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International Nuclear Weapons & Non-Proliferation News

Autumn/Winter 2009-2010

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Welcome to the Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 edition of the Acronym Institute’s International Nuclear Weapons  & Non-Proliferation News, comprising a digest of news on global nuclear weapons policy issues as well as wider disarmament developments and research. This edition has been compiled by Kat Barton and Henrietta Wilson. 

Preparing the way for nuclear disarmament

The past six months have seen the launch of a number of initiatives – and some significant statements – in support of global nuclear disarmament. Though generally viewed as positive moves towards disarmament, they also generated some contradictions, questions and controversy.

On 24 September 2009, a specially convened meeting of the UN Security Council, chaired by US President Barack Obama, unanimously passed Resolution 1887. The resolution sought "a safer world for all and to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons in accordance with the goals of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), in a way that promotes international stability, and based on the principle of undiminished security for all." The adoption of UNSC Resolution 1887 was heralded as a significant step towards global nuclear disarmament by many news articles. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband used the occasion to reiterate in a Guardian comment piece the UK government’s goal of a world free from nuclear weapons. This provoked some to raise questions about the government’s apparent determination to procure a further nuclear weapon system to follow on from Trident nuclear weapon system, whilst other commentators, including two particularly dismissive Telegraph blogs, expressed scepticism about the professed goal of nuclear disarmament.

In October 2009 the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced its decision to award the Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama citing his efforts to pursue nuclear disarmament as a principal reason. Though many welcomed the support for disarmament that underpinned this decision, it was widely viewed as ‘premature’, with concerns raised about whether it would help or hamper President Obama’s efforts to make significant progress towards US and global nuclear disarmament.

In November 2009 the recently elected German coalition government was reported to want to initiate discussions with the US and NATO to allow for the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons based in Germany. There followed various articles suggesting that 5 NATO members – Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway – had now joined the chorus, bolstered by op-eds from senior Belgian and Dutch military and political ‘gangs of four’. In contrast, a February 2010 briefing from the Center for European Reform – part-authored by ex-NATO head Lord George Robertson – described the German decision as ‘dangerous’.

In December 2009, the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) convened by Australia and Japan launched its report 'Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers'. Its recommendations, which included a call for nuclear stockpiles to be reduced by 90% by 2025, were welcomed by some but regarded as too timid by others, including 17 civil society representatives who signed a joint statement saying ‘the report falls well short of our expectations’. Meanwhile as 2009 drew to a close, an article in The Economist concluded that ‘…there will be lots of disarmament talk in 2010. But not a whole lot will get done.’

Despite this, in early 2010 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its ‘Doomsday Clock’ back to reflect the more ‘hopeful state of world affairs’. This was followed by the US State Department devoting the February 2010 edition of its monthly 'eJournal USA' to ‘A World Free of Nuclear Weapons. The journal contained articles from experts including Joe Cirincione, Jayantha Dhanapala, George Perkovich and Acronym Institute Director Rebecca Johnson who argued that the 2010 NPT Review Conference should start laying the groundwork for a treaty to abolish nuclear weapons.

In February 2010 there were reports on international events that took place that month, including an NPT Review Conference Workshop held in the Philippine capital of Manila (attended by Acronym Director Rebecca Johnson), the 46th Munich Security Conference and the Global Zero Summit in Paris. Following the Paris event, an article appeared in French daily Le Monde entitled ‘Nuclear proliferation must be stopped, France has to show the example’. It was also a month when both Iran and Japan announced their countries would each be holding (separate) nuclear disarmament conferences in 2010.

Progress stalls at CD

Having finally broken a ‘decade of deadlock’ last year by agreeing to a programme of work, it was hoped that the Conference on Disarmament in 2010 might be able to agree the practical arrangements to start work. The year started badly, however, for on the very day that UN head Ban-Ki Moon told the CD that 2010 could be an historic year for disarmament, Pakistan blocked the CD’s agenda once again. Complaining about preferential treatment granted to India in the recent nuclear deal brokered by the US, Pakistan appears determined to prevent negotiations taking place on a Fissile Materials (Cut-Off) Treaty, despite the CD’s adoption of a negotiating mandate in 1995. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Secretary-General of the CD, was subsequently quoted as saying that progress was “not even zero – it was minus”.

Prospects for the NPT

In the run-up to the 2010 Review Conference of the NPT in May, the Treaty has been mentioned in news reports slightly more often than in usual years. We offer a sample of the more recent news, reports and comment pieces with an emphasis on Acronym Institute analysis of the prospects for the conference. (Visit this page for ‘Proposed Elements of an Action Plan for Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation for the 2010 NPT Review Conference’ written by Acronym Institute Director Rebecca Johnson in conjunction with the Middle Powers Initiative)

US nuclear spending and delayed posture review

With the Obama Administration originally due to publish its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) on 1 March, early 2010 saw many news reports on the US nuclear arsenal and posture. Much of the reporting centred around an increase in funding for the US nuclear weapons laboratories – the case for which was initially made by the ‘original’ ‘Gang of Four’ George Schultz, Henry Kissenger, William Perry and Sam Nunn in the third of their Wall Street Journal op-eds, published 19 January 2010. This was followed just ten days later by an op-ed also in the Wall Street Journal by US Vice-President Joe Biden, which justifed both the increased expenditure to maintain the US arsenal and the Obama administration’s commitment to pursue deeper reductions in the US and Russian arsenals under the START follow-on process and ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). This oped presaged Biden’s February 2010 speech at the National Defense University, in which these plans were linked to Obama’s eventual goal of a world free from nuclear weapons. In this context, the increased funding for the nuclear infrastructure was widely understood as a move to gain sufficient Republican support to be able to ratify the START follow-on treaty and CTBT. A controversial article by US analyst Greg Mello in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists titled ‘The Obama Disarmament Paradox’, put forward an alternative analysis, questioning the compatibility of the President's budget and his avowed disarmament vision.

At the time of writing, the NPR – which was trailed as likely to include a dramatic reduction in number of warheads – has still not been made public. Reports have suggested that the delay was due to inter-departmental wrangling over its content especially as regards declaratory posture and numbers of weapons. Reports that Obama had sent back a first draft after considering it too wedded to the status quo have done little to quell the fears expressed by several commentators that the NPR may be too timid to provide the changes necessary for the US arsenal and posture to be reconfigured sufficiently to pave the way for progress to be made towards the world free of nuclear weapons that President Obama proclaimed in Prague.

START follow on

As the US nuclear posture review continued to be delayed, Russia issued a backward-looking nuclear posture review that reinforced the role assigned to nuclear weapons. US-Russian negotiations on a follow-on to the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START) which expired in December 2009, were delayed again, as press reports veered between optimism and pessimism, with negotiations reportedly being influenced inter alia by Russian concerns over US missile defence (discussed below), problems with verification and domestic politics.

Contradictory signals over Missile Defence

The news in September 2009 that the US was abandoning its plans to site missile defence shields in Poland and the Czech Republic was welcomed by many – not least Russia – as a departure from the Bush administration’s provocative missile defence plans . Later reports of Romanian, Bulgarian and even Ukrainian interest in hosting parts of the US missile defence system have put renewed strain on US-Russian relations, feeding into the problems that delayed the START follow-on treaty negotiations

Although a January 2010 report suggested that the US and Russia were in direct talks over a possible collaboration on missile defence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was clear at the time that Russia remains reluctant about such an approach and no further talks appear to have taken place.

The US and China were both reported to have tested their missile defence systems in January/February 2010, with the US saying that the target missile used in its (unsuccessful) test represented the type of technology that North Korea or Iran might develop.

New IAEA Director-General and increased pressure on Iran

A further uranium enrichment plant in a previously undisclosed location near the holy city of Qom was disclosed by Iran in late 2009, increasing international concerns and resulting in heavy news coverage, as the IAEA issued its first resolution on Iran in a little under four years.

With Obama keen to pursue the diplomatic track, hopes were for a time pinned on IAEA-hosted international talks over a constructive fuel cycle proposal by which Iran would send its enriched uranium to France or Russia to be turned into nuclear fuel for a reactor making medical isotopes. But though Ahmadinejad expressed interest, the proposal was rejected following hostility expressed by his domestic opponents, as the post-election situation within Iran remained volatile, as Ahmadinejad’s regime sought to eliminate ‘Green Movement’ and opposition protests. In February 2010, Hillary Clinton warned that 'Iran is moving towards a military dictatorship'. Tensions between Iran and the West have continued with Iran testing a long-range missile and the US sending ships and missiles to its allies in the Gulf.

Reports coming out of Iran have suggested that the country is making progress on uranium enrichment – its most recent claim being to have enriched to 20%. Meanwhile, the first report under new IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano, who took office on 1 December 2009, went beyond his predecessor, Mohamed ElBaradei by stating that Iran’s weapons-related activity continued beyond 2004. Other commentators highlighted the fact that the IAEA report did not detail any new information, pointing out that analysis of the published intelligence documents does not necessarily support the view that Iran is close to making its own nuclear bomb.

Iran continues to deny that it is pursuing a nuclear weapons programme and announced in February 2010 that it would be hosting an international nuclear disarmament summit prior to May’s NPT Review Conference. In March 2010, the so-called ‘Father of the Pakistani Bomb’ A.Q. Khan, alleged that Iran attempted to buy nuclear bombs from Pakistan at the end of the 1980s.

January 2010 brought the news that an Iranian nuclear scientist had been killed by a bomb blast in Tehran, although it was not clear whether he was involved in the Iranian nuclear programme nor who was behind the killing.

As Iran has appeared to rebuff President Obama’s strategy to resolve the Iranian nuclear challenge through diplomacy, his approach has come under pressure from opponents in the US. As a consequence, several news outlets have reported on a US drive to garner support for sanctions, particularly from Russia and China who have so far been unwilling to sign up to the harder line approach. Other commentators have put forward alternative diplomatic approaches which could also serve to address the wider goal of a nuclear-weapons free Middle East and peace in the region.

North Korea

In October 2009, reports in the South Korean press that were later repeated in The Times said that North Korea had conducted more missile tests. Then in January 2010 a Reuters report suggested that relations between North and South Korea were deteriorating. Since February, news reports have focused on efforts – particularly by China – to bring North Korea back to the table for Six-Party talks.

As reports emerge of conditions within the country becoming ever more difficult,
some commentators have looked at the issue of food aid whilst others have urged policy makers to look beyond sanctions to fuller engagement, with an article in the Boston Globe calling for ‘magical thinking’.

India & Pakistan

The US-India nuclear sharing deal was brokered under President Bush amid great opposition and fears that it undermined the NPT and would provide India with nuclear materials for civil purposes and therefore enable India’s own uranium resources to be devoted to building up its nuclear arsenal. As the Obama administration announced that the deal had gone through, US Director of National Intelligence, Dennis C. Blair expressed the hope that “New Delhi is likely to pursue longer term goals to diminish the numbers and role of nuclear weapons in global security even as the country remains steadfast in its refusal to sign the NPT".

Though the deal was welcomed by the US business community, an Indian Government Bill to limit the liability of US companies operating under the new agreement has run into difficulties, and for the moment at least has been withdrawn amid fears that it would fail to be passed by the Indian Parliament. As predicted, with initial barriers to nuclear co-operation with India now down, other countries have stepped up to take advantage of access to the new Indian market.

Unsurprisingly, the US-India deal has provoked hostility from Pakistan, and as anticipated by critics of the US-India deal, Pakistan is now seeking similar treatment from the US in the form of its own nuclear sharing deal. This is unlikely to be granted, but the demand puts increased pressure on relations between two countries whose interdependence is a key part of the future of Afghanistan and security in the wider Middle East.

Since October 2009 India has conducted several tests of nuclear capable missiles – most recently on 21 March 2010 – whilst Pakistan also conducted a test in March.

In other news

In March 2010, reports emerged of discussions between senior members of the British and French defence establishments on the possibility of increased Anglo-French co-operation, including sharing the burden of maintaining continuous at sea ‘deterrent patrols’.

In the same month, Japan finally confirmed that it had, during the Cold War, allowed US nuclear-armed warships to enter Japanese ports in violation of the anti-nuclear policies enshrined in Japan’s constitution, with Foreign Minister Okada acknowledging that the issue could raise future challenges.


In October 2009, it was reported that a physicist who had worked on the Hadron Collider had been charged over terrorism links.

January 2010 brought the news that Tsutomu Yamaguchi – a Hibakusha who had survived the bombings of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki and was an outspoken critic of nuclear weapons – had died aged 93.

In February 2010 Carl Kaysen – a key negotiator of the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty between the USA and the Soviet Union – died aged 89.

Index of articles

1. Preparing the way for nuclear disarmament

2. Progress stalls at CD

3. Prospects for the NPT  

4. US nuclear spending and delayed posture review

5. START Follow-on

6. Contradictory signals on missile defence

7. New IAEA Director-General and increased pressure on Iran

8. North Korea

9. India & Pakistan

10. In other news

11. People

Preparing the way for nuclear disarmament

UNSC Resolution 1887

Resolution 1887 (2009), adopted by the Security Council at its 6191st meeting, on 24 September 2009, S/RES/1887 (2009)

UN passes historic nuclear disarmament resolution
Nico Hines, Times Online, 24 September 2009
‘The resolution, accepted by Russia and China as well as Western governments, was the centrepiece of a historic meeting at the UN, and the culmination of extensive lobbying by President Obama… The President said: “The historic resolution we just adopted enshrines our shared commitment to a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. And it brings Security Council agreement on a broad framework for action to reduce nuclear dangers as we work toward that goal.”’

Historic UN vision: a world ‘free of nuclear weapon’
Eddie Barnes and Chris Stephen, The Scotsman, 25 September 2009
‘Non-nuclear states have complained for decades that the world's elite nuclear club have failed to live up to their own commitments to reduce their warheads, while seeking to prevent other countries from going nuclear. The Obama initiative appears to have been designed to meet those complaints head on in the hope that rogue states and non-nuclear nations will now agree to ditch their own ambitions.’

Building a world without nukes
Joe Cirincione, Comment is free,, 24 September 2009
‘The UN security council’s resolution on nuclear weapons is remarkable. Obama has brought the world together.’

New nuclear resolve
David Miliband: Comment is free,, 20 September 2009
‘This week offers a fresh chance to take strides towards ridding the world of these weapons… With this week's security council summit and, next May, the review conference of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, we have a historic opportunity to make progress across the entire nuclear agenda.’

Steps towards a nuclear-free world
Letters, The Guardian, 22 September 2009
CND Chair Kate Hudson and others suggest ways forward for a nuclear free world – beginning with disarmament by those countries who already possess nuclear weapons.

Nuclear disarmament is a pipe dream so long as rogue states like Iran still exist
Con Coughlin, The Telegraph, 21 September 2009
‘Writing in today’s Guardian, David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary,  makes a stirring case for nuclear disarmament. But virtually in the same breath he sets out the difficulties the West is facing in trying to persuade Iran to come clean about its nuclear programme and cooperate on the West’s offer of a constructive dialogue to resolve the outstanding issues. And the bottom line is that you can’t have one so long as the other remains unresolved.’

There will never be a world without nuclear weapons
Adrian Michaels, Blogs The Telegraph, 24 September 2009
‘The important point about nuclear weapons is to brake their proliferation. We have no moral right as nuclear-weapon owners to demand that others do not try to match us, but we can make it worth their while if we tie them into civilian nuclear deals.’

Obama Nobel Peace Prize

Barack Obama ‘surprised and humbled’ by Nobel Peace Prize
The Telegraph, 9 October 2009
‘Less than a year after taking office, Mr Obama was recognised by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for his "extraordinary" efforts to reduce the global stockpile of nuclear weapons and bring world peace. But the US president said he did not "view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments," but rather as a recognition of goals he has set for the United States and the world. Mr Obama said, "I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize."’

Barack Obama and the Nobel peace prize: Even greater expectations: Is it premature to give Barack Obama the Nobel peace prize, less than a year into his presidency?, 9 October 2009
‘Although the prize may be given in the spirit of encouraging Mr Obama’s government, it might have been better to wait for more solid achievements. With so many good intentions, and so many initiatives scattered around the world (and an immensely busy domestic agenda, including health-care reform and averting economic collapse), Mr Obama appears to be racing around trying everything without yet achieving much.’

Should Obama have accepted the Nobel prize?
Michael Tomasky, Comment is Free,, 9 October 2009
‘Did Barack Obama earn this Nobel peace prize? Obviously not. The world's stockpile of nuclear weapons (the main specific area of his "work" named in the citation) hasn't decreased by one that I'm aware of since he took office. He hasn't made a dent in the Middle East yet. Iran hasn't suddenly seen the light.’

Pointless Nobel prize reveals how President Obama is lost in his own mystique
Bronwen Maddox, The Times, 10 October 2009
‘Scrap the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s an embarrassment and even an impediment to peace. President Obama, in letting the committee award it to him, has made himself look vain, a fool and dangerously lost in his own mystique.’

Barack Obama should never have accepted this tainted prize
Minette Marrin, The Sunday Times, 11 October 2009
‘…the glaringly obvious point is that Obama hasn’t achieved anything very much yet... That is hardly surprising as he has been in office for less than 10 months, but it is both foolish and wrong of him to accept a prize for something he has not achieved.’

Germany calls for withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Europe

Ridding Germany of U.S. Nuclear Weapons
Judy Dempsey, New York Times, 28 October 2009
‘Germany’s new foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, has taken a different view on the continuing presence of these weapons on German soil. In a bid to distinguish himself as quickly as possible in his new job, he called Saturday — the day Chancellor Angela Merkel clinched an accord with her new coalition partners, the Free Democrats — “for a country free of nuclear weapons.”’

German Coalition Policy on withdrawal of US nuclear weapons
Martin Butcher, 6 November 2009
‘The German initiative, now supported by several important NATO nations, has made significant change a real possibility. It is far from certain that this initiative will succeed. It is not currently known whether Turkey would accept the withdrawal of remaining US nuclear weapons, as it has been a strong supporter of the US policy of 'extended deterrence' in the past. Other NATO members, along with some members of NATO's international staff, may also be resistant to changing the nuclear paragraphs of the Strategic Concept. It is certain that the role of nuclear weapons in NATO strategy will now be a major part of the Strategic Concept negotiations in 2010.’

Germans press for removal of US nuclear weapons in Europe
Julian Borger, The Guardian, 6 November 2009
‘Pressure is growing within Nato for the removal of the remaining US nuclear weapons on European soil, and for a new doctrine for the alliance that would depend less on nuclear deterrence. The initiative is being driven by the new German government coalition, which has called for the removal of American nuclear weapons on its territory as part of a Nato strategic rethink. The German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, the driving force behind the new policy, raised the issue during talks in Washington today with the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.’

German Nuclear Stance Stirs Debate
Oliver Meier, Arms Control Today, December 2009
‘NATO allies will now have to debate the German initiative and the future of U.S. nuclear deployments in Europe during the current review of NATO’s Strategic Concept.’

Dutch and Belgian ‘Gang of Four’

Toward a Nuclear Weapon Free World
Ruud Lubbers, Max van der Stoel, Hans van Mierlo and Frits Korthals Altes, NRC Handelsblad, 23 November 2009
‘The significance of the action of the first ‘Group of Four’ (Kissinger, Nunn, Shultz and Perry) lies in the fact that during the time they held responsibilities inside the government, they used the threat of nuclear weapons as a means to maintain peace. Though it is unusual, we as ’policy veterans’ consider this to be the right moment to speak out and join our former colleagues in their call for a world without nuclear weapons.’

Top politicians promote a nuclear-free Europe, 19 February 2010
‘Two former Belgian Prime Ministers, and two former Belgian Foreign Ministers have launched a remarkable initiative. In the Opinion section of the daily De Standaard, they wrote an article promoting a nuclear-free Europe and urging NATO to withdraw all nuclear arms from Europe.’

Ex ministers urge NATO to scrap nuclear arms
Jakarta Post/Associated Press, 19 February 2010
'NATO's nuclear arms no longer serve a military purpose and encourage other nations to acquire atomic weapons, four former Belgian government ministers said in a joint statement Friday. The four - including ex-foreign minister Willy Claes, who served as NATO secretary general in the 1990s - called on the Belgian government to press NATO to get rid of its nuclear weapons.'

5 NATO states want US nuclear weapons out of Europe

Five NATO States Want U.S. Nukes Out of Europe, Report Says
Global Security Newswire, 19 February 2010
‘NATO members Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway are expected to make the request "in the coming weeks" that "nuclear arms on European soil belonging to other NATO member states are removed," according to a spokesman for Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme. "It's a question of launching the debate at the heart of NATO," Dominique Dehaene said.’

Five Nato states to urge removal of US nuclear arms in Europe
Julian Borger, The Guardian, 22 February 2010
‘Five Nato states plan to call for the removal of all remaining US nuclear weapons on European soil in a move intended to spur global disarmament, officials said today. Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway and Luxembourg will make a joint declaration "in the next few weeks", a Belgian official said, with the intention of influencing a growing debate within Nato over the usefulness of nuclear weapons in alliance strategy.’

Burying nuclear relics of the cold war
Anne Penketh, Comment if Free, The Guardian, 24 February 2010
‘Some Nato members want to keep short-range bombs, but Belgium has joined Germany and others in a disarmament push… The removal of these cold war relics would be a real disarmament step, at a critical time when the nuclear weapons states, and Nato itself, expect to come under diplomatic attack on their disarmament record at a global conference in May.’

In praise of … a nuclear-free Europe
Editorial, The Guardian, 24 February 2010
‘Five Nato states are to call for the removal of all remaining US nuclear weapons on European soil, a move that could spur global disarmament… It is always best to start a long journey with small steps, and getting rid of between 150 and 240 useless weapons must rank as one of these.’
Letter: For and against dumping nuclear weapons
Letters, The Guardian, 26 February 2010
CND Chair, Kate Hudson writes “Your editorial supporting the withdrawal of obsolete US nuclear weapons from Europe is spot on (In praise of... a nuclear-free Europe, 24 February). They are the remnants of an illegal cold war policy of "nuclear weapons sharing" which should have been swept away a generation ago."

Europe's Nuclear-Disarmament Delusion - Removing American nukes from European soil won't make the Continent safer
Michael Anton, Wall Street Journal, 25 March 2010
‘Among the many links that bind together the NATO alliance, and therefore the West, the presence of American nuclear weapons on the soil of five NATO nations is not one that gets a lot of love or attention. Yet it is vital just the same. Serious voices on both sides of the Atlantic are now advocating that this tie be severed. They should not be heeded.’

Germany opens Pandora’s box
Franklin Miller, George Robertson and Kori Schake, Center for European Reform Briefing, February 2010
The agreement that brought Germany’s ruling parties into coalition in November 2009 committed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to “the withdrawal of all US nuclear weapons from Germany”. Senior Americans close to President Barack Obama are said to be similarly advocating the elimination of nuclear weapons stationed in NATO countries. We believe these steps would be damaging, both to Germany and the alliance as a whole.”

Germany Is Chastised for Stance on Nuclear Arms
Judy Depmsey, New York Times, 8 February 2010
‘In a report to be published Tuesday by the Center for European Reform, in London, George Robertson, who served as NATO secretary general from 1999 to 2004, says Germany cannot remove the missiles and still expect to enjoy the protection of U.S. nuclear forces. “For Germany to want to remain under the nuclear umbrella while exporting to others the obligation of maintaining it, is irresponsible,” the report says.’

Ex-NATO Head Robertson Skeptical of Removing Nukes from Germany
Der Spiegel, 16 February 2010
'In an interview with SPIEGEL this week, former NATO General Secretary George Robertson said that he considers the demand to be "simply dangerous."'

ICNND report

Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers
Gareth Evans and Yoriko Kawaguchi (co-chairs), Report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), released 15 December 2009

ICNND Report – Civil Society Response
17 NGOs, 15 December 2009
‘Unfortunately, as members of civil society aspiring for nuclear abolition, we must say that the report falls well short of our expectations. The pace of the action plan for nuclear disarmament laid out in the report is far too slow.’

Report seeks big cut in nuke stockpile
Sandra O’Malley, The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 December 2009
‘A landmark report calls for a massive cut in atomic warheads but stops short of setting a deadline for their abolition, which Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says is a critical challenge for this century. The International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), initiated by Mr Rudd last year, wants the global arsenal cut from 23,000 to 2,000 by 2025 but doesn't set a timeframe to get rid of all nuclear weapons.’

Global Panel Calls for Steep Nuclear Cuts
Tom Z. Collina, Arms Control Today, January/February 2010 
‘“[T]he key recommendation is to get serious about a world without nuclear weapons because there are far more risks associated with the continuation of nuclear weapons than there are these days any benefits,” commission co-chair and former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans told Australia’s ABC News Dec. 15. “We’re realistic about how long that will take. We’re setting a target date, 2025, to achieve a dramatic 90 percent reduction in the world’s nuclear weapons. We think that’s realistically achievable.”’

Towards a World without Nuclear Weapons
Joint Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, Australian government press release, 21 February 2010
‘In today’s meeting, the Foreign Ministers of Japan and Australia, Mr Katsuya Okada and Mr Stephen Smith, reaffirmed the common recognition that the threat of nuclear weapons is one of the most serious issues that humankind faces. They shared their intention to deepen cooperation between the two countries in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in order to fundamentally strengthen the current international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.’

The Economist’s verdict

International: Nuclear non-proliferation entreaty: A busy year for nuclear diplomacy
The World in 2010 (print edition),, 13 November 2009
‘…there will be lots of disarmament talk in 2010. But not a whole lot will get done.’

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves ‘Doomsday Clock’ back

'Doomsday Clock' moves a minute back
BBC News, 14 January 2010
‘The Doomsday Clock - a barometer of nuclear danger for the past 63 years - has been moved one minute further away from the "midnight hour". The concept timepiece, devised by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) now stands at six minutes to the hour. The group said it made the decision to move the clock back because of a more “hopeful state of world affairs”.’

USA e-journal

The February 2010 issue of the US State Department's monthly 'eJournal USA' entitled A World Free of Nuclear Weaponsincludes articles by Acronym Director Rebecca Johnson as well as Jayantha Dhanapala, President of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Joe Cirincione – President of Ploughshares Fund, George Perkovich, Director, and Deepti Choubey, Deputy Director of Nuclear Policy Program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

International Events

NPT Review Conference Workshop Held in Philippines
Global Security Newswire, 3 February 2010
‘More than 50 nuclear experts were in Manila for talks on establishing a fissile material cutoff treaty and the ramifications of the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Also to be addressed at the workshop were U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's plan for global nuclear disarmament, North Korea's nuclear activities, the successor treaty to the expired Russia-U.S. Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and a 1995 resolution that calls for a nuclear weapon-free Middle East.’

Munich security conference: fresh focus on Afghanistan, nuclear weapons
Robert Marquand, Christian Science Monitor, 5 February 2010
‘The 48-hour Munich meeting, with its rich set of sideline talks and bilateral meetings, also picks up a rising new focus on nuclear weapons. By May, Washington and Moscow are expected to sign the first strategic nuclear agreement in a generation, in time for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review. Senior statesmen like George Schultz, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, and William Perry have in recent weeks been in London, Paris, and Berlin to push a “nuclear free” world.’

Russia and U.S. Lead Calls to Reduce Nuclear Arsenals
New York Times, 8 February 2010
‘“Russia and the United States bear a special responsibility for the disarmament process,” said Sergei Ivanov, Russia’s first deputy prime minister. “At the same time, it would be an obvious simplification to boil it all down only to Russian-American relations. Nuclear disarmament is a common objective for all parties to the Nonproliferation Treaty.”’

UN chief: Nuclear weapons threaten our security
Xinhuanet News, 2 February 2010
‘UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Tuesday called for meaningful steps to move forward the world's nuclear disarmament agenda. The secretary-general made the appeal in a video message to the Global Zero World Summit in Paris, France, where 200 international political, military, business and faith leaders aim to discuss measures to eliminate all nuclear weapons. "Nuclear weapons threaten our security. And every dollar spent on weapons is one less spent on schools, life-saving medicine, or research into life-affirming technologies," he said.’

US and Russia back nuclear disarmament push
Gordon Corera, BBC News, 2 February 2010
‘US President Barack Obama has recommitted his administration to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The move came in a written statement to a conference in Paris, as the US and international community prepare for an important six months for dealing with the spread of nuclear weapons. President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia also offered a written message of support to the Global Zero conference.’

It's time to set the course for global zero
Timothy Garton Ash, Globe & Mail, 4 February 2010-02-05

Le Monde

Nuclear proliferation must be stopped, France has to show the example
Venance Journé, Le Monde (in French), 16 February 2010

Nuclear disarmament conferences

Tehran to host nuclear disarmament conference
Tehran Times, 8 February 2010
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman is quoted as saying “If those countries which are concerned about nuclear weapons displayed their commitment to nuclear disarmament in practice, we would be witnessing a nuclear weapons-free world”.

Japan Calls for Nuclear Disarmament Conference
Global Security Newswire, 24 February 2010
‘Japan is looking to organize a major nuclear disarmament conference later this year, JiJi Press reported yesterday. Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada suggested the event would occur after June, following the Obama administration's Global Nuclear Security Summit in April and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference in May. This year is crucial for promoting the goal of a "nuclear-free world" and requires international talks on the matter, he said.’

Progress stalls at CD

UN Chief Ban Ki Moon tells Conference on Disarmament: 2010 will be an historic year
UN News Centre, 19 January 2010
' “My hope is based, not on wishful thinking, but on real opportunities for concrete action,” Mr. Ban told this year’s first plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament'

Pakistan blocks agenda at U.N. disarmament conference
Jonathan Lynn, Reuters, 19 January 2010
'Arms negotiators failed to start talks on Tuesday on cutting nuclear weapons when Pakistan blocked the adoption of the 2010 agenda for the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament. The conference, the world's sole multinational negotiating forum for disarmament, spent much of 2009 stuck on procedural wrangles raised by Pakistan after breaking a 12-year deadlock to agree a programme of work.'

UN official decries disarmament forum for lack of progress
UN News Centre, 11 February 2010
'The Conference on Disarmament, the world’s sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, faces becoming irrelevant to international relations given its recent lack of progress, a senior United Nations official warned today. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, where the Conference is meeting, told members today that they were supposed to have made progress on a proposed international ban on weapon-grade nuclear material over the past four weeks.'

Prospects for the NPT

Restoring the NPT: Essential Steps for 2010
Deepti Choubey & H.E. Sameh Shoukry, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 2009
‘The upcoming 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference is an opportunity to strengthen the struggling nonproliferation regime, but achieving even modest success will require the political cooperation of nuclear and non-nuclear-weapon states.’

Rebecca Johnson: Views ahead of the May 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Review Conference, December 2009
‘Acronym Institute Director Rebecca Johnson speaks to the UK government's Foreign & Commonwealth Office about nuclear issues, and gives her views ahead of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May 2010.’

NPT: a launchpad for nuclear abolition?
Rebecca Johnson, Peace News, February 2010
‘The 2010 review conference will no doubt generate great sound and fury, but to avoid disappointment we need to recognise that the NPT is stuck in a Cold War time warp of trying to control and manage nuclear arsenals and proliferation, while failing to address the deep-seated problems of nuclear power, status and deterrence doctrines.’

Middle East States Frustrated by Nuclear Treaty, Egyptian Diplomat Says
Global Security Newswire, 11 March 2010  
'A leading Egyptian diplomat said yesterday that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has left nations in the Middle East feeling duped, Agence France-Presse reported. Hisham Badr, Egyptian ambassador to the United Nations and his nation's delegate to the international Conference on Disarmament, argued that the nuclear powers have not met their commitments while the treaty's provisions to secure nuclear nonproliferation also have been unsuccessful in the Middle East.'

Australia, Japan Submit Disarmament Proposals For NPT Review Conference
Global Security Newswire, 24 March 2010
'Australia and Japan have put together a proposal of 16 nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation measures for consideration at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference in May, the Australian Foreign Ministry announced today'.

The NPT at 40: Can we salvage the Nonproliferation Treaty for the next forty years?
Bennett Ramberg, Huffington Post, 24 March 2010
‘This month marks the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the global linchpin to halt the spread of nuclear weapons, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty... Unless Treaty loyalists redouble efforts to prop up leaky dikes, the nonproliferation regime's durability will increasingly fall into question and so will global security.’

Taking Stock of the NPT: An Interview With U.S. Special Representative Susan Burk
Peter Crail, Daniel Horner, and Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Today, March 2010

Rethinking the NPT's role in security: 2010 and beyond
Rebecca Johnson, International Affairs, Chatham House (subscription only), March 2010
 ‘Even if the review conference is deemed a success, its outcome is unlikely to address the regime's core structural weaknesses and normative contradictions… The article discusses the challenges and options for the non-proliferation regime and concludes that efforts to halt future proliferation will increasingly focus on reshaping the norms and rules to pave the way for negotiating a new nuclear security compact, based on a verified process to prohibit and eliminate the possession as well as the use of nuclear weapons.’

USA spending and posture

US increases investment in its nuclear arsenal

How to Protect Our Nuclear Deterrent
Schultz, Kissenger, Perry & Nunn, Wall Street Journal, 19 January 2010
On the third anniversary of their original call for a ‘world free of nuclear weapons’, the ‘Four Horsemen’ speak of the need to maintain confidence in US nuclear infrastructure and weapons.

US Vice President presents US nuclear vision
The President's Nuclear Vision, Joe Biden, Wall Street Journal, 29 January 2010
'For as long as nuclear weapons are required to defend our country and our allies, we will maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal. The president's Prague vision is central to this administration's efforts to protect the American people—and that is why we are increasing investments in our nuclear arsenal and infrastructure in this year's budget and beyond.'

Obama budget seeks 13.4 percent increase for National Nuclear Security Administration
Walter Pincus, Washington Post, 3 February 2010
'President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget blueprint calls for an increase in funding of more than 13 percent for the agency that oversees the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, a greater percentage increase than for any other government agency. The request could help reduce opposition to a new strategic arms control treaty with Russia. Republicans have argued that the Obama administration will jeopardize national security if it agrees to cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal without modernizing the country's remaining weapons.'

Speech by US Vice President Joe Biden
Read/watch the speech here

Biden to Push Test-Ban Treaty
Jonathan Weisman, Wall Street Journal, 18 February 2010
Report of Joe Biden’s planned speech to the National Defense University during which – according to the Wall Street Journal - he will make the case for increases in spending of US nuclear weapons infrastructure in an attempt to garner support for Senate ratification of the CTBT.

Biden: Better Conventional Arms Will Allow Nuclear Drawdown
Lisa Daniel, American Forces Press Service – US Department of Defense, 18 February 2010
This US Department of Defense article reports on Biden’s speech saying that reductions in the US nuclear arsenal will be offset by improvements in the conventional weapons capability of the country.

Biden Argues for Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Stresses No Unilateral Disarmament
Paula Wolfson, Voice of America, 18 February 2010
‘U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that the Obama administration remains committed to the nuclear test ban treaty and efforts to stop the spread of atomic weapons.  But, Biden stressed that the United States will not disarm unilaterally. Biden says the United States must be prepared to spend more to maintain its nuclear stockpile... The speech was another sign that Biden - a champion of arms non-proliferation during his decades in the U.S. Senate - is becoming the Obama administration's chief spokesman for its nuclear policy.’

Biden seeks end to all U.S. nukes
Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, 19 February 2010
‘The Obama administration will move ahead with Senate ratification of a treaty banning nuclear tests that was voted down by Republicans more than a decade ago, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. said Thursday. In a speech setting out the administration's arms-control agenda, Mr. Biden also said the United States will continue to pursue President Obama's call for the elimination of all U.S. nuclear arms, but defended spending $7 billion in the coming year to repair an aging arsenal. ‘

Biden: U.S. must spend to shrink nuclear arms stockpile
Mary Beth Shreiden, Washington Post, 19 February 2010
In his speech to the National Defense University, Joe Biden builds the public case for Obama's nuclear weapons policy, defending the decision to increase spending on US nuclear weapons – regarded as a sweetener for Senate Republicans who Obama needs on board if ratificaton of the CTBT is to get through the Senate.

Revisiting Biden's nuclear speech
Laura Rosen, Politico, 22 February 2010
‘When Vice President Joseph Biden gave a speech on the Obama administration’s nuclear nonproliferation vision at National Defense University last week, he was introduced by Defense Secretary Robert Gates...“Gates stood side by side with the Vice President, demonstrating his agreement with the policy the Vice President announced,” Ploughshares Fund president Joseph Cirincione told POLITICO… The decision to have Gates introduce Biden's remarks on this issue was "deliberate," an official said on condition of anonymity. "And a signal to Senate Republicans who want to engage in over-the-top attacks on this Administration's approach to nuclear weapons."‘

Obama’s Disarmament Paradox

The Obama Disarmament Paradox
Greg Mello, Bulletin of the atomic Scientists, 4 February 2010
'Last April in Prague, President Barack Obama gave a speech that many have interpreted as a commitment to significant nuclear disarmament. Now, however, the White House is requesting one of the larger increases in warhead spending history… So how is the president's budget compatible with his disarmament vision?'

The Obama Disarmament Paradox – A Rebuttal
John Isaacs and Robert G. Gard Jr., Al-Jazeerah &, 8 March 2010
'It is only prudent to seek the necessary funding to keep the U.S. nuclear arsenal safe, secure, and reliable until a nuclear-weapon-free world can be achieved.'

Nuclear Posture Review: reductions and wranglings

Barack Obama ready to slash US nuclear arsenal: Pentagon told to map out radical cuts as president prepares to chair UN talks
Julian Borger,, 20 September 2009  
'Barack Obama has demanded the Pentagon conduct a radical review of US nuclear weapons doctrine to prepare the way for deep cuts in the country's arsenal, the Guardian can reveal. Obama has rejected the Pentagon's first draft of the "nuclear posture review" as being too timid, and has called for a range of more far-reaching options consistent with his goal of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons altogether'

Experts Voice Concern Over U.S. Nuclear Policy Review
Global Security Newswire, 17 February 2010
13 arms control advocates have urged President Obama to protect his nuclear disarmament goals from possible contradictory assertions in the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review.

What Every Citizen Should Now Know About Nukes
Robert Dodge,, 20 February 2010
‘The currently awaited NPR provides the opportunity to shift past policy from a cold war thinking to a vision moving forward that allows a redirection of critical resources to address current and future security threats… President Obama has the opportunity to set the forces in motion to realize his vision of a world without nuclear weapons. The US can and must lead by example.’

Obama's Nuclear Moment
David E. Hoffman, Foreign Policy, 23 February 2010
‘The president has so far done little to back up his rhetoric on atomic weapons. The next few months may be the best chance he'll ever get.’

US plans ‘dramatic reductions’ in nuclear weapons, 2 March 2010
‘The review "will point to dramatic reductions in the stockpile, while maintaining a strong and reliable deterrent through the investments that have been made in the budget," the official said… the signs are that the first draft of the document has been rejected as being too wedded to the status quo and not sufficiently "transformational" to use the language favoured by the Obama administration… the review will be read closely to see what it might say about the potential circumstances in which nuclear weapons would be used’

Nuclear cuts, yes, but still plenty of U.S. bombs
Paul Koring, Globe & Mail, 3 March 2010
‘Obama shaping strategy to slash thousands of warheads but keep 'first use' option and awesome destructive power… Even if Mr. Obama cuts operationally ready nuclear-warhead numbers in half - to roughly 2,000 - there will still be four for each of the roughly 500 cities on the planet with more than a million inhabitants, accounting for about two billion people. And each of those warheads will remain significantly more powerful than the bombs that devastated Nagasaki and Hiroshima.’

START follow on

New Russian Nuclear doctrine

Russia’s nuclear doctrine will not get tougher
Alexei Nikolsky, Vedomosti, Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia), circulated by, 30 October 2009
'The new concept for Russia’s use of nuclear weapons, now under consideration by the Security Council, will not radically differ from the old one and is unlikely to provide for preventive strikes. According to Nikolai Patrushev, the organisation’s secretary, the president will adopt the new doctrine late this or early next year.'

Russia Plans Changes to Military Doctrine
Luke Champlin and Volha Charnysh, Arms Control Association, December 2009
‘U.S. analysts expressed concern about the impact of the proposed changes… James Goodby, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a former U.S. arms control negotiator, said in a Nov. 13 interview that the changes “would make it difficult for Obama and Medvedev to carry out the arms reductions they plan to implement.”’

Russia announces new nuclear doctrine
One India, 6 February 2010
‘"Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction against it and its allies, as well as an aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons jeopardizing the very existence of the state," a military doctrine signed by President Dmitry Medvedev said.’

Moscow’s ‘nuclear doctrine’ under fire
Daniel Dombey , Financial Times, 18 March 2010
'A top Pentagon official has expressed concern at what she describes as Russia’s increasing reliance on nuclear weapons, a trend the US says is at odds with President Barack Obama’s arms control agenda. “There are aspects to their nuclear doctrine, their military activities that we find very troubling,” said Michèle Flournoy, the defence department undersecretary for policy. In an interview with the Financial Times, she said that while Mr Obama had stressed “the importance of reducing the role of nuclear weapons . . . if you read recent Russian military doctrine they are going in the other direction, they are actually increasing their reliance on nuclear weapons, the role in nuclear weapons in their strategy”.'

START Follow-on Negotiations

Russian and American arms cuts
The Economist, 24 September 2009
'Leave the hard bits till last: But a new treaty is worth having'

Russian-American nuclear weapons negotiations have reached decisive phase
Sergei Rogov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia), circulated by, 26 November 2009
‘…it looks as though Moscow and Washington are seriously intent on taking advantage of this new "window of opportunity".

Nuclear arms treaty ends but Russia and US work to agree new deal
Tony Halpin, The Times, 5 December 2009
'Late-night bargaining in Geneva between US and Russian negotiators failed to produce an agreement to replace the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start), which expired today. Its demise meant the collapse of the system for monitoring the two largest nuclear stockpiles in the world. As hopes for a breakthrough faded Mr Obama and President Medvedev rushed out declarations that they would remain bound by the the treaty until they agreed on its replacement.'

Obama urges Russia to help gain treaty
Barry Schweid, The Washington Post/Associated Press, 24 February 2010
‘President Barack Obama weighed in Wednesday to try to hasten the conclusion of a new nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, urging President Dmitry Medvedev to help accelerate its completion.  A White House official told The Associated Press that Obama telephoned the Russian leader and found him in accord on the need to press their negotiators to complete the elusive pact, which would sharply reduce their arsenals of long-range nuclear weapons. ‘

Clinton presses Russia to wrap up START deal
Reuters, 23 February 2010
‘Secretary of State Hillary Clinton phoned her Russian counterpart on Tuesday to press Moscow to wrap up final details on a new START deal to cut strategic nuclear weapons, the State Department said. Clinton spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for about 15 minutes and "encouraged Russia to continue to move ahead, push hard, so we can reach an agreement in the next couple of weeks," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told a news briefing.’


Arms treaty with U.S. could be ready in weeks: Russia
Reuters, 27 January 2010
‘Talks on a landmark treaty to cut Cold War nuclear arsenals are nearly complete, U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed in a telephone call on Wednesday.’

Russian Leader Optimistic on START Progress
Global Security Newswire, 2 March 2010
‘"In essence, we have reached the final part of negotiations," Reuters quoted Medvedev as saying. "I hope these negotiations will be finished in the very near future."’

U.S. official: START replacement agreement possible by April
Jill Dougherty,, 2 March 2010
‘A U.S. official with knowledge of the negotiations but not authorized to speak on the record told CNN the talks on the treaty, which expired December 5, 2009, have been "very tough" but said, "I think we can do it." The biggest issue to resolve is verification, including on-site inspection of missiles that carry nuclear warheads, this official said, adding, "There are still some niggling technical details."’

US and Russia 'near' new nuclear arms treaty
BBC News, 14 March 2010
‘ In a telephone conversation on Saturday, the two presidents "expressed satisfaction with the high level of consensus on the basic lines" of the treaty negotiations, the Kremlin said in a statement... The pair "stressed that it is already possible to set firm dates to submit the draft agreement to the heads of state for their signatures," the statement added, without setting the timeframe.’

U.S., Russian negotiators 'at the finish line' on new START nuclear pact
Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post, 19 March 2010
'U.S. and Russian negotiators are "at the finish line" in negotiating a major agreement to cut the number of nuclear warheads each side has deployed against the other, with just one or two issues left to resolve, officials said Thursday.’


No "New START" in 2010, Hill sources predict
Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, 24 February 2010
‘One problem, of course, is that there is no agreement as yet to ratify. President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reportedly talked over the phone Wednesday and agreed to speed up the final phase of the negotiations, which have lagged since the old START treaty expired last December. The outstanding issues have included how to deal with Russian concerns over U.S. missile defense plans and Russian demands for access to American missile defense telemetry.’

Russian parliament could block US nuclear treaty
Daily Times (Pakistan), 17 March 2010
‘Russia’s lower house of parliament will not ratify a future nuclear disarmament treaty with the United States unless it includes links to missile defence issues, its speaker said Tuesday.’

Russia Shows Off Might As Row Delays US Pact
Amanda Walker, Sky News online, 17 March 2010
‘US plans for a missile defence system in Europe are blocking its new nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia.’

Stakes Rise as U.S. and Russia Stall over Nukes
Eben Harrell, Time magazine, 22 March 2010
‘A successor to START was supposed to have been the easy first step in the journey to reach President Obama's vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. It is his ambition that has injected this year's nuclear-security summit and NPT review conference with such importance and potential. But the START struggles raise concern that Obama's vision could stumble at the first hurdle.’

Influencing Factors

Vladimir Putin threatens Barack Obama’s nuclear stockpile cuts
Toby Harnden,, 29 December 2009
'President Barack Obama’s drive for the US and Russia to agree cuts in nuclear weapons is under threat after Vladimir Putin insisted the US abandons its missile shield before a final deal can be reached.'

The Path to a Nuclear-Free World: A New U.S.-Russian Security Agreement
Sergey Rogov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 15 January 2010, translated by Olga Kerzhner and circulated via Watching America
The authors urge progress on negotiations to a START follow-on treaty and provide an in-depth evaluation of the key issues affecting the negotiations.

Is Russia stalling START?
Laura Rosen, Politico, 2 March 2010
‘…now sources in and out of the administration are saying Russia may not feel it needs to sign a new agreement soon… An anonymous Washington non-proliferation official said: “Putin may not be so eager for [President Dmitry] Medvedev to achieve a foreign policy success”'

Contradictory signals over missile defence

Obama steps back from ‘missile defence’ in Czech Republic & Poland

Barack Obama abandons European missile shield to delight of Russians
Toby Harnden and Andrew Osborn, The Telegraph, 17 September 2009
'In a major break with President George W. Bush's policies, Mr Obama opted not to deploy a sophisticated radar system in the Czech Republic or 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland. The decision angered Czech and Polish allies but was welcomed in Moscow where leaders had publicly scoffed at the idea that Iran posed a serious threat to the US.'

Did the US do a deal with Russia?
Meir Javedanfar, Comment is free,, 18 September 2009
'Obama’s plan to scrap the missile defence shield appears to be a smart chess move to befriend Russia and isolate China on Iran.'

New missile defences in Europe
The Economist, 24 September 2009
'Shooting down a plan: America’s change of tack is placating some and worrying others.'

Russian interests loom large as Biden visits Eastern Europe
Jonathan Liew,, 23 October 2009
'Poland and Romania have cautiously welcomed President Obama’s new proposal for a missile shield system, during a visit to eastern Europe by Joe Biden, the US vice-president'

Other countries could step in

Russia upset at U.S.-Ukraine missile defense talks
Conor Sweeney, Reuters, 15 October 2010
'Russia said on Thursday it was worried about U.S. talks on the use of Ukrainian radar stations as part of a revised missile defense shield, a step that could hinder efforts to reset ties between the two Cold War foes.'

Romania 'to host US missile shield'
BBC News, 4 February 2010
'Romania has agreed to host missile interceptors as part of a new US defence shield, its president says. The US scrapped a previous missile shield, based in Poland and the Czech Republic, which had infuriated Russia.'

U.S. to discuss Bulgarian missile shield role: PM
Reuters, 12 February 2010
‘Washington will hold preliminary talks with the Bulgarian government on hosting parts of a U.S. missile shield, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said on Friday.’

Russia worried by US missile defence plan
AFP 26 February 2010
‘Russia has serious questions over the aims of fresh US missile defence plans for Europe, the foreign ministry said Friday, in Moscow's strongest expression of concern yet over the new initiative.’

US-Russia collaboration?

US, Russia in talks over global missile defense
China Daily, 21 January 2010
‘The United States and Russia are currently in discussion over the issue of global missile defense, said U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle here on Wednesday. Beyrle told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that Washington and Moscow were discussing the possibility to involve Russia into a system of global missile defense, on which two rounds of negotiations have been held between experts from the two countries.’

Russia Resists Partnering With U.S. on Missile Defense
Global Security Newswire, 26 January 2010
'Russia remains reluctant to partner with the United States on missile defense, Interfax reported Friday…"We are not ready to simply trust someone else's analysis and proposals to counter such threats on the basis of this analysis," Lavrov said. "But they have simply told us: these are the systems we plan to develop, and you will have to contribute your radars. This is not the kind of approach we are ready to support."'

Missile defence tests

China says missile defence system test successful
Christopher Bodeen, Guardian/Associated Press, 12 January 2010
'China announced that its military intercepted a missile in mid-flight Monday in a test of new technology that comes amid heightened tensions over Taiwan and increased willingness by the Asian giant to show off its advanced military capabilities.'

Radar problems foil missile defense test
CNN, 2 February 2010
'A U.S. missile defense test failed Sunday when a long-range missile missed its target because of radar problems.'

US anti-missile test of 'Iran or N Korea' attack fails
BBC News, 2 February 2010
'A US missile defence test designed to shoot down long-range missiles was aborted when the radar system failed. Rick Lehner, a Missile Defense Agency spokesman, said the target missile represented the type of technology that North Korea or Iran might develop.'

New IAEA Director-General and increased pressure on Iran

Iran informs IAEA of second enrichment plant

Iran tells IAEA it is building 2nd enrichment plant
Mark Heinrich, Reuters, 25 September 2009
Iran has told the U.N. nuclear watchdog that it has a second uranium enrichment plant under construction, a belated disclosure sure to heighten Western fears of a stealthy Iranian quest for nuclear arms capability.’

Iran nuclear plant: Miliband refuses to rule out military action
Julian Borger, Patrick Wintour and Mark Oliver,, 26 September 2009
‘David Miliband today refused to rule out the prospect of military action against Iran over its nuclear ambitions but insisted the international focus was on a diplomatic solution after Tehran's admission it is building a second uranium enrichment plant.’

Iran defends new enrichment plant, 26 September 2009
‘Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, has reacted strongly to international condemnation of the Islamic Republic's second uranium enrichment facility, saying it was within the "parameters of the UN nuclear watchdog's rules".’

Nuclear watchdog condemns Tehran as showdown looms over uranium facility
Catherine Philip, The Times, 1 October 2009
‘Pressure mounted on Iran before today’s nuclear negotiations in Geneva after the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog declared that Tehran was “on the wrong side of the law” for failing to declare a clandestine uranium enrichment plant.’

Obama in Iran inspection demand
BBC News, 2 October 2009
‘US President Barack Obama says Iran must give UN inspectors "unfettered access" to its second uranium enrichment facility within two weeks.’

IAEA Rebukes Iran Over Secret Facility
Peter Crail, Arms Control Association, December 2009
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors last month called on Iran to stop constructing a previously secret uranium-enrichment facility revealed in September. The Nov. 27 resolution, which came during the board’s quarterly meeting in Vienna, was the governors’ first on Iran in nearly four years.’

Talks over fuel swap proposal

Iran Agrees to Send Enriched Uranium to Russia
New York Times, Steven Erlanger & Mark Landler, 1 October 2009
'Iran agreed on Thursday in talks with the United States and other major powers to open its newly revealed uranium enrichment plant near Qum to international inspection in the next two weeks and to send most of its openly declared enriched uranium outside Iran to be turned into fuel for a small reactor that produces medical isotopes, senior American and other Western officials said.'

Iran nuclear talks ‘off to a good start’, says UN host
Julian Borger,, 19 October 2009
'The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog said tonight that international talks on Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium were "off to a good start"… If the talks succeed, most of Iran's stock of low-enriched uranium (LEU) would be sent to France and Russia for processing so that it could be used in a Tehran research reactor for making medical isotopes.'

Iran faces key deadline in nuclear talks
David Blair,, 21 October 2009
'The confrontation over Iran's nuclear programme reached a crucial moment when Tehran was given until Friday to accept a confidence-building agreement to export about 80 per cent of its low-enriched uranium.'

Dealing with Iran: The Power of Legitimacy
George Perkovich, Policy Outlook No. 50, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 2009
‘Perkovich explains that the Iranian government is determined to be seen acting within international law, in order to defend the government’s legitimacy at home and to ward off international sanctions or the use of force. Getting caught on the wrong side of the law in building the Qom nuclear facility endangers the government’s legitimacy and adds to the international legitimacy President Obama has gained. The United States and other powers negotiating with Iran should press Iran to accept legally precise definitions of what are peaceful nuclear activities and what are not.’

Tehran Rejects Nuclear Accord, Officials Report
David E. Sanger, Steven Erlanger and Robert F. Worth, New York Times, 29 October 2010
‘Iran told the United Nations nuclear watchdog on Thursday that it would not accept a plan its negotiators agreed to last week to send its stockpile of uranium out of the country, according to diplomats in Europe and American officials briefed on Iran’s response.’

Iran Rejects Heart of Nuclear Proposal
ABC News/Associated Press, 19 January 2010
'Iran has told the head of the U.N. nuclear agency that it does not accept an international proposal committing it to quickly export most of the material it would need to make a nuclear warhead, diplomats said Tuesday.'

Western powers voice scepticism over Iran uranium offer
The Guardian, 3 February 2010
'Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he has 'no problem' giving uranium to west for further enrichment, but wants it back within five months.'

Post-election situation volatile

Iran protests leave nine dead, reports claim
Robert Tait, The Guardian, 27 December 2009
‘Opposition leader Mousavi's nephew 'among the fatalities' as Tehran and other cities erupt in protest and violence on holy day.’

Iran's mullahs are desperately trying to pick a fight with the West to save their own skin
Con Coughlin, blogs, 9 February 2010
'I think we should treat this bluster with the disdain it deserves for, far from posing any realistic sort of threat to the West, these rambling outbursts should be seen for what they are – a desperate attempt by the ruling hardline conservatives to distract attention from their domestic travails.'

Iranian security forces, protesters clash on revolution anniversary, 12 February 2010
‘Coming through on a promise to crack down on protesters on the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Iran's security forces clashed with demonstrators Thursday, as hundreds of thousands filled a "disruption-free" Tehran square to hear their president announce the expansion of Iran's nuclear program.’

Hillary Clinton: 'Iran is moving towards a military dictatorship'
James Sturcke, The Guardian, 15 February 2010
'US secretary of state steps up war of words against Tehran, calling on regime to rethink 'dangerous' nuclear policy'

Tensions with West continue

US condemns Iran’s ‘provocative actions’ as regime test-fires missile
Ewen MacAskill and Ian Black,, 16 December 2009
'The US and its allies today branded as provocative Iran's test-firing of an upgraded version of its most advanced missile, one claimed to be capable of hitting parts of Europe. The Iranian defence minister, General Ahmad Vahidi, said the Sajjil-2 missile, shown on television being launched from a desert location, would act as "a strong deterrent" against possible foreign attack.'

US raises stakes on Iran by sending in ships and missiles
Chris McGral, The Guardian, 31 January 2010
'Tension between the US and Iran heightened dramatically today with the disclosure that Barack Obama is deploying a missile shield to protect American allies in the Gulf from attack by Tehran. The US is dispatching Patriot defensive missiles to four countries – Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait – and keeping two ships in the Gulf capable of shooting down Iranian missiles. Washington is also helping Saudi Arabia develop a force to protect its oil installations.'

Iran dismisses US missile shield as 'puppet show'
Matthew Wheeler, The Guardian, 2 Feb 2010
'Iran today dismissed the US buildup of a missile shield in the Gulf as a "puppet show" as details emerged of an unsuccessful US missile test designed to simulate an Iranian attack amid a tense standoff between the two countries.'

Why Arabs fear nuclear Iran
Sydney Morning Herald, 20 February 2010
‘Fears of an arms race, an environmental catastrophe and Shiite uprisings are making the nation's neighbours uneasy, writes Herald Correspondent Jason Koutsoukis.

Iran claims to have increased enrichment

Iran says produces new generations of centrifuges
Khaleej Times, 19 December 2009
' “We are producing new generation of centrifuges named IR3 and IR4 ... We plan to use them by 2011 after eliminating problems and defects,” Ali Akbar Salehi told Fars. “We have over 6,000 active centrifuges.'

West alarmed as Iran steps up enrichment of uranium stocks
Julian Borger, The Guardian, 7 February 2010
“President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today ordered Iran's atomic energy organisation to begin enriching its uranium stockpile to a higher level, further raising fears over the country's nuclear ambitions. Ahmadinejad was shown on Iranian television ordering the uranium, which is currently enriched to the level of 3.5%, to be further refined to 20% purity.“

Iran 'to build two new nuclear sites this year', 22 February 2010
‘The head of Iran's nuclear programme has said the country will build two new uranium enrichment facilities within the next year. Ali Akbar Salehi, who is also Iran's vice-president, said the new facilities would be built in the mountains to protect them from attack.'

New IAEA Head takes tougher line on Iran

Inspectors Say Iran Worked on Warhead
David E. Sanger & William J. Broad, New York Times, 18 February 2010
'The United Nations’ nuclear inspectors declared for the first time on Thursday that they had extensive evidence of “past or current undisclosed activities” by Iran’s military to develop a nuclear warhead, an unusually strongly worded conclusion that seems certain to accelerate Iran’s confrontation with the United States and other Western countries. The report, the first under the new director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, also concluded that Iran’s weapons-related activity apparently continued “beyond 2004, “ contradicting an American intelligence assessment published a little over two years ago that concluded that work on a bomb was suspended at the end of 2003.'

New IAEA head takes tougher line
James Blitz, Financial Times, 1 March 2010
‘The new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency accused Iran of failing to co-operate with his inspectors when he delivered his first address to the organisation’s board on Monday. Yukiya Amano, a senior Japanese diplomat who succeeded Mohamed ElBaradei as head of the IAEA, marked the start of a tougher and blunter line on Iran’s nuclear programme.'

No new evidence

This is no smoking gun, nor Iranian bomb
Norman Dombey, Comment is free,, 22 December 2009
'Nothing in the published ‘intelligence documents’ shows Iran is close to having nuclear weapons'

There’s still nothing new on Iran
Ivan Oelrich and Ivanka Barzashka, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 19 March 2010,
‘Many media sources are pointing to a recent IAEA report as proof that Iran is building a nuclear bomb. Yet all the information in the report on alleged weapons work has been known for several months or years. A decision to sanction or attack Iran should be based on what is actually in the IAEA report, not media distortion.’

Iran refutes claims and announces nuclear disarmament summit

Iran to host int'l nuclear disarmament summit
Press TV, 7 February 2010
' “The Islamic Republic will host an international conference on nuclear disarmament which will be held in the Iranian capital Tehran in May,” Mehman-Parast said in an interview with Mehr News Agency on Sunday.'

Iran's supreme leader: We do not seek atomic bombs, 19 February 2010
'"Iran will not get emotional in its response to these nonsensical statements, because we have often said that our religious tenets and beliefs consider these kinds of weapons of mass destruction to be symbols of genocide and are, therefore, forbidden and considered to be haram (religiously banned)," he said.'

Khamenei denies Iran seeking atomic weapon
The Australian, 19 February 2010
'"Recently some Western and US officials have been repeating some outdated and nonsensical comments that Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons… We in no way believe in an atomic weapon and do not seek one.'' Khamenei said.'

Iran parliament head defends nuclear policy
Eric Talmadge, The Washington Post/Associated Press, 25 February 2010
‘Iran was within its international obligations when it enriched some of its uranium stockpile earlier this month and should not be subjected to U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program, its parliament speaker said Thursday. .."We have enriched our uranium within international regulations. I don't see why it is such an issue."’

Khan account claims Iran attempted to buy nuclear weapons

Pakistani scientist Khan describes Iranian efforts to buy nuclear bombs
R. Jeffrey Smith and Joby Warrick, Washington Post, 14 March 2010
‘Bombmaker Abdul Qadeer Khan states in documents obtained by The Washington Post that in lieu of weapons, Pakistan gave Iran bomb-related drawings, parts for centrifuges to purify uranium and a secret worldwide list of suppliers.’

Pakistan asks court to let it reopen probe of nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan
R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post, 23 March 2010
'The Pakistani government on Monday sought a court's permission in Lahore to reopen its probe into scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan and his role in nuclear weapons-related discussions and transactions with Iran and Iraq.'

Iranian nuclear scientist killed by bomb

Iranian nuclear scientist killed by bomb
Richard Spencer,, 12 January 2010
'Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, a leading Iranian nuclear scientist, has been killed in a bomb blast in Tehran. State television blamed "Zionists and American agents". No specific motive was suggested for the attack, though it described Dr Ali-Mohammadi him as a "staunch supporter of the Islamic Revolution". Dr Ali-Mohammadi was a professor at Tehran University, teaching courses in nuclear energy and writing on quantum physics. It was not immediately clear whether he was attached in any way to the country's controversial nuclear programme, which has brought it into conflict with the West.'

Obama approach under pressure
Secret document exposes Iran’s nuclear trigger

Catherine Philip, The Times, 14 December 2009
‘Confidential intelligence documents obtained by The Times show that Iran is working on testing a key final component of a nuclear bomb.’

Israel and Iran: The gathering storm: As Israel pushes for sanctions against Iran, it also mulls options for war
The Economist (print edition), 7 January 2010
‘All this suggests that Israel is drawing up military options to attack Iran, but none of them is very appealing. This may explain Israel’s enthusiasm for sanctions.’

Iran: Time for tougher sanctions: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has had his last chance
The Economist (print edition), 7 January 2010
'More painful sanctions, then, are the only sensible alternative to leaving Iran to enrich its way to the dangerous point where it can declare it has a bomb. But Russia and China—especially China, which has piled money into Iran’s oil and gas industries as Western companies have withdrawn—are reluctant to get tough.’

U.S. spy agencies see Iran pushing atom bomb research
Adam Entous, Reuters, 19 January 2010
'U.S. spy agencies updating intelligence on Iran see growing evidence that Tehran has pushed forward with nuclear weapons research but has yet to relaunch its atomic bomb program in full, U.S. officials said. Analysts from across the U.S. intelligence community have been finalizing a revised national intelligence estimate (NIE) that is expected to bring the United States more into line with its European allies about the state of Iran's nuclear program.'

Senate OKs sanctions on Iran
CNN, 29 January 2010
'The Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would allow President Obama to expand sanctions against Iran to pressure the Islamic republic to drop its nuclear weapons ambitions.'

Blair warns that world faces decision to halt Iran’s nuclear programme
Philip Webster, The Times, 30 January 2010
'World leaders might have to go to war to stop Iran developing its weapons programme, Tony Blair suggested yesterday.'

North Korean arms shipment to Iran stopped
Digital Journal, 31 January 2010
'A North Korean arms shipment was halted by Thai authorities last month after an emergency landing… The cargo jet which was reportedly taking a shipment of arms from Pyongyang, North Korea to an airport near Tehran, Iran was engaged in an emergency landing in Bangkok, Thailand.'

US pledges more help for allies in Mideast
By Daniel Dombey, Jeremy Lemer and Andrew England, Financial Times, 2 February 2010
'The US promised yesterday to do more to protect Middle Eastern states as it embraced plans to "hedge" against a nuclear Iran by boosting its allies' military capabilities.'

U.S. intelligence chief says Iran keeping option open for nuclear weapons
Xinhuanet News, 3 February 2010
'U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told Congress Tuesday Iran is "keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons," but the U.S. intelligence community doesn't know if Iran will eventually build such weapons.'

Iran must be hit where it hurts over nuclear ambitions, says Gareth Evans
The Australian, Mark Dodd, 19 February 2010
'Gareth Evans, co-chair of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, says that targeted financial sanctions offer the best hope of bringing change in Tehran.'

New Iran measures needed if no progress: French PM
Sophie Louet, Reuters, 20 February 2010
‘French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said world powers would have to take new action against Iran in the next few weeks if Tehran continues to reject Western proposals on its disputed nuclear program.’

US lobbyists push for tough laws on Iran
Harvey Morris, Financial Times, 28 February 2010
‘Lobby groups in the US are helping to push, and even draft, tough congressional legislation against Iran that could tie President Barack Obama’s hands as he seeks international consensus on dealing with Tehran’s nuclear ambitions… Legislation that has sped through the initial stages in an otherwise divided Congress would punish foreign companies that continued to deal with Iran, particularly in the oil sector, by denying them US contracts involving taxpayer dollars.’

Obama says U.S. to pursue aggressive Iran sanctions
Reuters, 17 March 2010
'President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the United States would pursue "aggressive sanctions" to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon that could potentially spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. "As we've seen, the Iranian government has been more concerned about preventing their people from exercising their democratic and human rights than trying to solve this problem diplomatically," Obama said in an interview on Fox News Channel's Special Report with Bret Baier.'

Garnering support for Sanctions

Containing Iran
The Economist, 11 March 2010
‘The president is trapped between an angry Congress and a stubborn China.’

Disunity threatens Iran sanctions plan
Harvey Morris, Financial Times, 18 March 2010
'An international strategy to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions is looking increasingly under stress as western states struggle to build a consensus for a fourth round of sanctions at the United Nations. In spite of Tehran’s refusal to take the carrot of diplomatic engagement, China and others in the UN Security Council insist it is too early to wield the sanctions stick.'


No reason to stall Iran missiles deal, Moscow says
Reuters, 14 February 2010
'Russia sees no reason to stall on the sale of its S-300 anti-aircraft systems to Iran, the Kremlin's powerful Security Council said Sunday, hours before the premier of Iran's adversary Israel was due to visit Moscow. The possible sale of Russian air defense hardware to the Islamic Republic is a major irritant for both Israel and close ally the United States. Both have pressed Moscow not to go ahead with a deal that may help protect Iran's nuclear facilities from potential air strikes.'

Russia Delays Arms Delivery to Iran
Voice of America, 18 February 2010
'Russia’s delivery to Iran of the S-300 air-defense system is delayed, reportedly due to technical reasons.'

Russia hints politics to blame in Iran arms delay
David Nowak, The Washington Post/Associated Press, 24 February 2010
‘Russia's foreign minister suggested Wednesday that a delay in delivering air-defense missiles to Iran is connected with concerns about regional tensions.’

Russia warns West against "crippling" Iran sanctions
Guy Faulconbridge, Reuters, 24 February 2010
‘"We do not consider the sanctions path the right one -- it pushes the situation further and further into a dead end, a dead end which can only be resolved by force and we do not support that at all," Rozhkov said of Iran sanctions.’

Putin vexes US over Iran nuclear power
Daniel Dombey & Isabel Gorst, Financial Times, 18 March 2010
'Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister, promised on Thursday that Moscow would help Iran complete a civil nuclear power station by this summer, drawing criticism from Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state.’

Iran nuke issue can be solved through diplomacy only: Russia
Times of India, 19 March 2010
'Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday sought political and diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear issue of Iran, as Premier Vladimir Putin announced commission Bushehr nuclear power plant there. After his talks with the visiting US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Thursday evening, where the Iran nuclear issue figured, Lavrov said the dispute could still be resolved through diplomacy.'


Israel presses China over Iran sanctions
Geoff Dyer, Financial Times, 1 March 2010
‘The Israeli visit was part of a multi-pronged international effort to apply more pressure on the Chinese government as a push to implement tougher sanctions on Iran gathers pace at the United Nations… China’s position on Iran is often described as a choice between its expanding energy interests in the country and its desire to maintain a solid relationship with the US, which has been the anchor of its foreign policy for several decades.’

Britain says China won't risk isolation over Iran
Jim Drury, Reuters, 12 March 2010
'Britain's ambassador to China said on Friday that Beijing risks isolation if it fails to join international efforts to impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme… "It's not in China's interests to find itself isolated from permanent members of the Security Council or the E3+3. It would damage China internationally," he said.'

Miliband for dual track strategy against Iran
China Daily, 16 March 2010
‘Visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Monday sanctions alone would not resolve the Iran nuclear standoff, and that a "dual-track" strategy, which also encompasses engagement, was needed.’

China 'knows its duties' in Iran nuclear tussle: Saudi
AFP, 15 March 2010
'China fully knows what it should do as a global power in the effort to halt Iran's nuclear push, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said in an interview published Monday… Saud was responding to a question about Riyadh's official denial last Friday that Saudi officials had discussed with visiting US Defence Secretary Robert Gates pressuring China to support more sanctions on Iran.'

Gates Issues Call For More Support Of Iran Sanctions
Yochi J. Dreazen & Margaret Coker, Wall Street Journal, 12 March 2010
'Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked Persian Gulf leaders to press China to back stronger sanctions on Iran, a sign of the Obama administration's efforts to win diplomatic support for its harder-line stance toward Tehran's nuclear ambitions… Mr. Gates, speaking to reporters here, said he hoped Saudi Arabia would work to use its economic leverage over China to persuade Beijing to drop its opposition to the sanctions package.'

Russia, China press Iran on nuclear programme
Conor Sweeney, Reuters, 24 March 2010
‘A senior Russian diplomat said on Wednesday that Russia and China had pressed Iran to accept a United Nations offer to replace fuel for an atomic reactor.’


Ankara resists missile defence plan
Daniel Dombey & Delphine Strauss, Financial Times, 19 February 2010
'President Barack Obama's missile defence plan to counter Iran is facing resistance in Turkey because Ankara is reluctant to host a radar base unless other NATO countries also increase their support for the system.
While the US has identified Turkey as the best land-based site to provide coverage of Iranian short and medium-range missiles, Ankara is worried about appearing to sign up to a bilateral pact with Washington against Tehran.'

'Only rumours' that Iran making nuclear weapons: Turkish PM
AFP, 17 March 2010
'Turkey's prime minister said Tuesday it was "only rumours" that Iran was making nuclear weapons, stressing the Islamic republic's right to develop civilian atomic power. Speaking before meeting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London, Recep Tayyip Erdogan also questioned why countries like Israel did not face calls from the international community to disarm, while Iran did.'

Alternative approaches

It's not just about Iran
Hans Blix, Comment is free,, 7 October 2009
‘A WMD-free zone in the Middle East could be the answer to rising nuclear tensions in the region.’

Bombing Iran won’t work – this might
Tony Klug, Comment is free,, 11 January 2010
'Israel could pull the carpet from underneath the Tehran regime by backing the Arab Peace Initiative.'

Making the Middle East nuclear-free
Dan Plesch, Comment is free,, 23 March 2010
'With tensions building between Iran and Israel, how can we best achieve nuclear disarmament in the Middle East?'

North Korea

Missile Test

North Korea tests more short range missiles
Richard Lloyd Parry, Times Online, 13 October 2009
'The launch of the surface-to-surface missiles, which was reported in the South Korean media today, appears to have been intended as an assertion of North Korean strength as it edges its way back towards negotiations on its nuclear weapons arsenal. Seoul and Washington played down the significance of the tests, reflecting their anxiety not to jeopardise the current momentum towards progress after months of tension and anxiety.'

Strained North-South Relations

North Korea accuses South of declaring war
Jonathan Thatcher, Reuters, 23 January 2010
‘North Korea on Sunday accused the South of declaring war by warning earlier this month that it would launch a preemptive strike if it thought its impoverished neighbor was preparing a nuclear attack.’

Six-Party talks

North Korea nuclear envoy visits China, talks closer
Jon Herskovitz and Ben Blanchard, Reuters, 9 February 2010
‘North Korea's top nuclear envoy arrived in Beijing on Tuesday as Pyongyang said it was willing to step up talks with China on resuming stalled disarmament-for-aid talks… The North has said many times it could end its nuclear arms program if the United States drops what Pyongyang sees as a hostile policy toward it.’

North Korea may join nuclear talks
Reuters/ The Independent, 13 February 2010
‘North Korea is "not eager" to return to six-party talks on relinquishing its nuclear weapons ambitions, but has not rejected the idea, a United Nations envoy said yesterday as fresh diplomatic activity raised hopes for progress on the issue.’

UN resumes high-level N Korea talks, 17 February 2010
‘The UN has opened high-level discussions with North Korea for the first time in six years, with plans for further discussions in the coming months.’

China encourages US-North Korea to meet, 23 February 2010
‘China on Tuesday urged the United States and North Korea to step up efforts to restart stalled nuclear disarmament talks, as diplomats criss-crossed the region to try to get Pyongyang back to the table. "We encourage multilateral and bilateral meetings and dialogue... on this issue, China adopts a supportive and positive attitude," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.’

US envoy says N.Korea nuke talks could soon resume
Bankok Post, 25 February 2010
‘Six-nation nuclear disarmament talks could resume very soon if North Korea ends its boycott of the negotiations, a US envoy said on Thursday, as China urged the parties to seize an "important opportunity".’

Report: NKorea to rejoin nuclear talks in April
Kwand-Tae Kim, Associated Press, 12 March 2010
“An unidentified North Korean official in Beijing said Pyongyang will return to the six-way talks in early April and "present its idea to move forward denuclearization," South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported Saturday.”

Ex-President Carter urges talks with N.Korea
AFP, 24 March 2010
‘Former US President Jimmy Carter urged the United States and South Korea Tuesday to talk directly with North Korea, saying a failure to negotiate nuclear disarmament might lead to a "catastrophic" war.’

Food aid

North Korea Says It Won’t Swap Nuclear Arms for Aid
Mark Williams, Bloomberg Business Week, 19 February 2010
'Having said it will return to the six-party negotiations with the U.S., China, Japan, Russia and South Korea, North Korea has made clear that it will not give up its nuclear weapons in return for an ‘economic reward’ in the form of food, fuel or loans.'

U.N. official: North Korea should get food aid
Tom Evans,, 23 February 2010
‘Three days after North Korea declared it will not abandon its nuclear weapons program, a senior United Nations official who has just visited Pyongyang strongly defended international food aid to the so-called Hermit Kingdom. "These are human beings that need the food. It's not the political system. This shouldn't be argued in a political way," U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Monday.’

Fuller engagement

Activating a North Korea policy
John W. Lewis & Robert Carlin, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 10 February 2010
'Sanctions will inevitably get in the way of diplomatic progress, and there needs to be a way to use their loosening--as much as their tightening--in support of negotiations. Moreover, Washington's single-minded insistence that the North return to the Six-Party Talks actually has ceded to Pyongyang a great deal of tactical initiative.'

Magical thinking on North Korea
Leon V Sigal, The Boston Globe, 24 February 2010
‘The only way to get North Korea to reverse course, short of war, is to reconcile with it - ending enmity through robust political, economic and cultural engagement, investment and aid, security assurances, normalization of relations, and, above all, a peace treaty ending the Korean war.’

India & Pakistan

US-India nuclear sharing deal

Obama Gives Green Light To Nuclear Agreement With India
Tajinder Singh, All Headline News, 4 February 2010
‘President Barack Obama has given a go-ahead to the American businesses interested in taking advantage of the U.S.- India nuclear deal according to the White House.’

US hopeful India will work for diminishing role of nuclear weapons
Business Standard, 3 February 2010
‘Despite India's refusal to sign the NPT, the Obama administration is hopeful that New Delhi will pursue longer term goals to diminish the numbers and role of nuclear weapons in global security.’


UPA Govt. backs off, avoids introducing Nuke Liability Bill, 15 March 2010
‘The expected face-off between the UPA Government and the Opposition over the former's proposed Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill has fizzled out with the UPA saying it will not table the Bill that provides for compensation in case of a nuclear accident for discussion today.’

India's government withdraws nuclear power legislation
Anshul Rana, Los Angeles Times, 16 March 2010
'With opposition mounting, the ruling coalition pulls back a bill that would have capped liability payouts by the government and foreign plant operators in the event of a nuclear accident.'

Other countries step in

Indian-U.K. Nuclear Trade Agreement Finalized
Global Security Newswire, 5 February 2010
‘The United Kingdom is one of a number of states that have sought civilian nuclear deals with India since it was freed from international restrictions on trade in atomic materials and equipment. New Delhi has been allowed access to the market even though it possesses nuclear weapons and has not joined the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty .’

India and UK sign cooperation accord
World Nuclear News, 12 February 2010
'After two years of negotiations, the UK and India have signed a joint declaration on cooperation in civil nuclear energy.'

India and Russia Build Ties With Pacts
Lydia Polgreen, New York Times, 12 March 2010
'India and Russia signed a series of agreements on nuclear, space and military issues on Friday, after a visit by Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia… The agreements pave the way to build at least a dozen more Russian nuclear power plants for an energy-starved India, and to funnel more Russian weapons to India’s military.'

US nuclear companies missing out in India
Elizabeth Roche, AFP, 24 March 2010
‘US nuclear firms looked poised to benefit from a 2008 deal that threw open India's promise-filled atomic market, but instead are watching from the sidelines as French and Russian rivals cash in.’

Deal provokes hostility and demand for equal treatment from Pakistan

Pakistan pushes US for nuclear technology deal
Saeed Shah, The Guardian, 22 March 2010
'Pakistan wants the US to provide it with nuclear technology for a civilian energy programme and is to push the Obama administration this week for a deal. Islamabad seeks a civilian nuclear deal to mirror the package granted to India by George Bush, a proposal that would prove contentious in Washington, given Pakistan's uneven record on combating extremist groups and its sale of nuclear technology to states hostile to the west, led by the former head of its programme, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.'

Should Pakistan Get a Nuke Deal?
C. Christine Fair, Foreign Policy, 23 March 2010
‘Given Pakistan's history of proliferation, such a proposal would meet with howls of disapproval on Capitol Hill and in New Delhi, not to mention healthy skepticism among some in Barack Obama's administration. But Washington should not reject a deal outright: It could be a real opportunity to put the United States's troubled relationship with Pakistan on steadier footing.’

Missile Tests

India Tests Nuclear-Capable Prithvi-II Missile
Agence France-Presse, 12 October 2009
‘The Indian military successfully test-fired two short-range nuclear-capable missiles from a site in the east of the country October 12, a defense source said.’

India Tests Nuclear-Capable Missile: Defense Official
Agence France-Presse, 23 November 2009
‘India carried out a night-time test of a nuclear-capable, medium-range ballistic missile off its eastern coast Monday, a defence official said.’

India Tests Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile
Agence France-Presse, 13 December 2009
‘India successfully tested a nuclear-capable ballistic missile from a ship near the east coast Dec. 13, a defense official said.’

India successfully test-fires nuclear-capable Agni-III missile
Press Trust of India/Hindustan Times, 7 February 2010
‘India on Sunday successfully test-fired its indigenous Agni-III ballistic missile with a range of 3500 kms from the Wheeler Island off the coast of Orissa, making the nuclear-capable platform ready for induction into the armed forces.’

Pakistan missile test in Arabian Sea appears to send message to India
Huffington Post, 12 March 2010
‘Pakistan's navy successfully test-fired a series of missiles and torpedoes Friday in what it called a message to "nefarious" forces – an apparent reference to longtime rival India. While the two nuclear-armed neighbors have taken slow steps toward restarting peace talks, they also have a history of using weapons tests as a form of diplomatic saber-rattling.’

India Tests New Version of Cruise Missile
Associated Press/New York Times, 21 March 2010
‘India successfully tested on Sunday a new, more maneuverable version of its BrahMos supersonic cruise missile that was jointly developed with Russia, an official said.’

In other news

Possible UK-French Co-operation

Anglo-French defence: Entente nouvelle
James Blitz and Sylvia Pfeifer, Financial Times, 14 March 2010
'In recent months, senior figures in the British and French defence establishments – politicians, military chiefs, defence industrialists, think-tankers – have been talking about the need to step up co-operation amid significant budgetary pressures and a fear that the US may be turning away from Europe.'

France offers to join forces with UK's nuclear submarine fleet
Julian Borger & Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 19 March 2010
'France has offered to create a joint UK-French nuclear deterrent by sharing submarine patrols, the Guardian has learned. Officials from both countries have discussed how a deterrence-sharing scheme might work but Britain has so far opposed the idea on the grounds that such pooling of sovereignty would be politically unacceptable.'

Revelations about US nuclear weapons in Japan

Japan Says It Allowed U.S. Nuclear Ships to Port
Martin Fackler, New York Times, 9 March 2010
‘Japan ended decades of denials on Tuesday by confirming the existence of secret cold war-era agreements with Washington that, among other things, had allowed American nuclear-armed warships to sail into Japanese ports in violation of Japan’s non-nuclear policies.’

Japanese FM Refuses To Rule Out Nuclear Weapons On Its Soil, 17 March 2010  
‘Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada on Wednesday refused to rule out the possibility of U.S. nuclear weapons been brought onto Japanese soil in a time of emergency, Kyodo News reported. "If Japan's security cannot be protected without temporary port calls by U.S. vessels carrying nuclear weapons, the government would have to make a decision even if it has political consequences," Okada said at a parliamentary committee.’


Hadron Collider physicist Adlene Hicheur charged with terrorism
Charles Bremner and Adam Sage, The Times, 13 October 2009
‘A French physicist with the European atomic research centre near Geneva was charged with terrorism offences by a Paris judge last night after investigators said that he offered to work with the North African branch of al-Qaeda.’

A Japanese man who survived two nuclear bombs has dies, aged 93
Julian Ryall,, 6 January 2010
‘An outspoken critic of nuclear weapons, he told his interviewers, "The reason that I hate the atomic bomb is because of what it does to the dignity of human beings.’

Carl Kaysen, Nuclear Test Ban Negotiator (and Much More), Dies at 89
Dennis Hevesi, New York Times, 19 February 2010
‘Carl Kaysen, who wove a tapestry of expertise through economics, foreign policy, sociology, environmentalism and the law, but whose pre-eminent achievement was probably his role as President John F. Kennedy’s behind-the-scenes negotiator of the groundbreaking nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union in 1963, died Feb. 8 at his home in Cambridge, Mass.’

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