highly enriched uranium

Non-state actors & WMD: Does ISIS have a pathway to a nuclear weapon?

Nuclear Security

On March 2014, during the Nuclear Security Summit held in the Netherlands, President Obama identified his number one concern as being the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan. UK Home Secretary Theresa May pinpointed her particular fear of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) acquisition of “chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons” in the “world’s first truly terrorist state”. Fortunately, there has not yet been a nuclear or radiological terrorist attack, but the smuggling of nuclear material remains a pivotal threat to nuclear security.

Consider the alternative: what opposition to the Iran nuclear deal could signal

Iran deal

The deal is at last concluded over Iran’s nuclear program, lifting many economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, European Union and United Nations in return for long term curbs on the country’s nuclear program and the most extensive long-term verification and inspections regime ever accepted by a state.

Getting to Zero Update

Russia and the United States have begun the exchange of information on their nuclear arsenals under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) as they assess next steps on arms control and also try to resolve their differences over missile defense. The Iranian and North Korean nuclear situations showed no signs of resolution, and instead pointed to more difficulties ahead.

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Iran Update: Number 149

  • Latest IAEA assessment of Iran’s nuclear program echoes recent Agency reports
  • The impact of Stuxnet
  • International divide over sanctions grows
  • Speculation on Iran’s intentions and capabilities
  • Iranian rocketry, missile developments
  • Middle East protests: context and meaning for Iranian leadership and U.S. influence

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Getting to Zero Update

Nuclear Security after the Washington Summit

The Washington summit on nuclear security delivered some positive outcomes. But it is imperative that states do not now become complacent; there is much still left to do to ensure that nuclear weapons and material do not fall into the wrong hands. The ultimate gauge of the summit’s success will be whether actions now follow words. Published originally in the RUSI Journal, June/July 2010, Vol. 155, No. 3.

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The threat of nuclear terrorism: a race between catastrophe and co-operation

“If there was an incident of nuclear terrorism, what happens thereafter? You can imagine if al Qa’eda attacked. You can see them saying, ‘Actually we’ve got more. We will blast more at a time that we choose.’ Even if it was not true there would be panicked emptying of cities globally. If an incident happened in an American city, the US would be under enormous pressure to use enormous military force to target whoever is connected in any way. You’d have widespread instability and conflict.”

BASIC Research Director Dr. Ian Kearns quoted in The National (Abu Dhabi)

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