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 here.)
– Jefferson Morley,
Senior Editorial Consultant, Arms Control Today
House and Senate to Open Syria Debate; Obama to Speak to Nation
On September 9 or 10, the House of Representatives and the Senate will open floor debate on President Obama’s request for authorization to use military force to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the forces of Bashar al-Assad on August 21. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted this week to support the President’s request. The House is expected to vote on Sept. 11 or 12; the Senate vote is expected on Sept. 12 or 13, although these dates may change.
Through the week, Senior administration officials including Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Kerry and national security adviser Susan Rice will meet with members Congress to make the case for a limited punitive strike. Meanwhile, President Obama will appear on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS and CNN on Monday and on Tuesday evening, he is scheduled to address the nation to make his case for holding the Assad regime accountable.
In the background of the debate is the tortured history of the U.S. and international community’s response to the use of chemical weapons. See “Syria, the Iraq-Iran War, and the CW Taboo,” by Greg Thielmann and Kelsey Davenport.
IAEA member states meet: Iran remains major focus
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors will gather in Vienna, Austria, this week (Sept. 9-13) for its first meeting since Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, became president of Iran. During the eight-year tenure of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a conservative hardliner, the IAEA board passed six resolutions slamming Iran for its covert nuclear activities and evasion of IAEA oversight.
The Agency continues to seek more cooperation from Iran regarding its ongoing investigation of Iranian nuclear activities with “potential military dimensions.” The two sides have met 10 times since January 2012 in an attempt to reach agreement on the scope and sequence of the investigation. The IAEA said that it would resume talks with Iran in Vienna on Sept. 27.
Putin and Rouhani to Meet on Nuclear Negotiations
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Sept. 13 to talk about restarting international negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, according to news agencies from both countries. Both presidents have declared their opposition to President Obama’s call for military strikes in Syria. The two presidents will be attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.
From ACA: Timeline of Nuclear Diplomacy on Iran
50 Years Since the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
Five decades ago this month, the Senate debated and approved the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), which prohibits nuclear testing in the atmosphere, and was the first major nuclear arms control agreement of the Cold War. The anniversary will be marked at a September 12 forum in Washington with speakers including Massachusetts’ newest senator, Democrat Edward Markey, and some of the surviving negotiators of the pact. The two-hour gathering is being organized by Green Cross International, the Arms Control Association and the Embassy of Kazakhstan. To attend, register online.
For more on the legacy of the LTBT, see: “Limited Test Ban Treaty Turns 50,” by Daryl Kimball.