Eliminating Nuclear Threats

A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers



GARETH EVANS and YORIKO KAWAGUCHI CO-CHAIRS                    Commission Members

17. Short Term Action Agenda: To 2012 – Achieving Initial Benchmarks


BOX 17-1

The Short Term Action Agenda – To 2012

On Disarmament

  • Early agreement on a START follow-on treaty, with the U.S. and Russia agreeing to deep reductions in deployed strategic weapons, addressing the issue of strategic missile defence and commencing negotiations on further deep cuts in all classes of weapons.

  • Early movement on nuclear doctrine, with all nuclear-armed states declaring at least that the sole purpose of retaining the nuclear weapons they have is to deter others from using such weapons against them or their allies (while giving firm assurances to such allies that they will not be exposed to unacceptable risk from other sources, including in particular chemical and biological weapons).

  • All nuclear-armed states to give strong negative security assurances to complying non-nuclear weapon states parties to the NPT, supported by binding Security Council resolution, that they will not use nuclear weapons against them.

  • Early action on nuclear force postures, with particular attention to the negotiated removal to the extent possible of weapons from “launch-on-warning” status.

  • Early commitment by all nuclear-armed states to not increasing their nuclear arsenals.

  • Prepare the ground for a multilateral disarmament process by all nuclear-armed states conducting relevant studies; engaging in strategic dialogues with the U.S., Russia and each other; and commencing a joint dialogue within the framework of the Conference on Disarmament work program.

On Non-Proliferation

  • A positive outcome for the May 2010 NPT Review Conference, with member states reaching agreement on measures to strengthen the NPT regime, including improved safeguards, verification, compliance and enforcement; measures to strengthen the effectiveness of the IAEA; “A New International Consensus for Action on Nuclear Disarmament” statement on disarmament issues; and measures to advance the implementation of the Middle East and other existing and proposed Nuclear Weapon Free Zones.

  • Satisfactory negotiated resolution of the North Korea and Iran nuclear program problems.

  • Movement toward strengthening non-proliferation regimes outside the NPT, and applying equivalent disciplines to NPT non-members.

On Both Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

  • Bring into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

  • Conclude negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.

On Nuclear Security

  • Bring into force the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, accelerate implementation of the cooperative threat reduction and associated programs designed to secure dangerous nuclear weapons, materials and technology worldwide, and achieve greater commitment to international capacity building and information sharing.

On Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

  • Movement toward greater multilateralization of the nuclear fuel cycle, and government-industry cooperation on proliferation-resistant technologies and other measures designed to reduce any risks associated with the expansion of civil nuclear energy.

  • Promotion of international cooperation on nuclear energy infrastructure to raise awareness worldwide of the importance of the three Ss – safeguards, security and safety – and assist countries concerned in developing relevant measures.

Defining Short Term Objectives

17.1     Defining and Marking the Short Term. The most immediate short term objective is a successful NPT Review Conference which will in turn, as discussed in the last section, require intense commitment in the months leading up to it by both nuclear-weapon and non nuclear-weapon state members to define the issues and build consensus. But for the purposes of this report we prefer to regard the short term as extending beyond May 2010 to 2012, partly because the end of the present Obama and Medvedev terms (and the year of the scheduled expiry of the Moscow Treaty) is a natural time to stocktake, but more importantly because there are a number of moves on both the disarmament and non-proliferation fronts, summarized below, about which it is important to inject a sense of urgency but which at the same time will need more than just a few months to accomplish.

17.2     One way of recognizing the end of the short term, benchmarking its achievements, and defining the way forward in the years ahead might be for the United Nations General Assembly to hold a Special Session on Disarmament late in 2012. The three previous such special sessions (in 1978, 1982 and 1988) were stultified by the rehearsal of familiar and mutually contradictory national positions, and there is always an issue whether such grand international occasions are likely to be productive, unproductive or counter-productive. But the UN General Assembly, with its uniquely comprehensive membership and political legitimacy is, at its best, an extremely important international norm-setting institution, and a 2012 SSOD might be well timed to capture and build upon a new sense of optimism about what is achievable in nuclear disarmament. And the formal mechanism to commence such organization already exists in a consensus General Assembly resolution of 2008.

17.3     Past experience suggests that some two years lead time would be necessary to prepare effectively for such a session, which would allow the decision as to whether to have it in the latter part of 2012 to be deferred until mid-2010. The Commission favours this course which would, in turn, allow for reflection on the outcome of the 2010 Review Conference, and a judgment to be made as to whether enough momentum is building to justify the resources and effort involved.

17.4     Disarmament Objectives. There are four distinct disarmament-related objectives, addressed successively below, which the Commission believes should be pursued in the short term to 2012: early agreement on a START follow-on treaty, with the U.S. and Russia agreeing to reductions in deployed strategic weapons, seriously addressing the issue of strategic missile defence and commencing negotiations on further deep cuts in all classes of weapons; preparation of the ground for a multilateral disarmament process by all nuclear-armed states engaging in strategic dialogues with the U.S., Russia and each other, conducting relevant studies, and committing themselves to not increasing their nuclear arsenals; early movement on nuclear doctrine, with nuclear-armed states declaring that the sole purpose of retaining the nuclear weapons they have is to deter others from using such weapons against them or their allies, and giving unequivocal negative security assurances to non-nuclear weapon states parties to the NPT ); and early action on nuclear force postures, with particular attention to removing weapons from launch-on-warning status.

17.5     Non-Proliferation Objectives. The highest priority short term non-proliferation objective is clearly a positive outcome for the May 2010 NPT Review Conference, with member states reaching agreement on measures to strengthen the NPT regime, including improved safeguards, verification, compliance and enforcement; measures to strengthen the effectiveness of the IAEA; “A New International Consensus for Action on Nuclear Disarmament” statement on disarmament issues; and measures to advance the implementation of the Middle East and other existing and proposed Nuclear Weapon Free Zones (see Section 16). The most immediately pressing non-proliferation problems concern North Korea and Iran, discussed later in this section, both of which the Commission believes may be capable of being resolved satisfactorily – although not without great difficulty along the way – by negotiation.

17.6     Also needing attention in the short term will be the accelerated implementation, worldwide, of cooperative threat reduction and associated programs, designed to secure from terrorist or other misuse dangerously “loose” nuclear weapons, materials and technology (see Section 13), and at least some movement toward greater multilateralization of the nuclear fuel cycle, and government-industry cooperation on proliferation-resistant technologies and other measures designed to reduce any risks associated with the expansion of civil nuclear energy (see Sections 14 and 15). More difficult to define, but just as important, will be finding ways of strengthening non-proliferation and related disciplines outside the NPT, not least so as to embrace those non-NPT member states (India, Israel and Pakistan) who seem unlikely candidates for accession to it any time soon, but whose nuclear programs need, in the wider interest, to be effectively safeguarded (see Section 10).

17.7     Building blocks for both non-proliferation and disarmament. We have emphasized throughout this report, and will continue to, the crucial importance of early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) (see Section 11), which is awaiting not only passage through the U.S. Senate, but ratification by eight other countries (China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan) and early completion of the barely commenced Geneva negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) (Section 12). Another important priority, which is overdue for attention, but has barely received it from anywhere, is finding a way to equitably share the cost burdens associated with disarmament and non-proliferation, addressed in paragraph 18.26.

Reducing Weapon Numbers: U.S. and Russian Leadership

17.8     Leadership by the two major nuclear powers, possessing between them over 95 per cent of the world’s nuclear warheads, will be indispensable from the outset. Much has been done, but much more remains to be done. A dramatic reduction in strategic offensive forces began with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) signed in 1991, which barred each side from deploying more than 6,000 such nuclear warheads, distributed between a maximum of 1,600 ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles), SLBMs (submarine launched ballistic missiles) and heavy bombers, and resulted in the removal of around 80 per cent of all the strategic nuclear weapons then in existence.

17.9     START, due to expire on 5 December 2009, was supplemented in 2002 by the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), better known as the Moscow Treaty, under which each side agreed to further limit its strategic arsenal to 1700 – 2200 deployed weapons, while able to “determine for itself the composition and structure of its strategic offensive arms”. Significant in the scale of the further reductions envisaged – and actually accomplished under it – and innovative in focusing just on warheads rather than delivery systems, SORT has nonetheless been criticized for its lack of any verification provisions, the absence of any requirement that weapons taken out of deployment be destroyed, and for its targets only having to be met by 31 December 2012, the day it expires.

17.10     For all the advances achieved by these agreements, and some additional unilateral decision-making, the two states’ total arsenal of useable warheads still remains huge: some 9,400 for the U.S. and 13,000 for Russia. On the best available current estimates (some but not all figures are on the public record) these numbers can be sub-divided as follows:

For the U.S., 9400 nuclear warheads, of which:

For Russia, 13000 nuclear warheads, of which:

17.11     In an important breakthrough, following President Obama’s visionary Prague speech in April 2009 and agreement between Presidents Medvedev and Obama at their July 2009 Moscow Summit, negotiations are now under way for a follow-on treaty to renew and expand START, designed to combine its verification rigour with some of the flexibility of the Moscow Treaty, with lower numbers of warheads and their associated delivery vehicles. The Joint Understanding of that Summit set ranges of 1500–1675 warheads each, and 500–1100 delivery vehicles, with the understanding that more specific numbers within these limits would be agreed in the course of negotiations.

17.12     Even if quick agreement is reached on the lower of these numbers, and 2010 commences with commitments by both the U.S. and Russia to reduce their deployed strategic weapons to 1500 each, a huge task will remain to bring overall numbers of warheads – including sub-strategic weapons, and those in reserve and awaiting dismantlement – right down to the levels that we will argue, in the next section, need to be achieved by 2025 if the world is going to be serious about ultimate elimination. While it is unlikely that another major bilateral agreement will be achievable in the short term framework that we identify – not least because many difficult issues like ballistic missile defence and conventional arms imbalances are bound to cause more negotiating complications as the disarmament process goes further – it is crucial that discussions about such deep further cuts, in the context of an ongoing broader strategic dialogue, continue seamlessly after the conclusion of the START follow-on treaty.

17.13     Achieving further such deep reductions will be easier if the implementation of this follow-on treaty can be accelerated. The scheduled expiration of START I in December 2009 allowed little time for negotiations of this treaty. As a result, the proposed reduction in the total number of nuclear warheads envisaged under it (a maximum of 700-1100 warheads, and 150-600 delivery vehicles from existing levels of deployed strategic forces) are in the view of the Commission far too modest for the planned treaty implementation time-frame of seven years and the total life-span of the treaty of ten years. These cuts contrast very unfavourably with the reductions under START I of some 4000 to 6000 for each party during the treaty’s seven year implementation period. Accordingly, we urge both parties to bring forward the envisaged reductions under the START follow-on treaty to no later than 2015. Furthermore, we urge that once this treaty is ratified, the U.S. and Russia resume intensive negotiations with a view to reaching a further START agreement no later than 2015 – that agreement should bring total number of warheads down to no more than 1000 for each, and hopefully much less, by the year 2020.

Multilateral Disarmament: Preparing the Ground

17.14     While the U.S. and Russia must lead the way down on numerical reductions, the other nuclear-armed states will by definition have to follow, if not only the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons is to be achieved, but significant reductions along the way. Commencing and following through the necessary multilateral process will involve both path-breaking and back-breaking diplomacy. New formats for inter-state dialogues and negotiations will have to be created, while clarifying competing interests and objectives among all relevant states and setting the parameters for negotiations will take unprecedented effort. These are not reasons to avoid or delay the challenge, but for starting to come to terms with it now. The process will be long, drawn-out and is likely to occupy the whole of our medium-term time frame, but there are both substantive and procedural elements of it which can and should be initiated, or at least should be attempted, in the short term before 2012 as well.

17.15     “No increase” declarations. In terms of substance, as distinct from process, the highest priority need is for all nuclear-armed states to explicitly commit not to actually increase the number of their nuclear weapons. Efforts should certainly be made to meet to achieve this in the short-term, if at all possible before the 2010 NPT Review Conference, where such declarations would make a big impact. But again the size of this task should not be underestimated. Several nuclear-armed states – India, Pakistan and probably China – appear to be currently increasing rather than reducing the number of their nuclear warheads, along with their fissile material production. Israel’s position is, as so often, unclear. It is only France and the UK, along with the U.S. and Russia, who have been clearly reducing their nuclear arsenals and have ostensibly ended fissile material production for military purposes. (For North Korea the urgent task remains of persuading it not only not to add to its stock of explosive devices, but to reverse course completely). An explicit no-increase commitment from China in particular would facilitate greater progress on disarmament between the U.S. and Russia, and this would in turn be helpful in persuading all or most of the other nuclear-armed states to reduce, or at least not further increase, their arsenals.

17.16     It may be that, encouraged by the momentum of U.S.-Russian disarmament, there will be unilateral warhead cuts (as has already occurred in the UK and France) and a deferral or cancellation of pending force modernization choices (like the UK’s Trident-missile carrying submarine replacement program). But it cannot be expected that the other nuclear-armed states will reduce their nuclear weapon holdings simply as a consequence of the two major powers agreeing to further very deep cuts. In the past, U.S. and Soviet/Russian offensive nuclear warhead numbers, whether rising or falling, have not served as the main force determinants of the other nuclear powers, who have taken their individual decisions in response to their own perceived circumstances. The considerations that may and may not influence the decisions of other states to reduce and ultimately eliminate their weapons are discussed in more detail in Section 18, setting out an action plan for the medium-term.

17.17     Strategic dialogues. The first procedural need is for serious strategic dialogues, opening up all relevant issues, to be initiated not only by the U.S. with Russia and China – the most immediately important enterprise – but by all the relevant parties with each other. These can proceed on a bilateral basis in the first instance, while the options for commencing a multilateral process are systematically explored. What is crucially necessary, here as elsewhere, is that an atmosphere be created in which the nuclear-armed states come to feel that cooperation rather than conflict is the defining feature of their relations.

17.18     In the case of U.S.-Russia, renewed habits of U.S.-Russian cooperation in arms control make plausible the wider strategic dialogue that is now necessary on everything from perceived conventional force imbalances and the role of NATO, to the role of “battlefield” and “tactical” weapons, missiles and launch decision times. Ballistic missile defence – further discussed in Section 18 of this report – is a particularly central issue, complicating calculations about whether conflicts including nuclear attacks could be won or survived and generating intense suspicions: while the attractiveness of acquiring immunity from attack is obvious, the technological unlikelihood, fantastic expense, and destabilising consequences of the effort cry out for rational, sustained dialogue on how to manage these systems. The U.S. and Russia should enter into substantive discussion on strategic missile defence as a first step in recreating a legal limitation regime.

17.19     The time is also ripe for enhanced U.S. strategic dialogue with China – upgraded to the same level as that which exists between the U.S. and Russia – especially if successful U.S.–Russian arms-reduction comes to reduce the huge gap in the size of their respective arsenals. It is important that the U.S. and others fully understand the extent and depth of China’s concerns on such issues as conventional imbalances, strategic ballistic missile defence and the potential weaponization of space. Equally, China’s ever-growing prominence in the international system, economic and political, and its clearly expanding military capability, especially at sea, makes vital its greater embrace of habits of strategic cooperation: transparency and confidence-building; restraints on nuclear capability; ratification of the CTBT, and fuller participation in multilateral forums, including the export-control regimes.

17.20     A multilateral disarmament forum? If a multilateral disarmament process is to advance it is important that early attention be given to the most productive forum in which that might occur. One option that deserves serious consideration is the UN machinery that already exists, embracing all the nuclear-armed states, in the Conference on Disarmament, which is already seized of the issue to the extent that agreement was reached in 2009 (as part of the agreement on a larger work program, involving commencement of negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty) to establish a working group on “Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament” to “exchange views and information on practical steps for progressive and systematic efforts to reduce nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal of their elimination”. While the last decade’s history of procedural obduracy and general inaction justifies a degree of scepticism about the CD as a serious negotiating forum, it needs to be remembered that it has been responsible for such major achievements as the Chemical Weapons Convention and the CTBT, and is perfectly capable of major achievements in the future – including the negotiation of an all-embracing Nuclear Weapons Convention, as discussed further in Section 20 – if only the political will can be summoned.

17.21     Within the framework of the CD, and the agenda item mentioned, a consultative group of the nuclear-armed states could be established on a formal or informal basis, with the opportunity to discuss the full range of issues that we have identified as necessary ingredients in both our short and medium term action agendas – from nuclear doctrine (including “sole purpose” and “no first use” declarations, and negative security assurances), to force posture (including launch alert status), to actual weapons numbers (including the possibility of an early statement of commitment at least not to increase nuclear arsenals), and all the associated and parallel issues that arise along the way. It may take some time for such a process to gain traction, but the groundwork for it cannot be laid soon enough.

17.22     National studies. Part of the groundwork that will need to be done for any serious multilateral process, and all the strategic dialogues associated with it, is the conduct at all stages of systematic and substantial national studies of the multiple issues that will arise – including those of asymmetry and stability at low numbers addressed in Section 18 of this report – than have so far been tasked. One of the major reasons there has been no real discussion of these issues between the nuclear-armed states is that there appears to have been little or no such serious analysis done within any of them. At a minimum, each nuclear-armed state should commission its relevant government agencies, and think tanks as appropriate, to begin such studies, on the working assumption that the results will be subsequently debated at an intergovernmental level. It is only by opening the windows in this way that any kind of momentum for change can be developed.

17.23     Much of the energy of the global campaign against nuclear weapons has come from civil society – activists, scholars, and think-tanks. Governments of nuclear-armed states can demonstrate their readiness to learn from efforts frequently more committed than their own by paying closer attention to the extraordinary amount of drafting and modelling of approaches that has already been devoted to nuclear hypothesizing. Too often the basic challenges of conflict resolution, confidence building, and delegitimization have been left unmet by governments because the intellectual effort of applying systems theory, game theory, and risk management has been overtaken by a combination of inertia and preoccupation with reacting to the urgent at the expense of the important.

17.24     A particular field of research already investigated – by governments, including the British and Norwegian, and by international organizations, including the IAEA in its Trilateral Initiative with the U.S. and Russia in the 1990s – is the verification of disarmament, as distinct from non-proliferation verification that is the primary task of IAEA safeguards. The British Government has announced that its new Nuclear Centre of Excellence may be used for verification research in support of an FMCT. But investing in such research, and conducting international exercises to prove its concepts, would be a persuasive demonstration of disarmament seriousness on the part of all the nuclear-armed states.

17.25     Nuclear archaeology. As multilateral nuclear disarmament progresses, at some point it will be essential to provide confidence that states do not retain undeclared nuclear weapons or fissile material. This will require verification measures aimed at assuring that states’ declarations of fissile holdings are complete, i.e. that nothing has been withheld. The verification process will need to include establishing baselines of historic fissile material production and subsequent transactions, against which declarations of current holdings can be evaluated. Establishing these baselines – an exercise that might be termed “nuclear archaeology” – will involve major challenges. It will be necessary for the verifiers to review records, undertake measurements and analyses of nuclear materials and related materials and wastes, and possibly interview personnel.

17.26     The point, for present purposes, is that in order to facilitate this future verification process, the necessary practical steps have to start being taken now: to ensure that all relevant records are identified, secured and preserved; to clarify records that appear incomplete or inconclusive with personnel familiar with the operations concerned; and where relevant – e.g. in the treatment of wastes, and dismantling of facilities – to ensure that relevant measurements and samples are taken. The key here is for the states concerned to recognize they have a mutual interest in ensuring that future verification is able to provide credible results.


Recommendations on Reducing Weapon Numbers: Bilateral and Multilateral Processes

42. The “minimization point” objective should be to achieve no later than 2025 a global total of no more than 2,000 nuclear warheads, with the U.S. and Russia reducing to a total of 500 nuclear weapons each, and with at least no increases (and desirably significant reductions) in the arsenals of the other nuclear-armed states. The objective must be to cut not only strategic but all classes of weapons, and not only deployed weapons but those in storage and those awaiting destruction (but still capable of reconstitution and deployment) as well. [7.8; 18.1–3]

43. To bring the bilateral target within achievable range, the U.S. and Russia should accelerate implementation of the START follow-on treaty now being negotiated, bringing forward the envisaged reductions under this to no later than 2015. [17.13]

44. Once this treaty is ratified, the U.S. and Russia should resume intensive negotiations with a view to reaching a further START agreement no later than 2015, which would bring the total number of warheads down to no more than 1000 for each, and hopefully much less, by the year 2020. [17.12–13]

45. To achieve the minimization point objective of a global maximum of no more than 2,000 warheads, with the nuclear-armed states other than the U.S. and Russia having no more than 1,000 between them, the highest priority need is for all nuclear-armed states to explicitly commit not to increase the number of their nuclear weapons, and such declarations should be sought from them as soon as possible.

46. To prepare the ground for multilateral disarmament negotiations, strategic dialogues should be initiated by all the nuclear-armed states with each other, and systematic and substantial national studies conducted of all the issues – including missile defence, conventional imbalances and disarmament verification – that will arise at all stages of the process. [17.17–19, 22–24]

47. Consideration should be given to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva as an appropriate forum for initial consultations, on a formal or informal basis, between all the nuclear-armed states, given the need, if the multilateral disarmament process is to advance, for there to be early agreement on an appropriate negotiating process. [7.9; 17.20–21]

48. To facilitate future verification processes, in the credibility of which all nuclear-armed states will have a mutual interest, “nuclear archaeology” steps should be taken now by them to ensure that all relevant records are identified, secured and preserved; and relevant measurements and samples are taken. [17.25–26]

Nuclear Doctrine: Beginning to Limit the Role of Nuclear Weapons

17.27     Just as important as President Obama’s commitment to numerical weapons reduction in his Prague speech in April 2009 was his statement that “To put an end to Cold War thinking we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others to do the same”. Achieving common ground among the nuclear-armed states on nuclear doctrine (i.e. how those weapons could ever be used), will be very difficult, given the wide variations in their present positions, and the process is likely to extend well into our medium-term time frame. But a significant early move, even by the U.S. alone, toward declared doctrine that visibly reduces the salience, or prominence, of nuclear weapons in national defence and security systems – together with physical arrangements for their location and handling that are entirely consistent with such a declaration and adds credibility to it – would add significant momentum to the disarmament cause, and by extension, be a very significant boost for non-proliferation efforts, in the context of the 2010 NPT Review Conference and beyond.

17.28     “Sole purpose” and “no first use”. On doctrine, the Commission’s preferred position, pending the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, is that every nuclear-armed state makes a clear and unequivocal “no first use” declaration, committing itself to using nuclear weapons neither preventively or pre-emptively against any possible nuclear adversary, keeping them available only for use, or threat of use, by way of retaliation following a nuclear strike against itself or its allies. We acknowledge, however, that such has been the cynicism about the Cold War “no first use” commitment of the Soviet Union, which has been almost universally dismissed as purely a propaganda exercise, and such has been the subsequent caution with which such continuing declarations from China and India have received, that it may be better to settle in the first instance for a different formulation of essentially the same idea. This would be a declaration to the effect that “the sole purpose of the possession of nuclear weapons is to deter the use of such weapons against one’s own state and that of one’s allies.”

17.29     The legitimate security concerns of states affected by such declarations would need to be taken very much into account. We are conscious that this issue is a sensitive one particularly for some U.S. allies but, as discussed in Section 6, there is no reason to believe that Washington’s embrace of “sole purpose” doctrine, would in any way weaken, or be perceived to weaken, U.S. extended deterrence. It is important, nonetheless, that those allies be given very firm assurances that they will not be exposed to unacceptable risk from other sources, including especially chemical and biological weapons. In this context, it is crucial that continuing strong efforts be made to promote universal adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and to develop more effective ways of ensuring compliance with the latter.

17.30     The present position of most of the nuclear-armed states is some distance away from either “sole purpose” or “no first use”. Present U.S. strategy is based on the Pentagon’s OPLAN 8010-08 (Operations Plan, Global Deterrence and Strike, 2008) which focuses on Russia and China, and apparently on some “rogue states”, and provides for great flexibility of nuclear and conventional combinations of strategic strike options, envisioning – as did the last Nuclear Posture Review, conducted by President George W. Bush’s administration in early 2001 – the use of nuclear weapons in a whole variety of threat contingencies, both nuclear and non-nuclear. This example is being followed by Russia. Having affirmed in 2000–2001 its abandonment in 1993 of the USSR no first use position, Moscow is now emphasizing the crucial role of nuclear weapons in providing for its security. Its military doctrine calls for maintaining parity with the U.S. and preserving nuclear deterrence with the capability “to inflict the designated (planned) level of damage on any opponent”, and its Strike Plan provides for a possibility of “measured combat use” of strategic forces for “demonstration of resolve” or for “de-escalating aggression”, which translates into specific warfighting missions. Most U.S. and Russian flexible strike options imply first use of nuclear weapons.

17.31     Taken as a whole, the current official nuclear postures of the eight nuclear-armed states (leaving aside North Korea for present purposes, not least because it has not formalized its position in any way) may be summarized as follows. All envision the use of nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack upon their territory. All those with allies and forces abroad envision the use of nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack upon them. All, except China, keep open the option of the first use of nuclear weapons in response to an attack by chemical or biological weapons. All, except China and India, envision the first use of nuclear weapons in response to an overwhelming conventional force attack, putting national security at critical risk, with conventional forces against themselves or their allies. And all, except China and India, may initiate the use of nuclear weapons to pre-empt or prevent an attack by missiles or other delivery systems, which might carry weapons of mass destruction.

17.32     If the commitment to disarmament of the five nuclear weapons states under the NPT, and the nuclear-armed states generally, is to begin to be taken seriously, it is crucial that – as a first step – those states which have not adopted a no first use posture move at least to a “sole purpose” declaration, and that every nuclear-armed state be serious in practice about making that declaration credible to the rest of the world. The critical leadership role on the formal declaration side rests with the U.S.: with President Obama having so clearly committed himself in Prague, as noted above, to an effort to “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy”, all eyes are now focused on the new Nuclear Posture Review scheduled for completion early in 2010. If the President could embrace at least a “sole purpose” position, this would be a significant contribution on this front, placing very strong pressure on the other nuclear-armed states to change their own positions in a more forthcoming way, and giving a major demonstration of good faith to those reluctant, on double standards grounds, to support strengthening the non-proliferation regime at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

17.33     Negative Security Assurances (NSAs). The embrace of common “sole purpose”, or even more so “no first use”, language by the nuclear-armed states would add to the weight and credibility of the negative security assurances – pledges not to use nuclear weapons – that have been given so far rather half-heartedly by the five nuclear weapon states under the NPT to the non-nuclear weapon states parties to that treaty. But even without movement on this wider doctrinal front the strengthening of these assurances, and their embrace by the other nuclear-armed states outside the NPT, could occur separately and independently, and the Commission believes this would be desirable.

17.34     When the NPT was signed in 1968 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 255 recommending that the five weapon states pledge not to use their nuclear weapons against non-nuclear NPT member states, and every year since 1978 the UN General Assembly has adopted resolutions of a general nature on such negative nuclear security assurances. In 1995, in connection with the NPT Extension Conference, the five each made such statements which were collectively recognized in Security Council Resolution 994. Those pledges, however, were far from comprehensive, in particular in not applying to a non-nuclear weapon state member of the NPT allied with a nuclear-weapon state, participating in joint military operations with a nuclear-weapon state against the pledging power, or committing armed aggression against the pledging power or its allies while being allied with another nuclear-weapon state. So far from diluting the political or military utility of nuclear weapons, and reassuring those NPT non-nuclear member states which under its Article II had accepted the obligation not to acquire them, these equivocal pledges did rather the opposite, reconfirming the important role of nuclear weapons in the national security, foreign policy and defence strategy of the nuclear- weapon states.

17.35     The issue continues to exercise many in the international community, with quite widespread support for not only removing the qualifications to these pledges but making negative security assurances legally binding: the 2000 NPT Review Conference stated that legally binding assurances were needed, at the 2005 Review Conference non-nuclear weapon states urged the nuclear-weapon states to provide such pledges, and the issue is squarely on the agenda again for the 2010 Review Conference.

17.36     One way of achieving this objective would be a binding Security Council resolution under Chapter VII of the Charter simply prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons anytime, anywhere against non-nuclear-weapon states parties to the NPT (or at least those of them not maintaining nuclear weapons on their territory under any alliance arrangement): the idea being that this would significantly enhance the security of the non-nuclear-weapon states without undermining the capability of all the nuclear-armed states (not just the five nuclear-weapon states under the NPT) who would be bound by it. As with “no first use” generally, such an approach would not satisfy those who are uncomfortable campaigning for any binding legal prohibition amounting to less than the outright elimination of nuclear weapons, but it is consistent with the incremental, phased approach supported by this Commission.

17.37     The question arises whether any such simply formulated assurance would have to be qualified by a requirement that, to benefit from it, the non-nuclear-weapon state in question would have to be in compliance with its NPT treaty obligations, an issue made very pertinent by recent developments in North Korea (where a complicating threshold issue, discussed elsewhere in this report, is whether it is still a member of the NPT or has succeeded in its stated intention to withdraw) and Iran. In 1995, only two of the Permanent Five, the U.S. and UK, specifically referred to compliance in their NSA statements, and did so in differing terms. The U.S. statement (S/1995/262) prefaced its assurance with the statement that “consistent with generally recognized principles of international law, parties to the [NPT] must be in compliance with [their] undertakings in order to be eligible for any benefits of adherence to the Treaty”, whereas the UK perhaps set the bar a little higher by saying that it “does not regard its assurance as applicable if any beneficiary is in material breach of its own non-proliferation obligations under the [NPT].”

17.38     Although the Commission is attracted by the certainty and simplicity of the formulation in paragraph 17.24 above, which would amount to a significant further step forward in the delegitimation of nuclear weapons (and still of course leave open many military and other options for dealing with a state in breach of its membership obligations), we accept that this approach may not win general support among the Permanent Five in the present environment, and believe on balance that the new NSA statements that we recommend should contain a compliance condition. But there remains a question as to how this should be expressed and applied. The complicating factor here is that, as noted in Section 9, the NPT itself has no mechanism for determining compliance: that falls by default to the IAEA Board of Governors, which makes compliance determinations in relation to safeguards agreements, which are taken in effect to amount to compliance determinations on NPT Article III and possibly Article II. When the IAEA makes such a determination, it is required to report it to the Security Council, which can then take any action at all it deems appropriate in all the circumstances: it may or may not make its own compliance determination. In determining whether a negative security assurance applies to a particular state, or is inapplicable because that state is in non-compliance with the NPT, whose decision is to prevail?

17.39     One approach would be to say that the applicability of a negative security assurance should depend wholly on there not being a non-compliance determination by the IAEA Board of Governors. The alternative approach would be to say that this is not enough, and should depend on a specific finding of non-compliance by the Security Council itself. The difficulty with leaving it to the Security Council is that could result, in effect, in IAEA findings being contested and reversed, or failing through application of the veto, with there also being a great deal of uncertainty until a final decision was made. But the difficulty of leaving the determination wholly to the IAEA, in a context where the stakes are so high – viz. whether the state in question is to be immune or not from nuclear attack – is that, given that breaches of safeguards agreement obligations are bound to vary in their seriousness (a factor that the UK in 1995 may have been wanting to take into account in referring to “material breach”), a relatively small violation may have disproportionate consequences. Yet another factor that has to be taken into account is that, whoever is to make the relevant determination, the stakes are so high in this NSA context that there might be a reluctance in the future to make any formal non-compliance findings at all, which would undermine the effectiveness of the NPT. On balance, again, while fully understanding the force of competing views, the Commission takes the view that the decision on whether a state’s non-compliance with its NPT obligations is so material as to justify the non-application of NSAs so long as it persists, should be left to the Security Council. This is consistent with the position we took in Section 9 that the IAEA should focus on applying technical criteria, leaving the political consequences for the Security Council to determine.


Recommendations on Nuclear Doctrine: No First Use, Extended Deterrence, and Negative Security Assurances

49. Pending the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, every nuclear-armed state should make an unequivocal “no first use” declaration, committing itself to not using nuclear weapons either preventively or pre-emptively against any possible nuclear adversary, keeping them available only for use, or threat of use, by way of retaliation following a nuclear strike against itself or its allies. [17.28]

50. If not prepared at this stage to make such a declaration, every nuclear-armed state should at least accept the principle that the sole purpose of possessing nuclear weapons – until such time as they can be eliminated completely – is to deter others from using such weapons against that state or its allies. [7.10; 17.28–32]

51. The allies in question – those presently benefiting from extended deterrence – should be given firm assurances that they will not be exposed to unacceptable risk from other sources, including especially biological and chemical weapons. In this context, continuing strong efforts should be made to promote universal adherence to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to develop more effective ways of ensuring compliance with the former. [17.29]

52. It is particularly important that at least a “sole purpose” statement be made in the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review due for publication early in 2010, placing pressure as this would on other nuclear-armed states to be more forthcoming, and undermining “double standards” arguments at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. [17.32]

53. New and unequivocal negative security assurances (NSAs) should be given by all the nuclear-armed states, supported by binding Security Council resolution, that they will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states. The only qualification should be that the assurance would not extend to a state determined by the Security Council to be in non-compliance with the NPT to so material an extent as to justify the non-application of any NSA. [17.33–39]

54. All NPT nuclear-weapon state members should sign and ratify the protocols for all the Nuclear Weapon Free Zones, and the other nuclear-armed states (so long as they remain outside the NPT) should issue stand-alone negative security assurances for each of them. [16.16]

Force Postures: Movement on De-alerting and Deployment

17.40     Whatever declaratory policies are adopted by the nuclear-armed states, they must be accompanied by appropriate changes to force postures (i.e. in this context, arrangements for the deployment of those weapons, and their launch alert status). Nuclear forces deployed in a way – and seen by others to be so deployed – that makes clear their essential function is intended to be retaliatory rather than potentially aggressive. Most of the necessary changes will take considerable time to implement – extending well beyond our short-term time frame to 2012, but the issue of launch alert status has to be tackled with a greater sense of urgency, given the risks inherent in the present arrangements.

17.41     Launch alert status. The issue of most immediate concern, which certainly does not have to wait for reductions in weapon numbers, is the huge number of weapons that remain on dangerously high alert, planned to be launched more or less immediately on receiving information (or what is perceived to be information) about an opponent’s attack. As described in earlier sections of this report, of the more than 10,000 warheads estimated to be now deployed by all the nuclear-armed states, an estimated 2,150 U.S. and Russian warheads retain this very high alert status, also known as launch-on-warning (LOW) or launch-under-attack (LUA), giving presidential decision-makers just 4-8 minutes decision time in the event of an alarm, false or otherwise. On the face of it, this is the ultimate absurdity of nuclear deterrence twenty years after the end of Cold War, when political, economic and security relations at least among the five NPT nuclear-weapon states makes deliberate nuclear attack virtually unthinkable. It is crucial that ways be found to lengthen the decision-making fuse.

17.42     So long as the logic of mutual deterrence prevails in the minds and behaviour of U.S. and Russian decision-makers, however, it has to be acknowledged that, for all the evident need to do so urgently, stepping back quickly from this precipice is going to prove rather more difficult than might appear at first sight. Russia, with some 90 per cent of its warheads deployed on silo-based ICBMs, submarines at bases rather than at sea, and bombers at airfields, sees itself as very vulnerable to a counterforce strike (i.e. one directed at its military assets, as distinct from a countervalue strike, targeting mainly civilian populations), with such an attack having the capacity to dramatically weaken its retaliatory, and thus deterrent, capability. Mutual de-alerting of the principle launch-on-warning force – ICBMs – is seen by Moscow as making U.S. missiles virtually invulnerable, while leaving Russian ICBMs highly exposed to U.S. Trident-2 SLBMs, sea-launched cruise missiles and, in future, to U.S. long range precision guided conventional weapons, with the prospect of more effective national ballistic missile defence in the future further compounding the problem.

17.43     All this means that taking weapons off launch-on-warning alert, if it is to be real and not just symbolic in its impact, may involve a process almost as complicated as numerical weapons reduction, needing to be operational and technical in character, comprehensive, equal to both sides and implemented in a phased way. Such a process will need, in parallel, to embrace ICBMs (including removal of warheads from missiles), SLBMs on submarines at bases (removal of warheads or missiles from launch tubes), sharp reduction in the patrol rates of nuclear-armed submarines at sea, and bombers (removal of internal launch racks, and nuclear weapons stored away from airfields).

17.44     Transparency and opacity. To be meaningful, force postures need to be transparent: well known and understood by friend and foe alike. Achieving much greater transparency than exists at the moment – notably in Russian sub-strategic deployments, and in Chinese willingness to disclose information about almost anything at all related to its nuclear arsenal – will be a major task for the years immediately ahead. Without it, meaningful progress in almost any kind of multilateral disarmament will be impossible.

17.45     The most opaque by far of all the nuclear-armed states is of course Israel, which – despite the universal understanding of policymakers elsewhere that it acquired nuclear-armed status by 1970, and now possesses, along with formidable ballistic missile and airborne delivery capability, at least 60 and as many as 200 nuclear warheads – for almost fifty years has maintained a policy of nuclear ambiguity. It continues to pledge that it will “not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the region”– and has certainly not used or threatened to use them so far despite the temptation to do so in the war of 1973 – but “non-introduction” is defined, in effect, as “non-testing” and “non-declaration”.

17.46     This policy is seen in Israel as having served it well, operating in practice as a deterrent to potential regional aggressors, while allowing it maximum freedom of action. It has been a willing participant in the CTBT, and applies the Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines controlling nuclear exports. But it stays outside the NPT, will be very reluctant to accept any new fissile material control regime, and has tempered its support in principle for a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, or weapons of mass destruction free zone, by making this wholly dependent on achieving a comprehensive and sustainable regional peace. The ambiguity policy has also been very acceptable to Arab leaders, who have seen it as enabling them to avoid entering into very costly nuclear competition, which they privately claim they would be forced to do if they acknowledged anything more than Israel had “unsafeguarded nuclear facilities”.

17.47     Israel’s nuclear opacity could certainly accommodate a more deliberate display of its force posture, at the level of its delivery systems and platforms, without abandoning its current policy on weapons. But the larger question is whether Israel’s policy, and its general acceptance by others, will indefinitely serve, if it does already, the interests of non-proliferation and disarmament. It is not self-evident to this Commission that it will. The issue has started to be debated again domestically, with points being made that the strategy has not exactly worked as a deterrent against conventional attacks; that it has not deterred Iran from a program which has brought it to the edge of weapons capability, and that if Iran is to be deterred from finally crossing that line, it may be time for Israel’s weapons to be brought out of the basement; and that Israel cannot continue to indefinitely support only in principle a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, conditioning overt steps toward disarmament on a comprehensive peace process while at the same time doing less than the rest of the world, including the U.S., would like it to do to advance it.

17.48     If there are to occur the kind of strategic dialogues this Commission supports, and these are to generate real cooperative evolution in the overall security environment, it is difficult to see how much can be achieved without all the issues – and competing interests – being openly on the table. If global nuclear disarmament is seen to be at last seriously on the agenda, and the subject of serious commitment by all the major current nuclear-armed states, including Israel, it is hard to believe that any Arab states will come under any irresistible pressure to acquire nuclear weapons simply because what has long been common assumed knowledge, among leaders and publics in the Arab world as elsewhere, is now formally confirmed.

17.49     All that said, if both Israel and its neighbours remain dug into their pro-opacity positions, it may still be possible for Israel to participate in multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation negotiations, of the kind discussed below and in subsequent sections, without acknowledging that it possesses nuclear weapons. Nuclear disarmament can be defined as a process of taking unsafeguarded fissile materials and putting them under international safeguards. When unsafeguarded, these materials could be in the form of weapons, uranium metal hemispheres, plutonium pits and the like. When put under safeguards, fissile materials would need to be in non-weaponized form, as occurred in South Africa in the early 1990s. When all fissile materials in the world are under international safeguards in non-weaponized form, the world could be considered nuclear-weapons-free. (This definition can apply regionally, too, in terms of nuclear-weapon-free zones).

17.50     So Israel could be involved in negotiations on nuclear disarmament without ever acknowledging that it possessed nuclear arms. Once it had put all of its fissile material under safeguards, it would be disarmed. At that point, for purposes of verification and confidence building, it could provide information on any past nuclear-weapon related stockpiles and activities, as South Africa did. Declarations of Israel’s past nuclear activities and status in this context should not cause political or security problems because Israel would by then have satisfied its neighbours’ nuclear disarmament demands.


Recommendations on Nuclear Force Posture: Launch Alert Status and Transparency

55. The basic objective is to achieve changes to deployment as soon as possible which ensure that, while remaining demonstrably survivable to a disarming first strike, nuclear forces are not instantly useable. Stability should be maximized by deployments and launch alert status being transparent. [7.12–15; 17.40–50]

56. It is crucial that ways be found to lengthen the decision-making fuse for the launch of any nuclear weapons, and in particular – while recognizing the difficulty and complexity of the negotiating process involved between the U.S. and Russia – that weapons be taken off launch-on-warning alert as soon as possible. [17.43]

57. In order to achieve strategic dialogues capable of making real progress on disarmament, maximum possible transparency in both nuclear doctrine and force postures should be offered by all nuclear-armed states. [17.44]

58. A relaxation of Israel’s policy of complete opacity would be helpful in this respect, but continued unwillingness to do so should not inhibit its engagement in multilateral disarmament negotiations (given that nuclear disarmament can be defined as a process of taking unsafeguarded fissile materials and putting them under international safeguards). [17.45–50]

North Korea and Iran

17.51     There are significant differences between these two countries' situations: Iran remains within the NPT while North Korea has purported to withdraw from it; Iran has conducted no nuclear test explosions while North Korea has conducted two; Iran appears not to possess any nuclear explosive devices while North Korea has several; and Iran insists that it will never be a nuclear-armed state while North Korea asserts that it already is. But what they have in common is that, between them, they pose by far the greatest current challenges to the global non-proliferation regime. The behaviour, capability and perceived intentions of both states deeply troubles their neighbours; both have acted in defiance of Security Council resolutions; and neither situation looks likely to be resolved by the further application of coercive sanctions. Nor in the absence of any actual aggression by either state does resort to military force appear to be any solution: such action would pose disproportionately – and perhaps catastrophically – high risks for those who would notionally benefit most from the destruction (if this could, indeed, be accomplished) of Pyongyang’s and Tehran’s present capability. The satisfactory resolution, by negotiation, of the North Korea and Iran nuclear problems remains a very high priority for the international community.

17.52     North Korea. Achieving a satisfactory negotiated solution of the North Korean problem will be immensely difficult, but in the Commission’s judgment is by no means impossible. We have been there before: the Agreed Framework, negotiated in 1993–94 after the initial revelations of Pyongyang’s clandestine activities, achieved for eight years its primary purpose of freezing the North’s plutonium production program, and – although it is clear that Pyongyang did not meet its obligations under the agreement, not least in its secret dealings with the A.Q. Khan network to acquire centrifuge technology during this period – that it broke down was not a matter of entirely one-sided fault. North Korea has dug itself into deeper holes since, with growing evidence of a supplementary uranium enrichment program; its two underground tests of explosive devices in 2006 and 2009; a series of provocative missile tests; and its insistence that its departure from the NPT is final and that it is, will remain, and should be recognized as, a fully-fledged nuclear-armed state.

17.53     But Pyongyang remains under immense pressure from China, the U.S., South Korea, Japan and Russia to return to the Six-Party Talks process initiated in 2003, and knows very well that there remains on the table a deal that would, in return for its complete, verifiable and irreversible commitment to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, deliver it serious security assurances and major economic support. It knows that the consequences of its nuclear-weapons program have been economic deprivation, the termination of civil nuclear cooperation and development, and no additional national or regime security. And it knows that no one intends to invade North Korea militarily to achieve a regime change.

17.54     Some analysts continue to insist that North Korea has no interest in ever giving up its nuclear weapon capability: not only because of the perception, objectively well-based or not, that this would protect it from any possible attack or direct attempt at regime change, but because it still nurses hegemonic ambitions over the whole peninsula, sees nuclear weapons as raising its strategic position in the region and wider world, possibly still sees an international market for its bomb technology, fissile material and hardware, and fears that any opening up of its economy as part of a denuclearization deal would inexorably generate internal pressure for regime change. Others are convinced otherwise, seeing the whole program as ultimately just negotiating coin – to be traded for aid, trade, investment and security guarantees, and finding other explanations for some of Pyongyang’s most intransigent behaviour (e.g. succession anxiety – and the need for Kim Jong Il to demonstrate to the military that they had nothing to fear from his son – as the main reason for the backward steps in early 2009).

17.55     The reality, given the very opaque character of the North Korean system, is that no-one can be sure of what its leadership’s intentions are, and that the only way forward is to treat the present government, or one very much like it, as the one with which the world has to deal, and continue to act as though a negotiated solution is possible. That does not mean conceding that North Korea is already a nuclear-armed state, or that such capability as it has already has bought it immunity from attack should it engage in any form of aggression. Nor does it mean giving ground on sanctions, or “selling the same horse twice”, simply to get it back to the negotiating table. But it does mean all the relevant players being willing to make clear the benefits that would flow from cooperation, being flexible about process (within the general framework of the Six Party Talks), and above all being patient.

17.56     Buying time is something that the North Koreans have used to their advantage in the past, but for the foreseeable future it will not relevantly change the overall security balance even if there is some further development of the missile and weapons hardware capability which, understandably, continues to concern its neighbours. Pyongyang can have nothing more for years ahead than a tiny arsenal of not very survivable weapons, and any aggression of any kind would be suicidal. As frustrating as the process has been, and will no doubt continue to be for a good while yet, persistent, determined, intelligent and patient negotiation – fully deploying both incentives and disincentives (including the continuing application of all current Security Council measures until North Korea’s behaviour changes) – is the only available way forward, and is in everyone’s interests.

17.57     Iran. On the face of it the Iran situation is more readily susceptible than North Korea to an early negotiated solution, if for no other reason than things have not gone so far. Tehran is undoubtedly close to – and may already possess – breakout capability, but it has not yet crossed the red-line that really matters by actually acquiring nuclear weapons, and continues to proclaim that it has no intention whatever of doing so. There will be those who remain deeply sceptical that the situation is retrievable, and they have a good deal of evidence to call in aid. Iran is clearly not in full compliance with its comprehensive safeguards agreement or a series of related IAEA Board of Governors and UN Security Council decisions and resolutions. It has a long history of complying (or almost complying) with the letter of its safeguards obligations but not their spirit, responding to inquiries and offers at (or just beyond) the last possible moment, and replying to accusations with lengthy obfuscation. The revelation of the Qom enrichment facility in September 2009 is just the latest in a line of such cases, and given that Tehran has been obviously keen to disperse and harden its facilities as a precaution against military attack, and deeply reluctant to declare any of them until forced to do so, more can probably be expected.

17.58     Moreover, it has become increasingly obvious that Iran is in no mood to yield, now or at any time in the foreseeable future, on what has been until now the irreducible demand of the international community – expressed through the six governments (China, France, Germany, Russia the UK and U.S., known as the P5+1 or the E3+3) that have been engaging with it on this issue, and through the UN Security Council – that it give up on its uranium enrichment capability. Add to that Iran’s continued extreme hostility to Israel, particularly as expressed in the language of President Ahmedinejad; the suspicion with which its regional ambitions are regarded by most of its Arab neighbours; and an increasingly authoritarian, albeit disunited, leadership in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 presidential election, the situation may not seem likely any time soon to lend itself to a solution acceptable to the wider international community.

17.59     The Commission is persuaded, however, that negotiation remains the only way forward, and that a satisfactory outcome can eventually be achieved, with the support of the Security Council and the members of the IAEA, which is consistent both with the security concerns of the region and the wider world, and Iran’s own needs and aspirations. Among the issues at stake for Iran is its national pride (long battered by a series of perceived humiliations going back to the overthrow of President Mossadegh and beyond), its sense of grievance about international double standards (most acutely felt in the context of the West’s support for Iraq, and indifference to Baghdad’s use of chemical weapons, in the bloody war of 1980-88), its desire to demonstrate its sophisticated technological capability, and its determination to be accepted as a major regional power.

17.60     The elements of a workable deal would seem to include acceptance by the international community of the reality of Iran’s enrichment program, notwithstanding the latent break-out capability that will continue to represent, but only in exchange for acceptance by Iran of a very intrusive safeguards inspection and verification regime, of at least Additional Protocol, and desirably “Additional Protocol Plus” level, combined with agreement to significantly slow down that program, and to accept some international role in its management, all of a kind which would given the wider world real confidence that Tehran will never proceed to weaponization. These core elements would need to be accompanied by a wider package of incentives, including normalization of diplomatic relations and the lifting of sanctions, and clearly articulated disincentives, not excluding a full range of coercive measures should the agreement be breached. They would also need to be accompanied by efforts to fully engage and integrate Iran as a cooperative partner in addressing the region’s many security and other problems. The process would be greatly facilitated, in turn, if Iran were to declare its lack of hostile intent against Israel and make clear its renunciation of any support for terrorist activities.

17.61     There were signs in October 2009, as the Commission was concluding its deliberations on this report, of a willingness on both sides to find constructive ways forward, but many more twists and turns can no doubt be expected before the issue is finally resolved, and in a way which preserves the reality, and the integrity, of the global non-proliferation system.


Recommendations on North Korea and Iran

59. Continuing efforts should be made, within the framework of the Six-Party Talks, to achieve a satisfactory negotiated solution of the problem of North Korea’s overt pursuit of a nuclear weapons program, involving verifiable denuclearization and resumed commitment to the NPT in return for security guarantees and economic assistance. [17.52–56]

60. Continuing efforts should be made by the P5+1, Security Council and IAEA member states to achieve a satisfactory negotiated resolution of the issue of Iran’s nuclear capability and intentions, whereby any retention of any element of its enrichment program would be accompanied by a very intrusive inspection and verification regime, giving the international community confidence that Iran neither has nor is seeking nuclear weapons. [17.57–60]


Next: 18. Medium Term Action Agenda: To 2025 – Getting to the Minimization Point