The Week Ahead, July 14-20: P5+1 talks with Iran; Anniversary of “Trinity” Test; Nuclear Modernization; and More

The following are some of the key arms control dates and developments to watch over the next fortnight. WeekAheadSOLO

For more news and analysis on these and other weapons-related security issues, consider subscribing to ACA’s monthly journal Arms Control Today, which is available in print/digital and digital-only editions.

– written and compiled by Tim Farnsworth

July 12-20: Foreign Ministers Meet in Vienna as P5+1 and Iran Talks Head Into Final Week

EU nuclear negotiator Catherine Ashton invited the foreign ministers from the P5+1 states (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) to Vienna during the final week of negotiations between the group and Iran on reaching a comprehensive agreement to address concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. They aim to conclude the negotiation by July 20, but they could also agree to extend the talks.

For more news and analysis on the ongoing talks, delivered straight to your inbox, sign-up for our new P5+1 and Iran Talks Alert for reporters and interested readers. The alerts will include dispatches from Vienna from ACA’s nonproliferation analyst, Kelsey Davenport.

Also, check out the latest Iran resources from the Arms Control Association and Arms Control Today:

July 16: 49th Anniversary of “Trinity,” First Nuclear Test

The “Trinity” nuclear test was the first of over 2,000 tests to take place over the past 49 years. You can find a list of “Infamous Anniversaries” on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organization’s (CTBTO’s) website. The CTBTO is the verification regime created for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) that bans nuclear explosions anywhere. Although the United States is one of 183 countries that have signed the treaty, it has failed to ratify. Washington is among the eight remaining countries whose ratification is required for the treaty to enter into force.

Recently, speaking at the ASEAN Regional Forum, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose said “[t]he entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty remains a top priority for the United States. We are working to educate the American public on the security benefits of the Treaty, as well as the dangerous health effects of explosive nuclear testing.”

For more information on the CTBT, visit The Project for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

July 16: U.S. Air Force Presents Alternatives to Modernize Nuclear Missiles

The U.S. Air Force is expected to present its alternatives for maintaining or replacing the existing Minuteman III ICBM arsenal to government contractors on July 16 at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Costs and budget concerns are expected to play a role in the direction the Air Force chooses to go with its modernization program.

“According to CBO, if the Air Force decides to build a replacement ICBM, development costs for the missile and warhead would add up to $10 billion by 2023. Production costs would fall outside the ten-year window,” says Tom Z. Collina, ACA’s research director, in a January 2014  Issue Brief.

For further information on the Air Force’s  ICBM life extension program and other nuclear modernization programs, see:

July 17: House Armed Services Hearing on Russian INF Treaty Violations

The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces will be hosting a hearing on “Russian Violations of the INF Treaty: After Detection–What?” with Steven Pifer, Brookings Institution; Stephen Rademaker, Bipartisan Policy Center; and Jim Thomas, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. 2118 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington.

The State Department is expected to deliver its annual arms control compliance report to Congress soon. The report could shine more light on the recent accusations by the United States over alleged Russian violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).  Previous versions of the compliance report can be found on the State Department’s website.

For more information on the INF allegations, check out:

 

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