This bulletin highlights significant events in the world of arms control in the coming week, as compiled by staff and friends of the Arms Control Association. (Send your suggestions for events to be covered here.)
– Jefferson Morley,
Senior Editorial Consultant, Arms Control Today
Iran to name nuclear negotiator soon
Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani is expected to name a new nuclear negotiator in the coming days, which could open the way for the scheduling of the next round of P5+1 talks with Iran over its controversial nuclear program. Rouhani, as well as P5+1 lead negotiator Catherine Ashton, have both said they want the talks to resume in the near future.
For further background, see: “More Active Talks Needed Rouhani Says” (Arms Control Today, July/August 2013) and “History of Official Proposals on the Iranian Nuclear Issue,” Arms Control Association Fact Sheet, August 2013.
IAEA report on Iran expected
The next quarterly International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear program is expected to be released Aug. 27 or 28 according to Reuters.
Nonproliferation specialists at ACA expect the report will provide further evidence that Iran’s nuclear capabilities are improving, making an effective diplomatic solution more urgent than ever. The IAEA report will likely show that Iran has accumulated more 20% enriched uranium but still not more than the 250kg amount that would, if further enriched, be enough for the construction of one bomb, if Iran were to decide to do so. Because Iran’s nuclear material is under safeguards any action by Iran to remove the material or to enrich it further to weapons grade would be quickly detected by the IAEA.
The next IAEA report may show that Iran is beginning to deploy more significant numbers of IR-2 centrifuges, which are more efficient that IR-1s, which it currently uses. If put into full operation, the IR-2s could increase the rate at which Iran can enrich uranium.
The IAEA report will also address how much closer Iran is to the completion of the Arak heavy water reactor. In May the IAEA reported that the reactor could be fueled by mid-2014. For many years, the Arak project has been a source of concern because it represents another potential pathway for Iran to produce fissile material for weapons
International Day Against Nuclear Tests Observed at UN on Sept. 5
In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly declared 29 August the International Day Against Nuclear Tests by unanimously adopting resolution 64/35. The resolution calls for increasing awareness and education “about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.” The resolution was initiated by the Republic of Kazakhstan to commemorate the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site on 29 August 1991. The day is meant to galvanize progress toward a total ban on all nuclear weapon tests. This year the UN will mark the occasion through a series of events on September 5.