose, pulling back and attempting to unilaterally escalate the pressure would likely backfire, producing less international consensus and thus less net pressure on Iran.  That would be the very definition of self-defeating.

Ultimately, if we go on our own, insisting on conditions that neither Iran nor, most importantly, the international community can accept, we're likely to end up with the worst of all worlds, the end of diplomacy, an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program, a shattered international consensus around sanctions and, as a result, a greater likelihood of an Iranian bomb, a military confrontation or both at a time when there's already so much turmoil in the Middle East.

In our view, that's a pretty high price to pay for wishful thinking.

Another criticism one hears focuses on the proposed sunset provisions of the deal.  Because some of the constraints in the proposed deal loosen over time, our critics charge, this deal, quote, "paves Iran's path to the bomb 10 or 15 years down the road."

But let's get something absolutely straight.  Iran already has a path to the bomb today, and blowing up diplomacy doesn't get you off that path, nor, frankly, would military action, which would delay the program for significantly less time than the duration of the deal we're talking about here.

Additionally, military action would likely incentivize Iran to kick out inspectors and double down on their efforts to build a bomb to deter a future attack.  In our view, that is hardly an enduring solution.

Indeed, when one considers what is necessary to block Iran's path to nuclear weapons, no other realistic alternative gets you a decade of a one-year breakout cushion, a generation of insight into their entire nuclear infrastructure and permanent commitments on Arak, the additional protocol and the NPT.  No other alternative gets you that.

And if 10, 15 or 20 years from now, Iran violates its NPT obligations and resumes its march towards nuclear weapons, no option available to deal with that threat today will be off the table down the line.  In fact, some of these options will be far better, because we'll know a lot more and we'll have a lot more capabilities.

So let me conclude by addressing one final criticism -- and I'm going to linger on this a little bit longer, because it's important -- the concern that the proposed deal would provide Iran with a windfall of cash, enabling the regime in Tehran and the Revolutionary Guard in particular to escalate their destabilizing activities and facilitate their domination of the greater Middle East.

Some critics have even gone so far as to argue that, quote, "a richer Iran is more dangerous than a nuclear-armed Iran."  Now, they tell us.

(LAUGHTER)

This concern, in all seriousness, should be taken seriously, and we do, but there are several, I think fundamental problems with it.  For one thing, it is not at all clear that Iran will spend the majority of its money from sanctions relief on troublesome foreign behavior.  Because Iran is in such dire straits economically, Iranian spending in the immediate aftermath of a deal is likely to focus on domestic priorities.  That is, at least for some period of time, on butter over guns.  As a result, consider this.

As a result of U.S. and international sanctions, the Iranian economy is probably 15 to 20 percent smaller than it would've been otherwise and it will take Iran a long time to dig out from this economic hole, even with substantial nuclear-related sanctions relief.

Our oil sanctions alone have probably deprived Iran of over $160 billion in oil revenues, just since 2012.  Because Iran's economy is in such disrepair, the majority of new revenues are expected to be used to address economic needs, including shoring up Iran's budget, building infrastructure, maintaining the stability of the real, and attracting imports.

Indeed, the scale of Iran's domestic investment needs alone is estimated to be at least a half a trillion dollars, which far outstrips the benefits of sanctions relief.

President Rouhani's political imperatives lend additional credence to this assessment.  Rouhani was elected on a platform that included economic revitalization, and Iranians are expecting tangible economic benefits from constructive engagement with the international community.

Politically, Rouhani and other Iranian leaders will be under immense pressure to deliver economic improvement once Iran starts receiving sanctions relief.

Of course, despite these objective economic and political imperatives,  it is certainly conceivable that the regime could choose instead to devote additional money to support Iranian operations abroad.  And the unfortunate reality is that many of these foreign operations are not very expensive, which is why Tehran continues to fund them despite sanctions, and will likely continue to do so whether or not the sanctions are maintained.

Much depends on what type of actor Iran ultimately chooses to be in the region.  It is conceivable, although far from inevitable, that a nuclear deal could incentivize Iranian moderation.  It is also possible that it won't.

Those of you who follow Iranian politics closely know that there is a major debate among Iran's fractious political elites.  Some pragmatic elites seek greater integration with the international community and more normal relations with the world and other regional powers.  Other hardliners however clearly aspire to dominate the greater Middle East via militant proxies.  There's no doubt about that.

A deal might empower pragmatists by giving them a big win, potentially allowing them to claw back more influence on Iran's foreign policy and push domestic reform.  By demonstrating the benefits of constructive engagement with the international community and dealing a blow to those elements within Iran who thrive under a sanctions economy and resistance to the West, it is conceivable that we would see a situation in which Iranian leaders begin to place greater emphasis on growing Iran's economy, re-entering the world community, and lessening Iran's provocations in the region.

But it is also possible, and we have to be mindful of this, that the supreme leader could seek to placate or compensate hardliners in the aftermath of a deal by doubling down on what he calls "resistance."

Because it could go either way, the nuclear deal that we're negotiating is not premised on making a big bet on Iran's future geopolitical orientation.  Let me say that again.  The nuclear deal that we are negotiating is not premised on the assumption that Iran will change its stripes in the region.  It simply is not.

So let's be clear.  The potential nuclear deal is not a grand bargain with Iran.  We do not see it as such.  We are not banking on the regime transforming itself.  But we do believe that the deal makes sense regardless of what type of Iran emerges in the aftermath of a deal.

The deal is also not a permission slip for Iran to continue to make trouble in the region, and we are communicating that to them very, very clearly.

If, and it's a big if, if Iran begins to moderate its behavior after a deal, there may be opportunities for further engagement to deescalate regional tensions, but where Tehran persists in destabilizing actions or chooses to escalate them, we will continue to push back against these activities and defend our allies and partners in the region.  That is why we will continue to call out Iran's leaders for their detention of American citizens, for their anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic statements, and their human rights violations.

And it's also why, irrespective of a possible nuclear deal, our sanctions targeting a broad array of Iran's non-nuclear activities, including human rights violations and terrorism will remain in full effect and will be vigorously enforced.

It is also important to understand, and this is a -- this is a very critical point.  It's important to understand that many of Iran's gains in recent years in the Middle East was more a byproduct of the weaknesses in many regional states where Iran and its proxies operate, rather than a manifestation of Iran's inherent strengths.

So the solution is to build stronger partners and pursue political solutions across the region that help stabilize countries and make them more immune to nefarious influence of all varieties.

That's why in places like Iraq and Lebanon, where Iran attempts to use proxies to exercise undue influence and build these parallel institutions, we will continue our work to strengthen national institutions and militaries to harden them against foreign interference.  And in places like Syria and Yemen, we will continue to promote political transitions and inclusive power-sharing arrangements to end the violence and ensure that all parties, not just Iran's proxies, have a say in governance.

Moreover, even as we pursue a nuclear deal, we will expand our already robust cooperation with Israel and other regional partners, including the Gulf states, to push back against Iranian threats.  With Israel, our security cooperation is as strong as its ever been, despite obvious policy disagreements, and we are committing and committed to strengthening it further.

Indeed, no president has done more for the security of Israel than President Barack Obama.  That's just a fact, and it's not going to change.  When I ran the Middle East office at the Pentagon the first three years of the Obama administration, Israel was in my portfolio.  I traveled to Israel 13 times.  The only country in my portfolio I visited more was Iraq.  I went there 16 times because we had more than 100,000 forces there.

But in all the -- of all the 14 other countries that were in my portfolio, no other country received the attention that Israel did.  I had more than 100 meetings in my three years with senior Israeli defense and political leaders.  So I know how much hard work has been done by this administration from the very outset to make Israel safer.

Our administration has worked with Congress to provide record-setting levels of U.S. security assistance, nearly $1 billion over and above our foreign military financing for -- for the Iron Dome system, to defend Israel against Iranian proxies, whether they be in Gaza or in Southern Lebanon.  And we've provided Israel with the F-35 fighter and other state-of-the-art technology to ensure Israel's qualitative military edge against any potential adversary in the region.

Our intelligence cooperation has also become deeper than ever.  And all of this, when taken together, and I could list quote after quote after quote after quote from senior Israeli official is unprecedented.

In the Gulf too, we have taken important steps to protect our partners.  On any given day, there are 35,000 U.S. forces in the Gulf region, stationed there to deter aggression and defend our partners against it.  We're also working to expand the defensive capabilities and collective security potential of our Gulf cooperation council partners by improving their air and missile defenses, their ability to coordinate on maritime security, critical infrastructure protection, and cyber defenses, as well as their counter-terrorism capabilities.  That's the purpose of the meeting the president is hosting today with both leaders in Camp David.

Of course, some of our critics want us to go a step further.  They believe that we should condition the removal of nuclear sanctions on changes in Iran's destabilizing behavior, including holding a nuclear agreement, not removing any nuclear-related sanctions until Iran ends all of its support for terrorism, militancy, subversion, and calls for Israel's demise.

By the way, we share the desire for Iran to end all of these abhorrent practices, and we will continue to push Iran to alter its behavior in all of these areas.  But the nuclear sanctions were put in place to pressure Iran to accept a nuclear deal out of recognition that as destabilizing as Iran's activities are today, a nuclear-armed Iran would be exponentially more dangerous.  It would be able to hide behind a shield of a nuclear deterrent to advance its hegemonic ambitions and support for terrorism and militancy across the region with impunity.

And its actions would now carry the risk of sparking crises that could spiral into a regional nuclear conflict: a risk that does not exist today.

So the purpose of these sanctions and this deal is to reduce that risk, not to resolve every problem we have with Iran and every threat and challenge that Tehran may continue to pose.  A similar rationale of course drove arms control agreements during the Cold War with the Soviet Union: another regime that engaged in reprehensible people at home and abroad, brutalized its own citizens, sponsored proxies, and threatened our allies.

The United States made repeated arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, even as they continued to engage in behavior that was far more threatening to our interests than  Iran's activities are today.  Why?  In order to reduce the nuclear threat and prevent a nuclear war.

As my boss, the vice president, reminded an audience just last month, Kennedy didn't condition the partial test-ban treaty on the Soviets surrendering Cuba first.

Nixon negotiated the SALT treaty without conditioning it on Moscow ending its assistance to North Vietnam.

Regan demanded to Gorbachev, "tear down that wall," but he didn't condition nuclear talks at Reykjavik on the Soviets tearing down the Berlin Wall first.

And throughout this entire period, we never demanded that Moscow recognize the legitimacy of global capitalism, or stop its support for communist regimes and insurgents in Africa, Central America, and elsewhere as a precondition to step back from the brink of armageddon.

These presidents pursued these arms control agreements with the Soviets because nuclear weapons pose an existential danger that must be dealt with, and refusing to do so, unless all of our other concerns are met, would leave us far more vulnerable to the threat of nuclear proliferation and devastating conflict.  We didn't do it during the Cold War.  We shouldn't apply that standard -- a different standard today.

Moreover, there's simply no reason to believe that conditioning sanctions relief on Iran fundamentally changing its behavior throughout the region would work.  Insisting on this highly ideological regime in Tehran ending all of its objectionable behavior in the region is tantamount to insisting on regime change as a condition for a nuclear deal.

It won't work because the regime won't accept it, and even more importantly, the world would not back this play, meaning it would leave us, not Iran, more isolated, and it would leave Iran freer, not more constrained, to cause mischief.

Last but not least, we can be just as confident that maintaining the current nuclear-related sanctions or attempting to escalate them in the absence of international consensus around that escalation won't be sufficient to solve the problem of Iran's nefarious activities either, since Iran has already proven both willing and able to engage in these activities, despite the sanctions.

Ultimately, it is geopolitical constraints, not financial ones, which will limit greater Iranian activity in the region.  That is why a strategy that simultaneously pursues a nuclear deal and takes steps to support our allies and counter Iran's destabilizing actions makes more sense than rejecting this deal as our critics would have us do, in the fanciful hope of driving the Iranian regime and its proxies out of business.

So, despite all the criticisms leveled against a potential deal with Iran, it is clear that the deal we are pursuing advances core American interests.  Is the deal we are negotiating perfect?  It is not.  Will it solve every problem in the Middle East?  It most certainly will not.

But if completed, it represents the best available option to address the looming threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran, and in the process would make the United States, our regional allies, and the world a safer place.

So thanks for your patience, and I look forward to your questions.

(APPLAUSE)

KIMBALL:  Well, thank you very much Colin.  Oftentimes one invites an administration official to give a talk about a serious topic, and it's not as substantive as you'd like, but that was a very meaty and serious and thorough presentation, so thank you.

So we have -- we've got time for several questions, and I want to give the reporters in the room a first crack at -- at Colin.  So, I see a hand over here from -- from Barbara, who has strategically positioned herself closer to the moderator.  So -- and then we'll come up here for another question up front, after Barbara.

QUESTION:  OK.

Thanks, Colin.  Thanks for your spirited defense of the agreement.

We see reports all the time that the Iranians are continuing to try to procure various elements for centrifuges, other nuclear parts.  How are you going to define material breach in the comprehensive agreement?  How are we  going to know what is going to trigger this -- this attempt at least to snap back some of the sanctions, and what is -- is a relatively minor concern?  Will it be precisely defined?

Thanks.

KAHL:  Yeah, I mean I don't want to judge how it will be defined.  I think that clearly what's allowed under the agreement and what's not allowed will be clearly defined.  The degree to which, you know, a particular -- a particular action is defined as a material breach, I just -- I don't know that yet.  I don't know the answer to that question.

But it is -- it is something that we're going to have to come to closure on in the next -- in the next six weeks.  I will tell on the specific issue of procurement, a major piece of this agreement of course will be to establish a procurement channel, so that any sensitive nuclear-related technologies or associated dual-use technologies will have to be purchased through this internationally-monitored channel.

Anything that's purchased outside that channel, by definition, will be illicit.  So, I think that's actually quite an important part of the transparency and verification mechanisms that we're going to put in place.

KIMBALL:  All right.  We'll take this question here, if you could identify yourself, please.

QUESTION:  Hi, Jessica Schulberg from the Huffington Post.

Thanks for coming out -- very compelling.  Could you speak a little bit about the process by which the IAEA would grant -- gain access to certain sites?  There's been a lot of talk within Iran about military sites being off limits, and then we hear different things regarding the additional protocol. 

KAHL:  Yeah, so, I mean under the additional protocol, the IAEA can request access to any site in the country that they suspect there's illicit nuclear-related activity going on.  So, that means any site is open for them to request.

Now, Iran could deny that request.  If they deny that request, they would have to be able to provide to the IAEA information to settle the dispute, in the absence of getting physical access.  If they can't do that and they still deny access, then there will likely be an adjudication mechanism under the agreement.  They will have a finite period of time to come to closure.

And if Iran is basically required under that procedure to provide access and they do not -- they still do not provide access, then it's a violation of the agreement.  And any of the enforcement measures snap back, or other measures will kick in at that -- at that stage.

So under the additional protocol, there are no places that are off limits.  Obviously, the IAEA would have to make the case that they need access to it for, you know, to -- to verify compliance with the -- with the agreement, but there aren't going to be off-limit places.

KIMBALL:  All right.  We're going to go to the back.  I see Eli here.  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Thanks a lot.

If crippling sanctions didn't deter Iran from continuing to build centrifuges, why do you think that snap-back sanctions will deter them from cheating on the agreement?

KAHL:  I think that -- look, I think the deterrent is more comprehensive, frankly, than snap-back.  I think that the -- signing onto the agreement to begin with represents a strategic decision, a calculation by the regime that a world of the agreement in which they accept meaningful constraints on their program is better than a world in which they are isolated, pressured, and under threat.

And to the degree that violating the agreement puts them back into a world in which they are isolated, under pressure and potentially under threat, that alternative would be worse.

So I mean, I guess -- I guess you should direct that question to Iranian officials and ask them that.  I think it is our judgment that sanctions have had a meaningful effect in driving Iran to the table.  It's nonlinear, as you note, Eli, because of course we had gradually escalating sanctions from 2006 through 2010 and then a significant increase in sanctions from 2010 onwards, if you kind of put the -- put the -- plant the flag at the U.N. Security Council resolution 1929 in June of 2010.

And then obviously, the NDAA and CISADA and other steps that the Congress took, as well as the E.U. oil embargo and et cetera.  You had a substantial ramping up of pressure.

I think it's our assessment that it was the combination of that pressure and, frankly, some leadership changes in Iran as a consequence of their 2013 presidential elections.  Those two things coming together affected Iran's calculus and their determination to -- to strike a deal.

Now, we'll see -- by the way, it's not clear it will happen.  I think the chances are decent and improving, but not inevitable.  If Iran strikes this deal, it's basically then coming to the realization that a world with a deal is better than a world without a deal where the pressure will be increasing.

I think, you know, Richard's point in the previous panel is an important one, too.

I think a, you know, what -- if they violate the deal, it would be a major strategic decision as well, and it would put them at enormous risk: enormous risk of unraveling all the progress they would make in unwinding the sanctions and frankly, it would spark an international crisis that could put -- put folks on a path to a military confrontation, which the regime likely wants to avoid as well.

KIMBALL:  All right.  I think there was another question in the back.  Shervin, right there.

QUESTION:  Hi.

Tom Collina of Ploughshares Fund.

Colin, thank you very much, and Daryl, thank you very much as well.

Colin, a question about timing.  Assuming the Corker Bill becomes law, as it looks like it will be, but how will that impact the administration's timing and timeliness of suspending sanctions?

And as part of that question, do you expect the Iranian regime to, if you will, kind of pre-implement the deal in order to accelerate the time-frame where sanctions can be lifted?   Thank you.

KAHL:  You know, under the terms of the Corker legislation, if something nearly identical passes in the House, there's about a 30 day review period, and it could be extended under certain circumstances for a period of time.

So, I think the answer is that the -- that the entire deal would probably be delayed in implementation until the review period is -- is over.  So, it would delay.  It could delay Iran taking meaningful steps in the first 30 days, and obviously, because of the nature of the law, it doesn't allow any statutory sanctions to be waived, that is suspension of U.S. unilateral sanctions during that period.

So, I think the delay is kind of baked into the review period.  Of course, Congress may not take the entire review period.  They may look at it for a shorter period of time and pass their judgment, and then we would go from there.

Whether Iran will pre-implement, I think again, a question probably better directed towards Iranian officials than me.  If they started to take steps tomorrow to remove the calandria from Arak and dismantle centrifuges and do other things, I'm not sure why that would be a bad thing.  I don't see any indication that they're doing -- doing that yet.  And under the terms of the deal we're negotiating, they don't get major sanctions relief until they've taken the major steps associated with dialing back their -- their nuclear program.

So, you know, obviously the sooner they do that, the sooner relief might kick in, and if they calculate from that that it serves their interest to start taking steps to roll back their program earlier rather than later, I'm not sure why that would be a bad thing, but I haven't seen any signs they've done that yet.

KIMBALL:  All right.  And before we just take the next question, let me just ask you Colin, while we have a chance, if you could just describe in general how the talks are proceeding, what the schedule is, who is meeting between now and 30th, how -- how were the remaining details of the JCPOA based upon Lausanne framework being put together?

KAHL:  Yeah, I mean, we've had a number of expert-level meetings and political -- now political director level meetings.  Much of the discussion, at least out of the outset, and this has all been reported in the press, focused on sanctions and the -- and the timing and phasing of -- of sanctions.

But we continue to have conversations with them on other technical issues related to the annexes, on enrichment capacity, you know, research and development and other things.

We don't have a firm timeline.  That is when Wendy and her team, you know, will meet on the calendar, and when Secretary Kerry and Zarif will get back together at the -- at the ministerial level with the rest of the P5+1.  I think at the moment, we're trying to make as much progress as we can at the expert level in almost constant conversation with -- with the Wendy Sherman level, the political director level, you know, meeting every couple weeks.  And then as we get closer to crunch time, I expect that the ministers will lock themselves up in a hotel room somewhere in Switzerland or somewhere else, and hammer out the remaining details.

KIMBALL:  All right.  All right, a couple other questions here, into the middle, please.  Mr. Levine, and then we'll come over here to the left.

QUESTION:  Colin, thank you for a splendid presentation.  Nothing to object to at all, but I...

(LAUGHTER)

KAHL:  Could you tell my wife that?

QUESTION:  Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

KAHL:  Just in general.

QUESTION:  Yes, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

But I do think that at the very technical level, there will still be people raising questions that you have not quite addressed.

One would be what to do about the problem when conversion or down-blending of uranium is not easily achieved, and how reversible it might be.

A second would be, does the additional protocol really apply to a case in which Iran is -- is suspected of nuclear weapons activity that does not involve nuclear material, but rather involves something like explosive testing.

And thirdly, will the PMD issue be specifically tied to sanctions relief?  Or will it be sort of a floating obligation in the agreement?

Thank you.

KAHL:  Yeah.  I'll handle those in reverse order.  The -- the -- on the PMD issue, the answer is yes, it will be tied to specific sanctions relief.  It will not be something that's just floating that out in the ether.  And Iran will have to come to a resolution on the key issues associated with -- with the PMD investigation with the IAEA before they get the major tranche of sanctions relief.

KIMBALL:  That's made clear in the Lausanne framework.

KAHL:  It's -- and it's -- and it's actually -- by the way, from a timing perspective, this is just a question of political will on Iran's case, right?  They can -- they can provide access to people, places and things relatively quickly.

It may not mean that the IAEA finishes its investigation in that time period, but Iran has to give the IAEA the access required within that time period to get the major tranche of sanctions relief.  And, as Daryl mentioned, that's spelled out, or alluded to in the parameters of April 2nd.

Does the A.P. apply to -- I mean, in essence, you're asking would the additional protocol, as we're understanding it, apply to a Parchin-like situation in the future?  And the short answer is, yes, in our -- in our understanding of what would be allowed.  If there was -- because the agreement will also rule out of bounds certain weaponization-related activities.  So in the Parchin case, where the IAEA alleges, or suspects that there was explosive -- conventional explosive testing related to the possible experimentation surrounding an implosion warhead, those types of activities would be verboten under the type of agreement we're talking about.  And our interpretation of the additional protocol, at least as far as I understand it, would allow the IAEA to get access in a future Parchin-like scenario.

As it results -- as it relates to down-blending -- look, currently, you know, the 10,000 -- how do you get from 10,000 kilograms, roughly, of LEU at 3.67 percent in various forms, although mostly gas, as you -- as you know, down to a working stock of 300 kilograms?  The answer is dilution, not -- we're not -- we're not looking at oxidation, which I think raises the issue.

You know, under the -- under the Joint Plan of Action, they dealt with the 20 percent stockpiles through a combination of dilution and oxidation.  And some critics raised the problem of could you, you know, oxidation can be reversed, so you turn the powder back into gas.

Now, one of the ways the JPOA addressed that of course is that they didn't have the piping or the technology to do that, and any -- and setting that up in and of itself is a violation of the JPOA, and there's no evidence that they did that.

But under this, I mean, going down to 300 kilograms, we're not talking about putting the other 98 percent of material on the powder.  It's going to have to be diluted.

What happens to that material is obviously part of the negotiation.  There are various mechanisms.  Does it get shipped out of the country?  Does it get sold on the open market for reactor fuel?  You know, is it diluted and stored in the -- in the country?  I think there are different ways you could get at that, but we have to be confident that they don't have a working stock above 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium.

KIMBALL:  All right.  A question right up here.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Rebecca Gibbons, Georgetown University.

Hey, thanks for a great talk.

I'm wondering, as we have six weeks left, what personally is most boring (ph) to you, or what impediments do you see for the -- to get to a deal in the next six weeks?

And another way of phrasing this is, if we do not get to a deal in six weeks, what do you think are the most likely factors that would have caused that, and what are the implications moving forward?

KAHL:  Well look, I think getting a deal is going to take political will on all parties.  I think the parameters establish a great foundation, and also frankly a degree of momentum: not inevitability, but a degree of momentum.

My sense is that Iranian leaders, you know, if you -- you see the way in which the Iranian negotiating team was welcomed back home by -- by a lot of the Iranian public, I think there's a real sense of pent up expectations in the Iranian populace for their leaders to deliver on a deal.  I imagine, you know, there's real politics in Iran.  I imagine that puts some pressure on them to get across the goal line.

Obviously, they have issues that they're going to insist upon.  We have issues that we're going to insist upon.  And I -- and I -- you know, I foreshadowed a number of the areas where we're going to, you know, take a pretty hard line, and that things like we're not going to give a bunch of up front sanctions relief in the absence of -- significant implementation of -- on the Iranian side in terms of their commitments under the agreement.

There's not a something for nothing principle associated with this.  That's clear in the parameters that we released, and we're going to stick to that.

There are also these issues obviously as it relates to sensitive site access, and the -- the clarifying the writ of the IAEA as it relates to inspecting, you know, potentially clandestine activities somewhere.  And so we're -- and we're going to be pretty hard on that as well.  I'm sure there will be conversations on research and development and other topics that are -- that are controversial, which is a reason -- which is the reason why a deal at this point is not inevitable.  I think it is more likely than had you asked me six months ago, but you know, more likely doesn't mean it's a done deal.  Things could still come off the rails.

I think the good -- the good news is is that I think we have a fair amount of P5+1 consensus.  Well, first of all, we have total consensus around the parameters, and we have a -- and I think we have a good amount of consensus around those issues where there's controversy, and that's important, because being able to bring the rest of the P5+1 with us is important as we get -- as we get down to the wire.

Let me say one other thing on -- on sensitive site access too.  I think that there's been a lot of focus on -- one one particular part of the verification regime, and that is sensitive site access.  I think it's useful, which is important, and critically important, but I think it's useful to think about this -- this whole thing holistically.  A lot of people presume that all it takes for Iran to develop a clandestine nuclear weapon is to, you know, dig another hole in the ground like they did with Fordow, and fill it with stuff, and suddenly they have a nuclear weapon the next day.

That's actually not the case.  They have to dig the hole and not get caught.  They have to have a source of uranium and not get caught.  They have to turn that uranium into, in the first instance, yellow cake, and then convert it into hexafluoride gas.  They have to have a source of centrifuge components, construct those components, and then be able to deliver those to the facility.  And they have to put it all together without getting caught.

And the -- the thing that's I think quite promising about the parameters on this deal is that we have visibility across that entire chain.

Right?  For a generation, we will have access that beyond anything the IAEA's had in Iran before, to the uranium mines and mills, as well as their centrifuge production, storage, and assembly facilities, and the -- and then you pile on top of that the ability to go to access locations where the IAEA suspects illicit material.

And so if you're Iran and you're calculating how likely it is that you can get away with a secret program, you're a lot more likely to calculate that you can get away with it today or in a world without a deal than you are in a world with the deal.

And I just don't know any other option that gets you nearly as much confidence that you would detect a secret program as the deal that's on the table.  There's no other, I mean, in the absence of, you know, invading and occupying the country, it's hard to imagine a -- a -- a realistic, negotiated inspections and verification system that would be more likely to detect an Iranian sneak op than the one that we're talking about.

KIMBALL:  Yeah, that's a great point about the layered approach to verification.  I mean, there have been several questions here about the additional protocol.  It is more than just the additional protocol, it's important to remember.

All right, we've got time for one or two more questions before we -- we wrap up.  And I want to keep moving around the room, and I want to go all the way to the back to the person in the white.  Identify yourself.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Evandra Bernstein (ph), Sputnik International News.

So, it looks like the House is going to pass the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act.  Things could happen.  But I spoke with Senator Menendez after the Senate passed it.  He said that Congressional review would strengthen the U.S. negotiating hand rather than weaken it.

I'd like to get your thoughts on that and -- and also why once again, just why the administration changed its position on accepting the congressional review.

KAHL:  You know, I think -- I guess -- I guess we could -- you know, I think there are compelling arguments cutting in different directions about whether review itself intrinsically gives the negotiators more -- more leverage in the negotiations.  I mean, clearly the fact that Congress is skeptical, irrespective of the Corker Legislation, you know, means that the Iranians are under no illusion that this is an easy thing for us to do politically.

They understand that the deal has to be tough and that we have to be able to defend it, or we won't be able to sustain it in our own political system, and in the absence of doing that, it's difficult for us to have a deal and for them to get the sanctions relief they -- they want.

Now, whether you needed the Corker legislation to communicate that to the Iranians or not, I guess you could -- we, you know, there could be a debate about that.

I think that the administration is satisfied that the legislation as currently written, as it came out of the Senate, you know, provides a useful structure for Congress to weigh in on the deal, a predictable structure for doing -- for doing that, and hopefully if -- if the House passes something, it -- it tracks what the Senate -- what the Senate passes, because -- and the president has said he'd be willing to sign it at that point.

Why did we change our position on the Corker bill?  It's a long -- it's a long story, but the short of it is that there were certain things in the original legislation that were extraordinarily problematic for us.

There were -- there were elements of the bill that -- that on a plain reading, made it sound like it gave Congress an up or down vote on the deal itself, which our lawyers and the president himself had enormous concerns about from a precedent standpoint, since executive agreements and political understandings along the lines of this deal have been negotiated hundreds and hundreds of time without Congress weighing in, to include all of the status of forces agreements that we have protecting our troops all over the world, so pretty important national security issues, and there is not a -- a precedent for Congress weighing in on that.

And I think there's concern that Congress setting the precedent of weighing in on every executive agreement in the national security space could be quite problematic for the conduct of foreign policy, not just by this president, but by any president, Republican or Democratic.

So, it was useful when Senator Cardin and others got behind clarifying language, that what Congress is ultimately voting on is to approve or disapprove the ability of the president to use statutory authority to waive sanctions, which of course these are congressionally imposed sanctions, and it is within -- clearly within Congress's authority to weigh in on that.

And we've always said from the beginning that Congress had a role to play in this inevitably, because sanctions will never be terminated down the line unless Congress terminates them, because they're not in the power of the executive to do it.

So, I think once the legislation clarified that this was not an up or down vote on the deal, but an up or down vote on the sanctions portion of it, that helped.  There were also some problematic certification requirements associated with the deal, especially on terrorism, that are extraordinarily important in terms of the behavior that we're worried about on the Iranian side of things, but are extraneous to the nuclear issue per se, and would set up a circumstance in which the worst actors in Iran could engage in the worst activities around the world and do it to sabotage the deal, which doesn't strike me as something we want to encourage.

So, we took a pretty hard line on certification requirements, and that is certification for snapback, or imposition of additional sanctions, but those had to be tied actually to nuclear-related activities as covered by the deal, as opposed to being extraneous from the deal.

And so when that provision was modified and in addition to what I said previously, we became more comfortable with -- with the legislation.

KIMBALL:  All right.  Before we go to the last question, I wanted to ask you a question, Colin, that relates to today's GCC summit at Camp David and to the New York Times article that appeared this morning.  David Sanger wrote, quoting an unnamed leader or official from one of the states that is represented at the meeting, to the effect that we will match Iran's enrichment capacity step for step, et cetera.

Now, I mean, our answer at the Arms Control Association would be that it's clearly not in Saudi Arabia's interests or anyone else's interests to reject a deal that limits Iran's capacity and then to get into a centrifuge race.  But could you just give us a sense of what, if this is actually being communicated at -- at Camp David today, what you would anticipate the response from President Obama and others at the meeting might be to that sort of comment?

KAHL:  Yeah, it's a kind of strange argument.

Let's keep in mind, Iran's nuclear program started under the shah in the 1950s.  And Iran's enrichment program started in earnest in the mid to late 1980s when they started to acquire technology from the A.Q. Khan network.  So, the fact of Iranian -- of Iran's nuclear infrastructure and their enrichment program is not a new fact.  Right?  It has been a reality in this part of the world for, do the math, 60 years.

And so here's the weird part about the logic.  Their program's capacity, including their enrichment capacity, is here.  In the absence of a deal, it'll go to here.  With the deal, it'll go to here.  And yet somehow this, compared to this right as now, or this, where it'll be in a couple years, has a higher potential for the Saudis and others acquiring nuclear capabilities that would tee them up for nuclear weapons.

How does that make sense?  How is that world worse on net than a world in which their capacity is heightened, as we'd describe today, or in the future, in the absence of a deal?  It makes absolutely no sense.

Now, it is true that countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE and others have nascent nuclear programs at various levels, and the Gulf countries at various times have talked about consortiums and cooperating on nuclear energy, and we think that there's a role for nuclear energy in that part of the world.  We have a so-called one, two, three agreement with the UAE, which facilitates nuclear cooperation.  We don't think that there's any need for these countries to pursue domestic enrichment, neither for the domestic economic reasons, because it doesn't make much sense to produce this indigently, nor for the security reasons, since these countries already sit comfortably under a quite robust security assurance from the United States, so it's not clear why pursuing these capabilities would make them any safer than they would otherwise be.

And a major topic, obviously, of the GCC summit up in Camp David today is clarifying a couple of things to the leadership of the GCC.  One is actually describing what's in the deal and what's not in the deal.  Because there's at least as many myths among our partners and allies in that part of the world about what was actually negotiated as there are here in the halls of Washington.

And I think when Secretary Kerry met with his foreign ministerial counterparts from the GCC last week in Paris, he was able to really go into great detail on the nature of the deal, and found that a lot of them came away  much more reassured, simply by having the facts about what's in and what's out and realizing that this deal, relative to either the status quo or the future in the absence of this deal, puts substantially more constraints on Iran's program than there would be otherwise, and therefore addresses the motivation that has been bandied about in the New York Times and in other places.

And then the second component that's talked about -- that's going to be talked about up in Camp David, of course, is clarifying our overall security assurance to the Gulf states.  Again, this is nothing new.  I mean, you go back to Eisenhower, Nixon, and Carter,  it's been a mainstay of American foreign policy since the beginning of the Cold War to make it clear that any external attack on our partners in the Gulf region is an attack on the vital interests of the United States, and that we reserve all means to respond to that attack in consultation and joint action with our partners.

And the president will make that clear today in the joint -- in the joint statement.  I mean, I should say, he made it pretty clear at the 2013 U.N. General Assembly speech that he gave, where he made it clear that we would use all instruments of national power, including unilateral military action, if necessary to defend our partners in that part of the world against external aggression.

So, there's that.

The last point I would make is it's not clear to me why other countries looking at the totality of the Iran package would say, "you know what, I want to do that."

You know, suffer decades of crippling sanctions, and at the end of the day, roll back a program you've invested a lot of money in and provide more intrusive inspections.  I'm not sure that the average country looking at that suite of options, saying "that looks like a great path forward."

(LAUGHTER)

Right, so, it's hard in the totality of history to judge Iran as coming out a winner in this equation, and I think when countries recognize that there are better ways to achieve their economic and security interests than going down the pathway that Iran took, that we should be able to persuade them otherwise.

KIMBALL:  All right, I actually think that's a very good point to end on.  We're over time.

Please join me in thanking Colin Kahl for being here.

(APPLAUSE)

And for the hard work that you've done and the hard work that's ahead, this won't be the last time that we go over thoroughly the P5+1 and Iran talks.  And we're moving towards the conclusion of our session today, and I want to thank everybody here who has stuck with us through this detailed and rich discussion on various subjects.

I want to thank my hard-working staff, Greg Thielmann,  Kelsey Davenport, our non-proliferation policy director, for their moderation work.  Tim Farnsworth, our communications direction, Shervin Taheran for her work pulling all this together, and thanks to all of you for your support and for being here.

We will have a transcript of all of this, believe it or not, thanks to Federal News Service, online soon with the priority on Colin Kahl's remarks this afternoon.

So, thanks a lot for being here, and we are adjourned.

(APPLAUSE) 

(Back to the agenda)


Description: 

The Arms Control Association 2015 Annual Meeting will examine three major challenges for nonproliferation and disarmament over the last two years of President Barack Obama's final term. 

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"Winds of Chemical Warfare" Film Screening

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The Arms Control Association and Global Green International Invite You to the U.S. Premiere and Discussion of the New Film 

“Winds of Chemical Warfare”

By the award-winning documentarian Fabienne-Lips-Dumas

In commemoration of
International Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare
and
The Anniversary of the Entry Into Force of the Chemical Weapons Convention

April 29, 2015
7:00pm – 8:30pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
1779 Mass. Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 

RSVP Today!

One hundred years ago this month, German forces launched the first major chemical weapons attack on the battlefields near Ypres, Belgium.

The new film, “Winds of Chemical Warfare,” traces the history and the human impact of chemical weapons; with a special focus on the 2013 Sarin gas attacks in Syria and the multinational operation to remove the Assad regime’s deadly chemical arsenal.

The screening will be followed by an informal discussion with the filmmaker and three of the world’s foremost experts on the subject: 

  • Dr. Paul Walker, Director of Green Cross International’s Environmental Security and Sustainability Program;
  • Fabienne Lips-Dumas, Filmmaker for "Winds of Chemical Warfare";
  • Michael Luhan, former Head of Media and Public Affairs, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; and
  • Andrew Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs.

To save your seat, please RSVP by April 27. 

# # #
The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.
Green Cross International (GCI), founded by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993, is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland with national affiliates in thirty other countries, including Washington D.C.  GCI responds to the combined challenges of security, poverty and environmental degradation to ensure a sustainable and secure future. 
"Winds of Chemical Warfare" produced by SEPPIA Film & Domino Production with ARTE GEIE, RTBF, & YLE.
Description: 

The new film, “Winds of Chemical Warfare,” traces the history and the human impact of chemical weapons, with a special focus on the 2013 sarin gas attacks...

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Subject Resources:

Special Press Conference: P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Negotiations

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Thursday, March 26, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

National Press Club, First Amendment Lounge
529 14th Street NW (13th Floor)
Washington D.C.

Transcript Available

Diplomats from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran are meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland in an effort to reach a political framework agreement for a comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal to block Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon.

The two sides have made significant progress on long-term solutions to many difficult challenges, but some gaps still remain. Even if and after a political framework agreement is concluded, the two sides will need to complete the detailed technical annexes associated with the implementation of the agreement.

On March 26, top national security and nonproliferation experts, as well as representatives from several national organizations supportive of an effective diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear challenge, provided their perspectives on the status of the talks, the value and impact of the potential agreement, and the next steps for the White House and Congress.

Speakers include:

  • Samuel R. Berger, National Security Advisor to President Bill Clinton
  • Robert J. Einhorn, former Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control, State Department
  • Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association
  • Dylan Williams, Director for Government Relations, J Street
  • Trita Parsi, President, National Iranian American Council
  • Kate Gould, Middle East Policy Advocate, Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association (moderator)

P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Negotiations


Transcript by the National Press Club

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good morning and welcome to this special Press Conference on the P5+1 in Iran nuclear negotiations. I'm Daryl Kimball. I'm Executive Director of the Arms Control Association. And we’re an independent research and policy organization dedicated to addressing and eliminating the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.

I'm joined here today at the press conference by several distinguished leaders who share our strong interest in the conclusion and successful implementation of an effective, verifiable, multiyear, diplomatic arrangement to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. We’ve convened this event to underscore some of the chief reasons why such a deal is in U.S. and international security interests, why such a deal is widely supported by a wide range of experts and the American public, and to explain why Congress has a role in the process, but why Congress must be careful not to wreck the chances for success.

At this very hour, the United States’ top diplomats and technical experts and their colleagues from the P5+1 group, are meeting with their Iranian counterparts in Lausanne, Switzerland to try to conclude a political framework agreement by the end of this month. Late yesterday, senior U.S. official traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry said, and I quote, “We can see a path forward here to get an agreement by March 31.”

Indeed, the two sides are very close to a win-win outcome that the Arms Control Association believes would be a net-plus for nuclear nonproliferation, the deal that the P5+1 are pursuing. A couple of key issues that still must be resolved, it appears as though setting limits on research and development on advanced centrifuge machines remains one of the most significant technical hurdles. But our sources indicate that that issue is probably resolvable.

Getting to yes, however, is also going to depend on squaring the circle on how to revise and update the UN Security Council resolutions that relate to Iran’s nuclear program, and which are essential to the international sanctions regime and eventually sanctions relief and removal.

Now this morning, as I said, we’re honored to be joined by several very distinguished people here today. Starting with Samuel R. Berger, National Security Advisor for President Bill Clinton, who is here on my right. Bob Einhorn, former Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control at the State Department. My colleague, Kelsey Davenport, our Nonproliferation Policy Director. Dylan Williams, Director of Government Relations for J Street. Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council. And Kate Gould, Middle East Policy Advocate with the Friends Committee of National Legislation.

So their full bios are in the packets on your chairs. Each of them, I want to stress, are speaking in their own individual capacity or on behalf of their own organizations. And after I invite Sandy Berger up to the podium for his opening remarks, we’ll hear from each of them for about two to three minutes, and then we’re going to be happy to take your questions on any of the issues relating to the talks, the role of Congress, or whatever.

So, it’s with great pleasure that I invite Sandy Berger to join us here. The podium is yours.

[00:03:39]

SANDY BERGER:  When Daryl lined us up here, I felt like I was standing before the firing squad. Hopefully that’s not the case. In the full two to three minutes that Daryl has allotted me, let me talk about three issues:  why I think this will be an agreement that enhances American security, what I see the alternatives being, and the regional context. Now, I stress there is no agreement. And the issues that continue to be negotiated are not trivial. They're significant. So you can't make a final judgment of an agreement that’s not final. But we’ll talk here on the basis of what we seem to know about the agreement.

Let me start with why I think the agreement will enhance American security. Many of these folks behind me, Bob Einhorn and others, are far more expert on the intricacies of nonproliferation. They can talk to you about breakout times and the additional protocol and all your questions about the technical and other aspects of nonproliferation. So I won't try to address that.

I would simply say, looking at it as a whole, I believe this agreement makes it more difficult for Iran to move towards a nuclear weapon than without the agreement. It stretches out the time that they would need to accumulate enough enriched uranium, both with respect to producing it themselves, and their stockpiles, to a point which should give us ample time to respond. It closes down, essentially, their plutonium production facility, which is another way in which they could make nuclear fuel. And it gives the international community unprecedented access, daily access to their nuclear facilities and their nuclear supply chain, not only for their declared sites, but they would be able to say, “We want to go over there. It’s not a declared site. But there's something fishy about it.” And so they’d be able to designate undeclared sites.

So, you know, for all those reasons, and let me just say one other thing, in terms of the duration, which has been widely discussed, I don’t know whether it’s going to be 10 years, 11 years, 12 years, it’s not going to be all-- each provision, I think, is going to have a different duration. But you know, the President, as far as I know, is not renouncing his commitment that if Iran seeks to develop a nuclear weapon, he will act. That survives this agreement.

So, at the end of, let’s say, 10 years, that still remains the commitment of the President, presumably the next President. So we’re not in a worse position 10 years from now, we’re essentially in the same position. Plus we’ll have 10 years of access to Iran, a lot more information about the nodes of communication and control and other information about potential target sets in Iran, which would enhance the ability for us to pursue a military attack. So for all those reasons, I think it makes it harder, more difficult for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

So what are the alternatives to this agreement? Well some say the alternatives to this agreement are war. Well, you know, I can conceive of a scenario in which no constraints, Iran rushes towards a nuclear weapon. Maybe they think we’re hell-bent on regime change. And we have to respond, as I think this President or any President would. I think that’s an unlikely scenario.

More foreboding, and I think maybe more likely, is that others in the region, the Saudis and the Emiratis and the Turks and others, seeing Iran with a nuclear capability, feel they need to acquire, buy, develop their own nuclear capabilities. So we have a Middle East, already really a tinderbox with three or four nuclear countries. That’s a very dangerous scenario.

But I actually think the most likely scenario is this. I think if these negotiations break down, it’s probable that Congress will pass new sanctions. And they’ve indicated that they would. I think that it’s quite unlikely that the P5, our negotiating partners, would go along with new sanctions. So from the start, we would break the unity that has got us to where we are.

Number two, I think it’s very unlikely that others in the world would go along with such sanctions. And the reason these sanctions that we have now have been effective is because they apply to all of Iran’s customers. So I think you know, we would have sanctions that would be--  would not demonstrate our strengths.

Third, I would go so far as to say that if negotiations broke down, unless we were able to keep the P5+1 together, and convince the world that negotiations failed because of Iranian intransigence, which won't be easy, given how far things have gone, I can see the sanctions regime just unraveling. There are a lot of countries in the sanctions regime, Japan, China, Korea, India, who don’t want to be there, who are there reluctantly because we leaned on them, who would like an opportunity to get out of them, who have less interest in the nuclear Iran than we do, and would like a pretext to say, “We were with you, but not any longer.”

Now there are some who say, “Well, we have unilateral sanctions. We’ll put our own sanctions on. And we’ll apply them exterritorialy, which we do now. So we’ll deny access to our market to Japanese banks if Japan violates these sanctions.” I find it very hard to imagine, in the context of sanctions that the world does not basically accept, that we’re going to proceed with an enforcement action against the Japanese Bank, backing it up with the proceeding in the Second District of New York, pursuing a Japanese-Chinese-Indian-European bank for violating these unilateral sanctions, which no one in the world supports. I think that’s just an empty threat.

So I think a reason to try, certainly not to accept an agreement that we don’t think is a good agreement, but to recognize that I don’t think you can sanction your way to a good agreement. These folks say, “Tough sanctions got them to the table. Tougher sanctions will get them to come back in a more compromising mood.” There's really no evidence that that is true. For eight years, Iran and Iraq were engaged in a bloody war, one million people killed, cost of $800 billion dollars. And they rode it out. So I don’t think much change that sanctions are going to help us get to a deal.

Last point I would make, I think this is quite important, I think it’s very important to see this agreement in a regional context, and not just in a bilateral context. The threat that Iran poses to the region is not simply a nuclear threat, it’s a broader threat. It's a threat of support for destabilizing its neighbors, supporting terrorist groups, seeking to dominate the region. We need this agreement, not in spite of those threats, but because of those threats.

Every one of those threats would be worse if Iran had a nuclear weapon. So if we can wall off the nuclear program, or put it over here for 10 years, 12 years, whatever, each of those threats is still there, but it’s less-- it’s less dangerous than if Iran is sitting with a nuclear weapon. And our friends in the region are quite alarmed by Iran’s activities, Saudis, the Emiratis, certainly the Israelis are watching, Syria, they're watching, Yemen, they're watching Iran maneuver. You know, there is an Irani, Rouhani. And we could hope that that Iran emerges. There's also an Irani, Soleimani, who seeks regional advantage.

So I think it’s very important that we, as we do this agreement, we also reassure our allies in the region and friends that we are committed to the stability of the region, to their security, and that we will support that. And not just rhetorically, but in concrete ways. And that our commitment is long-term to their security. Thank you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you, Sandy. Bob Einhorn is next.

[00:14:10]

ROBERT EINHORN:  Thank you Daryl, thanks all of you for coming. I just want to reinforce some of the points that Sandy just made. But first, I think it’s important to point out that, even though the negotiators have gotten much closer over the last couple of months, it’s not a foregone conclusion that they're going to be able to reach a political framework in the next week or so. Daryl mentioned some tough issues that remain. They're very hard issues. Both sides have staked out strong positions on them.

And I'm confident that the U.S. delegation is not going to settle for a deal that falls short of U.S. requirements. So, while we may hope that they will achieve their goal within the next several days, I don’t think you can take that for granted.

I’ll say a few things about the deal that seems to be emerging. In my view, it can effectively prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It’s expected to contain unprecedented, rigorous monitoring arrangements that are capable of detecting Iranian violations of the agreement, whether at declared nuclear facilities, or at covert locations. The agreement is also expected to contain a variety of constraints on Iranian nuclear programs that are capable of lengthening, from about two to three months, to at least one year, the time it would take Iran to produce enough weapons-grade nuclear material to build a single nuclear bomb. And that applies both to Iran’s enrichment program, as well as to its nuclear reactor at Iraq.

Now this one year breakout time would provide plenty of opportunity for the United States and others in the international community to intervene decisively, including with the use of military force, to prevent Iran from succeeding in breaking out and acquiring a nuclear weapon. As Sandy mentioned, the deal will be of long duration. We don’t know exactly how long, 10 years, 15 years, various durations have been mentioned. And some provisions may last beyond the fixed duration of the agreement.

But it’s important to recognize here that the expiration of the agreement does not constitute the expiration of the U.S. commitment to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons. I believe there will be important elements that continue beyond the duration. For example, Iran’s adherence to the additional protocol is likely to continue beyond, and perhaps forever. And this intrusive monitoring provided in the additional protocol would provide plenty of warning time for the U.S. and others to take decisive action in the event that it appeared Iran was moving toward the production of nuclear weapons.

Sandy mentioned that this notion that is held by many observers, that it’s possible to get a better deal than the one that’s currently emerging, by pulling out of the talks, walking away from the talks, ratcheting up international sanctions, and hoping that the additional pressure will persuade Iran to make concessions that they have been unwilling, so far, to make. I think this is an illusion. I think that if the United States is seen as passing up a reasonable deal, then our ability to get the International Sanctions Coalition to increase sanctions pressure, will essentially evaporate.

I was involved in trying to-- well, I think effectively--get broad international support for the sanctions regime. And we had a number of things working for us at the time. We had President Ahmadinejad of Iran making outrageous statements. But we also had Iran taking intransigent positions at the negotiating table. Our partners in the sanctions coalition agreed with us that we had to increase the pressure against Iran in order to motivate them to negotiate seriously. But, in a situation where the U.S. is essentially walking away from the table and asking our partners to ratchet up the pressures, I think it’s going to be very hard to gain their support, for reasons that Sandy mentioned. And I think very quickly, the sanctions regime would begin to erode.

And, once we were trying to strengthen sanctions to get our partners to ratchet up the sanctions, I think we can predict what Iran’s reaction would be. They would unfreeze the nuclear program that’s been frozen for about a year and a half. And they have plenty of opportunity to increase the number of operating centrifuges, introduce more advanced centrifuges. There are many ways in which Iran can substantially increase their enrichment capacity. And in so doing, they could reduce the breakout time from the current two to three months to a matter of a few weeks. And I think that would be a predictable result of our walking away from the table.

So I think it’s very important for critics of the emerging deal not to engage in wishful thinking about prospects for getting a much better deal. The emerging deal is not perfect. But no negotiated outcome gives each side everything it wants. But I think the deal that is emerging is a good deal, and it’s much better than the realistic alternatives that we face. Thanks.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thanks very much, Bob. Kelsey Davenport from the Arms Control Association is next.

[00:21:33]

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Thank you. Iran has a nuclear weapons capability. They have had it since 2007. We cannot bomb it away. We cannot sanction it away. The best way to mitigate this threat is through a good deal that limits Iran’s nuclear program and puts in place stringent monitoring. As Bob just outlined, the deal seeks to push Iran’s breakout time from two to three months to over a year.

To give you a little bit of a picture about what that will look like, Iran will likely reduce its number of operating centrifuges by several thousand. It will cut down on its stockpile of enriched uranium that it keeps in country. It will have limits on research and development. And the efficiency of the centrifuges will also be limited.

This deal is often discussed and debated in the media in terms of the number of centrifuges. There is no magic number that ensures that a deal is good. It’s important to evaluate the entire package to see what that does to Iran’s breakout capacity. And a combination of limits on centrifuges, reducing the stockpile, and ensuring that international monitors will be able to detect immediately any deviation, is the best way to ensure those limits.

There are also technical solutions to block Iran’s pathway to nuclear weapons using plutonium. The Iraq reactor poses a risk, but it can be modified to ensure that the plutonium that it produces for weapons is less than one kilogram per year. A nuclear weapon requires usually at least four kilograms of separated plutonium.

So through these measures, we can ensure that Iran’s program remains limited and less of a threat. And it’s important to juxtapose that against the alternative. If the talks break down, if the United States, its P5+1 partners, or Iran walk away from a deal, Iran’s program will be unconstrained. And it will have far less monitoring than it has now. And, as a result, Iran will be able to move towards nuclear weapons much more quickly. That’s a far greater threat to the United States and a far greater threat to the region.

But reaching a good deal will also incentivize Iran to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation into its past work related to military dimensions. That investigation has been stalled. But a good deal will incentivize Iran through phased sanctions relief, to provide the international community with the validation it needs to ensure that these activities are no longer ongoing, and Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

And again, when you consider that against the alternative, ambiguity about Iran’s past actions, this is a far-- it’s far better to get this deal than to hold out for a better deal, because as Bob said, additional pressure is likely not going to lead to greater concessions on the Iranian side.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Kelsey. Not only is there expert support for the emerging deal, but also public support from a wide variety of places. So Dylan Williams from J Street is here to speak a little bit about that.

[00:24:49]

DYLAN WILLIAMS:  Thanks so much, Daryl and Arms Control Association for this opportunity to speak today. First of all, it’s important to note that the entire Pro-Israel community is united behind one goal, when it comes to the present diplomacy, and that is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. That is also the objective of President Obama and his administration.

The second and equally important thing to realize is that U.S. Jews and the larger Pro-Israel community share more than just this objective with the administration; we support their means to accomplish it. Eighty four percent of Jewish American voters would support an agreement to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, which allows for domestic uranium enrichment for verifiably peaceful purposes, 84 percent.

Now that figure may be surprising to many people because there is, in fact, a vocal and politically astute minority of our community which follows the lead of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu against any feasible agreement. What's important to realize about this wing of my community is that it is the same portion of the Pro-Israel and Jewish American community that is happy to paper over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s disregard and abuse of bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel special relationship, his rejection of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and his deeply troubling comments about Arab-Israeli voters.

The vast majority of Jewish Americans stand with Israel’s intelligence and security experts, the very ones that Prime Minister Netanyahu wanted to prevent U.S. lawmakers from meeting with. Like them, we know that this is a choice between a workable agreement or a much less desirable alternative, which puts Israeli interests and lives at risk, as well as essential U.S. national security interests at risk. Support for a feasible agreement with Iran is therefore the most Pro-Israel position one can take.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you Dylan. And I'm also pleased to have Trita Parsi with the National Iranian American Council with us. NIAC has been working very hard on this issue. Trita.

[00:27:28]

TRITA PARSI:  Thank you, Daryl. And thank you ACA for all that you’ve done in the course of the last 10 years to find a peaceful resolution to this conflict. This is about nonproliferation, but is also about so much more than just centrifuge and enrichment. In the next few days, the future of America and the Middle East will be determined. There is a path that carries the promise of peace, and there is a path that carries the risk of war. Ultimately, that is what this is about.

If the two sides manage to come to terms, both a bomb and a war will have been avoided. That is nothing short of historic, on par with the Camp David Accord of 1979 and Nixon’s trip to China. But never has a historic deal been struck without both sides agreeing to concessions and compromises that were as painful as they were necessary. Both sides have to give. Both sides have to adjust. Thinking otherwise is not only naïve, it’s dangerous.

Pursuing maximalist goals, or seeking to impose them on the negotiators, will ensure failure. What will determine history in the next few days is political will and courage. This is the moment where true leaders are separated from mere politicians. True leaders know that history will not judge them for the petty and desperate criticisms they faced, but rather for the courage that they showed when they grasped for a peace that appeared beyond the possible.

It is that courage we are now depending on to be able to choose the right path. Both sides are willing to walk away from a deal that doesn’t meet all their requirements. But let us not fool ourselves or kid ourselves what that actually means. Failure is not a return to the current status quo. It is a deterioration of the situation, politically, economically, and militarily. The voices of war have been somewhat quiet as of late. And that’s because of the ongoing negotiations. If the talks fail, rest assured those whispers will turn into roars.

For the American public, and perhaps even more so for the Iranian American public community, this is a nightmare we must avoid. Twelve years after President Bush declared, “mission accomplished,” Iraq is today a broken country, ravaged by sectarianism and ISIS barbarians. America is exhausted and looking for healing. Neither Iran nor America can afford such a mistake again. And the world will not forgive them if they do. That is why, in the days ahead, true leaders must rise up. Thank you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you, Trita. And now Kate Gould from the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Welcome.

[00:30:34]

KATE GOULD:  Thank you Daryl. And thank you all for being here. It’s important to note that, at this historic moment that Trita described, people of faith in every corner of this country are cheering on our diplomats as they sprint toward the finish line of a final agreement. FCNL is a 72 year old Quaker lobby. And we work closely with mainline Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, evangelical groups and faith leaders, who collectively represent millions upon millions of Americans cheering on these negotiations.

So at the starting line of this diplomatic marathon was the Obama-Rouhani phone call, when President Obama took that unprecedented step of picking up the telephone and talking with the Iranian Head of State. That phone call, and the negotiations that have ensued and are continuing today, are a demonstration of this practice that every world religion advocates as the best way to resolve conflict, the sacred practice of dialogue.

As Pope Francis has said, “In the world, in society, there is little peace because dialogue is missing. Peace requires persistent, patient, strong intelligent dialogue, by which nothing is lost.” It is no wonder, then, why Pope Francis has been such a persistent, patient and strong supporter of the P5+1 talks with Iran.

In the last year and a half, since President Obama made what may well be the most historic phone call of our time, Quakers and other people of faith have generated more than 250 pro-diplomacy letters to the editor in every state in this country. And they have had meetings with nearly 400 congressional offices supporting the talks. When I meet with members of Congress, they often tell me they want to be more vocal, they want to be more supportive, but they feel like they don’t have the political space to do it.

So that’s why we bring in faith leaders who have broad-based constituencies in their state, in their district. And we have them meet with these members of Congress and talk about the moral imperative to preventing a war and preventing another nuclear armed nation. For example, we’ve worked closely with Bob Roberts, a pastor from an evangelical mega church in Keller, Texas, with 2,000 congregants. He was part of an interfaith delegation to Iran last year. He was also one of 440 faith leaders and other citizen advocates here, on Capitol Hill, as part of our National Diplomacy Works Lobby Day a few months ago.

Our diplomats have delivered us from the brink of war to where we are today, on the cusp of what could be a monumental breakthrough. And today, in every congressional district in America, faith communities are mobilizing to ensure that Congress does not sabotage this landmark opportunity to make this world a safer place for generations to come. Thank you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you. Thank you very much, all of you, for your remarks. And now it is time for your questions. I want to ask those journalists with us here to start. And we’ll start with Barbara, and then we’ll come over here to the left. And please make it a good, concise question, and let us know who the question is directed towards. So a microphone is in your hands, Barbara.

Q:   Thank you very much. Barbara Slavin from Al-Monitor.com and the Atlantic Council. Question I think may be for you, Bob, others who might want to weigh in. How much has to be written down of this political framework? Is it sufficient for there to be different versions, i.e. a P5+1 version of whatever they agree to inshallah this week, and an Iranian version, to stave off congressional action and more sanctions. Thanks.

ROBERT EINHORN:  Well, I don’t know. We can talk later about what will be necessary to stave off congressional action. But in terms of the format for any political framework, I don’t think this is yet decided. I think this is one of the main issues that will be discussed this next few days in Lausanne. The administration is saying there must be specifics. There must be specifics that are shareable with the Congress and the American public. Whether this must take the form of a written document, or whether it can be briefed orally, I don’t think that’s been decided yet.

One thing I think we’d have to rule out is differing versions, an Iranian version and a U.S. version. I think they need to be speaking from exactly the same script. And they have to be very, very specific.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Yes, Rachel. And there's another question over here.

Q:   Hi. Rachel Oswald with CQ Roll Call. My question is for Trita, but also anybody else who wants to jump in. Could you talk a little bit about the dynamics in Iran and what actions by Congress, how they impact political realities there? And perhaps some things that members of Congress who are opposed to a nuclear deal or opposed to the deal that are taking shape, are not taking account of about what the realities are in Iran?

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Trita, why don’t you start. And maybe Bob can also handle that.

TRITA PARSI:  Thank you Rachel. I think there has been somewhat of a misconception, the idea that Congress can play some sort of a bad cop versus a good cop role with the White House. I think the way this is perceived in Iran is quite the opposite. They're seeing not a good cop and a bad cop, they're seeing a President that they're fearing cannot deliver on the promises and the commitments that he is making at the table.

The sanctions that are so much at the center of these negotiations are, at the end of the day, not Obama’s to lift. Only Congress can lift them. And when Congress is coming out with letters such as that of the 47, what it does, it undermines the credibility of the President in the negotiations, which then ultimately weakens America’s negotiating position.

The Iranians have had a long track record of playing tit-for-tat. If you are seeing measures that are in the direction of more sanctions, the Iranians have tended to retaliate by taking measures of their own kind that obviously would be viewed upon very negatively over here. I think the fear is that this can end up being yet another one of these escalatory cycles in which a small step is taken here that is negative, responded to by a negative step over there, which then, of course, generates another negative step over here. And then suddenly, it’s out of control. And then, the entire deal is killed through the measures of 1,000 paper cuts. Not a single one of the steps are necessarily big enough to kill the deal. But, in their totality, they will destroy the atmosphere, the consensus, the momentum that has enabled us to reach this far.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Bob you might have some thoughts on this? No? Let me just also get a little bit specific about one of the initiatives that is out there. Congress obviously has played a role. It will play a role. It must play a role. The question is, what kind of role? And is it a constructive role? What my organization believes, and I think the White House is also in agreement, is that while these negotiations are in their final hour, it is vital that there aren't further disruptions, further turbulence in the talks. I mean I agree with Trita that the letter from the 47 Senators to the Supreme Leader was not helpful. It took up a lot of time in the last round of talks. It made the P5+1 position a little bit more difficult to maintain.

So there is a bill, actually a couple bills out there, one from Senator Bob Corker, S615, that on the surface looks pretty innocuous. But it is a little bit more complex and a little bit more problematic. He has said that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a markup hearing on that bill on April the 14th. That is still going to be during the period when the negotiators, even if they reach a political framework agreement, are working hard to finalize the technical annexes to nail down all of the details to make sure that there isn't any difference of opinion about how to interpret the political framework agreement.

There is no reason for Congress to act before June 30th, when the talks are supposed to conclude. It’s even better for Congress if it wants to play a role in monitoring and requiring the President to certify certain things that they write the legislation after the deal is done and not before. The Corker bill includes some certifications that are slightly outside of the nuclear channel, particularly with respect to certifications that Iran is not engaged in terrorism.

So I think Congress needs to think very carefully about its role. There are some who would simply like to blow up the talks. There are some who would legitimately like to reinforce the diplomatic effort and to make sure that, if it succeeds, Iran is complying. But the first priorities should be, you know, first to do no harm. And I think that means not taking action during this period of negotiations, which technically is going to continue through June 30th.

Do we have other questions? Yes.

Q:   Jessica Schulberg Huffington Post. This is mostly for Dylan, but for anyone else. You were mentioning that 84 percent of American Jews do support what the negotiator agreement looks like it’s turning out to be. Can you discuss at all-- I know that there is a lobbying day after the conference this week. Can you discuss discussions you’ve had with lawmakers? It seems to me that a lot of lawmakers see support for the Corker bill, sanctions as part of a Pro-Israel stance. Can you discuss your efforts to show that that’s not necessarily the case?

DYLAN WILLIAMS:  Absolutely. Thanks for the question. Yes. Yesterday was the culmination of J Street’s recent 5th National Conference, where we had an Advocacy Day attended by around 700 supporters of J Street who had over 165 meetings, I think, with members and their staff on Capitol Hill.

The message that the Pro-Israel/Pro-Peace community is overwhelmingly in support of a feasible agreement of the type being likely negotiated right now, was one of the key messages we brought. And it was, as you might imagine, well received by overwhelming number of Democratic members and more than a few Republican members as well.

Members of Congress expressed to our supporters what they have been expressing for three, four, even more years on this issue, which is, they have two overriding objectives when it comes to deciding on bills and policy letters on this issue. The first is they want to do what is genuinely in the essential security interests of Israel and the United States. And the second is that they want to avoid another costly war in the Middle East that will cost American taxpayer dollars and, more importantly, the lives and wellbeing of our men and women in uniform. Those two concerns remain paramount for them.

And it is the prism through which they view things like the Kirk Menendez sanctions bill, which I think has lost a lot of its steam as a deal becomes more likely, though not certain. And, as Daryl was mentioning about the Corker-Menendez bill, you do have an overwhelming sense from Congress that they want a very serious oversight role in the implementation of this agreement. And that’s something that J Street and others in the Pro-Israel community strongly support.

But, at the same time, I do think you have members of Congress, and particularly Democratic Senators, recognizing that premature or precipitous action on a bill, which may not quite yet be ready for prime time in terms of some of its language, would be unhelpful. And I think that’s why you did see the Democratic Senators provide the administration the space, at least until April 14th, and I share some of Daryl’s concern that even if there is a political framework agreement by that time, a final agreement is, by no means, in the bag. There is a lot of legal scrubbing to do. And the devil can be in the details.

But yes, overwhelmingly, members of Congress do want to do what is in Israel’s and the U.S. essential security interests. But, at the same time, they recognize that, if they can't resolve this diplomatically, the situation we’re going to end up in much worse than that outcome.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Let me also ask Sandy Berger to put this issue of the role of Congress in a broader context. Sandy.

SANDY BERGER:  Yeah. I understand full well Senator Corker’s desire to vote on this in a real sense. And I think that, at some point, the administration is going to have to deal with that. But this bill is directed at this President and this agreement. But it establishes a proposition that doesn’t go away when this Presidency is over and this agreement is done. It establishes the principle that the President does not speak authoritatively for the United States during a negotiation. That’s a dangerous proposition.

Countries around the world rely upon the word of the President as a representative of the United States in negotiations. China is watching this. Our countries in Southeast Asia are watching this around the world. So, if you weaken this President in this context, you weaken the Presidency in all contexts. And you know, by electing the next President, that doesn't wash away. It’s a very, very serious, I think, erosion of the power of the Presidency.

You know, it’s a very dangerous, messy world out there, as you all know. We need all the authority we can bring to the table as we’re trying to put coalitions together against ISIS, or we’re trying to put coalitions together against Russia. We don’t need our potential friends, let alone our potential adversaries, to wonder whether or not the President is talking for America, or whether or not perhaps there is an asterisk next to what he says, and they can't count on the President. That’s our system. And it’s served us pretty well, very dangerous, I think, to tamper with.

DARYL KIMBALL:  And Rachel, one other point I would ask you in your reporter capacity to raise with Senator Corker is: why the bill that he has put forward is not being pursued through regular order? Why go straight to a markup? I mean as Sandy just said, this would be a precedent-setting bill. And that kind of legislation deserves a full hearing, testimony from the administration, from experts, a thorough scrubbing. But that's not what's being proposed. In fact, there was an idea put forward by Senator McConnell, Majority Leader that the bill would go forward even faster in March. But that was--they changed their mind eventually.

So there does seem to be a bit of a rush with this. So whether you agree with the merits or not, this is the sort of thing that deserves a full hearing and a careful, careful review. Other questions? Yes, right here. Howard, thank you.

Q:   Thanks. Howard LaFranchi with the Christian Science Monitor. Mr. Berger you, in your opening remarks, you focused on the regional impact. You focused on the regional impact of a deal. And so I'm wondering how you would respond to actually those who say that on the contrary, that a deal will set in motion very quickly kind of a rush to a nuclear Middle East, starting off with the Saudis. And then I’d also like to ask Kelsey if you could go into a little bit more detail on the question of previous military research and work by the Iranians, because there's so much talk, now, about how the U.S. is backing off on its demands’ earlier requirements for that aspect. And so I don’t know if you have any idea of where that stands now, and why that's important.

DARYL KIMBALL:  So I’ll ask Sandy to address your first question, also Bob, and then we’ll go to Kelsey.

SANDY BERGER:  Well first, I think the absence of a deal will more likely drive them to buy or acquire nuclear weapons, because they’ll have an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program. But you're right. I think they are nervous about Iran, which is why I think there needs to be a company deal, very close work with those countries, to assure them that we have a commitment to their long-term security.

I think that’s why I'm saying, it’s got to put this in a regional context, I think, for this to not stimulate those concerns on the part of-- But all of their concerns are worse if Iran has a nuclear weapon. And I think they understand it. What they're really concerned about is that we are going to realign with Iran in a fundamental way. We’re going to go back to the days when it was us and the Shah. And that’s their fear. There's going to be another U.S.-Iran axis. And they're going to be over here. That’s their primal concern. And we have to address that. We have to make clear we’re not embracing Iran. We’re not accepting Iran’s conduct elsewhere. We’re very clear-eyed about this. And we’re going to work with our traditional allies to deal with their concerns.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Let me ask Bob Einhorn also to address the regional proliferation risk issue.

ROBERT EINHORN:  There's been a lot of speculation about a cascade of proliferation in the Middle East. I think whether or not the Middle East is going to become more nuclear depends on several factors. One, perceptions of the deal. First of all, is there going to be a deal? And I agree with Sandy. If there's not a deal, I think this will heighten concerns about Iran’s behavior. If there is a deal, then they will evaluate the effectiveness of the deal in preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. And, to the extent that they see it as an effective barrier to an Iranian nuclear bomb, they're going to be much less inclined to have an interest in their own nuclear capability.

Second is Iran’s behavior. If Iran continues an aggressive effort at achieving regional hegemony, I think this is going to increase concerns among Iran’s neighbors, and increase their incentives for seeking indigenous nuclear capability. A third factor is the role of the United States. If the U.S. is perceived as maintaining a strong regional presence, a strong regional military presence, if it’s perceived as being a reliable security partner, committed to assisting its partners in the region and ensuring their own defense, then I think there will be much fewer incentives for indigenous nuclear capabilities.

And fourth, and finally, is a question of feasibility. Even if countries develop a heightened interest in having nuclear weapons, they have to have the ability, somehow, to acquire them. And the indigenous technological infrastructures in the region are not very great. It would take most of the countries of the region, you know, a long time. And they would require lots of foreign assistance if they were to develop the indigenous capability.

I know there's been speculation about Saudi Arabia and whether they would get support from a longstanding friend to acquire nuclear weapons. But I think you have to take this speculation with a grain of salt. It’s not at all clear that the Saudis would be able to get the necessary foreign assistance including even the transfer of a nuclear bomb. So I do not think a cascade of proliferation in the region is inevitable.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Let me ask Kelsey to address the PMD issue. And if you don’t know what PMD is in the context of Iran, please check out www.armscontrol.org. Kelsey is the author of our briefing book. And there is a second on the possible military dimensions issue. Kelsey.

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Howard, that’s a great question. But the P5+1 deal with Iran is not going to let Iran off the hook on answering these questions and resolving the IAEA’s concerns. November of 2013, Iran and the IAEA signed a framework of cooperation in which Iran pledged to answer all of the 12 areas of concerns about its past work potentially related to military dimensions. And a deal will incentivize Iran to follow through on that.

Sanctions relief will likely be offered as Iran continues to meet those milestones in the agency’s investigation. And really, reaching an agreement helps ensure Iran that it is not going to be penalized for its past activities, because Iran knows that, until it resolves these issues to the agency’s satisfaction, its program will never be declared exclusively peaceful by the international community.

So resolving these issues really is in sort of Iran’s best interest. But what I think some policymakers critique about the deal is that they say, “Well how can we put in place a monitoring and verification mechanism that ensures that Iran is not continuing these activities if we don’t know what's been done in the past?” But the P5+1 is pursuing an intrusive monitoring and verification regime that will give them broad access to Iran’s nuclear facilities, including some of the undeclared facilities and areas where they do not currently have access. It will include likely far greater measures related to accountancy and transparency. And putting these measures in place ensures that Iran will not be pursuing these activities in the future. And that’s far more important when we consider the threat of Iran’s nuclear program.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. A couple other-- Trita, did you have something to add on the previous question?

TRITA PARSI:  I think Sandy is of course right that this is largely about where the U.S. will be with Iran vis-à-vis the other countries in the region. And I think Bob is quite right when it comes to questioning whether the assumption that the other countries in the region would automatically pursue a bomb. But I think there is a glaring contradiction that needs to be addressed in this speculation, which is, how is it that those who raise these issues believe that the United States, who has no presence in Iran, no trade with Iran, has the power to be able to completely eliminate any cascade, any centrifuge in Iran. But, if a country like Saudi Arabia, who is dependent on the United States on its security, decides to go for a nuclear bomb, the United States would stand completely helplessly. That contradiction needs to be addressed before any of the speculation can really be engaged in. Thank you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Up here in the front, please.

Q:   Medea Benjamin. I wonder why the context of all of this is that Iran is so evil and Saudi Arabia is our great ally. And I wonder if what's happening now in Yemen might really blow things up and affect these nuclear talks. And one other thing. Why do we never talk about Israel’s nuclear weapons in the context of this negotiations.

DARYL KIMBALL:  At other press conferences we will talk about Iran’s nuclear-- or Israel’s nuclear weapons. But let me also just see if there were a couple other questions at the back. We’ll take a couple at once. Jim over here on the left please, and then back up front.

Q:   Jim Loeb, Interpress. Actually, kind of following on what Medea asked. On the regional implications, the opponents of the deal seem to be focusing more and more on Iran’s alleged hegemonic, if not imperial ambitions. In the last 24 hours, we’ve seen some rather dramatic things happening, including the Yemen situation in which apparently the United States acquiesced. And also, the United States beginning bombing around Tikrit. And I want to know, basically, what panelists, especially Mr. Berger and Trita think about the implications of both of these actions happening so close to each other.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Sandy, you want to try to take the first question?

SANDY BERGER:  I'm sorry, I just wasn’t able to hear the specifics of your question. Just in eight words?

Q:   I’ll try. Opponents of the deal are focusing on Iran’s alleged hegemonic ambitions in the region. And we’ve just had these very dramatic events with respect to Yemen and Tikrit. And I wondered what the implications of those are.

SANDY BERGER:  Well, to address why do we focus on Iran and not Saudi, why is Iran the bad guy and Saudi is the good guy. You know, I don’t think it’s a question of good or bad. Iran is engaged around the region in efforts to destabilize the region. So it’s supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon. It’s supporting Hezbollah in Syria. It’s supporting Hamas in Gaza. It’s supporting the Houtis in Yemen. This is not ideological, this is just true. It’s facts, okay.

Q:   Who does Saudi Arabia support?

SANDY BERGER:  Well, Saudi Arabia is supporting some of the extreme Islamists, although I think they’ve cut back substantially, in Syria particularly. I don’t want to absolve Saudi Arabia. I'm not putting it up on a pedestal. I think Iran’s intent is, at this point, more hegemonic, more an effort to dominate the region than anybody else. I think that is part and parcel of what they expect to do. And I think you look around the region, I think that’s the case.

Now will that change? Hopefully it will. Will this agreement stimulate the forces inside Iran that there be an offset and a counter to those forces? Hopefully it can. That would be a terrific thing. We’d be open to that. We’d respond to that. But I don’t think we can turn a blind eye to the activities around the region if you go from Yemen to Lebanon to Syria. And you know, it’s fundamental effort to also unseat the current order of things.

DARYL KIMBALL:  But to stress one of the points that I think have been made a couple times, I want to make it again, this is a nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran about the nuclear program. And as Sandy was saying in your opening, these issues, these problems in the region would only be worse if Iran’s nuclear program is unconstrained and less monitored. Let me ask if there are any other reporters who have got questions. And then we’re going to have to wrap up shortly. So with Gareth, and then we’ll go to the back for the second.

Q:   Gareth Porter, independent journalist. I’d like to ask about the prospects for a framework agreement in the coming week, in light of the statements that have been made by both Iran and the P5+1, or at least diplomats associated with the P5+1 in very recent days, taking as I think Bob Einhorn said, very strong positions on specifically on the question of sanctions relief. The Iranians saying that there must be a lifting of all sanctions, the P5+1 making it clear that they intend to insist on phasing gradually what they call sanctions relief over a number of years.

So my question is, what is the scenario that is conceivable at this point, even conceivable, let alone likely, for an agreement that would allow this framework to be forged in the coming days?

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good question. We’ll see if we have something of an answer. Bob.

ROBERT EINHORN:  I think if Iran insists that all sanctions be permanently terminated at the outside of implementation of the deal, there will be no deal. The U.S., its partners are simply not prepared to agree to that. The U.S. and its partners support an approach where there is a phased easing of sanctions based on Iranian performance. In the first instance, milestones reached in implementing constraints on its nuclear program. But also, satisfying IAEA concerns about Iran’s past behavior, and as well as the need for the IAEA to reach a broad conclusion that Iran is fully in compliance with its obligations.

So the easing of sanctions is going to have to be phased. And if Iran insists on immediate termination of all sanctions from the outset, there simply won't be a deal.

DARYL KIMBALL:  And I would also just observe, and as Bob has seen this in his time as a negotiator, both sides of the negotiation make statements about issues in the talks that are often designed to be heard by their domestic audiences. And so they are negotiating a bit in public and repeating core positions. It’s clear that the two sides are at an end phase, with respect to these negotiations. The Iranians understand, I think, the position of the P5+1 that Bob just outlined. I think the point of those statements is to encourage the P5 to agree to the fastest possible sanctions relief, greatest amount of sanctions relief.

I am aware that the P5+1 proposal would deliver very significant relief through the form of waivers for the Iranians that would be very beneficial. The issue of UN Security Council resolution revisions and changes is going to be a longer process, I think, that is related to Iranian performance. And one of the reasons why the 47 Senators’ letter was unhelpful, was disruptive, was that it reinforced Iran’s concern that the United States could not deliver on eventually lifting and removing U.S. sanctions. And so that put a greater emphasis for the Iranians on achieving something in the UN Security Council channel.

In addition, one of the other reasons why the Corker bill could be problematic if it moves forward during the talks is it would delay, by at least 65 days, the President’s waiver-- existing legislative authority to waive sanctions. And that could delay his ability to deliver on quick sanctions relief through these waivers in response to very quick Iranian actions on nonproliferation.

So this is, I think, I'm just trying to explain this by way of saying it’s very complex. They're in a late phase. And it’s important for Congress not to try to impose certain conditions that affect the delicate dynamics in Lausanne.

So I think we’ve got time for one more question in the back, if you could take the microphone.

Q:   Negar Mortazavi, independent reporter. I think this is a question of millions of Iranian citizens, which have been waiting for a year for about two years. The question used to be whether there would be a deal or not. And I think now the question is whether this deal will continue, and what would be the obstacles to maintaining a deal if Congress will try to sabotage this or any of the other opponents in the region, in the U.S. specifically, how would they try to sabotage it? And what would be the obstacles? And what are the guarantees?

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Well let me take a quick stab at that. I think it’s a very good question. But that may be the next press conference in about six months, because I mean, that’s actually several different difficult questions that are hard to answer at this stage, except to say that, you know, there's no political decision in Washington that is ever final. There is no international political resolution that is ever completely final. This agreement, if it is concluded in the next few days and weeks and months, is going to require vigilance. It’s going to require both sides complying and implementing. And there will be obstacles. There will be problems. How that plays out is yet to be seen.

But I think several of us have said here, I mean this is an enormous opportunity, both from a nuclear and nonproliferation perspective, this would be one of the greatest and most consequential nonproliferation achievements if the P5+1 position is maintained in this negotiation. It would have enormously beneficial results with respect to international security, as well as regional security.

So it is important for the negotiators, for policymakers in Washington, Tehran, other capitals, to recognize the costs and the benefits, and to seize this historic opportunity, and not to inadvertently or purposefully undermine it.

Is there anyone else who wanted to add to that? So I think we are at about an hour. I think we’ve had a very good discussion here. And I want to thank my fellow speakers very much for their insights and their comments. And we will be in touch with you in the coming days and weeks. If there's anyone on the panel here who you want to get in touch with, you can reach them directly. The Arms Control Association can also help facilitate that. Thank you very much for being here today.

[applause]

END

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Diplomats from the P5+1 and Iran are meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland in an effort to reach a political framework agreement for a comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal to block Iran's ...

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An Effective P5+1 Nuclear Deal with Iran and the Role of Congress

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Body: 
 Friday, February 27, 2015
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

National Press Club, First Amendment Lounge
529 14th Street NW (13th Floor)
Washington D.C.


Transcript Available

Negotiators from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran are racing to try to conclude a political framework agreement for a comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal to block Iran's potential pathways to nuclear weapons by the end of March, with technical details on a final deal to be ironed out by the end of June. 

Over the past year, Iran and the P5+1 have made significant progress on long-term solutions on several challenging issues. Following the most recent round of high-level talks, the two sides reportedly made progress on key remaining issues.

At the same time, key members of Congress are threatening to advance new Iran sanctions legislation and set unrealistic requirements for a nuclear deal. Also, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says he will introduce legislation this month that would give Congress the opportunity to vote to disapprove or approve a comprehensive nuclear agreement once and if it is completed. Both proposals have drawn a veto threat from the Obama administration.  

The Arms Control Association will host a special press briefing featuring a former member of the U.S. negotiating team, a former professional staff member of the House intelligence committee, and Arms Control Association experts on the status of the negotiations, the likely outlines of a comprehensive agreement, and the the appropriate role for Congress.

Speakers include:  
  • Richard Nephew, Program Director, Economic Statecraft, Sanctions and Energy Markets, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, and former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State, and Director for Iran on the National Security Staff;
  • Kelsey Davenport, Director of Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association;
  • Larry Hanauer, Senior International Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation, and former senior staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives' Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence;
  • Moderated by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association.

Transcript by: National Press Club

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good afternoon, everyone. If you could please take your seats, turn off your ringers on your cell phone so we're not interrupted. Welcome. I'm Daryl Kimball, I'm Executive Director of the Arms Control Association. We're an independent, nonpartisan research and public education organization. And our mission is to reduce and eliminate the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.

And we've convened this briefing here today on an effective P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran and the role of Congress because after more than a year of intense, serious negotiations, top diplomats from the United States along with the other permanent members of the Security Council, and Germany, are closing in on a long-term comprehensive agreement that we believe would be effective in preventing a nuclear armed Iran. 

The agreement that appears to be taking shape would, as we’ll hear in more detail from our experts, block Iran’s major potential pathways to nuclear weapons development, the uranium enrichment route, the plutonium separation route, and would also guard against a clandestine weapons program. The agreement would be a major boon for U.S. and international security, for the security of Israel, and our other allies in the region and for global efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. It’s an opportunity we simply can't afford to squander.

Last week, the two sides further narrowed their differences on remaining gaps, which includes how to limit Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity under the agreement. We believe they're close to concluding a detailed political framework agreement by the end of March, perhaps a little sooner, with a final complete agreement including all of the technical annexes by the end of June.

Beginning on Monday, the negotiators, including Secretary of State Kerry, Foreign Minister Zarif, Secretary of Energy Moniz and his counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi from Iran, will meet again outside of Geneva to work on bridging the remaining differences.

And there's no time to waste, as we’ll hear also today, some members of Congress are threatening to advance new Iran sanctions legislation by the end of March if there is no political framework agreement. Some members appear to want to write into such a bill unrealistic requirements for what the deal must achieve. Some of the proponents of these new sanctions, quite plainly, say that their aim is to blow up the negotiations.

In the House, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs is reported to be working on a bill that would revoke the President’s existing authority under law to waive certain sanctions, which will be necessary in the initial phases of the agreement to implement it. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker is about to introduce legislation, perhaps next week, that would halt the implementation of any comprehensive P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran until Congress has a chance for an up or down vote.

So both of these proposals, both of these ideas, have drawn veto threats from President Obama and for very good reason. Congress has many ways to responsibly and constructively weigh in on the agreement, but the Arms Control Association believes it would be irresponsible, especially with an effective deal within sight, to initiate additional sanctions or to try to block implementation of the agreement soon after it’s concluded and before we contest Iran’s willingness to comply with tougher limits on its nuclear program.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will be here next week. He’s to be expected to make the argument that the deal isn't good enough. He is going to be suggesting that within additional pressure through tougher sanctions, somehow, some way, Iran’s leaders will cry uncle. They will agree to dismantle their major nuclear weapons facilities. Our analysis is that that is fantasy. That would be ideal, but that's a fantasy.

As my colleague, Kelsey Davenport, has written, in 2005 that might have been possible when Iran had just a few hundred centrifuges. But today, ten years later, 20,000 centrifuges later, those who insist on dismantling Iran’s program are tilting at windmills.

So if the P5+1 and members in Congress hold out for more, there are going to be quite dire consequences, and we’ll hear more about that from our speakers. 

And so the agreement, as we’ll talk about more in detail, we believe is going to be effective. It’s not going to deliver everything that the P5+1 want, nor everything that Iran is seeking, but it can provide what both sides need.

So to explore these and other issues, we've got three great speakers who are very knowledgeable about all the facets I've just been touching upon. After each of them speaks, we're going to take your questions and get into discussion. So first, we're going to hear from Richard Nephew, who is program director of economic statecraft, sanctions and energy markets at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, a new program I understand. And he’s the former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State, and was also former Director for Iran at the National Security Council just a hop, skip and jump away. He will provide us with his perspectives on the administration’s strategic goals, the thinking behind the P5+1 approach in these issues, and the choices ahead.

And next, Kelsey Davenport, our Arms Control Association nonproliferation policy director, is going to outline what we believe are the key elements of the agreement, how some of the tough issues are probably going to be resolved, and how to judge the effectiveness of the agreement from a nonproliferation perspective. 

And last, but not least, we’ll hear from Larry Hanauer, who’s senior international policy analyst at the Rand Corporation. He was a former senior staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. And he’s going to be reviewing some of the results of a recent, very recent, RAND study on the role of Congress in this matter. And he’s going to focus on some of the ideas that are in play and share his thoughts on homeland security Congress can most productively weigh in on a P5+1 agreement with Iran. So with that, let me ask Richard to start us out. The floor is yours.

RICHARD NEPHEW:  Great, thank you very much. And thank you, very much, Daryl, for both your introduction and the opportunity to come and participate here in this panel. I see some familiar faces out here. I've had the opportunity to participate in a number of panels before, but for the first time, I actually have a task that's a little bit more daunting, which is speaking for myself. So, I hope that you will find it informative and interesting. I believe I have done at least one of those things in the past before, but probably not both, and hope to do that both here. 

As Daryl was just saying, I've been asked to talk a little bit about the strategic objectives that both sides, particularly the United States though, is taking into the negotiation, as well as a little bit of what the implications would be of congressional action. I have to say, just at the outset, that my very strong view is that new legislation now would be counterproductive and deeply damaging to the diplomatic process. And I'll describe in a minute or two why I think that’s true.

But I have to emphasize there that the operative word is now. And I think this is part of what gets lost a little bit in this debate, is that question about what we should be doing now at present to confront the Iranian challenge, which in my view ought to be negotiations and diplomacy, and what we might choose or have to choose to do if talks were to collapse. But the key issue now is how do we give the talks the best chance of actually succeeding as opposed to actually spurring their move towards collapse. 

I think that part of the reason why this is so complicated is that both sides are entering into what's a very perverse game of chicken that you have to do any time you're engaged in a public negotiation. And that is that both sides need to be demonstrating a very palpable sense of nonchalance as to the potential risks and consequences of failing to get a deal. Any time you hear either the Secretary of State, the President, or the Iranians talk about a deal, everybody always has to add at the end, “But, you know, we can survive if we don’t have a deal.” And I think this is because, in part, the stakes are so high for both sides. And perversely, there is a need for both sides to demonstrate that they can get along just fine to avoid giving the appearance of desperation. And it’s desperation, I think, that is one of the biggest risks that we face as we go into this negotiation. And again, perversely, it’s desperation that I think is signaled by the fact that there is so much energy to try and kill what could be an otherwise attractive-looking deal and part of the reason why we need to give a deal an opportunity to manifest itself.

You know, I think both sides in the negotiation would reject the idea that they are desperate. And I think both sides would reject the idea that they're entering the talks with anything other than principles in mind. But frankly, as you think about the idea of principles in negotiation, it’s a very unusual concept. Everybody brings principles into negotiation. Certainly, you can't truly negotiate unless you have principles. But I think if you're ever engaged in negotiation that wants a mutually attractive outcome, at some point or another, principles have to be a little bit more flexible and you have to decide what principles you really need to stand on and which principles are good to haves. And I think, again, this is one of the main reasons why the present negotiation is both so complicated and so technical and so difficult, is because at one hand, it’s been the negotiator’s need to try and find what are core principles.

For the United States, what is it exactly that we need to achieve in order to have a good deal? For the Iranians, what do we need to preserve in order to have a good deal, as well as achieve in terms of sanctions, relief and so forth? And I think this just adds to the level of difficulty and complexity here.

But I think the simple analysis and the simple truth that I hope you take from anything I say today, is that when you're engaged in a real negotiation, you do not have the luxury of seeking the ideal. There is no negotiation that I can think of that actually involves two sides sitting down at a table and trying to come up with a mutually acceptable set of answers that actually involves an ideal outcome for either side. Ideals are luxuries, ideals are things that you may be able to achieve. But at the end of the day, you have to be able to decide what is really important, what advances your real national interests here.

And let’s take an example that's very pertinent to this issue of enrichment. Now, the Iranian government has been unambiguous for over a decade that it will not negotiate on its perceived right to uranium enrichment. They’ve argued that this right needs to be exercised, not just held, not just known. For the longest time, on the other hand, the United States took the principle position that Iran had no right to enrichment. But further, that Iran’s clandestine acquisition of the technology and the fact that it was engaged in these activities under UN sanctions, and the fact that they had engaged in efforts to develop nuclear weapons meant they probably couldn’t also have the exercise of that technology.

And I have to say that principle position was comfortable, it was emotionally satisfying and it got nowhere in the negotiations that we engaged in with the Iranians for roughly six years. And that's not surprising because the Iranians entered into the conversation with a completely different set of core principles. And, the fact that both sides were exercising those principles led to mounting uranium enriched stockpiles, thousands of centrifuges being installed, and ever-narrowing breakout timelines.

They also led to increasing instability in the Gulf and there's enough instability in the Gulf, but it’s been getting worse as Iran is looking towards acquiring even a latest breakout capability unrestricted by any kind of nuclear deal. 

So the Obama Administration faced a crossroads. They could continue to insist on a set of core principles and face the uncertain prospect of sanctions forcing Iranian capitulation or risking a conflict, or the administration could test the theory that negotiations could result in an Iranian nuclear program that does not create nearly the same security problems as what's happening now. And the key and the center of that would be both restrictions and intrusive verification and monitoring steps. And the test is what led to the joint plan of action, which was agreed to by the United States, and its P5+1 partners and Iran in November of 2013. And for the first time in nearly a decade, halted Iran’s nuclear program and rolled it back in key respects.

Both sides had to compromise on their principles to get there. The United States certainly had to be prepared to acknowledge that enrichment could be part of Iran’s future in a nuclear program, which was not something that for a very long time was in the cards. The Iranians, on the other hand, also compromised on their core principles by saying that they would halt an enrichment program and they would subject it to international restrictions including international restrictions achieved through negotiations with the “Great Satan.” And I don't think that the impact of that politically in Tehran can be underestimated. The fact that they agreed to restrictions, which they always said they were going to resist after negotiating with the United States. 

Both sides also, though, indicated they’d be prepared to compromise further in order to get to a comprehensive plan of action. And a comprehensive deal that would competitively address all the remaining problems. Now, that does not mean, however, that comprehensive would automatically lead to no concerns whatsoever for either side. Instead, both sides would have to find ways of accommodating one another and accommodating one another’s natural and at some level instinctive security concerns and lack of confidence in one another.

For Iran, they made very clear that they will not terminate their enrichment program, period. They also will not take steps at the barrel of a gun. In this context, the tool of U.S. sanctions. They will not dismantle their entire nuclear program on the promise of sanctions relief in the future. They are going to insist that any kind of deal that comes out of this process have sanctions relief for them early on in order to make it a reasonable deal for them. 

For the United States, we've also made it very clear that we're not going to agree to anything at the barrel of a gun. And that means continuing nuclear advancement on the part of Iran. It’s part of the reason why the joint plan of action was so important, was to put the nuclear program on ice such that negotiations could take place in a much more calm atmosphere.

And I would just note for anyone who thinks that the current climate is very tense, imagine if we were continuing to have these negotiations without the plan of action in which the Iranian nuclear program was operating 20,000 centrifuges and potentially installing them at an even faster rate.

You know, a purely principled negotiation would end right there with both sides having stated what their principles are, and then walking away from one another. But the negotiators are trying to find a way to permit increased confidence on both sides that a deal can both be achieved, as well as could work. And so that's going to require lengthy and technical talks. They need to combine political steps with technical modifications, with legal interpretations, to create an agreement that's sustainable over the long term. And neither side is going to get its ideal outcome in doing so. 

But if both sides are able to explain how their core interests are assured, then to my mind, that's the only principle that really counts. And that’s the principle, I think, that is governing our negotiators, and I believe to some extent as well the Iranian negotiators as they enter the talks. 

Now for Iran at its heart, their core political is acceptance for its nuclear achievements and resumption of economic ties to the outside world without being humiliated. And I think the issue of humiliation for Iran is very real. It is something that may come off as a sound bite, but I think it actually is part of and invests itself in every one of Iran’s strategic calculations and decisions.

For the United States, our core principle, I think, is a nuclear program that cannot be used to build nuclear weapons in such a short amount of time that we cannot prevent it in the defense of ourselves, our partners and our interests. And it’s also about confirming an international norm that fewer nuclear weapons in nuclear armed states is better than more.

And this returns me to the issue of more congressional pressure now. You know, I think the simple truth of it is the United States and Iran are engaged in a very public negotiation. This would be a heck of a lot easier if it was not, because then we wouldn't have to be having the same kind of conversation in public as we have to have in private and trying to manage both of those dynamics. 

But let’s be really blunt here. If the United States acts in any way that appears to be reconciling itself to Iran’s interests, then the administration is subject to intense criticism. The same is true for Iran. And while the Iranian negotiators aren’t often accused of having their talking points written in Washington, the reality is that there is just as intense criticism of them for what they are doing in the negotiating room as with us. And they cannot appear to concede to the United States on any issue. And, in fact, if you look at the joint plan of action, the entire text is vested with descriptions of Iranian declarations and announcements and things that are their own active decision. And that's because at the end of the day, they cannot come home with a document that says Iran will do the following because it was forced to, and because it was forced to in particular by a group of countries that includes the United States. 

So, frankly, solutions do not have to come from Iran, but the Iranians have to be able to stand up and say that those solutions, the comprehensive solutions that are to be reached, reflect their interests, their views, their desires and are responsive to their policy interests. And that's part of the reason why I think legislation now is so dangerous. It just strips the negotiators of their ability to negotiate and it paints a target on their backs every single day they have to go back to Tehran.

Now at this point, I usually get accused of protecting Iran or looking out for them rather than the United States. And look, nothing could be further from the truth. And I've become famous in saying they're big boys, they can defend themselves and they can negotiate for themselves. But there is a meaningful difference between serving Iranian interests and protecting American interests by not fouling the nests of the people that we're dealing with. And that distinction, I think, is what is in all of the policy statements and decisions that are being taken by the administration as they seek to negotiate with Iran.

And for this reason, I personally oppose any legislation that sets a time deadline on the talks or defines what must be in an acceptable deal unless it’s the most generic statement of policy. All this does is create expectations on the Iran side to resist and to buck the authority of the west. It doesn’t create pressure on the regime; rather, it gives them an out to argue that they must stand up for the independence of the Iranian people.

Similarly, the idea of establishing explicit requirement for an up or down vote is unnecessary and counterproductive, though I can understand why it’s beguiling. First, as I understand it, the goal is to make it very, very clear that Congress will have a say on the issue of a nuclear deal. If nothing else has been proven since November of 2013, it is that the U.S. Congress is interested in Iran and is going to have its voice heard.

And the second is that Congress doesn't need to give itself this authority. And I think we're going to hear about some of their options that they have later on. But the flat answer is that Congress can stop the implementation of any deal that it dislikes. And to the natural counterargument of this puts the blame on Congress, then. They have to defund implementation, or so forth, I have to retort an up or down vote doesn't do that after a deal has been reached.

The simple reality is that by any action that is taken now is potentially putting the United States into the crosshairs of being responsible for having scuttled the process. And I think that is what is most dangerous. And I think the administration knows full well what Congress’s views are and what's an acceptable deal. I know that I knew them when I was in the administration and when I was working on this issue. And I don't believe that much has changed since I left. 

Frankly, if Congress wants to put pressure on the regime, then it will stop giving hard liners in Tehran easy sound bites to react to. Instead, it will work to try and make a deal possible. There will be hearings, there will be discussions about how sanctions relief would actually be executed. It will demonstrate that if, in fact, a deal is reached and it’s deemed acceptable, that the Congress will stand behind the administration in executing it. Because then, the Iranian hardliners will have no place else to turn, other than to themselves, in rejecting a deal. 

But if on the other hand they're able to point to clear indications that a deal will not be agreed to or will not be implemented if agreed to at the outset, then I think that simply scuttles any real chance of them being able to negotiation with us. And I think also Congress can set the table by doing things like changing the rules on U.S. export of oil. Things that help to create the conditions for future sanctions pressure are good ways of supporting the administration in its efforts to both negotiate and then to execute that pressure in the future.

And I think, then, I would just conclude with one last point. There's often a consideration given to “couldn’t we get more concessions from the Iranians if we just add pressure now?” And I think the thought behind that is the Iranians have come to the table under a certain degree of pressure, they certainly will have to make a deal if they have more pressure applied to them. My view is no, I don’t think, in fact, that's true. And I think any reasonable history of the Iranian nuclear program vis-à-vis sanctions shows that at best it’s a foot race between the sanctioners who are trying to increase pressure and the pace of the nuclear program. But I will acknowledge it’s not impossible. It’s entirely possible that adding more pressure on Iran now we’ll get concessions that we couldn't get at the negotiating table today. 

But, there is a risk to that. And it’s a bet that's being taken by the people who decide to walk away from the table now. The real answer is no one knows. No one knows what could potentially happen if we apply additional pressure now, or if we wait. But I think we can look based upon recent history, and we can make an educated guess. And in my view, the educated guess is that more pressure now, or the appearance of more pressure now, would force negotiators to walk away from the table or to be unable to make the kinds of concessions that they need to make in order to have a long and sustainable nuclear deal.

For those who are making the bet on the opposite side, I think they also need to be able to demonstrate why they're right and why it’s automatically the case that adding more pressure now is automatically going to lead to a better deal. Because, frankly, I don't think they can and I don't believe that the analysis would bear that out. 

I think that, frankly, the most pressure we can put on the Iran government now is to keep silent about what we need and instead of concentrating on what's on offer because we need the ability, if a deal is not achieved, to be able to stand up to the world and ask why it would turn its back on the sanctions relief that would be promised as part of a deal. Why it would be unable to modify the Iraq reactor to not produce weapons grade plutonium every single year. Why it would not be able to take reasonable restrictions on its enrichment program. And why it would not be able to grant the transparency and access and verification that’s required to execute a nuclear deal that's reached.

In my opinion, it’s exactly that kind of pressure that can motivate the Iranians to look around themselves and decide a deal is far better than pursuing their own nuclear program unrestricted. Thank you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right, thank you very much, Richard. And I want to remind everybody Richard was in the negotiating room last year. The next speaker was outside the negotiating room several times, Kelsey, on behalf of the Arms Control Association, spent a lot of time in the coffee shop outside the Coburg Palace and elsewhere. Has been tracking the talks for us and she's going to tell us a little bit about what we think this thing might look like. Kelsey? 

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Great, thank you Daryl. Thank you all for coming and thank you to Richard for laying out the principles of each side so clearly. Because now I want to talk a little bit about how the sides can find compromise on the nuclear elements to reach a deal that allows both sides to go back to their domestic audience and say that they’ve upheld these principles.

But before getting into the specifics, I want to really echo Daryl’s point, that the United States and its negotiating partners are on the cusp right now of a historic opportunity to reach a deal with Iran that guards against its obtaining nuclear weapons sort of well into the future. And that deal is not only possible now but it’s becoming probable and it’s looking increasingly likely that the negotiators can reach a broad agreement on the parameters by the end of March. And particularly in Washington, giving the negotiators time and space to do that is key.

But when an agreement is reached, it’s also important to evaluate it based on what is realistic and what is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. No deal is going to be perfect, no deal is going to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program entirely. But we don’t need a perfect deal, we need a good deal. So the U.S. really has three goals sort of within the negotiation to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. And that's to block Iran’s pathways to the bomb using both plutonium and uranium; to guard against a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program; and to provide incentives and an agreement for Iran to follow up and comply sort of well into the future.

So, first to look at blocking Iran’s pathway to the bomb. There are two materials that you can use for nuclear weapons; separated plutonium and weapons grade uranium. So, to look first at plutonium, Iran and the P5+1 have made significant advances on coming to an agreement on how to deal with the plutonium question. Iran right now has a heavy water reactor that it was constructing prior to reaching the interim agreements. They’ve halted construction as part of the deal. And if completed, that reactor, as designed now, would produce enough plutonium that when separated would be equivalent to about two weapons every year. So that's about eight kilograms in total. 

Now, working with the P5+1, they’ve come to an agreement whereby Iran could modify the reactor, reducing the power level and changing the fuel and that would dramatically decrease the amount of weapons usable plutonium that the reactor would produce, thus blocking the path to a bomb by reducing that to less than one kilogram of plutonium, in all likelihood. And then but also allowing Iran to complete the reactor, which is a very important principle from the Iranian perspective.

So consider that against the alternative. Two bombs worth or uranium produced a year versus less than a quarter produced every year. And a commitment from Iran that it will not separate the weapons-usable plutonium out of the spent fuel. So that's extremely significant for the United States.

Now, the uranium enrichment question is slightly more complex, and it’s been one of the more difficult issues for the negotiators to find a compromise on. The United States has publicly committed to pushing Iran’s ability to produce enough weapons grade uranium for one bomb back to 12 months. Right now, they could do that in two to three months. And I want to stress that that is just the time it would take for Iran to produce the uranium for one bomb. There are a number of other steps that they would have to take after that to weaponize the material before they would actually have a weapon. So that's 12 months plus that additional time. And that's what the U.S. wants to achieve in these negotiations.

Now, a combination of measures sort of will push back the time that it will take Iran to accumulate this material. Uranium is enriched to both power reactor grades and to weapons grade using centrifuges. And the number of centrifuges that Iran is allowed under this deal has become highly symbolic of how a deal is assessed. And that, in my opinion, is a huge problem because it reduces a complex set of figures to one number. There is no magic number. If the deal has 5,000 centrifuges, that doesn't make it a good deal. And if it has 5,001, that doesn't make it a bad deal. You have to look at how all of the factors play together and interact. And that’s how you'll then begin to see if you reach that 12-month time period that the United States wants. 

So, that will mean a combination of limiting Iran’s centrifuges. Currently, Iran has nearly 20,000 centrifuges installed, of which about 10,200 are enriching uranium. So it will probably entail dismantling some of those centrifuges that are installed but not enriching, and then likely reducing the number that are enriching, that 10,200, and perhaps reconfiguring them so that they become less efficient.

Now, that also will be coupled with reducing the stockpiles of enriched material that Iran is allowed to keep in the country. Right now, Iran is enriching to less than five percent and not suitable for power reactors. Materials suitable for bombs is enriched to greater than 90 percent. And keeping that stockpile of enriched uranium low will help increase the time it would take for Iran to move to those weapons grade levels.

Another thing that will be likely within the uranium enrichment sort of package is that there will be limits put on Iran’s research and development of advanced machines, and the production of those machines. And that gives the international community more assurance that Iran won't be building advanced machines and then move very quickly towards nuclear weapons at the culmination of a deal, which is likely to be sort of at least ten years in terms of the limits on Iran’s program.

Also, there probably will be no enrichment allowed at the Fordow facility; that's one of Iran’s two enrichment facilities that the United States and its allies have been concerned about because it’s buried sort of deep within a mountain and quite difficult to access. So, much has been made sort of within the past few months since the last extension in November, a lot of progress has been made on the uranium enrichment question. And it’s this progress in particular that makes me hopeful that a deal is possible by the end of March. 

Now, one of the things that we hear frequently when talking about uranium enrichment is this idea that we need to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons capability. Now, that is not going to happen. It’s like a mirage. It sounds good, but you can try as hard as you want and you will not get there. You cannot bomb away the knowledge that Iran has gained from its nuclear program. You cannot sanction it away. You cannot dismantle it. Iran has had a nuclear weapons capability since 2007, and this is something that the international community has to live with. So the best way to insure that Iran does not choose to pursue nuclear weapons is to reach a good agreement that limits the program and puts in place very strict monitoring and verification.

So, with the deal you push Iran’s timeline to getting nuclear material for a bomb back to 12 months. With no deal, it’s at two to three right now, and that time frame will narrow quickly if the sides walk away from the table and Iran ramps up its enrichment program, if it turns on those additional nearly 10,000 machines that are installed, if it begins to install more machines, and if it returns to enriching to higher and higher levels.

Now, the second element of a good deal is guarding against a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program. Now, prior to the interim agreement, the U.S. intelligence community assessed that if Iran were to choose to pursue nuclear weapons, it would most likely do so through a covert program. And that assessment is understandable given Iran’s past history. They did build their enrichment sites without notifying the International Atomic Energy Agency, so they have a history of these types of covert activities. But a good deal can put in place the monitoring and verification to insure that these measures don’t continue. And this is key, also, then to immediately determining any deviation from an agreement that Iran may take in the future.

Now, one of the key provisions of the additional monitoring and verification will be the additional protocol. And one of the advantages of the additional protocol is that it is permanent. The limits on Iran’s nuclear program will eventually expire, but the additional protocol will remain in place. And this mechanism gives the International Atomic Energy Agency expanded access to Iran’s sites. It will encompass Iran’s entire fuel cycle so that's from mining the raw uranium to building the centrifuges to the enrichment facilities to the Iraq heavy water reactor. So this is very important because it also gives the inspectors sort of shorter notice to access Iran’s sites.

And there are mechanisms that give the IAEA access to sites if they have concerns that Iran may be undertaking sort of covert nuclear activities. So this is incredibly important assurance to the international community that Iran will not be deviating from an agreement and will not be putting in place a covert program.

And then there are some additional measures that will likely be included. Iran will probably be required to abide by another agreement with the IAEA called code 3.1 that requires Iran to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with information about new nuclear facilities that it intends to build from the moment that they decide to do so. So that's much earlier notice than what the IAEA gets now when Iran decides to move forward with new nuclear projects.

A deal will probably also incentivize Iran to answer some of the IAEA’s questions about the past military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. It’s fairly well accepted, sort of both in the United States and in the international community, that prior to 2003, Iran conducted activities that were relevant to developing a nuclear weapon. But Iran has been slow to work with the IAEA to provide information about those activities. But a deal will provide Iran incentives to do so. Sanctions relief at certain measures if it follows through with the IAEA.

So again, sort of these measures give the international community far more assurance that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons, that it cannot develop a covert program. And if you look at this versus the alternative, less inspections than we have now, less monitoring, fewer inspectors on the ground, it would be much easier for Iran with no deal to pursue nuclear weapons. So again, the benefits of the monitoring and verification far exceed the alternative. And as I said, are permanent.

Finally, sort of the last thing that a deal really needs to do is to incentivize Iran not to pursue nuclear weapons in the future. So within the final deal, as Iran makes these concessions, as it gives up elements of its nuclear program, as it adds more monitoring and verification, it’s important to provide them with reciprocal sanctions relief and to phase that sanctions relief over the course of a deal. That will help insure that Iran continues to abide by the agreement. And we see an excellent precedent for that in the interim agreement. In addition to being granted some sanctions relief, Iran was also able to access frozen assets every month, and as it met certain milestones to neutralize elements of its more highly enriched 20 percent stockpiles of uranium.

So, and I believe, too, that establishing that compliance record will help give Washington and the international community sort of more confidence that Iran is not going to move down the nuclear weapons path in the future. But, as Richard said, and I think Larry will talk more to later, Iran has to believe that Congress will follow through with sanctions relief. If they do not think that the U.S. is willing to uphold its end of the bargain, they have very little incentive to negotiate and to reach a final agreement. 

And that is one of the reasons why congressional action at this time, or the prospective of a vote of disapproval could be very damaging to the negotiations which are now in such a critical phase and so close to reaching an agreement.

So in conclusion, no deal with Iran is going to be perfect. Neither side is going to get everything that they want. But it’s important to measure a good deal against the alternative; no deal. A good deal will reduce the amount of weapons usable plutonium that Iran produces. No deal will give them two bombs’ worth a year. A good deal will extend the uranium timeline to over 12 months. No deal will shorten it. A good deal will put in stringent monitoring and verification. And under no deal, we will have far less inspectors on the ground watching Iran’s nuclear program. 

So, this is a historic opportunity to reach a deal with Iran and really minimize a threat to both U.S. security interests and regional security. And to reach a deal policymakers in D.C. need to be supportive of the negotiations now. Thank you.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thanks a lot, Kelsey. And about that Congress, Larry? Larry Hanauer is next, and Larry’s going to describe some of the options that Congress theoretically has and might pursue and some of the pros and cons. Thanks for being here, Larry.

LARRY HANAUER:  Thank you, Daryl, and thank you to my colleagues for laying out the dynamics of the negotiations. At the RAND Corporation, where I'm a senior analyst, we realize that most observers are focused on exactly these dynamics and looking at the negotiations as they're unfolding. And so what that meant was that really few people were looking at what the world might be like after a deal is signed. So, my colleagues and I at Rand looked at a number of different issues looking at the days after a deal. And we looked at, for example, the implications of an agreement for U.S. force posture in the Middle East, for the nuclear nonproliferation regime, for potential changes to Iranian foreign policy, and then I took a look at the ways in which Congress might actually react to a deal and the different options that Congress has for effecting the implementation of a deal. 

So really, there are three ways that Congress can engage constructively in shaping the implementation agreement. First, Congress should refrain from holding an up or down vote on a deal because congressional rejection of a deal would drive Iran to resume enrichment, weaken the sanctions regime, bolster Iranian hardliners, eliminate the possibility of a further future diplomatic solution, and isolate the United States. 

Second, Congress should stop debating the potential for new sanctions until after the negotiation period ends on June 30th. Because continued debate alienates our allies and actually weakens the U.S. negotiating position. If a deal is reached, Congress can impose snap back sanctions that kick in if Iran reneges on its commitments. And if no deal is reached, Congress can impose punitive sanctions on Iran with the support of the White House and the international community. 

Third, Congress can engage in aggressive oversight of the deal’s implementation by holding frequent hearings and briefings and requiring that the administration report frequently on the implementation of the agreement. Now, if a deal is reached, and this is what I'll focus on today, Congress really only has very limited ways to effect its implementation. It can accept the deal, either proactively or passively through inaction, which would allow it to go forward as negotiated. It can try to limit the executive branch’s authority to provide sanctions relief, which in all likelihood will have limited effectiveness. Or, it can reject a deal, either by voting it down or by imposing new sanctions which effectively scuttle it and that will have a range of negative consequences for the United States, some of which my colleagues already outlined.

So I'll look at a few ways first that Congress can facilitate the implementation of a deal. There are two primary ways it can do this. One is to lift sanctions by statute, or two, second, is to proactively express support for a deal either by explicitly authorizing and appropriating funds for its implementation or by passing a sense of Congress resolution or issuing other statements that indicate that Congress actually supports the deal’s implementation.

Now, no one’s actually discussing these measures at this point, so let's put those aside for now. But it’s also possible, actually, that Congress could do nothing, something that actually happens quite often in Washington, I guess, but at least do nothing that affects the implementation of a deal. In other words, it could fail to pass legislation, or it could pass a bill that then gets vetoed by the President and which Congress is unable to override. And in that case, the administration will be able to implement the agreement as it negotiated it.

Now also, it’s worth noting that if Congress takes no action, no legislative action, the Iran Sanctions Act, which contains many of the extra territorial sanctions that impact foreign companies, will actually expire in December 2016. And that will allow many foreign companies to invest in Iran and do business with Iran. So if Congress fails to take proactive action to renew that legislation or renew the sanctions contained in it, then that will be a form, essentially, of statutory sanctions relief, because those sanctions will disappear. 

Now, Congress could also take steps that would restrict the President’s ability to issue sanctions relief. And there are several ways it could do so. First, Congress could modify the existing legislation that gives the President the authority to waive certain sanctions so as to revoke them or limit them in some way.

Second, it could shorten the duration of presidential waivers. Most of these waivers are allowed for 90 days or 180 days or some limited period of time. The President in many cases can issue them again, and again, and again, which means that long-term sanctions relief could effectively be provided through presidential waiver.

But Congress could act either to shorten the duration of those waivers or make them nonrenewable, which means they only can last for a limited period of time. And by doing that, Congress could also require the executive branch to come back to Congress and justify its--or at least publicly--justify its waiver decision. So in other words if a waiver can only last for 90 days instead of, let’s say, 180 days, the administration will have to justify its decisions more frequently, and presumably, in greater detail.

Third, Congress could make it harder for the President to waive sanctions by essentially requiring the President to certify something that is not certifiable. So for example, Congress could require that he certify that Iran has stopped supporting terrorism before a waiver can be issued. Well, that's a high bar. It's not something Iran’s likely to do so that could, in effect, limit the administration’s ability to issue those waivers.

Fourth, Congress could deny policy agencies the exclusive authority to determine whether Iran’s performance actually merits sanctions relief. So for example, it could require the explicit concurrence of the intelligence community that Iran has indeed complied with an agreement before a waiver could be issued. 

So these limitations could hinder the President’s ability to provide sanctions relief. But in all likelihood, the executive branch will continue to have sufficient flexibility to waive many of the sanctions and thus keep the deal on track. In any case, though, we've assessed that Congress is not likely to really take these actions and to limit presidential waivers simply because it’s not going to leave anyone on Capitol Hill satisfied. Supporters of a deal will oppose the constraints that it places on the President, and opponents of the deal will object that the continued presidential waivers would enable the deal to go forward. So if no one’s happy, this doesn't seem like a very appealing option for members of Congress to pursue. 

Now, most proposals being considered on Capitol Hill would actually block a deal from being implemented, or undermine it through new sanctions. So I'll go through a couple of those. There are two ways, principally, for Congress to block implementation of a deal. One is to deny funding for its implementation either through stand-alone legislation or simply as part of the normal budget process. So Congress could, for example, say that no funds shall be spent to send nuclear inspectors on inspection missions, or revise Treasury Department regulations or take any number of other steps. 

The second way is for Congress to reject a deal through an up or down vote. And in the next few weeks, Congress is likely to take up legislation introduced by Senator Corker that would require the administration to present the agreement to Congress and give Congress the chance to approve it or reject it through an up or down vote. 

Now, if Congress votes the agreement down, the President has promised he will veto that kind of legislation. And if Congress is unable to override the veto, then the executive branch gets to move ahead and implement the agreement. Although that said, the agreement will be weakened substantially by the lack of congressional support because our European and Asian allies and partners, the Iranians themselves, and also companies that are eager to invest in Iran would look at the congressional action and conclude that the potential for sanctions relief could be short-lived and that could make it very hard to secure continued long-term Iranian cooperation and make it hard to encourage companies to invest in Iran. 

And as Kelsey suggested, we actually want Iran to see economic benefits from a deal because if Iran does not see economic benefits from a deal, whether it’s further trade and investment, then it has no reason to remain in the deal and is likely to pull out and resume its enrichment. 

Now, if Congress casts a down vote, which the President then vetoes and Congress overrides the President’s veto, then that would, in essence, scuttle the deal. An interesting analogy, I heard someone compare it to in Peanuts where Charlie Brown runs to kick the football and Lucy pulls it away. So this would be equivalent to Congress pulling the football away, or pulling the rug out from under the deal.

So I want to look at the impact of that, and the consequences are similar to what my colleagues outlined. But before we do that, let’s look at it from an Iranian perspective. So the Iranian legislature, the Majlis, has the authority under Iranian law to give an agreement an up or down vote. So how would Americans react if the Majlis rejected a deal after it was signed by Iran and by the P5+1? Well, U.S. officials would likely denounce Iran as having negotiated in bad faith and claim that the Majlis’s rejection proves that Iran never actually intended to accept limits on its nuclear program. We would walk away from the deal, walk away from what we agreed to and pursue our previous policies, tight economic sanctions, probably even more vigorously. 

Well, that's pretty much how Iran and our allies and partners would react if Congress votes down an agreement after it’s been reached, or otherwise prevents it from taking effect. So first, Iran will refuse to abide by the commitments it made at the negotiating table, and pursue its previous activities, its previous nuclear activities, and without international monitors in place that give us insights into what's going on.

Second, Iran will present Congress’s decision as proof that the United States never actually intended to provide sanctions relief and argue that U.S. policy is actually not to use sanctions as a tool to drive a change in Iranian behavior, but rather that U.S. policy is to keep a perpetual sanctions regime in place and keep Iran permanently isolated through economic sanctions. Now, many other countries, even if they don’t accept Iran’s rhetoric, will conclude that the United States is unwilling to ever relax sanctions on Iran. And most of these countries have only gone along with sanctions enforcement because we've promised them for a long period of time that as long as Iran is willing to negotiate in good faith that there will be an end to the sanctions regime.

So if Congress scuttles a deal, many of these partners will not only refuse to enforce any new sanctions Congress may impose, but they’ll likely walk away from the existing sanctions regime, particularly countries that maintain sanctions somewhat begrudgingly like China, India or Turkey, countries, for example, that purchase Iranian oil and are eager to continue doing so.

Third, we’ll be left with no options to address Iranian nuclear capabilities diplomatically. If Congress unravels a nuclear agreement, as Richard suggested earlier, Iran is not going to seek another diplomatic dialogue with the United States, certainly not in the near future. 

So if Congress rejects a completed agreement, it will not produce a better deal. It will, instead, produce a situation in which Iran has no constraints on its nuclear program, international sanctions enforcement is weakened. Together, those two things mean that Iran’s economy improves without Iran having to give up its nuclear program, so that seems like a double victory for Iran and a double loss for what the United States is trying to achieve.

It means that Iranian reformers would be weakened by their failure to deliver an economic solution to Iran’s poor economy and that will strengthen the hardliners who are behind Iran’s use of terrorism and Iran’s more aggressive foreign policy in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. So we’ll be strengthening the hardliners in Iran and weakening the reformers who give us a potential to engage. So no matter what you think of the terms being discussed, this outcome seems worse. But that's what we’ll end up with if Congress undoes a deal that's been reached.

Now, Congress can also pass new sanctions and depending on how it does so, it could have two very different effects. So it could pass sanctions that kick in automatically, essentially to punish Iran. Or it could pass sanctions that kick in if Iran reneges on the deal. And the new sanctions that take effect automatically would have many of the same consequences we've discussed. It would drive Iran to walk away from a deal and resume enrichment, it could alienate our allies and partners, weaken the sanctions regime and leave the U.S. isolated. 

But new sanctions that take effect if Iran reneges on its commitments could actually be an effective way to place pressure on Iran to follow through on the agreement because Iran will know the costs of noncompliance in advance, U.S. allies would understand that if new sanctions do get imposed, it’s because of Iranian noncompliance rather than because of a U.S. refusal to do its part. So in other words, Iran, rather than the United States, would become the spoiler. And as a result, there’d be greater international support for continued sanctions enforcement. 

Now, it’s important for several reasons, however, that Congress not consider new sanctions, even snap back sanctions, until after a deal is reached. First, while negotiations are ongoing, sanctions bills convey to Iran that they're not likely to get the relief they're seeking, which means that the risks go up for them. And that suggests that they're likely to demand additional concessions from the United States and its allies at the negotiating table to compensate it for that risk. So in other words, considering new sanctions legislation while negotiations are ongoing could actually weaken the administration’s negotiating position rather than strengthen it.

Second, in terms of public perception, it really doesn't matter if Congress is debating now whether to impose sanctions later because few outside the United States, or even inside the United States, will really see the distinction between the current debate and the delay before such sanctions would take effect. So really, the congressional debate would bolster the impression that the United States is eager to keep sanctions in place permanently. 

Third, to write effective snap back sanctions, Congress actually needs to define clearly the triggers, or the Iranian actions or inactions, that would trigger the sanctions to take effect. And it can't do that until it knows what Iran has actually agreed to. So if Congress tries to write that kind of legislation now, the triggers will have to be very broadly defined, which can lead to confusion down the road as to whether Iran has complied or not complied, or whether sanctions need to be reinstated or not. So to write clear triggers and sanctions legislation, it needs to be able to see what the Iranians have agreed to. 

Finally, the longer Congress debates new sanctions, the more likely it is that international corporations seeking to enter the Iranian market will hold off before making investments. Again, Iran has to see the economic benefits of a deal to continue to abide by it. 

But companies are not going to want to invest in Iran if they think that the window for doing business is going to be brief, as they won't have sufficient time to get a return on their investment. And this could kill a deal. If Iran doesn’t see the benefits in the agreement, it will have no incentive to continue complying. So, the longer Congress debates whether to impose new sanctions, the more likely that Iran will fail to see these economic benefits and the more likely it will pull out of the agreement. 

So just to sum up, so what can Congress do to effect the implementation of a deal in a constructive manner? So again, as I said in the beginning, first Congress should not hold an up or down vote on a completed deal. A vote to scuttle a hard won diplomatic agreement would make the United States the spoiler and lead to a host of negative consequences for the United States, including elimination of diplomacy as a way to resolve the issue, resumption of Iran’s nuclear program and the weakening of international sanctions. And together, this means Iran’s economy gets better and it continues to make progress toward a nuclear weapon.

Second, Congress should stop debating the imposition of new sanctions until the negotiations are over. And at that point, it can continue the imposition of targeted snap back sanctions as a means of compelling Iranian compliance. The current debate makes it appear as if the U.S. is negotiating in bad faith and undermines U.S. negotiators and P5+1 negotiators. Iranian negotiators know that new sanctions are coming if no deal is reached. The ongoing congressional debate is not influencing them. As Richard indicated earlier, it’s only aiding hardliners’ ability to argue against a deal domestically and it’s empowering Iranian negotiators to demand more at the table. 

There's no downside to waiting until negotiations end on June 30th before considering new snap back sanctions. If a deal is not reached, then Congress can impose new punitive sanctions with the support of the White House and the international community and if a deal is reached, Congress can pass legislation that would quickly re-impose sanctions in the event of Iranian noncompliance, and it can tailor the triggers for these snap back sanctions to match Iran’s specific commitments in a deal.

And finally, Congress should continue to exercise oversight through hearings and by requiring the administration to report. Now, some might argue I'm suggesting that Congress abrogate its responsibility as a co-equal branch of government to engage on critical policy matters or to engage in oversight. But these steps in no way undercut congressional authority. At any time, if Iran is determined to have reneged on the deal, Congress can vote to repudiate the deal, it can vote to de-fund U.S. implementation of the deal, or it can impose sanctions. There's no reason for Congress to do any of this now while diplomacy still has a chance to advance U.S. interests with few negative consequences. So there's no downside to waiting until June 30th.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right, thank you very much, Larry, and thanks for three great presentations. [applause] It’s now your turn. We have a microphone that we can move over to if you have a question. So, please wait for the mic to come over, identify yourself and please put it in the form of a question, thanks.

PETER SMALLWOOD:  I'm Peter Smallwood, University of Richmond. It's a difficult question, but any of you who want to take a try at it, as you so clearly outlined, there's no 100 percent thing here. It’s not like we're going to have a deal that makes it impossible. We're trying to negotiate a deal that increases the length of time of time for them if they wanted to increase the probability that they get discovered. How much of the difficulty here is due to pride of not wanting to be seen as giving in to the great Satan or trust of not believing that we're actually going to follow through on relieving sanctions versus elements on the Iranian side that are trying to maintain as much as possible a shorter pathway, a plausible pathway, to actually get a nuclear weapon if they decide they need it?

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. You want to take a shot at that, Richard?

RICHARD NEPHEW:  Sure. I mean, I think it’s the right question to ask, and frankly it’s the strategic question that we all need to be asking about, do we need to deal with Iran at all, right? I mean, if your assumption is that there is no deal that eventually Iran’s not going to try and break out of in pursuit of nuclear weapons, then I think the only logical conclusion is don’t do a deal, right? I mean, that to me is obvious. Because in any circumstance that you have a deal, you are potentially preserving and prolonging the life of a regime that you are 100 percent convinced is going to want to acquire nuclear weapons down the road.

I think where I am, and I think where the administration is based upon what we've gotten from the intelligence community and from our own assessments, is that Iran has not decided that it wants to have nuclear weapons forever and ever, alleluia, amen, right? There is still, in fact, a discussion that is to be had inside the Iranian system. At some point, in 2003, they decided to walk away from that because of the consequences they perceived from that.

I think it is an assumption to be made that they only did that for tactical reasons. It’s entirely plausible to me they did it because they saw what happened in Iraq and they decided that for the long haul, they don’t want to have the same consequences for them. Now, that doesn't mean they might not want to have that option, but that's part of the reason why the deal that we strike has got to preserve our ability to detect a move towards that option quickly. And I think one of the things that Kelsey said was so important was the verification and transparency steps that we're talking, and clearly like the additional protocol, for instance, those are going to remain in place after the expiration of any kind of restrictions that are in place here. That would, if done properly, verified properly, give you that same kind of lead time, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn’t keep the intelligence community looking for indications of intention and the fact that they're moving down the other direction. 

But I think for me, anyway, I don't think it’s a given that they will definitely at some point in the future go for a bomb. And so therefore, I'm comfortable making a deal that preserves their space to respond to it if they choose to in the future. I think that if you automatically assume that they will, then it makes total sense for you to say that no deal is worth it. But then again, I think you still have to answer the question, is your decision here going to actually stop them, right? Because sanctioning them to death is not going to solve it, and bombing them right now isn't going to solve it forever, either. But that's just my answer.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Yeah. Kelsey?

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  There's one thing that I would add. One of Iran’s incentives in pursuing the Iranian enrichment program, at least that they give publicly, is this idea that they need to be able to provision for the domestic nuclear power reactors that they want to build in the future. Now, I certainly agree that there are elements of the regime that want to retain that hedging capability and as Richard said that, in my mind, argues for a deal that has more monitoring and verification.

But, I could see an agreement sort of further down the road, once this issue becomes sort of less political, when you look at what Iran is looking at in terms of its power reactors and provision of fuel from Russia, that the economic viability of producing its own fuel for domestic reactors just doesn't make sense anymore. That this becomes less of a pride issue and these other sort of reactors are in place, when there's assured Russian fuel supplies, that the expansion just isn't as attractive.

So, I think the longer agreement that sort of pushes that down the road could be beneficial sort of later on to Iran choosing to limit their program. 

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Another question, sir? Right here, and then we’ll come up front.

HOSSEIN SHAHBAZI:  Hossein Shahbazi with Webster University. I'd like to ask you, Mr. Hanauer, that as we know there are generally three types of sanctions passed by Congress, nuclear, human rights, and terrorism. Now, a while ago Senator Kirk mentioned that the other two types, human rights and terrorism, also intertwined with the nuclear sanctions. So I'd like to see your opinion about if at some point Congress decides to go along with that decision not to vote against the deal, how do those two other types of sanctions would affect in any sense a nuclear issue?

Also, a question for Mr. Nephew, is that you very much summarized the Iranian positions about, or approach, towards the deal. I'd like to ask you one of the issues Iran has always had is the sanctions. And also, in addition to the American sanctions, the UN’s imposed sanctions. I'd like to know what is American positions about removal of the UN sanctions after at any time Iran engages seriously with the IAEA and decides to comply with their-- I'm so sorry. 

DARYL KIMBALL:  Thank you, I think we got the questions. Why don’t we just take the other question, Shervin here, and then we’ll take these two at once and then answer them.

HOWARD LAFRANCHI:  Thank you. Howard LaFranchi with the Christian Science Monitor. A couple of questions quickly. One, Kelsey I think just this week Secretary Kerry said on the Hill anybody who thinks they know what's in this deal, they're wrong, they don’t. So I'm--

DARYL KIMBALL:  Not everybody.

HOWARD LAFRANCHI:  So I'm just kind of curious how you know as much as you do. [laughter] And if he’s just speaking rhetorically. But the second question is all along in these negotiations, one of the big concerns has been how the region would react. And so I'm just interested, the kind of deal that you think is coming, what you think might be the reaction and the response and some of the players in the region. 

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right, great. So, we got a couple of questions. Why don’t we take the first one, Larry. 

LARRY HANAUER:  Sure. I'll start with the first one about the sanctions that are related to human rights and support for terrorism and other issues. There's certainly been a lot of debate on Capitol Hill about what constitutes a nuclear related sanction, because that's what the United States has agreed to discuss. And in fact, the administration has said that the sanctions related to Iran’s support for terrorism and its abusive human rights are not on the table. So, the administration has said it is really only willing to negotiate some form of relief from the sanctions that were imposed as a result of Iran’s nuclear program.

Now, there will be continued debate over which sanctions get included in which basket. But one thing that's interesting to note is that the sanctions that prevent U.S. companies from doing business in Iran or from investing in Iran are virtually all based on the sanctions that were imposed because of human rights violations and terrorism. And so if the administration is not willing to discuss waiving those sanctions, or changing those sanctions in some way, then what that suggests is that even if there is some sort of relief from sanctions as part of a deal, American companies are not going to be included in that.

So I think the assumption, then, is that whatever economic engagement is permitted as a result of the deal, will be undertaken by companies in Europe and Asia and elsewhere. Now, one thing I think that Congress has probably not thought about is that if companies from Europe and Asia and elsewhere in the world are suddenly able to enter the Iranian market, they will start getting a lot of visits from American companies and their lobbyists to say, “Well, we want in, too.” American companies have generally not lobbied on this issue because there's simply been very little prospect that they’ll be able to do business in Iran and most of them, the larger ones anyway, have had other priorities.

And as long as the rest of the world was kept out, too, then at least everyone was on an equal footing. But if companies from other countries are able to do business in Iran and American companies are left out, the American companies are going to start complaining that they are at an unfair disadvantage and are losing out on opportunities and that the longer it takes Congress to lift the remaining sanctions, the more behind American companies will be once they're eventually allowed in, assuming they are at some point.

So, I think after a deal, when foreign companies start going into the Iranian market, members of Congress will need to start giving some serious thought because they’ll be under pressure to do so, as to whether they should lift the other sanctions. And then I think you may end up with a situation where some members of Congress who are against sanctions relief now who tend to be on the right side of the spectrum and thus many of which are pro-business will come under pressure to waive even more sanctions which is especially ironic given that they're opposing sanctions relief of any sort now. So that'll be somewhere down the road, but it’ll be an interesting situation for some members of Congress to find themselves in. 

DARYL KIMBALL:  Richard, do you want to address the UN Security Council issue and what happens with those resolutions?

RICHARD NEPHEW:  Sure. Obviously, I can't speak to what the present U.S. negotiating posture is since I've left government, but I would say that it was made very, very clear and the joint plan action makes it very, very clear, that UN related, nuclear related sanctions on Iran, which are basically all the UN sanctions, would come off during the process of implementing the comprehensive plan of action. So I think the key issue is when, and at what point there's going to be enough confidence in the Iranian nuclear program to say restrictions on centrifuge flows and things like that can now come off. I wouldn't anticipate that that would be fairly early on in the process. I think that'll be after some considerable length of time. And some considerable length of implementation has taken place such that there could be confidence here. 

And then just since I've got the microphone and they asked the question about the regional reaction as well, I guess I would say just two quick words on that. One, I think as Secretary Kerry in fact did say we do need to wait and see what the deal is before we can judge I think what regional reaction, or anyone’s real reaction ought to be to the deal, I think that any deal that lifts or has a process for lifting sanctions in Iran is going to be looked at as being a lost opportunity by some people in the region and beyond that who want to see sanctions as a tool that could be used to influence other Iranian behaviors. I think that's obvious. 

But I don't think that it’s automatic that the reaction will be, well, this means it’s a bad deal. Some people might say that, but I think other people will say, “Okay, this solves our nuclear problem. But now we've got other problems. Let us try and solve those problems.” And they might have multiple solutions, anywhere from security assistance and security cooperation to cooperative work in terms of dealing with terrorist groups in the region and insurgencies.

So I guess what I would suggest is I think there is going to be a need on the part of people in the region and beyond that to respond to the deal. I don't think it’s going to be as black and white as it might be in some quarters. I think in a lot of places people say, “Okay, now that the sanctions tool is being put on the shelf, in some regard, that means we're going to need more cooperation in the following areas to be able to confront the challenges we have.”

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Kelsey, how do we know so much?

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Well, Howard, I would love to say that Secretary Kerry has shared the details with me, but that's not quite true. As Daryl said, I have spent a lot of time in coffee shops in Vienna, but some of the parameters are actually very clear, or from the interim deal itself, in addition to sort of the time bound measures for negotiations on the comprehensive deal, the interim deal laid out some of the broad parameters of a comprehensive agreement in which Iran said it would ratify the additional protocol. It laid out that there would not be any re-processing of spent plutonium. 

And then there are some other measures that have become clear over the course of the negotiations as negotiators from both sides have talked about the progress that has been made, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, has said fairly clearly that Iran has agreed to accept modifications to the Iraq reactor, both to reduce the power and change the fuel. And our work with physicists, particularly those up at Princeton, has given us some very clear insights on how the different modifications will change those outputs.

Regarding the uranium enrichment, I think that's where there still is the most ambiguity. But Secretary Kerry and the U.S. administration has been very clear about this one-year time frame. And that really can only be achieved in a deal that Iran would accept by a combination of these factors. It can't just be about reducing the number of centrifuges. It would be extremely difficult to get to a year. You'd be talking about only a few hundred machines. Iran is not going to agree to that.

So, it clearly has to be a combination of reducing the stockpiles and reducing the numbers of centrifuges. And again, there have been some indications about the paths that are being considered. Based on sort of comments that have come from Iranian officials and Russian officials, it looks like there are discussions about moving some of Iran’s stockpiles of reactor-grade uranium to Russia, or converting them into powder form that can be used for fuel, possibly later with sort of Russian assistance, then actually developing fuel themselves that can be fed into Iran’s sort of sole power reactor at Bushehr.

So, Kerry is right, nobody knows exactly what is in the deal in part because it isn't finished yet. But we have some fairly clear indications just from what has been discussed thus far.

Regarding sort of your question about sort of the region, I would certainly agree with some of the comments that Richard made. But I would also add that from a regional perspective, this is a deal that puts in place greater monitoring on Iran’s nuclear program and actually constrains it. And if you are Saudi Arabia, if you are Israel, if you're worried about Iran potentially producing nuclear weapons in the future, this is far better than no deal which results in an unconstrained program with less monitoring. 

So, I think that looking at it from that perspective, that this is a way that also sort of safeguards regional security, is important. I mean, I do think that there could be in certain countries a newfound desire to enrich uranium, to develop sort of the same sort of hedging capability. But I think that that is something that needs to be looked at, that needs to be considered. But there are opportunities to stem that off.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. We have time for one or two more questions, so let’s go in the back and then we’ll come over here.

ALAN KOTOK:  Thank you. Hi, I'm Alan Kotok with Science and Enterprise. You mentioned Russia. To what extent would an agreement depend on Russia's cooperation and to what extent is the deteriorating relationship with Russia, could that-- 

DARYL KIMBALL:  Affect the deal?

ALAN KOTOK:  Could that affect the outcome, yeah?

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. And then if we can, Shervin, maneuver yourself over here to the front row. And we’ll take two questions at once, thanks. 

SAM CUTLER:  Hi there, Sam Cutler, Ferrari & Associates. We mentioned here, and also the administration mentions, the danger of weakening the sanctions regime. But there's generally not a lot of follow through on what that would look like in practice. The impact of sanctions is to a large extent a risk/reward calculus from private sector firms that is often independent of any particular government preference for compliance. So could you describe a little bit more what sanctions breakdown would look like, particularly if the U.S. remains committed to robust enforcement posture?

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. So let’s try to address those two questions. Kelsey, you want to talk about the Russian angle quickly? 

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Sure. You know, despite the tensions that the U.S. and Europe are having with Russia right now, Russia seems to be playing a very constructive role in the talks. And Russia's participation is extremely important. They provide the fuel right now for Bushehr, Iran’s sole reactor. And the assurance that Russia's on board with this deal and will continue to provide that fuel is very important. Iran and Russia have also signed sort of a joint memorandum about technology sharing that could allow Iran to develop fuel domestically for Russian-made reactors in the future. That's certainly of interest to Iran. And the future reactors that Iran is planning to build will be supplied by Russia in perpetuity.

So the Russia role has been very important, it’s been very constructive. And I think it’s worth noting as well that despite these increased tensions between the U.S., the EU and Russia, Russia has continued to implement all of the sanctions on Iran. Because even for Russia, a nuclear armed Iran is not in its best interest, and they remain committed to the goals of the negotiation.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. Richard, Larry, you want to take this second question, please? Start out.

LARRY HANAUER:  Go ahead.

RICHARD NEPHEW:  Sure. Just a couple of thoughts. The way that sanctions have been certainly executed has been U.S. unilateral action imposing secondary consequences on people if they don’t comply. But that only tells a portion of the story. The way in which actual compliance manifests itself is by companies making a decision that they're going to play along. And in some circumstances, they’ve decided not to and we've had to actually go in and impose measures against them in response to that. In some circumstances, they have. 

But all along, our effectiveness in terms of stopping actual bad behavior has been predicated on going to governments and saying, “We have a common interest here.” If you have to impose sanctions on somebody, that means the thing you wanted to stop has already happened and that has consequence. I think that no one who is actually thoughtful about the imposition of sanctions ever wants to have to designate anybody. And the reason why is when you designate somebody, you fail. That means that a transaction took place. That means that goods moved, that means that money moved, and that means that Iran has already gained the benefit, or whatever the target is of sanctions. 

So effective sanctions posture is one where there are no designations at all because that means that there are no bad acts and no bad behaviors. If we are forced because of U.S. unilateral action that destabilizes this careful balance to start having to sanction every day some new company hither and yon, then basically we've lost already because that means the Iranians are going to be gaining a lot of benefits out of doing this. That means we're going to have lost the cooperation of partners to help enforce things. And that also means that we're then limited to what intel is able to catch, what people say, and what we're able to stop that way.

So, you know, the sanctions regime is not one that we just simply establish and walk away from it. It's one that requires careful pruning and careful management and careful execution. Those are all the things that you lose if people no longer think that what your stated objective is is your stated objective anymore. I think that's the real problem that comes with basically screwing up this fundamental balance of why we're doing sanctions and what end we're trying to achieve with them. 

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right. 

LARRY HANAUER:  I’d just note a couple of things, too. The issue of sanctions enforcement is not just an issue of putting penalties on one company here or one company there. It becomes a significant foreign policy and foreign relations issue. So for example, when we were pressuring China, India, Turkey, other countries to reduce their purchases of oil from Iran, we got significant pushback and there were a lot of compromises that were made in the negotiations with those countries. So if other countries become less resolved to enforce the sanctions, then we end up with a foreign policy challenge on our hands.

Secondly, I'd note that we depend on other countries’ support in the UN Security Council to maintain Security Council sanctions. And if support for the whole sanctions regime starts falling apart, then we may be left with U.S. sanctions that we're going to try to enforce vigorously but the Security Council sanctions could be dismantled. Or, we would be forced to veto the dismantlement of those sanctions which would isolate the United States even more. So then we end up with foreign policy challenges.

I'd also note, too, that under the U.S. sanctions, only companies seeking to do business in the United States are affected. So plenty of companies that have no operations in the United States, or can separate their U.S. operations out effectively, could still do business in Iran without being penalized in many ways.

And I would note an interesting historical comparison. In the late 1990s, I worked on Iraq policy at the Defense Department, and the sanctions under the UN sanctions that led to the Oil for Food program became a major albatross around the United States’ neck. We were the only ones arguing for a strict sanctions enforcement of restrictions that did things like kept pencils out of Iraq because the graphite could be shaved out of them and used for illicit purposes.

And so really, the United States was increasingly isolated at the UN and international fora and it really became a foreign relations and a public diplomacy disaster for the United States. So I don't think we want to be in a position where we're arguing increasingly--where we're sort of swimming alone against the tide pushing for sanctions enforcement when our allies and partners are saying, “Enough, enough with the sanctions. We've gone down this road too long and it’s not working and we need to change.”

DARYL KIMBALL:  So I think that's also an important reminder of something that we really haven't stressed here today, which is that this is an international negotiation. The United States is not the only party across the table from the Iranians. It’s the EU, it’s the Germans, it’s the French, it’s the British, the Chinese, the Russians. And so we are also not alone in effecting the sanctions regime. We are depending on other countries to go along with us.

I mean, this is really something that I think is important for Congress to understand and think about. Their actions have to take into consideration the views of the allies, of our allies in this endeavor and what they are willing to do in the days and weeks ahead after, and if, an agreement is concluded. 

And to conclude, we've run out of time. I want to thank each of our three speakers for great presentations today. I think it’s provided a very complete picture to this very complex issue that is at a key inflection point right now. We think that an historic deal is in sight. It is likely to be an effective one that holds back Iran’s nuclear weapons possibilities for many, many years to come. And it’s important for Congress, the American people, the international community, to make the right choices, the smart choices, on the basis of the realistic alternatives and the facts on the ground. 

So please join me in thanking our speakers and there will be much more on this subject on the Arms Control Association website and in Arms Control Today, our journal, in the days and weeks ahead. So thanks for coming. [applause]

END

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Over the past year, Iran and the P5+1 have made significant progress on long-term solutions on several challenging issues.

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