In this issue:
- Commitments to disarmament and arms control
- Country reports
- Missile defense
- Other publications
- Upcoming events
- BASIC and GTZ
NPT PrepCom, April 28-May 9, 2008
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee (NPT PrepCom) meeting concluded without any major developments. The Chair’s “Factual Summary” contained some notable highlights, but it was not adopted because of opposition by some states. NGOs the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy and Reaching Critical Will have posted the Summary on their Websites.
Two of the Summary’s notable paragraphs included:
Paragraph 11, “States parties stated that the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against their proliferation or use or threat of use;” and
Paragraph 13: “Concerns were also voiced about the increased role of nuclear weapons in some strategic and military doctrines, and the apparent lowering of the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. Calls were made for the re-evaluation of the strategic utility of nuclear weapons and their role in national security policies in the post Cold War context. In this regard, the view was expressed that the upcoming NATO Summit that will take place in 2009 could provide an appropriate opportunity for such a re-evaluation.”
As clarified by a footnote in the document, however, the term “States parties [..] was not intended to imply unanimity among States parties.”
On April 25, the U.N. Security Council renewed Resolution 1540, which requires that countries establish controls to prevent the spread of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons and their delivery systems. The resolution also calls on states to secure related materials and shipments in an effort to prevent non-state actors from obtaining these materials and extends the mandate of the 1540 Committee until April 2011. The U.N. Disarmament Commission concluded its three-year cycle on April 24 without agreement on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, and conventional weapons.
The Future of Nuclear Weapons in an Interdependent World
Harald Muller, Washington Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Spring 2008), pp 63-75.
A Return to Arms Control
Washington Post, June 2, 2008.
Curb nuclear weapons, group urges
Jonathan S Landay, McClatchy Newspapers via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 1, 2008.
Help Russia Help Us
Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn, New York Times, May 30, 2008.
Reinventing Nunn Lugar
Bruno Dupré, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 22, 2008.
Delegates fail to sway Kirk on nuclear disarmament
Craig Brown, Scotsman, May 21, 2008.
Mayor signs peace declaration
Eastbourne Today, May 14, 2008. (Declaration to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons.)
The new nuclear abolitionists
Hugh Gusterson, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 13, 2008.
Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Clearinghouse
Center for Nonproliferation Studies, May 13, 2008.
START Anew: The Future of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
Daryl G Kimball, Arms Control Association, Presentation for Roundtable Discussion, Carnegie Moscow Center, May 12, 2008.
Chair’s Factual Summary
NPT PrepCom 2008, Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, April 28 – May 9, 2008.
2008 NPT PrepCom adopts report but not Chair’s factual and balanced summary
Rebecca Johnson, Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, May 9, 2008.
2008 Preparatory Committee [links to key documents and Websites] Reaching Critical Will, April 28-May 9, 2008.
2008 NPT PrepCom: Debates over, plus safeguards summary
Rebecca Johnson, Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, May 7, 2008.
How Many Nuclear Weapons Do We Need?
Summary of event sponsored by the New America Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, May 7, 2008.
Verifying Nuclear Disarmament: The Inspectors Agenda
Andreas Persbo and Marius Bjørningstad, Arms Control Today, May 2008.
The Trilateral Initiative: A Model For The Future?
Thomas E Shea, Arms Control Today, May 2008.
Threat Reduction Programs Meet Benchmarks
Daniel Arnaudo, Arms Control Today, May 2008.
Official Documents, PrepCom 2008
UN Website, April 28-May 9, 2008.
PrepCom 2008, UN Website, April 28, 29, 30, and May 9, 2008.
NGO Presentations to the second session of the Preparatory Committee of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, PrepCom 2008
UN Website, 28 April-9 May 2008, Geneva.
DISARMAMENT COMMISSION CONCLUDES SESSION
THREE-YEAR CYCLE OF DELIBERATIONS WITHOUT AGREEMENT ON NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT/CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS ISSUES, Disarmament Commission, 2008 Substantive Session, 289th Meeting (PM), General Assembly, DC/3110/Rev.1, April 24, 2008.
National nuclear lab fails security test
A seven week-long review conducted at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in March and April revealed fundamental security flaws, raising fears that terrorists could reach nuclear material inside the complex. TIME Magazine first reported on a mock attack that was part of the review and interviewed a former senior officer who said that these tests are conducted about every 12 months and usually involve a group of “terrorists” trying to reach fissile material stored inside the Lab. These terrorists, who are actually security personnel from other nuclear facilities, attempt to reach stored nuclear material and try to make a crude nuclear weapon on-site or steal the material for use off-site.
This particular test attack took place at the end of April, with the “terrorists” breaching defenses at the Lab and reaching a “payload of fissile material.” The Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Thomas D’Agostino, responded to the review, saying that it revealed the need for more training of security personnel and iterating that the security flaws have since been fixed.
North Dakota Air Base fails nuclear inspection
The US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) reported that the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota received a rating of “unacceptable” on the security of nuclear weapons. The same unit was responsible for an incident in August 2007 in which a B-52 was accidentally loaded with six nuclear weapons and flown from the base down to Louisiana.
The Shambles of US Nuclear Weapons Security
Victoria Samson, Center for Defense Information, April 25, 2008.
SPEIS public comment period closes
The public comment period for the Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (SPEIS) of the Draft (nuclear weapons) Complex Transformation closed on April 30. The SPEIS has been the center of controversy not only because of environmental concerns, but also because of long-term national security policy implications. The National Nuclear Security Administration reported that over 100,000 comments were received. Transcripts of public hearings held through March are available here.
Nuclear Weapons: NNSA Needs to Establish a Cost and Schedule Baseline for Manufacturing a Critical Nuclear Weapon Component
Report to the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, US Government Accountability Office Report, GAO-08-593, May 23, 2008.
The Reliable Replacement Warhead Program: Background and Current Developments
Jonathan Medalia, CRS Report for Congress, May 19, 2008 (RL32929) – posted on the Website of the Federation of American Scientists.
The Cart before the Horse: DOE’s Plan for the Future of the US Nuclear Weapons Complex
Stephen Young and Lisbeth Gronlund, Union of Concerned Scientists Working Paper, May 2008.
Analysis of the President’s FY2009 Department of Energy (DOE) Nuclear-Related Budget
Shervin Boloorian, Union of Concerned Scientists Fact Sheet, April 2008.
Leaving Cheyenne Mountain
William J Astore, The Nation, April 17, 2008 – Appeared in May 5, 2008 edition.
Bush Administration cuts more civilian nuclear deals
On May 16, the United States agreed to provide Saudi Arabia with access to enriched uranium for its civilian nuclear reactors along with protection for its oil infrastructure. A State Department Media Note says that the deal should allow Saudi Arabia to have access to the civilian energy resources that it needs without mastering the nuclear fuel cycle and that “Saudi Arabia has stated its intent to rely on international markets for nuclear fuel and to not pursue sensitive nuclear technologies, which stands in direct contrast to the actions of Iran.” Saudi Arabia also agreed to support two other US -led endeavors, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the Proliferation Security Initiative.
Russia and the United States signed an agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation on May 6. The agreement would allow both countries to enter into each other’s civilian nuclear markets and will be subject to approval in the US Congress and the Russian Duma before it becomes binding. Opponents in Congress are concerned about Russia’s nuclear cooperation with Iran.
Another Nuclear Trade Deal, This Time with Russia
Ivan Oelrich, FAS Strategic Security Blog, May 20, 2008.
Russia 123 Agreement: Not Ready for Prime Time
Jack Spencer, The Heritage Foundation WebMemo #1926, May 15, 2008
Commission on WMD Proliferation and Terrorism
The US Congress announced on May 16 the appointees to the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. The Commission will be charged with assessing “the nation’s current activities, initiatives, and programs aimed at preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism” and providing “a clear, comprehensive strategy with concrete recommendations to achieve this crucial goal.” The appointees are: Former Senator Bob Graham, Former Senator Jim Talent, Former Congressman Timothy J. Roemer, Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman, Graham T. Allison, Richard Verma, Henry Sokolski, Stephen Rademaker, and Robin Cleveland. The Commission is required to issue a report within 180 days.
Analysis: WMD Terror Commission starts up
Shaun Waterman, UPI, June 2, 2008.
Low risk of nuclear attack by terrorists – Chertoff
AP via The Daily News, June 1, 2008.
Nuclear Terrorism is a Likely Event
Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, Jr. (Ret.), Knoxville News-Sentinel – via the Website of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, May 10, 2008.
US Presidential Elections
The major arms control news from the US presidential campaign trail has been Republican candidate Senator John McCain’s (Arizona) speech on nuclear non-proliferation, which he delivered at the University of Denver on May 27. Senator McCain called for a verifiable nuclear weapons treaty between the United States and Russia as a follow-up START, which is set to expire in 2009. He also called for an arsenal of fewer deployed strategic nuclear weapons than President George Bush has supported. However, McCain did not suggest a specific target number nor did he call for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
The Democratic presidential candidates have been sparring over US policy toward Iran and nuclear weapons. Senator Hillary Clinton (New York) said that if Iran used nuclear weapons to attack Israel during her presidency, she would “totally obliterate” Iran. Senator Barack Obama (Illinois) criticized her remarks, saying that more diplomatic language was needed to garner international support for dealing with Iran. Senator Clinton expanded upon her comments later, arguing that threatening “massive retaliation” and extending nuclear deterrence to selected countries in the Middle East were justifiable actions based upon historical experience. Iran made a point of condemning Senator Clinton’s “obliteration” remark.
After President George Bush made comments that equated talking with “terrorists and radicals” to “appeasement,” (which Democrats say was an attack on Obama’s approach to foreign policy), Republican candidate Senator McCain jumped into the foray by criticizing Senator Obama for his willingness to engage Iran. Senator Obama continued to defend his position, in part by arguing that current Administration policy is not resolving the Iran nuclear issue.
McCain’s Big Non-Proliferation Speech: Cheers, Jeers and Questions
Leonor Tomero, The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, June 2, 2008.
A Former Nuclear Commander Not Wild About Nukes
Elaine M. Grossman, National Journal, May 28, 2008.
McCain Vows to Work With Russia on Arms
Elizabeth Bumiller, The New York Times, May 27, 2008.
Rubin: Bush kicks his own team’s shins on Iran
Trudy Rubin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 2008.
The Candidates’ Positions – Iran and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Andrea Scheel and Jacqueline Shire, ISIS Report, April 29, 2008.
Presidential Candidates on Iran’s Nuclear Program
Compiled by Jelena Avramovic and Andrea Scheel, ISIS Report, April 29, 2008.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Director-General, Mohamed ElBaradei, said that Iranian leaders have failed to agree to transparency measures that could help to clarify weaponzation allegations regarding their country’s nuclear program and continued his plea for Iran to implement the Additional Protocol. ElBaradei noted in an Introductory Statement to the IAEA’s Board of Governors on June 2, “Iran has not provided the Agency with all the access to documents and to individuals requested by the Secretariat, nor has Iran provided the substantive explanations required to support its statements. Such clarifications are critical to an assessment of the nature of Iran’s past and present nuclear program.” ElBaradei added that the IAEA is still examining for authenticity alleged weaponization studies. Iranian officials have said that the alleged studies are forgeries. Overall, the Iranian government has consistently denied that it is pursuing a nuclear weapons program and maintains that its uranium enrichment program is for civilian energy. Meanwhile, experts were saying that based upon the most recent IAEA report, Iran may have doubled its capacity to enrich uranium.
Earlier, in mid-May, Iran was circulating its own proposal for dealing with international suspicion about its nuclear program, titled, “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Proposed Package for Constructive Negotiations.” Diplomats told Reuters that the proposal focused more on concerns about regional conflict than on the uranium enrichment program, although the proposal apparently reflected a willingness by Iran to host an enrichment consortium on its own soil. The Institute for Science and International Security has posted online an unofficial English translation of the proposal.
Iran has agreed to receive a visit by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who will deliver a package of proposals from the P5+1 group of powers. The proposals are supposed to include incentives that would encourage Iran’s cooperation, but a similar deal had been tried in 2006 without success. A US State Department spokesman said that the meeting would probably take place in mid-June. During a joint press conference on May 21 with UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned that Iran would face “isolation and consequences” if it was not more forthcoming about its nuclear program.
Iran Producing Nuclear Fuel Faster, Experts Say
Nuclear Threat Initiative, May 29, 2008.
May 26, 2008 IAEA Safeguards Report on Iran: Centrifuge Operation Improving and Cooperation Lacking on Weaponization Issues, Rev. 2
David Albright, Jacqueline Shire, and Paul Brannan, ISIS Report, May 29, 2008.
Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008) in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Report of the Director General, IAEA, May 26, 2008 – posted online by the Institute for Science and International Security.
Iran’s nuclear programme ‘may spark Middle East weapons race’
David Blair, Telegraph, May 20, 2008.
Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the shadow of Iran
(link to information on obtaining this Strategic Dossier), International Institute for Strategic Studies, May 20, 2008.
On May 21, the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan met to resume peace talks, mostly to focus on their long-boiling conflict over Kashmir. It was the first such meeting in 15 months. Both countries are outside of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and their tests of nuclear devices ten years ago this May have since raised fears of a nuclear war in South Asia.
The father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, Dr AQ Kahn, told the Guardian on May 29 that he was pressured by President Musharraf into his 2004 confession that he had sold nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. Dr. Khan said of the confession, “It was not of my own free will. It was handed into my hand.” During the interview, he pledged never to cooperate with any IAEA investigation and denied having violated international law. Dr. Kahn is currently under house arrest in Pakistan.
On a related note, the Swiss government has revealed that it had shredded thousands of documents relevant to the nuclear smuggling investigation surrounding Swiss engineer Urs Tinner and his alleged involvement in the Khan network. The Swiss President, Pascal Couchepin, said that the IAEA-supervised destruction of the sensitive documents was necessary to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Fears remain, however, that the information may have already fallen into the hands of illicit parties and that Switzerland should have refrained from destroying the documents and allowed them to be used in court. Some analysts have speculated that the United States pressured Switzerland into destroying the documents because they could have revealed that members of the Kahn network were also working for the US government.
Atomic Market: What Benazir knew
David Isenberg, UPI, May 30, 2008.
LOOKING BACK: The 1998 Indian and Pakistani Nuclear Tests
Michael Krepon, Arms Control Today, May 2008.
Business of the Bomb: The Modern Nuclear Marketplace
American Radio Works, April 2008.
The director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Hayden, announced on April 28 that the United States had information suggesting that the alleged nuclear reactor in Syria that was destroyed by Israel in September 2007 was weeks or months away from operating. He also said that within a year of starting operation, the facility could have produced enough plutonium for one or two nuclear bombs. The IAEA has questioned why the United States failed to share its intelligence on the Syrian site until recently. US President George Bush said that the United States decided to come out with the information only recently because his Administration wanted to use the information as leverage against Iran and North Korea.
IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei announced on June 2 that Syria has agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the country to conduct an investigation into the allegations later in the month. The New York Times was reporting that Syria has not confirmed such an agreement and that it was unclear whether the inspectors would be able to visit the area of the alleged reactor site.
The Al Kibar Reactor: Extraordinary Camouflage, Troubling Implications
David Albright and Paul Brannan, ISIS Report, May 12, 2008.
The IAEA’s dilemma with Syria’s Al Kibar nuclear site
Fiona Simpson, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 6, 2008.
Cloak and Stagger
Leonard S. Specter and Avner Cohen, Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2008.
Earlier in May, North Korea handed over 18,000 pages of documents related to its plutonium program following a deal struck with the United States as part of the Six-Party negotiation process. The New York Times was reporting that information included within the documents suggested that North Korea has manufactured 37 kilograms of plutonium, which would be less than recent US intelligence estimates had suggested. However, the amount of plutonium revealed was still higher than previous North Korean reports. US officials said that they were still examining the documents and would not accept them as the only evidence in the matter.
The United States has long been pressing North Korea to fully disclose information on the history of its nuclear programs, including admitting to having pursued a uranium enrichment program in addition to its plutonium program. North Korea has also been under US pressure to come forward with information about its nuclear cooperation with Syria. The United States reportedly has since agreed to require only that North Korean leaders acknowledge US concerns over both the alleged cooperation with Syria and the uranium program. However, the United States wants North Korea to establish a way to verify that it is not pursuing such enrichment programs in the future.
Lessons from the RSA
James Acton, Arms Control Wonk, May 21, 2008.
A Lot of NORK Pu
James Acton, Arms Control Wonk, May 16, 2008.
Reaching Out to Pyongyang
Morton Abramowitz and Stephen Bosworth, NEWSWEEK, May 12, 2008.
Bush’s North Korea Nuclear Abdication
John R. Bolton, Wall Street Journal – via the Website of the American Enterprise Institute, May 8, 2008.
North Korea and the Incident in the Syrian Desert
Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Today, May 2008.
US Shares information on NK-Syria Ties
Peter Crail, Arms Control Today, May 2008.
On May 14, the Czech Republic signed one of two agreements required to move forward with accepting a radar station as part of US plans for ground-based midcourse defense (GMD missile defense) in Eastern Europe. Under the agreement, the Czech Republic will have sovereignty over the radar base and ownership of the radar station, while the United States will maintain ownership and operation of its movable objects including the radar. A second agreement was reached on May 21 and covered tax issues and a legal framework for US soldiers who will support the radar base on-site. However, the deal must pass the approval of the Czech parliament. Opposition to US missile defense remains strong in the Czech Republic, with an insufficient number of supporters currently in the parliament to ratify the treaty and two Czechs having recently started a hunger strike movement to protest the plans.
Eight days after becoming President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev toured a missile base 150 miles northeast of Moscow. President Medvedev pledged his support for Russia’s nuclear weapons industry and praised the Topol-M missile, which has been touted as being capable of penetrating national missile defenses of the kind the Bush Administration has advocated basing in Eastern Europe. RIA Novosti (via InterContact) reported on May 15 that Yury Baluevsky, Chief of the General Staff, warned that Russia would give up cooperation with NATO on theatre missile defense if European missile defense becomes integrated with US global missile defense plans.
The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) will delay until October its next scheduled test of a GMD intercept due to the failure of a device that relays performance data from the interceptor’s warhead.
Among Czechs and Poles, same missile shield, differing sense of threat
Judy Dempsey, International Herald Tribune, May 14, 2008.
Speech by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the Conference
“After the Bucharest NATO Summit: European and American Missile Defense Perspectives,” Prague, May 5, 2008.
NATO Summit Falls Short of Bush Goals
Wade Boese, Arms Control Today, May 2008.
Press briefing on missile defense: Follow-up
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 30, 2008.
Cirincione, Coyle warn Congress about missile defense failures
The Ploughshares Fund, April 30, 2008 (includes links to testimony of Joseph Cirincione and Philip Coyle before the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs).
Missile Defense Update #3
Center for Defense Information, April 28, 2008.
Chinese Nuclear Plants Studied After Earthquake
NTI: Global Security Newswire, May 16, 2008.
Extensive Nuclear Missile Deployment Area Discovered in Central China
Hans Kristensen, FAS Strategic Security Blog, May 15, 2008.
US Considered Nukes Against China
Barry Schweid, AP-TIME, May 5, 2008.
The Return of Limited Nuclear War?
David Isenberg, CounterPunch via the Website of the CATO Institute, May 2, 2008.
The EU’s Nonproliferation Efforts: Limited Success
Oliver Meier, Arms Control Today, May 2008.
Should Israel Close Dimona? The Radiological Consequences of a Military Strike on Israel’s Plutonium-Production Reactor
Bennett Ramberg, Arms Control Today, May 2008.
US Joins Others Seeking Nuclear Export Criteria
Wade Boese, Arms Control Today, May 2008.
An Interview with Spencer R Weart
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April/May 2008. (Interview includes discussion about images of catastrophe and nuclear weapons.)
France and Nuclear Disarmament: The Meaning of the Sarkozy Speech
Bruno Tertrais, Proliferation Analysis, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 30, 2008.
Kazakhstan’s nuclear ambitions
Togzhan Kassenova, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 28, 2008.
Nuclear Fuel Recycling: More Trouble Than It’s Worth
Frank N. von Hippel, Scientific American Magazine, April 28, 2008.
Russian Nuclear Submarine Patrols Decrease Again
Hans M. Kristensen, FAS Strategic Security Blog, April 28, 2008.
New Chinese SSBN Deploys to Hainan Island
Hans Kristensen, FAS Strategic Security Blog, April 24, 2008.
Manufacturing Possibility: Expanding Resources to Meet Global Challenges, Promote Economic Development, Support Innovation, and Prevent Proliferation
Brian D. Finlay and Elizabeth Turpen, PhD, with Frederick Kellett, Henry L Stimson Center, April 2008.
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at 40: Addressing Current and Future Challenges
Arms Control Association Annual Meeting and Luncheon, Washington, DC, June 16, 2008.
Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone 2008
SOAS in London, June 16, 2008.
Reaction to McCain speech
BASIC issued a Media Advisory in reaction to Senator John McCain’s speech about changing the course of US nuclear weapons policy if he is elected president. BASIC’s Executive Director, Paul Ingram, said:
“This is the clearest indication yet that nuclear disarmament has now achieved the mainstream – and it is now out of touch to oppose it. This is a speech that represents a clear departure not only from the current Administration, but also John McCain’s past record. It is a landmark for those working towards the mainstreaming of multilateral disarmament and in opposition to unilateralism and the modernization of
For more information, see: Nuclear Disarmament enters the mainstream – McCain speech supports Getting to Zero, BASIC Media Advisory, May 28, 2008.
VERTIC and BASIC held an event during the NPT PrepCom in Geneva on May 8. Andreas Persbo discussed his ideas for improving nuclear disarmament verification, including an international satellite imagery center. Paul Ingram called on both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states to take more responsibility for disarmament.
- What can non-nuclear states do to promote disarmament?
Andreas Persbo (VERTIC), Presentation delivered at seminar during NPT PrepCom, Geneva, May 8, 2008.
- Taking Responsibility: a look at the dynamics around nonproliferation and disarmament
Paul Ingram, BASIC Paper for the NPT Preparatory Committee, 2nd session, Geneva, May 8, 2008.
Iran’s nuclear program
Advocating a new course of action on Iran’s nuclear program, BASIC Advisor Sir John Thomson has sent an Open letter to the UK Government. Sir Thomson proposes the establishment of an international enrichment facility in Iran, May 19, 2008.