IRAN TENSIONS EASE, FOR NOW (AND THE DEAL IS NOT DEAD, DESPITE WHAT YOU SEE ON THE NEWS)
Up until a few days ago, the world was on edge, as tensions between the United States and Iran became dangerously high. Things have cooled slightly, but the underlying challenges remain. And make no mistake, these challenges were made worse by the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal.
Since May of 2019, Iran has slowly, incrementally, increased its uranium enrichment outside the bounds of the nuclear deal. It has also started installing and using advanced centrifuges prohibited under the Iran deal. While this is certainly concerning, to be clear, all of these steps are reversible; the European parties to the deal are actively working to resolve Iran’s non-compliance, and none have expressed any desire for the deal to collapse. It is still in place, for now.
Research analyst Samuel Hickey wrote a blog post about five key things to know about Iran’s latest announcement, and spoke to i24 News (Israel) earlier this week. Meanwhile, Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell spoke with WIRED about how long it would take Iran to build a nuclear weapon. In short, its breakout time, or the time needed for Iran to acquire enough materials for one weapon (but not the time needed to build and test it) is about one year; prior to the nuclear deal, it was about two months.
ONE YEAR LEFT TO SAVE NEW START
On February 5, there will be only one year left on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). The United States and Russia can agree to extend it for another five years. If they don’t, there will no longer be any restraints on the two biggest nuclear arsenals in the world. We are working hard to inform lawmakers and the public about the necessity of extending the treaty, especially given that current policies in Washington and Moscow seem to be pushing us toward a new nuclear arms race.
WHAT THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES SHOULD BE ASKED ABOUT ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION
Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell wrote an article for a special issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on nuclear weapons policy and the presidential election. “The next president will have to deal with many pressing questions, but few are as consequential as this one: Do we want to live in a world in which the number of nuclear weapons is going up or going down? Once the next president is elected, he or she will have to make many choices about US internal nuclear policy: Should we use nuclear weapons first in a crisis? Should there be more than one person involved in the authorization of a nuclear strike? Should we make unilateral changes to our forces? And should we be deploying new low-yield nuclear capabilities? External policy choices on arms control and nonproliferation efforts will also have to be made, many of them all but immediately. The American public should be aware of the candidates’ various nuclear weapons plans before they vote.”
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STAFF PROFILE: MEET ROWAN HUMPHRIES, COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT
One of our newest employees is Rowan Humphries, a 2019 graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. What does she like about her job? Why did she become interested in nuclear weapons policy? What does she do for fun? Learn more