Posts Tagged ‘Nuclear proliferation’

This week the European Union announced new sanctions against Iran. The sanctions are one part of the EU’s strategy to pressure Iran to resume negotiations on its nuclear program. The United Nations imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran last month, but the EU’s go farther, affecting the energy, transport and finance sectors. While American investment in Iran has decreased in recent years, the EU is Iran’s largest trading partner and the new sanctions could have a significant impact on many European economies.

The United States also imposed new sanctions on Iran this month, with the goals of halting financing for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that oversees missile and nuclear programs as well as curbing even further investment in Iran’s energy sector. They also target federal contractors that do business with Iran.

Learn more about the sanctions on Monday, August 2 when the Council hosts Jillian Burns, the Acting Director of the Iran Office of the State Department. She will discuss U.S. policy towards Iran, offering insight into the effectiveness of current sanctions and exploring Iran’s role in the region.

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Charles Ferguson, Director of the Council on Foreign Relations-sponsored Independent Task Force on US Nuclear Weapons Policy, and Scott Sagan, a Task Force member, joined the World Affairs Council on Monday for a very timely discussion of nuclear arms reduction and elimination. They spoke about the steps the Obama administration can take to lead the global reduction effort; the need to include Israel in any long-term solution, even though Israel has never officially acknowledged its nuclear arsenal; and the prevention of rearmament, should the goal of elimination ever be reached.

Given Friday’s disclosure of a previously unknown nuclear site in Iran and Sunday’s missile tests there, much of the discussion centered on Iran. Sagan cited a recent poll conducted by World Public Opinion, which found that 55 percent of Iranians prefer that Iran develop only nuclear energy and 31 percent would favor an agreement that would end uranium enrichment if sanctions were dropped. Sagan and Ferguson also spoke about their belief that a politically unstable country, such as Iran or Pakistan, poses a greater threat to global security than one with an unpredictable leader, such as North Korea.

For more on Nuclear Reduction, listen to the recording of the program with Charles Ferguson and Scott Sagan here, or check out a few of the articles and reports mentioned in the program.

The Independent Task Force’s full report.

“Toward a Nuclear-Free World”, a Wall Street Journal op-ed written by George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, and William Perry. Printed on January 15, 2008, the piece preceded the formation of the Task Force, which is chaired by Perry.

“Spreading Temptation: Proliferation and Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation Agreements”, an article from the summer issue of the journal International Security on the correlation between the sharing of nuclear knowledge and the decision to make a nuclear weapon.

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The disclosure on Friday of a nuclear site near the city of Qum and Sunday’s test-fire of three short-range missiles has put the world’s focus on Iran. Iran insists it has done nothing wrong, but leaders of the United States, France, and Great Britain have called on the country to allow intense international inspections of the nuclear facility. Opinions differ on whether or not to impose harsher sanctions against Iran, with the US arguing for stricter economic sanctions and European allies against them for fear of the damage they might do to ordinary Iranians. To learn more about the debate on sanctions, check out this article from the New York Times.

Tonight’s program at the World Affairs Council is a discussion with Charles Ferguson, Director of the Council on Foreign Relations-sponsored Independent Task Force, and Task Force member Scott Sagan. They will present key recommendations to reduce the world’s nuclear arsenal. Ferguson spoke to CNN on Friday about the events in Iran. You can watch the interview here.

This event will be followed on Wednesday with a program featuring former Prime Minister of Norway, Kjell Magne Bondevik. He will discuss his work as president of The Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights as well as his recent partnership with the former President of Iran, Mohammad Khatami, and how the two have been working together to increase understanding, reduce tensions, counter stereotypes, and promote peaceful dialogue between the Islamic world and the West.

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Pakistan released nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan on Friday – the former head of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, and a man who has admitted to transferring nuclear secrets to other countries. According to a BBC article, the US continues to regard Dr. Khan as a “serious proliferation risk.”

Here at the Council, we recently hosted writers Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz, formerly of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, as they detailed the sequence of events that allowed one man to lay the groundwork for Pakistan to become a nuclear-armed country. According to their book, The Nuclear Jihadist, the acquisition of nuclear technologies and expertise to assemble functioning bombs by Iran, Libya, North Korea, and Pakistan, can be traced to one source: Abdul Qadeer Khan. From his earliest days working in a Dutch research laboratory through his flight to Pakistan to spearhead its nuclear program, US and foreign intelligence authorities watched A.Q. Khan and could have stopped him from smuggling technology and blueprints to other countries, but were thwarted or ignored by political leaders who chose to concentrate on what they believed to be more immediate strategic priorities.  Watch the full program below, or click here to skip to different chapters.

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