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

– Suzanne DiMaggio
Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
April 15, 2019
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Leading Nuclear Policy Experts and Organizations Call on the United States to Participate in International Conference on Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons

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For Immediate Release: October 29, 2014
Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, 202-463-8270 x107

(Washington, D.C.)--A group of more than two dozen leading nuclear policy experts, former U.S. government officials, and peace and security organizations are urging the Barack Obama administration "to authorize U.S. participation in the Dec. 8-9 Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna, Austria."

In an October 29 letter to the White House, State Department, and Pentagon, the signatories write that U.S. participation in the Vienna conference "would enhance the United States' credibility and influence at the 2015 NPT Review Conference. U.S. participation would also provide support to key U.S. allies and partners," many of which are also urging the United States to send an official delegation.

The Vienna humanitarian impacts conference, which is the third such meeting since 2013, "is a useful and important venue for raising awareness about the risks of nuclear weapons," the letter signers write, and it "contributes to the oft-repeated U.S. government call for 'extending the nearly 70-year record of non-use of nuclear weapons forever.'"

The United States and the other five original nuclear weapon states--Russia, the U.K., France, and China--have not attended the two previous humanitarian impacts conferences, citing concerns that it could be used as a launching point for negotiations calling for a ban on nuclear weapons or a convention leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons.

"While some participating states and some nongovernmental organizations support such a ban ... this conference is not a negotiating conference and is not intended to launch such an effort. Even if it were, there is no clear consensus among the participants about the direction of any such process," the signers note in their letter, which was addressed to the president's National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

"Nuclear-armed states may have reasons to argue that not all potential uses of nuclear weapons necessarily would lead to humanitarian disaster, and that nuclear weapons may deter other existential threats," says George Perkovich, Vice-President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and one of the letter's signatories.

"But given that the whole world would be affected if they are wrong, they should be willing to discuss these issues with others," Perkovich says. "Unwillingness to do so suggests an arrogance that can only provoke international contempt and resistance."

A decision on the part of the Obama administration not to attend the Vienna conference, the signatories write, "would be a major lost opportunity and a setback for President Obama's own call for action toward a nuclear weapons free world."
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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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In an October 29 letter a group of more than two dozen leading nuclear policy experts and former U.S. government official sare urging the United States to participate in the next humanitarian impacts conference.

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Statement from the Arms Control Association on the Prospects for a Nuclear Deal with Iran

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For Immediate Release: October 16, 2014

Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, 202-463-8270 x102; Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, x107

(Washington, D.C.)--After three days of talks in Vienna, diplomats representing Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) said that negotiators remain focused on reaching a comprehensive and verifiable deal that limits Iran's nuclear program in exchange for phased sanctions relief by Nov. 24.

Both sides said that progress was made on difficult issues and the focus remains on reaching an agreement by Nov. 24, although tough issues must still be resolved. Iranian officials said talks would resume in three to four weeks.

Analysts from the independent, Arms Control Association who have been closely monitoring developments expressed cautious optimism.

"If both sides are flexible and creative, a comprehensive deal that limits Iran's nuclear program and puts in place intrusive monitoring is possible by Nov. 24," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

"Both sides will need to make some tough choices in the coming weeks to reach an agreement by the end of November, particularly on uranium enrichment, which is a key sticking point in the talks," he said.

Iran is opposing decreases to its current enrichment capacity and wants to increase its domestic enrichment over time to provide fuel for nuclear power reactors. The P5+1, however, want to reduce Iran's current capacity and base enrichment on Tehran's current practical needs.

"There are realistic options available that would meet the bottom line needs of both sides on this key issue. Finding the right combination of measures including curtailing the number of centrifuges for a period of several years, regulating new centrifuge research, reducing the stockpile and form of enriched uranium, and providing Iran with fuel supplies in advance for its one operating light-water power reactor at Bushehr, can meet the core concerns of both sides," Kimball said.

 "Reaching a comprehensive agreement is critical to guarding against a nuclear-armed Iran in the future. A comprehensive agreement will put a more robust international monitoring and inspections regime in place, giving the international community the ability to quickly detect any such effort. Inspectors on the ground is the best way to verify that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons," said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association.

"Opponents of a deal should realize that the costs of failure--an unrestrained Iranian nuclear program and increased sanctions or military strikes--are too high. As with any negotiation, neither side can get everything it wants. But with a little flexibility and creativity, they can get what they need," Davenport said.
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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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After three days of talks in Vienna, diplomats representing Iran and the P5+1 said that negotiators remain focused on reaching a comprehensive and verifiable deal on Iran's nuclear program by Nov. 24.

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Media Advisory: Experts to Discuss Prospects for a Nuclear Deal with Iran and a New Report on Cutting the Costs of Modernizing the U.S. Nuclear Arsenal at Annual Meeting

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For Immediate Release: October 15, 2014

Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, 202-463-8270 x102; Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, x104; Timothy Farnsworth, Communications Director, x110.

(Washington, D.C.)-As negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran reach a critical phase this week in Vienna, experts speaking at the Arms Control Association's annual meeting on Oct. 20 will discuss the prospects for a nuclear deal with Iran by the Nov. 24 deadline.

Robert Einhorn, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, Elizabeth Rosenburg, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and Ali Reza Nader, senior international policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, will share their thoughts on the progress made to date and the remaining obstacles in the negotiations between Iran, the United States and its P5+1 partners (China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom) on a nuclear agreement.

At the meeting, the Arms Control Association will also release The Unaffordable Arsenal, a new report on reducing the costs of the bloated nuclear weapons stockpile. Written by former Research Director Tom Collina and the research staff, the report argues that the increasingly high cost of nuclear weapons, combined with shrinking budgets and stockpiles, should compel the United States to rethink current plans to rebuild its nuclear forces in the years ahead.

Collina, now the policy director at the Ploughshares Fund, will discuss common sense ways to save roughly $70 billion over the next decade across all three legs of the nuclear triad and its associated warheads.

In a keynote address, Lord Des Browne, vice chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and former secretary of state for defense of the United Kingdom, will share his thoughts on what needs to be done to make progress to reduce nuclear dangers and strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation system ahead of the 2015 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.  

The annual meeting will be held 9:30a.m.-2:30p.m. on Oct. 20 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave, N.W., Washington D.C. For more details on the agenda, click here. Journalists are welcome to attend on a complimentary basis. Please contact Timothy Farnsworth to register.
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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

Description: 

As negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran reach a critical phase this week in Vienna, experts speaking at the Arms Control Association's annual meeting on Oct. 20 will discuss the prospects for a nuclear deal with Iran.

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Experts Urge U.S. to Scale-Back Plans and Reduce High Costs of Nuclear Weapons Modernization Plan

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Experts Urge U.S. to Scale-Back Plans and Reduce High Costs of Unsustainable, Unnecessary Nuclear Weapons Modernization Plan 

For Immediate Release
: Sept. 22, 2014

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Association (202-463-8270 x107); Hans Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists (202-454-4695);Stephen Young, Union of Concerned Scientists (202-331-5429); Angela Canterbury, Council for a Livable World, (202-546-0795); Erica Fein, Women's Action for New Directions (202-544-5055 x2605).
(Washington, D.C.) Leaders and experts from seven national nongovernmental organizations are charging that current plans for maintaining and upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal over the next decade and beyond exceed reasonable deterrence requirements as set out by the President in June 2013, are unaffordable, and unless they are significantly adjusted, the nuclear force modernization plan will also deplete resources from higher priority budget needs. 

In a letter to the White House earlier this year, the groups write: "[w]e believe there are more realistic ways to maintain U.S. nuclear forces to meet tomorrow's national security requirements. The President's 2013 guidance allows for a one-third reduction below New START levels, but even if the United States maintains New START warhead levels, it can do so at significantly lower cost."

"Perpetual nuclear modernization is inconsistent with the pledge made 45 years ago by the the United States and the other NPT nuclear-weapons states to pursue nuclear disarmament, and is inconsistent with President Obama's call for the pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons," says Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists. "Despite the financial constraints, the United States (and other nuclear-armed states) appear committed to spending hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade on modernizing their nuclear forces," he notes.

In December 2013, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the United States plans to spend at least $355 billion to maintain and rebuild the nuclear arsenal and refurbish the nuclear weapons complex over the next decade, and that costs will continue to climb thereafter. A major part of this cost growth is the plan to rebuild all three legs of the existing nuclear "triad" and their associated warheads, including 12 new ballistic missile submarines, up to 100 new long-range bombers, and possibly new land-based ballistic missiles and a new long-range standoff cruise missile. 

The nuclear weapons plans, the costs, and the politics behind them, are described in a front page story in today's edition of The New York Times.

The nuclear weapons experts say that this U.S. spending plan is excessive, and that the United States can save tens of billions of dollars by reducing the number of new missiles and bombers it plans to buy and still maintain nuclear warhead levels established by the 2010 New START treaty with Russia.

Budget limits on future defense spending will force budget trade-offs among various Pentagon programs, the letter notes. The defense budget still needs to be cut by $115 billion from 2016-2019 to meet sequester targets, or about $29 billion per year on average.

These realities have led the White House to launch a National Security Council-led, interagency review of the multibillion-dollar plans to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal. This review will inform the administration's fiscal year 2016 budget request to Congress, Ned Price of the National Security Council said in an Aug. 22 e-mail toArms Control Today.

"We believe the current nuclear spending plan is unsustainable and will deplete resources from higher priorities," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. "In its review, the Obama administration needs to make significant changes to existing nuclear force modernization plans that trim back, and in some cases, forgo unnecessary programs, such as a new nuclear-armed cruise missile, and save taxpayer dollars," he said.

The nongovernmental leaders say the United States can maintain planned warhead levels with fewer delivery vehicles. New START allows both sides to field up to 1,550 warheads on 700 long-range delivery vehicles. But the United States could also meet the warhead limit by fielding only about 600 delivery vehicles, saving tens of billions of dollars.

For example, the Navy plans to deploy about 1,000 warheads at sea under New START.  But the United States does not need 12 new submarines to field 1,000 warheads; eight submarines would be enough the groups note in their letter. By reducing the fleet of submarines to eight, the United States would save $16 billion over the next decade, according to the CBO.

The Air Force wants to develop a new nuclear-armed cruise missile, "but it is not clear why it needs both a penetrating bomber and a standoff missile to meet the deterrence requirements of the United States and our allies," said Kimball of the Arms Control Association. 

Earlier this year, Senate Appropriations energy and water subcommittee and the House and Senate Appropriations defense subcommittees cut the administration's request for the new cruise missile.

In its June 17 report accompanying the bill, the Senate Appropriations energy and water subcommittee said it is "reluctant to provide funding for a new cruise missile warhead when the Air Force cannot identify sufficient funding in its budget planning documents to design and procure a cruise missile to deliver a refurbished warhead."

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is also pursuing an overly ambitious and costly strategy for warhead refurbishment argue the organizations. The current plan, dubbed "3+2", envisions spending $60 billion to refurbish the arsenal and to use nuclear components that have not previously been tested together, raising reliability concerns.

"The NNSA should instead pursue a simpler refurbishment strategy, avoid risky schemes, and retire warhead types where possible," said Lisbeth Gronlund, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Cuts in the size and not just the cost of U.S. and Russian stockpiles are also in order, the organizations argue. Last year, President Obama and the Pentagon announced that the U.S. could cut the size of the deployed strategic stockpile by up to one-third. Both sides should work in parallel to reduce force levels below the New START limits.

"Such an initiative would also allow both sides to reduce the extraordinary costs of force maintenance and modernization and could help induce other nuclear-armed states to exercise greater restraint," said Erica Fein, nuclear weapons policy director for Women's Action for New Directions.

"The New York Times did an excellent job of covering our nation's unsustainable, nonsensical nuclear weapons policy. However, there is more to the story," said Angela Canterbury, executive director for Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. "The current plan is geared towards building more nuclear weapons that we don't need and can't afford. We need to scrap it and the nuclear weapons we don't need. We need to put into place a far more affordable plan to meet the President's goals to make us safer."

The organizations' letter to the White House is available online.
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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.
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Experts from seven national nongovernmental organizations are charging that current plans for maintaining and upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal over the next decade and beyond exceed reasonable deterrence requirements.

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Arms Control Association Calls on Russia to Uphold Its INF Treaty Commitments

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For Immediate Release: July 29, 2014

Media Contact: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director,202-463-8270 x107; Tom Collina, Research Director, 202-463-8270 x104

(Washington, D.C.) -- According to press reports, the United States has determined that Russia has violated provisions of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that prohibit flight tests of ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles. The findings come in an annual report mandated by Congress on compliance with arms control agreements.

"The Obama administration is taking the right course of action in calling out Russia for this technical violation of the INF Treaty and by pressing the Kremlin to come back into compliance with this important agreement," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the independent Arms Control Association.

"Throughout the Cold War years and beyond, the United States and Russia have overcome ideological differences to reach legally binding, verifiable agreements to control and reduce their massive nuclear weapon stockpiles, including the INF Treaty, the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), and the 2010 New START," Kimball noted.

"To preserve past gains and achieve further progress, Russia must continue to meet its nuclear arms control treaty commitments," he said. 

"We call on Russia to immediately halt all activities that are inconsistent with the INF Treaty, verifiably dismantle any missiles that have been tested in violation of the treaty--along with their launch canisters and launchers--respond to formal requests for clarification, and announce that it will uphold all aspects of the INF Treaty in the future," said Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association senior fellow and a former State Department official who participated in the INF negotiations.

"Despite Russia's technical violation of the INF Treaty, there is no reason for the United States to alter its ongoing implementation of the treaty, which has served U.S. national security interests well for over 25 years. The United States has no military need to deploy ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles capable of traveling 500 to 5,500 kilometers, which are banned by the treaty. U.S. withdrawal would only give Russia an excuse to do the same, allowing Moscow to produce and deploy INF missiles," Thielmann warned.

The INF Treaty was signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. It required the United States and the Soviet Union to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. The treaty marked the first time the superpowers had agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals and utilize extensive on-site inspections for verification. 

As a result of the INF Treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union destroyed a total of 2,692 short, medium, and intermediate-range nuclear-armed missiles by the treaty's implementation deadline of June 1, 1991. Today, neither Washington nor Moscow deploys such systems. The treaty is of unlimited duration.

Under the treaty, the United States committed to eliminate its Pershing IA, Pershing IB, Pershing II, and BGM-109G missiles. The Soviet Union had to destroy its SS-20, SS-4, SS-5, SSC-X-4, SS-12, and SS-23 missiles. In addition, both parties were obliged to destroy all INF-related training missiles, rocket stages, launch canisters, and launchers. Most missiles were eliminated either by exploding them while they were unarmed and burning their stages or by cutting the missiles in half and severing their wings and tail sections.

The treaty ban applies to ground-based missiles only, not sea-based missiles. According to  Article VII, a cruise missile can be developed for sea-based use if it is test-launched "from a fixed land-based launcher which is used solely for test purposes and which is distinguishable from" operational ground-based cruise missile launchers.

"Russia's violation of the INF Treaty follows a disturbing pattern of recent Russian intransigence on further nuclear arms reductions and disregard for key nonproliferation commitments," noted Tom Collina, Arms Control Association research director.

Since New START's entry into force in 2011, Russia has resisted follow-on arms reduction talks with the United States. President Vladimir Putin has so far rebuffed U.S. President Barack Obama's June 2013 proposal to reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear strategic stockpiles by one-third below the ceilings set by New START. Russia's military intervention in Crimea violates its 1994 Budapest Memorandum commitment to respect the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine after it agreed to denuclearize in 1994 and join the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as a nonnuclear weapon state.

"It would be highly counterproductive for Congress to interfere with U.S. treaty implementation, as the House is seeking to do in its FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which would prevent implementation of New START," Collina said.

"Until such time as the political conditions are conducive to further nuclear arms reductions, the existing U.S.-Russian arms control instruments still serve as an anchor of stability and predictability--and Russia must do its part by complying with all existing commitments," Collina urged.

"The Cold War is long over, but the United States and Russia continue to deploy nuclear stockpiles that, by any reasonable measure, far exceed their nuclear deterrence requirements. It is clear that the United States and Russia need more arms control, not less," Kimball said.


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

Description: 

(Washington, D.C.) -- According to press reports, the United States has determined that Russia has violated provisions of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that prohibit flight tests of ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles. The findings come in an annual report mandated by Congress on compliance with arms control agreements.

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Statement On Extension of P5+1 Nuclear Talks With Iran From Daryl Kimball, Executive Director

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For Immediate Release: July 19, 2014

Media Contact: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director in Washington, DC, 202-463-8270 x107; Kelsey Davenport, Nonproliferation Analyst in Vienna 317-460-8806

(Washington/Vienna)--Tonight in Vienna, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that the negotiations between the United States, other great powers, and Iran to resolve concerns about that country's nuclear program will continue for as many as four more months.

In a joint statement, Ashton and Zarif said the two sides have agreed to extend the interim agreement (a.k.a. the Joint Plan of Action) reached on November 24, 2013 and will resume talks on a comprehensive agreement within weeks--most likely in mid-August in Vienna--with the goal of concluding a comprehensive deal by late-November.

To this point, the talks have yielded progress and the two sides say there is a credible path forward, but significant gaps remain on key issues.

It is our assessment that a comprehensive agreement to ensure that Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful is still within reach if both sides remain focused and if both sides engage in creative, innovative, and smart diplomacy.

The two sides also agreed to extend their commitments under the terms of the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action (JPoA). The extension of the JPoA prolongs the pause of Iranian nuclear activities of greatest proliferation concern, maintains additional IAEA monitoring measures, and provides the negotiators with the time, the incentives, and pressure necessary to reach a comprehensive agreement in the near future.

The State Department announced additional measures that would be undertaken through the extension of the JPoA that provide additional nonproliferation benefits.

In the JPoA, Iran diluted half of its 20 percent enriched uranium hexafluoride gas and converted the rest to oxide. Iran has now committed to make all of this 20 percent into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor. Twenty-five kilograms of this material will be converted into fuel by the end of the extension. This will make if far more difficult to use this material for further enrichment to weapons-grade.

In return for these steps maintaining its original commitments under the JP0A, Iran will be allowed to access  to $2.8 billion of its restricted assets, the four-month pro-rated amount of the original JPoA commitment.

These ongoing restrictions on Iran's nuclear program and additional steps are a net-plus for nonproliferation.

Next Steps Toward a Comprehensive Deal

At this critical stage, lawmakers in Washington need to support the administration's ongoing efforts at reaching a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear puzzle.

Congress should refrain from actions, such as pursuing new sanctions legislation against Iran, that would undermine the chance for an agreement that would reduce Iran's nuclear capacity and provide the additional transparency to guard against an illicit dash for nuclear weapons.

Based consultations with knowledgeable officials on both sides, negotiators have made substantial progress on several tough issues, including: strengthening International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections and oversight at all of Iran's nuclear sites and related facilities; re-purposing the underground Fordow enrichment facility into a small-scale research facility; and modifying Iran's Arak heavy-water reactor to drastically cut its plutonium output.

But the two sides clearly need more time and have more work to do to bridge differences on the deadlines, duration, and sequencing of key steps, as well as finding a solution to the toughest issue: setting limits Iran's uranium-enrichment capacity over the duration of the agreement.

Negotiators can square the circle on uranium enrichment with a combination of practical but innovative measures that would substantially increase the time Iran would require to produce enough material for nuclear weapons, but would still would address Iran's right to pursue the peaceful use of nuclear energy.   

A Good Deal Is Within Reach

Some Washington politicians like to say that "no deal is better than a bad deal." In reality, it is clear that a good deal is better than no deal, and such a deal is still within reach.    Those who argue that there should be no more time for diplomacy, or otherwise seek to block an effective agreement, have a responsibility to present a viable alternative. Without a good, comprehensive agreement:

  • There would be no constraints on Iran's enrichment capacity. Iran could resume enriching uranium to higher levels and increase its stockpiles of enriched uranium. The time required for Iran to produce enough material for nuclear weapons would decrease, not increase.
  • Inspections of Iranian facilities would likely continue, but would not be expanded to cover undeclared sites and activities, which would be the most likely pathway to build nuclear weapons if Iran chose to do so.
  • Sanctions would remain in effect, and some might be strengthened. Sanctions alone, however, cannot halt Iran's nuclear progress. Eventually, the willingness of international allies to help implement those sanctions could erode.

We urge both sides to continue to work toward a realistic and effective agreement as soon as possible.

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

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(Washington/Vienna)--Tonight in Vienna, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that the negotiations between the United States, other great powers, and Iran to resolve concerns about that country's nuclear program will continue for as many as four more months.

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ACA Statement On Developments in P5+1 Nuclear Talks With Iran

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Solutions That Prevent a Nuclear-Armed Iran Are Within Reach

For Immediate Release: July 15, 2014
Media Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Nonproliferation Analyst (317)-460-8806

(VIENNA, AUSTRIA)--With days before their July 20 target date, the negotiating teams of the United States, other great powers, and Iran are working full time on the text of a comprehensive agreement to guard against a nuclear-armed Iran.

"Progress has already been achieved on several key issues--strengthening International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections and oversight at all of Iran's nuclear sites and related facilities; Iran has agreed to modify its Arak heavy-water reactor to drastically cut its plutonium output; and a general understanding on the phasing of sanctions relief appears to have been reached, but the two sides have more work to do to bridge differences on the most difficult issue: limiting Iran's uranium-enrichment capacity," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association from Vienna.

"U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks to the press this morning set a more positive tone than statements made earlier this week by officials about the nuclear negotiations with Iran," noted Arms Control Association Nonproliferation Analyst Kelsey Davenport, who is also in Vienna to monitor the negotiations.

On a positive note, Kerry stressed that all parties were negotiating in good faith and it is a question of finding the right formula that allows Iran a peaceful nuclear program while ensuring the world that it cannot be used for nuclear weapons. These are realistic and compatible goals, he said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif noted in his remarks that the parties came to Vienna to present solutions and they have made progress and remain committed to reaching an agreement.

Kerry's and Zarif's remarks followed several days of talks since Kerry arrived on Sunday, including several bilateral meetings, at the Coburg Palace where negotiators have been meeting since July 2.

Kerry stressed that negotiators would remain in Vienna through the 20th and that all parties are committed to a diplomatic solution. He said that he would brief President Obama on the status of the talks and return to Vienna later, if necessary.

Kerry confirmed that there has been progress on key areas but gaps remain. He would not comment on the U.S. position on the specific capacity of Iran's uranium-enrichment program, a key issue in the talks, but said that the 19,000 centrifuges currently installed (only about 10,200 are operating) are too many. Kerry also responded to comments made earlier by Supreme Leader  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei about Iran's needs for 190,000 separative work units (SWU), saying that this capacity is a long-term goal and not a new figure.

David Sanger reported in The New York Times yesterday that Iran is showing a new flexibility and Zarif is willing to negotiate on a uranium-enrichment proposal that would freeze Iran's current capacity (10,200 centrifuges - or about 9,000-10,000 SWU) for several years.

"While this proposal still raises questions about the duration of the limits, it is a positive sign and hopefully represents the progress that the P5+1 wants to see on a key issue to extend talks past July 20 if necessary," said Davenport.

"The Zarif proposal represents an Iranian attempt to compromise on the key sticking point at this the 11th hour," Kimball said. "It stands in stark contrast to earlier statements about Iran's growing uranium enrichment capacity needs. The proposal certainly falls short of what it will take to reach an agreement, but its vital that the P5+1 respond with similarly creative and innovative ideas that adequately reduce Iran's capacity to make a dash for nuclear weapons before any such effort can be disrupted," Kimball said.

"Negotiators can square the circle with a combination of additional measures that should be acceptable to both sides," Kimball suggested. "These measures would substantially increase the time Iran would require to produce enough weapons-grade material for one bomb and still would provide Iran with more than sufficient capacity for its civil nuclear program," he said.

These measures include:

  • Limiting uranium enrichment to levels of less than 5 percent and keeping stocks of its enriched uranium gas to near zero levels.
  • Limiting Iran's enrichment capacity for 6-10 years at, or below, its current capacity and allowing for appropriate increases in Iran's uranium-enrichment capacity at a later stage if Iran provides sufficient information to the IAEA to prove that any past experiments with possible military dimensions have been discontinued.
  • Agreeing to phase out, remove and store under IAEA seal Iran's less efficient, first-generation IR-1 centrifuges and, over a period of years, replace them with a smaller number of more-efficient centrifuges. During the transition period, the total operating enrichment capacity would be held below agreed limits, ideally less than Iran's current capacity. This would allow Iran's scientists to make the desired transition to more cost-effective machines over time, but still constrain Iran's overall enrichment capabilities.
  • Agreeing not to assemble the more-efficient centrifuges until there is a demonstrable need for commercial-scale enrichment. This would increase the time it would take Iran to operate the machines, and provide added insurance against rapid breakout scenarios.
  • Providing strong P5+1 nuclear fuel-supply guarantees to Iran to help meet its future nuclear energy and research needs. Such guarantees could include pre-delivery of fuel for Iran's Bushehr light-water, electricity-producing reactor before the current fuel-supply contract with Russia ends in 2021.

"Concluding an effective, comprehensive agreement will require difficult compromises from both sides. However, solutions that prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, lower the risk of yet another major conflict in the region, and still provide Iran with the means to pursue a realistic, peaceful nuclear program are within reach," said Kimball.

"It is not yet clear if an extension will be necessary,  but a framework agreement by July 20 is still in the cards if both sides can agree on a suitable uranium-enrichment formula. However, more time may be necessary to conclude the technical details of this complex agreement," Davenport said.



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

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(VIENNA, AUSTRIA)--With days before their July 20 target date, the negotiating teams of the United States, other great powers, and Iran are working full time on the text of a comprehensive agreement to guard against a nuclear-armed Iran.

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New Report Outlines Options for a Comprehensive Iran Nuclear Deal

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For Immediate Release: June 26, 2014

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 x107; Kelsey Davenport, nonproliferation analyst, x102; Greg Thielmann, senior fellow, x103.

(Washington, D.C.)--In less than one month, negotiators from the United States and its P5+1 partners (China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom) and their Iranian counterparts aim to conclude a historic, multi-year agreement to ensure that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

A new report from the research staff of the nonpartisan, independent Arms Control Association (ACA) reviews the key issues and outlines realistic and effective options that are available to the negotiators that could help secure a "win-win" outcome that guards against a nuclear-armed Iran. The report, "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle," is available online in PDF and HTML versions.

"As our report makes clear, these negotiations are one of the most complex -- and one of the most important -- nuclear negotiations in recent decades. Progress has been achieved in some areas, but gaps remain in others. The most difficult issues will not likely be settled until the 11th hour, but the two sides have a number of realistic, effective, and verifiable options available that would address the core concerns of both sides," said Daryl G. Kimball, ACA executive director and one of the co-authors of the report.

"Our analysis shows that the agreement can and should: 1) establish verifiable limits on Iran's uranium-enrichment and plutonium-production capacity that substantially increase the time it would take for Iran to break out of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and try to build nuclear weapons; 2) increase the international community's ability to promptly detect and effectively disrupt any future effort by Iran to build nuclear weapons, including at potential undeclared sites, and decrease Iran's incentives to build up its nuclear capacity through nuclear fuel supply guarantees and phased sanctions relief," said ACA nonproliferation analyst and lead author, Kelsey Davenport.

"Such agreement, if concluded this year would on balance significantly improve U.S. and international security," she added.

"One critical goal for the P5+1 is to increase the time it would take to produce enough fissile material for an arsenal and enhance inspections and monitoring to ensure that any such effort could be detected and disrupted," Davenport said.

"Our report outlines options for limiting, ideally at lower levels, Iran's present-day enrichment capacity and its stockpile of low enriched uranium in gaseous form, which would prevent Iran from making a quick dash to try to build nuclear weapons but would still provide Iran with more than sufficient capacity for its nuclear fuel needs," she said.

Co-author and ACA senior fellow Greg Thielmann notes that "it is extremely unlikely that Iran would invite further sanctions and/or a military attack in order to produce enough fissile material for just one nuclear weapon, which is not an effective deterrent. If Iran tried to build a militarily significant nuclear arsenal, it would take considerably more than a year to amass enough material for additional weapons, convert the weapons-grade enriched uranium from gaseous to metal form, assemble and perhaps test a nuclear device, and mate the bombs with an effective means of delivery."

Thielmann is a former State Department intelligence analyst and former professional staff member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"Neither side can expect that they will achieve everything they seek to achieve in the negotiation," noted Kimball. "In the final analysis, serious policy makers in the United States, Iran and in other capitals who have responsibility for approving actions necessary to implement the agreement must consider whether their country is better served by a good, effective comprehensive nuclear agreement than without such an agreement. Our conclusion is that such a deal is within reach and is far more preferrable -- for both sides -- than the alternatives," he said.

The full report, "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle: Toward a Realistic and Effective Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement," is available online in PDF and HTML.


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

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(Washington, D.C.)--In less than one month, negotiators from the United States and its P5+1 partners (China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom) and their Iranian counterparts aim to conclude a historic, multi-year agreement to ensure that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

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Syria CW Removal A Breakthrough, Yet There Is More To Be Done

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Statement of Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

June 23, 2014

Ten months ago, the government of Bashar al-Assad launched a horrific Sarin gas attack that killed over 1,000 civilians on the outskirts of Damascus. The August 21 attack prompted the United States and Russia to strike an agreement that put into motion an expeditious plan for accounting, inspection, control, and elimination of Syria’s deadly arsenal under the auspices of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Today, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü announced that the last of the remaining chemical weapons and precursors identified for removal from Syria were loaded aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura at the port of Latakia in Syria.

This is a major milestone that will help protect Syria’s beleaguered and battered population from further, large scale chemical weapons attacks from the Assad regime.

To its great credit, the OPCW, the United Nations, the United States, Russia, and a diverse coalition of more than two-dozen states stepped up to the unprecedented task of verifiably removing a country’s entire chemical weapons stockpile under tight deadlines and war-time conditions.

The risk of further large-scale chemical weapons use against Syria’s people has been severely reduced, as the means for the rapid weaponization of Syria’s chemical precursors and agents have been verifiably destroyed. The OPCW-UN Syrian chemical weapons removal mission is unprecedented and has been far more successful in destroying the stockpile and protecting the Syrian people than the alternative contemplated in September: U.S. cruise missile strikes against chemical weapons targets.

Following a transfer of the Syrian chemical weapons material at the Italian port of Gioa Tauro, the U.S. vessel–the MV Cape Ray–will neutralize the most dangerous precursor chemical using the Field Deployable Hydrolysis System under the supervision of independent OPCW inspectors. Other, less dangerous Syrian chemicals will be disposed of at industrial toxic waste disposal facilities in other countries. These operations should be completed within four months according to the OPCW.

But the work of the OPCW in Syria is not yet complete. The OPCW also must clarify the whether Syria chemical weapons declaration was complete and accurate and ensure that Syria follows though on its Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) obligation to destroy its former chemical production facilities. Unfortunately, the Assad regime appears to be using chlorine in barrel bombs dropped from military helicopters on civilian areas. While less destructive and deadly than Sarin, these attacks are violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention and are war crimes that must end.

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Ten months ago, the government of Bashar al-Assad launched a horrific Sarin gas attack that killed over 1,000 civilians on the outskirts of Damascus. The August 21 attack prompted the United States and Russia to strike an agreement that put into motion an expeditious plan for accounting, inspection, control, and elimination of Syria’s deadly arsenal under the auspices of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

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Media Advisory: Two-Stage Proposal for Limiting Iran's Uranium Enrichment Program Published in Arms Control Today

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For Immediate Release: June 9, 2014

Media Contacts: Zia Mian, Princeton University, 609-258-5468; Alexander Glaser, Princeton University, 609-258-5692; Daryl G. Kimball, publisher, Arms Control Today, 202-463-8270 x107.

(Washington, D.C.)--A new proposal published today by four Princeton University researchers in the journal Arms Control Today offers possible solutions for how the P5+1 powers (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran can resolve their differences on one of the most difficult elements in a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program: limits on uranium-enrichment capacity.

Senior U.S. and Iranian officials hold bilateral talks today and tomorrow in Geneva. The next round of P5+1 talks with Iran will be held June 16-20 in Vienna. Negotiators aim to reach an agreement by July 20.

Iranian officials insist that their country's nuclear fuel needs will grow in the coming years and will require an increase in uranium enrichment capacity.

The United States and its P5+1 partners, however, believe that Iran can meet its civil nuclear fuel requirements with less than the number of gas centrifuge machines it is operating today.

In the Arms Control Today article, the Princeton team "proposes a compromise based on a two-stage approach that involves Iran maintaining a capacity for enriching a small amount of uranium annually for research reactor fuel in the short term and developing a potential enrichment capacity appropriate to fuel power reactors in the longer term."

The article, "Agreeing on Limits for Iran's Centrifuge Program: A Two-Stage Strategy," was written by Alexander Glaser, Zia Mian, former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian, and former White House science official Frank von Hippel. They are members of the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University.

The authors suggest that during the next five years, Iran "could phase out its first-generation machines in favor of a smaller number of second-generation centrifuges," some of which it has installed but are not yet operating. The authors also propose that later-generation centrifuges would not need to be assembled, except for test machines.

The authors note that Iran's requirements for enrichment could grow by 2021 if Tehran decides to fuel the existing Bushehr power reactor domestically rather than renewing its fuel supply contract with Russia or buying fuel from another foreign supplier.

"To maintain the confidence of the international community that there will be no diversion of centrifuge components to a secret enrichment plant," the authors recommend that "the current transparency measures that Iran has undertaken for its centrifuge program would continue. These transparency measures should become the standard for transparency for centrifuge production worldwide."

This strategy will "create a window of time to devise a multinational arrangement that could provide a long-term solution to the proliferation concerns raised by national enrichment plants in the Middle East and elsewhere," they say.

"Solving the Iranian uranium-enrichment challenge will require creative ideas and solutions that address the concerns of both sides in this complex negotiation," noted Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association and publisher of Arms Control Today.

"We hope concepts presented in this article stimulate fresh thinking about how to resolve this urgent international security challenge," he said.

The article, "Agreeing on Limits for Iran's Centrifuge Program: A Two-Stage Strategy," will appear in the July/August edition of Arms Control Today.



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Arms Control Today is the monthly journal published by the Arms Control Association, an independent nongovernmental organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

Description: 

(Washington, D.C.)--A new proposal published today by four Princeton University researchers in the journal Arms Control Today offers possible solutions for how the P5+1 powers (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran can resolve their differences on one of the most difficult elements in a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program: limits on uranium-enrichment capacity.

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