"...the Arms Control Association [does] so much to keep the focus on the issues so important to everyone here, to hold our leaders accountable to inspire creative thinking and to press for change. So we are grateful for your leadership and for the unyielding dedication to global nuclear security."
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Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative

TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: Sustaining U.S. Nuclear Forces on a Tight Budget



Tuesday, March 19, 2013
9:30am to 11:00am
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC

With the sequester now a reality, the Defense budget must come down. One place to look for savings is the $31 billion the United States spends each year on nuclear weapons. The Pentagon had been seeking to build a new generation of multi-billion-dollar nuclear delivery systems, including long-range missiles, submarines and bombers, as well as extending the service lives of nuclear warheads. Now, those plans are in doubt.

At the same time, in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said he would "engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals." The administration is also revising U.S. nuclear guidance policy. Both processes could allow additional reductions in U.S. nuclear spending.

Meanwhile, some Republican senators are saying they will not allow a vote on a new U.S.-Russian arms reduction treaty unless spending on nuclear weapons is increased.

As the Obama administration prepares its budget submission to Congress for fiscal year 2014, the Arms Control Association (ACA) will host an expert briefing on the actual cost of the nuclear stockpile and options for responsibly reducing spending on excess nuclear weaponry in a budget-constrained environment.
The panel will include:



Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to this morning’s briefing on sustaining U.S. nuclear forces on a tight budget.

I’m Daryl Kimball.  I’m the director of the Arms Control Association here in Washington, D.C.  We’re an independent membership-based organization and we’ve been around since 1971, working to outline practical policy solutions to deal with what we call the world’s most dangerous weapons – nuclear, chemical, biological and certain conventional weapons.

And we’re here today to talk about the confluence of two developments – the diminishing role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy and the difficult budget environment that we’re in and how the United States is going to be maintaining its shrinking nuclear force in the years ahead.

As we gather here we ought to remind ourselves – sometimes we forget – it’s been 20 years since the end of the Cold War, 10 years since the beginning of the Gulf War, and over 10 years since 9/11.  And clearly nuclear weapons are playing a different and I would argue a lesser role in U.S. defense strategy.

And I’m just going to mention one statement from President Obama from a year ago that drives this point home as an introduction to the presentations we’re going to hear in a few minutes.  He said, “My administration’s nuclear posture recognizes that the massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the Cold War is poorly suited for today’s threats, including nuclear terrorism.  Last summer I therefore directed my national security team to conduct a comprehensive study of our nuclear forces.  That study is still under way.”  It’s actually probably concluded but it hasn’t been announced.

He went on to say, “But even as we have more work to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need.  I firmly believe that we can ensure the security of the United States and its allies, maintain a strong deterrent against any threat, and still pursue further reductions in our nuclear arsenal.”

And at the same time, today the Congress and the administration put into motion military spending cuts that require serious rethinking of earlier plans for rebuilding U.S. forces in the years ahead.  Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on National Public Radio just a few days ago that “we can make some major reductions in the nuclear program.”

So today we are going to discuss how and why those reductions can be achieved.  And we’re going to start with remarks from two of our colleagues from the Stimson Center, which I should note recently received a MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.  So you’ve got two semi-geniuses here speaking to you.  (Laughter).  And I mention that in part because the Arms Control Association won the same award two years ago, so we’ve got a lot riding on our shoulders here to figure out these problems, a lot of expectations to live up to.

So first we’ll hear from Stimson co-founder Barry Blechman.  He’s going to be reviewing some of the national security rationale for further reductions in U.S. and Russian arsenals.

Then we’ll hear from Russ Rumbaugh who is the director of Stimson’s Defense Budget Program, who is going to provide an updated look at some of those earlier, well-researched estimates on the costs of U.S. nuclear weapons programs to the U.S. taxpayer.  And those earlier findings were summarized in an article that appeared last year in Arms Control Today, called “Resolving the Ambiguity of Nuclear Weapons Costs.”

And then we’ll hear from Arms Control Association’s own research director, Tom Collina, and he is going to be outlining our newly updated and more detailed description of some options that we believe that Senator Levin, members of Congress and the administration should consider in the months ahead for reducing U.S. nuclear open spending.

And then after each person speaks for about 10 minutes or so we’ll take your questions, get into some discussion.

So with that, Barry, I invite you to come up here if you’d – or you could stay there if you really want to.  But come on up.  Thanks for coming.

BARRY BLECHMAN:  Well, thank you, Daryl.

I’m the theory guy so I’m going to leave the facts to my colleagues and just throw out some ideas here, because deterrence and calculating requirements for deterrence for nuclear weapons is strictly in the realm of theory.  It’s not based on any physical principles.  It’s based on speculation about what might be required to deter a particular national leader in a particular circumstance.  If you look at Israeli and U.S. policy toward Iran, apparently no number of nuclear weapons would be sufficient to deter an Iran with even one nuclear weapon.

However, since the country with the largest number of nuclear weapons, the only one that has anything comparable to ours, is Russia, it’s our theory about what’s required to deter Russia that drives our so-called requirements for nuclear weapons.

During the Cold War it was assumed that we needed to be able to survive a Soviet attack – or actually it was assumed that we would fire under an attack or even upon warning of an attack and preempt against Soviet strategic forces, conventional military forces, war-supporting industries, and a whole range of other targets.

This target set was changed somewhat during the Carter administration where industries were downgraded, leadership targets were given a higher priority.  But the basic perspective was we needed to be able to fight and prevail in a protracted nuclear war in order to deter Soviet leaders from initiating such a conflict.

Also important in calculating requirements is the degree of confidence we want to have that we will be able to destroy those targets.  And during the Cold War the level of confidence assumed to be required was very high, which meant that we would put several warheads on high-value targets – sometimes three or even four warheads.  And the result was that there were literally hundreds of warheads targeted on the Moscow region and our requirements for 10,000 warheads or so overall to be able to deter the Soviet Union.

Now, when the Cold War ended and we no longer confronted the Soviet Union but only Russia, some reductions were made.  Russian forces were smaller than those of the Soviets and became smaller over time.  Secondly we decided we probably didn’t have to target countries like Czechoslovakia and other former allies of the Soviets or former parts of the Soviet Union that had become independent countries.

But the basic principles still remain the same.  The basic principle that still governs our calculations of requirements is this requirement to prevail in a nuclear war.

Now, those requirements could be – so the question is, not facing a country with an ideology that drives it toward world domination, a country which has been set back in many ways, politically and socially, a country which has changed dramatically and whose relationships with us and with European countries are completely different – is – does that still require this large number of nuclear weapons to deter them should we ever come into a crisis with them?

We have conflicting interests with Russia, obviously, in some places, but nothing on the order of the struggle which led to the very large requirements for nuclear weapons that we saw many years ago and which still drive our force planning.

Now, we could reduce these so-called requirements by eliminating certain kinds of target sets, by reducing the confidence we demand in our ability to destroy whichever targets remain, and by reducing the requirements that we respond promptly – be able to respond promptly.  For example, the CNO last year was asked why we required so many strategic submarines with so many warheads, and he said because he was required by STRATCOM to be able to deliver so many warheads promptly against an adversary, meaning Russia.  Well, if that requirement for prompt response were reduced we could have fewer submarines because we no longer would need to maintain two on station in each ocean.

I should also note reserve warheads.  You know, we have 1,550 operation long-range warheads.  We have more than that – maybe 2,500 or so – in reserves.  In part these serve as a hedge against the failure of a warhead, if we discover there’s some terrible technical flaw in a deployed warhead and we need to replace them.  But also it’s driven – the size of the reserve – by a desire to be able to generate an even larger force during a crisis, that we could put additional warheads on our deployed weapons.  And if we reduced that requirement, if we understood that was really not a very realistic need, we could certainly reduce the number of warheads we keep in reserve as well as those that we keep operational.

As Daryl mentioned, the administration has looked at these questions in its NPR implementation study, once described as a 90-day study – it perhaps is a 90-year study at this point – until that study is completed and released and directions given to targeteers, to budget planners, to arms control negotiations – negotiators, there will be no tangible change in the U.S. nuclear posture.  So it’s essential in my view that that study be completed and released and turned into operating instructions to the bureaucracy.

Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.  And now we’ll hear from Russell Rumbaugh, who is going to talk about the other side of this equation, which is estimated costs of our nuclear forces.


RUSSELL RUMBAUGH:  Well, thanks for having me.  Thanks for coming.

When I was asked to present today they used the phrase “update” my numbers from the study we did.  I didn’t have the heart to tell them that because of all the showdowns on the Hill there’s actually not any new numbers.  There’s not an update going on.  (Laughter.)

Most of the time I kind of whine and say my job is a lot more difficult as we go from three-month showdown to three-month showdown, but it turns out when you don’t have to redo an entire study, maybe sometimes these showdowns have an advantage to me.

Anyway, we did this study last summer or released it last summer, trying to get at, as we said, resolving ambiguity, trying to really lay out what are we talking about and what costs can we apply for the different parts of the nuclear enterprise.  You’ll notice in my title I’ve already dropped “ambiguity” to try to acknowledge maybe we didn’t quite succeed as much as I hoped to.

Nevertheless I’m still pretty proud of it and do think this is about as good as you can get estimate of what we spend on nukes.

We were primarily interested in offensive strategic nuclear forces or, if you’ll forgive me the crassness of it, nukes that kill people.  There’s other things you could certainly include: the cleanup costs from our original nuclear weapons or our atomic weapons program; the nonproliferation costs we use to try to prevent these weapons from going elsewhere; and missile defense – defending against others’ nuclear weapons.

But even if you leave those out and just focus on this crass offensive side, there’s still three problems.  The first and easiest is two agencies own it.  DOE owns the warheads; DOD owns the delivery systems.

The second one that really flounders for people and why it came to us is DOD’s really big, so big it ruins my graphic and I have to put in this little inset just to try to give you a sense of, you know, the big moon that is DOD or the big planet that is DOD with its tiny little moons called the Department of Energy rotating around it.

And that opens up this ambiguity, right?  How much of DOD should you include?  What are the nuclear costs?  And the way DOD accounts for itself, the way it budgets for itself doesn’t lend itself to that.  So that’s why, you know, you get me coming in.

Finally, there’s a third theoretical problem – dual use.  I’ve got a bomber.  It can deliver a nuclear weapon but it could also fly over Afghanistan and deliver a conventional force, a conventional bomb to support a Special Operations force.  Well, how much of that do you ascribe to nuclear weapons and how much do you ascribe to conventional forces?  It’s a question that doesn’t have and will never have a very fine answer.  It’s the same bomber doing both things.

This was our effort to try to lay out some of those issues.  Obviously I just said it has three big problems, and solving that with one chart is probably not likely.  But hopefully this illustrates it.

You can see the tan is the parts we’re looking at – again, the strategic offensive nuclear weapons.  The blue are the parts you certainly are legitimate – parts of the nuclear enterprise, although we didn’t look at them.  And then the brown are the other parts of the agencies that we felt didn’t actually have anything to do with nuclear weapons.

So all of that adds up into the number 31 billion (dollars).  Thirty-one billion (dollars).  Not that big a deal in the sense of the defense budget, right?  Less than half a percent or about half a percent.  So in some sense not – or, I’m sorry, 5 percent.  Not super big dollars, but at the same time hopefully we’re not sneezing at $31 billion a year.  That’s still real money.

Half of the money goes to DOD.  Of DOD’s half – I’m sorry.  Two-thirds of that money goes to DOD.  Of DOD, half of it is the delivery systems.  So a third of all of our nuclear weapons costs are the delivery systems themselves – the subs, the bombers and the ICBMs.

RDT should probably be included in those, the way DOD accounts it, but – MFP1 there is Major Force Program 1.  That’s how DOD displays what it calls strategic offensive nuclear weapons.  But – that first showed up in the ‘60s and has slowly but surely been eroding as a useful metric.

Certainly the RDT&E – and that’s just for 2011 so it’s pretty small RDT&E – but truthfully that should probably be included in the cost of the systems themselves.

Then finally you have this other stuff, and this is where we really came about.  So you have the command and control.  We have these satellites.  Those aren’t in any of the standard accounting lines for how much nuclear weapons cost, but our nuclear weapons are only as good as our ability to tell them what to do, so all that C2 counts, and as you can see it’s $5 billion.

Now, the way we approached this study is when everybody talks about nuclear weapons we were doing – we were trying to say, OK, what if you didn’t have a Department of Defense?  How much do nuclear weapons cost?  So we want to capture all of that underlying support cost.  So what does it take to recruit and train an airman, a security forces patrolman, airman at Barksdale Air Force Base?

When we added that all up, that’s about $4 billion.  There’s a billion of that which is – a billion of that which is actual operating costs – the tankers to support the bombers, some special units we have to move nuclear weapons around – but most of that is what it would take to keep the infrastructure running.  Obviously just having a bomber is not good enough.  You have to get the person to pilot the bomb and all of the other work.

Thirty-one billion dollars – a big number.  But even then nuclear weapons costs have been fairly flat for about 15 years now, since about the mid-90s when we did get through the Cold War drawdown.  They’ve been fairly stable even as in the last decade the rest of the defense budget took off, doubled in size and increased by 70 percent in real terms.  Nuclear weapons didn’t really take off.  They stayed fairly flat through all of that.

Again, it’s real costs, but it’s mainly sunk costs – things we’ve already spent.  And in fact, if you were going to start shutting things down you would have to offset some of those costs.  At one point now getting to be a decade ago, one of the experts called it the hunt for small potatoes.  (Laughs.)

But today we’re at a different point.  So not only do we now have these nuclear weapons – and you already heard Barry’s reasons, without thinking of cost at all, of why we should not have so many – now not only do we have reasons like Barry provided for why we don’t need all of these, we’re about to embark or we have now embarked on two major modernization programs.  We’re going to buy a new bomber and we’re going to buy a new sub.  Everything I just said about stable costs, about oh, it’s not that big a deal – that’s now out the door for the next decade as we take on these very, very large programs.

The bomber – the Air Force has said, hey, we’re really going to be cost-sensitive about this.  We learned our lesson from the B-2 bomber of the ‘90s where it ended up costing so much they only got to buy 20 of them.  They really would like to have 100 of them, so they’re going to make sure it doesn’t cost that much.  Even then there are costs.  It’s a bomber.  It’s a big platform.  They say 550 million (dollars) is their target.  Well, geez, $550 million per bomber, you buy a hundred of them – that’s a $55 billion program over the next 20 or so years.

The subs are even bigger – $75 billion over its lifetime, and including the first boat is going to cost – is estimated to cost $12 billion itself.

As you saw in the RDT&E slide, that’s not very big right now, right?  We’re spending about 300 million (dollars) today on the bomber and we’re spending about $500 million today on the sub.  But over the next decade that’s going to slowly – it’s not even going to slowly – it’s going to ratchet up.

If you see – this is our big summary table.  It may not be that exciting – it’s not that exciting to read when you’re looking at it in the report; certainly not that exciting to read on a slide.  But the key takeaway is, our total over 10 years was somewhere between 350 (billion dollars) and $390 billion, and our modernization costs from these two programs – not counting modernizing satellites, not counting modernizing the ICBM – are 50 (billion dollars) to $60 billion.

So a sixth to a seventh of what we’re going to spend on nuclear weapons is on these new systems.  Regardless of – even if we had gotten to a point where costs weren’t that pressing a need, clearly as all of the Department of Defense faces restrictions or faces austerity, reducing nukes isn’t going to solve that problem.  But everything is going to need to pay, so even that – those sunk costs need to be get at.

Now looking into the future, it’s a real problem.  It’s – this is going to become an increasing force on the entire defense budget, all from maintaining the level of nuclear forces we currently have.

So with that I – hopefully that gives you a sense of taking out some of the rhetoric and just give you a sense of the scale and point out this is real money and it’s about to become more real money.  And if you did – do need the cost reason, it’s there – although hopefully you just listened to Barry and recognized the reality of the weapons themselves.

With that, I’ll turn it over.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Russell.

All right, everybody, hold on to your wallets so that the Defense Department doesn’t try to pull them out.  (Laughter.)  Tom Collina is going to talk about some of the options for dealing with these issues.


TOM COLLINA:  Thank you, Daryl, very much.

And thank you, Barry and Russ, for that great setup for my part of the conversation, which to me is the fun part anyway, which is how do we go about helping the Pentagon address what is a significant challenge, which is how do you reduce the budget by up to $1 trillion over the next 10 years but do it in a smart, sustainable way that we actually can deploy the nuclear weapons that we plan to deploy.

Now, the good news is that the arsenal is declining anyway as a result of the New START treaty through 2018, and possibly through another round of reductions that President Obama has said he wants to pursue with Russia – but, you know, we don’t know where that’s going yet.  But the potential for additional reductions is there.

And at the same time, as Barry mentioned, the administration is changing nuclear guidance, which can also have a very helpful effect in terms of reducing the number of nuclear weapons we need to maintain.

But – and it’s a significant but – the nuclear arsenal will be with us for decades into the future.  And as Russ mentioned, the delivery systems are aging, so we’re at this pivot point right now where the Pentagon has to reinvest in the triad, in the delivery systems.

Now, in some ways this comes at a great time because these decisions haven’t been made yet.  They’re not set in stone.  And so now is the time – given the arms reductions that we’re seeing and the budget pressures that are building, now is the time to revisit these plans.  So that’s what I’m going to run you all through right now.

And if you didn’t pick it up outside, there’s a new fact sheet that we produced on these options that I’m going to go through with this chart in the back.  So I’m essentially going to be speaking from this, so if you have it it might help you understand what I’m saying.

So we applied two guiding principles to looking at the Pentagon nuclear weapons plans.  We looked for ways to be more efficient with how the Pentagon deploys the warheads.  In other words, how do we maintain New START levels of 1,550 weapons, for example – how do we maintain that but save money at the same time?

And since the future need for weapons is uncertain – in other words we don’t know if we’re going to get this next follow-on agreement or process or understanding with Russia.  The future need for the weapons is uncertain so let’s not buy new systems until we have to.  If we buy them too soon we may wind up buying too many.

So, with those two guiding principles, let’s take a look at what the plans are and how we might scale them back.

So, currently, as Russ has already described, if you look at submarines, for example, which is – the biggest piece of the modernization budget is going to the submarines, which over their lifetime could cost upwards of $350 billion.  The current plan that the Navy has is to over time retire the current Ohio class subs that are out there starting in 2027, and starting in 2042 start deploying 12 new subs to replace the ones that are aging out.

And if you again apply this principle of doing things more efficiently, if you think about it, those subs are going to be deployed only half to a little more than half full in terms of the warheads that they carry.  So if we’re using our efficiency principle and we put those boats instead with a full complement of warheads on them rather than about half, we could go down to eight subs.

So the point here is that we can save a lot of money and still deploy the same number of warheads that we planned to deploy under New START by going down to eight submarines.  And over the next 10 years that saves roughly $18 billion, which to us is a nice sum.  And again, you can do that without any new arms reductions, just living under the New START treaty that we already – we already have today.

Going down a level, looking at bombers, you know, we applied the principle of don’t build things until you need them.  And right now the Air Force is looking, as Russ said, to build up to 100 new bombers at a cost of upwards of $68 billion.  But the current bombers we have today are good until the 2040s or 2050s, so we really don’t need to start this now.

So what we propose to do is delay the development of the new bomber until the mid-2020s, which basically kicks all that out of the next 10-year window and saves the $18 billion in development costs.  So there’s another 18 billion (dollars) in savings.

One of the warheads that would go on those bombers is the B61 warhead.  Most of those are deployed in Europe.  Some of them are also deployed on strategic bombers.

The NNSA wants to spend about $10 billion doing a life-extension of those warheads.  We would recommend to scale that back.  The warheads in Europe, for example, may not be there a decade from now when this upgrade is done, and they can be upgraded in a much more cost efficient way than the current plans are.  So we would scale that back and save $5 billion.

And then in terms of the ICBMs, you know, there’s – the new ICBM program is just in its infancy.  It’s just starting up.  The Air Force has put out an options paper about different ways it might go with that from underground railroad systems, which don’t seem very likely, to just extending the life of the current Minuteman 3 until 2075.  And so we would suggest that’s the way to go, and we don’t need to do this now because those missiles again will be around into the 2030s.  So that’s another process that we suggest be delayed out of this 10-year window.

We don’t know what the savings on that would be because we don’t know how much it’s going to cost.

But certainly if we get another round of arms reductions with Russia we could cut the current force of ICBMs from the current level of about 400 down to 300 and save some money through that.

And finally, if you look at the missile defense account, we got a little help here already just on Friday from the Pentagon.  The Pentagon was planning to deploy the fourth phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, the SM3 IIB, and it just canceled that which we feel was a necessary step because the technology wasn’t going to pan out anyway and because Russia had raised concerns about whether this system might threaten its long-range missiles.

So it opens the door for that process to move ahead.  It also saves a lot of money because we don’t have a firm estimate but the National Academy of Sciences has estimated that that program to develop – just to develop would have cost about $9 billion over the next 10 years.  So that’s a pretty significant savings from that as well.

So if you take this all together, you see about 50 billion (dollars) in potential savings just under the New START treaty, without any additional agreements or understandings with Russia – about $50 billion, deploying the same number of warheads that we plan to deploy today.

If we get a new agreement or a new understanding with Russia, whether that be a mutual thing or however it’s actually done, we could go beyond that another 8 billion (dollars) at least, and there are other categories that we didn’t add in here.

And in fact we’re only looking at the next 10 years here.  A lot of the significant savings from reductions would come beyond the 10-year window, but because we’re only looking at 10 years – because I think in many ways, you know, looking beyond 10 years it gets a little crazy in terms of Washington politics and who knows what’s going to happen.  But in terms of the next 10 years there will be additional savings as well, and beyond that potentially more.

So again, I think what this shows is that arms reductions are going to save us money and can save us a lot of money if we plan it smartly and if we are efficient about it and if we don’t build things too soon before we need – we know how much we need.

Thanks very much.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Tom.

I hope all of that has been thought-provoking.  Our goal here, as Tom said, is to provide some realistic, practical ideas for solving the problems that are ahead, making sure that we don’t pursue weapons systems that we don’t need and have a hard time affording.

So with that let me open up the floor to questions.  If you could just identify yourself, let us know who you’d like to have answer the question, that would be – that would be great.



Q:  Hi.  Thank you –

MR. KIMBALL:  And there’s a microphone that Marcus will hand over to you.  So – thank you.

Q:  Hi.  I’m Chris Lindborg with the British-American Security Information Council.  Thank you all for your presentations.  It’s good to see all of you today.

I’m just wondering, looking – I know there’s probably a reluctance to look past 10 years, but further down the road is there a sense of which part or leg of the triad might be the most likely to be cut or which one at least theoretically might make the most sense to take out and then leave the other two legs, or if there are any longer-term scenarios either theoretically – and taking into account some of the costs and that is understandable – but just, you know, on a theoretical basis, you know, as far as deterrence issues are concerned, what would be the most likely let to be cut?  Thank you.;

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, let me – let me take a quick stab and then maybe Russell or Barry have some thoughts about this from a budgetary or strategic standpoint.

I mean, one of the things you’ll notice about Tom’s presentation and outline is that you still have a triad at the end of this process.  And part of the point there is that we can – we believe that we can achieve significant, meaningful U.S. and Russian reductions while maintaining the triad, which in many ways is a product of inter-service rivalry and bureaucracy and history and not necessarily good strategic policy.

But you can maintain that triad, avoid some of the unfortunate nuclear pork-barreling politics that you see when one or another leg of the triad is thought to be threatened.  And you can achieve significant savings.

And I would say that, you know, even in our own office at the Arms Control Association in the hallway we have polite arguments about, you know, which leg of the triad 25 years from now or 15 years from now could most easily and smartly be eliminated.

So, I mean, we have kind of held that question in abeyance, but perhaps my colleagues from Stimson are bolder and are of some genius thoughts that they might want to offer on this issue.


MR. BLECHMAN:  Well, I actually think there is advantage in keeping the triad.  Each leg bears some advantages.

The submarines, of course, are the most survivable.  But particularly if we went down to eight submarines, which I think is a good idea, myself, the ICBMs provide a hedge against some unexpected threat to those submarines.

And the bombers have the advantage of permitting the president to delay the fateful decision longer than he could if he had just gave an order to fire missiles.  And I think any president would want to have in many situations a person in the loop flying the mission.

So – the ICBMs also have the advantage of being the cheapest leg.  As Tom mentioned, you can keep Minuteman alive well and through – into the century at very small cost.

So I’d keep all three legs down to the very low numbers.

MR. KIMBALL:  Russell?

I think – one thing I’d just like to ask you, Russell, that’s related to this is what have been some of the considerations about the strategic bomber program and the budgetary pros and cons or the implications of pursuing a bomber that is nuclear-capable because, as you pointed out, you can still build a new strategic bomber that has conventional capabilities and you can build in, with some additional marginal cost, a nuclear weapons delivery capability, or not.

And so can you just offer any just thoughts on what that conversation has been in the last couple of years inside the Pentagon?

MR. RUMBAUGH:  Well, that certainly seems to be where the Air Force is going.  They, for the first time, have said, we’re going to build the conventional part of the bomber first and then worry about certifying it nuclear after we’ve fielded it.  In the past the nuclear mission was always the primary driver and what led – why the bomber was trying to enter the force in the first place, and this time they’re hoping to have the bomber developed, tested, possibly even fielded before they then go and move on to the nuclear certification.

That doesn’t mean the nuclear aspects – the hardening and various other things to make it nuclear capable won’t already be embedded, but the final decision of when to bring it in to the nuclear force has been pushed off a little bit.

So I think exactly your point, Daryl, that it’s more up in the air than we’ve usually seen at this point in the program.



MR. COLLINA:  Just the hard part about trying to save money through taking out one leg of the triad is that most of the money is in the submarines and that’s probably the last leg of the triad that we will get rid of.

So that forces you to look at the other legs, and as we’ve said, the bombers are dual-capable so they’ll probably be built even if they’re not built for a nuclear mission, and the ICBMs are relatively cheap.

So it’s – so if you’re not taking out the subs, it’s hard to find a lot of money in the other legs, and as I said, the subs are the least leg to be taken out.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Other questions?

Yes, sir?

Q:  Andrew Pierre (sp).  The decision to last Friday – announce last Friday to cancel the SM32B Phase IV was accompanied of course by another decision, which was to increase the interceptors by 14, and I don’t see that on the chart here – the costs of that.  So I’m wondering what the tradeoff actually is with the additional interceptors.

Beyond that I’d be interested in the views of anybody as to whether that interceptor program makes sense in terms of North Korea and whether 14 is enough and how far we might now go in terms of reorienting our missile defense somewhat from Iran towards North Korea.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Tom, Barry, you want to take a stab?

MR. BLECHMAN:  You go on the cost.

MR. COLLINA:  On the cost actually it’s – they estimate, as you said, about a billion dollars to deploy the 14 additional interceptors.  That compares quite favorably to just the development costs of $9 billion – I’m sorry – $1 billion for the 14 interceptors; 9 billion (dollars) just for development of the SM32B.  So this is a very good cost-saving approach from that perspective.  And again, these are just development costs for the SM32B.

In terms of whether we need the 14 interceptors, I mean, I would say, you know, no, we don’t need them.  And we certainly shouldn’t deploy them until they’ve been tested and shown to be effective, which the administration said they would do.  So we’ll see how that process goes.

MR. BLECHMAN:  It’s a – you know, it’s a missile, an interceptor that doesn’t work against a missile that doesn’t exist.  (Laughter.)  So there’s a certain symmetry to it, that the missile hasn’t – they did launch one out of a silo a month ago but there was no target.  Before that there weren’t any tests for two years.  It failed most of the tests, and those that did succeed were highly scripted.  The target was going, here I am, here I am!  And it managed to hit it.

So it was obviously a political move to reassure the South Koreans that we wouldn’t be deterred, and the Japanese, I suppose.  But if it costs a lot of money, it’s a waste.

Q:  Could I just add to that that it was also perhaps a brilliant political move.  It was also perhaps a very – (inaudible) – because it opens up better than hitherto, the last two or three years, the prospects of arms control negotiations with the Russians.  They come to see the elimination of the Phase IV as, you know, something which they can then work with.

At the same time, in terms of our own Neanderthals in the U.S. Congress, it’s spending more money on missile defense, which they ought to welcome.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Well, the problem is that it also – it complicates things with China because, you know, we say Pyongyang and the Chinese think, you know, Beijing when we’re talking about the target of the West Coast missile defense system.  So it will just make it even harder to get China to the table.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, and I think you’re right, however, and Tom has pointed this out in previous written pieces lately, that the cancellation of Phase IV should address what the Russians have stated is their primary concern about the U.S. missile defense program in Europe.

Of course, Russia’s stated concerns have been based in part on internal politics.  It’s based upon their own bureaucratic politics, and we’ll see if they really do shift.  But you know, from a technical basis, Russia no longer has an argument to make about the 2B interceptors having strategic capabilities that could counter some of the ICBMs on Russia’s western – western side of Russia.

And I think the early statements we’re seeing out of the Russian foreign ministry in the last couple of days – my guess is that they don’t yet reflect a deeper analysis of how this changes the dynamics with discussions between the U.S. and Russia on missile defense cooperation and on the prospects for further Russian reductions along with the United States.

I mean, we should also point out that – this is another briefing in Moscow someday, but Russia faces its own budgetary strains with respect to replacing some of the aging ICBM systems that they have.  And so there are strong budgetary reasons for Russia to also pursue reductions below the New START ceilings.

So, other questions?  Yes, in the middle, and then we’ll go over here on the other side.

Q:  Terri Lodge, American Security Project.  I’d like to hear your ideas or views about ICBM modernization – U.S. ICBM modernization.  Do we need to modernize?  In truth what are the options?  Do we need to build a new warhead?  What are the costs of that?  There’s not a lot of discussion about where we are regarding those choices.  Thank you.

MR. COLLINA:  Thank you for the question.

You know, the Air Force is in the very earliest stages of planning ICBM modernization, so they’ve put out this request for proposals to get some ideas.  And the range is pretty stark from, you know, building an underground subway track to have mobile ICBMs to just continuing with a life-extension of the current Minuteman III.

My guess is there won’t be any money to do any of the sort of adventurous ideas that they have, and so we will just be continuing to modernize, as we’ve been doing for decades already, the Minuteman III, and there’s no reason why we can’t keep doing that.  So that would certainly be our recommendation, and that process can be put off outside of the 10-year budget window to create some more budget space.

In terms of the warhead, my guess is that there will be some sort of a consolidation of warheads.  There’s two warheads that can go on ICBMs right now, and they’ll probably do a life-extension of one, which will save some money.  And that will happen – I’m not sure what the timeframe is on that, but I think that’s a relatively low-budget scenario of keeping the Minuteman III and life-extending one warhead for the future.

MR. KIMBALL:  Barry, do you want to – we had an interesting email exchange about some of these scenarios.  Do you want to just remind us about some of the debates before when tunnels were –

MR. BLECHMAN:  Well, this is back – this is back to the ‘70s again.  And I love ICBM modernization because you get the craziest ideas.

There was one where the asterisk built out of railroad tracks and – one for each missile.  The missile would sit in the middle and on warning of attack the missile would randomly choose one of the legs, dash out to the end where there was a shelter and close the door behind it and no one would know which one it was in except the missile.  (Laughter.)

But I agree with Tom – the Air Force doesn’t want to spend money on ICBM modernization.  They can keep Minuteman with only modest expenditures for many decades, and that’s what I suspect will happen.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah.  Just think of –

MR. BLECHMAN:  But there will be a lot of fun and games before then.

MR. KIMBALL:  Just think of how difficult it’s been for Metro to build the silver line out to Dulles, all right – (laughter) – and then think about doing that for a hundred ICBMs.

Question over here, please?

Q:  Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association.  I kind of suspect that a lot of the resistance to future cuts in strategic funding will have to do not with strategic thinking but rather with jobs.  So, Russ, I wondered if you could tell us a little bit about where the 31 billion (dollars) is spent today, in which states it’s concentrated.  And then talk about as we move to modernization where that geographic profile will shift as more money is spent on acquisition rather than operations of the systems.

MR. RUMBAUGH:  Sure.  First of all, I’m a little skeptical that jobs is really that big a driver.  At some point if a member of Congress has a large proportion of their constituents working on something, well, that’s not just jobs; that’s their job to represent those people.  And that’s certainly true for things like the subs.  We build the subs in one place and it turns out they care very deeply about building the subs there, so that is a really powerful force.

But that’s less true for the bomber, which will not have nearly as single-point for it.

And then certainly the other dynamic you have, which some of my colleagues here may be better able to speak for, is the labs themselves, which are very much geographically located and do channel political influence because of that.  And that is translated into their own modernization plans which does involve infrastructure at those places.

So that is a very real political consideration that is certainly coloring the debates.

And I’d turn it over to the colleagues for comment about that.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, and one other related question, Russ, which I think is relevant here is that in those shipbuilding areas of the country, you know, there’s also a great deal of interest in continuing to contribute to the – to rebuilding the surface fleet of the Navy.  And part of the conflict within the Pentagon about the sub program is where do we spend our shipbuilding dollars.

So, you know, with that in consideration, you know, 10 years down the roads, I mean, my question to you would be would the impact of building one-third fewer new SSBNs be as great if some of the same shipbuilding industries and states are engaged in, you know, new – building new destroyers and other surface ships.

MR. RUMBAUGH:  I think your broader point is basically right partly because there’s not a linear connection between how many you’re building and what industry you’re supporting, right?  As soon as you decide to build the sub, that’s the vast bulk of the investment.  That’s the vast bulk of the jobs.  Certainly how many you build matters over time and matters a little bit in scale, but for the most part just building it will achieve most of that.

I think Daryl’s point is very true, especially at the Navy level.  We haven’t heard as much about it in the last year, but two years ago you heard this a great deal.  The Navy is very aware of the pressure building these 5 (billion dollar), 6 (billion dollar) – 4 (billion dollar) to 5 (billion dollar), $6 billion submarines is going to do to their shipbuilding budget, and they’re very aware that if they have to buy those at a time when the defense budget is being squeezed, it’s their other ships that are going to be squeezed out.

We heard them float the idea that, oh, we should think of these other ships as Navy ships but we should think of submarines as national submarines.  The great irony about that is that that’s the same argument we heard from the Navy back in the ‘60s when we were first fielding the Polaris, and the joke was – Secretary McNamara’s systems analysis guy made the joke, we were a little sad to hear that the submarines were the only national program the Navy had; we had tended to think of the entire U.S. Navy as a national program.  (Laughter.)

And that – although it certainly was floated, it was floated not in a very formal way and has been squelched at every turn.

Nevertheless – and now to say something nice about the Navy – the Navy better than any of the other services makes its hard decisions itself.  We saw that in the last decade, right?  It took Bob Gates to kill the Army’s premiere system – the future combat systems.  It took Bob Gates to kill the Marines’ premiere system.  It took Bob Gates to kill the Air Force’s premiere system, the F-22.  But the Navy is the one who killed DDG-1000, their new destroyer.  They looked at that and said, hey, this one ship is a threat to too many things; we’re just not going to build it.

So that is an interesting question when the Navy grapples through that, which they’re going to continue to grapple in the next decade.

MR. BLECHMAN:  I just had – the SSBN missile – the SLBMs are built in California, which tends to have an effect on Democratic senators.  And also the ICBM caucus has a – strangely a disproportionate number of Democrats, so it has more influence on this administration than one would imagine.  That’s why I understand there’s a big dispute about whether to go down on ICBMs or take more missiles off submarines, because of this political influence.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

MR. BLECHMAN:  It’s like 20 jobs involved.  (Laughter.)

MR. KIMBALL:  We have a question over here.  Ben?

Q:  Ben Loehrke, Ploughshares Fund.  Russ, just a quick follow-up.  The Navy has expressed its awareness of the cost of the submarine squeezing out other programs.  How about the Air Force?  Are they aware that they’re about to try to build a new bomber, modernize its tankers and choke on the F-35?  (Laughter.)

MR. RUMBAUGH:  Well, certainly they’ve expressed an awareness of it.  All senior leaders in all the public statements have been very conscientious to say, hey, we’ve learned our lesson.  We know how expensive these programs can become.  We know they’re unaffordable and we know we’re the ones who will suffer at the end of it.

I’m not quite sure conscientiousness leads to action.  One of the dynamics is it’s not just a bomber to the Air Force, right?  It is the modernization program that’s also pushing the envelope on stealth capabilities, on ISR capabilities, on avionics capabilities.  It is the program that will lay in the seeds for the future on all of the Air Force’s program.

So it’s not just the bomber part of the Air Force that likes it.  Everybody is supporting the bomber program.  It is the Air Force’s premiere acquisition program.  And because it’s the premiere one, it is those other programs – the tanker, the F-35 – that are threatened by the bomber program.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Also, because of its conventional mission and concerns about advances in Chinese air defenses, I believe it will remain number one priority for the Air Force.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

Yes, sir?

Q:  Brian Moran (sp).  I guess people in the Pentagon, you know, who are looking at this – people in the Pentagon who are looking at this issue right now, at whatever level of weapons you want to talk about, there are going to be people saying, but high numbers of delivery systems are important to us because they give you additional flexibility, they give you additional targeting capabilities, they give you additional survivability.

So how do you balance and have you worked to sort of balance the cost savings vis-a-vis, you know, what DOD strategic planners would say would be the loss of, you know deterrent value or the loss of flexibility, the loss of the ability to react to technical failures of part of the force?  You know, because your savings are not huge, as you pointed out, by DOD standards.

MR. KIMBALL:  Barry, do you want to take a stab at that?

MR. BLECHMAN:  Yeah.  I think there will be some that argue that way, but there’s really not much of a constituency for the nuclear forces within the Pentagon.  Certainly the Army doesn’t care about them.  There’s the SSBN people.  And in the Air Force, you know, frankly I think they’d rather be rid of the mission.  It’s more trouble than it’s worth.  It’s cost the chief his job and a lot of other headaches.

But the – there is – some will make the argument on – about flexibility, but I think you’ll have to get down to about a thousand before people will become concerned at that – about that.  At the level we’re at, 1,550, it’s very hard to argue that we can’t make substantial reductions.

Once you get down to a thousand –

Q:  (Off mic) – which is probably what the number is that we’re going to for the warheads.


Q:  So then, you know the number of delivery systems, from many people’s perspective at the Pentagon, you know, or those who support nuclear weapons at the Pentagon, the number of delivery systems then becomes the critical issue of how many of those do you cut as opposed to how much flexibility do you keep by keeping, say, 450 or 400 Minutemen rather than going down to 300 or –

MR. BLECHMAN:  Right.  Right.  I think you’ll see that argument made more on going to eight subs.  I think that will get a lot of resistance.  They’ll want to stay certainly at 10 at a minimum.

MR. KIMBALL:  Let’s remember a couple of things that you talked about at the beginning, Barry, which is that the judgments about what is necessary to deter an attack – a nuclear attack by an adversary is a very subjective exercise.  All right?  There is not a computer at the Pentagon that spits out a precise number based upon a scientific theory.  This is a judgment that the president makes in the guidance paper that he has already developed based upon his nuclear posture review that goes to the Pentagon that then is interpreted in terms of specific numbers and targets, et cetera.

And I think a lot of the arguments that have been made by those who would like to preserve the current status quo are based upon assumptions and theories about what is necessary to deter a nuclear attack and what kind of flexibility we need in our nuclear war planning that, you know, literally emerged out of, you know 1960s, 1970s, maybe 1980s scenarios for an all-out nuclear war involving more than one nuclear exchange.

So I think one of the challenges that, you know, that we all have and that Congress has is, you know, how to have an adult, up-to-date conversation about what the modern nuclear deterrence requirements really are.

And you know, we’ve been focusing on the budget side of this today, and I’m always reminded when I speak to people at the Pentagon or the State Department or the White House that our policy begins with the development of a sound strategic policy and then the budget decisions flow from that.

Well, if we take that at face value, one of the key drivers here is going to be the president’s nuclear posture review implementation study.  And the thing – you know, even if there is not another round of formal U.S. nuclear reductions, the writing is on the wall about the United States not requiring 1,550 nuclear weapons to deter Russia or China.  And Russia can certainly go lower.  So we are, one way or another, on a glide path to fewer nuclear weapons.

And so, you know, I think we need to bring our thinking up to date.  Congress needs to take a hard look in the context of these budget realities.

So, any other question?

Yes, sir?  And then one or two more questions and we’ll close things out.  And here comes your microphone.  Thank you.

Q:  Thank you.  Benjamin Thule (sp), independent analyst.

In terms of the cleverness of the decision on the 14 interceptors, a number of the advantages have been mentioned but not the advantage vis-a-vis Iran because it’s a kind of confidence-building measure for Iran as well as for Russia.  Is that not correct?

And also, the reaction on the Hill from the politicians and so on has been very muted given this angle as well as – well, given that angle.  And why do you think that is?

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, the announcement came out on a Friday.  That could be one reason why it’s muted.  (Laughter.)  But there may be other reasons too.

On the Iran issue – yeah?

MR. COLLINA:  I’ll just start.  Well, do you want to talk about the Iran issue?  Or – I was going to talk about the muted response.

MR.     :  Go ahead.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Go ahead.

MR. COLLINA:  Just – I mean, in terms of the muted response, I think that was – the announcement was designed to elicit that muted response, and they did an excellent job, which is the first part of the announcement was we’re deploying 14 additional intercepts in Alaska.  And then there was announcement two and announcement three, and then there was announcement four – oh, by the way, we’re cancelling the European Phase IV system.

So the media then took that to Republicans on Capitol Hill and said, what do you think about the 14 additional interceptors in Alaska?  And they said, well, you know he should have done it sooner but it’s great.

So that was the immediate response, which is why I think you saw a muted response to the European news, which was really sort of buried under the Alaska news.

But I think over time that will change.  I think we’re already seeing a change, that there will be more attention focused on the scaling back of the European program, and I imagine there will be more criticism heaped on that from conservative circles as a cave-in to Russia and all the rest, although in the end I think it was very much about budget issues.  I think that was part of the driver here, as well as giving up a system that really wasn’t panning out anyway so it didn’t really cost us anything, and helping to – of course the administration knew that this was something that Russia had concerns about.  But I don’t think that was really necessarily the driving factor.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Another muting factor was one of the criticisms of the conservatives of the Obama switch from the old Bush plan to the four phases is that the fourth phase missile they said could never work, that it was impossible physically to build a missile that would have acceleration sufficient to serve the role it was supposed to serve.  So having discounted it, it was then hard to criticize the decision to kill it.

But they did – they have – I have seen criticism that it was a unilateral concession to Russia and so forth.

MR. KIMBALL:  Which – and just to put a final point on that, I mean, the decision on Phase IV I’m told was a Pentagon decision because of the cost – because of the congressional cuts in the SM3 IIB program, the sequestration cuts in the past month, and what Barry is talking about, which is that they can’t find a way to get a 21-inch diameter missile to move at the speeds that would be necessary to improve its capabilities against strategic offensive missiles.

So it’s not a concession.  It’s a recognition of some stark budgetary and technical realities, and it does happen to open up new possibilities for strategic offensive reductions.  And one way to think about it is that if we can persuade Russia to further reduce the number of nuclear weapons with the cancellation of this system, these interceptors could very well, without having been built – (laughs) – help eliminate far more interceptors than they could ever hope to shoot down.

So I think that’s one important way of looking at this.

Any other final questions before we wrap up?

I want to thank everybody for coming today.  We hope we have, with Barry and Russell and Tom’s presentations, injected some fact-based ideas into the conversation that we’re going to continue in the weeks ahead.  We’ll look to see what the fiscal ’14 budget request from the administration is and how it reflects some of these realities.  And we look forward to having you at future Arms control Association events.

Thank you all.  Join me in thanking our speakers, please.  (Applause.)




With the sequester now a reality, the Defense budget must come down. One place to look for savings is the $31 billion the United States spends each year on nuclear weapons. The Pentagon had been seeking to build a new generation of multi-billion-dollar nuclear delivery systems, including long-range missiles, submarines and bombers, as well as extending the service lives of nuclear warheads. Now, those plans are in doubt.

Country Resources:

TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: Iran Nuclear Talks - What Can Be Achieved in 2013?



Toward a Diplomatic Solution of the Iranian Nuclear Crisis:
What Can Be Achieved in 2013?

Featuring Amb. Thomas Pickering, Amb. Hossein Mousavian, and Alireza Nader

Monday, February 25, 2013
2:00pm to 3:30pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC

After an eight-month hiatus, the resumption of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group on February 26 in Almaty, Kazakhstan offers a critical opportunity to move toward a diplomatic solution to the long-running standoff over Tehran's sensitive nuclear activities.

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said: "...Iran must recognize that now's the time for a diplomatic solution because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon."

On the eve of the next round of talks, the Arms Control Association (ACA) will host an expert briefing and discussion to explore the options and diplomatic pathways for reaching a deal that limits Iran's nuclear potential in the coming months.

The panel included:

  • Career U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering;
  • Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Associate Research Scholar at Princeton University and former Iranian nuclear negotiator (2003-2005);
  • Alireza Nader, Senior Policy Analyst at the Rand Corporation; and
  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, ACA (moderator)

Copies of ACA's new briefing book, "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle," a comprehensive, entry-level guide to Iran's nuclear program and its capabilities, and the risks, benefits, and limitations of policy options also will be available at the event.

You can see video coverage of the event here at CSPAN.

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right.  Good afternoon, everyone.  My name is Daryl Kimball.  I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association.  We’re an independent nongovernmental organization dedicated to providing information and practical policy ideas to address the world’s most dangerous weapons, including nuclear weapons

We welcome you to today’s briefing on finding a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis and to discuss what might be achieved in 2013 through diplomacy.  It’s been nearly 10 years since the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran, a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, had secretly built a uranium enrichment facility in violation of its commitments under the treaty to comply with safeguards designed to detect diversion of nuclear materials for military purposes.  Since then, the IAEA’s reports have documented a steady but slow progress of Iran’s uranium enrichment program and other sensitive aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle.  And there is information that suggests that Iran may have engaged in activities with potential military dimensions.

After an initial round of international talks between 2003 and 2005 led to a pause in Iran’s uranium nuclear program, the talks stalled, and Iran resumed and expanded its enrichment activities and continued other fuel-cycle projects.  Since 2006 Iran and the P5+1 group, which is China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States and the United Kingdom, have fumbled fleeting diplomatic opportunities to reach a deal that reduces the risk of a nuclear-armed Iran, in exchange for a rollback of the nonproliferation, or the proliferation-related sanctions that have been imposed on Iran.

Now, eight months since the last round of talks between the P5+1 group, talks will resume tomorrow, February 26, in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  The meeting offers a critical opportunity, in our view, to finally begin to move forward toward a diplomatic solution to the long-running standoff over Tehran’s nuclear activities.  And as our new Arms Control Association briefing book illustrates, we think that a deal that ties Iran’s enrichment activities and its stockpiles to its actual nuclear power needs, combined with more extensive IAEA safeguards, could sufficiently guard against a nuclear-armed Iran.

And as we’ll hear today, however, after the three rounds of nuclear talks in 2009 and some private meetings, we see a number of areas of agreement between the two sides, and we also see some substantial differences.  Back in May of 2012, the two sides laid down a series of proposals that set the stage for the talks that will resume tomorrow in Kazakhstan.  Iran put forward what they called a five-step proposal, and at the core of that proposal were a couple of key ideas, which is – which was to have Iran continue what they called broad cooperation with the IAEA and will transparently cooperate with IAEA on the potential military dimensions issue.  And in exchange, Iran proposed the P5+1 will end unilateral and multilateral sanctions against Iran outside U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Another key component of the Iranian plan was confidence-building steps, as they call them, continuous monitoring of enrichment activities.  Iran proposed that there would be a termination of U.N. sanctions and a removal of Iran’s nuclear file from the U.N. Security Council agenda in return for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), which uses the higher-percentage uranium.

On the other hand, the P5+1 group called for several different Iranian actions and a different sequence of steps.  They proposed that Iran halt all 20 percent enrichment activities, that it transfers all 20 percent-enriched uranium to a third country under IAEA custody and shuts down the Fordow enrichment facility, which is Iran’s second and underground enrichment facility.

In response, the P5+1 said they would provide fuel assemblies for the TRR, the Tehran Research Reactor, would support technical cooperation for other Iranian nuclear activities, and that the United States would be prepared to permit safety-related inspection and repair for commercial aircraft and spare parts, as well as some other measures.

So as you can see, there are some similarities between the two sets of proposals that were put forward last year, but there are differences about the sequencing of the steps, whether Iran’s actions come before sanctions relief or whether sanctions relief comes before concrete actions.

But I think as you’ll hear today, if – this is from the speakers we have for you – if both sides approach the talks with greater flexibility and some creativity, an initial confidence-building deal that works through some of these differences could still be within reach.  And this could significantly reduce the proliferation risks that currently exist and buy time for a more permanent resolution to the crisis.

So today we have with us three very experienced and very well-informed panelists to provide their perspectives on the options and the diplomatic pathways for reaching a deal that limits Iran’s nuclear potential in the coming months.  First we’re going to hear from career U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs, ambassador to the United Nations, ambassador to El Salvador, Jordan, India, Israel, Nigeria and Russia and a few other things.

We’ll also hear from Hossein Mousavian, who is currently associate research scholar at Princeton University and a former Iranian nuclear negotiator himself from 2003 to 2005.  Hossein is also the author of this 2012 opus, “The Iranian Nuclear Crisis:  A Memoir,” which is published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where we are today.

We’ll also hear from Alireza Nader, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation.  And he is the co-author of “Coping with a Nuclearizing Iran” and “Israel and Iran:  A Dangerous Rivalry.”

So I think we’ve got a very good group for you today.  We’re going to hear from each of them, and then we’re going to turn to your questions, and we’ll have some discussion.

So Ambassador Pickering, you are up first, and the floor is yours.  Thanks for being here.

THOMAS PICKERING:  Thank you, Daryl, very much.  It’s an honor and pleasure to be here.  Hossein and I have done numerous – what I guess can be best characterized as dog-and-pony or Mutt-and-Jeff shows at various places, seeking, I think, neither of us necessarily to do anything but see if we could make it a more likely possibility and a more lively possibility that a negotiation would not only begin, but continue and lead to some useful results.  And I’m very happy to be present with Alireza Nader from RAND as well, who I know brings special insights of his own into the problems and the prospects for the future.

I’d like to just do two things, Daryl, if I can.  And thank you for your very valuable and very useful introduction.  I’d like, in the typical diplomat’s refuge, to talk a little bit first about process.  The truth is, American diplomats, when totally stymied, will always want to talk about process.  So I have a second portion of what I’d like to speak about today, and that’s to talk a little bit about the substance and how and in what way the substance might actually be used to prepare and prosper in negotiation.

I leave judgments up to the press, who have been liberal with them, and others about the prospects for breakthroughs in Kazakhstan.  My own sense is that it is a breakthrough in 33 years of mistrust and misunderstanding to have continued talks even if nothing else comes of them for a while but a certain amount of coffee-drinking.  But I do believe, in fact, that we are approaching a time when the pace of talks that have been set in 2012, three high-level talks and a number of expert talks, and the continuation of that pace can help us, among other things, lead to moves ahead.

Let’s talk about process in the broadest sense.  We had a brief flirtation at Munich and beyond with the U.S. proposal and with seemingly a mixed Iranian reaction to the idea of bilateral negotiations.  And I assumed that these would be bilateral negotiations in the context of the discussions between the P5+1 in Iran, much like the 6+1 talks were conducted in the Far East, not that they are necessarily markedly important as a record for success in this format but because in fact they provide an opportunity for bilateral conversations to proceed.  And I would assume they might proceed between Iran and other partners in the P5+1 but at the same time preserve the structure of common agreement that will have to be achieved at the end of the conversations between the 5+1 and Iran.

I think secondly, it’s important to note that such talks can help in a number of ways.  It is no state secret that the EU3 talks when they first began were in fact EU3+1 talks; despite the fact the United States was not present at the table.  The United States was a necessary partner and at the same time perhaps a sufficient partner but didn’t appear until the last year of the Bush administration.  The idea, therefore, that the U.S. plays an important role is not a figment of Madeline Albright’s imagination, nor is it hubris, but I think it’s a reality.  And therefore, having the U.S. actively at the table with Iran, with opportunities to speak frankly and informally in a bilateral context, in my view, could be very helpful.

The P5+1 is, by definition, a lowest common denominator operation.  And instincts among the P5+1 against being adventuresome are in some ways matched inside the United States government.  And so there is a mutual reinforcement of excessive timidity, if I can put it that way, which is not a helpful fact of life when you’re, in a sense, dealing with set of negotiations that have a finite life.

And I think that’s important to look at and to try to assure, that perhaps it could be overcome or at least worked around in some way so that it would be useful as this process goes ahead.  I think there’s some other factors that probably also play here that might be looked at, but those are the most important ones, I think, to speed the process ahead.

I think there are other issues of process that might well also be considered.  I mentioned earlier the need for regular meetings.  I mentioned earlier the hope that meetings could be better prepared and that they might move ahead on a regular schedule.  We have set a precedent in the United States in the last half of the year 2012 that elections are also a factor in the negotiating process, and we should expect no less with respect to Iran’s elections and their impact, in a process sense, on negotiations.

We owe it, at least on reciprocal basis, to understand that Iran may wish for electoral reasons to delay, even if in fact the electoral process and the electoral context – and I mean on aspersion on this – is different than it is in the United States and the electoral office is somewhat different than it is in the United States.  Nevertheless, it needs to be taken into account.  And I think that that is significant.

Let me turn now briefly to substantive questions.  I think at the outset, at the 50,000 foot level, against the backdrop of long mistrust and misunderstanding, there is at least one set of tradeoff issues that both sides – that each side harbors serious doubts upon that have to be dispelled.  Certainly on the Iranian side, there is the increasing realization, often brought home to us by our Iranian contacts, that at the very top of the Iranian leadership, and perhaps permeating it, is a deep distrust over the fact that, from their perspective, the Western and U.S. policy is seemingly – is attached to wholly if not completely to regime change as the only acceptable objective.

On our side, I believe we need to be given credit for equal and opposite prejudicial views about the outcome and about the approach.  That is, we harbor deep and abiding concerns about whether Iran is really only interested in a civil nuclear program or whether it has military objectives in mind.  To some extent, these two get in the way of a process of negotiations and will have to be dealt with if the negotiations are going to proceed.

There are no easy ways because, in fact, after a long period of mistrust, any pious assertion to the contrary, no matter how many bibles are under the hand that makes it, will in itself only breed uncertainty about what is really meant, given the level of distrust.  Action, in my view, is much more important to dispel those concerns.  And there are many forms of action.  One set of actions is that if Iran believes there are things that we are doing which in fact are being done for the purpose of regime change, we ought to be able to find a way to put those on the table and talk about them.

If Iran believes that we are serious about a negotiation effort – and they certainly have been working hard to try to get them going, including a bilateral negotiation and a negotiation with the government of Iran – why would we, if we have regime change in mind, bolster that government through a negotiating process that could lead to an end which, in many ways, would reaffirm its continued existence?  Certainly that doesn’t make much sense.

On the other side, we have deep concerns, but we had said at the same time that it is time for us to see, as Secretary Clinton said recently, whether the fatwa outlawing the acquisition and use of nuclear weapons by Iran can somehow be reinforced and strengthened as an Iranian declaration.  It’s a declaration, in my view, which is supportive of, consistent with and indeed a ratification of Iran’s commitments under the NPT, which in the international context should take a first-place form of commitment, but need to be worked on.  So that is important.

The second set of issues that I would raise is the grand bargain versus smaller steps.  My own view is increasingly it is unrealistic to believe that negotiators who can barely agree on the time of day, or indeed the month and date for the next meeting, should have to solve a whole plethora of problems, just in the nuclear field alone, to say nothing of a wider scope of differences between the U.S. and Iran at a single series of negotiations.

It would have the disadvantage of being exceedingly, if not super complex.  The disadvantage for allowing each side to conclude that any objection to any one of the problems that has to be put in place before anything could be put in place is merely an exercise in creating a giant schlep for whatever purposes that might have in the interest of the party being accused of doing so. So I believe it is time to think about smaller steps and that they’re important.

But against the backdrop of that, we have another Iranian concern, which I believe it is entirely possible to dispel by at least providing a sense of an open process that can arrive at an end game, the end state of which might be more easily described than how to get there or the steps by which in fact you approach that end.  The end state that I think that is important to think about has four points – two Iranian concerns and two U.S. and allies concerns.

The U.S. and allies concerns are, simply stated:  How and in what way can we get an put in place an accurate description of the Iranian program, including its intentions, that limit it to the civil scope which Iran continues to profess is its objective, and how can we put in place the necessary inspections and transparency to assure that there is the best of all possible chances of making clear on a regular basis that the program remains in that scope?

Certainly we have no idea yet, unless it’s been vouchsafed in total secrecy, what the Iranian objective is with respect to its needs for fuel at the 20 percent enrichment level for the TRR Reactor.  And we have even less idea, even though now eight tons of LEU has been accumulated, of what Iran’s plans are for LEU.  It has one reactor, conveniently supplied by the Russians on a long-term basis with take-back of spent fuel.

I could see perhaps in Iran some concern that at some point the Russians might turn off the fuel supply.  And I could see it as legitimate to build some reservoir of capacity against that objective, however unlikely that might seem.  But to go beyond there, what is eight tons of fuel going to do?  Is it for sale overseas?  Well, sell it.  Is it for use in some future, undefined, unknown and yet unfunded reactor program?  Well, tell us about it.

I think there is fertile use for conversations to begin to define this because, on the Iranian side, we understand they would like to have no more sanctions in place, at the end of the day.  And I can understand why – certainly against their nuclear program.  And they would like recognition of their right to enrich.

That is, of course, tied directly, clearly and completely, in my view, to what kind of program they intend to enrich for – that evanescent, somewhat elusive, undescribed civil program I’ve just decided, which should be on the agenda of the talks if they’re going to make any real progress because knowing the answer to that question will help to define, not just the basis on which we can trust the fatwa, but more importantly on the basis on which we can extend never before vouchsafed as an obligation by us from the DOD on down, the recognition of the Iranian right to enrich.  It’s in the NPT.  It has been temporarily taken away by the U.N. Security Council, and that will be dealt with, I suspect, if we get a deal.  And to some extent, that may be what concerns Iran.  And that can be changed, in my view, in the context of a deal.  But a deal has to have parameters.

One final point:  small steps.  I think that here, as we have seen – and Daryl laid this out very well – we have what I have come to call the horse for a rabbit problem.  The Iranian proposal is a kind of you give us your horse, no more sanctions, and we’ll give you a rabbit, a PMD, and maybe some description of a civil program; we’re not yet sure.

That’s not bad, but it’s not quite there yet.  And of course the timing of how these various steps come together is important, and it’s another thing that makes a grand bargain hard.  But it could help to define an early step.

And I have to say, with, I hope, equal candor and determination, that the Western proposals have their own horse for a rabbit context:  shutdown of Fordow, ending of 20 percent, sending out all of 20 percent, spare parts in return for airplanes – and I used to work for Boeing, so I think it’s a great idea, but that’s not either here nor there with respect to this particular issue – and some other efforts to help.  But at the moment I can see no sanctions relief.  We have now dangles today in the press about some sanctions relief, and hopefully that will be forthcoming.

I would be willing to start with something purely and simply as straightforward as moving all of the Iranian fuel to someplace away from where it could be easily upgraded, if, of course, it is done under IAEA control.  I’d be even happier for the Iranians to continue doing what they seemingly have been doing with a significant percentage of the 20 percent fuel, turning it into metallic powder, preparatory, hopefully, to making it into fuel elements, which means that rapid reversibility or rapid upgrading of 20 percent material has to move it back to gaseous form and then back into the centrifuge cascades, which builds in, I think, a little extra help on the process and should not be discounted or thrown away as a way to proceed.

But I think that asking the Iranians for a definition of what they need and then regulating the 20 percent production to an agreed definition is a very logical starting place.  If at the moment all 20 percent is being made at Fordow and no 3.5 percent is being made there, then of course stopping 20 percent or limiting 20 percent is a limited – is a limit on Fordow, even if it doesn’t shut the gates.  And shutting the gates, of course, is a deep Israeli concern, but in large measure that has to do with the military capability of taking out a difficult target, rather than necessarily reaching a joint agreement on the endpoint of an Iranian program that might continue.

So I think the four points I raised about the end state are important.  I think a very limited early step would be important, even if it doesn’t seem to be overwhelming.  And at the end of the day, because I’m a very low common denominator guy on talks, I think we’ve got to try to continue them.  I’d even be agreed for a date, time and place for the next meeting.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Tom.

Ambassador Mousavian.

SEYED HOSSEIN MOUSAVIAN:  Good afternoon.  First of all, I would like to thank Daryl and Arms Control Association for arranging this event.

I had a prepared a written 10-minute statement, but after Tom’s speech, I understood this is completely useless, and I had to make my mind, when you were talking, what to say.

Obama has been re-elected.  This is positive.  John Kerry now is secretary of state.  This is positive.  Everybody’s optimistic Chuck Hagel also would be secretary of defense.  This is also positive.

But tomorrow’s nuclear talks in Kazakhstan would fail, and I believe, despite of positive developments in the new administration/second term of Obama, this would continue to fail – any further negotiations in the future.

Let me too refer to three issues after the four points Tom raised.  The first is about the format of the P5+1.  I wonder whether any more this format would be constructive.  It seems the format – the composition of P5+1, five permanent members of United Nations Security Council plus Germany, is dysfunctional.  And I believe Europeans – also they have the same understanding; Americans – also they have the same understanding, perhaps Chinese and Russia also the same, although they cannot say.

Tom is right; when we were talking with EU-3, we failed because the U.S. was not on board.  When the U.S. joined to talks, there was two different school of thoughts in Iran.  The Iranian diplomats, including me, we were happy the U.S. is joining to direct talks, and it was a hope for us there would be a resolution.  But Iranian leadership was completely suspicious, and they believed this would be counterproductive, because the U.S. is not going to come to negotiations for good intentions.

Unfortunately, after five years, with the presence of the U.S., the situation has become much more complicated.  With the U.S. initiative, the file has been referred to United Nations Security Council.  Many international multilateral sanctions, resolutions, unilateral – American unilateral sanctions, European unilateral sanctions – this has made really the situation much, much more complicated, compared to 2005, to find a solution.

Nevertheless, to me, there is a new conclusion.  We should think whether to continue the P5+1 format or to create a new situation for Iran and the U.S. to sit together and to resolve the problem, rather than wasting the time for another – years, five years, 10 years.  I think this would be the best way and the shortest way.

But whether this would be possible or not, me and Tom – just we were talking before this event about interpretation of the recent statements by American/Iranian leaders on direct talks, and although there is a misunderstanding in the West about Ayatollah Khamenei’s statement on direct talks with the U.S., which – he said officially this would not be – this would not resolve anything, but in his statement he made it very, very clear that neither the nuclear talks – the direct talks with the U.S. is red line for Iran and nor normal relation with the U.S.

For him, for me, being 30 years in Iranian administration and familiar with his mindset and also, if someone reads very carefully his statement, for him to issue is important or to enter meaningful talks with the U.S. – one is about the U.S. language.  The U.S. has continued to use the language of threat.  And as long as the U.S. is talking with Iran with the language of threat, humiliation, Iranians – they would not come to any direct talks, because this would – practically means that Iran has raised a hand under pressures and threats, and they are not going to do it.

The second is about action.  The U.S., during 30 years, I mean, they have – many times they have proposed Iran for direct talks.  It is not only limited to President Obama.  But Iranians, they gauge the intention of the U.S. not by talks, words and invitations; they gauge by the U.S. actions.  And unfortunately, in parallel of invitation for direct talks, always the U.S. has escalated hostilities, pressures, sanctions.  Just the last event was Vice President Biden, you remember, two weeks ago in Munich, he invited Iran for direct talks.  At the same time, in Washington, the Congress passed a new legislation for more sanctions.  Iranians in Tehran, sitting in Tehran, they don’t pay attention to what Biden is talking about.  They look at Washington decision for more sanctions and pressures.  And these two have convinced Iran that they U.S. is not ready for a serious, genuine, meaningful talks.

Therefore, if Kerry – Senator Kerry is State Secretary Kerry wants to make a chance in Iranian mindset, the first one is what Tom said – I hundred percent agree – the Iranian perception is that the U.S. is after regime change.  But the second is to change the language, to use the language of respect rather than threats and humiliation.  He said, Ayatollah Khamenei said you are putting gun on our head, and you’re telling us, either negotiate or we will kill you.  What kind of negotiation is this?  And also to support your invitation for direct talks with positive actions, not with more hostility, in order to convince the Iranians that you have a good will.

My second point is about the IAEA role.  I believe as long as there is not a comprehensive deal between Iran and the international interlocutors, now P5+1, the IAEA should not go to discuss technical issues with Iran.  It doesn’t work, and definitely this would be counterproductive.  The IAEA has had two visit in last two, three months.  Both failed.  And I predicted before every of – both two visits, I said publicly this would fail.  This was a mistake by Iran.  This was a mistake by the IAEA.  It’s clear.

Iran has no problem for cooperate with the IAEA on technical ambiguities in the framework of safeguard agreement.  But the IAEA is asking Iran for inspections, accesses in the framework of additional protocol and even beyond additional protocol.  This possible military dimension issues, many of you may have heard.  The IAEA is asking Iran to give accesses in order to address these possible military dimension issues.

For Iran to give access, Iran should accept to give access beyond additional protocol.  There is no international arrangement beyond additional protocol, nothing.  Therefore, for Iran to accept additional protocol, a protocol with 70 countries – even today they have not signed, and – or for Iran to give access beyond additional protocol, there should be something in return.  The IAEA is not in position to discuss the reciprocations.  That’s why I believe first we need a deal.  And then the IAEA is welcome to Tehran, and I’m confident Iranians, they will cooperate for any level of transparency with the IAEA.

My last point is about content of a deal.  As far as I understand – if anyones understand differently, please correct me – the world powers, they have five major demands.  The first one is for Iran to implement additional protocol to enable the IAEA for intrusive inspections.  The second one is to implement subsidiary arrangement code 3.1, which would, again, bring more transparencies.  And the third one is to cooperate with the IAEA to address the possible military dimension issues, PMDs, which would require Iran to give access beyond additional protocol.  And the fourth one is to cap at 5 percent.  And the fifth is limiting the stockpile, enriched uranium stockpile.

If this is exactly this one – these five or more, it is not matter – it doesn’t matter.  The – but definitely, this is true that the P5+1, they are asking Iran two sets of measures:  One set’s for transparencies, whatever it is – additional protocol or – one set is about breakout capability, like cap at 5 percent.

Iranians also, they have two demands, as Tom mentioned:  for the P5+1 to respect of Iran under NPT for enrichment, the legitimate rights of Iran, not to discriminize (sic) Iran.  And the second:  Ultimately, sanction should be relieved – should be lifted.

The solution, in my understanding, is, first of all, the P5+1 in Iran, they should agree on the principles rather than discussing on the piecemeal steps or the first step.  The P-5, they can present Iran a list of measures on transparency, whatever it is.  It is additional protocol subsidiary arrangement, PMDs, access to Parchin or whatever it is.  The second sets of measures the P-5 can present to Iran is on breakout capability, on assurances of – on nondivergent of Iranian nuclear program toward nuclear weapons in the – in the future.  What can be the objective guarantees with the world powers that Iranian nuclear program would never diverge and Iran would stay as non-nuclear weapon state forever?

If they present these two sets of measures plus respecting accepting the two principles, the two major items Iran is asking, right, and sanctions, first, they need to accept – to agree on the principles, including all these three, the measures on transparency, the measures on breakout capability and Iranian demands.  If they agree, then the negotiations can go – (next ?), talks on definition of the first step, reciprocations, what – the priority a step is 20 percent or the priority a step is additional protocol – these can come later

But I believe Iran would be ready.  I believe Iran today is ready.  China is ready.  Russia is ready.  Part of Europeans are ready, part not, like France.

But the main problem, again, here is in Washington.  Washington is not ready to move on substantive sanctions at all.  As long as the U.S. and the P5+1 are not ready to recognize the rights of Iran and to move on sanctions, substantive sanctions, there would be no solution.  There would be no solution.

Just a friend of mine who had recently had a chance to talk with a member of P5+1 told me the next talks would be so-called – in Almaty would be about lifting targeted sanctions.  Targeted sanctions is what Tom said, the spare parts for airplanes or letting Iran to import gold or something like this.  If they want Iran to go for strategic move, they need to go for a strategic removal of sanctions.  Otherwise, I am not really optimistic we would reach to anywhere.

Daryl, you are right.  My time is over, but we will have time to talk in the panel.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Ali Nader, you're next.  We’ve already had a table set by our first two speakers.  Thanks for coming.

ALIREZA NADER:  Good afternoon.  Thanks for organizing this great panel.

I just want to put the negotiations in context, because I don’t really think that the Almaty negotiations or any other negotiations are just about Iran’s nuclear program.  Rather, it’s really about the relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic.  The current problem is that it’s an issue of sequencing.  Iran wants the P5+1 to take certain actions to build confidence.  And the P5+1 wants Iran to take certain actions to build confidence first.  And this is really an issue because of the historical sense of distrust between the United States and Iran.  And that’s really the major impediment in the upcoming talks.

Now, why do the two sides not trust each other?  For the United States, a sense of distrust comes from the secretive nature of the Iranian nuclear program.  We’ll have to recall that Iran’s nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak were not willingly revealed by the Islamic Republic but by other parties.  That in itself has created a sense of distrust.

Also, we have to remember that there is a strategic rivalry between the Islamic Republic and the United States, and negotiations have to be seen within that context.  It’s not just about a process or sequencing.  There’s a real competition going on here between the two countries.  Iran’s opposition to Israel, the Iranian regime’s support for terrorism and the very nature of the Islamic Republic creates a lot of doubts in Washington, D.C., regarding Iranian intentions.  And we’re not going to be easily able to solve that.

How does the regime view the United States?  With a lot of distrust.  The head of the regime, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, believes that the United States is fundamentally opposed to the Iranian revolution, that the United States just doesn’t oppose Iranian policies but the very essence of the Islamic Republic.  And this is what he has said repeatedly.  And also, the United States wants to overthrow and diminish Iran’s allies in the region, including the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and eventually Hezbollah once, and if, but really once the Bashar al-Assad regime falls.  In addition, Khamenei believes that the United States wants to implement a velvet revolution in Iran – this is very actually cultural in nature; it’s not just about sanctions or a military attack – that the United States wants to support reformists and a civil society in Iran to overthrow the regime.

And so if the two sides have these fundamental perceptions of each other, we have to ask:  Can there be a reconciliation between the United States and the Islamic Republic?  And the answer is no.  As long as we have the current regime in Iran, we’re not going to see a normalization of relations with Iran.

Of course, there’s a convergence of interest as well, and I think that’s where we can be a little hopeful on the current crisis.  And that convergence is that neither side really wants to resort to military action to reach a solution.  There's all – there’s a lot of talk about the military option in Washington, D.C., and Tel Aviv, but both sides are reluctant to take military action.  Iran, of course, does not want military action, either.  A military conflict, you can make a very good argument, would be against the national interests of all sides.  Of course, we can’t rule out a military conflict because even if the United States does not want a military conflict, we may come to a point if negotiations fail that the U.S. may have to seriously undertake military actions or consider a military option.

Now, what does, really, Washington want?  It’s not a matter of Iran’s right to enrich uranium.  I think we’re willing to give that to Iran.  What we’re concerned about – the United States and its allies specifically – is an Iranian nuclear weapons capability.  Now, Ayatollah Khamenei has supposedly issued a fatwa, or an edict, saying Iran does not want nuclear weapons.  But that’s not good enough.  We also want to prevent Iran from having the capability, from building the infrastructure and enriching enough uranium so it can dash toward a nuclear weapons capability.  And today we see that Iran is shrinking that time, that it’s closing – getting closer and closer to that nuclear weapons capability by enriching uranium to 20 percent, by installing more advanced centrifuges, the IR-2 in Natanz, by continuing work at Fordow.  And Iran, of course, wants a recognition of its right to enrich uranium and the lifting of sanctions.

Now, a note on sanctions.  Ayatollah Khamenei has said that he will not negotiate with a gun put against his head, but given the nature of the distrust between the Islamic Republic and the United States, we need both positive and negative inducements to get Tehran to come to the table.  We can’t accept on good faith that Ayatollah Khamenei does not want nuclear weapons.  There has to be positive and negative inducements.

Now, we’ve heard a lot about the negative effects of sanctions.  No doubt, they’re hurting the Iranian population; they’re hurting the Iranian middle class.  And we can go on in terms of the statistics – Iran’s reduction of oil exports, et cetera, et cetera.  And of course the sanctions are hurting the Iranian population, unfortunately.  But also sanctions are affecting the regime as well.  These are not the kind of sanctions that the regime can escape from.  The Islamic Republic is deeply dependent on its oil exports.  Even its nonoil export economy is deeply suffering in terms of reduction in auto manufacturing and a number of other exports.  So over time, other elements of the regime, including the Revolutionary Guards and the bazaar in Iran, which form the pillars of Khamenei’s support, are going to feel the pressure of sanctions as well, and this will exacerbate the internal tensions in Tehran.

We’re facing the June 2013 presidential election.  The other week you saw Ali Larijani, the speaker of parliament, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad get in a big public fight.  And as the economic pie in Iran shrinks, the different factions vying for power and wealth are going to compete with each other even more.  Ahmadinejad always talks about an economic mafia running Iran, and he complains about this economic mafia.  And in reality, there are several economic mafias running Iran and they’re competing with each other.

And lastly, the Iranian population is also getting restless.  The crisis the regime faces today is not just about the nuclear program or the internal divisions in Iran.  It’s really a crisis of legitimacy.  We saw this crisis play itself out in 2009 with Iranians coming out into the streets.  And Iran has witnessed the rest of the Middle East really changing in a very dynamic way, so the same Arab Spring that we’ve seen in other countries might still be very possible in Iran.  The regime cannot avoid some of the internal contradictions within Iran.

Also, Iran’s regional position has greatly weakened over the years.  From 2003 to 2009, you could argue that the Islamic Republic was regionally ascendant, especially with the U.S. problems in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The regime in Baghdad that came to power after 2003 had very friendly relations with Iran; Hezbollah was able to withstand Israel’s military assault – or the military conflict between the two in 2006; Hamas took over the Gaza Strip.  And so a lot of groups allied with Tehran were very successful during that time, and a lot of regional actors saw Iran as an ascendant power.

I think things have really changed, especially since 2009.  The Iranian regime’s crackdown on protesters really showed the rest of the region what kind of regime this was, that it was not interested in protecting the rights of the downtrodden, but it was really willing to use violence and intimidation to hold onto power in Iran without any sort of democratic reforms.

And today we see that the Syrian regime may fall sometime soon, sooner or later, and this would be a big blow to Iran’s regional ambitions.  It would lose its major ally in the Middle East.  It would be effectively cut off physically from Hezbollah.  It would not be able to supply Hezbollah as well militarily.  So, all the indications are bad for the regime.

And when we talk about negotiations, of course, we don’t want to tell the other side you’re weak, we’re strong, so you have to make concessions.  That’s not what a good diplomat does.  However, fundamentally, Tehran has a weaker hand in this equation, and there are a lot of people in Iran who realize that.  So of course, Ayatollah Khamenei has said that he’s not a politician; he’s a revolutionary; his policy is resistance, that he’s not going to give in to the United States, that the United States uses the language of force.

But there are those around Ayatollah Khamenei who don’t necessarily see things the way he does, perhaps, that they realize Iran is under a tremendous pressure.  Many Iranian officials have talked about the dangers of sanctions.  A lot of people around Khamenei, or within the elite, anyways, realize that the regime is jeopardizing its own existence through its policies, and if the current negotiations in Almaty do not succeed, then we can expect to see increasing sanctions against Iran, pressure on Iran’s remaining trade partners, such as China, India and Turkey and even Pakistan, to cut off trade relations.

So unfortunately, for the Iranian people, anyhow, the worst is yet to come.  This is not an entirely positive situation, but I think it provides the United States and its allies with the opportunity to pursue their current policies without resorting to military force, in the hope that in the next several months and the coming years internal developments in Iran will give the United States an opportunity to forgo the military option completely.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you all very much.

We now are going to be turning the microphones over to you, after I open up the questions, so keep your hands up so that our – my staff can find you in just a second.

I wanted to bring us all back to the talks that are going to begin tomorrow and some of the early reports that have come out and ask you to respond to some of the things that are being said, apparently, by some of the U.S. officials earlier today and to ask you what your interpretation is, because I think some of this speaks to what Hossein Mousavian was talking about in terms of the U.S. trying to outline a pathway towards a better U.S. and Iranian relationship and a long-term solution, not just the piecemeal steps.

And there’s – there are – there’s a report this morning that the updated P5+1 proposal is a, quote, “real, serious and substantive offer,” said one U.S. diplomat.  “We are trying to outline a pathway for sanctions relief.  The president has been clear that if Iran keeps all obligations under the NPT, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the IAEA, there is absolutely a pathway for it to have peaceful nuclear power.”

So if we imagine for a moment that the offer is genuinely different, what would each of you say that that different package ought to be at this round in order to achieve some of that progress?  I just wanted to have you focus in on what some of those elements might be in that more serious or substantive offer.

So Tom, if you could start off, and then maybe Hossein, and then Ali, please.

MR. PICKERING:  Yeah.  Daryl, thanks.  I tried to cover some of this in my prepared remarks when I talked about maybe two different but related early packages.

I think that there’s clearly an effort on the part of the United States, for which I commend them, to see if they can, pardon the expression, enrich the sanctions menu.  But I think that has to happen.  I think the Iranian expectation is very high here.  But the notion that the sanctions menu should be completely devoid of a relationship with the nuclear program for which they would put on is probably a red line that’ll have to be crossed somewhere.  It doesn’t mean that the sanctions have to be on the trade in nuclear material so much as they have to have been put in effect for purposes of influencing Iranian nuclear program.  And I think that is a kind of useful effort if it can be (eked ?) over there.

One possibility is perhaps some of the EU sanctions on bank transfers and on petroleum.  Iran still depends on refined petroleum imports.  Another is possibly one that may or may not have a nuclear connection, but it bothers me.  It’s bothered me for a long time.  It’s the fact that we apparently give license, at OFAC in Treasury, for export of food and medicine, but we in effect have made it clear to the banking community in ways that they at least believe is unexceptionable that they cannot process any transfers to pay for the food and medicine.  So in fact, it’s giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

And I’m objecting to it because, having been involved in sanctions programs, including the massive sanctions on Iraq, where we specifically, in the U.N. resolutions, excluded food and medicine – it later got tangled up in Oil for Food, and we all know what a mess that was, but that was in large measure because of Saddam’s manipulation of the program and other people’s weaknesses in dealing with that manipulation, not so much the principle.  And I think the principle is pretty well-established that in sanctions regimes, you don’t attempt to punish the people for the sins of the regime, and you don’t attempt to deprive them of what are really the essentials, which are access to food and medicine, as long as they’re prepared and willing to pay for that on a reasonable basis.

And I think we ought to try to open that up as a gesture of good will as much as anything else.  We’re the bigger power.  We can, I think, afford to put things on the table, however much we may be criticized by some domestically for it, as a way of seeking to put on the table some bona fides that can help open it up.

We have problems here – I think Alireza was kind to mention sequencing.  And sequencing has two aspects.  The easiest aspects is how do you syncopate reciprocal measures for the implementation of a program, and the hard aspect is who takes the first big step to open the door.  And that’s a more difficult one.  And there I would think it’s probably in our interest to do that but even more in our interest to do that in a place where the policy principle of the United States is in favor of doing that rather than the other way around.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

Hossein, your thoughts?

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  First all, I have problem with the statement of the U.S. official when he says if Iran is committed under – for its obligation under NPT, that would be – make deal if the U.S. really mean it, but they don’t mean it.

Today they are asking Iran to stop 20 percent enrichment.  Under NPT, every member is permitted to have enrichment up to hundred percent.  When you are asking Iran to be committed to do enrichment below 5 percent, no other NPT member have committed officially to IAEA that they would be forever committed to do enrichment below 5 percent.  When they are talking with Iran on transparency measures, as I said, they are asking Iran for, on possible military dimension, to give access beyond an additional protocol.  This is beyond NPT.  It is nothing beyond additional protocol.

The real demand the P5+1 and the U.S., they have, majority of their demands goes beyond NPT.  Therefore, when they are publicly saying obligation under NPT, obligation under NPT is only one thing:  transparency, transparency within the safeguard, transparency within the Subsidiary Arrangement Code 3.1, and the maximum is transparency within the additional protocol – nothing beyond.

MR. KIMBALL:  Hossein, if I could just jump – go ahead – jump in here.

MR. PICKERING:  Could I – could I – the obligation under the NPT is not to acquire, produce or use nuclear weapons.  Transparency is a facilitative mechanism to provide assurance.  So the obligation is real.  The obligation is central.  The obligation, I would remind you, happens to accord completely with a text of the fatwa – there have been many – that I find the most prepossessing because it’s the one that’s clearest and most straightforward.

And so in that regard, it is very clear that the right to enrich is linked first to the obligation not to be military, but secondly, ipso facto, because there is only the alternative between military and civil, to a civil program.  And there is reason to ask Taiwan, South Korea, South Africa, others who are not nuclear powers but are committed to those obligations not to go beyond a nuclear civil program.  And to some extent, that’s what PMD is all about.  And to some extent, I can understand your wanting to clear it up later.  My own view is that clearing the history of the past is useful but not nearly as important as clearing the history of the future – was what we’re worried about.

MR. KIMBALL:  PMD, of course –

MR.  PICKERING:  And so we ought to focus on the future.

MR. KIMBALL:  PMD, of course – potential military dimension.

MR. PICKERING:  Possible – potential military developments – dimensions, I’m sorry.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  But on – nevertheless, Tom, the instruments of the IAEA for inspections and transparency is these three instruments: a Subsidiary Arrangement called 3.1, safeguard and additional protocol.

MR. PICKERING:  Yeah, but you forget the history of the Iran program, in which the IAEA was involved, in which there was Security Council approval and in which there was, in fact, a hundred percent approval, even including Iraq, for a time, of an inspections system that went beyond.  And indeed, it was probably part of the inspiration for the additional protocol.  But my own view is that we ought to accord the inspection with the agreements that have been arrived at that have to be inspected.  And to some extent, if traditional safeguards are adequate for that, OK.  If the additional protocol is required, we would hope – but as you said, that’s purely voluntary.  That can’t be forced on the party.

On the other hand, if there are questions that have arisen on this – and I, like you, are in total agreement that the additional protocol ought to be standard and not voluntary, and we ought to do everything not to single out Iran as particularly a selective, separate case, even though there are some history problems having to do with things like purchase from Pakistan that don’t give rise to problems that will, in the long run, in Iran’s interest as well as the interests of the world, be better cleared up than left hanging.

And so, in those particular questions, I would hope that we would see this happen.  I think the imperative – the priority is really, as I said, to talk about the future.  What is Iran’s intention for the future?  What does it need for the TRR?  What does it need in low-enriched fuel?  What does it intend to do with that?  Where is that going?  I think some transparency in that area, even though you’re right – it is not part of the safeguards procedure, which is particularly related to the diversion of nuclear material – would nevertheless be in common interest.  And if it is a civil program, the notion of secrecy should not really apply, although as you have said, no – with all the threats of the use of military force, we may have given you a stronger reason for secrecy – (chuckles) – than we really intended in terms of talking about that program.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  Whether the demands are legitimate, legal or not – this is another issue.  My point is, the current demand are beyond NPT.  This is a fact.

MR. PICKERING:  They are, but then you get into the Security Council.  (Laughs.)

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  No, no.  No problem.  Even Security Council resolutions are beyond NPT.

MR. PICKERING:  They are, but they’re binding.  (Chuckles.)

MR.  MOUSAVIAN:  OK.  No, no.  My argument is not that that is legitimate or illegal.  I consider it illegitimate.  But I’m talking about the statement of the U.S. official on the NPT.  This is beyond NPT.  My point is just here; that’s it.  But the best way to move forward is what I said – well, that the major principles to be agreed in order to assure Iran’s end state – they would respect the rights, and to ensure the P5+1 that there would be no nuclear weapon in Iran.  They should see both of them; they should see the end state of any solution.  But if they are not ready – if they are not ready for such a comprehensive package, if they are going just to discuss the steps forward, I believe the priority for the U.S. and the West is 20 percent enrichment.

If this is true, they want Iran to cap its enrichment at 5 percent.  And then they want Iran to limit its stockpile.  Iran has publicly said, we are ready to stop 20 percent enrichment.  I mean – and I am sure they would be ready to – for any deal on the stockpiles.  But the issue is with reciprocations.  Definitely, this is the big issue of no break-out capability.  This is the biggest issue on no break-out capability, capping at 5 percent.  But they are not ready to touch United Nations Security Council resolutions at all.  They are not ready to touch unilateral U.S. sanctions at all.  Therefore, there is only one option left:  for the Europeans to take these unilateral sanctions on oil and central bank if Iran is going to accept cap at 5 percent and limitation on its stockpile.

Otherwise, if they – if they are going to ask two very major, substantive issues from Iran, and to promise Iran that they would let Iran to have food or, I don’t know, spare parts or something like this, they are not going to get to anywhere.

MR. NADER:  The issue is reciprocity, but the country that’s under question is Iran, right?  It’s not P5+1.  So Iran has to make the first move to build confidence before the P5+1 can consider any sort of reciprocity because it’s Iran that’s in violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions.

I think if Iran made steps that showed good will – stopping 20 percent uranium enrichment – which at this point doesn’t really even need that much 20 percent enriched uranium – then some of these other – you know, the sanctions that have been passed against Iran can be reconsidered, even the European sanctions.  And I think that – there you have reciprocity.  But it’s a matter of Iran making that first step, and I think that’s what the international community is waiting for, not just progress on Iran’s nuclear program where it installs more advanced centrifuges, but it does something that could also alleviate pressure on the U.S. administration because the U.S. government also faces a lot of political pressure in handling the negotiations.

If the P5+1 comes out and eases sanctions and there’s no reciprocity in Tehran, then that could leave the United States very exposed in this process.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  No.  We are talking about proportionate reciprocations.  If Iran is going to stop 20 percent, what should be the reciprocation?  But when you say, Ali, Iran should show the good will, I believe the problem is not with Iran.  I really believe the problem is with the P5+1.  I’ll tell you why.  Everybody is crying today, scared about 20 percent.  This is the big issue.  But everybody forgets, Iran made the first good will in February 2010 when the Iranian foreign minister, Salehi, publicly announced – he said, we are enriching below 5 percent.  If the P5+1, they give us fuel rods for Tehran, we would not increase our enrichment to 20 percent.  This was a good will.

But miscalculation created by – most probably by Western agencies, intelligence agencies, because they believed Iran does not have capability to make 20 percent.  That’s why they believed Iran is bluffing.  They didn’t consider this as a good will.  They consider it as a bluff.  Then in September 2011 – you remember, Ali – Ahmadinejad was in New York.  Salehi was in New York.  They said, now we’ve made the 20 percent.  Now we have it.  Give us the fuel rod; we would stop it.  This was the second good will from Iran.  This was Iranian initiative not to go beyond 5 percent.  This was Iranian initiative to stop 20 percent.  This was the good will.

But again, miscalculation in the P5+1.  They believed Iran is bluffing; they don’t have capability to build fuel rods.  Within three months, they made the fuel rods.  And before, on 20 percent or any issues – Iranian to show good will – when I was negotiating, I was member of negotiation team who showed the good will.  We implemented additional protocol voluntarily.  We suspended enrichment voluntarily.  This was not the good will?  We gave access to Parchin.  This was not the good will?

But what did they reciprocated?  After all this good wills – implementing additional protocol, suspension, giving access to military sites – they came and they respectfully – they said, no, you should suspend your enrichment for indefinite period.  I said, what do you mean?  One year, two years, five years?  He said, we don’t know, maybe 10 years.  Is this good will?  You are completely wrong, because the problem is really the P5+1.

MR. KIMBALL:  And we are the P-3 – the three panelists plus one.  And I want to ask our panelists to – just an excellent discussion – try to be brief because we do have other questions that we want to try to address.  And let’s keep looking forwards because there’s a long history that we could unravel if we – if we had time to do so.

So I have a question right here in front – second row here – yes, sir.  If you could just identify yourself, ask your question briefly –

Q:  Jose Charbose (sp).  Ambassador Pickering, you mentioned now and also have mentioned before that this – using this amusing, interesting metaphor of horse for rabbit.  I think we all heard Ambassador –

MR. PICKERING:  It’s an old Texas expression is my understanding.  (Laughter.)

Q:  Right.  We heard Ambassador Mousavian and I just don’t want to let this opportunity to pass and see if you find, although he’s not representing Iran at the moment –

MR. PICKERING:  And I don’t represent the U.S.

Q:  Exactly.

MR. PICKERING:  So he’s – (inaudible) – already worked out.  (Laughter.)

Q:  Would you – would you find his articulations of at least Iranians point of view, you know, giving horse for horse because he’s talking about – or he’s pointing fingers to the facts of – problem of the language, problem of negotiation under pressure.  And you are a very, of course, a skilled diplomat.  How would you address these problems that he’s raising?

MR. PICKERING:  Well, I think – look, I think he and I are both getting closer together.  The horse is getting smaller and the rabbit is growing.  And I think that’s what the U.S. was trying to do.  Admittedly, one can pick holes in some of the expressions and one can take a look at this.  And I don’t doubt that there are elements of good will for Iran.

I think there are elements of good will for the United States – it finally joined the talks, it’s decided to try to make proposals, its secretary of state at least has made pretty clear that the no-enrichment forever proposal or for 10 years is seemingly no longer a central part of where the U.S. is going.  It’s conditioned, but that’s there.  The U.S. has tried to expand sanctions relief.  It’s now talking about gold.  It should probably be talking, although it isn’t yet, about no new sanctions if we can get a process going.  I think that’s inevitable and should be there and that’s important.

There’s a lot to do here.  As I said in my own discussion, it would be very helpful for the experts to have a talk with leading Iranian experts on what their plan is for their nuclear program.  One of the things that bothers us most is the large accumulation of LEU with no apparent use for it.  I’ve sat down and worked hard to try to figure out some uses that Iran could put on the table hopefully to justify at least a portion of what it already has.

But that isn’t where that particular engine – (inaudible) – should come from, but it would be hopeful and helpful to know, as Hossein said, that they’re ready to stop at 20 percent.  OK, well, what do they need?  And do they expect us, as we have offered, to do that and to eliminate all those, or can they use some of their 20 percent for their own fuel rods?  I have no objection to that.

That goes ahead under supervision and it takes it even to a less easily reversible form for breakout.  And Hossein is right; I agree with him that a very, very big preoccupation now is on Iran positioning itself where it could engage in a rapid breakout.  And that’s a central piece of what we’ve been talking and particularly – talking about particularly in an effort to describe the end state in terms that both sides could agree on.

I think that if Iran wants us to recognize its right to enrich, that, in my view, is important only on the basis that we would at some point change the Security Council resolution which seeks to mandate no enrichment in Iran.  And I think that that would be a perfectly logical way to do that and that could also be accompanied by words.

But if Iran finds it difficult in trusting our words about regime change, why is it easy to trust our words about the right to enrich?  We’ll have to figure out actions to take, I think, to accompany those as we would expect Iran would take actions to accompany things like limitations to 5 percent, or whatever can be agreed here.

This is a very difficult problem.  Getting started is hard.  There are elements of having gotten started and then they were rebuffed or ignored.  We need to get out of that particular mode.  We need to find our way forward.  My own views – and I disagree with Alireza – I think that it’s probably anybody who has good intentions’ obligations to see that this process gets started one way or another.

I’ve suggested some ways the U.S. could do that.  There are ways that Iran can do that.  If we do something to get the process started, hopefully that could be reciprocated.  It is good news that we’re meeting.  I could remember three or four years in a row where we met once a year – came for a meeting, dismissed the other side’s point of view, walked away and spent the next year negotiating the next meeting.  That’s not, in my view, very productive.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, other questions.  Greg, please, and then –

Q:  Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association.  Alireza Nader mentioned that the fall of Assad in Syria would be a big blow to Iran and Hezbollah.  I’m just wondering what Ambassador Mousavian and Undersecretary Pickering think about how Syria plays in the background of these negotiations?  Is Assad’s problem a help to the P5+1 or a hindrance because it encourages the Iranians to dig in more?

MR. KIMBALL:  Tom?  Hossein?  You want to start?

MR. PICKERING:  Go ahead, Hossein, yeah.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  I also believe the Syria issue is not about Syria, is about Iran.  But having experienced eight year war, 1980 to 1988, I really cannot imagine Islamic Republic of Iran would have ever challenged with such a situation.  We had eight years’ war, correct?  All regional countries – all of them, U.S., Europe, Soviet Union – all international community, they were supporting aggressor.  They boycotted Iran on everything the time – the whole eight years I was in Iran.

Iran started a war when Iran could not produce –


MR. MOUSAVIAN:  No, no.  No, no.  No, no.  The war – I mean, when Iraq invaded Iran.  Iran started to defend when Iran didn’t have – couldn’t produce one bullet – one bullet.  Everything Iran was 100 independent to U.S., West – conventional arms, 100 percent.  Today’s situation definitely for Iran is not worse than that time because the country just right after revolution was very vulnerable, the system was not established.  Iraq invaded Iran.  Not one country, two country – everybody, Europe, U.S. – everybody was supporting – even they used chemical weapons with the support of the West.

One hundred thousand Iranians, they were killed or injured.  One million Iranians, they were killed.  But after the war, Iran possessed conventional ore, building missiles, tanks, artilleries.  And where is Saddam?  I believe these sanctions today is really – definitely is less than what Iran experienced during eight years’ war – definitely.  And Syria is a small issue compared to 1980 to 1988.  This is the potential – unfortunately, the West is really – has problem to understand the potential of Iranians.

They are very different with some regional Arab countries – big nation, human resources – enormous human resources, very clever strategic resources.  They can deliver.  The notion of sanctions is really important – (inaudible) – to understand for the United States about sanctions.  In 2005, when the U.S. decided to – (inaudible) – Iranian file to United Nations Security Council and to launch the sanctions, at that time Iran had about 1,000 centrifuges.

After sanctions, today Iran has over 10,000 centrifuges.  That time, Iran was enriching below 5 percent, now is 20 percent.  That time, Iran was working with IR-1, the first generation.  Now they have two – second generation, third generation, fourth generations.  That time, they couldn’t produce fuel rods.  Today they produce.

More sanctions, more nuclear capability.  This is Iranian psychology.  They want to tell the U.S. and the West, we would not give in on their sanctions.  As Alireza said, definitely sanctions have harmed Iranian nation, no doubt about it.  But if the target for the sanction is and was and is about the nuclear issue, more sanctions?  You should – you should prepare yourself for more enrichment, more capability, more capacity.  This is the race they can continue.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, let’s take a couple questions in sequence.  Yes, ma’am, you, and then in the rear, please.

Q:  Rachel Oswald, Global Security Newswire.  One thing that hasn’t been touched on today is the things that are happening behind the scenes, namely the covert war against Iranian atomic scientists and rocket scientists, assassinations that may or may not be happening with help from U.S. intelligence, and the U.S. cyberwar that we know is happening and, as we know, has success.

Do you think that Iran can be expected to believe the United States is really not looking for regime change or is speaking in good faith if they continue this covert war and cyberwarfare even while it – while it says it’s interested in possibly lifting sanctions?  And should those two things be halted, you know, to give – to give, you know, I guess, diplomacy a shot?

MR. KIMBALL:  And who are you addressing that to?  All –

Q:  The panel at large.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  All right, and then we have a question in the – towards the rear, please.  Yes, sir.  If you could identify yourself.

Q:  OK.  Thank you for taking my question.  I have two questions, Mr. Pickering and also Mr. Mousavian.  And my question is how do you assess about the recent nuclear test of DPRK?  And do you think there is a difference about a U.S. approach between Iranian program and DPRK program?  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  All right, so first question.  Gentlemen, want to take a shot?  Ali?

MR. NADER:  On – the sabotage and the cyberattacks are designed to slow down Iran’s program.  And we have to remember part of U.S. policy has also been to restrain an Israeli strike against Iran, so some of these policies that you see, including sanctions, are meant to also reassure our allies, and not just Israel but other countries in the region, especially the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia.

Now, we can argue whether those policies are productive or not.  In terms of our reassuring allies, perhaps you could argue they’re productive.  In terms of inducing Tehran to make concessions on their program, probably not.  I mean, just assassinating individual Iranian nuclear scientists to me doesn’t seem that productive.  But they were meant to slow down the Iranian program.  The cyberattacks against Natanz seemed to do so for a while, but then we’ve seen Iran’s program advance.  So I’m not sure actually how those attacks are productive in terms of getting Tehran to negotiate on the issue.

MR. PICKERING:  I would not disagree with Ali at all.  I think that particularly the assassinations disturb me.  That’s, I think, been made clear by Secretary Clinton.  She too condemns, and I think that that’s a clear indication of U.S. government intent – at least I hope it is – and U.S. government involvement.

My own view is that as the process of the developing Iranian program went ahead, slowing it down has been an objective for a long period of time, whether it involves Stuxnets or the interruption of external supply.  And that’s been a policy pursued with other countries.

On the DPRK, if I can come to that, for different reasons, I believe, different approaches to the use of military force have been taken.  Happily in neither case, in my view, has it resulted in the use of military force, although I think the U.S. deeply regrets that the North Koreans have advanced their program to the test stage.  I think it’s a serious mistake.

I’m not sure what we can do next.  The Chinese seem to be, at least to some significant extent, concerned because the North Koreans are being depended upon by China to provide a buffer of stability on their border while at the same time they are creating a zone of great instability on China’s border.  And at some point we would hope China would play a more forceful role, since they seem to have a great deal more influence – (chuckles) – than we do in that particular set of activities.  But one would hope as well that the example of a failure to support united action in North Korea would be also a lesson China would pick up with respect to dealing with Iran.

My view is that in both cases, we ought to seek at the negotiating table as long as it is possible and open to us answers to the particular questions involved.  But seemingly we can do that only with a more united support around the negotiating table to get in that direction.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  On North Korea, I have already frequently said Iranians, they believe a very clear double standard of the U.S. and the P5+1, because North Korea withdrew from NPT and tested nuclear bomb.  Iran is member of NPT and doesn’t have nuclear bomb, and there is no diversion, even.  But the level of sanctions on Iran is more than North Korea.  And this is double standard of the U.S. and the West of having strategic relations with countries like India, Pakistan while they are not member of NPT and they have nuclear bombs.  I agree with Alireza.  The issue is not nuclear.  The issue is Iran-U.S. hostilities, and the problem is exactly here.

But on covert actions, again, this is like sanctions.  Remember when they started covert actions in 2010, Stuxnet or assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist, within three years, Iran has established one of the most powerful cyberarmy in the world.  This is the gift of the U.S. and the Israelis to Iranian nation.  Now today they have most – if not most, they are between top five most powerful on the cyber issue.

This is the – this is the reaction of Iranians.  If they believe they can – with killing one or two nuclear scientists or Stuxnet, they can stop it, then the reaction is this.  As long as they cannot understand this Iranian mentality, they would continue their mistakes.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, I want to conclude our session, because we’re out of time, with one concluding question for all the panelists to try to wrap things up.

We’ve heard – I mean, this has been a very rich discussion.  I think we get a sense of how challenging the discussions are in – going to be in Almaty because there’s such a long history, there are so many different perspectives, there are so many grievances on both sides, and yet in there somewhere are some areas of agreement.  And it’s important for the diplomats to try to tease those out.  I think if you were listening carefully, you heard some key areas of agreement amongst our panelists, despite some of the different perspectives.  That doesn’t mean that a solution is possible, but it’s perhaps somewhere out there.

And what I wanted to ask each of you to try to answer briefly is whether you believe in 2013 there may be progress towards resolving the long-standing nuclear disputes and very briefly, if so, why you think there is a chance for progress.

So let me start with Ali, and we’ll come down this way to Tom.

MR. NADER:  I think there – yes, there may be some progress.  I wouldn’t necessarily bet money on it, because we can see the same thing in 2014 and 2015 and see this situation drag on.

The only reason I think that there may be some progress is because Tehran is feeling a lot of pressure economically through sanctions.  And yes, a nuclear program has advanced, but you have to take into account the tremendous damage sanctions are doing to Iran as a country but also, I think, the regime ultimately.  And the leadership in Tehran has faced increasing pressure and is going to face more pressure to be more flexible on the nuclear program.  So that, I think, is a cause for some hope, if you want to call it that.

And I think when it comes time to negotiations, I think the P5+1, of course, should be more flexible.  For example, some of the demands – closing down Fordow – initially might not be as flexible as perceived by Tehran because that gives it a lot of leverage.  So I think there is also room for P5+1 to maneuver, and hopefully, if Iran comes to the table with some confidence-inducing measures, then the P5+1 will reciprocate.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, thanks.


MR. MOUSAVIAN:  (Chuckles.)  I believe there would be definitely a breakthrough if the U.S. changes its original strategy toward Iranian nuclear issue and Iranian – global issues with Iran.

I disagree with Alireza said, as long as Islamic republic remains, there would be no solution to Iran-U.S. relations.  I believe within at least a decade we would have neither regime change in Washington nor in Tehran.  (Laughter.)  Therefore, forget this regime change issue.

We should try to find a solution realistically.  Everything is – it depends, I believe, to Iran-U.S. relations.  In parallel to U.S. – to P5+1 on nuclear talks with Iran, we need to work on Iran-U.S. relations.  We need to remove this – the mistrust between Iran and the U.S.

I believe the best way to create trust between Iran and the U.S. is to start from the issues of common interests.  For 33 years Iran and the U.S. – I mean more U.S. – is concentrated on the issues of disputes, like peace process or terrorism or nuclear.  There are a lot of fields and issues, like Afghanistan, like Iraq, like drug trafficking, which they have common position, common stance.  If today the U.S. is going to withdraw from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran can assist.  Stability of Afghanistan and Iraq is extremely critical to Washington and Tehran.  Washington and Tehran, they are supporting the same governments in Baghdad and in Kabul, while the U.S. allies in the region, they are working against both governments.

Therefore, why they cannot sit together to cooperate to create confidence?  Confidence through common-interest issues definitely would work more than confidence through these issues of disputes.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.


MR. PICKERING:  I, like Ali and Hossein, hope there will be – hope there will be a process that will lead somewhere.  Unlike Ali, I’d be willing to put a little money on a positive outcome – not a lot, but I’d be willing to put a little money on it.  (Laughter.)

I think that several issues stand in the way.  The U.S. is moving, and it’s coming very close to a point where Iran will have to think very carefully.  It’s coming close to a point where it is trying to put on the table what it is Iran keeps saying it really wants, and it’s not incompatible with U.S. objectives:  a civil nuclear program under full transparency without sanctions in a process that can go ahead with international support, monitoring and supervision.

To some extent, Hossein, what you consider to be the misbehavior of the United States has been matched by the elements of mistrust that the United States feels about Iran, however good or ill may be.  To some extent, in the end, it will not be possible to argue that the pressure tactics should prevent Iran from achieving what it says it wants, which is coming close to being put on the table.  And I think it’s within reach in a serious negotiation.  And a serious negotiation has to have more than one-day meetings, which seems to be some kind of de rigeur arrangement that nobody is willing to break yet.  But we need to find a way around that.

I agree with you a hundred percent on bilateral relationships.  But if, in fact, you’re going to have a kind of preliminary precondition from the supreme leader that somehow we have to find a way to wash our souls in public so they’re whiter than snow, I don’t know how we’re going to do it.  It is not, in my view, within the range of possibility if that’s a precondition.  A precondition will stand in the way of achieving what you say are your objectives.  And so it is important.

We have, I think, quite carefully eschewed preconditions for conversation, despite the fact that there is inordinate preoccupation with PMD, with Parchin and with other issues that still hang on out there.  And so we need to find a way through that hurdle because I couldn’t agree with you – you made a much better statement about the value and importance of bilateral negotiations than I did.  And I’m totally in agreement with you, and we need to think about how to find a way over the hurdles that now seem to have been popping up with respect to that particular question.

I suspect, like a lot of these things, at rock bottom, they’re domestic political concerns, and we have to understand that.  And I in my country and, I think, you in your country have to do our best to make people believe and understand that leadership is leadership, that when it comes to overcoming domestic political concerns, if the risk is worth taking, then we can’t rule by the polls; we have to encourage our leaders, on those few things that make a serious difference, to reach out and stake a position even if it does present some dangers.

We’re in a good position now because we in fact have four years to the next election.  You’re in a good position because you have an indeterminate time for supreme leadership to stay in power.  All of this, in my view, gives us an opportunity, and 2013 is a good year to pick up that opportunity.  And I hope that in fact, we can find ways to overcome what seem to be the drags on the process.  And I’m not saying they’re all on one side or the other side; they’re on both sides.

But the opportunity to discuss those in public and talk about ways in which we’re in agreement – and I agree with you on Afghanistan and Iraq.  And I wrote an article with friends three years ago saying we ought to find a way to try to begin to attack some of those questions in parallel, in conjunction or, indeed, in a different format if that’s necessary as a way to increase the possibility of building confidence between us.  And I think now 2013 is a good year to think about that as well.

But thank you, Daryl, for the opportunity.  And thank you and the Arms Control Association for everything you do to promote good sense and, I hope, rationality in what is sometimes a field where that is rare.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, thank you, Tom.  (Applause.)

And thank you all for a very rational, very interesting and rich conversation.  This is not going to be the last one that we have on this topic – (laughter) – for better or worse.  (Laughter.)  And there’s far more on the Arms Control Association website and in our new briefing book on the history of efforts on this subject, the options for the diplomats in Almaty.

We look forward to seeing you once again.  We are adjourned this afternoon.  Thanks for coming.  (Applause.)




After an eight-month hiatus, the resumption of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group on February 26 in Almaty, Kazakhstan offers a critical opportunity to move toward a diplomatic solution to the long-running standoff over Tehran's sensitive nuclear activities.

Country Resources:

TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: Iran 2013: Making Diplomacy Work



Arms Control Association and National Iranian American Council present

Iran 2013: Making Diplomacy Work
Featuring Zbigniew Brzezinski
and a panel discussion
Rolf Ekéus, Ahmad Sadri, and James Walsh

Monday, November 26
Time: 9am to 12pm
101 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C.

The coming year will present critical opportunities to resolve the decade-long Iranian nuclear standoff. With sanctions escalating, Iranian nuclear capabilities increasing, a soft war simmering and the threat of a full blown military conflict on the horizon, it has never been more vital that the United States and Iran find a diplomatic off ramp to prevent disaster.

With the conclusion of the U.S. presidential election behind us and a brief window before Iran enters its own election season, it is essential that the key parties renew stalled diplomatic efforts to  prevent war and prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. There are strong indications that a new round of P5+1 negotiations will commence before the end of this year.

Critical questions remain unanswered: how do the parties finally make diplomacy work? What does an agreement look like? And what is the best path the parties must take to get there?

You can see video coverage of the event here at CSPAN.

Transcripts Available:

Panel on Diplomacy and Iran's Nuclear Amitions: Former head of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq Rolf EkéusDr. Ahmad Sadri, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology and James P. Gorter Chair of Islamic World Studies at Lake Forest College, and Dr. James Walsh, Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program.

Keynote Speaker: Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

Panel on Diplomacy and Iran's Nuclear Amitions

TRITA PARSI:  Good morning.  If I can ask everyone to take their seats.  Welcome to the Arms Control Association and the National Iranian American Council’s conference titled “Iran 2013: Making Diplomacy Work.”  My name is Trita Parsi, I’m the president of the National Iranian-American Council, and welcome to all our viewers on C-SPAN as well.

It’s been almost exactly four years since President Obama so famously extended his hand of friendship in the hope that the Iranians would unclench their fists.  Yet today, after a few rounds of diplomacy, plenty of more sanctions and centrifuges, there are plenty of clenched fists on both sides and very little talk about friendship.  There’s been timid attempts at diplomacy, but political constraints on both sides have been difficult to bend, and old habits of enmity difficult to break.  Obama’s window for diplomacy in 2009 was quickly closed by the human rights abuses in Iran following the fraudulent elections there, and as well as a growing pressure from Congress as well as some U.S. allies in the region against diplomacy.  Focus shifted to sanctions and Tehran responded by further expanding its nuclear program, leaving both sides worse off today than they were a few years ago.

In the meantime, sanctions have helped (disintegrate ?) the Iranian middle class and further impoverish the population while the regime’s repression and human rights abuses have continued to intensify and its nuclear program has continued to expand.  But a new window for – opportunity for diplomacy has opened through Obama’s convincing re-election, and in the next few months, up until the Iranian new year, both sides enjoy maximum political space and maneuverability to negotiate effectively.  The logic of diplomacy is obvious.  It’s the only option that can truly resolve this issue.  Sanctions can cripple Iran’s economy at the expense of decimating the pro-democracy movement there, but sanctions alone cannot resolve this issue.

The military option can set back the program for a year or two, but only at the expense of insuring that a vengeful Iran eventually gets the nuclear weapon.  Only diplomacy can provide a real and sustainable solution.  This is no mystery to President Obama, who, at his November 14th press conference, declared his dedication to a diplomatic solution.  I quote him, “there should be a way in which, they, the Iranians, can enjoy peaceful nuclear power while still meeting their international obligations and providing clear assurances to the international community that they’re not pursuing a nuclear weapon.  And so, yes, I will try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open up a dialogue with – between Iran and not just the United States, but the international community to see if we can get this thing resolved,” end quote.

Diplomacy is the obvious option, but it’s not obvious how diplomacy can succeed.  Today, we have some of the foremost experts on this issue with us to help cast light on this question and help find a way to make diplomacy succeed in 2013.  And later, after the panel discussion, we will hear from former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, whose lucid analysis never fails to impress or enlighten.  Before I hand it over to Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, let me also thank our sponsors, whose generous support for our work has made this conference possible.  They are the Ploughshares Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Daryl, the floor is yours.

DARYL G. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Trita, and thank the National Iranian American Council for working with the Arms Control Association on this event.  I’m Daryl Kimball; I’m the executive director of ACA.  It’s a pleasure to be here, and as Trita said, this issue has been lingering with us for some time, even before President Obama came into office.  The United States, China, France, Germany, Russia – known as the P5+1 – and the United Kingdom – have tried to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program.  Both sides have fumbled the fleeting opportunities to reduce the risk of a nuclear-armed Iran, and to prevent the risk of war – to reduce the risk of war over that nuclear program.

Since 2007, U.S. and Western intelligence agencies have assessed that Iran is nuclear-capable, meaning that Iran has a scientific, technical and industrial capacity, eventually, to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so, and those intelligence agencies continue, to this day, to assess that Iran has not yet made a decision to do so.  The intelligence agencies and independent experts also believe that, starting from today, Iran would require several months to acquire enough fissile material for just one bomb and still more time to build a deliverable nuclear weapon.  Secretary of Defense Panetta recently estimated that it would take two to three years to do so, and the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report, based on its ongoing inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities – particularly the Fordow and the Natanz enrichment facilities – find that Iran continues to expand its enrichment capacity – uranium enrichment capacity; it’s enriching more uranium, including to 20 percent levels, which is closer to the 90 percent for weapons-grade, and Iran continues to refuse to address the IAEA’s questions about the potential military dimensions of its nuclear program, and it continues to resist tougher international inspections known as the IAEA Additional Protocol.

So we believe that there is time, and clearly there is an interest from all parties to reach a diplomatic solution, and after several rounds of negotiations between the P5+1 group and Iran, it looks as though there will be a new round of talks in the next month or perhaps early in 2011.  It’s also clear that the two sides have put forward specific, concrete proposals, but those proposals have some different ideas, particularly about the sequencing of the steps necessary to assure the international community that Iran’s program is peaceful and to, from the Iranian perspective, start to roll back the very tough national and international sanctions that are in place.

So we’ve organized today’s session just about a month after the U.S. presidential election to focus – have a focused discussion on the options now for the P5+1 group and Iran in this next round of talks, which could provide the best opportunity in a long time to resolve this long-running impasse to guard against a nuclear-armed Iran, a potential military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities over its program, or both.  So we’re very honored today to have three of the world’s top experts on these issues – on nuclear non-proliferation and the Middle East region; we have with us, to my immediate left, the former head of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq, Ambassador Rolf Ekéus, who is here with us from Sweden.  We have Dr. Ahmad Sadri, who is professor of sociology and anthropology and the James P. Gorter chair of Islamic world studies at Lake Forest College, and we have Dr. Jim Walsh, research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and security studies program.

And we’ve asked each of them to take about five to seven minutes to provide their perspectives on three basic questions.  With the new window of opportunity open for diplomacy, what are the next steps that each side can and should take to resolve the proliferation concerns and reduce the risk of war?  How might each side adjust their respective proposals to get to a win-win situation for both sides, and what are the best – what’s the best path for both parties to take to get there?  Could, for instance, additional direct U.S.-Iran talks help advance progress?  And so, we’re going to hear from each of them for about five to seven minutes; afterwards, we’re going to be taking questions from reporters first, and then from our audience on the three-by-five cards in your folder.  So as questions occurs to you, you might jot those down and someone will take the cards and pass them forward in just a few minutes.

So with that introduction, welcome, everyone, and Ambassador Ekéus, if you could start us off, to give us your perspectives on those key questions for the next phase.

ROLF EKÉUS:  Yeah, thank you.  I must say that if we don’t do much, we continue – and there is a high risk that landscape would look the same, you know, if – quite – while Iran will continue, of course, its enrichment, acquire reactor fuel.  It may improve its capabilities, even (order ?) the robust capability to go up to 20 percent – Israel and U.S. will build their case for a military action.  Low-level violence will continue against – you know, against Iran in various forms, and Iran and Israel will plan to escalate, prepare an attack on the reactors considering the – you know, potential success of the Syria – operation against the facility in Syria, and this will all remove Iran’s constraints to acquire nuclear weapons.

So we are in really concern situation, and let me add – the people of Iran will continue to suffer under very tough sanctions.  So there are two things which must change: diplomacy and the inspections.  First diplomacy – you asked if it was 5 plus one has served, I think, the purpose of a united front.  5 plus 1 – United Nations Security Council-related global responsibility there.  Europeans like to prefer 3 plus 3, which means that the European Union is a major player.  I’m a little nervous about that, but if you are in Europe, you had better to say 3 plus 3, otherwise you will not be served dinner.  (Laughter.)

But I think it is – 5 plus one, of course – it is important to keep on, but I think U.S. shall not do as it has done – hide inside this group.  U.S. has now time to take a responsibility and to change – to start with its relations with Iran.  Isn’t it time now to – so they gave up on the occupation of the U.S. embassy in connection with the Islamic Revolution, 1979.  And should it also – the Iranians tried to forget the shooting down in the Gulf of Iranian airliner, and we have – I think Americans will remember, Iran was not part of 9/11.

It is very difficult to me – what’s a problem to being a diplomatic relations with Iran?  There was no problem for the U.S. to have – I think, Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower had relations with Stalin.  My God, Stalin is something much worse, but these leaders are – there is a sort of nervousness to be in touch with something which is not totally wonderful, and I – what I think is interesting, though, that U.S. and Iran must recognize that they have serious common interests in the region.  It is, first of all, the Afghanistan – 2014, the NATO military presence will be terminated, and something must replace that, and there is a special situation, I must say, where the U.S. and Iran – a common interest that the Talibans – that al-Qaida – and they’ll take over that country, and I think there is a very, very important possibility.  Iraq, the same thing – where is Iraq going?  It’s – I think it is high time that U.S. and Iran start a dialogue on these two strategically important issues – totally neglected; I’m a little upset about that.

Of course, what U.S. must swallow is, it has to eliminate all talking about regime change in Iran.  It is up to the Iranian people – the reformists, the people who like to change the society.  It’s not United States which should make a regime change, and, of course, therefore, I think, to establish diplomatic relations, send an – why run the dialogue with Iran via Switzerland or – I mean, wonderful diplomat, wonderful people, but still – (laughter) – you have to have – why not take on – have the courage to talk to the other guy and try to establish a relations?  And do not send information through newspapers or Brussels or other places.  It is – U.S. should establish its own direct dialogue.  So that’s one thing.

And the other – the inspections – and I think they’re – it is almost too simple to be true.  I mean, one should recognize Iran’s right to enrichment technology, but one should also start the gradual process of lifting the sanctions – economic and other.  Of course, this wouldn’t be for free.  That must be an intrusive, permanent monitoring system, including an early warning system, inside Iran’s nuclear establishment.  This – I will talk later about how it shall be done, because we have examples.  This, of course, would also to prevent a breakout program or evidence would immediately give signals to the  international community and be the cause – a breakout program should meet with tough – with tough sanctions.  So – well, I think I’ll stop here.  I come back to – (inaudible).

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.  Ambassador Sadri – (laughs) – Professor Sadri –

JIM WALSH:  Just been promoted.

MR. KIMBALL:  You’ve been promoted.

AHMAD SADRI:  I accept the promotion.  (Laughter.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Your perspectives on the next steps in the next round?

MR. SADRI:  What a wonderful basis to start with.  Indeed, 34 years hiatus in Iran-U.S. relations, subsuming the last 10 years of nuclear negotiations, provides a ground for pessimism.  So people will say, well, no time is a good time to start negotiating with Iran.  A perfect time will never come, and I think right now is the right time, right after the American elections and right before the Iranian elections start.  Do you remember back in 2008, when we were in the same point in the same, except right now, on the ground, the situation is much worse.  There is more fissile material, there is more ill will and there is less of an optimism.

So I would say this is the perfect time to start the negotiations.  In 2008, the Obama administration didn’t go for it, calculating rationally that probably a settlement of the issue at the time would benefit President Ahmadinejad and help him in his bid for a second round.  Well, we all know what happened; that election didn’t work, there was unrest in the streets, and the turmoil completely consumed the rest of the – that year, and so basically, I think, this is as good as any time to start the negotiations.  So what is the starting – what is stopping us from doing this?  Of course, there is a synergy of inaction on both sides, and there is vested political interests to generate a kind of in-group solidarity from the image of a demonized other on the other side, but there is only one way to break this logjam, and that is boldly.

I think the two sides should come at this block of marble and see this statue inside the block, apply two things – apply pressure, force, but also perspective to bring out a new compromise out of this situation, and there are risks and there are rewards in this; any politician who openly says, I’m going to make peace with the other side and resolve this issue would be pilloried for suggesting it and probably hanged if they didn’t succeed, but there are also great rewards, because we all know the politician, to cut this 10-year-old Gordian knot, will have a place in history.

So what is keeping the supreme leader of Iran, Khamenei, from coming forward?  I had an occasion, 27 years ago – maybe I’ll talk about it later in question-answer – to – that persuaded me that Ayatollah Khamenei has a very conspiratorial, if not paranoid mind about Americans.  To say that he is weary of American (wires ?) and negotiators is really to understate the problem.  But of course, we all know that just because you’re paranoid that the crocodile might be hiding under your bed doesn’t mean that there is no crocodile under your bed.  (Laughter.)  In order to get an insight of how Iranians are looking at this, there’s a new book by the Iranian chief negotiator that’s on Amazon.  It’s called “The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir,” by Hossein Mousavian, and it gives you a very good insight of how Iranians are looking at this.

There is a scene in this book where Mousavian walks in and there is a new delegation, and they are saying, well, let’s start the negotiations and our proposals; one of the items is, while the negotiations are going on, please don’t enrich uranium.  So Mousavian asks, well, how long do you think it’s going to go on?  They say, well, about 10 years.  (Laughter.)  So I mean, Americans – some suspect Iranians of running the clock; that is running the clock.  And when he goes to the Khamenei and says, well, this is what they say, Khamenei says, I told you so.  And I’m absolutely sure he had.  So this is like – there is this paranoia and distrust on this side that is kind of – if there is no relationship, of course these kinds of negative feelings are reinforced.

Now, how do we break out of this?  Well, as the ambassador has already said, it is very easy to imagine.  It’s kind of unbelievable that people have not resolved this.  Well, of course Iran’s international rights should be recognized under the articles of NPT.  And also a very good warning system and intrusive inspections should be established in Iran to prevent Iran from weaponizing.  A no-brainer; why isn’t it working?  It’s because of the mistrust on both sides.

And so there has been this trope of confidence-building measures; people have to come up with these confidence-building measures.  Iran – it’s, again, easy to imagine what that would be.  You know, stop the enriching at 3.5 (percent) or 5 percent and put all the 20 percent enriched material under IAEA very direct and very good monitoring systems.

What can Americans do to build confidence?  I think that’s a good question to ask as well.  What can Americans do?  And the beauty of it is that Americans don’t need to do anything within these negotiations.  In my view, the thing to do for the president of the United States is to revive the discourse of nuclear disarmament, the clarion call from Prague that he’s – he started his presidency with.  It’s bold; it is universal; it is very attractive.  And I believe he got the Nobel Peace Prize for broaching that issue.  He may not have earned it yet.  And this is a perfect opportunity for President Obama to revive that discourse.  And if he does, of course, I would venture to guess that the globe would be a better place to live, and I think everybody would be safer if there is – there are less nuclear weapons in the world.

But this also, curiously, would act as a catalyst in this particular Iran-United States relations, because if the nuclear powers in the world are not coming to non-nuclear powers and saying, do as we say, and not as we did and continue to do – if the nuclear powers say, we are going to take a step back, and you don’t develop – this puts a spine in the nonproliferation discourse.  And it puts – it will put logical legs on it.  And it would be much more effective, and I would venture to say that would be a good confidence-building measure that would not be, actually, even confidence building within this particular framework.  It would operate in a lot – much larger level and would be the catalyst to bring Iranians and Americans maybe in a one-plus-one setting – and I hope it happens – and hopefully help resolve this issue.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

Jim Walsh, your perspectives on what the two sides can do in this next phase.

MR. WALSH:  Well, first I want to thank NIAC and the Arms Control Association for putting together this terrific event and allowing me to be on this panel with my distinguished colleagues.  I don’t know that I’m going to say something that’s entirely different than what’s been said so far; I’ll try to make it spicy, though.

Let’s begin with context.  You know, it is déjà vu all over again.  We’ve been here before, where we thought that there would be opportunities to advance a resolution of this problem, and then one side or another – and believe me, it’s been both sides, off and on, over time – have failed to follow through.  Most recently was in the fall of 2009, when there looked like there might be a small deal around the 20 percent, and Iran just never came back to the table.  They had their own internal political problems.  And so you can only have a negotiation if two – if there are two sides to negotiate with, and they went away.  Similarly, the U.S., some years ago and for some time, missed several opportunities.

So here we are, and we have to ask ourselves the question – we’ve got a good opportunity now, but what do we have to do that’s different?  Since we’ve tried before and failed, what are we going to do that’s different than last time?  Now, let me remind you, we have had success.  In 2003 there was an agreement that suspended Iran’s enrichment program for two years.  People forget that.  Now – so success is possible.  But you’re not going to have success if you continue to simply repeat the things you did before that didn’t work.  So I think we have to think about this differently.

I – my sense – I’ve read both an Iranian proposal that was circulated in September around the time of President Ahmadinejad’s visit, and I’ve spoken to U.S. policymakers about this.  You know, to echo the comments of my colleagues, there is a real lack of trust on both sides.  There are those in the Iranian government who think the U.S. is simply about regime change.  And the evidence they see is they see scientists being assassinated; they see sabotage against the nuclear plants; they see covert operations of one kind or another and the sanctions.  And to all of – when you’re sitting in Tehran, that looks a lot like pressure towards regime change, if you’re inclined to think that.  And the U.S. – there are people in the U.S. who think, despite Iran having stopped its program in 2003, that Iran is determined to get the bomb no matter what.  They believe it in their heart to be true.

And so these talks are simply, again, a smokescreen.  And so it’s hard to have a real negotiation when one side thinks the other side’s determined to cheat, and the other side thinks they’re trying to knock them out of – (chuckles) – well, you know, knock them out of office and depose them.  So I think we have to grapple with this issue of, is the other side serious or not?  How do we demonstrate to the other side – and I mean this for both sides – that they are serious?

Now, as I understand the current set of proposals from both sides, both want to get a deal around the issue of 20 percent enrichment, right?  I won’t go into a lot of details about that.  But they want to play small ball, get something and then push the can down the road.  I think that’s a mistake.  I think that is a mistake.  First of all, you’re shrinking the negotiation space.  If all you’re going to talk about is 20 percent, then you can’t talk about other – and you run into disagreements, there’s no other sort of set of topics you can begin to trade against to expand and sort of get an agreement.  So –

MR. KIMBALL:  Jim, could I just –

MR. WALSH:  Sure.

MR. KIMBALL:  Could you elaborate on why the 20 percent is of interest?  I mean, what is technically significant about that?

MR. WALSH:  Sure, yeah.  So let me say, you know, four years ago there was no 20 percent issue.  There was no 20 percent.  So this is – what has now risen to the top of the agenda ironically is something that was originally started out – (chuckles) – as a confidence-building measure.  So what happens?  You enrich to 3 (percent) – you enrich uranium 3 (percent) to 5 percent.  You can’t make a nuclear weapon with 3 (percent) to 5 percent enriched uranium; you need about 90 percent enriched uranium.  And 3 (percent) to 5 percent is what is used for power reactors like Bushehr.

Well, there are some reactors – research reactors that produce medical isotopes and other things that require 20 percent enriched uranium.  And when you enrich to 20 percent, yes, you’re going towards 90 (percent), but it’s – you’re not part of the way; you’ve gone a – substantially far down the path towards 90 percent, because the hard part is when you first start enriching.  And the more you enrich, the easier it becomes to get to higher and higher levels.

So 20 percent is what has the nonproliferation community freaked out.  They don’t like the fact that Iran is enriching to 20 percent, and they certainly don’t like the fact that Iran is accumulating quantities of 20 percent that might be quickly enriched to 90 percent.  Interestingly, if you look at the last several IAEA reports – let’s say the last three; they’re issued every three months – Iran had started enriching at 20 percent but has imposed self-restraint on it.  They know that the West and others are freaked out about the 20 percent, and so they’ve produced some.  But the more they’ve produced, they’ve found other ways to deal with it so that the total level has not increased in a way that would alarm the other side.  So the Iranians are aware of this as well.

When Ahmadinejad was in – and of course, he’s not the real – he’s not the person who calls the shots.  He’s on the outside, if anything, right now.  At a minimum he’s a lame duck; it’s all about the supreme leader.  But he’s still part of the government.  And when he was in New York in September, I asked him, you know, I know you’re a lame duck – I didn’t put it that way – (laughter) – but do you think we might get something done here?  And he said – he – his response was around 20 percent issue.

So the Iranians want to do it – something, and the Americans and the P-5 plus one want something.  But I’m afraid they’re so narrowly focused, they’ll get caught up in their old mistakes.  And this won’t be the sort of thing that overcomes the deep mistrust that both sides have.  I don’t think we can continue to kick the ball – kick the can down the road because there’s a risk of war.  There’s a risk the Israelis will strike.  There’s a risk of accidental war in the Persian Gulf between the navies.  If – the longer we extend this, the greater the opportunity that someone’s going to mess up and shots are going to be fired.

So as it relates to the specifics here going forward – I’m going as fast as I can to wrap up in my six minutes – I think there are issues of substance and process.  Process:  We can’t have one meeting, you know, every six months and – in front of television cameras, and no – my apologies to you, C-SPAN – and expect that there’s going to be a deal here.  You know, you look at Yugoslavia – the negotiations on Yugoslavia – any real negotiation, you got to meet all the time, bang bang bang, every week, all the time.  And you have to meet behind closed doors.  Eventually the cameras get tired, they stop coming to the meetings, and then you can get something done.  As a process matter, we can’t have sort of just speeches that are for show.  There has to be serious negotiation on a constant basis.

Content-wide, both sides have presented proposals where they are asking a lot and offering very little.  And I’ve – you know, I’ve seen both sides.  And this is classic; everyone does this.  But in this particular circumstance in which neither side trusts one another, they take that proposal as evidence – aha!  The other side isn’t serious.  So I think both sides need to change those proposals.

For the Iranians – the Iranians are saying, well, once we get rid of the 20 percent issue and we get Parchin a clean bill of health, we’re done, and all the sanctions should be gone.  Well, that’s not going to happen, right, because we had sanctions in negotiations in – starting in 2003, and concerns prior to that, that have nothing to do with 20 percent.  You know, Iran has to adopt the additional protocol.  It has to follow through on its current safeguards arrangements and do so in a way that’s forward-leaning rather than reluctant.  That’s not happening.  So the core issues are not going to go away even if we solve 20 percent, and the Iranians need to recognize that.

The P-5 plus one – they have to get in the game too.  Again, they’ve – they’re playing small ball.  The things they’re offering Iran are very limited, very small.  And in fact, some of them are outdated.  You know, we’ve been at this so long, offering spare parts for planes really doesn’t cut it anymore.

So I’ll stop there.  I can expand later.  But the process has to change, we have to get serious and meet constantly, and the content of the proposals – something has to be introduced that gives them space for an agreement and that can demonstrate to the other side that, despite the doubts in their heart, something can get done and progress can be made.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, well, thank you all for your very rich comments.  We’re going to drill down a little bit more now with the help of some questions from the audience.  You might want to pass your 3-by-5 cards with your questions off to the side.

And just to get going, let me – let me just ask Ambassador Ekéus a little bit more about your personal experience and what you learned from the Iraq experience and what that tells us about what could be done, what should be done and what might not be done in the case of Iran.  I mean, what could we be doing here to give – and you talked about this a little bit – Iran a face-saving off ramp and to give – to avoid creating artificial deadlines that trigger some sort of conflict?  Ekéus.

MR. EKÉUS:  Well, and Iraq was a special case, of course.  But it was not an IAEA inspection, to start with.  It was the Security Council which established a subsidiary organ, which was UNSCOM.  And in addition to UNSCOM, it was a IAEA-affiliated action team which was tasked to focus especially on the nuclear dimension, especially on declared capabilities of Iraq.  Iraq had been praised by the IAEA, of course, as you recall, as a wonderful contributor to a perfect safeguard and so on.  They turned out that they had been cheated very effective – cheating very effectively all the time.  So that’s why one had to create another arrangement.

But it was very – done in that way that it contained a very important element, the U.N. dimension, respect for the territorial integrity and independence of Iraq.  So that meant that the action team could not go to nondeclared facilities.  Only declared facilities could be inspected.  But that one – then the Security Council farmed out that right to, I would say, break the idea of integrity to the UNSCOM.  So the UNSCOM was charged with identifying nondeclared facilities and activities.  And then it worked in a very good cooperation.  Of course, then it was obviously chemical, biological – (inaudible).

But the beauty of this was that by – it worked the – it’s – tough sanction system was in place.  We have to have this – that also.  But immediately when the inspection started, the sanction system was gradually released.  So this was – this was a functioning system.  Good behavior led also to easing of sanctions.  Bad behavior, which happened, of course, quite frequently – some blockages and refusals – was met by – met by some tough language from the Security Council, not from individual governments, Israel or anyone.  It was the Security Council, under the charter of United Nations, that put that pressure.

So of course we know that this system worked extremely well.  It was a hundred percent performance, as a matter of fact.  It’s not bad for any U.N. organization to get the task.  And then I think it’s probably the only one which succeeded to make a hundred percent performance.  So the – that means that both destruction of capability is prohibited and the monitoring of capabilities were forcefully – (inaudible).

So everything looked shiny and fine until the U.S. government – it was in spring ’97, through Madeleine Albright – made a statement at Georgetown University to say, well, it looks like, you know, sanctions are – that the disarmament going well; and if it goes well, we can still not lift the sanctions – which was a condition under Security Council, sanctions and – so we can’t lift the sanctions until Saddam Hussein is removed.  So that came my obsession with the regime change.  That of course destroyed, in a sense, the institution and operations.

So I think that is experience – (inaudible) – Kofi Annan to lead a little group to see if one could re-establish something similar.  And this report, unfortunately, has not been very much observed.  But I think there we have ideas for – I – because that will give real intrusive inspections.  It will give the right to the international community to go where there is concern, not where Iran is declaring.  And – but the pay for that is lift sanctions.  And certainly a gradual lift – you don’t need to do it in one spell.  But ease it up in the cooperative work, and then we can have a, so to say, positive outcome.  And I also say, let regime change – let the Iranian people take care of it.  It’s not for the outside to do the regime change.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

Well, we’ll take a question or two from the reporters in the front row, and then we’ll go to the questions from the audience.  If you could just identify yourself and direct your question to a particular person.

Q:  Sure.  Barbara Slavin from the Atlantic Council and Al-Monitor.com.  Jim, I want to get you to talk a little bit more about what would not be small-ball, because the conventional wisdom has been that if you can resolve the 20 percent issue, that calms the Israelis down.  They’re most worried about 20 percent, and they’re most worried about Fordow.  So why is that not a good area to begin in return for some sanctions relief, that the Iranians would get something better than what’s been put on the table so far?  Thanks.

MR. WALSH:  Yeah, it’s a great question, and it’s absolutely right; that is where the conventional wisdom is.  And I agree with the conventional wisdom.  Twenty percent is the most urgent near-term priority from a nonproliferation standpoint; no doubt about it.  And you’re right to say that it’s part of the whole red-line talk – shifting and vague red-line talk of the Israelis, that they’re focused on Fordow.

But since you raised Fordow, the U.S. position, as I understand it, going into the talks is they want Fordow disabled – not simply frozen or not operating but disabled.  I think that’s going to be a tough pill for the Iranians to accept up front, right?  And if you read the Iranian foreign policy statements on this coming out of the government, they say, yeah, I – we know you want – we know you want us to close Fordow.  But we’re not saying it’s a commercial facility; we built it because you’ve been threatening to attack us.  (Chuckles.)  You know, and we have.  So they do have a point there.

So can they be persuaded to disable Fordow in a way that just leaves Natanz an open target for bombing?  Will they feel comfortable doing that?  Maybe they will, but I doubt it.  I doubt it.  So the question is do you go into a negotiation and lead with a poisoned pill that the other side can’t accept, and then you end up nowhere, or you end up worse than you were before because now everyone’s even more embittered and more suspicious about your intentions?

So, I do think something can be done in Fordow.  I think the Iranians are willing to talk about it.  They realize it’s the thing that we’re most concerned about.  And I think that we can do – let us remind ourselves that it is under IAEA inspection and the 20 percent is also under IAEA inspection, the 20 percent they produced.

But I think there’s more that the Iranians can do to assure the West and Israel, and maybe that’s a freeze, not disablement.  Maybe it’s only 3 (percent) to 5 percent, not 20 percent.  There are – there are ways to massage this.  But one of the things that makes it easier to get a deal, I think – and I defer to the diplomats and the professionals in this – but if we’re only talking Fordow and not a single other issue, not Iraq and not Afghanistan, and not the Persian Gulf or their dangers of inadvertent war, then how do you – when you hit an impasse, what do you trade off on?  Now if you hit an impasse and you’re talking about Fordow and a couple of other issues, you can say, OK, fine.  I’ll give in on this if you give in on that, or you can begin to put a package together where people can find common ground and where they feel like they’re getting something out of it that they can take back and sell to their own people.  Some folks think diplomacy is about you go in and you get everything you want and the other side gets nothing.  There’s no such diplomacy.  You know, you may not like Iran, Iran has lots of problems, but this is not about Iran.  This is about achieving our diplomatic objectives and making sure they don’t become a nuclear weapon state and they abide by their other obligations.  So whether you like Iran or not, doesn’t really matter.  The question is, can you find a deal that works.

So that’s why I think – there’s not going to be any grand bargain here, right?  People aren’t in the mood for a grand bargain.  But I don’t think we should go for the smallest possible bargain either, that there’s something in between.  And part of that, again, is doing something that demonstrates seriousness, that is something that the other side isn’t even expecting, as a way to break this psychological impasse as well as the diplomatic impasse.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, well, let’s switch over to a couple of questions that have come in here about the –

MR. SADRI:  Can I ask a question?

MR. KIMBALL:  Of course.  Go ahead.

MR. SADRI:  How would you go about selling that to the Congress?  Given the hard position that Congress is taking regarding U.S.-Iran relations, how does the legislative accept such a step and such a proposal?

MR. WALSH:  Dude, you’re not supposed to ask questions.  (Laughter.)

Well, first of all, I think a lot of this falls more within the executive than Congress.  I really don’t know what bill Congress could – would be required to pass in order for there to be an agreement on Fordow.  So you know, obviously whoever negotiates with Iran is going to take some lumps, just like the Iranians – remember, they have a presidential election coming up.  And if there’s a deal cut and it’s associated with someone who might be running for president, you better believe that their opponents are going to attack it and try to undermine them.  You’ve seen that before.  But I think the president has enough discretion – and this is an executive issue.  It’s also a United Nations issue and a P-5 plus one.  So I think if the president of the United States comes and says, look, we have the leaders of France and Britain and China and Russia and the – (inaudible) – of the U.N. and we’re trying to prevent nuclear weapons, you know, you should probably not mettle in this, that that’s a winnable argument, I think particularly for an Obama that’s coming out of this with – you know, out of a strong election.  No one liked Gadhafi, no one liked Libya, but we got a deal on Libya.  No one liked the Soviets.  We got a deal with the Soviets.  So I think it’s doable.

MR. KIMBALL:  And I think – to partially answer the same question, I think one of the issues for many in Congress is going to be whether this negotiation, quote, unquote, allows Iran to continue enriching at the 3.5 percent level or not.  The historical position of the United States going back to the early 2000s has been that there should be a suspension of all enrichment as a confidence-building measure.  But from what you’re saying, Jim, we’re well past that point, and Iran has a lot of (truth ?) on the ground in terms of additional centrifuges, and they want their so-called right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to be recognized.  The question is, at what level do they continue?

MR. WALSH:  I think there’s also – I agree with that, and I don’t want to go on here.  I think there’s a debate about whether countries have a right to enrich.  They certainly have a right to peaceful activities, and so then there’s some ambiguity about that.  People disagree.

But I think that, you know, both Iranians have said – offered this as a principle.  And I think it’s important to have principles that allow the negotiation to proceed.  One is, Iran should enrich as much as they need.  You know, what Iranian could disagree with enriching as much as you need?  But what that really means is not very much enrichment, because they only have one nuclear power plant this year.  The Russians are supplying fuel for that.  We’re willing to supply fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.  So one of the problems here is I think that Iran’s nuclear program is outsized to its needs.  It has way more centrifuges and way more capacity than it can actually use on the ground.  And so I think if we have a principle of an appropriately sized program, then that helps us get part of the way there.


By the way, we have a couple of questions from the audience about the internal Iranian and the regional politics.  So Professor Sadri and Ambassador Ekéus, maybe you guys can handle these.

One question is, with the Iranian presidential election coming up in June, how is that going to affect Iran’s negotiating strategy in the next several months?  Who is calling the shots in Iran during this period?  And related to this is, you know, as we all know, there is a war – a civil war happening in Syria.  Iran is a close ally of the Assad regime.  How is that affecting Iran’s security calculations?  Are they going to want to insert some of those issues into the P-5 plus one dialogue?  I mean, how would you answer those questions?

MR. SADRI:  Well, of course the Middle East has changed.  It has a couple of great flip-flops, Arab Spring, the Syria war and now this confrontation between Israel and Hamas that somehow kind of brought us back to the Middle East that we used to know, the Arabs and Israelis going at it and Egypt being a big player there.  But right before that, Iran saw its fortunes decline, its popularity in the Arab street decline because of the Arab Spring.  And then the Syrian situation introduced a very, very important element, almost sectarian element, that eroded Iranian influence in the region, and the projection of Iranian power hit a brick wall with that.

So, all of this of course goes into the mix of what Iran is thinking, and this is one of the reasons this is a good time to start negotiating with Iran as its reach in the Middle East seems to be – not it used to be – it’s not a soft power super power, nor is it a hard power super power in the region because of the situation in Lebanon and in Syria.  I mean, Lebanon is really the coming disaster and Syria is a disaster that we’re dealing with right now.  So of course all of this – (inaudible).

And if I were an American, one of the American negotiators, I would say this is exactly the right time to go into this.  The presidential elections are coming and – but still, as always, it’s sort of – (inaudible) – calling the shots.  And we have to wait and see who he appoints as the point person for the upcoming negotiations – we hope that they’re upcoming.  If he chooses somebody who is of some stature rather than a regular bureaucrat, obviously that means that he’s more serious.  But if he sends back Mr. Jalili, probably he would not be serious.  So there are – we can read the tea leaves there.  And I think that, you know, the presidential election really is not that important.  What’s really important is Iran’s place in the Middle East in the equations.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

Ambassador Ekéus, what are your thoughts about the situation in Syria, how that affects Iran’s calculations?  Jim, jump in on this too if you wish.

MR. EKÉUS Well, it is clear that Iran expanding – I mean, we almost – Iran is now as expanded as it was during 5(00), 600 years ago when the Persian Empire was struggling with the Ottomans, and I think we have a little of that now.  Of course, Iran’s influence in Syria has grown.  It has – of course, it’s situation in Gaza was – (inaudible) – missiles to Hamas, but now Egypt is sort of jumping in – (inaudible) – Hezbollah is still, you know – (inaudible) – Lebanon is still a very strong Iranian presence.  Of course, in the Gulf especially, poor Bahrain is in a deep – (inaudible) – under tremendous pressure from Iran, but – and of course, Afghanistan, that’s a big prize coming up, where Iran can influence a play, maybe what’s a constructive role, but there it has to partner with the U.S.

So if I can say, the Persian influence is enormous.  It hasn’t been that big, but every – it’s very touchy everywhere, including in Iran itself – (inaudible) – reform forces.  We are not sure that the – (inaudible) – we have to recall that the revolutionary in the Islamic Revolution of ’79, these are mature, I guess, mostly men, but they are start to run into the pension age, and it is another generation there which is not at all of that sort to say style and direction.  You may correct me, but that’s my reading of the – (inaudible).

So Iran is huge now, large but shaky all over.  But it has an influence – Iraq, I mean, of course, as I mentioned also.  But that’s why it’s so important to – (inaudible) – I must congratulate Jim for his – for his diplomatic skill, because that’s exactly – (inaudible) – conclusion from that also.  That still – (inaudible) – because he talked about 5 plus one, everything should be done in the 5 plus one.  But a 5 plus one are not appropriate player if you deal with the future security in Iraq, if you deal with the situation, the reform in Afghanistan, to save Afghanistan into sort of say a country of decency and progress.  There is – only U.S. must step up and, as I said in my first statement, not hide inside (the fact ?).  It is nice to be modest and polite.  (Laughter.)  But the U.S. is – has a responsibility, which I think it should take on, and therefore I still insist that we have to look very closely to other – modifying the role set up of a dialogue with Iran.

MR. WALSH:  Very briefly, super briefly.  On Syria, what strikes me and is surprising is the Iranian talk that they want to talk to the U.S. about Syria, when I’ve seen several Iranian officials and Iranian pieces of paper where they say the U.S. should be out of the Middle East, it should do this, it should do that, oh, and we should be talking about Syria.  So I think that’s interesting and worth noting.

MR. EKÉUS:  And with – about Afghanistan – (inaudible).

MR. WALSH:  And about Afghanistan.  And I want to agree with both my colleagues but also point out that there’s a continuum here, and it’s a delicate walk.  You want your – the person you’re bargaining with to feel an incentive to bargain, right, which means they’re probably feeling a little ping or they’re worried about their situation so they want to get a deal to settle something up so they can deal with their other problems.  But you don’t want them to feel so threatened that what they do is they pull back, that they are – they feel – they say to themselves we are in too weak a position to negotiate.  You know, the world is surrounding us, and we’ll be taken advantage of if we negotiate from weakness.  So the problems in Syria and elsewhere are real, and I think the Arab Spring has undercut their ability to be a voice for the Arabs.  But it’s going to require some finesse in how you deal with that so that they don’t simply pull back and withdraw.

MR. KIMBALL:  Now, one of the questions from the floor about the role of Congress, that came up a little bit earlier, and the possibility of further sanctions, U.S. sanctions against Iran.  And across the street on Capitol Hill, there are some members who are suggesting that there should be further sanctions against Iran, including black listing the entire energy sector.  What do each of you think that – what effect might that have?  And in particular, how might that affect the international coalition that’s negotiating with the Iranians and also participating in the U.N. Security Council-imposed sanctions?  Because part of the success, I think, here over the last couple or three years is that there is – there does appear to be greater unity amongst the P-5 plus one, including the Russians and the Chinese, about the approach.  So how might that affect the dynamics here if Congress were to go forward with that in a lame duck session?

MR. EKÉUS:  I had the question – (inaudible) – International Herald Tribune in Europe also saw – and I hope it is wrong – but I saw they were moving the Congress, that one should also try to block, I will say, nongovernmental dialogue – you know, track one-and-a-half, track-two talks and that – I mean, it’s extremely destructive and harmful approach – catastrophe, I would say, if it is implemented.  But maybe he may – (inaudible).

MR. WALSH:  Well, I think – I think – and what you said earlier, Rolf, was so important, about the Iraq experience and Madeline Albright.  And so what’s the story you’re telling?  You’re telling the story of, we sanctioned a country, they start to do what we want them to do, and then someone announces, well, it really doesn’t matter what you do because we’re going to keep the sanctions regardless, and then the thing falls apart.  That’s the scenario I fear with the U.S.  We love sanctions.  You know, I work on North Korea, Iran; we love sanctions.  Sanctions are helpful, but they’re not the be all and end all.  We’re not going to squish Iran down until they cry uncle and then all our problems are going to go away.  Sanctions are an instrument that are part of a broader diplomatic and military and other approach that is in support of diplomacy.  But if we impose sanctions, as we did in 2003, and had previously, but in 2003 and subsequently, saying, we want you to stop your nuclear program, and then they start to take the steps we want them to take on their nuclear program, and then we say we’re going to keep sanctions, well, you know, that’s not going to work, and it will be a step backwards.  So I understand the politics of sanctions – you know, toughness, toughness, toughness.  But as the U.S. government, the executive, is correctly – I think correctly perceived, what Iran is looking for is a test of our seriousness, as we look for a test of their seriousness, is are we – are we going to follow through on our – on our promises to give sanctions relief?  And if we don’t, I don’t think we’re going anywhere.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

Now we have a couple questions that go back to this issue of a deal on stopping enrichment of 20 percent, and so one question is, from the panelists’ perspective, why would it be necessary to ask the Iranians to shut down the Fordow facility – that’s the second underground enrichment facility that now has some 2,800 centrifuges – if Iran were to agree to stop all 20 percent enrichment and to ship out whatever 20 percent enrichment stockpile it has?

And the other – another question is – this person says deja vu all over again, this 20 percent proposal has come up before.  Why did it fail before?  Three years ago the Obama administration – you mentioned this, Jim – suggested a swap of the TRR, the Tehran Research Reactor fuel, in exchange for stopping enrichment.  So why didn’t that work?  So perspectives from the panelists on is it necessary to shut down Fordo, and why didn’t the 20 percent fuel swap deal work before, and I guess why – how do we make it work this time?

MR. EKÉUS:  Turkey and Brazil had another proposal which I think was a very constructive proposal.  It has only one fault, and we come back to diplomacy:  its timing was disastrous because it came the day or day before when U.S. had lost – (inaudible) – China and Russia to endorse tough sanctions on Iran.  So I think in Washington, they – what are these guys doing?  They’re sabotaging our successful sanctions policy, and this terrible, you know, difficult – (inaudible) – we have, China, Russia are on board, and then they come maybe something which, you know, makes the whole thing to capsize.  So the – you know, the Turks and Brazil got, you know – (inaudible).

MR. KIMBALL:  So the timing wasn’t right before?

MR. EKÉUS:  (Inaudible) – I think it’s very interesting proposal.  It may be modified, but I think it had to do also with the – (inaudible) – low-enriched uranium.  I will come back to the – (inaudible).

MR. WALSH:  I think we have to be honest about this.  There’s no difference between a centrifuge that’s running in Fordow and a centrifuge that’s running in Natanz.  The only difference is, it’s easy to bomb Natanz and it’s much harder to bomb Fordow.  I mean, that’s the difference, right?  And so it’s technically not really different.  It’s politically different because this has been an issue for Israel, communicated to the United States, and it would be difficult for Israel to take out Fordo, and it’s buried under a couple hundred feet of granite or rock.  The U.S. could do it; it would be much more difficult for Israel to pull that off, and so they worry that Iran’s going to kick out the inspectors like North Korea kicked out the inspectors and make a dash for the bomb.  And that’s why they don’t want them either enriching at 20 percent, nor do they want them stockpiling 20 percent on the ground.

You know, if they ship everything out – which they said they don’t want to do, but I think that’s negotiable – if they ship everything out or they just stop producing 20 percent and all the centrifuges in Fordow are producing three to five, you know, that doesn’t really – that’s not a deal breaker for me, but it’s not where the U.S. government’s at, it’s not where Israel is at, so I think it’s – that’s why I think – I’m a little worried about the upcoming negotiations – unless the Iranians are willing to disable it – because we’re just going to deal with that, and already, just on that one issue – (laughs) – there seem to be significant disagreements, so that’s why I’m a little nervous.

MR. EKÉUS:  Can I – I would also echo the importance of the – (clears throat) – excuse me – taking every opportunity we get to come to an agreement.  We had the Turkey-Brazil deal that was broken because of this accident that just – it came, like, a couple of days too late; we had another occasion that Jim referred to when there was a proposal on the – on the table, and it looked like the Iranians took it, they take it back to Tehran – it is scuttled because of the internal politics in Iran.  It’s kind of a – very childish in a way; many politicians tend to be very childish in these situations where, you know, the – actually, mostly reformist – (laughter) – colleagues of Ahmadinejad said, how come, when we make a deal, you come out and you say you sold out this store – you made a deal, and now we are going to scuttle your efforts.

So actually, it didn’t work out for these kinds of childish and silly reasons, which doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try; it means that we should try again, because we have to try and see when we can get a deal through that is not scuttled by those accidents, and I think this is a good time, because we have been through a lot, the situation is getting very – getting very tough on the Iranians.  Also, the worries of the outside forces are heightened, so I think it’s really a good time right now to give it another chance with good faith and with confidence-building.  Another confidence-building measure, I think, would be an Iran-United States cooperation on the drug trade, which is – what they have in common is a lot of drugs produced in Afghanistan – Iran is the first line of defense, and Americans can completely forget about all the nuclear issues and say, on that issue of fighting drug trade, we are going to give Iran some equipment.  I mean, so that thing that’s kind of completely outside of this negotiation can work as a confidence-building measure.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you for those answers – and another question we have has to do with the IAEA’s ongoing investigation on Iran, which I understand is not technically a part of the P5+1 dialogue with Iran; it’s an issue between IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and the Iranians; this has been going on for some time.  There was news reports just in the last month that the IAEA and Iran were going to meet again in December – in mid-December to discuss what’s referred to as the structured approach for investigating past activities.  What – so the question here is, you know, how can Iran and the IAEA resolve those issues, especially when there are serious concerns about potential military dimensions?  How does Iran get out of that without further criticism, further sanctions, but at the same time, clean its file?  Your thoughts – and Ambassador Ekéus, I mean, this is – this is an issue that the U.N. has dealt with with other countries before.  I mean, what thoughts do you have about what the agency and Iran need to do in this next meeting to start to clear this up?

MR. EKÉUS:  Well, I – I mean, there are some – I have written on this, and also in some critical terms, but I’ve also been responded from IAEA side.  It’s not public, but they indicate that they have some competence.  I have questioned the competence of the military dimension.  I go with that, from, of course, my long experience in Iraq.  My judgment is that Iraq has – IAEA has not the competence to deal with a military sanction of the issue – that, of course, goes back to – (inaudible) – McGeorge Bundy’s proposal to the secretary, and I think one must – there are ideas floating around in Vienna that one should, sort of, say – see if one can build with the specific competence.  This is highly sensitive, because it’s a proliferation dimension.  How do you – (inaudible) – build the weapon?

And that is – but I think it’s very important that one – in the end, and that’s why I think that the Security Council should take responsibility because of the dangers, the threat to international peace and security involved in this, so something more similar to something associated and controlled on the Security Council to build competence there, but when I – I’m skeptical – and I don’t say it’s wrong, if he has competence, but as I say, I’m on the record questioning the competence of this group and this initiative.


MR. WALSH:  Let me jump in on it and come at it from a different angle in a way that is cynical and blunt, but practical, I hope.  You know, I accept the – although I have no evidentiary basis for this, I’m going to accept the head of U.S. intelligence – the DNI’s statements that Iran had a structured weapons program prior to 2003.  Right?  So they’re not – they’re not an angel in this regard.  I am willing to accept that they had a structured nuclear program that was halted in 2003, and then maybe some unstructured activities have continued since then.  Now, as a guy who spends all his time studying nuclear weapons programs, the key word in that phrase is “structured.”  If you’re serious about having a nuclear weapon, you have a structured program; you don’t have people going off doing stuff on their own.

So I think they had a weapons program; they shut it down.  I think part of what was happening was at Parchin, this gigantic military base that the IAEA visited, but because it’s so large, they went to this building and not that building and that sort of thing.  Then they get – IAEA gets some intel that says, well, we think the explosives work was being done in this building, and, you know, all this time, Iran’s being – Parchin’s being watched by satellites continuously, and there’s no activity there.  Nothing for five years, right?  And then – or – not five years, but some period of time – years.

So then, the IAEA says, well, we want to go to that building, and then suddenly, there’s a whole lot of activity.  You know, there’s cartons put up and shoveling and scalping of soil and all that sort of thing.  So I read this as – that was a facility involved in the bomb program, and they’re cleaning it up, and IAEA is not going to get on the ground until it’s cleaned up.  Now here’s the part where I’m practical and blunt – I don’t care.  Right?  This is part of a program from the past.  And I wish they didn’t have the program from the past, but I’m more worried about Iran’s nuclear status in the future than the past, and so, you know, if it’s dead, and all they’re doing is cleaning it up so there’s no evidence of what they did before, I – you know, it’s regretful and blah, blah, but I don’t care.  I would rather get a deal that prevents Iran from moving forward towards a nuclear weapon or moving forward so that we don’t have a military engagement that leads to a nuclear weapons decision by Iran.  So I think they’re – I think Parchin’s probably dirty.  They sure looks like it’s cleaning it up to me, and the IAEA is not going to get in until it’s cleaned up.  Now, I will say, though, that I am troubled by – you know, this is not your father’s IAEA, right?  ElBaradei, like him, don’t like – Amano’s a different guy, and I’m troubled by the nature of the relationship that the agency seems to have with Iran.

That said, you know, the history here is, every time you try to negotiate with Iran, you walk away angry and distrustful.  (Laughter.)  I mean, the Europeans did it in 2003, the agency’s going through it now, but that’s a relationship where there will also have to be a refurbishing of trust, or it’s going to be difficult down the line.  At the end of the day, it’s the big powers – if the U.S. and France and Russia, whatever, decide to get a deal, they’ll get a deal, but IAEA is an independent agency, and that relationship has to be addressed as well, I think.

MR. KIMBALL:  And just very quickly, Jim, I mean, is – do you think that the IAEA and Iran are going to resolve these issues before the P5+1 and Iran work out a broader framework for resolving this, or is it dependent on that?  Are the Iranians going to stonewall the agency until they see –

MR. WALSH:  My true answer is, I have no idea, and then, my guess is, the IAEA is going to come at the end of the line rather than the beginning of the line.  I think we’re going to see negotiations with the P5+1 before we see a resolution of Parchin and military dimensions.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  All right, well, we have a couple more, I think, concluding questions here.  I’m going to ask the panelists before we shift over to the second part of our program, and the questions have to do with the – kind of the longer-range scenarios here, and one question is, what happens if these P5+1 negotiations with Iran fail to produce either a confidence-building measure or some broader framework in the next few months, and on the flipside, where would we like to be five years from today?  If we were to gather, once again, on a lovely morning in Washington, D.C., what would we like to have seen happen before?

How do we – what do we – what needs to be done to reach a sustainable deal on Iran’s nuclear program?  Each of you, please take one of those two big questions.

MR. EKÉUS:  Yeah, on the first question, I think, it’s quite simple.  There will be an Israeli attack on a couple – Natanz – there will be – not on everything – certainly not, but it will be an action which – the Israeli will say, look, it worked so well in Syria; we attacked this facility and blew it up. So what happened?  It was – without any, so – to say – United Nations or U.N. Charter; it was an attack, but the Security Council didn’t meet, Syria didn’t complain because it didn’t want inspectors to see that they’d been cheating, and no one else complained.  I mean, this is a really shocking reaction by the international – that was a violation of the fundamental international law.

I think it is quite clear to me, if that scenario comes, that the breakdown of the talks – that Israel will take a step, maybe supported by President Obama, who is (no good ?) on drones and so on, so I am very pessimistic about that.

MR. KIMBALL:  And what’s the result of that strike?  What does that lead to from there – briefly?

MR. EKÉUS:  Well, it won’t – we had Osirak; some of us are old enough to remember the complaints.  NPT had big problems in the review conference, talks of a delays and blockages and no agreements; it was a lot of mess, and of course, General Assembly was – U.N. reacted very heavily at that time, and – but the problem is that the lack of leadership is that – would tolerate this.  I’m concerned.  I mean, I hope it won’t happen; I hope there is leadership and dialogue enough, including Israel also.  On the future – there, I see something much more – more and more – much more optimistic.  I see a U.S.-Iranian cooperation in – (inaudible) – before the regional dimensions.  On Iraq, on Afghanistan, they common interest, and that may be helpful for the people, and it will be peaceful and stable – Afghanistan, including taking – struggling with the drugs trafficking, which, of course, is a very important – key component in the Afghanistan scenario for Iran, but also for the whole Europe.

Where I also see and hope – five years that Israel and Iran will detect that they are “de facto” strategic partners in that region – they were, once, and there were smart people on both sides which understood.  I can’t see how stupid these two are now when they – the “de facto” should have a very common interest to – (inaudible) – the complex Arabic world, and the – Israel – as I said  these two are natural partners, strategic partners; they shouldn’t fall down to tactical games to play each other and to gain points by tacticality steps.  And the – on the Iran’s nuclear – I hope that one take the – enrich the – there is a wonderful initiative by NTI here in this town about a nuclear fuel bank, and NTI raised $50 million – U.S. Congress raised $50 million, Europeans, E.U. finally have coughed up something – 20 million (dollars) and then some others.  And I think it’s a good place for the Iranian reactor fuel if they don’t need it for the Bushehr to – that should be a base for the international fuel bank under international control, and the – in the context of IAEA.

MR. KIMBALL:  Professor Sadri, your thoughts on what happens if these talks fail and where we ought to be – where we want to be five years from now?

MR. SADRI:  Well, five years from now, I would like to see a non-nuclear Iran, but also I would like to see a less nuclear Middle East and a less nuclear world.  Disarmament – obviously, I’m not optimistic enough to think that it’s going to succeed to a hundred percent, but mostly, if nuclear countries start taking steps in reducing their stockpiles, that will create the environment for the negotiations that is necessary in Iran.

The eventuality of an attack on Iran – I think it is not likely, because these powers, Israel and United States, know that Iran is not Syria, is not Iraq, Iran is not Afghanistan – Iran is not a tribal country.  Most diplomats who have been in Iran – I don’t know whether Jim will share this view – talk about the Iranians having a very strong sense of national identity.  This is a country that has the oldest national flag in the world.  The Iranian Derafsh Kavian that is mentioned in the Shahnameh was not a mythological thing; it was a real artifact captured by the Arabs and sold for 300,000 dirhams.  And this flag represented not – it was not the coat of arm of some king; it represented the Iranian nation.  The kings had their own coat of arms, but the Derafsh Kavian was in front of the troops.  So Iranians have a very old sense of national identity that transcends various linguistic and ethnic groups, and we saw that in action – that spring to action in the invasion of – by Iraq.

So Iran is not only bigger and better-armed, probably, and more populous than these other countries; it has a very strong sense of national identity that one cannot find in any of those other cases, and the people who are talking about bombing or invading Iran, there are – you know, they are aware of this.  So I hope that there is no steps taken towards invasion, but I would not want to risk it, and I would like to see these negotiations succeed, because if they don’t succeed, we are basically playing Russian roulette with the national – with the regional security and world security.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Jim.

MR. WALSH:  Before I answer that, I want to say that yesterday was my birthday, and my brother Patrick gave me this tie to wear today.

MR. KIMBALL:  It’s very nice, too.

MR. WALSH:  So, thank you, Patrick.  (Laughter.)  It is a nice tie; I call – I consider this a TV tie.  That’s my – (laughter) – all right.  Good future, bad future – let’s start with the good future.  The good future is better, but it’s not perfect.  We’re still going to have, five years out, the Arab – regionally, the Arab Spring is still going to be working itself out; there will probably still be animosity between the Palestinians and the Israelis.  There will be competition between Iran and the Gulf states, most notably Saudi Arabia, but I can imagine a future – a positive future in which Iran is a member of the Additional Protocol and is fully adhering to its safeguards agreements in a way that is affirmative, not defensive.  I can imagine – Rolf suggested – and I’m an advocate of this – multilateralization of some piece or pieces of the Iranian program, where Iran is an owner, but others are owners and managers as well on the ground in Iran.

I see the U.N. Security Council sanctions going away – a lot of the unilateral sanctions, but probably not all the unilateral sanctions.  You know, my guess – being realistic – or trying to be realistic – is that some sanctions will persist but enough will come down, and certainly the ones from the U.N. – presuming a positive outcome – that they’ll be able to move forward.  Maybe a little better crisis communication between – set up between the U.S. and Iran.  I’d like to see, maybe, an adult relationship where – you know, like the U.S. has with Russia or with China – with their “frenemies”, you know, where they’re not necessarily buddies but there’s diplomatic relations and you don’t like each other, but you talk to each other.  I think if that – if we could get all of that, I’d be a happy camper.

The downside – if it doesn’t go well – well, I think – you know, these things are probabilistic.  I think, on average, you know, we’ll probably just get more of the same.  There will be more centrifuges, more material produced, more reactors built, more threats of military strike, but not quite there.  That’s the average, but – you know, the way you get an average – if you put your foot on a block of ice and your foot on a fire, the average is comfortable, and so averages aren’t necessarily a good predictor here.

I’m thinking that it’s less likely the more likely that there’ll be conflict, but there would be a nontrivial possibility of conflict.  I think the Israelis could tell themselves a story where they would strike.  I am disheartened and sobered by this report that in 2010, Netanyahu went to his Cabinet and tried to persuade them to put Israel on high alert as a way to get Iran to respond that would drag the U.S. into a conflict.  Now, I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but it has the look and feel of something that could be true.  That’s very risk-accepted behavior by a state leader.  That’s – so it just takes one of those mistakes or mistake between two naval ships in the Gulf where we get a war.  So I don’t – I’m not predicting a war, but if it’s a 10 percent or a 15 percent chance, that’s – given the consequences, that’s huge.  That’s huge.  So I would worry about that going forward over time.

And you asked the question, what do we get if we get a war?  We get an Iran with nuclear weapons, because they stopped the program in 2003.  If they’re attacked, I am – I would bet a sizable amount of money that the first consequence is a meeting the next day where they say, oh yeah?  Fine, we’re going to build a nuclear weapon.  And I think Osirak – which you referred to – there’s strong, scholarly evidence that that was the respond of – response of Saddam.  That prior to the Osirak bombing, Saddam’s nuclear program was one of several exotic weapons programs.  They got bombed, he made it job one.  So I’m afraid a war, whatever its, you know, implications for the region, as a nonproliferation guy, the most important consequence is a decision by Iran to pursue nuclear weapons.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

And as we prepare for the next segment here, I’m going to take one more question from the audience. We can’t deny the Voice of America question for our panelists here.  So if you could just bring the microphone over please, so that we can hear it all.  All right, please go ahead.

Q:  The talks so far for the 10 years, and so last 10 years has been negotiation with no fruitful, you know, result.  But all these years and the actors in the region have been the same, but recently, there has been some changes which might be a new solution, and that is Mohammed Morsi and the Egyptian president, while he took care of unexpected action yesterday and last week. But yesterday, Senator – Democrat Senator Carl Levin suggested that the biggest challenge is to bringing Mohammed Morsi to the West side, and perhaps that is something that has to be looked into.  What do you see in this prospect?  How do you see this might work, and what the West can do with regards to Egypt?

MR. WALSH:  Well, that’s a big question.  I have actually written about Egypt’s nuclear weapons program.  They had a weapons program under Nasser, so it’s a country I’ve spent time in – not in a while.

You know, I hope that – this is a question that comes at a point of great confusion and no clarity about the future of Egypt, is, are Morsi’s decrees the beginning of the Muslim Brotherhood down a path towards a power grab, or is this a temporary set of arrangements that help husband or nurture an Egyptian polity that becomes democratic and strong, and more legitimate, because Mubarak was not legitimate at the end?

You know, I hope that it is a strong – that Egypt returns to its rightful place as the leader of the Arab world, as the most popular Arab country, that it goes down that path towards democracy, that it’s seen as legitimate, and – which means it’s going to have different policies, and it’s going to, you know, disagree with the U.S. on some things and agree with others – but if it goes down that path, then I think it will be very important for the U.S. and for Israel and for others to embrace that Egypt in a way that they’re able to be a working partner.

I don’t know how much impact they’re going to have on the Iranian issue, but insofar as Iran is part of southwest Asia and the Middle East region, a strong and useful and wise Egypt would be helpful overall, you know, whether – regardless.  But I think the jury is still out on this one.

MR. KIMBALL:  Professor Sadri, do you have any thoughts about this question?

MR. SADRI:  Well I think – I think Iran is happier with Egypt at the helm of the Arab world than the alternative, which would be an augmented Saudi Arabia, the Salafist movement that is very anti-Shiite.  The Muslim Brotherhood is basically – it’s not hostile to the idea of an Islamic republic.  There are very deep ideological connections between the Iranian revolution and the writings of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, and it is also my hope that this move by Mohammed Morsi is just a tactical move to get over certain problems.  And I doubt that this would be a power grab, because the Muslim Brotherhood of today is not the Muslim Brotherhood of 30 years ago.  So there has been a transubstantiation there.

We have to note that – and of course, I don’t know for sure – but I think Egypt on its way – is on its way back, and there is a possibility that Egypt and Iran might renew their relationship.  That is very turbulent right now, especially with the Ahmadinejad government, but the aligning of their basic interests, national interests, suggest that there is a possibility that one day, that Khalid Islamboli Street in Iran would get a new name.


MR. KIMBALL:  If you wish – (inaudible).

MR. EKÉUS:  Well, I had a very authoritative friend, Tariq Aziz, and he – his assessment of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was that they were a rather moderate type.  He said Mubarak made a big strategic mistake by oppressing them, and don’t give them a play into the Egyptian society.  So of course, I was reflecting – poor man is sentenced to death, but he’s still not executed – but he had a deep and very wise understanding of Egypt and of the situation in Arabic world in general.

But of course, the – I – Saudi Arabia is there, and I have great difficulties to be – to imagine that Morsi will divide himself – which – (inaudible) – from those two optimists – from the Saudi Arabians – how to say – significance.  Mecca and Medina is – they are important elements of the custodians of the holy sites.  And Iran is challenging that, as we all know, and I think this is a sectarian problem or a strategic problem with religious connotations, which I think we should be – we should not run into too much optimistic; actually we should be very, very careful in our judgments, and watch closely the Hamas – the initiative, you know?  Morsi acted in the Gaza operation – rightly so, Egypt is there – but without in any way dealing with the Palestinian Authority, keep them out.  I don’t know what that indicates.  He set a new type of strategy Egypt has toward the Palestinian issue.  Well, I’m a little more concerned than my friends.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, we’re – we’ve run out of time for this segment of our program.  I want to just very quickly sum up some of the key points that I heard our three great panelists make during the course of the discussion about Iran’s nuclear program, and about avoiding a war over Iran’s nuclear program.  And that is that we’re moving into a very important period with respect to the P-5 plus one in Iran talks.  There’s a very important opportunity coming up in the next few weeks that’s going to require strong U.S. and better Iranian leadership, a broader deal that ties Iran’s enrichment activities to its actual nuclear power needs – which are minimal, as Jim Walsh said – combined with much more extensive IAEA safeguards, can help guard against a nuclear-armed Iran, and that we need to look at sanctions as a tool, not necessarily as the end goal, a tool in those negotiations in that we need to avoid making regime change appear to be the goal of U.S. policy, to make it clear that the Iranians have an exit ramp from this very difficult situation they’ve gotten themselves into with the nuclear program, and that the two sides are going to have to be much more creative in the next round of talks, and not simply put forward the same proposals that have met – been met with resistance in previous rounds.  It’s going to be tough, but it sounds like diplomacy is the best option on the table.

So with that, please join me in thanking Rolf Ekéus, Ahmad Sadri and James Walsh for their comments.  (Applause.)  We’re going to be taking about a two-minute break as we – a one-minute break as we adjust some of the backdrop here, and hear from National Security Adviser Brzezinski.

Thank you.


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MR. PARSI:  Our next speaker, of course, does not need any introduction in any setting, one of the greatest statesmen – American statesmen alive.  Dr. Brzezinski served as national security adviser from 1977 to 1980.  In his long and distinguished career, he had to deal with Iran extensively – from the – managing the relationship with the Shah, to the hostage crisis, to the 1979 revolution itself and, of course, to the ongoing conversation about how to deal with the nuclear challenge that Iran poses.

Dr. Brzezinski’s voice and opinions have been decisive.  President Obama referred to him as one of our most outstanding thinkers and President Carter presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981.  On a personal note, I have been tremendously grateful for being able to benefit from his insights, since I was lucky enough to have Dr. Brzezinski on my Ph.D. committee at SAIS a couple years ago.  A strong opponent of the invasion of Iraq, Dr. Brzezinski has also been a vocal opponent of any military adventurism with Iran, referring to it as a disaster.

In March, 2009, Dr. Brzezinski gave a very important testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, offering both words of caution as well as advice on how to make diplomacy succeed.  And since there is now a new opportunity for diplomacy, we thought it would be very fitting to bring Dr. Brzezinski here so that we can listen and benefit from his insights and his advice on how we can make it more successful this time around than it was last time around.

So without any further ado, please join me in welcoming Dr. Brzezinski.  (Applause.)

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI:  Thank you very much, Trita.  Ladies and gentlemen, I’m delighted to be here, and to be here particularly in connection with this organization which Trita has organized and which is rendering such an important contribution to our ongoing dialogue about the U.S.-Iranian relationship.  Let me also comment very, very briefly on your introduction.

I just want to add that while you did refer to my long-standing interest in the U.S.-Iranian relationship, you don’t really realize how much long-standing it has been.  It goes back to the days when I was a young child.  And I will not go into any great detail, but at that moment for a while my now deceased mother had a rather interesting flirtation with an Iranian ambassador.  (Laughter.)

At one point, he even suggested to her that I be enrolled in a school in Switzerland called La Rozier (sp), I think, which he pointed out was then being attended by the next Shah.  He suggested to her that one never knows what might happen, and perhaps your son might end up being the foreign minister of Iran.  (Laughter.)  That’s the end of the story.  Nothing more happened.  (Laughs.)  No much happened, but it seemed full of promise.  Well, my interest therefore goes back a long time.

I just dropped this device here.  I hope it doesn’t interfere with recording.

What I would like to do very informally is to think out loud, what are our options in the event that the negotiations of the 5 plus one with Iran failed to produce an agreement, either because one or another of the negotiating parties insists on the capitulation of the other side or because some deliberately disruptive events are set in motion by one or another of the parties.  And that certainly is a possibility on both sides.

Then, what really are our options in that setting?  My bottom line answer to the question which I have just posed is that there are no good options.  But there are, of course, still options, but they range from the worst to the least bad.  But at least, there’s a choice.  The least attractive – the worst, in fact, would be if the United States and/or Israel, or jointly, attacked Iran.  I think that is a fact.  I have spoken to that many times.

So let me merely say in brief that this would produce a regional crisis and widespread hatred, particularly for the United States because the United States would be seen as the deciding partner in such an undertaking, whether jointly with Israel or subsequent to Israel or by the United States alone.  The United States would be drawn into, therefore, a protracted conflict in the region, first of all with the Iranians and perhaps the Iranian people as well.

For while the attitudes of the Iranians by and large, to the extent that we can tell, towards the United States are not hostile and on the whole, in the larger cities, quite benign, a conflict in which the United States was acting as, in their perspective, an aggressor and engaging in military action would certainly precipitate long lasting hatred for the United States.  And that would be a fact of life in that part of the country, and not an insignificant one since it would involve some 85 million people.

In the more immediate perspective, of course, there would be regional disruption.  The region would be literally set aflame with the conflict probably spreading through Iraq to Syria, creating one large belt of conflict, complicating our withdrawal from Afghanistan, particularly in the western parts of Afghanistan where Iran has the capacity to make life miserable for us.  It would be disruptive of course in terms of the security of oil flowing through the Strait of Hormuz, even if it was kept open by the United States.  But still, even then the price of insurance for the flow of oil would dramatically increase.

And there is a further uncertainty involved in that kind of an operation, namely how successful would it be.  In fact, in estimates by Israeli experts regarding Israel’s potential to be decisively effective, are pessimistic.  And American estimates depend on the scale of the American attack.  Even a relatively modest attack by the United States would inflict in any case serious casualties on the Iranians, precipitating the death of a large number of Iranian scientists and probably, in some cases given the location of the facilities, also civilians.

And there is still the unknown factor of what happens if radiation is released as a consequence of these attacks.  And that could be a significant factor in terms of civilian casualties, particularly in places that are larger, semi-metropolitan.  And of course, some facilities that would be destroyed are located – for example, Isfahan.

All of that, I think makes an attack not a very attractive remedy for dealing with the problem, a problem which then would pale in insignificance compared to the consequences of the attack once the dynamic consequences were set in motion.  So I dismiss that as a serious alternative.  I think it would be an act of utter irresponsibility and potentially a very significant immorality if the United States was part of it.

A second alternative, not either very good – neither are very good is a campaign of covert subversion – ranging from sabotage through assassinations, maybe even to cyberwarfare – directed at Iran in order to prevent it from acquiring an effective nuclear weapon.  I think the result of that is troublesome, not in terms of its immediate outcome because the asymmetry of capabilities between the United States and Iran is so wide that obviously Iran would be much more negatively affected.

But in the longer run, we cannot entirely dismiss the fact that inherent in such a strategy one sets in motion a degradation of the international system, a degradation of the international rules of the game, which could prove, in the longer run, very damaging to American national interests, if one assumes that the United States wishes to be essentially a status-quo power, not one that precipitates massive disruptions of the international order, but has a national interest in consolidating the international order and, indeed, even in expanding its international effectiveness.

So the losses in that sense to American national interests of such a campaign would be significant.  And it is not clear that they would necessarily lead to the desired – otherwise desired outcome, namely deprivation of Iran of capability to have a militarily significant nuclear potential.  Indeed, implicit perhaps in that second strategy would be an eventual outcome very similar to the first strategy, that the United States would find it necessary, would find itself compelled or driven by others into undertaking option one, but making it even in a more negative context.

The third not desirable option, but perhaps somewhat less immediately destructive, is of course a policy of the continuous imposition of sanctions on Iran that would range from painful to strangulating.  That is to say, a policy in which one assumes that at some point Iran would accommodate and accept an outcome which otherwise was not achieved in the process of negotiations.

This is a complicated undertaking because it’s very difficult in that context to clearly distinguish between what sanctions are designed to achieve the nuclear objective, and which ones are designed to achieve other objectives on the grounds of which they were initially imposed.  For example, support for Hezbollah and for other so-called terrorist organizations.

In other words, will we be trying to change the behavior of the regime?  Would we be trying to force it to comply with our position on the nuclear issue?  Or would we be trying to change the regime?  Careful discrimination of this context is very difficult to achieve and, hence, it is also very difficult to envisage an outcome in advance that would be clearly productive insofar as the original point of departure for the sanctions is concerned.

And that brings me to the fourth and least – the least objectionable of the bad options, all of that being based on the assumption that we’re not able to achieve our desired outcome by serious negotiations.  And that is to combine continued painful, but not strangulating sanctions – and be very careful in that distinction – with clear political support for the emergence of eventual democracy in Iran, an objective with which I think many Iranians would associate themselves.

And at the same time an explicit security guarantee for U.S.-friendly Middle Eastern states, including Israel, modeled on the very successful, decade-lasting protection of our European allies from an overwhelming Soviet nuclear threat, and also modeled on the successful protection of South Korea and Japan from the recently emerged North Korean threat, and perhaps earlier on, implicitly but not explicitly, from possible Chinese intimidation.

We succeeded in that policy over many decades and with good result for all concerned, including the Soviet Union and us, including the Russian people and the American people, and certainly to the benefit of those whom we were protecting.  We now know, for example, from secret Soviet war plans, that the Soviets were contemplating, even in the case of the conventional war in which they were moving westward, the use of nuclear weapons against cities.

For example, on the third day of a Soviet offensive, according to Soviet war plans, tactical nuclear weapons, several of them, were designed or were targeted for use against Hamburg – a very large urban center.  And there were others in Western Europe, depending on how the offensive was moving forward.  All of that was avoided by a policy of deterrence that was credible.

This is then the fourth option, which is not the same as the achievement of our objective, but it is an option which creates a condition which might endure for quite a while, because it is difficult to imagine any Iranian regime embarking on a nuclear adventure if it simply has the bomb.  What does that mean, it simply has the bomb?  Has it really been tested?  Is it already related to delivery system?  Does one use it when one has only one?  Does one wait until one has 10?

One has to consider in these circumstances the consequences of their use.  And given an explicit commitment by an overwhelmingly stronger nuclear power, which has demonstrated a willingness to protect with others with credibility and commitment, I think that at least is some degree of assurance that we are gaining time in a very turbulent setting, in a very turbulent time.  And that in itself is an advantage.

This is not an argument for it to be the central focus of our policy.  Obviously a negotiated outcome that meets to some extent the principle desires of our negotiating side but doesn’t necessarily humiliate the Iranians and forces them into an unconditional surrender, so to speak, is still preferable.

But short of that, if in fact the negotiations do not succeed in the near term, I think a shift by the United States to a combination of sanctions, but oriented specifically to the promotion of internal democratizing change and at the same time to serve as a deterrent and involves all of our friends in the Middle East, is the best option – or it’s the least objectionable options of the options that have failed otherwise in the achievement of their ultimate objective.

So that is the perspective that I share and I think the sooner we get off the notion that at some point we may strike Iran the better – the better the chances for the negotiations that are ongoing and the better the change for stability if we couple it with a clear commitment to the security of the region, designed to neutralize any potential longer-range Iranian nuclear threat.  And I think that’s about all I want to say at this moment.  And perhaps we can then continue our discussion.

MR. PARSI:  Absolutely.  Thank you so much.  Bring the mic with you, if you could.  Thank you so much, Dr. Brzezinski.  I think it’s a very realistic assessment of the situation.  It reminds me of the testimony that you gave in the Senate, because there you talked also about how we could make diplomacy succeed.  And here you said that diplomacy would still be the preferable option, but you didn’t go deeper into that.

In the testimony, you laid out a couple of things that you recommended that the administration do and you cautioned about a couple of things that you felt would be unproductive.  On the positive side, you talked about accepting, at least nominally, the idea that the Iranians are saying that they don’t want a nuclear weapon, and as a result use that as an argument to say, OK, how can we then find a common objective and mechanism that ensures that what you’re saying is something we can trust?

On the negative side, you pointed out that if we pursue sanctions if diplomacy fails, or we threaten that – if we assess that the military option is still on the table, if we talk about a regime change, then we’re pursuing something that may help shift the blame of the failure of negotiations to the other side, but it will help ensure that negotiations fail.

Within all of that, how would you now say where the U.S. is, four years after experiencing some combination of these two?  Where would you say that the U.S. – what can the U.S. do now in order to make sure that the preferable option is actually successful, so that we don’t have the fall back on the other effective option that you talked about of containment, but actually making the preferable option a success?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  I’m not sure that I have a prescription that really meets the high standards that you have set for it, but I do think that at some point a parallel dialogue – probably conducted in some degree of deliberate secrecy, although that is difficult on the American side – a parallel dialogue between the United States and Iran might be desirable, in addition to the more formal negotiations.

A great deal depends here, also, on what are the long-range motives that drive the participation of the Chinese and the Russians in the negotiating process.  They might not be the same.  I think the Chinese are obviously more interested in maintaining general stability from an international economic point of view, for obviously reasons given their dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

In the Russian case, there may be some ambivalence among Russian decision makers as they assess the long-range significance of this issue for the American-Russian strategic balance, and for that matter, for Russia’s geopolitical role.  One can at least make the theoretical case – and I’m not making it – in terms of the Russian leadership as a whole, but I can envisage some Russian strategists saying, is it really bad for us if America gets into another major and protracted conflict in the region?  America will not suffer very much because of the revolution in American energy supplies, but the region will be affected adversely.  If the region is affected adversely, the dependence of Europe on Russia energy supplies dramatically increases.  Is that necessarily bad from the Russian point of view?

Secondly, if the region erupts into violence, ongoing arrangements generated over the last two or three decades largely by an American strategy designed to diminish European dependence on Russian energy –I have in mind particularly Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, and the general role of Azerbaijan and Georgia in providing access in the near future to (Turkmen ?) energy to Europe directly, and not via Russia – is something that I’m sure some Russians would like in some fashion to undercut.  So even without the massive outbreak of violence in the region, but real tension in the regions and escalating collisions or explosions, might give the Russians some strategies, and Russia might argue, a freer hand to deal with Georgia and Azerbaijan.  That would have geostrategic consequences, very adverse to Europe and to the United States.

So I think that we don’t have a very clear sense of delivery to which these partners in the negotiating process are motivated to the same degree as we, by the desire to avoid an explosion in the region.  At least one of those two that I’ve mentioned might have, at least on the part of some individuals – I want to repeat that, because I’m not saying that this is the official Russian point of view, or the official Russian strategy – but some individuals in Russia who are hard-nosed strategists might say to themselves, well, are we really sure that it’s in our interest to resolve this problem?

MR. PARSI:  It’s an interesting point, but let me play devil’s advocate for a second here.  If the policy’s a shift towards containment, containment in essence is to sit on the brink of war in the hope that you avoid it.  Wouldn’t the Russians, or those who may have different interests, still be able to achieve some of those objectives when it comes to European energy independence?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well European energy independence is not a question of a state of mind; it’s a question of the state of access, availability of these sources.  The Europeans obviously prefer to have the Baku-Ceyhan line open.  It would be very (happy ?) when Turkmen gas and oil begins to flow by new pipelines through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to Europe.  So it depends really on what happens.  It’s not a state of mind; it’s a question of real options.

MR. PARSI:  You mentioned in your talk also about that within the containment option, there would be an opportunity to target the sanctions in such a way that they actually could facilitate pro-democracy change.  I have a couple of questions on that.  The first one is that the current sanctions are criticized by the (entire ?) green movement, saying that this is decimating the backbone of the pro-democracy movement, because it is hitting so hard the general population, rather than hitting the regime harder.

But secondly, within a diplomatic option, your tenure in government was one in which we saw a very successful effort at being able to negotiate while pushing for human rights simultaneously through the Helsinki process.  Do you envision such a process being possible in the context of Iran, in which there can be negotiations, but we don’t turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses, instead, we actually proactively utilize the dialogue in order to be able to push forward for a better human rights situation?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well, that depends on the extent to which I think the Iranian regime itself is inclined to favor a more stable relationship with us, in the knowledge that it does entail inevitably, openings for that kind of a policy.  The Soviet government, in the long run, wrongly from the standpoint of its interest, concluded that it could do that, and started a dialogue in part because they thought that Nixon and Kissinger, in initiating it for the American side, were prepared to accept the status quo, which to some extent, largely so, they actually were.  But they were then in effect unpleasantly surprised by the fact that the subsequent Carter and Reagan administrations both favored such a dialogue for the purpose of upsetting the status quo and not for perpetuating it.  And that was the great difference between Nixon on the one side and Carter and Reagan on the other, with few people still in this country realizing the extent of which on that issue, the Carter policy was the predecessor for the Reagan policy.  And Reagan continued and then expanded many of the things that Carter started, using human rights as a lever for change.

I think the Iranian regime at this stage is still in a rather dogged fanatical regime, and it probably would be very, very restrictive in any accommodation, which would entail some greater openings.  So we have to do it from the outside, but we do have the advantage today which didn’t exist then, mainly of the new means of communications, which are permeable, they penetrate.  And we know from the events of March two years ago, that the Iranian people do have that access, and that’s a very important new aspect of this very complicated game.

MR. PARSI:  But there are new sanctions being discussed in Congress right now that actually would cut off the entire Iranian telecom system, which then also obviously would affect the population as a whole.  Which brings us to the point of, where do you see the correct balance of sanctions?  You mentioned that it shouldn’t be strangulating, so where should it be?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well, I think you’ve raised the right issue, namely, how do we draw the difference between strangulating and painful up to a point, creating openings for other options?  I do fear that some of the energy for sanctions is driven simply by a kind of almost fanatical commitment to a showdown with the Iranians, perhaps in the innocent hope that they will back down and yield, perhaps in some cases, in the hidden hope that it leads to option number one, which I dismiss as the least attractive from our point of view.

MR. PARSI:  Interesting.

I’m going to take some questions from the media.  If you’re not part of the media, please fill out those cards, and we will collect them and send them over.  Barbara, do you have a question?

Q:  Yeah, I have a question.  Barbara Slavin from the Atlantic Council and al-monitor.com.  Always a privilege to see you, Dr. Brzezinski.

I want to pursue this a little bit more, because you are talking about a long-term containment strategy.  Does that mean that you have given up entirely on the notion of some sort of breakthrough?  We’ve all been talking about a brief window of opportunity after our elections and before the Iranian elections.  Do you think that’s simply just not in the cards?


MR. BRZEZINSKI:  No, I haven’t given up on it at all.  But what I want to be more clear in terms of our stand on the issues, that in certain other options in the event that the negotiating process is not successful, are not a solution for that problem, and in fact, can make the situation much worse.  And this is what leads me then to look critically at what other options do we really have if the negotiating process is not successful, and to assess them in terms of their political, strategic and even moral compatibility, with what it is that should determine the nature of our own conduct.  And I would like to avoid a situation in which someone comes to us and says, well, look, a year has passed, there is no achievement, we want new red lines, these red lines now have to be very short term because we are now in the danger zone, and do what you have to do.

And I’m not sure we have to do it, and I think it would be desirable to avoid it, and that’s more likely if we have some meaningful alternative, other than simply saying our options – all options are on the table.  And I think a meaningful alternative is a combination of a kind of, if you will, like the sort of human rights policy towards the Soviet Union in the mid-’70s, with at the same time, an effort to reassure those in the region that they are not therefore more vulnerable to Iranian intimidation, aggression or even attack, and to convince the Iranians that, if they tried to do that, they would precipitate implementation of all of the military resources that the United States possesses to make such an attack futile and extremely costly.

Q:  And just a brief follow-up:  I mean, this is containment, and is this the policy that you would pursue even if Iran actually did build and test a nuclear weapon?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  But that’s the whole point of what I was saying.

Q:  OK, so why don’t you use the C-word?  (Laughter.)

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Because the situation is more complicated.  Containment involves a lot of other arrangements at the time, such as the existence of NATO and so forth.  This is not that kind of a situation, so we have to address it in a somewhat different fashion, but there is an underlying similarity between the two, namely, that deterrence has worked.  Again, it’s a far more powerful, far more dangerous and indeed objectively, far more aggressive opponent in years past, and therefore, in that sense, provides a point of departure for something modeled on it, even if not identical to it.

MR. PARSI:  L.A. Times, in the back.

Q:  Doyle McManus from the Los Angeles Times.

In fact, Barbara asked the first half of my question, why not use the word containment –

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well, go ahead and use it.  I’m not going to launch a protest against it.  (Laughs.)  Or rebut it.

Q:  Let me – let me ask – let me ask you to go back to an old question that any use of the word containment brings up, which is that some in this country have assiduously worked to convince Americans that Iran is undeterrable or uncontainable because of the nature of the regime.  I know you’ve had to deal with that question before, but it might be worth taking 60 seconds to deal with it now.

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well, I don’t find that argument very credible.  I’m not sure that people who make it really believe in it, but it’s a good argument to make if you have no other argument to make.  (Scattered laughter.)  The fact of the matter is Iran has been around for 3,000 years, and that is not a symptom of a suicidal instinct.  In fact, it’s the contrary.  And so, you know, I don’t find that argument even worthy of a serious discussion.  And the fact of the matter is if the Iranians acquire a nuclear weapon, they think they’ll have more influence, and that they have a right to it.  All right, but if they have more influence, it doesn’t mean they have a free hand, and they still have to calculate what happens when they try to use it.  The notion that some way or other, they’ll put it in a picnic basket and hand it over to some terrorist group is merely an argument that maybe some – it may be convincing to some people who know nothing about nuclear weapons.  But in fact, nuclear weapons are pretty complicated things to operate, and they require tender love and care from those who handle it, otherwise it will kill them rather than the intended victims of the weapon.

So you know, it’s not a really serious argument.  You have to have a delivery system.  You have to have multiplicity.  You have to have things to back it up with, and especially if you’re dealing, as the argument assumes, with an opponent who has himself lots of nuclear weapons.  The Israelis do have a nuclear capability, and if attacked by the Iranians, they certainly would be entitled to react, and they would react furiously if the Iranians used a nuclear weapon.  And the Iranians would be in a far worse position than the North Koreans are, who already have – it is assumed – five, six, seven, maybe eight weapons.  But even that doesn’t give them sufficient assurance that the attack would work.  Some of them might not go off, and in any case, the opponent would have far greater opportunity for inflating – inflicting massive destruction on North Korea.  The same is true here.  You know, if the Israelis were victimized by the Iranians, they would be justified, and they certainly would feel justified to react in a very, very severe fashion.  I don’t know many Iranians who view that as a serious option.

MR. PARSI:  Questions from the audience that I’ve got here, very good questions:  The first one is, if we look deeper into the actual structure of a possible diplomatic solution, do you think it is necessary and achievable to reduce Iran’s enrichment activity to zero?  Or could a solution still be acceptable with Iran having limited enrichment, I assume below 5 percent, or would that still necessitate the C-word argument?

And secondly, if I could just add this one to it, there is an argument saying that the Iranians are only using the talks in order to gain time.  Their program has advanced over the last couple of years.  What is your response to those who argue against diplomacy because this would only be giving the Iranians a freebie, in the words of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well, the presumption is, it’s not all that explicit in the NPT, but the presumption is that countries that are signatories to it have their entitlement – I won’t use the word right – have entitlement to enrich to about 5 or so percent.  And I do know that the discussions have involved what to do with the amount that has been enriched to be on that, and presumably to somewhere around 20 percent.  And some or other imaginative ideas have been aired regarding how that excess can be handled.

But I don’t think it’s realistic to demand that Iran accept an arrangement for itself that is fundamentally different from the arrangement that other subscribers to the NPT have undertaken.  So here, I think we have to be realistic and also fair in our effort, because otherwise, we’re really not trying to seek an agreement as such, we’re trying to engage in a double humiliation and capitulation with a large and significant country.  And that is something that one should not undertake unless one felt that there was a mortal danger, literally a mortal danger, emanating from that country.  And even the most dire prognoses right now suggest that it will be some years before Iran, assuming it can keep pursuing a surreptitious nuclear weapons program, will have a significant nuclear military capability.  And that’s what we have to be concerned about is a significant nuclear military capability, and not a totally hypothetical, imaginary, noncredible notion at the moment they have one or two bombs, they’ll, you know, eagerly rush into national suicide.

Now, what was the second part?

MR. PARSI:  Second part is, what if the Iranians are just using the talks in order to reach exactly that level?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  That, they may be doing.  It’s conceivable.  And this is why I do think that my fourth, not fully-satisfactory option, but the least objectionable of the realistic options, or would-be realistic, or pseudo-realistic options, is the one that we have to seriously contemplate.  We cannot keep saying indefinitely all options are on the table, implying that we’re going to bomb them one day, and not actually do it.  I think that undermines our credibility.  It’s much more to take a position that is explicit, clear and credible because of our past record.  We have succeeded in deterring not only the Soviet Union, led by Stalin at one point, not only China at a time when its top leader was saying, nuclear war, big deal, 300 million people will be dead, so what?  And nothing happened, and China today has a minimum nuclear deterrent, because the Chinese are a rational, calculating people, and they feel that this meets their defense needs.  And we have, in a more tenuous fashion, succeeded in deterring North Korea, even though it is occasionally threatening and volatile, and is a serious problem.  But I think the North Koreans know that we are committed to the security of our partners, and what’s even more important, the Chinese know that we are, and the Chinese don’t want a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.

MR. PARSI:  We only have time for one last question, so I’m going to give you perhaps one of the hardest ones, because not everyone is as clear-eyed as you are.  Some are much more alarmist.  How would you advise President Obama in the event that Israel attacks Iran before Iran crosses the U.S.’ red line?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well, I wouldn’t advise him in that stage, I would advise him before – (laughter) – I would advise him before.

MR. PARSI:  Well, this is before.

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  And – you’re changing the question.  (Laughter.)  I think it’s very important for clarity to exist in a relationship between friends.  And I don’t think there is any implicit obligation of the United States to follow like, you know, a stupid mule, whatever the Israelis do.  If they decide to start a war simply on the assumption that we’ll automatically be drawn into it, I think it is the obligation of friendship to say, well, you’re not going to be making national decisions for us.  And I think that the United States has the right to have its own national security policy.  I think most Americans would agree with that, and therefore I think clarity on this issue is important, and especially if we commit ourselves explicitly and bindingly to Israel’s security as part of the formula that I advocate.  That is, for me, a design to freeze any threat into a nonthreat, unless one can convincingly argue that a country of 85 million people has no higher priority than an act of collective suicide.  And I don’t think that is sustained by any evidence whatsoever.

MR. PARSI:  Very good.

Thank you so much.  Please join me in thanking Dr. Brzezinski.  This has been a wonderful conversation.  (Scattered applause.)  Let me also take the opportunity to thank our partners in this Arms Control Association, very proud to team up with them, the viewers on C-SPAN and our funders, sponsor for this program, the Ploughshares Fund, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Thank you all so much for coming.  (Applause.)


Top of the page.


The coming year will present critical opportunities to resolve the decade-long Iranian nuclear standoff. With sanctions escalating, Iranian nuclear capabilities increasing, a soft war simmering and the threat of a full blown military conflict on the horizon, it has never been more vital that the United States and Iran find a diplomatic off ramp to prevent disaster.

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ACA Executive Director Speaks at MIT



"Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament 50 Years Since the Cuban Missile Crisis"

Fifty years since the crisis of October 1962 brought the world to brink of nuclear war, the threats posed by the bomb have changed, but still hang over us all. There still are nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons and there are nine nuclear-armed states. More countries have access to the technologies needed to produce nuclear bomb material; the risk of nuclear terrorism is real. The United States and Russia still deploy more nuclear weapons than necessary to deter nuclear attack.

Doing nothing is not an option. To remain effective, the nuclear non-proliferation system must be updated, new commitments must be implemented, and progress on disarmament must be accelerated. No matter who occupies the White House following the 2012 election, he must pursue a nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament "stimulus plan."

WHO: ACA Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball
WHEN: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 from 4:00p-6:00pm
WHERE: The Tang Center on the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA (Building E51-395, located at 70 Memorial Drive).

The talk is part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Program on Science, Technology and Society (STS) mini seminar-series on "Nuclear Arms Control: Past, Present and Future" this fall.

For more details, see: http://events.mit.edu/event.html?id=14986694&date=2012/10/10 or contact: Randyn Miller <[email protected]>

The event is free and open to the general public


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


Fifty years since the crisis of October 1962 brought the world to brink of nuclear war, the threats posed by the bomb have changed, but still hang over us all. There still are nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons and there are nine nuclear-armed states. More countries have access to the technologies needed to produce nuclear bomb material; the risk of nuclear terrorism is real. The United States and Russia still deploy more nuclear weapons than necessary to deter nuclear attack.

Briefing at UN - 50 Yrs After the Cuban Missile Crisis



A Briefing at the United Nations

Fifty Years After the Cuban Missile Crisis:
Next Steps on Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation

Monday, October 15, 2012
1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Conference Room 1

United Nations Building
New York, NY

Fifty years after the October 15-28, 1962 Cuban missile crisis pushed the world to the edge of nuclear catastrophe, the nuclear danger has been reduced, but the threats posed by the bomb are still with us.

There are still 20,000 nuclear weapons and nine nuclear-armed states. Washington and Moscow still deploy more than 1,550 strategic warheads each, with thousands more substrategic and reserve warheads. Nuclear testing has been banned but key states have failed to approve the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. More countries have access to the technologies needed to produce nuclear bomb material, and some states continue to increase their fissile material stockpiles.

You are invited to a public forum on options for deeper U.S.-Russian nuclear reductions, curbing nuclear competition in South Asia, advancing a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and securing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.


"Options for Further U.S. and Russian Nuclear Reductions"
Hans M. Kristensen
Director, Nuclear Information Project, Federation of American Scientists

"Reducing Nuclear Dangers in South Asia"  
Lt. General (ret.) V.R. Raghavan
President, Center for Security Analysis
Chennai, India

"The Future of Multilateral Disarmament Conventions in the Middle East"
Dr. Sameh Aboul-Enein
Deputy Foreign Minister for Disarmament Affairs
Arab Republic of Egypt

"Next Steps on the CTBT"  
Daryl G. Kimball
Executive Director, Arms Control Association

This event is open to all governmental and nongovernmental representatives and members of the press.

Please RSVP here by October 12. If you have difficulty accessing the link call at (202) 463-8270, ext. 105


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


Fifty years after the October 15-28, 1962 Cuban missile crisis pushed the world to the edge of nuclear catastrophe, the nuclear danger has been reduced, but the threats posed by the bomb are still with us.

Subject Resources:

A Preventive War Against Iran? Sound Familiar?



Remarks as delivered by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
September 20, 2012

Today is very close to the tenth anniversary of my retirement from the U.S. Foreign Service.  I remember very well the national mood at that time.  The country was still reeling from the 9/11 attacks one year earlier and the George W. Bush Administration was associating al-Qaida, which had perpetrated the attacks, with Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in Baghdad, which had nothing to do with them.  That spring, the president had dubbed Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as part of an “axis of evil,” bent on developing weapons of mass destruction.  The president had announced a change in U.S. military doctrine, arguing that the nation had to be ready to strike first at countries, which might pose a WMD threat in the future.  Congress, meanwhile, was funding Iraqi opposition groups seeking regime change.

And exactly ten years ago today, the once and future prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote theses words in The Wall Street Journal:

[Saddam Hussein] is a dictator who is rapidly expanding his arsenal of biological and chemical weapons, who has used these weapons of mass destruction against his subjects and his neighbors, and who is feverishly trying to acquire nuclear weapons. …

Two decades ago it was possible to thwart Saddam's nuclear ambitions by bombing a single installation. Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Now I know that there is a difference between Iraq and Iran – and that it is more than the last letter of a four-letter word.  But I also recall Mark Twain’s comment that: although “history does not repeat itself, it does rhyme.”

I want to speak today about the rhyme and reason of Iran’s nuclear program, which has so bedeviled our already difficult bilateral relationship.

Once upon a time, about a century ago, the United States stood high in the esteem of Iranians.  One martyr to the cause of Iranian democracy in 1909 was a 24-year old Nebraskan named Howard Baskerville.  He died in defense of the young constitution of Iran, fighting counter-revolutionaries near Tabriz.  In 1911, a 34-year old American named Morgan Shuster became a hero of Iranian democracy while serving as Treasurer General of the Persian Empire when, answering only to the Persian Parliament, he defied the imperial demands of Russia and Britain.

Through the Second World War, the United States was perceived as the anti-colonial power.  Alas, in the post-World War II era, the U.S.-Iranian relationship suffered two major traumas.  At the top of every Iranian’s grievance list is the U.S./British-engineered coup in 1953 against the democratically-elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh, who had led a nationalization of Iran’s oil industries.  In his place, we installed the young Shah Reza Pahlavi.

For Americans, the searing national memory was the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and the holding of 53 hostages for 444 days.  (The latter episode was twice personal for me – as a young U.S. diplomat and as someone who knew one of the hostages as my student teacher in high school.)

We do not have time to list all of the grievances carefully nurtured by both sides, but I will try to summarize the nuclear dispute, which is bringing us close to war.  The Iranians have long held grand (or grandiose) plans for a nuclear power industry, which would also provide the infrastructure for building nuclear weapons.  The Shah nonetheless signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (or NPT), under which Iran foreswore development of nuclear weapons – a commitment, which was later reaffirmed by the Islamic Republic and redefined as a religious as well as a legal obligation.  As part of the bargain, the NPT also affirms the right of its members to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy, contingent upon compliance with the safeguards procedures established in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (or IAEA).  It is not clear what the Iranian public’s views are on developing nuclear weapons, but there is solid public support for Iran’s nuclear program as the government defines it.

After the first war with Iraq (to liberate Kuwait), the IAEA found that it had underestimated the extent of Iraq’s illicit proliferation activity.  The agency subsequently developed a more rigorous regime, called the “Additional Protocol” to provide greater transparency for its members’ nuclear activities.  Most members have signed up to this protocol, but Tehran has not.  Iran is also not carrying out all requirements of its existing Safeguards Agreements with the IAEA.  For example, it has not provided the required advance notice to the IAEA for new construction – most conspicuously and consequentially, with regard to the uranium enrichment facility it had secretly burrowed into a mountain at Fordow.  Iran is not permitting timely access to some other nuclear facilities the agency requests to visit, such as the heavy water reactor under construction at Arak, which could be a future source of plutonium for weapons.  Also, it has not allowed the agency to adequately investigate suspicious past activities.  For these reasons, the IAEA is unable to provide assurances that Iran’s nuclear activities are only peaceful.

So the real issue with Iran is not the right to enrich uranium.  The UN Security Council has said that Iran must suspend, not end, enrichment while Iran resolves questions about past activities.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made clear in testimony to Congress that the United States will not oppose Iran’s enrichment of uranium under the right circumstances.

We do not know whether or not Tehran ultimately wants to build and deploy nuclear weapons, but it appears to be determined to build the infrastructure and cadre of experts that would give it the option of doing so.  The technical option of building the bomb is available to a number of non-nuclear weapons states – Japan and Germany being conspicuous examples.  (Either could build a deliverable nuclear weapons – probably within one year of deciding to do so.)  The most important thing for preventing proliferation is to ensure that states do not have the motivation to go nuclear and the ability to take action without being detected.  With the physical plant for producing fissile material and the human resources that could pull it off, Iran already has the means ultimately to become a nuclear weapons state.  It must be persuaded that such a course is not in its best interests.

The six powers negotiating with Iran – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States, or the P5+1, are attempting to make that case.  Their strategy includes both increasing the costs of non-cooperation through economic and military sanctions and keeping the door open to compromises which would allow Tehran to recognize an outcome as beneficial and one that could be credibly portrayed as beneficial.

The three negotiating sessions in the first half of this year were an important beginning, but they have not yet yielded tangible results.  The heads of the respective sides met for a four-hour dinner in Istanbul earlier this week to discuss starting a new round of negotiations.  European High Representative Catherine Ashton called the meeting: “useful and constructive.”  The Iranian chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, called it: “positive and fruitful.” These are more upbeat appraisals than heard at the end of the last group session in Moscow, but we must still wait for concrete results.

The crux of the strategy used to achieve the NPT’s nonproliferation objectives is to concentrate on denying states the means to obtain the weapons grade uranium or plutonium needed to construct nuclear weapons.  Getting the ingredients for the core of the weapons is generally assessed to be the most difficult part of nuclear bomb-making.  Although vigorous pursuit of activities permitted by the NPT will give states a legs-up, there would still be a long way to go to construct a weapon.

The P5+1 are therefore appropriately focused on halting and reversing Iran’s continuing production of uranium hexafluoride enriched to a U-235 isotope concentration of 20 percent. This is the isotope needed at a 90 percent enrichment level to produce the metallic core of a nuclear warhead. Unfortunately, at 20 percent, the uranium has already travelled 90 percent of the distance required to reach weapons grade. Even though civilian power reactors require only 3.5 percent enrichment, Iran claims it needs the higher level to refuel an ageing research reactor that makes medical isotopes.  Large stockpiles of 20 percent enriched uranium thus pose a much more rapid “breakout” option for Iran.

As a confidence building measure, the six powers renewed this year their offer from October 2009 to provide fuel elements for the research reactor.  But the updated condition this time is for Iran to stop production of 20 percent enriched, ship the stockpile out of the country, and shut down the Fordow facility.  This effort would give each side something it wants – for the six powers, elimination of the most imminent threat; for Iran, tacit acceptance of its right to enrich.  But the deal has not yet been clinched.  The Iranians also want sanctions relief up front, which the P5+1 cannot give without movement on the compliance issues which prompted the sanctions in the first place. And the six powers want to shut down Fordow, which the Iranians can hardly be expected to do, just because the facility is more difficult for aggressors to destroy.

The U.S. presidential election season is not a propitious time for offering compromises or even apparently for objective discussions of the status quo by the press.  Most U.S. commentary on the latest IAEA report, for example, carried alarmist headlines.  It did not highlight either the reduction in 20 percent stockpiles during the last quarter or the continuing absence of Iranian progress on advanced centrifuge installations.

My hope is that if we can keep the channel of communications open, maintain P5+1 unity on both sanctions and negotiating initiatives, and avoid distortions leading to war, we will have new opportunities for nonproliferation progress in 2013.  With an intelligence community that has improved its analytical tradecraft and an administration that has spoken more honestly to the American people than its predecessor, I think that we will be able to avoid a preventive attack.


Remarks as delivered by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan on September 20, 2012.

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ACA Director Speaks in Moscow on CTBT



Prospects for Realizing the Full Potential of the CTBT

Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
at Moscow Nuclear Nonproliferation Conference
Moscow, Russia
September 7, 2012

Distinguished colleagues, it is an honor to address you at this important meeting on the value of and the path forward on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Since the opening for signature of the CTBT nearly sixteen years ago, the vast majority of the world’s nations have signed and ratified the Treaty. They recognize that nuclear testing is a dangerous and unnecessary vestige of the past and understand that the CTBT is a cornerstone of the international security architecture of the 21st century.

The CTBT would reinforce the widely supported de facto global nuclear test moratorium.

By banning all nuclear weapon test explosions, the CTBT can help accomplish the indisputable obligation under the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons to cease the nuclear arms race at an early date and to achieve nuclear disarmament.

With the CTBT in force, other states can be assured that the established nuclear-weapon states cannot proof-test new, more sophisticated nuclear warhead designs.

Without the option of nuclear explosive testing, newer nuclear nations cannot perfect smaller, two-stage thermonuclear warheads, which are more easily deliverable via ballistic missiles. Such weapons, if developed, would undermine security in Asia and could lead to a dangerous action-reaction-cycle.

The CTBT also can provide confidence about the peaceful intentions of non-nuclear weapon states, such as Iran. Ratification of the CTBT is a tangible way for states, including Israel, Egypt, and Iran, to contribute to the realization of a Middle East Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction and help de-escalate tensions in the region.

With the CTBT in force, the already robust International Monitoring System will be augmented by the option of on-site inspections, which would improve the detection and deterrence of potential cheating.

Although 183 states have signed the CTBT, the long journey to end testing is not over. For the CTBT to formally enter into force, it must still be ratified by the remaining eight “holdout” states listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty.

The United States and China

Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. By signing the treaty and ending nuclear testing, Washington and Beijing have already taken on most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them—and others—the full security benefits of the Treaty.

What are the prospects for U.S. approval of the CTBT twenty years since the last U.S. nuclear test and more than fifteen years since President Bill Clinton signed the treaty?

The task will be very difficult, but is within reach in 2013 or 2014, if President Barack Obama is reelected this November and the Democratic Party retains control of the U.S. Senate. Both of which appear to be likely at the moment, though nothing is ever certain until election day.

To date, Governor Mitt Romney had said nothing about the CTBT and the Republican Party Platform does not mention the CTBT, but it is highly unlikely he would make the CTBT a priority. It is more likely that Romney would, if elected, maintain the U.S. nuclear test moratorium but try to reverse President Obama’s policy of not pursuing new types of nuclear weapons or modifying existing warhead types to give them new military capabilities.

Why do I remain optimistic?  Partly because the successful approval of New START in 2010 shows that even controversial arms control agreements can be approved in a tough political climate when the executive branch devotes sufficient time and high-level attention, when key Senators take the time to ask good questions and seriously consider the facts, and when U.S. military leaders speak up in support of the treaty.

It is self-defeating for the United States to oppose a treaty that prohibits an activity—nuclear testing—for which it has no need or interest in resuming. As Linton Brooks, the former head of the United States’ National Nuclear Security Administration, said in December 2011: "as a practical matter, it is almost certain that the United States will not test again ... in recent years I never met anybody who advocated that we seek authorization to return to testing."

Another reason for optimism is President Barack Obama’s strong support for moving the CTBT forward.

In his April 5 speech in Prague, President Obama declared that his administration “will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” More recently, March of this year, he said: “… my administration will continue to pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” And the official Democratic Party platform—out just this week—once again pledges to “work to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

To date, however, the Obama administration has not done enough to mobilize the scientific and technical expertise necessary to debunk spurious assertions against the Treaty and to mobilize support for its reconsideration by the U.S. Senate.

The focus of the administration’s attention over the course its first term has been the negotiation and ratification of New START, the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review and its implementation, the 2010 and 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and the challenges posed by the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

As a result, the administration’s CTBT effort has not been immediate nor has it been aggressive. President Obama has not yet launched what could be called a systematic and high-level political effort that will be necessary to win the support of key senators for the CTBT.

In a May 10, 2011 address before the Arms Control Association, then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen O. Tauscher said the Obama administration would take the time necessary to brief Senators on key technical and scientific issues that gave some Senators reason for pause during the 1999 debate.

"In our engagement with the Senate,” Tauscher said, “we want to leave aside the politics and explain why the CTBT will enhance our national security. Our case for Treaty ratification consists of three primary arguments: One, the United States no longer needs to conduct nuclear explosive tests, plain and simple. Two, a CTBT that has entered into force will obligate other states not to test and provide a disincentive for states to conduct such tests. And three, we now have a greater ability to catch those who cheat."

Since she spoke there is new evidence in support of the treaty that the Obama administration has at its disposal.

The March 2012 report by a panel of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reaffirms that the United States no longer needs and would not benefit from further nuclear testing. The report documents the significant technical advances over the past decade that should resolve the Senate’s concerns about the treaty in 1999.

For instance, the report finds that maintaining an effective nuclear stockpile will require continued diligence, but it does not require nuclear test explosions.

The report also finds that “the status of U.S. national monitoring and the International Monitoring System [IMS] has improved to levels better than predicted in 1999.” The new report confirms that with the combined capabilities of the nearly completed IMS, as well as tens of thousands of civilian seismic monitoring stations, no potential CTBT violator could be confident that a nuclear explosion of military utility would escape detection.

As George Shultz said in 2009, his fellow Republicans “might have been right voting against [the CTBT] some years ago, but they would be right voting for it now, based on these new facts.”

A thoughtful, thorough Senate review of the issues is essential. There is no reason for further delay, but at the same time the process cannot be rushed.

The Senate has not seriously examined these issues in years. In the decade since the Senate last considered the CTBT, 59 Senators have left office; only 41 Senators who debated and voted on the CTBT in 1999 remain. Although treaty ratification has become very political in the United States, it is important to recognize that New START ratification was approved with the support of 13 Republican Senators—10 of whom remain in the Senate today.

To move forward quickly after election day on the CTBT, President Obama will need to appoint a senior, high-level White House coordinator to push the ratification campaign along. For weeks and months, key committees and key Senators will need to be briefed in detail on the new National Academy of Sciences report and the new NIE on nuclear test monitoring issues and the progress of the U.S. stockpile stewardship program.

The Obama administration will also need to more aggressively address misconceptions and misinformation being put forward by hard-line opponents of the CTBT. For instance, some critics erroneously claim the CTBT does not define "nuclear test explosion" and therefore some states such as Russia believe low-yield tests are permitted. The record is clear: Article I of the CTBT bans "any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion" and all signatories of the treaty understand that means zero nuclear test explosions.

While the final outcome will depend on the politics of the moment, it will also depend on the administration’s ability to make a strong case and bring forward the many U.S. military and scientific leaders who support the CTBT and to mobilize key political constituencies in support of the treaty.

In sum, U.S. ratification of the CTBT has been delayed too long but it remains within sight.

The Role of Other Key States

While U.S. action on the treaty is essential for entry into force, other Annex II states must provide leadership rather than simply remain on the sidelines on the CTBT. Indonesia’s ratification of the CTBT in 2011 is an example of how key states can do so.

In particular, it is time for China’s leaders to finally act on the CTBT. On January 19, 2011, President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama issued a Joint Statement in which they declared: “… both sides support early entry into force of the CTBT.”  Such statements are welcome but insufficient.

Concrete action toward CTBT ratification by China would increase its credibility as a nonproliferation leader and improve the chances that other states will follow suit. Chinese ratification would put pressure on India to approve the treaty and would help constrain the possibility of a future nuclear arms race in Asia in the coming years.

China has provided no plausible reason—technical, political, or military—not to ratify. President Hu should provide the leadership necessary to take China off the list of CTBT holdout states or else provide a timeline for Chinese action on CTBT ratification.

China has and must continue to play a more constructive role to underscore the importance of the global nuclear test moratorium and accession to the CTBT, particularly with North Korea.

India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan could also advance their own cause and substantially ease regional tensions by converting their unilateral test moratoria into legally binding commitments to end nuclear testing through the CTBT.

India’s current leaders should recall that Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s eloquent and visionary 1988 action plan for disarmament argued for “a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons … to set the stage for negotiations on a comprehensive test-ban treaty.”

India has pledged in various domestic and international contexts to maintain its nuclear test moratorium, which makes it all the more logical for New Delhi’s leaders to reinforce global efforts to detect and deter nuclear testing by others through the CTBT. Those in India who once argued for a resumption of testing have been pushed to the margins and there does not appear to be any major political faction that opposes the CTBT for military or technical reasons.

Pakistan would clearly welcome a legally binding test ban with India and entry into force of the CTBT, and would very likely agree to ratify the treaty if India were to do so.

UN member states that are serious about their commitment to the CTBT and nuclear risk reduction should insist that India and Pakistan sign and ratify the CTBT before they are considered for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and that India should sign and ratify before its possible membership on the Security Council is considered.

The Middle East

With no shortage of conflict and hostility in the Middle East, ratification by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear weapons-related security concerns in the region. It would also help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a Middle East Zone free of Nuclear and other Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Israel’s ratification of the CTBT would bring that nation closer to the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream and lend encouragement to other states in the region to follow suit. Israel’s stated concerns about the CTBT at this point have to do with the procedures for on-site inspections, but in reality Israel is unwilling to ratify unless other states in the region also indicate they will do so.

Iran was at one time an active participant in the CTBT negotiations and on September 24, 1996 it signed the treaty. Today, Iranian ratification would help reduce concerns that its nuclear program could be used to develop and deploy deliverable nuclear warheads. Iranian ratification could help reinforce the credibility of the Supreme Leader’s fatwa against nuclear weapons and address urgent concerns that Iran may race to build nuclear weapons.

Continued failure by Iran to ratify the CTBT raises further questions about the nature of its sensitive nuclear activities, which remain under investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The member states of the Non-Aligned Movement need to play a stronger leadership role in pressing Iran, the incoming chair of the NAM, to ratify the CTBT.

North Korea

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests have undermined Asian security and further isolated the country. A third nuclear test explosion would worsen an already tense situation on the Korean peninsula and make it far more difficult for the DPRK to be accepted back into the global community of nations.

The leaders of the DPRK have an opportunity to take a new approach in the years ahead by following through on their February 29 pledge to observe a moratorium on nuclear test explosions as a confidence-building measure and resume action-for-action process for denuclearization and normalization. The Russian Federation and China can play an especially important role in pointing out the benefits of such an approach.

Reinforcing the Test Ban

There are other actions that should be pursued that would reinforce the de facto test moratorium and accelerate CTBT entry into force. Specifically:

  1. Responsible states should provide in full and without delay assessed financial contributions to the CTBTO, fully assist with the completion of the IMS networks, and continuously and without interruption transmit data from the monitoring stations. This will ensure the most robust capabilities to detect and deter clandestine nuclear test explosions. States should also recognize that the Provisional Technical Secretariat to the CTBTO Preparatory Commission is–for all practical purposes–no longer “provisional.” The International Monitoring System and International Data Center are now an essential part of today’s 21st century international security architecture that enables all states to detect and deter nuclear tests;
  2. In order to further reinforce the de facto global taboo against nuclear testing and deter any state from considering nuclear test explosions in the future, the UN Security Council should discuss and outline the penalties that could be imposed in the event that any state breaks this taboo;
  3. Russia and China could join the United States and formally declare they will not pursue new types of nuclear weapons or modify weapons in ways that create new military capabilities. Such policies would reinforce the effect of the CTBT on halting the qualitative improvement of nuclear arsenals;
  4. Nuclear armed states—particularly Russia, China, and the United States—should halt activities at the former sites of nuclear test explosions that might raise concerns about compliance with the CTBT and begin serious technical discussions on confidence building measures that could be undertaken in advance of CTBT entry into force to reinforce the moratorium and the CTBT itself.

None of these steps are simple nor are they easy. Each requires that leaders from key states think creatively and seize the initiative to close the door on nuclear testing forever.

Thank you for your attention.








Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association at Moscow Nuclear Nonproliferation Conference in Moscow, Russia on September 6, 2012.

ACA Senior Fellow Speaks at U.S.-Brazilian Workshop in Brazil



Defining the Ideal Relationship between our Countries and Looking to Areas of Misunderstanding and Disagreement

Prepared Remarks by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association
at U.S.-Brazillian Workshop on Global and Regional Security
Brasilia, Brazil
August 13-14, 2012

I wanted to begin this scene-setter by giving you a little more information on my personal background.

I grew up in the farming state of Iowa, deep in the interior of the United States.  It’s sort of like the Brazilian state of Goias, but there’s no samba music on the radio, no cafezinho in the cafes, and no Southern Cross in the night sky.

However, every time I fly home from Washington in recent years, I arrive on an Embraer aircraft.  And the farmers in Iowa worry about competition from Brazilian farmers in marketing soybean and ethanol – more evidence that our two countries are important to each other.

Most of my professional career in the U.S. Foreign Service and later as a staffer in the U.S. Senate has involved arms control and other political-military issues, but my first and last diplomatic assignments were to serve as a political officer of the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia.

In the course of these two tours, I experienced the U.S.-Brazilian relationship near its nadir, during the dictatorship of General Geisel as President Carter was pushing on human rights and nonproliferation.  I’ve also seen the relationship at one of the high points – when Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Bill Clinton found common cause on a wide variety of issues, benefitting from good personal chemistry as well as converging national interests.

I confess to being heavily influenced by the recipe used to make progress in U.S.-Brazilian relations during my second tour between 1995 and 1998.  I believe that progress continues to be made, although it is still burdened by some legacies of the past as well as by natural differences of perspective.  Before I get to specifics, I will offer two sweeping generalizations:

  • The U.S. public is raised on the notion of “American exceptionalism,” which assumes a different standard for U.S. conduct in the world as superpower and “indispensible” nation than is expected from other countries.  The United States Government has a tendency to expect friends to be subservient and follow its lead.
  • For its part, the Brazilian Government still has a tendency to define its own independence and greatness in contradistinction to the policies and characteristics of the United States.  And Brazil resists the international obligations that the world needs it to accept if the challenges of the future are to be successfully managed.

As with any two large nations, the United States and Brazil have divergent as well as common interests.  This is true with security as well as with trade and environmental issues, as can be seen in the case of nuclear arms control.

My point of departure on this subject is the historic Prague speech of President Obama in April 2009.   Key to his message was his assessment that: “the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.”  His famous and consequential punchline was: “I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”  In operationalizing this aspiration, he listed specific policy objectives:

-- reducing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy;

-- negotiating a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia;

-- “aggressively pursuing” ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; and

-- seeking “a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons.”

I’m sure the Brazilian government could enthusiastically embrace the disarmament commitments in this portion of the speech, no doubt noting that since giving it, Obama has not been able to convince the U.S. Congress to move forward on some of the fronts he articulated.

But then Obama turned to the other part of the bargain made by the parties signing the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)--that states without nuclear weapons would agree not to acquire them and not help other countries to acquire them.  He called for additional resources to strengthen international inspections, for insuring that there are real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules, and for building a new collaborative framework for civilian nuclear cooperation.  Finally, Obama announced a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years, cutting in half the length of time previously planned, and to build on efforts to break up black markets in nuclear materials, detect and intercept materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt the illicit nuclear trade.

Brazil has been less enthusiastic embracing the nonproliferation side of the ledger, as it is still chafing from the “discriminatory” nature of the NPT.  Brazil demonstrated its potential to help with the process of diplomatically engaging the recalcitrant Iranians in negotiating with Turkey the Tehran Declaration of 2010.  But in the end, it failed to address Iran’s 20 percent uranium enrichment activities, which threatened to render meaningless the Tehran Research Reactor fuel swap offer from the previous year.  That deal was ultimately rejected by Tehran’s leadership.  The fuel swap would have been an important confidence-building measure, but it was never intended to resolve the core issue – Iran’s failure to comply fully with IAEA safeguards.  It was Iran’s compliance shortfall, which prompted the UN Security Council to overwhelmingly endorse stricter sanctions against Iran at the beginning of June 2010.  Brazil and Turkey cast the only “no” votes, diluting the potential political impact on Iran that a unanimous vote would have delivered.  Even Lebanon, with Hezbollah members in the governing coalition, managed at least to abstain.

Brazil’s program for domestic uranium enrichment has also led to nonproliferation concerns--not so much that Brazil is suspected of any longer harboring nuclear weapons ambitions, but that it is not setting a good example for other non-nuclear-weapon-state members of the NPT.  A substantial majority of NPT members, over a hundred, have signed the Additional Protocol to the treaty, which provides enhanced safeguards against the diversion of peaceful programs.  Brazil has not signed--giving encouragement to the refusal of other states, like Iran and Syria, whose nuclear activities are very much suspected of being intended to create the capacity to build nuclear weapons.  As Maria Rost Rublee wrote in a 2010 Nonproliferation Review article, Brazil’s opposition to the Additional Protocol complicates the efforts of the Nuclear Supplier Group to use adherence to the procedures as a criterion for “responsible countries” in order for them to be considered as recipients of enrichment and reprocessing technologies.  Rublee also notes that Brazil’s rejection of full visual inspection by the IAEA in order to protect “proprietary information,” sets an unfortunate precedent that could also be exploited by proliferators.

In similar fashion, Brazil’s plans to build and deploy six nuclear-powered submarines complicates international efforts to monitor and control the production of uranium enriched to levels in excess of that needed to fuel civilian power reactors.  That the NPT permits members to enrich uranium even to weapons grade levels for the purpose of fueling naval reactors is widely considered a loophole in the treaty, because it could enable non-nuclear-weapon states to legitimately stockpile material that would constitute the most difficult prerequisite for being able to quickly build a nuclear bomb.  Iran’s announcement in June that it intended to build nuclear-powered submarines set off alarm bells for just this reason.  Han Ruehle, a former head of the German Defense Ministry’s Planning Staff, articulated the suspicion clearly, recently describing Iran’s announcement as: “just a pretext to enrich weapons-grade uranium the legal way,” adding: “Its role model is Brazil.”

I would argue, by the way, that Brazil’s pursuit of nuclear-powered submarines is the outdated legacy of Brazil’s previous pursuit of nuclear weapons options and is now driven by mistaken considerations of national and military service prestige rather than by contemporary military necessity.  Carlo Patti’s 2010 article about Lula’s nuclear policies in Revista Brasileira de Politica Internacional referred to Brazil’s two “traditional goals: the national industrial enrichment of uranium and the construction of a nuclear submarine.”  In 2008, a top Brazilian general, Jose Benedito de Barros Moreira, described the development of a nuclear submarine as “Brazil’s number one military priority.”

I do not understand this logic.  Canada and Australia both have enormous maritime boundaries and abundant natural resources to protect, but both opted out of developing or otherwise acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.  So did Japan, which, unlike Brazil, faces large potential threats from its immediate neighbors.  If Brazil worries about invasion or interference in its maritime economic zone, I would think that the 20 modern conventional submarines Brazil plans to have would provide more effective deterrence than six nuclear-powered ones.

A senior Iranian official visiting Syria last week hailed the governments in Damascus and Tehran as part of the “axis of resistance.”  I have an allergy to simplistic designations of “axes” – whether of “resistance” or of “evil.”  I do not worry that Brazil will lose its bearings as a responsible and democratic nation.  And I welcome Brazil’s willingness to take the United States to task for its failures to live up to its own stated commitments and values.  I do hope, however, that our two countries will not interpret encountering policy differences as a “zero-sum” game, but rather as recognition that even friends sometimes disagree on the best way to achieve national goals both hold in common.

I am inspired by the critical help rendered by Brazil during my second tour here – for example, in advancing peace talks between Peru and Ecuador, which ultimately ended South America’s last major border dispute.  I was impressed during my second tour how Brazil’s introduction of a simple but rugged voting machine virtually ended voting fraud in this country, with enormous applications for fostering good governance in the developing world.   More recently, I’ve noticed how the performance of Brazil’s peacekeepers in Haiti won deep respect.

I foresee huge opportunities for bilateral cooperation in environmental pursuits – from securing and maintaining the health of the Amazon basin to mitigating growth in the planet’s carbon output through cultivation of renewable energy resources.

I look for constructive international initiatives by a country, which is renowned for the historic success of its diplomacy and the skill of its diplomats.

I expect Brazil to prosper not only in agriculture, mining and manufacturing, but in the new high tech industries of the future as well.  And I expect an increasingly prosperous Brazil to contribute its share to the international organizations, which will be increasingly important for maintaining peace and facilitating international cooperation.

I look for Brazilian contributions in developing successful approaches to combating epidemics and controlling tropical diseases.

I look for better exploitation of one of planet’s best locations for a spaceport –Alcântara, Maranhão – using both foreign and Brazilian space launch vehicles in a cooperative international framework.

I also believe that Brazil will eventually join an expanded UN Security Council as a permanent member.

So I’ve offered some views by one North American on how working constructively together on security issues could benefit the bilateral relationship.  I’m eager to hear other perspectives.


Prepared remarks by ACA Senior Fellow Greg Thielmann at Brookings on August 13-14, 2012 on "Defining the Ideal Relationship between our Countries and Looking to Areas of Misunderstanding and Disagreement," at a U.S.-Brazillian workshop in Brasilia, Brazil

Subject Resources:

ACA June 4 Annual Meeting



"Meeting the Next Challenges on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament"

Monday, June 4, 2012
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C

You can see video coverage of the annual meeting here at CSPAN.

Transcripts Available:

Panel on the Next Phase of U.S.-Russian Nuclear Reductions: Ret. Lt. Gen. Dirk Jameson, Jon Wolfsthal, deputy director James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and Trine Flockhart, senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies.

Panel on Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran: Career Amb. Thomas Pickering, Amb. Hossein Mousavian, former Iranian nuclear envoy, and Tarja Cronberg, chairperson of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with Iran.

Keynote Speaker: Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and New START negotiator.

ACA's Annual Meeting is made possible with support from the Heinrich Böll Foundation and other generous ACA donors and members.

Panel on the Next Phase of U.S.-Russian Nuclear Reductions

Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Lieutenant General Dirk Jameson (retired), Former Deputy Commander in Chief and Chief of Staff, U.S. Strategic Command;


Jon Wolfsthal, Deputy Director, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies;


Trine Flockhart, Senior Researcher on Defense and Security, Danish Institute for International Studies

Transcript by Federal News Service Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good morning, everyone.  If you could please find your seats, please, we’re about to get started.

Good morning, everyone.  I’m Daryl Kimball.  I’m executive director of the independent nongovernmental Arms Control Association, and I want to welcome everyone to our 2012 annual meeting.  I also want to thank and welcome those of you watching online and on C-SPAN.  And before we get stated, I’d like to remind everybody to turn off your cellular devices so we’re not interrupted.

As the Arms Control Association enters its fifth decade, we’ve remained committed to providing information and ideas to address the security challenges posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons:  nuclear, biological, chemical and certain conventional weapons.

As our many members here today know, our monthly journal, Arms Control Today, is a key resource for ideas and news and analysis and interviews with key policymakers on a range of issues.  And our staff churns out on a regular basis issue briefs, opinion pieces, background papers and reports on a range of topics, and they’re all available at armscontrol.org.  And our ability to do this depends on our individual members and our subscribers to Arms Control Today.  And if you’re not a member or a subscriber, I would encourage you to consider doing so.

But today’s event on meeting the next challenges on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament is just one of the many events that we host each year on arms control and nonproliferation issues.

With support and assistance from the Heinrich Böll Foundation, we’ve brought together today a very distinguished set of speakers from all around the world.

Our panels this morning will address two of the most pressing arms control challenges that we face today:  first, advancing further progress to reduce the role, the number of the world’s global stockpiles of nuclear weapons, and second, and perhaps more urgently, advancing effective diplomatic solutions to prevent the spread of weapons to additional states such as Iran.

To close out the conference over lunch, we’re honored to have Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller.  She was the lead negotiator for the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and she’ll give us the Obama administration’s view on recent progress and the next steps ahead.

And then let me also just note – you’ll see in your program members of the Arms Control Association are welcome to join us at 3:45 p.m. in the afternoon for an informal discussion of ACA’s organizational and program priorities, and then at 5:00 p.m., we invite friends and colleagues of the late Stanley Resor to join us in honoring the former army secretary, arms control negotiator and former ACA board chairman who passed away this past April.

So to our first panel today, which will focus on the next phase of U.S.-Russian nuclear reductions after New START and the NATO summit in Chicago, we’re at a very important juncture on this issue.  You’ll recall that back in 2009 President Obama pledged to, and I quote, “put an end to outdated Cold War thinking by reducing the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy,” unquote.  And then in 2010 the U.S. and Russia completed the negotiations on the New START treaty.

And then also in 2010 the administration completed a congressionally-mandated Nuclear Posture Review that determined that, and I quote, “the fundamental role of U.S. nuclear forces is to deter nuclear attacks against the U.S. and our allies and our partners,” unquote.  The president then directed a study on how to implement that strategy, and that study is due to be completed very soon.  Back in March, in South Korea, President Obama said, quote, “that study is still under way, but even as we have more to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need,” unquote.  So the Nuclear Posture Review Implementation Study will have far-reaching implications for U.S. nuclear policy and the future path for U.S. and Russian nuclear reductions, and also how we can reduce the enormous cost of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which, according to a new Stimson Center study published in this month’s issue of Arms Control Today, is at least $31 billion a year.

So to explore these and other issues, we’re very pleased to have three distinguished speakers.  We have with us Lieutenant General Dirk Jameson, who served as deputy commander and chief of staff of the U.S. Strategic Command before retiring in 1996 after more than three decades of active service.  He’s currently an active member of the Consensus for American Security of the American Security Project, and he will give us his thoughts on these issues that I’ve just introduced.

The second speaker will be Jon Wolfsthal, who served in 2009 and 2010 on the national security staff and with the office of Vice President Biden.  He is now deputy director at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.  And Jon is going to give us his thoughts and views on the path and the options for pursuing further reductions and the challenges that we must overcome in doing so.

And we’re also very pleased to have with us Trine Flockhart, who’s a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies in Copenhagen who will provide us with a European perspective on the recently completed Defense and Deterrence Posture Review that was issued at the recent NATO summit and also her thoughts on possible steps for dealing with the leftover tactical nuclear arsenals of the United States and Europe and – as well as Russia.

And after each of their opening remarks, we’ll take your questions and we’ll have a discussion.  And so I welcome General Jameson to the meeting and to open us up.  The floor is yours.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL DIRK JAMESON:  Thank you very much.  It’s a real pleasure to be here.  I note from the smattering of gray hair and talk of some reunions that most of you have lived through a good portion of the Cold War, and some of you probably are saying, what was the Cold War?  It’s also very reassuring to me to know that among all of you, I’m probably the least expert in many of the things that go on inside the Beltway.

I call myself an operator.  By some strange occurrence of events, I ended up going through the Cold War in positions that gave me, I think, a unique window onto the operational side of things and, in that sense, the urgency of finding a new way in this 21st century.

I know it’s not lost on any of us here that we’re – in spite of what I saw and, on occasion, up close and personal, close calls during the Cold War, we are here this morning, and we have somehow escaped as a human race a nuclear exchange.  And there were close calls.  And so I think something that the citizenry needs to keep in mind is that these things are an ongoing – these issues are an ongoing struggle to control the dangers of nuclear weapons.

As a young lieutenant sitting nuclear alert, I stared at 10 green lights, each one of those lights representing an enormous amount of destruction, and practiced hundreds and hundreds of times the execution and release of those nuclear weapons.  We did that all the time.  And my neighbors were flying nuclear airborne alert in B-52s on occasion.  I mean, that wasn’t a constant thing in those days, but it was – it was frequent.  And the nuclear subs were at sea.  We had an enormous destructive capability.

And I think I was not unique among those men – in those days, they were men; now that’s a generic term – but those people that were controlling those in contemplating, as we – as we inventoried the execution plans, the consequences of actually executing.  I thought about that many, many times.  And of course, it was heightened by movies such as “Seven Days in May” and “Dr. Strangelove.”  And as I say, you – many of you lived through every bit of that.  And the fact is we are extremely fortunate.

Later as a commander in the 1980s, my units were receiving new platforms, platforms that were capable of carrying more nuclear weapons at such a rapid rate that we often thought of it in terms of the cat in the castor oil; you had to have one searching, one covering, and – I mean, and one going and one covering up.  It was – it was – it was really an accelerated period.

And the dialogue of deterrence in those days was there is – there is no escape for the enemy, and if we go to war, they will suffer.  And people did talk about winning a nuclear war in spite of the fact that the consequences would be so extreme as to make winning kind of a ludicrous term.

I did know in those days that I and my crewmembers, all of the people that I just described, would follow orders.  And if the president said go under the extremely tight constraints that a president would have to make a decision like that, they would – they would carry out the orders.  There is no doubt in my mind.

But the enemy of those days is gone.  It no longer exists.  This is a new – this is a new time.  The Soviet Union, with its massive capabilities, no longer exists.  The deterrence calculus that has been with us – no longer applies, or it shouldn’t; it should be rethought.  We don’t have the – that massive offensive capability of the Soviet Union and an ideology which was to dominate and to dominate us.  And if people argue that that exists, they’re wrong.  We need to – we need to convince them that it’s not the same.

So 21st-century deterrence, in my mind, has much to do with our conventional capabilities, with emerging technologies, and a Russia that is bound with us in a – in a carefully negotiated treaty to reduce and verify these weapons.  And I remember when we were concerned with New START ratification that my growing concern, and that of many of my fellow retired – my grandson says retarded – (laughter) – general officers, flag officers, was that it – the period of time that we no longer had very capable inspectors on the ground in Russia was extending, that the ability to gather data was extended – was being extended to the point where it was – it didn’t make sense, this process of arms control that I give such credit to people way back, you know, who, when we were MIRVing and doing things that seemed to make sense under that theory of deterrence, had the courage to say, wait a minute, we – making the rubble bounce is no exaggeration, none whatsoever.  We – few people – but I include myself as one of them – have had the opportunity to review the war plan all the way and to look at individual targets and to see what we were doing with the production of our development capabilities.

So it’s a new time, but U.S. and Russia do hold 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.  I think, with my experience with the Russians, and I have had a considerable amount, that we and they really understand how much the utility, the operational utility of nuclear weapons has been overstated.  And we need to somehow preserve this arms control process, the good work that’s been done in verification and data exchange that I’m sure that Secretary Gottemoeller will talk about today.

So again, it’s our good fortune that we have made it to June 2012, in my mind.  The revised calculus of deterrence that I talk about needs to be fleshed out.  It’s not really, I don’t think, going to be a civilian audience that does this, but there is – there is much to highlight in dialogue with the American people and with our elected officials.  I hope that it can be nonpartisan.  I’m still hopeful that the political process will allow this preservation of a long-developed arms control approach to continue and that clearly, a new deterrent calculus will allow us and the Russians to posture – to secure and posture our nuclear weapons with further reductions and less danger.  I’m confident we can do that.

So I would say that we – as we update our thinking, that I don’t at all go away from what Ronald Reagan said about trust but verify, and I think we continue to put a big emphasis on verify as we expand not only the discussion of our nuclear enterprise but the other issues that others on the panel will discuss and including, I hope, all of the – all of the nuclear holders in the world and the issue of proliferation.

Thank you very much.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, General.

And now we’ll turn to Jon Wolfsthal for newer perspectives on nuclear weapons and deterrence in a changed world.

Jon, thanks for being here.

JON WOLFSTHAL:  Great, thank you, Daryl, very much for inviting me.

Thank you all for coming.  Of course I would have been happy to accept the invitation.  Having been locked inside the White House for the last three years, just getting out in the daylight is nice.  But I actually got my start – my real start in this field at the Arms Control Association.  I attended the annual meeting as a young member in 1990 when Spurgeon announced that they would be creating a nonproliferation position, which I got eventually because I was the least expensive candidate.  (Laughter.)  And it’s been downhill ever since.

As Daryl said, I spent the last three years in the White House working as the vice president’s adviser on nuclear issues, and really I’m fortunate not only for that experience, but for a nuclear wonk like myself, to basically be given that access and to understand for the first time really what goes into all of these different questions that we’re dealing with.  And as the general knows very, very well, the minutia really can overwhelm you, but you have to understand it before tackling the larger questions of deterrence calculus and stability, not to worry about single-shot kill probability and exchange ratios, but to really understand the thinking of the different services and the different constituents before you then go ahead and pick a number at, say, where, you know, you feel you should come out.

And I think one thing that I would like people to take away is that the administration’s been very careful to take the advice many of us were given years ago, which is don’t tell the operators how to operate.  You know, don’t come in and say, you know, we really only need four submarines at sea.  Really what we wanted to work through and which we had the opportunity to do, with a tremendously open process involving the State Department, Defense Department, services, intelligence, Department of Energy for the production, uniformed military, is to think through the big questions that were laid out in the president’s strategy documents: the Nuclear Posture Review, the Prague speech.  Where do we want to go?  What are the threats that we’re trying to address globally?  And then to figure out what are the questions that nuclear weapons are necessary for, hoping then to move the other questions out of the nuclear arena because, as the president has said many times, he – and I would argue, correctly – believes that it is very much in the security interests to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons and to reduce the roles of nuclear weapons as we pursue a more expanded and, in many ways, a much more aggressive nonproliferation policy, one that we recognize has as much and probably even more of a bearing on our security position than some outdated Cold War mentality of nuclear parity with Russia or any other country.

So I’m sure many of you are pretty steeped in those documents of the NPR.  But I would encourage you to go back and take a look at those, and particularly the five criteria that are enumerated in the NPR, because those are very much the criteria that we put against how many ICBMs do you think you need to have in order to assure that they’re survivable or submarines?  Or which countries need to be on the targeting list, and which countries can drop off of the targeting list?  Or do you really need to cross-target with ICBMs and SLBMs in order to achieve these goals?  Those five questions were the ones that really got to us.

And then, of course, throughout this process – and the vice president was very much involved in this – is to understand that, regardless of what number you come out at, after that strategy work is done and you’ve determined what the numbers might be, if that is one or it’s a million and one, you’re still going to need a nuclear complex that is capable of supporting the maintenance of that capability.  If it’s one, you still need a bunch of scientists and engineers that can take it apart and understand how it works.  You’re still going to need production facilities that can remake it if necessary or can build back up or, at the very least, dismantle the thousands of nuclear weapons that we’re still dealing with in the aftermath of the Cold War.  And that’s another issue that I’ll touch briefly on about needing to get to this bipartisan consensus, although I don’t think anybody’s ever going to get a consensus on anything in Washington, but at least some sort of general agreement that, whether you believe we need more nuclear weapons or less nuclear weapons, there’s a certain amount of investment that’s necessary for the nuclear complex, and I don’t mean every bell and whistle.  And having gone through this in detail, everybody throughout the process, from the NNSA to OMB to the Nuclear Weapons Council, understand that there’s the perfect and then there’s the necessary, and there’s a whole bunch of cutting that’s going to go on at the top.  But you’re still going to need some level of investment in order to maintain any type of nuclear activity.

So, for many of the people in this room that are concerned about these issues – several of whom called me over the past three years to tell me, hey, make sure you do this and have you thought about that – I mean, I can now tell you, you know, you should take heart in the sense that we were wrestling with the same questions that you all talk about and now we all talk about on a regular basis:  You know, what are the threats that we face that absolutely require some sort of nuclear capability to address?  How many nuclear weapons are really necessary to deter enemies and reassure friends?  And what does deterrence mean in the 21st century and how does that compare with what deterrence meant 20 or 30 years ago?  Because the nuclear guidance, as it exists, is still pretty much a reflection of deterrence policy in the late parts of the Cold War.  Stan Norris and Hans and others have written very well about this in Arms Control Today, talking about the different category sets – and I’m not going to get into that – but it’s clear that a lot has changed.  And as the general said, we need to change our deterrence thinking about our deterrence calculus.

We wrestled a lot with, how can we reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons in ways that not only ensure our security, but actually advance it?  For those that watch this, New START was about a lot of things.  It was about getting the verification capabilities back on the ground in Russia and providing that insight into what’s going on, but it was also very much about the NPT Review Conference coming up.  It was also very much about needing to reharness and refocus the international community’s attention on Iran and not allow – not to allow this gap in U.S.-Russian arms control to become a distraction from what everybody recognizes is the next set of security challenges.

We also dealt very steadily with the question of, how do we deal with the aging of the nuclear triad?  What do we need for the future in terms of strategic delivery vehicles and, quite frankly, how much is that going to cost us?  We didn’t let numbers, either the level of nuclear weaponry that we thought might be useful or how much money we had available, drive the system.  But we had to be aware of what it was going to cost to try and implement these things in a budget-constrained environment.

But, as we got through this process and only after we looked at what the strategy needed to be, then we talked about numbers.  And I know people have read a lot of the reporting that said the president sent out to the Pentagon requests for numbers at a very low level and write me a strategy for this.  I can tell you plainly that’s just not true, and I can tell you it’s not true because I helped write that part of the guidance.  So don’t believe it, and if there are reporters here in the room, I’d be happy to talk with you afterwards.

So, in terms of what’s going to come out – and my expectation is that this is going to be rolled out in some way, shape or form in the next several weeks if not a month or two; I actually am not sure how it’s going to be rolled out – in terms of the way this is going to impact on the future of arms control negotiations, I’ll tell you plainly that I argued against a rollout that included a number because I do favor a new set of negotiated reductions with Russia and think that if you come out with a number, you’re basically opening yourself up to giving away your negotiating position.  So I argued very strongly inside that we should talk about what the framework is, what the strategy is, how we’re reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons, but leave the numbers for the negotiation in the hopes that we could actually get Russia to come with us down to a lower number.

Now I will tell you plainly that I am a pessimist when it comes to what’s going to come over the next year or two on negotiated reductions.  I wish that weren’t the case, but I think the thinking in Russia is not the same as the thinking in the United States.  And quite frankly, on this issue, Senator Kyl – and only this issue – Senator Kyl and I actually agree:  I don’t want to give the Russians a veto over what we do with our strategic capabilities.  And knowing that we can go lower, that we don’t need to be spending money in the nuclear complex, that we quite frankly need to be spending in other areas, I don’t want to delay that process of going down to lower numbers because as the general, I think, was alluding to, it’s clear that, unlike the Cold War when it was the Soviet Union, their conventional capability, and the risk of conflict that was the threat, today the threat is the weapons themselves.

Nobody – very few people reasonably believe that we’re going to have a nuclear conflict because of some deliberate decision to try to pre-empt or disarm the United States of their nuclear capability or vice versa, whereas during the Cold War, very reasonable people – senior government officials, out-of-governments, actually worried day to day that, well, if there’s asymmetry and instability, this might be a real risk.  Today I think most people recognize that if there’s a nuclear exchange, it’s going to be because of miscalculation or accident and that’s the threat that we have to address.  And if we can go to lower numbers through negotiations, then great.  That’s a much better world.  But, quite frankly, I don’t want to delay that day while we’re addressing this challenge.

And so, in large part because I don’t think Russia’s prepared to go to much lower numbers – they might be prepared to come down incrementally because, quite frankly, they’re already below the New START numbers; so they might be willing to have some adjustment, but – if we really want to break the back on Cold War thinking, then we have to go to much lower numbers.

And I think this’ll probably my second-to-last point that – and this administration, I think, is guilty as many other administrations – we talk as if the nuclear strategy has changed and that, as President Clinton said, we’re – we’ve rid the nightmare of nuclear war from our grandchildren’s dreams.  The fact is we still size our nuclear capabilities to fight nuclear wars.  We call it deterrence or we call it planning for what happens if deterrence fails while we’re still sizing our force to make sure we can blow up a lot of what Russia or other enemies might need to fight us.  And that’s nuclear war fighting.  What we need is a force that’s fundamentally sized and based on deterrence, and that number is much, much lower than what it takes to blow up a lot of stuff in foreign countries.

And I would argue that, at least from the United States’ perspective and increasingly in – and Russia and China, that number is very, very low.  And just from a personal point of view, I would say that number is probably more than one, but less than 20, that the United States is deterred by the reasonable threat that 20 nuclear weapons or less can land on U.S. soil.  And therefore, the numbers need to come way down because anything above that is really unnecessary.  As long as it’s secure and reliable and technically we know that it will work, then I think we’re still able to pursue a very stable set of deterrent calculations.  And, quite frankly, the idea that we need to go down in some sort of parity or symmetric reductions, I think, is also outdated because, during the Cold War, again, reasonable minds could argue if there was a 20, 30, 40 percent delta in what Russia had or we had or what we had and China had or what the Europeans had and what the tactical – then you could argue that somebody might get it in their head that now’s the time.  But does anybody think that a 40 percent difference between what we have and Russia’s going to lead President Putin to say, ah, now’s our opportunity?  Right?  I mean, it’s just – it’s hard to imagine any scenario where that creeps into the thinking.  So, again, that’s just my personal view; but I think it’s one set of arguments that went very much into the debate over where the Nuclear Guidance Review is going to come out.

So last point – and that’s, again, on the nuclear complex.  The general said hopefully that we could try and at least establish some areas of nonpartisan agreement on this.  If you look back at the Strategic Posture Review – Strategic Posture Commission, before the administration came into office, if you look at what was discussed very early on in the Nuclear Posture Review, the one area where we really didn’t have much of a disagreement – and actually where very conservative planners on nuclear forces and very progressive voices on nuclear issues came to some agreement during the New START process – was to understand that, regardless of what size nuclear weaponry or arsenal we need, we’re going to have to have some reinvestment in the nuclear complex: the people, the delivery vehicles, and the science and technological and industrial base that supports it.

We can debate all you want about whether we need the facility in New Mexico to do plutonium or the facility in Tennessee to do uranium, but we recognize we’re going to need some level of that.  This budget cycle, I think, has shown us that we’re still very far away from getting that type of agreement, and if we want to have any set of reductions, we’re going to have to really work very carefully on what that set of investments is going to be.  But the flip side’s also true: that if we intend to get any real sustainable investment plan, we’re going to have to have reductions to support that because you’re not going to be able to convince the broad parts of the Congress you need to convince to spend money on this unless you show at least some of them that it’s a path down.  And so if we don’t have both pieces of that puzzle, I worry that we’re going to end up with a very underfunded complex, very unreliable nuclear arsenals and much larger nuclear arsenals than we need to support our security, and that’s, I think, a loser for all constituencies.

Sorry I went on a little long, but I look forward to your questions.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Jon.

Now we’re going to turn to another facet of the nuclear weapons question focusing on some of the issues relating to NATO policy and Europe and the tactical nuclear weapons problem.

Trine Flockhart, who’s a senior researcher at the Danish Institute of International Studies, thanks for being with us.  The floor is yours.

TRINE FLOCKHART:  Thank you.  First of all, thank you for inviting me.  I’m really honored to speak to such a distinguished audience, and I’m so pleased to be in Washington.  It’s always a treat to come to Washington.

Now, in my studies over the years of NATO and nuclear weapons, it has always seemed to me that NATO is nuclear-addicted.  So, the question that I’ve asked myself after the publication of the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review is – well, is NATO still nuclear-addicted?  I’m afraid that the simple question or the simple answer to that question is yes, although now with the promise that NATO is now willing to consider not to have any of the drugs lying around at home in Europe as long as it’s co-dependent fellow addict Russia is willing to do the same.  Unfortunately I suspect this is not a position with great prospects.

OK, so Daryl has asked me to give a brief assessment of the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, which is also known, for short, as the DDPR.

Now, perhaps I should say even though I know this is a very knowledgeable audience, if the DDPR somehow has slipped your attention, then don’t blame yourself because you could actually say that since the announcement of the DDPR at the Lisbon summit, about 18 months ago in November 2010, it has turned into a secret review process.  It started out being something that was agreed to save the Strategic Concept because Germany had launched the question of nuclear weapons and no one could agree to that to get into the Strategic Concept.  The agreement was then to launch, and I quote, “a major review of NATO’s overall deterrence and defense posture.”  That was then going to be presented at the Chicago summit just a few weeks ago.

Well, what happened after that was that it started out being quite a public affair.  But, after a few months, I think NATO realized that they had actually bitten off more than they could chew and the process turned into being an almost secret process.  It has rarely been referred to since in public.  A few months into the process, no one in NATO would go to gatherings like these and talk about DDPR, and it was published at the Chicago summit without even as much as a press briefing.  So, not surprisingly, therefore, DDPR has only had sporadic public interest, and I think the knowledge about DDPR is quite limited within gatherings like these.

Now when the DDPR was announced at Lisbon, many including myself welcomed the process as an opportunity to get a proper discussion about NATO’s deterrence and defense posture and particularly the future of the forward-deployed American nonstrategic nuclear weapons that are still based in five European countries.  Perhaps naively, I also hoped that the DDPR, in light of changes in the international context, in light of NATO’s redefined role and its new Strategic Concept, and in light of NATO’s redefined role in its new Strategic Concept, and in light of the additional NATO capability in the form of missile defense; might also discuss alternative ways of showing commitment, of reassurance and on sharing of risks and burdens within the alliance.

Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case.  And I have to agree with former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn that the DDPR at best deserves a grade of incomplete.

OK.  So what’s in the document?  Well, I think you’re already guessing what I’m going to say.  There’s not a lot in there; it’s mostly hot air.  Despite the really complicated and conceptual issues, the document is less than 3,000 words long, which includes long prose about the less central issues that the allies could actually agree on.  Moreover, the document is written in a complex and convoluted language that seems to be designed to detract from rather than to add to clarity about these very complex and hugely important issues.

Most importantly, the document effectively dodges the main issues.  And it fails completely to answer some of the most essential questions, most notably:  What is the purpose of nuclear weapons, especially the forward deployed nonstrategic nuclear weapons?  How has that purpose changed since the end of the Cold War?  What is the effect of the new missile defense capability for the overall defense and deterrence posture?  It doesn’t really address these questions, at least not in any depth.

In addition, the document never asks what the implications are of NATO’s decision at Lisbon to elevate cooperative security and crisis management to core tasks along with the original collective defense.  Despite the significant changes brought about by the Strategic Concept, the DDPR reads as if none of these changes matter.

So this is puzzling and it is also disappointing, because the rethinking of NATO’s core tasks and the new missile defense capability clearly opens up for new possibilities on how to show commitment and cohesion in the alliance.  Yet the DDPR has been completely unable to suggest new ways of ensuring nuclear sharing and possible alternatives to nuclear sharing, as for example missile defense sharing, and the value of burden sharing through practical participation in the other two core tasks that I mentioned, crisis management and cooperative security.

So, sadly, overall the document constitutes a victory for France and those Central and East European allies who maintain Russia as the main security concern and who basically joined a NATO anno 1990, rather than a NATO that is ready for the security challenges of the 21st century.

So if I was to draw up a score sheet, list pro and cons, then I would suggest the following positive aspects.  First of all, it’s positive that the document was made public.  This was by no means a certainty and was only agreed shortly before Chicago.  Secondly, it’s positive that the document makes rhetorical reference to the possibility, at least, of reducing or withdrawing nonstrategic nuclear weapons.

Thirdly – and in this, I may be stretching it here as a positive – but it’s positive that the Weapons of Mass Destruction, Control and Disarmament Committee, which was established as part of the process, will be replaced with a new committee that can function as a consultative and advisory forum, because NATO really needs to have that.  However, this may turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory, as the committee’s mandate first has to be agreed, which could take a very, very long time because France is basically against this committee.

It’s also positive that the DDPR contains a commitment to developing confidence and transparency measures vis-à-vis Russia.  And finally, I think it’s positive that the review does not close the process but rather appears to be open for a continuation of internal debate about the issues raised.  And in fact, I have to say that I think this is the most positive aspect of DDPR.

Now, unfortunately it seems that on the negative score sheet there are much more substantial issues.  And ironically, although the document endorses the status quo, the reality is that the status quo simply cannot be maintained.  And I list five problems in addition to the ones that I’ve already talked about.

The first problem is that even if no agreement can be reached on changing NATO’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons posture, it will change.  However, without an agreement, the change will come through as a disorderly internal NATO process of national nuclear disarmament, where some deployment countries are going to – will decide to – not to replace their dual-capable aircraft with nuclear capabilities.  Germany certainly seems certain to do that.  And once there’s a German decision to withdraw all of its B61s, then Holland and Belgium are likely to follow.  So in other words, without an overall NATO decision, the likely outcome is disarmament by default.

The other invisible change that is endorsed surreptitiously in the document is modernization of the B61 gravity bombs.  The DDPR states that it will ensure that all components of NATO’s nuclear deterrent remain safe, secure and effective.  What this basically means is that the existing B61 gravity bombs will undergo costly life-extension programs, which will upgrade the capability considerably by changing the bombs into precision-guided weapons.  So in parallel with the disorderly nuclear disarmament is hidden a nuclear escalation, also by default.  The overall effect of modernization of dual-capable aircraft, to include Joint Strike Fighter with modernized, precision-guided weapons on the B61, will constitute a considerable upgrade, which will certainly not go unnoticed in Russia.

Thirdly, another huge mistake in the DDPR is that the future of NATO’s forward deployed nuclear deterrent is made contingent on reciprocal Russian measures, yet Russia has made it clear that it will not discuss nonstrategic nuclear weapons until all forward deployed weapons have been removed from Europe.  However, as NATO has already removed 90 percent of the weapons unilaterally, the 180 or so remaining B61s hardly constitute a good bargaining position against the more than 2,000 Russian weapons.  I think NATO is about to repeat the mistake of the 1980s, when it linked NATO deployments of intermediate-range nuclear forces to the Soviet SS-20.  NATO should simply ask, do we need these weapons or not, and not make it contingent on what Russia does.

Another problem is that the DDPR is completely unclear where NATO stands on the issue of negative security guarantees.  It sounds like NATO has adopted a policy of NATO security guarantees in the document, but when reading the document closely, it appears that NATO’s simply acknowledging the different national positions of the three NATO countries.  The U.S. and the U.K. give the guarantees; France does not.  Such a policy is clearly not a good foundation for a coherent NATO nuclear posture.

And finally, the DDPR completely fails to ask the crucial questions about the role of nuclear weapons, especially what nonstrategic nuclear weapons are for.  As it does that it cannot possibly provide the answer to what constitutes an appropriate mix of conventional, nuclear and missile defense forces.  NATO still needs to ask, appropriate for what?  Sadly, as this was exactly what the DDPR set out to clarify, to have failed on that count is a real indictment, I think, of 18 months’ work.

Daryl asked me about the next steps.  And this is the really difficult question because one of the aspects or one of the effects of the way the DDPR has been conducted is that the alliance has basically painted itself into a corner, and it’s not a very good corner.  I don’t actually see any constructive next steps within the parameters left by the DDPR.  It’s especially problematic that the DDPR has restricted NATO’s room of maneuver by making the withdrawal contingent on Russian reciprocal moves.  This is unlikely to happen, so we have a stalemate situation.

It’s also problematic to identify a next step because although the official line from NATO is that the DDPR shows NATO unity, in my opinion the DDPR has basically divided the alliance into two camps:  for and against withdrawal and bad Russia/good Russia.  I think on doing this, which has been consolidated – it has been a position that has been consolidated over the last 18 months – it’s actually going to be the first next step that NATO needs to address.

Within the parameters of DDPR, I think NATO’s best option seems to be to return to recommendations of the nonpaper that was submitted last April by Poland, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands.  As a first step, NATO should seek increased transparency with Russia on numbers, types, locations, operational status and the level of storage security.  And these are questions that could usefully be addressed in the NATO-Russia Council and hopefully lead to a better atmosphere and a more constructive working environment within the council.

Moreover, following the American elections this year, a renewed effort at reaching an understanding with Russia on cooperation on missile defense would, if it could be successful, provide an environment that would be more conducive for further discussions within NATO on nonstrategic nuclear weapons.

But for the time being, as I said, the best thing about the DDPR is that it didn’t close the process.  So now that the restrictive process of the DDPR process is over, NATO should start a real dialogue and proper analysis, which might be able to apply a holistic approach to the overarching question:  Deter whom, how and from what?  And what is the role of NATO’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons and why exactly does NATO need them?  After a suitable break – not too long, I hope – NATO simply needs to get back into a process of talking about these issues with an educational focus.  That is why the new committee that I spoke about is really important.

And speaking as a European – and this is my very last point – then I can say this:  It’s also time for the U.S. to take the lead and to seek to influence the position of the Central Europeans on nonstrategic nuclear weapons.  The United States has had a background position in this and has basically left it for the Europeans to sort out their issues on these matters.  But the European allies will never agree on anything unless there is an existential crisis snapping at their heels or unless there’s some very clear leadership exercised by the United States.  So there you have it.  I can say it; I’m European.  (Laughter.)

So NATO needs to get back to its traditional way of dialogue and persuasion under American leadership in the committees in NATO, in the Nuclear Planning Group and in the committee that hopefully will get a name and hopefully will get a mandate.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Trine.  So I think we have a clear message from our speakers that more needs to be done.  There’s reason to change our thinking about nuclear weapons, find ways to reduce the risks.  But the path ahead is complex, it’s not clear, and it’s going to take leadership and creativity.

And now it is your turn to stimulate the discussion with your questions.  We have a couple of microphones that will arrive if you raise your hand, if you state your name and ask a question and address it to one of the speakers.  Why don’t we start over here with Edward Ifft.

Q:  Yes.  Edward Ifft, Georgetown University.  To Miss Flockhart, one of the roadblocks to transparency regarding tactical nuclear weapons has been the reluctance of NATO itself to acknowledge where they are and the numbers.  And as a result, the U.S. government cannot confirm or deny, except for Germany, those facts – even though everybody knows, of course, where they are.  So can we conclude from what you have said that NATO is now willing to acknowledge where the tactical nuclear weapons are?  Or will NATO only do it if Russia adopts a certain amount of transparency as well?  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Trine?  Maybe, Jon, you also want to address that question.  But Trine, go ahead.

MS. FLOCKHART:  Well, obviously a precondition would be that NATO would be willing to give the transparency as well as Russia.  It’s not a one-way street.  Everyone knows where the nuclear weapons are.  Everyone knows how many are there, I think, by now.  So there’s not really that much on those issues.

Where I think the issues would be much more on the storage and the site security.  That would be issues that would be interesting on both sides.  And Russia would have an interest in getting to know some of those issues, particularly also on the issue of the old storage sites in what has happened to the old Soviet storage sites in Central and Eastern Europe.  I think there would be some room for maneuver there.  But clearly, NATO will also have to move on the transparency issue as well.

MR. WOLFSTHAL:  I mean, I think the challenge in this, Ed, as you well know, is Russia’s really not concerned about our tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.  So there’s not – we can’t leverage whatever weapons we have there against what the Russian have, because it’s not a threat perception for them.

You know, very early on in the administration, I think there was a willingness to basically say, we don’t need these.  Let’s make some decisions and we’ll deal with them on our own.  And then very quickly, I think, some of the institutional biases came to bear, both in the Pentagon and in the State Department, unfortunately.

So I’m sort of an outlier here.  My approach to this is simply pull them out and force the Russians to justify to themselves and to their own people and to the Europeans why they need thousands of tactical nuclear weapons themselves.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Just to be clear, what the independent experts estimate is that there are some 180 U.S. gravity bombs, nuclear bombs, in five European NATO countries.  And Russia is estimated by independent experts to have some 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons on their territory.

So we have another question here in the middle.  Mr. Culp, thank you.

Q:  David Culp with the Friends Committee on National Legislation.  A question for Mr. Wolfsthal.  When the administration’s budget was released a number of members of Congress said the money for the National Nuclear Security Administration was inadequate and said that you were basically walking away from the agreements that you made in the New START treaty.  So I’m wondering if you can go through with us the thinking on the budget that you presented and is the administration living up to its commitments in the – from the START treaty?

MR. WOLFSTHAL:  I’m just pleased you refer to me as Mr. Wolfsthal from time to time, David.  (Laughter.)  Thank you.  David was a great help, as were a number people here, on the New START process.  So we got to work very closely together.

I think it’s a very partisan game that’s being played on the administration’s budget, and I think it’s unfortunate.  The criticism are from people who know in fact the details but think it’s good optics to argue the contrary.

The facts are that in the context of New START the president submitted a plan, as requested by Congress – a 1251 plan, which said it was our intention to pursue programs and capabilities necessary to maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal.  And our estimate at that time was that those capabilities would cost about $85 billion over the next 10 years.  That’s just for the nuclear complex part.  That was separate from strategic launch vehicles, ICBMs, SLBMs and so forth.

After the Budget Control Act came into force, there were new restrictions on how much the president would actually be able to request.  And so people wanted the president to basically break the law and say we’re going to ask for money that legally we can’t ask for.  And the president said:  We’re not going to do that.  And in fact, we went to work very quickly saying:  All right, if this is the money that’s available and this is what we need, how do we ensure that we get what we need?  And that was a very open process with NNSA, the Pentagon, the Nuclear Weapons Council and the lab directors, as well as OMB, who said, over the next 10 years, there’s a reasonable estimate that we can provide for what this will cost us.

Congress chose not to fund that number.  The House, in particular, controlled by Republicans who pushed for the 1251 report, chose not to fund the administration’s request and shorted it by roughly $800 million.  The lab directors then came to the NNSA and said:  We don’t think you’re going to get the money that we all agree we need to build all of these facilities.  And we think we can save you – this is the lab directors coming to NNSA saying we think we can save you money, all right – perhaps an unprecedented step – and saying we think we can do plutonium work without building the CMRR in New Mexico.  It’s a big facility.  It’s estimated to cost about $5 billion.  And what the lab directors are worried about, rightly, is that we’re going to build facilities and not be able to fund the people that do the real work in those facilities.

So they came to us with an alternative plan.  The administration asked the entire Nuclear Weapons Council, representative from STRATCOM, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, NNSA:  Will this work?  And they said yes.  And so we went to Congress with that and said, OK, here’s the new plan.  And all of a sudden Congress is screaming you broke your promise.  So I think it’s just partisan gamesmanship.  I think it’s largely designed to try and detract from the president’s pretty impressive accomplishment on investing in the nuclear complex in a reasonable way.  And my hope is that the Congress will finally come to its senses and do what’s right for the nuclear deterrent that we need.

MR. KIMBALL:  I wanted to ask a question from the chair’s place here to General Jameson and to Jon about, you know, how we move forward in the next one to two years, regardless of who’s in the White House, with Russia to the next steps in reducing U.S. and Russian stockpiles below the New START levels, which are 1,550 deployed strategic warheads.  And those – that ceiling needs to be met by the year 2018.  New START creates a verification system that’s going to be in place until 2021.

And given the difficulties of a formal negotiation with Russia and given the challenge that we’ll have with the next round of negotiations, because we need to deal with not just deployed strategic weapons, but also the tactical nuclear weapons, perhaps the non-deployed weapons, are there some alternative approaches?  In other words, might there be a way, just as George W. Bush did in the 2001-2002 period, to use the existing treaty framework to provide the transparency and the verification necessary to assure both sides, but to reduce the two countries’ deployed strategic arsenals below those START levels?  Is that a path that is worth considering, given the very difficult relationship between the U.S. and Russia on various issues – missile defense, Syria, other types of things?

MR. WOLFSTHAL:  Well, I mean, I think if there are a hundred people in the room, you probably have a hundred different plans for how this could work, but I think there are a couple of prerequisites.  And the first is, I would argue, we need to have a decision, preferably a bilateral decision, which quite frankly just means us, to go down to New START numbers immediately.  These are very modest reductions.

I forget what the number of the just-released New START aggregate was, but I think we’re roughly at 1,750.  We’re going to 1,550.  You could pull 200 weapons off alert and put them out in a few days, if not a few weeks.  So I think we should just quickly go there.  I think we need to get the new guidance in place so the president has direct support from Strategic Command and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs saying:  Yes, we’ve looked at plans.  We can go lower to give him that flexibility to then order reductions.  And then I think you have the New START verification framework in place to say to Russia:  Let’s go down to lower numbers more quickly.  You can go below 1,550.  You could reach a political agreement with Russia to do that, and then you would have the verification in place to show, in fact, that those numbers have been reached.

Of course, the challenge is you don’t have that in place for the nonstrategic nuclear weapons, and that’s where, I think, Trine’s views are very valuable here, that the confidence-building and transparency measures are really what’s needed.  I would argue, as I just did, that the U.S. should do that up front.  We need to find a way to manage the alliance correctly and so that the withdrawal of those weapons don’t lead to a new schism.  But I would argue that we should give Russia, say, a year privately, and then if they don’t move within that time period, to say we’re going alone and then push them to come with us.

MR. KIMBALL:  Your thoughts, General Jameson?

GEN. JAMESON:  Well, the only thing that I would add is I think that until the election, anything that even hints of doing something unilaterally is just not going to be on the table.  On the other hand, the process – and I certainly agree with Jon – grinds along in the Pentagon, inside the Beltway.  Things are going to happen the way the U.S. military, the Pentagon, in coordination with the – with the interagency, wants it to happen.  And some of those things are budget-driven.  They’re going to try to save as much as they can realistically, but it’s not going to be – it’s not going to be private agreements with Russia or anything.  That’s just my opinion.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.

All right.  Other questions?  Yes, sir, in the middle.  Bruce, thank you.

Q:  Hi.  I’m Bruce MacDonald with the U.S. Institute of Peace.  I think it’s safe to say that within this room, there’s a probably pretty broad consensus in support of further reductions.  And yet – and to date, our NATO allies have been extraordinarily supportive of the New START process.  My question is – comes to the fact – I’m – going forward and seeing levels go down substantially more, I guess I want to ask particularly Dr. Flockhart, but of course other distinguished panelists as well, is there a point at which the U.S. extended deterrent, which I recognize of course is more than just nuclear weapons; it – our substantial conventional capability’s a very important dimension of that – but is there a point at which our NATO allies, and obviously some sooner than others, begin to get a little bit nervous about how low – how far down we go, because we’ve taken almost as a given that our allies have been – and again, they’ve been wonderful in their support, but is there a point where the – what the perceived benefits of extended nuclear deterrence begin to outweigh the value of further reductions?  And how might we address that?

MS. FLOCKHART:  Well, I think – I think the point is very low.  And realistically speaking, we are going to have to face up to a deployment country number of two within quite a short period of time.  I don’t think there’s any doubt that Germany will not continue being a deployment country.  And once that is on the table, then I think Holland and Belgium are pretty certain to withdraw as well.

The question then is whether the weapons that are placed in those three countries will then be transferred to Turkey and Italy or whether they would be withdrawn back to the United States.  Either, I think, would still mean that that would be an extended deterrence.  And I think that you could argue that within the alliance as well.  I think there would be understanding for that.  I think you could go down to perhaps – you mentioned 20, perhaps you could go down to five, 10 weapons in Europe and still say that there’s an extended deterrence.

So I don’t really think it’s the numbers.  I think it has much more to do with NATO not being able to let go of the symbolic value that is attached to those weapons.  I think most NATO allies, including the Central and East Europeans, realize that they really have no strategic importance and that the strategic nuclear weapons back in the United States will provide just as much protection, if I can call it that, as those that are based in Europe.  So I don’t think it’s the numbers that’s the – that’s the issue.  I think it is zero or more than zero that’s the issue.

MR. KIMBALL:  And just one point of clarification. I mean, the Defense and Deterrence Posture Review that was just released by NATO in Chicago states that the supreme guarantee of allied security are the strategic nuclear weapons of the three countries in NATO with strategic nuclear weapons – the U.S., U.K. and France.  It does not talk about the U.S. forward- deployed tactical nuclear weapons as being vital to that deterrent capability.  And the last I noticed, our European allies are very supportive of further U.S.-Russian reductions relating to strategic nuclear weapons.

Jon, any other points on this?

MR. WOLFSTHAL:  I mean, you know, when I was really young, Jack Mendelsohn used to call me into his office and explain the way this – the world had developed.  And so of course I remember his lecture on why we had tactical nuclear weapons in the first place, which is going back, you know, to really outdated thinking, that the Europeans were worried that somehow we were going to decouple our defense from their defense and that we needed to have – in addition to the long-range strike capabilities, we needed to have capabilities on the ground so that when we had a nuclear exchange to block tanks from coming through the Fulda Gap, that Russia wouldn’t then just – you know, they’d have to launch at us, and it wouldn’t just be a nuclear war in Europe.  You know, all of that is just out the window and useless in terms of, you know, American strategic thought, European strategic thought.  Does anybody believe that somehow a tactical nuclear weapon from Europe on Russian territory would not be seen as a strategic threat to Russia?

So, I mean, if we think we need to challenge Russia in a strategic way, we have lots of submarines, we have lots of ICBMs, and the tactical nuclear weapons don’t have a military role.

Q:  Jon, do you have – pardon me for interrupting, but I’m talking about not – not just the tactical, and I agree those are minor, but the question of the overall strategic level.  Is there a level at 300, 200, is there some level of U.S. having strategic nuclear warheads that begins to make some allies, and probably some sooner than others, nervous; maybe Poland or Turkey get nervous before Germany and Denmark do?

MR. WOLFSTHAL:  And I think if all we were doing were maintaining everything that we had status quo and started drastically reducing our nuclear weapons, there might be an argument that the countries would start to get nervous.  Of course, the concern is that they might develop nuclear capabilities of their own or the alliance would fall apart.  However, as Trine said, these things don’t happen in isolation, right?  What we need to think about is how you supplement your extended reassurance capabilities to these countries, and that is a political process.  It gets to how often you engage with these countries.  It gets to the question of where American troops are deployed, how you interoperate, what sort of capabilities are being purchased on the conventional side.  I think there’s a whole list of things there that we could do and should have done in the DDPR that we didn’t, that would then make it much easier for the United States to go to much lower numbers.  But even if that were true, I think we’ve got a long way to go before these countries really start to get nervous.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  I think we have time for one or two more questions, even though we’ve got lots of hands here.  Why don’t we go over here.

Q:  Nancy Gallagher from the University of Maryland.  Ms. Flockhart, one of the things you mentioned that the DDPR did not look at was what the effects of the European missile defense capability are.  But I’m wondering whether you think the NATO allies agree on what the actual missile defense capability is now and in the near future vis-à-vis the threats we face, and whether you see it as performing primarily a military role or a political role.  And if it’s really the latter, what are the effects of building up a missile defense capability to perform the same kind of political role the tactical nuclear weapons have in the past? Are we just replicating the same problems that we currently have with Russia over an issue that’s primarily politically symbolic?

MS. FLOCKHART:  OK.  I think the – you can look at the role of missile defense in two ways.  I think it does have a military role, but it’s not a military role that is directed at Russia, it is a military role that is directed at Iran.  And that’s why they’re there.  But they could gain – the missile defense capability could gain a very important political role internally in the alliance if it was to become the push, for example, for changing the deterrence posture from one that is based almost completely on punishment to one that is based more on denial.  I mean, it’s going back to some very bizarre, very old-fashioned debates that I thought I had seen the back of – (chuckles) – in 1990, but nevertheless, those are the kind of things that are being talked about.   So if you have a different deterrence posture that has moved from deterrence by denial – no, from punishment to denial, then clearly you have a completely different position within the alliance to discuss what is going to be the deterrence posture in the alliance.

So that’s the first thing.  That wasn’t discussed in the DDPR, which I think is a great shame, but I think it was not discussed in the DDPR because of the way the whole process was run, that it was divided into three different committees.  It was not an overall discussion that was looking at a conceptual understanding of what the deterrence posture of the alliance should be.

Now, the other role of the missile defense would be much more political, because there would be a possibility to say, all right, well, we don’t have the nonstrategic nuclear weapons anymore, they were not needed anyway within this new deterrence posture, but we can use missile defense as another form of showing commitment in the alliance that is completely the same as what has been happening with the nonstrategic nuclear weapons.  It’s like this wedding ring, that you show your commitment.  You could do the same with the missile defense.  So that was what I meant about the missile defense sharing.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Any others on this?  All right.  We have a question over here.  Thank you.

Q:  Thank you.  I’ll continue on the missile defense question.  At the Lisbon summit of NATO, there was this great feeling of friendship with Russia, and Russia was not even present in Chicago.  So what happened in between?

And the next question deals with the economics or the plan to finance the missile defense. Europe is in economic difficulties.  We are – I am in the defense committee and we’re talking about pooling and sharing, and actually no country is increasing its defense budget at this time, so how do you plan to finance the missile defense in Europe?

Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Jon?  Trine?

MS. FLOCKHART:  Well, the relationship with Russia, as I’m sure you know, is worse than it was at Lisbon, but it’s better than it was in 2008.  So I think it’s – how long is a piece of string?  It’s difficult to say what the relationship with Russia is.

And I think we also have to take into account that all the negative developments are not completely without reason.  I think that the offer that was given at Lisbon for missile defense cooperation sounded much better than what it actually is.  I have great difficulty in seeing what Russia can actually gain from what is being offered from NATO.  So perhaps it’s not surprising that there has been a downturn in the relationship, and then on top of that, a Russian presidential election, which has also been important for that relationship because NATO is perceived in Russia as the enemy.  In the public, it’s very difficult to go out and say, well, now we’re friends with NATO.  NATO has been painted as the big devil and it will continue to be the big devil in Russian publics for a long time to come.  So there are some quite severe restrictions.

So the relationship with Russia, I think, will probably get better.  That’s my hope anyway.

On the cost with the missile defense, well, I think the Europeans think that the Americans are going to pay most of it and that is the main – (laughs) – that is the main benefit of it.  And then there’s the option for different Europeans to contribute towards it, but that is only an option.  And this is where my argument is that the option would then be to show commitment by actually buying into the missile defense system.  It may be a complete waste of money; I can’t judge the technical details of it.  But I think that is the thinking that is going on.

MR. WOLFSTHAL:  I would just say I think Trine is exactly right on missile defense.  I mean, we placed it within a NATO context at the time, which we viewed as a great step forward since this is a missile defense program to protect Europe more than it is to protect the United States, versus the old plan.  But I think where the economics really comes down is on – as Trine said – on the delivery capabilities.  The idea that multiple European countries are going to spend a lot of money on the most expensive fighter plane system ever developed, in this budget environment is nonsensical.  And the fact that the United States is going to be in a position where we’re arguing on one hand, get your economies in order, but on the other hand saying, no, you have to buy this plane, I think is unsustainable.

And so our F-16s are going to wear about in about – at 2017, we’re not going to have a dual-capable capability, and I think Trine’s right, regardless of what was written in the DDPR, these problems are going to solve themselves in the midterm and we need to start thinking creatively about how we put that to our advantage.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, thank you all. We are out of time for this panel.  We will be returning to many of these subjects – missile defense, tactical nuclear weapons, nuclear weapon strategy, deeper reductions in U.S./Russian arsenals – at future Arms Control Association events.

I want to – before I ask you to join me in thanking our panelists, I want to invite the next panel to get ready to hop up here, because we’re going to resume without a break.  So if you do need a break, you’re welcome to do so during the course of the next session, but please join me in thanking General Dirk Jameson, Jon Wolfsthal and Trine Flockhart.  (Applause.)

(END) - Back to the top


Panel on Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran

Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association

Thomas Pickering, Former Ambassador to the United Nations;

Hossein Mousavian, Former Iranian Nuclear Envoy;

Tarja Cronberg, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iran


GREG THIELMANN: If everyone could please take their seats, we’ll move to our second panel.

As those in this room know, we are now at another critical juncture in efforts to negotiate a resolution to issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. After a long interval, the six powers re-engaged with Iran on April 14th in Istanbul. On May 23rd to 24th in Baghdad, the parties discussed specific proposals. The six powers called for Iran to end its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent and ship its stockpile of this material out of the country, in exchange for providing 20 percent enriched uranium in the form of fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor, nuclear security assistance and critical spare parts for civilian aircraft.

The Iranians presented their own five-point plan, offering greater international access to its nuclear facilities in exchange for easing of sanctions and recognition of its right to enrich uranium.

Iran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, voiced disappointment about the lack of sanctions relief in the six powers’ offer and complained that their proposal was unbalanced. The head of the six-power delegation, Europe’s Catherine Ashton, was more positive, hoping for tangible progress at the next round of talks in Moscow on June 18th and 19th.

Meanwhile, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, went to Tehran to discuss a framework or a structural approach for addressing specific concerns about past Iranian activities.

By the end of June, the United States is scheduled to tighten existing sanctions by beginning to sanction all foreign banks that process Iranian oil transactions through Iran’s central bank. The Europeans are scheduled to ban all imports of Iranian oil starting July 1st.

And the centrifuges keep spinning, and suspicions about possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program linger.

As with Israeli-Palestinian dispute, it’s easier to sketch out the shape of a realistic ultimate solution than it is to figure out exactly how we get there. So to help us sort out this most difficult task, we have a panel of three eminent experts. Biographic highlights have been provided to you in writing, but let me introduce each to you with just a few words.

Ambassador Thomas Pickering has headed more U.S. embassies than many diplomats ever have a chance to work in in their entire career. He has led the U.S. mission to the United Nations and has served as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, and he’s also been very active in Track II discussions on the Iranian nuclear issue.

Ambassador Hossein Mousavian has served as Iran’s ambassador to Germany for seven years, as head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and as spokesman for Iran’s delegation to talks with the European Union, 2003 to 2005. He’s now a research scholar at Princeton University and the author of a new book, “The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir,” which will be launched here in this building tomorrow.

Tarja Cronberg is a member of the Greens European Free Alliance faction in the European Parliament and chair of the parliament’s delegation for relations with Iran. An engineer by training, she has doctorates in business and administration, has served as minister of labor for Finland and speaks six languages, the most difficult of which is Finnish. (Laughter.)

Without further ado, let me turn to our speakers for brief remarks on where we are in the wake of Baghdad and what we need to accomplish in Moscow.

And I look – Ambassador Pickering, if I could ask you to go first.

THOMAS PICKERING: Thank you, Greg, very much for the kind introduction. It’s a pleasure to be on the panel.

Hossein and I have done shows together. We are, if it won’t really destroy his reputation at home, quite together on a lot of the ideas, particularly the importance of negotiations. And I’ve just met and had the pleasure to talk briefly with Dr. Cronberg.

Let me also compliment the Arms Control Association. I’m a new and recent member, having emerged from the obscurity of government service and business. And I believe you have made and continue to make a major contribution to thinking and indeed to constructive examination, I think, in a way that – to policy in this critically important area. I’m honored and pleased to be here, and many old friends in the audience and I’m delighted to have a chance to address this critically important issue.

I was asked to address two questions: One, what is my judgment about Istanbul and Baghdad, and secondly, what is my view about the process ahead? I’ll do that against the backdrop of a third issue, the question of the overall situation as I see it at the present time.

I used to frequently tell the story about the man jumping out of the Empire State Building. Going past the 25th floor, everything was simply splendid. I have to modify that a little bit, take it to the West Coast. The guy jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge, he survives in the water, and the currents sweep him away. We’re sort of more in that mode at the moment than we are on the Empire State Building, where, even with the New York police holding the safety net, the chances are 99.9 percent death. We’ve struggled very hard, and so have the parties, to get us to the negotiating table. And it’s very important, obviously, that maximum use be made of this.

Against that backdrop, it is extremely hard to see how and in what way this process will move ahead. There are 32 years of mistrust between the United States and Iran, supplemented by galloping misunderstanding, and indeed the lack of communications has been a thoroughly and, I think, completely deleterious experience for both countries. The idea of being able to examine the problem from the worst case on both sides has become an art form and indeed is more of a controlling piece than the ability to begin to talk. And I think that that’s very significant.

The P5+1 or the European three plus three, depending upon which side of the Atlantic you prefer, is a process that has now begun and holds a faint crack open for the future. My sense is that in every serious commitment of this sort, that crack must be kept open.

An estimation of Istanbul and Baghdad is pretty much the Golden Gate Bridge leap of faith story. The good news is that both have tended to produce a continuation of talks, whereas the old pattern was to have a one-night stand meeting, go away with – replete with disagreement and spend the next eight months trying to negotiate the next meeting. I hope we’re past that stage, but we could slide back.

That – Istanbul had some good news in the sense that I believe the Iranian side suggested some thoughts that the non-Iranian side agreed to, including proceeding with stage-by-stage examination and perhaps resolution of the problem based on the notion that there would be balance and reciprocity in each stage. And while there was kind of disagreement by half that Iran would like to make the guideposts for this particular set of arrangements pretty exclusively the Nonproliferation Treaty, and while the non-Iranians could agree, they also had other guideposts, including the Security Council resolution that asks for a cessation of Iranian enrichment, to bedevil the problem further.

I have a sense that coming out of the Baghdad meeting, there could have been three results: minimal, better and slightly better. Minimal was to have another meeting, and they did, with the benefit of a sandstorm keeping them there another day, agree to have a meeting in Moscow on the 18th and 19th of June. I remember, as ambassador to Moscow, there used to be an old Soviet story that there was an Aeroflot contest, and first prize was a week in Moscow and second prize was two weeks in Moscow. So let’s hope we go for second prize. (Laughter.)

There is a strong and, I think, important piece that the new president of Russia – who is really the old president of Russia and has been president of Russia despite the fact that he’s been prime minister for some time – has now gotten himself hooked on to this particular issue, as I think he’s become hooked on to Syria because of his veto. And we have to do everything we can to persuade him that some further success in Moscow, whether it’s just hanging on, is important.

The second piece of Baghdad which didn’t result was a small agreement. As Greg said, perhaps the TRR for 20 percent enrichment cessation. And the third piece was perhaps some endorsement of what Amano had reportedly worked out with his interlocutors in Iran over transparency. But it was clear that was not going to work, because in many ways, the Iranians felt that they should receive something more in return for it.

The third point I want to make is looking ahead. Here, I believe, an estimate of the situation has to very much take into account some of the domestic imperatives that influence both sides. In that regard, my summation is that for the United States, smaller is better, particularly to begin with. And for Iran, bigger is better, and that’s certainly where the two sides are coming at this. Smaller is better for the United States because in an election year – I speak quite frankly – the president takes great risks in making big compromises because the points of attack are multiplied, and indeed explaining why he went so far, particularly very early in the game, is a very difficult situation.

On the other hand, the president has a natural – a national interest imperative in finding a diplomatic solution. And the effort to continue to find a diplomatic solution is a small but not very conclusive makeweight against precipitated Israeli action to attack Iran. And so keeping the process going is valuable. But keeping the process going until after the elections with no movement also has a kind of conclusion of sterility and fecklessness that will arrive sooner or later to greet the process if something isn’t achieved. And so my own view is that the smaller is important, and better from the United States’ perspective, still remains.

On the Iranian side, there is very definitely a significant degree of mistrust over the United States and has been for a year, and indeed over the Western side, in the sense that the real policy is regime change. And while we have perhaps tried more or less to avoid conveying that notion, from the Iranian optic it is possible to see through whatever prism they’re looking at, that almost everything we do one way or another is examined in that context and is looked at them as a very serious challenge in that regard.

To escape from that, and indeed to make some progress and indeed to deal with what their preoccupation is, the notion of two peaches – or two features on the landscape make a certain amount of sense. And friends and I, along with many others, proposed some years ago that the essential tradeoff would be some permitted enrichment, perhaps limited to civil purposes – it certainly should be – in return for much greater transparency about the Iranian program. And while this was not a sovereign answer, it provided the best that we could think of at the time, and seems continually now to swim into the picture. And I’m quite pleased that Iran is in favor of that.

I think underlying this particular process is the notion that something that large, so soon, from the U.S. perspective would be very difficult. And something too small from the Iranian perspective keeps in mind the lurking shadow, the 900-pound gorilla of regime change would just not – dispelled, and the notion that the real purpose continues to be to take Iran totally out of the nuclear business.

Now, Iran is in the nuclear business for reasons that are difficult to fathom, and my friend has been challenged, but has tried in his own way to make it clear: why the hell would you spend billions of dollars and build 10,000 centrifuges for a program for which you have no apparent use for the output? And that worries us. It worries everybody. There is from time to time talk of going back to the Shah’s 20 reactor program, and there’s been recent talk, I think hopefully, of building one or two reactors within the next five to 10 years. But at the moment, the large accumulation of enriched material and the large accumulation of enrichment technology is concerning, and that’s one of the reasons why there is a Western preoccupation about enrichment per se, even though it could be limited.

Underneath this, and obviously affecting the negotiations – and I’m getting to my final points – there is a continuing problem about what I would call different interpretations of the NPT. Hossein and his friends, and I agree with them quite rightly, believe the NPT provides a right to enrich. But in my view, it doesn’t provide a right to enrich for purposes that are unrelated to civil programs and may be related to military programs. And this is one of the difficulties. My sense is that a reasonable interpretation of the NPT is you can do what you need to do in a nuclear sense in order to try to get a sufficient amount of material for your civilian programs. But going beyond is difficult.

And on the Iranian sense, I think it is anything that doesn’t represent proof of diversion is permitted by the treaty. And getting ready to make a decision, or putting yourself in a position to make a decision to go for nuclear weapons, is in a sense the underlying deep difficulty here, or one of them that we have to look at.

Where to go? My sense is that the next stage ought to be within the P5+1, an effort to get an agreement around the TRR in some cessation of 20 percent. Don’t embellish it; don’t foul it up with much more. Maybe it could be slightly enhanced by some willingness not to institute some of the sanctions that have been approved, some of which may be small but not insignificant. Someone has once suggested perhaps the sanctions on insuring petroleum cargos from Iran could be a way of beginning to indicate that the U.S. is ready to move on sanctions.

The second piece is much more difficult, but I think very important from the Iranian side. And it goes to my deep concern about mistrust. I think that there ought to be a serious effort – and so far, I have to say Iran has stood in the way of this – of opening bilateral conversations in the context of the P-5 one talks between the United States and Iran at a significant level to convey assurance that real position of country X and country Y is being conveyed.

This could do a lot of things, including some of the things that Kissinger first did with Zhou Enlai when things opened with China. But it could begin to talk about an endgame, an endgame in which weapons were prohibited in accordance with the fatwa in a binding international relationship with no uncertainty about the NPT. A set of relationships which included much more transparency, I hope designed and carried out by the IAEA. A set of relationships in which we accepted Iranian right to enrich for civil purposes and perhaps sequestration of excess material that the Iranians have produced until they’re ready to use it; and then finally, a gradual but significant removal of the nuclear sanctions as this process proceeds; and some serious effort to deal with the problem that has now arisen that there are sanctions on things other than nuclear, which very much also impact Iran. They’re there for purposes that people consider legitimate and right, including human rights issues, but somehow need to be factored into the discussion in a painful, but I think useful way.

If these two tracks could proceed as a result of Moscow and beyond, I think there is a slight way that we could thread the needle, if you want to call it that, into a position where perhaps after the American elections, bigger and more useful things from the Iranian perspective can be done. And my own view is that we have to get there.

But giving the Iranians some notion of the endgame, even on a private basis, would be an important aspect of the second track within the P5+1 of bilateral U.S.-Iranian discussions.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

MR. THIELMANN: Thank you, Ambassador Pickering. And now, Ambassador Mousavian.

AMBASSADOR HOSSEIN MOUSAVIAN: Thank you very much. Always talking after Tom for me is difficult and easy both. It’s easy because we have our mindsets already close. It’s difficult because normally he leaves nothing for you to discuss. (Laughter.)

First of all, I would like to thank Arms Control Association, Daryl and Greg for managing this event. I would like to touch some points out of my experience, which I believe would be helpful for reaching a face-saving solution for Iranian nuclear issue.

The first issue is to depoliticize the case. I think it’s too much politicized. And the two parties, they need to take steps to depoliticize the issue.

The second issue is what Tom raised about the rights under NPT. Definitely there is rights under NPT, because many other countries, they have enrichment and reprocessing. If it is illegal, everybody should stop. Why they are talking about only Iran now? Therefore, the rights is there. The argument is the Western side is emphasizing – maintaining that responsibilities come first and then rights. Iran maintains the rights come first, and responsibility come after.

I think in Moscow they can – already they have agreed in Istanbul on step-by-step plan. In one step they can agree on a simultaneous approach. I mean, the P5+1 respects the rights of Iran for peaceful nuclear technology, including enrichment, on their NPT; and Iran also immediately at the same time accept to sign the tentative draft agreement already agreed in Tehran during last visit of Amano. This is a work plan which, if Iran signs, this would address the whole – the all ambiguities and technical questions of the IAEA, including the possible military dimensions. This can be in parallel in order to end the game, this chicken-and-egg game.

The third one is the focal point of the P5+1. During last nine, 10 years always they have been focusing on suspension. I believe they should – in the future negotiation, they should focus on transparency measures. If they are looking for a sustainable solution, suspension would not work. And the last 10 years of negotiation proves it had not worked.

The fourth point is proportionate reciprocation. They agreed in reciprocation in Istanbul, but they failed in Baghdad because I believe the P5+1 was asking too much, giving the minimum. They were asking – as Greg mentioned, they were asking Iran to stop 20 percent, to close Fordow, to address possible military dimension, to implement additional protocol – everything, the maximum Iran can do, is reward to give some spare parts. This deal would never be successful, such a deal.

The fifth point I have – I think there are 14 countries, either they are operating or building enrichment. Any solution on Iran should have the capacity to be a model for other countries, because Iran would never be ready to be singled out and discriminized (ph) as a member of NPT. Therefore, the P5+1 negotiators – they should have a broader vision in order to create – out of Iran issue to create a model to be acceptable for the others.

Number six is to have a broader vision on negotiation. I think a face-saving solution can accommodate broader cooperation between Iran and the West, Iran and the P5+1 on bigger issues: security and energy, regional stability. If they have such a vision, I think they would not hostage everything to the nuclear issue.

And number seven is Iran-U.S. relations. I believe this issue plays a very, very important role on the nuclear issue. That’s why I believe – always I have mentioned Iran and the U.S., they need to have a direct talk in parallel with nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1.

And issue number eight is impartiality of the IAEA. El Baradei, after eight, nine years working on Iranian nuclear case – at the end he said: During my time at the agency we have not seen a shred of evidence that Iran has been weaponizing. Just right after El Baradei, Amano came, which the U.S. cable revealed by WikiLeaks said, Amano is in the U.S. court, specifically on the Iranian nuclear issue and alleged military studies of Iranian nuclear issue. El Baradei – Amano focused on the possible military dimension. And Iranians – they have a feeling that more cooperation they have had with the IAEA, more sabotage, more covert action – assassination of the nuclear scientists. This is a big issue for the Iranian side.

And my ninth point, the last point – also Tom mentioned – for Iran it is extremely important to see the end state. The U.S., the P5+1, the – not the P5+1, because Russian and Chinese, they have other position – the Western powers, they always are looking for a piecemeal approach. But Iranians, they want to see the end state, the endgame. That’s why a step-by-step plan – I mean, a broad package to be implemented in step-by-step plan is extremely important.

But for Moscow, I think zero stockpile, 20 percent stockpile initiative would be the best achievement for both parties if they can agree in Moscow. The P5+1 is – they are asking Iran to stop 20 percent. This would not be a sustainable solution, because maybe for a short time at the end, Iran would never accept to be discriminized as a member of NPT, because the others – they have rights for 20 percent; why Iran should not have? As a confidence-building measures, for a short period, maybe. But they should think about a long-term solution.

My idea is zero stockpile for 20 percent. What do I mean? A joint committee can be established between Iran and the P5+1 to determine the percentage of the stockpile of 20 percent, which Iran needs domestically to convert it to fuel rod. The rest either can be exported or converted to 3.5 percent. Therefore, Iran would accept zero stockpile forever. This is the best objective guarantee for nondiversion, rather than pushing Iran to close Fordo or to stop 20 percent. This, I – even if it works, which I don’t believe it would work – even if they accept this, would be a short-time solution.

The second issue, as I mentioned, on transparency – the maximum question on Iranian nuclear dossier is possible military dimensions, issues raised by the IAEA. What the IAEA expect and the P5+1, they can expect – the maximum level of transparency. They can define for Iran the maximum level of transparency. Whether this is additional protocol – if Iran accepts to address the possible military dimension, PMD, it means Iran would have to implement additional protocol and would have to give access to the IAEA beyond additional protocol.

If Iran is ready to sign such a(n) agreement, then the P5+1 also should be ready for at least the upcoming sanctions on Central Bank, 1st of July, and the oil – Iranian oil by Europeans, even if not by Americans. Thank you. (Applause.)

MR. THIELMANN (?): Now, Dr. Cronberg.

TARJA CRONBERG: Thank you. Since I am the last speaker, I’ll speak from my chair, and my notes are so spread out with the others, so I will try to fill in as much as I can. First of all, I am a Finnish member of the European Parliament – member of the – a member of the foreign relations committee and a member of the defense committee and also the chair of the parliament’s delegation with relations to Iran.

This doesn’t mean that the delegation, even if it’s called a delegation, is located in Iran. On the other hand, we are in the parliament – it consists of different politicians from different groups into parliament, and our goal is to understand what’s going on in Iraq (sic\Iran). We follow the nuclear negotiations. We try to follow also the human rights situation and many other aspects of the Iranian society. We try to have contacts with the parliament and also with the civil society, as well as people outside of Iran. So I am not a part of the negotiations but following the negotiations closely.

As you know, the negotiations are led by Catherine Ashton, the high representative of foreign policy in the European Union. And I think this is why we in the European Union – or on the other side of the Atlantic, as Ambassador Pickering said – we like to talk about the EU3+3 rather than the P5+1. But I don’t think it does make a big difference.

I’ll first comment on the current situation and then try to look at the – what I feel is a too-narrow focus on uranium enrichment in the negotiations and then go on to the European – what could be the next step the European Union could do.

First of all, I – Catherine Ashton sent a letter to the Iranians and Mr. Jalili saying that there would be respect for the peaceful uses – Iranian interests in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. And this, I think, created the hope among the Iranians that actually, uranium enrichment could be discussed, it was a negotiable thing, and it would be on the table. They were willing, I think, to reduce their 20 percent requirement. But no such proposition was on the table. Actually, the question was that the P5+1 insisted on suspension of uranium enrichment.

And I think the second thing that – there was this question of that the Iranians needed guarantees of being able to access 20 percent uranium because of their 1 million cancer patients, and no such guarantees were provided. I think there’s a history. I presume that the Iranians have had a hard time getting 20 percent uranium – enriched uranium for these medical purposes. On the other hand, of course, giving up maybe the 20 percent enrichment, then the Iranians would expect a relaxation on sanctions. No such proposal was on the table. I think there was this proposal of airplane parts and maybe minor things like that.

So there was this clash, and the question is how to proceed. The Iranian approach has been that the chief of the Iranian nuclear establishment has said that they will not give up 20 percent enrichment. Maybe what was just proposed, the idea of not stockpiling 20 percent enriched uranium, would be a solution on this question. But the stance is toughening, and the language is a different one.

Now, why do I feel that the 20 – the focus on uranium enrichment is too narrow? I think the goal is to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. And nuclear – the military aspects of nuclear weapons – it’s much more than uranium enrichment. This is only one of the aspects. And I think the other aspects have to be taken into account, design and implementation of nuclear weapons and how far is Iran from these aspects. I think we are talking about longer time than just one year or the sort of the one-year free time before we have a nuclear-weapon-dominated Iran. So much more than uranium enrichment, and these aspects should be included also in the negotiations.

The second question is the sanctions. The Iranians expect some signs of relaxing sanctions. And the West – at least the Western powers are not willing to give these indications. This may be a step-by-step procedure. I don’t know what means endgame on end result of the sanctions. But the question is of course that in the – I understand that in the U.S., the situation is such that since it’s the Congress that is legislating on the sanctions, it will be require more time, and it will be more difficult to relax any sanctions. In the European Union, it’s the European Council, the foreign minister that can decide on this question of sanctions. So maybe there should be some discussion of – 1st of July, the European sanctions will go into full effect, and in Moscow, there should be a discussion of this deadline.

The third point is the – on the uranium enrichment is the NPT context. I think what the Iranian case shows that – is that it’s very difficult to define the limits of the peaceful uses, as opposed to the military uses. So we have actually a treaty where there’s no clear divide on these two aspects. And I think this is very detrimental for the negotiations. There are interpretations one way or another. Iran feels they have the right. On the other hand, the P5+1 feel that Iran has not respected its obligations. And the question is maybe what comes first, obligations or rights. I think they should be in balance, of course.

But the Iranian argument is of course that there are double standards in the NPT, and nuclear powers have not respected their obligations to disarm, that there are double standards in terms of other countries which have nuclear weapons outside the NPT are not pressured equally as Iran, and finally, the right to fuel cycle – what does it mean, and how will it be defined?

So in this case, the NPT – I think there’s a fundamental question of the future of the NPT in this case, and we should consider that as well. If there is a military strike, which I hope will not be the case, it is a question of a country outside the NPT with nuclear weapons attacking a country within the NPT and, at least as far as we know, without the decision to produce nuclear weapons. So the question is how important is the NPT for us in the future.

The fourth dimension I want – like to take up is the question of regional security, before going to the next step for the European Union. I think the question is there are some security concerns in the wider Middle East. We all know this. And I think it’s interesting to note that when the continuation of the NPT was agreed in 1995, there was an agreement of a conference on the wider Middle East on nuclear-weapons-free Middle East. At the review conference, 2010, it was agreed that this conference would cover the whole scope of weapons of mass destruction and the conference would take place in 2012.

We have the situation where this conference is going to take place at – the countries that sponsor this issue, U.K., Russia and the U.S., actually proposed that this conference will take place in Finland and that there is a facilitator, who is now traveling world around actually trying to discuss the question of a – of a – of a mass-destruction-weapons-free Middle East. The question is difficult, I know, and no practical steps will probably be taken for a long time. But it’s important that all these parties will meet at the same table and that that will be able to at least start the process.

So I think these negotiations in Baghdad and next time in Moscow should also be seen in the context of this regional security and this U.N. conference that’s coming up. They should not be isolated, and at least there is a timeline. Probably this conference will take place in December. So if the negotiations break up before that time, which also coincides with a U.S. – new U.S. president, then it would be very, very unfortunate. So I would actually like to – like to appeal to the Arms Control Association that you observe that this conference is taking place and that it’s important that actually, this question of the negotiations will be related into the wider scope of security – regional security in the Middle East.

Now a few words of – how many minutes do I have, two?

MR. THIELMANN: About two.

MS. CRONBERG: OK, fine. The European perspective – what are the next steps? I think I’ll try to concentrate on those.

The European Union has accepted the U.S. dual-track approach. So actually, sanctions were approved in the end of January, and the intention was to send two messages: first of all, a message to Iran that the European Union is serious, and secondly, send a message to Israel not to strike and not to provide a military solution.

The – I think this decision was unique in the sense that it was actually the first time the European member countries supported the common foreign and defense policy. This was the first time the Europeans actually agreed. I mean, this was historic. This was an agreement on the surface. There were different positions in the European Union. I think one could describe them that the French president, Sarkozy, was on the other extreme, supporting sanctions, very tough sanctions, even tougher maybe than Obama, and keeping also President Obama on the sanctions line. And then on the other end, Sweden, what’s actually – went along with the sanctions rather reluctantly.

So there was an agreement. The European Parliament has supported sanctions and has a long-standing position that no military solution is possible. So actually, the European Parliament stands on diplomatic solutions with or without sanctions.

Now the problem is that the EU is leading the negotiations, but it lacks a long-term strategy on Iran. Contrary to the U.S. position, which actually sees Iran as an enemy, the EU does not see Iran as an enemy; there’s no enemy picture related to the question of diplomatic contact with Iran. So this is a different position. So I think the European Union should actually design a long-term strategy which implies cautious engagement rather than containment of Iran. And as a first step in this long-term engagement, they – the proposal by the European Parliament to establish presence in Iran, actually, in the form of a permanent delegation.

Secondly, it is important to note that the nuclear issue – nuclear dossier – is only part of EU’s relationship with Iran, and that this should be balanced with economic incentives as well as the question of human rights, which is very important for the European Union and particularly to the Parliament. So the nuclear nonproliferation issue should be combined with these incentives.

And thirdly, there is the question of the regional security, which is important for the Europeans. And here, I think we should at least support the conference that I mentioned before and see Turkey as a very important bridge-building for us.

Finally, I hope that the negotiation will continue and there’s no breakdown. And I think for the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and for nuclear nonproliferation, a military strike would be a fundamental mistake. Thank you.

MR. THIELMANN: Thank you. (Applause.)

We have about 25 minutes for questions; we’re going to move quickly to them. I just wanted to use my prerogative to ask one follow-up question to Ambassador Mousavian.

We often hear cited as a – as a model for future negotiation of nuclear cooperation agreements the one we negotiated with the United Arab Emirates as the gold standard. We in the United States obviously prefer a model that does not involve the full fuel cycle, does not spread the number of countries that have a full infrastructure for uranium enrichment. I gather from what you said you would be in favor of encouraging countries like the UAE, like Jordan, like Turkey to use Iran as the model for nuclear development?



AMB. MOUSAVIAN: Should I explain?

MR. THIELMANN: If – yes.

AMB. MOUSAVIAN: Yeah – I think the enrichment today is just because of the U.S. policy. Right after revolution, when Iran decided to shrink their nuclear activities, the U.S. position was no nuclear power plant for Iran. The U.S. was not ready to recognize even the rights of Iran for power plant. And it – this was the reason the Europeans also – they could not do anything in order to complete the unfinished projects of Bushehr.

The Western countries, they left Iran with billions of dollars of unfinished projects, and they were not ready – Iran had no plan, no program for enrichment. And the revolutionaries, they decided even to decrease to minimum the ambitious projects of Shah; they canceled many projects.

But when the West challenged Iran with the rights even for nuclear power plant, you left no other option for Iranians to go for self-sufficiency.

Then, after Iran mastered enrichment, then the U.S. said, OK, now we recognize the rights of Iran for nuclear power plants. After Iran mastered the enrichment. This was the best way in order to convince the U.S. that you should respect the rights of members under NPT for at least civilian power plants.

And then, that time, again the U.S. position was zero enrichment. When Iran mastered 10,000 centrifuges, now the U.S. and the Europeans, they are thinking, OK, not 20 percent, maybe 3.5 percent.

I mean, the mistake is from the beginning, Greg (sp). Iran was never going to have enrichment from the beginning. You just pushed Iran to this situation. If, at the beginning of revolution and the early after revolution, if you or the Germans, they have completed the Bushehr Power Plant, Iran had even no program to have the second power plant. It was the U.S. proposed to have 23 power plants before revolution. After revolution, Iranians, they said, we don’t want 23 power plants.

Now, after 30 years which Iran has paid hundreds of billions of dollars of cost because of your pressures, now you are expecting Iran to give up everything. I mean, it doesn’t work. It’s very different with United Emirate(s) – you cannot compare Iran with United Emirate(s).

MR. THIELMANN: Thank you. We’ll take questions from the floor. Please wait for the mic; give your name; be brief. Francois Rivasseau?

MR. RIVASSEAU: Is there microphones coming?

Q: Thank you. I’m Francois Rivasseau, the deputy head of delegation of European Union here. And I’ve been also working on nuclear issue in Geneva in 2005, taking part in the talks with Iran. And I’m also adviser to the secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon in his advisory board. And that’s why we reflect a lot about this issue, about NPT and U.N. Security Council resolutions.

And I have to say I personally disagree with the presentation which has been made about – of two interpretations of NPT. I think there is a very central interpretation which is shared by almost everybody, and which is that when you have the right to enrich, every country on the NPT has the right to enrich, this is sure. This is clear in Article IV.

But at the same time, you have to have a use for that. And I agree that it’s ambiguous with distinction between civilian and military use, because even military use is admitted for Brazil for building a – possibly a nuclear submarine, of which has been disputed also by Canada. But at least it’s not building nuclear weapons, because was the TNP (sic\NPT) –

AMB. PICKERING: “T’as deja dis une question?”

Q: “Oui.” The question is very simple. We have to today no use for, but except a very small thing.

So for – if there is a solution, we have to imagine civilian use for the Iranian program, which today has none. And my question to you both is do you see the possibility of having a use commensurate to the size of the program? And if not, can you reduce the program to the size of uses which you could have – because present civilian uses are so little compared to the size of a program, you know? But there is an absolute presumption, but is not for civilian or even military-authorized uses, but for prohibited uses.

Thank you. Sorry for being really long enough with it.

MR. THIELMANN: So how to make commensurate, I guess, is – Ambassador Pickering, do you want to field that?

AMB. PICKERING. I think François raises a very interesting and a very important question because it lies at the heart of some of the disagreements. There are disagreements about interpretation of the NPT; I’d agree with them, the fundamental and broader interpretation meant by absolute equality here is that anything that looks military, goes beyond the civilian is suspect.

My own feeling is that in the course of a negotiation, at some point we’re going to have to sit down and define the question. Otherwise, we continue to propagate the misunderstanding or at least the differences and the difficulty. And I think that’s very important.

I think that doing that early rather than later is significant. One of the reasons I proposed U.S.-Iranian bilaterals is that that question among many others might be explored privately. It wouldn’t be to the exclusion of the P5 plus-one, but it would begin to give a sense of confidence for people who have had much less contact with Iran than the EU-3 have had. And I think that that, along with the questions of difference in interpretation make a lot of sense.

I also think it’s very important for us to continue to think about how to plug the loopholes in the NPT. One of those is interpretation; one of those is obviously definition of what’s civilian and is – everything that’s not civilian excluded, or is everything allowed unless it’s diversion? I mean, these are broad questions, and they have to be, I think, put into shape.

I think finally, we need to think about the end state. If you asked me, I would say there is no palpable reason – apologies to “mes amis les Français” – for the use of plutonium in any fuel proposition unless it can be conclusively demonstrated that there is an economic imperative. And if there is, then that – and I would then ask for enrichment to be totally multilateralized and be done on a basis where there is competition, but done on a basis where there is absolute transparency and the greatest safeguards against diversion rather than, as Hossein (sp) would say, forcing people to go independently on the one hand, or alternatively failing to persuade people that there is a reliable international system with competition that cannot be used as a way to bring political pressure on countries for questions that go beyond proliferation. And my hope is that it would support nonproliferation in an important way. But that’s my hobby horse and I’m sticking to it.

MR. THIELMANN: Dr. Cronberg, you wanted to say something?

TARJA CRONBERG: Yes, I agree with the Ambassador that we have to define the question and reach a situation where the civil and military uses are defined in a way where political pressure is as little as possible.

But what I want to make a point is that there is a third dimension between the civil and the military, and that’s the prestige dimension. And I think we are seeing all over the world that the nuclear technology carries with it prestige, which probably has nothing to do with military uses or civilian uses, but actually provides the country with a self-esteem about being on the level of other countries. This was the case in China when it acquired nuclear weapons. This is at least to some extent the case in Iran today.

So I think the question of delegitimizing this prestige question is very important, because otherwise we’ll see the proliferation of nuclear technology, which is proliferating. We see that the knowledge is the same, and countries want to acquire this knowledge. So how you see the question of getting rid of the prestige aspect. The Iranians need at least one centrifuge to remain sort of on the nuclear technology program.

MR. THIELMANN: Ambassador Mousavian, did you have a response?

AMB. MOUSAVIAN: I think again, after revolution, France was – it was – France was France declined the contract Iran had already with France on enrichment. If you had not declined, if you have accepted their right – it was supposed to – the enrichment, to be done in your land, not in Iran. But you didn’t want. OK.

The second issue is that if there really did – the problem is a nuclear bomb, I’m 100 percent confident the Iranian side, they would accept all measures, all commitments to ensure the international community that Iran would remain forever a non-nuclear weapon state. This is not an issue for Iran. On transparency measures, openness, cooperation with the IAEA, up to the end, they will be 100 percent open if their rights are respected.

Ultimately, the sanctions also should be lifted. And you remember François, again, in 2003, 2004 – the European’s EU3, they were asking us objective guarantees for non-diversion. For a year, we were asking them, OK, define for us what is objective guarantees? They were not able to define what do they want. Yeah. And then we had the meeting with President Chirac in early 2005. We agreed with him that we would leave to the IAEA to define the objective guarantees for non-diversion. We left Paris. When we arrived in Germany, we were told that London has discussed with Washington, and Washington has rejected. Even they were not ready to leave to the IAEA to define the objective guarantees for non-diversion.

And in spring 2005 – I have explained in detail in my book – when I met privately the three EU3 interlocutors, I told them, let’s agree. It was before presidential election. I told them, let’s agree for Iran to have a pilot. We would export – we would export hundred percent of production, even the production of the pilot. And then we would negotiate for a longer period in order to reach to some kind of compromise to give more time to you Europeans to define objective guarantees.

And this – even this proposal, when we were ready to have one pilot, this was rejected again by the U.S. I mean, Iran was not really very much eager to accelerate the program. Even that time, this proposal was confirmed by the leader. But Europeans, they were not ready to cooperate with Iran.

MR. THIELMANN: Next brief question. Daryl.

Q: Thank you, Greg. Thank you, panelists. I have a – Daryl Kimball with Arms Control Association. I have a question for Ambassador Pickering and Ambassador Mousavian. News reports out this morning say that there will be yet another round of discussions between the IAEA and Iran regarding the framework concept for dealing with the possible military activities that Iran is suspected of being involved in in the past. So my question is, what do you see as being possible in these discussions, which come just a week before the IAEA board of governors meeting? What needs to be done in order to move forward to resolve these questions; and if that could be achieved, how might that affect the dynamics of the P5+1 and Iran discussions in Moscow?

AMB. PICKERING: Maybe, Daryl, I could take a shot at it. I think it’s an important issue. For me, the possible military dimensions issue, lodged before mainly 2003 – there’s some continuing disputes. But the intelligence community is basically continuing to reassure us the judgments it made in 2007 remain – the U.S. intelligence community. Therefore, the PMD question, in my view, is of most salient importance to, in effect, provide the IAEA with the fullest possible information to guard against problems in the future. I would be willing to adopt what I would call the South African model: a no-fault process. You tell the truth and the whole truth, there are no consequences. If you don’t tell the truth, there are all conceivable consequences. In part, it’s a test of good faith. In part, it’s a way to determine the answer. And in part, it’s to take the burden of the guilt trip off the back of Iran, which in my view is not necessary, if in fact we’re proceeding in a reasonable basis for the future. Now this may be totally naive and starry-eyed, but in my sense, the notion that we’re going to spend all our time worrying about the past when the big bang problem is in the future is not a very useful enterprise.

And I think what the South Africans did with respect to their own terrible record on apartheid and how they handled that awful, divisive and difficult problem for the future – not in any way perfect, but those who didn’t tell the truth suffered the consequences; those who did tell the truth emerged and they had a record and indeed there was closure. In my sense, we need some closure. But we need, more importantly, to have the IAEA as fully and as possibly widely informed as it can to design for the future, and I just heard Hossein say – I mean, Hossein and I don’t represent any governments. That’s our problem. We could agree, probably tomorrow. (Scattered laughter.) But the problem is the governments aren’t there, and it’s like the Middle East peace, as Greg said. But if that were the case, then I think there could be an answer.

So I think clearing up possible military developments is important. But do I think it should stand in the way of future progress? Probably not. I think the uncertainties with respect to possible military developments are not all that salient, that the end result is going to be bent or skewed if they remain in semi-obscurity. What is bent or skewed in this is Iranian good faith. And I think Iran needs an opportunity under conditions that are not punitive to demonstrate that it is prepared to approach the negotiations good faith. I think that there are other tests of good faith on the other side, and I don’t exclude them, but now is not the time to explore them.

AMB. MOUSAVIAN: (Off mic) – the IAEA’s questions, they have two technical questions. One relates to after 2003, which I think 80 (percent) to 90 percent of technical ambiguities already are removed; 10 (percent), 15 percent are left. This has been already discussed in the previous visit of Amano to Teheran, and Teheran agreed to give required access to the IAEA to cooperate in order to remove these remaining issues.

Possible military dimension, as Tom said, relates to 1980s, early 1990s. This is not to the current program of Iranian nuclear issue, which needs Iran to implement additional protocol and even to give access to the IAEA beyond additional protocol. Again, this has been already agreed in Teheran. I mean, in the previous visit of Amano, 90 percent, 95 percent of the issue is how to cooperate. Giving access, inspections was resolved. They agreed. Five percent, 10 percent are left. I’m sure Iran would agree this is not an issue. Let’s say if Iran agrees to give all access –inspections, cooperations with the IAEA – then the P5+1 in Moscow, they would be ready to respect the rights of Iran or not. If not, this would fail.

MR. THIELMANN: We just have a few minutes. Let’s just take two questions and give our speakers a chance to respond. Barbara?

Q: Barbara Slavin from the Atlantic Council. With all due respect, I mean, we understand that Iran is cleansing Parchin and has been working assiduously to clean this site. So when we talk about establishing trust, Ambassador Mousavian, I mean, this is not something that engenders much trust among the P5+1. It seems that what you’re saying is that Iran is going to trade an agreement with the IAEA for something at Moscow, but obviously, we have a disconnect, because what the P5+1 is saying is that they want action on 20 percent in return for some action at Moscow. So if you could address this disconnect, do you see that there is any possibility that perhaps your proposal or something like it could be agreed to on the 20 percent, or are they just going to round and round on circles on the right to enrich? Thanks.

MR. THIELMANN: We’ll treat that as one question. In the middle.

Q: I’d like to follow up – Milton Hoenig. I want to follow up on Daryl’s question and ask it a slightly different way. The meeting of Amano in Teheran before the Baghdad EU-3 plus one meeting raised great expectations that really weren’t – didn’t materialize. Now the upcoming meeting is again going to raise great expectations for the Moscow meeting which really didn’t materialize. Isn’t it possible that these two streams – the IAEA stream wanting answers to questions about possible military dimensions and the diplomatic stream – are really interfering with each other, and that we should really concentrate or – one on the other – or the other, perhaps preferably the diplomatic stream, and put aside the other stream just for the time being?

MR. THIELMANN: OK, Parchin and the relationship between the two. Ambassador Mousavian?

AMB. MOUSAVIAN: Parchin Barbaro (ph) already has been visited two times, during – (inaudible) – and after – (inaudible) – Larijani. This has been already visited two times. And you know, the IAEA – they have enough technology instrument, even if some buildings are destroyed – in case there has been some enrichment activities, they can find it even 10, 15 years after.

MS. : (Off mic.)

AMB. MOUSAVIAN: It was not, because there was nothing there. I mean, it doesn’t mean that the IAEA couldn’t find it, because there was nothing. But the – remember in summer 2011, when even the IAEA did not raise Parchin issue – you remember? The Russians, they put a step-by-step proposal on the table. This proposal included implementation of additional protocol, implementation of subsidy arrangement, addressing possible military dimensions, giving access to IAEA beyond, limiting the new installment of centrifuges, stopping at 5 percent – you remember? Everything was there, even suspension for a short period.

Iran responded positively, and the foreign minister publicly said, we are ready to discuss the details. But the P5+1 rejected. Therefore, the Russian proposal, which had the measures for a hundred percent of transparency, Iran showed positive gesture in summer 2011, even before the Parchin raise – issue was raised.

MR. THIELMANN: Time’s winged chariot is drawing near. If – just a very brief word from our other panelists.

AMB. PICKERING: A very brief word. I won’t discuss Parchin further, except that the notion that Parchin has to involve the presence of nuclear material and therefore is a violation loses sight of the fact that the interest in Parchin has been high-explosive development that has no nuclear material. So there’s a difference there. But there is a persistence in nuclear explosive material.

But my own view is that’s much less important than the other aspect of this with the IAEA, which is designing the inspection system for the future. And Hossein has talked about that, and that’s the problem with Amano. As long as we confuse these two and one holds up the other, we’ve got a problem.

I’ll go to the second question. You’re in a horse-for-a-rabbit situation. You want all the transparency, but you don’t want to give on the other thing the Iranians want give on. And that’s a very difficult problem for us. Do we in fact address the question of how much level of enrichment is going to be permitted, either temporarily or permanently, in some arrangement with Iran? As I’ve said before, I’m prepared to accept a level of civil enrichment if in fact the IAEA has a situation in which it is satisfied it is doing the best of all possible jobs in inspection and can in fact improve that as technology improves and as things can go ahead. It appears as if that’s on the table.

My feeling is that that’s too big for the present time for the U.S. to accept in the context of an election. And I’m sorry to say that. But you know, maybe it’ll be reversed. Maybe it’ll be seen as a real victory; I would hope so. But at the moment we seem to run scared on this issue. There is an Israeli position of deep distrust on this that basically says, for them the only acceptable thing is zero enrichment, although nobody has sat down and explained quite why zero enrichment with weak inspection is so much better than some enrichment with the strongest possible inspection, which I think is the shape of a deal you could get.

And even then the president, in my view, would have to face up to the question in the middle of an election campaign, does he want to present another issue in which he can be widely attacked, even if distinctly unfairly? And that’s a very difficult question, and I don’t have the answer to it. It’s down at 1600 Pennsylvania.

MR. THIELMANN: Dr. Cronberg.

MS. CRONBERG: Now just on the question of verification, I think it’s very interesting that concrete proposals that have been put forth on the verification processes and how it could be carried out are put forth by former directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Hans Blix has come up with a proposal. And Olli Heinonen, who is now working at Harvard, has also come up with a – with a recent proposal on the verification which is very explicit on how you can take these steps and actually verify the question of military and civilian uses. So they are technical proposals; I think this is a political problem.

MR. THIELMANN: Thank you very much. Please join me in thanking our speakers. (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, Greg. Thank you, panelists, for that insightful discussion on the Iranian nuclear issue. We’re now going to adjourn for about 25 minutes. We’re going to feed you. We’re going to pick up our program at noon with our keynote luncheon speaker, Rose Gottemoeller. And let me just note that the lunch is buffet style. There are two lines, one here, one back there. So please fill your plate, come back to your seat, and we’ll be beginning at noontime. Thank you.

(END) - Back to top


Keynote Address

Moderator:Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director,
Arms Control Association

Speaker: Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and New START Negotiator

ROSE GOTTEMOELLER: It’s always great to be in this room and to see so many friends and colleagues here, so thank you very much for this opportunity to speak to you again today and to bring you up to date on where we are on our arms control and nonproliferation agenda items.

I’m always glad to be at the Arms Control Association’s annual meeting. Before coming into government I served on the board, and I know from the inside out how important this association is. So for the work that you do and for the work that all your talented staff do, as well as the membership of the organization, I truly want to thank you because now I’m on the inside of a different beast, and we really do appreciate all the work that you do to support our efforts in the government.

I know that many of you have heard me speak a few times about what’s going on in the arms control arena with this administration. I’m not going to sing the same old song today about the standard metaphors – that is, we’re setting the stage, we’re preparing the way, et cetera.

In the simplest terms, I would like to make clear that this president set an agenda in Prague, and we have done some important things to move that agenda forward. We are approaching the lowest level of deployed nuclear weapons at any time since the 1950s, the first full decade of the nuclear age. We are also coming to a time in October of this year where we will mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis. And I think that we should look upon this as an important anniversary to truly mark our own progress as we move forward on the President’s agenda laid out in Prague, to move toward the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.

We have come so far since then – that is, the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 – and now we are setting the stage to move toward new accomplishments. I understand you’ve already taken up the topic of the New START Treaty this morning, so I’m not going to go into details of the treaty per se, but I did want to reiterate and underscore that the implementation of the treaty is going very well indeed. The Russians just arrived in the United States this weekend for another inspection under the treaty. They’re out at Malmstrom Air Force Base. It is their seventh inspection this year so far – this treaty year, which begins in February. So there is an intensive pace of inspection activity under the treaty. And so far we are able to say quite clearly that the treaty’s verification regime works.

And I’m very pleased with that, because of course one – when one negotiates something, the procedures and so forth, you’re never sure if it’s all going to fall in place. But it has been going very well indeed and will be important to setting the first stage of – the next stage of reductions because of the mutual confidence and the trust that is being built up in the course of implementation of the new treaty. Mutual trust and confidence of course are crucial to any future success in arms reduction negotiations.

Now we are working on the next steps that will set us further along the road to achieving the Prague goals. As part of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the U.S. government is reviewing our nuclear deterrence requirements and nuclear plans to ensure that they are aligned to address today’s threats. We are considering what forces the United States needs to maintain for strategic stability and deterrence, including extended deterrence and assurance to U.S. allies and partners.

Based on this analysis, we will develop proposals for further reductions in our nuclear stockpile, which currently stands at approximately 5,000 total nuclear warheads. As the president said recently at the second Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need. Once complete, this study of our deterrence requirements will help to shape our negotiating approach to the next agreement with the Russians.

Regardless of numbers, the president has stressed that the next nuclear reduction agreement between the United States and Russian Federation should include strategic, nonstrategic and non-deployed nuclear weapons. Of course, no previous arms control agreement has limited or monitored these last two categories. So the next negotiations will be breaking some new ground in important ways. We are going to need new, more demanding approaches to verification and monitoring. But I am confident that we can find ways to respond to such challenges.

Beyond responsibly reducing the number of nuclear weapons, this administration has been committed to reducing their role in our national security strategy as well. We are not developing new nuclear weapons. We are not pursuing new nuclear missions. We are working toward creating the conditions to make deterring nuclear use the sole purpose of our nuclear weapons. And we have clearly stated that this is in our interest and in the interest of all other states, that the more than 65-year record of nuclear non-use be extended forever.

Recently, we worked through the nuclear policy issues that are important and relevant to our NATO allies. At the NATO summit in Chicago a few weeks ago, the allies approved the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, which identified the appropriate mix of conventional, nuclear and missile defense forces that NATO will need to deter and defend against future threats to the alliance.

Focusing on the elements of the DDPR, the allies reaffirmed their commitment to seek to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, while remaining a nuclear alliance for as long as nuclear weapons exist. The review found that the alliance’s nuclear force posture currently meets the criteria for an effective deterrent and also defense posture, and that the circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons may be contemplated are extremely, extremely remote. The alliance acknowledged the importance the independent and unilateral U.S., British and French negative security assurances have in discouraging nuclear proliferation.

Looking to the future, allies reiterated that NATO is prepared to consider further reducing its requirement for nonstrategic nuclear weapons assigned to the alliance in the context of reciprocal steps by the Russian Federation. Leaders agreed that the NAC should issue two related taskings to appropriate NATO committees – first, to develop concepts for ensuring the broadest possible burden sharing, including in the event NATO decides to further reduce its reliance on nonstrategic nuclear weapons based in Europe; and second, to further consider what NATO would expect to see in the way of reciprocal Russian actions to allow for significant reductions in forward-based, nonstrategic nuclear weapons assigned to NATO.

NATO expressed its support for continued mutual efforts by the United States and Russia to promote strategic stability, enhance transparency and further reduce their nuclear weapons. The allies also reiterated their interest in developing and exchanging transparency and confidence-building ideas with Russia, with the goal of developing detailed proposals on and increased mutual understanding of NATO’s and Russia’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons deployed in Europe.

Now let me turn to conventional arms control, which in my view has not received adequate attention in recent years. We’re spending a lot of time focused on the future of conventional arms control and its role in enhancing European security. There are three conventional arms control regimes that play key roles in European security – the Open Skies Treaty, the Vienna Document, 2011, and the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, or the CFE treaty. Each regime is important and contributes to security and stability in a unique way. When they work in harmony, the result is greater confidence for all of Europe.

Today, I must tell you, the conventional arms control regime in Europe is facing challenges. Unfortunately, Russia ceased implementation of its CFE obligations in December of 2007, refusing to accept inspections or provide information to other CFE parties on its military forces as required by the treaty. After trying for several years to overcome the obstacles and encourage Russia to resume implementation, we concluded we can no longer implement the treaty with Russia while it shirks its obligations.

In late 2011, the United States, joined by the 21 NATO allies who are party to the treaty as well as by Georgia and Moldova, ceased carrying out our obligations under the CFE treaty with regard to Russia. I want to emphasize, however, that the treaty remains in force according to its terms and is being implemented at 29.

The cessation of implementation of CFE with regard to Russia by 24 of 30 states parties gives us an opportunity to consider the current security architecture our future needs and the types of arms control measures that will help achieve our security goals. In other words, I see this period now as a period of true opportunity to consider what we truly need for 21st-century conventional arms control in Europe.

Our NATO allies have reaffirmed at the Chicago summit in its declaration our determination to preserve, strengthen and modernize the conventional arms control regime in Europe based on key principles and commitments, and we will continue to explore ideas to this end. We must modernize conventional arms control to take account of current security concerns.

I’ve been meeting with my European counterparts, soliciting their views on key objectives and basic principles for the way ahead with the goal of informing our own review of these issues that’s currently ongoing here in Washington. Moving forward together, we can arrive at solutions that will best serve the security of the United States, our NATO allies and partners, and also the Russian Federation.

Now I’d like to turn to multilateral treaties, the Comprehensive Test Ban, which Daryl has already mentioned. The CTBT remains a top priority for the administration and a key element of the president’s Prague agenda. As we continue laying the groundwork for U.S. ratification, we remain optimistic about the prospects for the CTBT’s entry into force, albeit mindful that achieving that goal will require considerable effort from every single one of us. An effectively-verified CTBT is central to leading toward a world of diminished reliance on nuclear weapons and reduced nuclear competition.

As such, the United States remains committed to the completion of the treaty’s monitoring regime, the so-called IMS system, International Monitoring System, which is now more than 85 percent complete and, once completed, will provide global coverage to detect and identify nuclear explosive tests conducted in violation of the treaty.

Development of the on-site inspection component is a priority task of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, the CTBTO, and we will be assessing the progress of on-site inspection efforts during the 2014 Integrated Field Exercise – very useful upcoming activity.

Since 2011, in addition to our annual assessment, our extra-budgetary contributions to the CTBTO have totaled over $40 million. Given the tough budget environment here in Washington, those contributions clearly demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the CTBT and the vital importance the United States attaches to completing the verification regime for the treaty.

Now let me turn next to the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. We are also continuing our fight – and I will gladly characterize it a fight – to launch the negotiation of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, or FMCT. Such a treaty is considered to be by the majority of the international community the next step in the process of multilateral nuclear disarmament. We have worked closely with a number of countries to achieve the start of FMCT negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament.

Creative and insightful ideas on how to move forward have been deployed in Geneva to no avail. We are very disappointed in the results so far. The current blockage over FMCT is a formidable one. Each attempt to overcome the impasse makes this clearer: Certain countries must engage substantively, constructively and frequently on FMCT. Without that, no progress, be it in the CD, on its margins or outside of it, can make real progress.

This is a leadership issue for this community as well as a practical matter. Countries most affected by an FCMT are the key stakeholders – the countries that need to be the most active, the most determined in any effort to achieve such a regime.

Although we are continuing our efforts in the conference on disarmament, we are also continuing to consult among the P-5 and other key stakeholders on ways forward for an FMCT. Our most recent meeting in this P-5-plus effort was in London in April, and we’re making plans to meet again soon this summer. We are not making headlines right now, but the states participating are very invested in the process, which is a good sign. Gradually, we are making progress, but we are going to need to push and push intensively in this arena.

Let me turn for a moment to the P-5 process, because it is one that is quite current now –we’re planning our upcoming in Washington, about which I’ll say a few words. The P-5 have been meeting regularly to review our progress toward fulfilling our obligations and our commitments under the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference’s action plan.

This process is a venue to bolster the long-standing U.S.-Russian interaction with an ongoing P-5 engagement on issues related to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. During P-5 conferences and the ongoing P-5 meetings, we have covered verification, transparency, confidence-building, nonproliferation and other important topics, all of which are important for establishing a firm foundation for further disarmament efforts.

For example, at the 2011 Paris P-5 conference – that was in June of 2011, a year ago – the P-5 reaffirmed their unconditional support for the NPT, reaffirmed the commitment set out in the 2010 action plan, stressed the need to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and worked in pursuit of their shared goal of nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the NPT.

Following up on the 2009 London conference and this 2011 Paris conference, the United States is hosting the next P-5 conference here in Washington, June 27th to June 29th. The United States looks forward to having further in-depth discussions – candid discussions – and these have been very useful discussions, I must say – on a variety of issues with our P-5 counterparts during the conference.

We also look forward to hosting a public event as part of the Washington conference. This will be on June 27th, for those of you who are interested. It is titled, “Three Pillars for Peace and Security: Implementing the NPT.” The event will focus on the mutually reinforcing nature of the three NPT pillars and examine how all three are essential to create the conditions for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Now finally, let me turn to some of the work we’ve been doing inside my own bureau, the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. You may know that I’m juggling two hats now: I’m the acting undersecretary, but I’ve maintained my role as the assistant secretary. I’m joking that I now have one of the longest titles in Washington, but it does encompass a broad empire.

But I wanted to talk a bit about the work we’re doing on future verification technology and appeal to you, because as we move forward on all these fronts that I’ve laid out today, we are going to need the help of everyone in this room. It’s not just on the advocacy level. We also need your creativity and your ideas. As I mentioned before, reducing to lower numbers of all kinds of weapons will require that we push past the current limits of our verification and monitoring capabilities. Whether we’re trying to monitor missile launches, count nuclear warheads or detect and characterize an unexplained biological event, we need ever-improving tools and technologies. The State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, AVC, which is my own home bureau, works very hard to be on the cutting edge of new technology, not merely for the sake of being on the cutting edge, but because we know that that is where we can best leverage the small budget that exists in our government for developing such new capabilities.

It is because of this need for new technology that I am particularly proud to announce that we have for the first time ever made available to the public our so-called verification technology research and development needs document. This document has been published on an annual basis, and it is a catalog of sorts telling the R&D community what we believe are our most pressing technology needs to answer arms control questions in the future. Now with a publicly available document, we can expand our community of developers beyond the usual suspects of the Defense and Department of Energy laboratories. To a certain extent, the needs document is a think piece. We hope it will stimulate some thinking about where we go from here on verification and monitoring of arms control treaties and agreements. It’s easy to find if you’ll go to the AVC Bureau’s VTT page or to Fed Biz Ops, their website, and simply type in “V fund.” It will come up, and you’ll have a chance to look at it.

I also encourage all of you in your organizations to pursue opportunities for Track 1.5 and Track Two engagement policies. We should never undervalue the productivity of these efforts. Many of the ideas that went into the New START Treaty – and I know I’ve said this time and again, but many of the ideas that went into the New START Treaty were developed in the years running up to the negotiations through Track 1.5 and Track Two activities. And I have appreciated the role of the Arms Control Association and many of the organizations represented here as we prepare for negotiation of the Arms Trade Treaty this July in New York. This is a very important effort that has gone on, and we really welcome your efforts overall.

Now, to wrap up, I want to leave you with one final thought. It’s one of my favorites, and it’s one I think about constantly. It’s not every day that you think of President Calvin Coolidge as a source of inspiration – (laughter) – but I always like to recall what he has to say about persistence. I think it’s not a bad message for this audience today. The president said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved, and always will solve, the problems of the human race.”

So, colleagues and friends, we must press on. We have no easy task ahead of us. We must simply press on. We have far to go, and there are problems that we cannot anticipate. Certainly in this job over the last three years, there have been many problems that I did not anticipate, but we continue to press on. Make no mistake: The arc of nuclear history is bending downwards.

I am quite sure of that. I look forward to your comments and questions, and thank you very much for your attention today.


DARYL KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Rose, for your overview of all that’s happening in this field.

We have time for questions, and there are microphones on either side. So once again, if you could – if you want to ask a question, raise your hand, identify yourself, and the microphone will come to you. And as the microphones get to these two folks here in the front, let me just start with the first question, Rose.

You ended with the Coolidge admonition to persist, which I think is always important in the field of nuclear arms control. One of the things we’ve been persisting with for a long time, of course, is the effort to get the fissile material cutoff talks going, and you said it’s a fight. There are only a certain number of different pathways that this can take. I mean, how do you see this debate developing in the next several months, given the opposition from one particular country in South Asia that shall go nameless. And you know, are there alternative ways in which the P-5 can help make progress as the CD tries to find a way around the consensus-rule difficulties that it always grapples with?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Many of you are aware of the efforts of the first committee and the agenda. You’ve been involved in wrestling with these issues either in or out of government. And so you know that the pressures – what pressures emerged last October in the context of the first committee meeting in October. And those pressures had to do with a building frustration about the inability of the CD to move off the dime. I use the word impasse; it’s a very formidable impasse at this moment in the CD.

And so pressures are developing within the first committee to basically go elsewhere, to move this negotiation to other settings – the U.N. General Assembly, et cetera. So these pressures – we were able essentially to let off the steam, I would say is a good way to put it – and let off the steam by emphasizing again the both responsibility and the interest of key stakeholders in moving this issue forward. And that’s why we have been so intent on getting the key stakeholders to the table, working on where we can go, how we can handle this issue pressing forward. We’re slowly, slowly making progress.

So I for one hope that the key stakeholders will continue to be able to press forward. Otherwise, I do fear that we may be heading in a direction that will not be particularly productive in terms of getting true constraints on fissile materials. It’s – you know, a bunch of countries can get together and negotiate a fissile material cut-off treaty, but if they don’t happen to have many fissile materials for weapons purposes, it’s not going to be all that helpful. So I think the important thing is now to keep our eye on the prize, to continue to have very, very serious discussions among the key stakeholders, and try in that way to, you know, to get a negotiation going. So that’s where we’re placing our emphasis at the present time.

MR. KIMBALL: All right. Thank you. And for those of you who want to dive into some of the details on this, we did an extensive interview with Pakistan’s ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Arms Control Today just earlier this year. So I think we’ll start out over here. Barbara, if you want to – go ahead.


Q: Thank you very much. Barbara Slavin, from the Atlantic Council; pleasure to see you again. I wanted you to talk just a little bit about the relationship that’s developed with the Russians in the arms control process. And the Russians now have Putin again as the president. Do you think that’s going to affect the tenor of future arms controls talks with them? How do you see cooperation over Iran developing? Do you see that this arms control process might bleed into other issues with the Russians or are you a little concerned that Putin may play the nationalism card a little harder than Medvedev did? Thanks.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: I – as far as Russian policy is concerned, I see a great deal of consistently, frankly. And if you’re interested in the official Russian articulation of their policy, it’s very useful to look at, first of all, the remarks that Putin published – they were published under his name – in some of the top Russian newspapers right before the election; also, he put out an election platform. And since that time, he has – his administration has published a foreign policy – their first foreign policy – a statement of policy after he entered into the presidency.

And there’s an emphasis in each of those documents on continuing the arms control agenda, continuing arms control work. Now there aren’t any details laid out there, but I do think it is important that that kind of emphasis has appeared, and also a very positive perspective on implementation of the New START Treaty. So there’s been a very positive and, I would say, practical approach to implementation of the New START Treaty.

So as far as the traditional nuclear arms control environment, I see a continuity there with the way this issue was approached since the late ’60s, early 1970s. And the Soviet Union, when – even though there were ups and downs in the relationship, both Washington and Moscow saw nuclear arms control to be in their national security interest. So with fits and starts, and sometimes the negotiations would halt for a while – certainly they did during the 1980s for a while – nevertheless, they would continue up again after perhaps a pause. So I don’t really see at the moment a difficulty in that realm.

I will say that the cooperation with Iran at this point has actually been very, very solid, and Russia’s playing a leading role. As you all know, Russia will be hosting the next meeting to talk with the Iranians in the P-5 plus one process. So there will be, I think, many opportunities for Russia to continue to play in moving that agenda forward. So all in all, I think one has to recognize that political transitions sometimes cause things to slow down a bit. But nevertheless, in terms of the overarching agenda and the willingness of the Russian Federation to engage on it, I have not seen a problem there.

MR. KIMBALL: All right; thank you.

Ambassador Pickering, I think you had a question. And then if there’s anyone in the back who wants to ask a question, you need to ask your – raise your hand now so that we can get the microphones to the back. Thank you.

Q: Rose – Tom Pickering, Hills and Company. Thank you very much for everything you do, and thank you very much for the speech. I would just remark on the last question that I think New START had a great deal to do with reset. And I think that that’s a piece that the arms control community shouldn’t ignore, and that it plays back into arms control attitudes.

With respect to your speech, an unfair question: What are your top three priorities and why? (Laughter.)

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Top three priorities are – well, they’re hard to pick out, because I really had my – have my top six priorities, which you kind of heard this morning. But I think in terms of – I’ll tell you quite honestly, I think that New START implementation is going along very well. So I kind of – I say, all right, we don’t not pay attention to that, but it’s going well. And that’s a good thing. But I do think a lot about where we go from here on for the reductions.

I think a lot about the conventional arms control regime. It’s kind of interesting, but CFE was a spectacular success. It was such a spectacular success that we all forgot about it. And we haven’t been thinking about conventional arms control for some time. But CFE is past its sell-by date, to be quite honest. It’s a great treaty. I am glad it is enforced still according to its terms. But it was negotiated when we had the Warsaw Pact and NATO ranged against each other in Europe. We need a different type of conventional arms control regime in Europe today. So that also preoccupies my thinking quite a bit.

And let me cheat a bit and say it’s a combination of those P-5-related issues – which include the FMCT, which I would put in my third diplomatic priority. But I’m going to cheat further and say there’s a fourth, which is the domestic priority of getting the CTBT ratified. So I went from three to four.

Q: And just – since you did just mention the CTB again, I mean, if – as many of us in this crowd know, the long-awaited National Academy of Sciences study on the technical issues related to the CTBT was released in March. You know, what’s your sense of what those findings tell us about some of the issues that were at the center of the debate in 1999? And how much better does that put the treaty in position going forward for serious reconsideration?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: There were two major issues in 1999 that affected senators’ decision making about ratification of CTBT. One had to do with the verifiability of the treaty. And the NAS study addressed verifiability of the treaty. We welcomed their conclusions. We thought that they were in line with the evidence that we had seen without having such a deep dive in technical terms as the academy took. But just on the face of it, I mentioned in my remarks that the IMS system is now over 85 percent complete. When the IMS system was looked at back in 1999, it was barely off the ground at that point. So just if you look at the – you know, what physically is available now to verify the treaty, there’s just so much more there.

The other major issue, of course, was the Stockpile Stewardship Program and the efficacy of science-based stockpile stewardship in comparison with nuclear explosive testing. Again, in 1999 the Stockpile Stewardship Program was just barely off the ground. You may recall I was working in DOE at that point as the assistant secretary responsible for nonproliferation programs. So I was watching the process of getting stockpile stewardship off the ground. And it was a very, very good process, but it was still a baby. Now we can say that the baby’s matured into early adulthood. And I think that it has proven its mettle in terms of showing that science-based stockpile stewardship can really preserve the security, effectiveness and safety of the arsenal without explosive nuclear testing.

So those are the two big changes that have occurred. Of course, the NAS study was focused on the verifiability issue, but again as I mentioned, I think it basically accords with what we could see just by looking at, you know, the physical evidence of what’s accumulated since 1999 in the IMF system.

MR. KIMBALL: Thanks. Right here, we have a question, Ben, and then over here.

Q: Thank you. I would like to ask you about the Arms Trade Treaty.

MR. KIMBALL: If you could just identify yourself, please.

Q: Daria Kondike (sp), I’m from the European Parliament Defense Committee. And I would like to ask you about the Arms Trade Treaty because at the European Parliament we are debating whether it should be a strong treaty which everybody not signs and – or whether it could be a weaker treaty which everybody signs. Now, what is the U.S. position and under which conditions would you sign?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, if there’s some code word in strong versus weak treaties I should probably know what it is. But in general, the United States would sign up to treaties when they are strong. And I will emphasize that our view is that it is a treaty that covers arms trade per se. There is a legitimate trade in armaments – in conventional arms internationally. And so we see a real importance in ensuring that that trade is carefully regulated. And so that’s the value that we see in an Arms Trade Treaty.

But we do believe that there is a legitimate trade in conventional arms, and so would not support if it’s treated as more a nonproliferation treaty, that we should not have any kind of trade in these weapons. That is not our position.

MR. KIMBALL: And those negotiations on the ATT, as it’s called, begin at the United Nations on July 2nd, and go for about four weeks. And the Arms Control Association will be paying close attention to that.

All right, we have another question here and then we’re going to go to the back row. So Ben, if you could bring the microphone up to Trine, and then in the back.

Q: Trine Flockhart from the Danish Institute for International Studies. You mentioned the inclusion of nonstrategic nuclear weapons in future arms control in the next step. And I was going to ask you – because as I understand it, it’s a Russian precondition for even talking about these weapons, that they are first withdrawn from Europe. So do you have any evidence that perhaps the Europeans will be willing to withdraw the weapons from Europe in anticipation of arms control negotiations? It’s a bit of chicken-and-egg problem.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, you know, it’s very interesting about that Russian condition. That has been a condition in place since the Soviet Union. It’s not a new condition. It is a very, very longstanding condition that also called – we used to call “tac nukes”–tactical nuclear weapons or nonstrategic nuclear weapons must be withdrawn to CONUS, to the continental United States, before they’ll even talk about reductions in this arena.

So like, you know, any number of conditions that can be piled up in advance of negotiations, I think we have to be very careful about considering them as chicken-and-egg problems. We just have to work them – the Russians clearly aren’t going to come to the negotiating table unless they see a negotiation to be in their national interest. We would not either, nor would we expect our NATO allies to join us in an effort to negotiate such a treaty unless they, too, joined in seeing it as in their national interest. But I just simply don’t treat these conditions – and the Russians have piled up some other conditions on the table – I don’t see them as a chicken-and-egg problem. I see them essentially as issues that must be worked in the run-up to negotiations, and we’ll see where we get. They may see an interest over time in enhanced transparency, in understanding further what’s going on in, for example, former Warsaw Pact facilities that have now been closed out and no longer hold nuclear weapons. They may be interested in learning more about that. Let’s work the issue and see where we get, and then we’ll see what we do about it in negotiations. But I would just urge us all – it gets a bit – sometimes you can kind of scratch your head because you hear some Russian commentators, you know, piling up what look like conditions after conditions. I’d be very cautious about treating them as big blockages. We just need to work them is all.

MR. KIMBALL: All right, we’re going to move to the lightning round of questions. I think we’ve got time for two or three more. And I’m going to ask the folks to raise their hands.

Q: (Off mic.)

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah, well, we could take two or three at the same time. Go ahead, sir, and then we’re going to go to the next one and then Rose will take a couple at the same time.

Q: I’m Peter Pereni (ph). I worked on and struggled with the issues of conventional arms control negotiations for about two years ending in 2009, and in particular what to do about CFE in Gates’ office. Now that we find barriers to do with the basic structure of the new treaty even, which is apparently unacceptable in many respects to Russia, as well as regional issues that have gotten in the way of our ratification like Moldova, Georgia, mutual concerns in other areas – this is kind of an unfair question, but I’m wondering what sort of paths one might explore, whether it’s a totally new treaty or whether one begins with small political confidence-raising steps, perhaps in regions of tension, and then builds up to something bigger. And I know you said you were just exploring, you know, ideas, so I don’t want to put you on the spot, but I’m curious as to what’s in play and what one hears, whether the most promising approach is a global solution or a piecemeal, more political solution or some combination.

MR. KIMBALL: Let’s see what Rose has to say about that, all right? And then Natalie Goldring, over here, if you could – the microphone to the right. Thank you.

Q: Natalie Goldring, Georgetown and the Acronym Institute. Appreciate your endorsement of the Arms Trade Treaty, even if it didn’t make your top four. I’d like to ask you a question about consensus. The U.S. has insisted on it in the Arms Trade Treaty process. Some of the same skeptics you’ve encountered in the SMCT process are also present in the Arms Trade Treaty process and playing the same role. How do you think we can keep the U.S. insistence on consensus and keep the skeptics from using it to derail the treaty?

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Actually – shall I take those two?

Let me come straight to Natalie’s question. You know, the reason why it’s not in my top four is, as far as my heavy lifting is concerned, at least at the moment, Roberto Moritan has done a fabulous job preparing a way. The reason why we’re talking about a four-week negotiation is that we think there’s a real shot at getting this thing done in four weeks. There are many difficult issues to get through in July, and you know, it’s not a done deal. But I would say that the ground is very well prepared. And again, it’s thanks to the work of the nongovernmental community, but also the work of our negotiators in the prepcom that we’re in such good shape.

So that’s why – it’s not because I don’t consider it important and significant from a policy perspective; it’s because – you know, just in terms of my own personal heavy lifting. We’ll see. Maybe July 31st will come and I’ll be up in New York all night long. We’ll see what happens. But at the moment I’m very positive about the preparatory work that has gone into it so far.

But your question about consensus is a very important one. For those of you who don’t know the arrangement for decision making in the ATT negotiations is that as a matter of substantive decision making, such decisions must be made by consensus. Procedural decisions can be made by a majority kind of approach. So it’s a different approach. We’ve been quite hesitant about it, although we were willing to see how it works in this context because it’s difficult, many times, to draw a bright line between substantive process, and we’re concerned about that causing difficulties going forward. But we’ll see how it goes. Let’s see how it goes this July and see where we go from here. And that’s all I can say to you at the present time on that.

As far as conventional arms control, Peter, those questions are very, very good ones. I will say that we’re looking at a rather broad spectrum now. So you’ve made some mention of, you know, not being able to ratify a treaty or, you know, there’s – at the moment, we’re taking a very broad-ranging look at this – at this arena of conventional arms control. We have a solid foundation in that the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty is still in force, according to its terms. I look particularly, given my experience on New START – New START and CFE, conventional arms control, are much different. Obviously, conventional arms control is multilateral. New START was bilateral. But in both cases I think we have accumulated some excellent experience in terms of the verification and inspection regimes which we need to bear in mind. They’ve been great in raising confidence and may play a role in the future. But at the same time, I think we need to look very broadly at what the purpose of conventional arms control in Europe is these days – we’re not dealing with two alliances arranged against each other – what the regional security situations are, and furthermore, overall, the way Europe is, you know, handling military forces these days is much different. There’s a lot of budget cutting going on. There’s a lot of effort at having, you know, shared capabilities across borderlines. And so we just need to think, I think, in a very broad-ranging way about where we want to go on conventional arms control. So that’s the effort we have under way in government now. No decisions have been made, but we are taking a very, very serious look at it. And I expect this summer we’ll be coming to some decisions about how to proceed. So if any of you out there have any ideas on this – on this agenda, we would welcome the chance to talk to you about them.

MR. KIMBALL: An invitation.

All right. And speaking of persistence, let’s go for our last question to Mr. Larry Wilder (sp) in the back there who has persisted on these issues longer than most. For those of you who don’t know, Larry was one of the nonproliferation treaty negotiators. So Larry, your question.

Q: Yes. Well, I was negotiating, as I mentioned to you on an earlier occasion I think, on the nonproliferation treaty 57 years ago. Time flies. (Laughter.) I’m getting older.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: When you’re having fun.

Q: I have another unfair question. What is your estimate of whether or not we’re any closer to getting the necessary votes in the Senate than we were years ago on – the CTB.

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, you know – again, Larry, I have had a very interesting experience in watching the ratification of the New START Treaty, because up until the final week, we didn’t have any votes aside from – well, we had the Democratic side of the House; we had Senator Lugar. But in terms of specific votes on the Republican side of the ledger, we didn’t know. You just got to work it. And again, I found that one of the most valuable aspects of the New START ratification debate was that the senators were willing to really take a serious look at the treaty and to really consider their responsibility under the Constitution with regard to the national security of the United States in giving their advice and consent to treaties.

To make a long story short, they wanted to hear the details. They delved into the inspection regime in ways I never would have predicted. They delved in – and you know, a lot of attention went to the budget side and the concern about the budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration and so forth. But to me it was very impressive how much they wanted to understand the details of the treaty and how it would improve our national security, our confidence with regard to what the Russians are doing in their strategic arsenal, and overall enhance predictability with Moscow.

So my view is this is the time we need to get the word out there about what the CTBT can do for us, what it will do to enhance our national security. We need to ask all those concerned, both inside and outside of government, on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, to take a serious look and be ready to listen, to get some questions answered and to debate. But we’re not asking anybody at the moment to say yea or nay. And in fact, I hope people will not say yea or nay right now but have a very, very serious and intensive debate on the merits of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

MR. KIMBALL: All right, thank you. I think we’re drawing to a close here. I think your time is up. I want to thank you very much for joining us here once again.


MR. KIMBALL: And I hope to have you back again. We’ll take up your invitation for ideas on the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. We always have space in Arms Control Today for more ideas on that long-running issue. And we will promise to persist, which is a very important admonition from you, given –

MS. GOTTEMOELLER: And Calvin Coolidge.

MR. KIMBALL: And Calvin Coolidge. (Laughter.) We’ll have to use that one in the future. So thank you very much, Rose. (Applause.)

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ACA Senior Fellow speaks at Brookings on Missile Defense



Missile Defense: Cooperation or Contention?  Ballistic Missile Threats to NATO and U.S. Response

Prepared Remarks by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association
Brookings, Washington, D.C.
May 17, 2012

Now that NATO has achieved the first tangible step toward the missile defense goals it established at Lisbon, I want to take a close look at the threat that inspired it.

Missile Threat and Missile Defense Response Not New

The threat to NATO Europe and to the U.S. mainland from ballistic missile attack by hostile countries is hardly new.  It existed throughout most of the Cold War.  The U.S. twice adopted programs to provide for defense of its population from missile attack, and twice abandoned this objective.

Cost-benefit analysis showed that such defenses could be defeated by relatively inexpensive counter-measures and proliferation of warheads.  The Nixon administration also realized that limiting Soviet defenses by treaty would head off a potential threat to the credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.  For three decades, the 1972 ABM Treaty limited the number and location of strategic ballistic missile defenses and prohibited deployments designed to defend the national territory.

The New Threat

There was, of course, a new ballistic missile threat that arose in the late 1990s -- from newly emerging states of proliferation concern.  At the top of our list, were North Korea, Iran, and Iraq – later dubbed “the axis of evil” by the George W. Bush administration.  The 1998 Rumsfeld Commission on the Foreign Ballistic Missile Threat had identified each country as being capable of building an ICBM within five years of a decision to do so.  A 1999 National Intelligence Estimate projected that North Korea would test an ICBM by the end of that year, and that within the next 15 years, North Korea, probably Iran, and possibly Iraq would pose an ICBM threat.

Amplified by a North Korean satellite launch attempt in 1998, these grim assessments created a political tidal wave that profoundly affected the course of U.S. strategic and arms control policies for years to come.

In the Missile Defense Act of 1999, the U.S. Congress committed the nation to “deploying an effective national missile defense system (against a limited missile attack) as soon as technologically possible.” In the wake of 9/11, President Bush secured strategic missile defense procurement and accelerated deployment.  He also announced U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and voiced a commitment to activate strategic defenses by 2004.

In providing more than $8 billion per year over the last decade, the Congress has not challenged the dubious technological premises of the strategic missile defense program, which have been exposed in numerous studies.  (For example: by the GAO (Government Accountability Office); the National Academy of Sciences; the Defense Science Board; the Pentagon’s own Director for Operational Test and Evaluation.)

It’s all about us

For many members of the U.S. Congress, missile defenses in Europe are “all about us,” and based on an ahistorical understanding of the offense-defense relationship and a superficial analysis of actual threats.

Declining Threat

In spite of the ubiquitous rhetoric about the “growing ballistic missile threat,” the threat posed by Moscow has actually decreased dramatically from its Cold War peak and the large ballistic missile inventories of the Warsaw Pact Allies are gone.  Also gone are the fears of Iraqi nuclear-tipped ICBMs appearing by the end of this decade.  As for North Korea, it has just suffered the fourth consecutive long-range missile launch failure over a 14-year period.  It will be years before North Korea poses a direct threat to the U.S. continent – or to Europe.

And let us not forget the end of the missile threat from Libya, the only country, which ever launched a ballistic missile attack on a NATO member.


The only country that could pose a new potential missile threat to Europe in the foreseeable future is Iran.  Although it has demonstrated satellite launch capabilities, it hasn’t yet conducted any long-range missile flight tests and is not likely to have an operational ICBM before 2020.

Iran is currently concentrating on medium- and short-range missiles.  Their presumed targets would be Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, or U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Without nuclear warheads, or improved guidance systems, Iranian missiles pose a very limited threat to military bases, oil facilities, and cities in the region, and virtually no threat to specific point targets like the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona.  Against short- and medium-range missiles with conventional warheads, missile defenses can limit damage and casualties and, even if technically deficient, can provide a psychological boost to threatened populations.

Strategic/Non-Strategic Missile Defense Distinction

There is an important distinction between strategic and non-strategic missile defenses.  For strategic, successful intercepts are much harder; the consequences of failure much more catastrophic; and the impact on strategic arms control often fatal.

Once upon a time, Washington and Moscow took great pains to differentiate these categories.  U.S. and Russian delegations even negotiated language in an ABM Treaty protocol in 1997 demarking the boundary between the two.

For proponents of strategic missile defenses, there was a reason to blur the distinction.  Conflating “strategic” with “theater” prejudiced the ABM Treaty, obscuring the fact that most of the things we wanted to do to defend against actual rogue state missile threats were already permitted by the treaty.

Theater and Tactical Missile Defenses Beneficial

This ancient history is relevant to our discussion this morning because the tactical and theater missile defenses NATO is deploying benefit Europe without damaging arms control.  Patriots, THAADs, and SM-3 Bloc I interceptors correspond to the threat NATO faces and the potential threat on the horizon.  While some of the locations for basing these systems may be politically unpalatable to Moscow, they are not militarily threatening.

The mobile and networked anti-ICBM capabilities intended for EPAA phase 4 are another matter.  And when U.S. officials reaffirm our commitment to timely deployment of all four phases, it raises questions about whether the schedule would really be adapted to any diminution of the threat.

I’m concerned about NATO heading into a cul-de-sac with plans for achieving full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory and forces.”

Historical Rhyme

This language takes me back to my days in high school.  In 1967, Secretary of Defense McNamara announced plans for building the Sentinel ABM system, to protect the U.S. population from the emerging nuclear threat of a rogue and unpredictable China.  Sentinel lasted 18 months, before being replaced by the Nixon administration’s Safeguard ABM system, oriented toward the protection of U.S. ICBM sites from counterforce attack.

Safeguard used the same interceptors and the same radars as Sentinel, but the new U.S. administration had changed the ABM mission, virtually overnight from population protection to ICBM protection, and the target set from a small number of unsophisticated future Chinese missiles to the enormous ICBM/SLBM arsenal of the superpower Soviet Union.

Now fast forward.  The Republican candidate in our current presidential race, who opposed the New START treaty and still regards it as a mistake, has just asserted that Russia is “without question, our number one geopolitical foe.”  Senator Kyl, the GOP’s leading spokesman on strategic issues said this week that: “The Obama administration should make no pledge that would pre-empt a U.S.-led shield capable of thwarting any missile ‘that might be launched at us,’ not just an accidental launch or one from a nation like Iran or North Korea.”

We have another potential change in administrations coming.  How should Moscow evaluate U.S. assurances on missile defense in Europe?

With that rhetorical question hanging, I will yield the mic to David [Hoffman].


Prepared remarks by ACA Senior Fellow Greg Thielmann at Brookings on May 17, 2012 on "Missile Defense: Cooperation or Contention?  Ballistic Missile Threats to NATO and U.S. Response."

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