For Iran, Delivery System Still Elusive
Iran may be several years away from developing a reliable delivery system, experts say. The primary hurdle is the technical obstacle of converting highly enriched uranium gas into a miniaturized warhead. According to a recent report published by the Iran Project, “Additional time – up to two years, according to conservative estimates – would be required for Iran to build a nuclear warhead that would be reliably deliverable by a missile.”
Late last week protestors took to the streets of Tehran to blame the government for the rapid depreciation of the Iranian rial, which lost 40% of its value this past week. Western observers note that the international sanctions regime has had an impact on Iran’s economy. Referring to the effects of the sanctions, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta remarked that the U.S. “will continue to work with the other countries in the international community to see if additional steps need to be taken.”
EU Considers More Sanctions
France, Germany, and the U.K. are reportedly planning to lobby for additional sanctions on Iran during the upcoming EU foreign ministers meeting on October 15. In addition to closing existing loopholes in the current sanctions regime, the three countries are also considering increasing the number of blacklisted Iranian financial entities and further restricting the sale of dual-use technology to Iran.
IAEA “Ready” for More Negotiations with Iran
Amidst reports that the EU was considering imposing new sanctions on Iran, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano reiterated “We are ready to have a meeting at an early date, but the fact is that as of today, no specific date has been decided for a meeting.” Amano also asserted that should negotiations continue, “The meeting should be meaningful.”
Gates Warns of Potential Costs of Iran Strike
Speaking before a public audience, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates asserted that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities “would make a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable. They would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert.” Gates also warned that an attack “could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world.” In contrast, Gates touted the potential of a combination of economic and diplomatic pressure to end the standoff with Iran.
Security Contractor Out at Y-12 Complex
Security contractor WSI Oak Ridge is the latest casualty in the continuing fallout from the Y-12 breach this summer. Describing the delayed response of security guards at the Y-12 Complex, where a group of protestors breached the security perimeter in July, Peter Stockton, a senior investigator with the Project On Government Oversight, remarked “This the most egregious thing we’ve ever run into…It’s the worst of the worst.” B&W Y-12, the managing contractor of the complex, will assume security responsibilities.
Nuclear Budget Analysis
A new analysis from the Ploughshares Fund finds that the U.S. is on track to spend about $640 billion on nuclear weapons and related programs over the next ten years. The estimate, based on publicly available data, aims to inform the debate about right-sizing the defense budget.
ASP Critical Nuclear Choices
In a new article in The Hill, ASP Nuclear Security Director Terri Lodge outlines several critical nuclear security issues facing the next administration. The ongoing standoff with Iran, the threat of nuclear proliferation from Pakistan, tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the future of ballistic missile defense, and a review of the U.S. nuclear strategy are all issues that must be solved with reasoned analysis and bipartisan support. Lodge’s article highlights a new ASP paper which analyzes each of these issues in greater detail.