CAN THE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL BE SAVED?
The planned talks on November 29 will be the seventh round of negotiations since President Joe Biden assumed office and the first round since Ebrahim Raisi was inaugurated as president of Iran.
The new Iranian government has outlined additional concessions that go beyond the terms of the original nuclear deal. Iranian demands that the United States remove all sanctions imposed since President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in May 2018 and guarantee that a future president will not leave the deal again are understandable, if difficult to realize in practice.
Research Analyst Samuel Hickey spoke with Vox about the prospects of reviving the deal and argued that “Both sides are now very far away from compliance with the deal. So it does make sense for both sides to incrementally take steps to return to the deal.” Here’s a quick review of the status and prospects of the Iranian nuclear negotiations.
U.S.-CHINA VIRTUAL TALKS
On November 15, President Joe Biden met virtually for more than three hours with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. The discussions were characterized as respectful, straightforward and open. While the talks did not resolve any of the major differences between the two countries, as Winston Churchill said, to jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war. In one positive sign, Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the two leaders agreed to “look to begin to carry forward discussions on strategic stability.”
CONGRESS BEGINS GRAPPLING WITH AFGHANISTAN FIASCO, BUT HAS IT LEARNED ANYTHING?
Senior Fellow John Isaacs wrote about his 13 months during the Vietnam War working on the pacification program, noting the parallels between Afghanistan and Vietnam and the dichotomy between those in charge of both war and what those at the ground level saw.
COUNCIL CO-LEADS EFFORT OPPOSING OBSOLETE NUCLEAR BOMB
The pandemic has made abundantly clear that our most urgent threats cannot be solved by pouring more money into obsolete weapons of war. Therefore, in lead up to the floor consideration of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, the Council partnered with Public Citizen to lead a letter of 39 advocacy organizations urging the Senate to vote on an amendment spearheaded by endorsees Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that would reallocate $98 million away from an outdated and costly weapons system, the B-83 nuclear bomb, and into desperately needed global COVID-19 vaccine production efforts.
SENATE BEGINS DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION CONSIDERATION
The Senate attempted to finally begin consideration of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week. True to form, Senators filed more than 800 amendments to the bill before leadership brokered a deal to bring a bipartisan package of amendments to the floor for debate and votes on Thursday night, before being blocked by a number of Republicans who objected to moving forward without votes on their own amendments. The fate of those 19 amendments — including a repeal of the 2002 and 1991 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force, a prohibition on reducing U.S. nuclear forces, and a reversal of the $25 billion increase to the defense topline — remains unclear. All debate and votes on the bill are now postponed until after the Thanksgiving recess.
LONGTIME ENDORSEE SEN. PATRICK LEAHY TO RETIRE
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who has been elected eight times to the U.S. Senate, announced his retirement at the end of next year. Council for a Livable World is proud to have supported his first run in 1974 and to have worked with him throughout his tenure. Leahy is the only Democrat thus far to decline to run for reelection. Five Republican Senators have announced their retirement at the end of 2022: Richard Burr (NC), Roy Blunt (MO), Pat Toomey (PA), Richard Shelby (AL) and Rob Portman (OH).
DID YOU MISS THE CENTER’S ANNUAL CONFERENCE?
The Center hosted its 2021 annual conference, “Arms Control in a Divided America,” on November 2, 2021, hosted by Executive Director and former Congressman John Tierney and featuring remarks from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Chris Van Hollen and myriad arms control experts. You can watch it in full on YouTube.
Senior Policy Director John Erath wrote a blog post following up on the conference and elaborating on non-proliferation steps that the United States could take in the near future.
NEW ENDORSEMENTS COMING SOON
The Council has made its first three endorsements of the 2022 Congressional elections cycle: Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO); Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-02); and Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ-03). The next four endorsees will be announced in the next few weeks. As a reminder, the Council is a non-partisan organization, and has endorsed members of both major political parties, as well as Independents, in its nearly 60-year history. Donate to one or all of these three candidates.
CAN THE UNITED STATES REDUCE PROLIFERATION RISKS IN NUCLEAR SUBMARINES?
Congress is considering whether to continue research that started in 2016 into using low-enriched uranium (LEU) to replace weapon-grade highly-enriched uranium (HEU) to fuel naval nuclear propulsion reactors. Such a switch would reduce risks of nuclear proliferation and avoid the need to restart production of weapons-grade uranium for the first time since 1992. The question of the next generation fuel is becoming acute because Congress already has begun authorizing funding for the design of the next generation of U.S. attack submarines.
Learn more about what Congress can do to support the United States’ transition to less proliferation-sensitive fuel as the new trilateral AUKUS pact — under which the United States and United Kingdom would provide Australia with nuclear submarines fueled with weapon-grade uranium — adds a new element to the debate.
GIVING TUESDAY IS NOVEMBER 30
Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving, is November 30. While donations to the Council or Candidate Fund are not tax-deductible, please remember the Council still needs you. Together, we share a collective voice to reduce nuclear weapons and the more of us there are, the stronger we are.
Consider expanding your support for the Council by:
- making a gift in honor or memory of a person;
- rounding up to donate change from your credit card transactions;
- making a monthly gift (even $5 each month makes a difference!);
- or making a planned gift by taking the time to plan out how you’ll support causes you care about when you have moved on.
The Council is here for you and happy to talk about ways to support us. If you are unable to support us financially, please continue to enjoy our emails and consider spreading the word about work with your network.
Fact Sheet: Congress’ Options on Civil Nuclear Waste Disposal
Milley warns of ‘Sputnik moment’ for China, featuring Research Analyst Samuel Hickey