Iran’s Political System

Iran’s Political System and Its Implications for US Policy
July 2011

This paper by Dr. Peter Jones, Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, provides an overview of the Iranian political system, the roles of officials within this system, and implications of a dynamic Iranian political landscape on future US foreign policy.

The Islamic Republic of Iran poses a particularly vexing set of problems for U.S. policy-makers. Its seemingly impenetrable political process and highly ideological approach make it a very difficult interlocutor. But policy-makers need to understand and engage Iran. Left to fester on its own, Iran could pose an even worse set of headaches.

This paper provides an overview of the Iranian system, one of the most complex, unusual and factionalised in the world. It will explain Iran’s constitutional arrangements and then explore how politics really works in Iran. The paper will then discuss what this means for U.S. policy- makers. It should be noted at the outset that this paper contains no magic formula for making everything alright. Such a magic bullet probably does not exist.

Pakistan’s Nuclear Security

Matthew Rojansky and Daniel Cassman
October 2009

This report, originally published as an article in YaleGlobal, examines the risk of Al Qaeda or the Taliban obtaining nuclear material in Pakistan. The report includes an analysis of which nuclear sites in Pakistan are most at risk, and a map of the sites and their geographic relation to territory controlled by the Taliban versus the Pakistani government.

 

Our Best Weapon Against Nuclear Proliferation

 

WE DON’T NEED A NEW GRAND BARGAIN.
WE NEED TO STRENGTHEN THE ONE WE SIGNED 4 DECADES AGO.

nptstatement_1For nearly 40 years, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have provided the stability and the structure necessary to control the spread of nuclear weapons. Without the NPT, there is no doubt that more countries would possess nuclear weapons. Without the IAEA, which has functioned as the indispensable watchdog monitoring civilian nuclear activities and reporting on potential violations of IAEA safeguards, the world would certainly be more dangerous.

Still, there are many challenges, which were amplified by the contentious NPT Review Conference in 2005. But now is the time to strengthen the treaty’s core principles and
reinforce the mechanisms that support them, rather than lament their shortcomings. With renewed dedication and leadership from the United States, the NPT and IAEA can
continue to be important tools for the global community to confront countries that develop nuclear capabilities in violation of their commitments and to reduce the risk that terrorists will acquire these devastating weapons.

As we prepare for the NPT Review Conference in 2010, we, the undersigned Republicans and Democrats, strongly encourage the Obama Administration to take decisive action to support the NPT and the IAEA.

– Reaffirm the NPT as the cornerstone of global nonproliferation and disarmament efforts by sending a high-level delegation to the 2010 Review Conference.

– Strengthen enforcement mechanisms for use against countries deemed in violation of their NPT obligations.

– Commit to work with all states possessing nuclear weapons to reduce arsenals to the minimum achievable level. Enhance U.S.-Russian cooperation and joint leadership on non-proliferation and disarmament, including renewal or replacement of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

– Promote measures to ensure that all countries have access to peaceful nuclear energy without creating additional risks of proliferation and terrorism.

– Establish multilateral arrangements, such as assured international fuel supply mechanisms, to discourage the spread of enrichment and reprocessing capabilities.

– Support the IAEA safeguards mission through an increase in resources, training, equipment and personnel, and assist other states in using peaceful nuclear applications to address poverty and the challenges associated with underdevelopment.

– Work with NPT and IAEA member states to increase the IAEA’s authority for greater access to suspect nuclear sites and universal implementation of the Additional Protocol.

– Encourage countries to participate fully with IAEA nuclear security programs to help ensure that nuclear materials are not accessible to terrorists.

– Work aggressively to complete a verifiable, irreversible, and nondiscriminatory Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT).

– Continue to work aggressively to ensure high confidence in stockpile reliability and multilateral verification mechanisms compatible with a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing.

Signatories

Howard Baker, US Senator (R-TN) 1967-85
Lucy Wilson Benson, Under Secretary of State 1977-80
Samuel Berger, National Security Advisor 1997-2001
Harold Brown, Secretary of Defense 1977-81
Frank Carlucci, Secretary of Defense 1987-89
John C. Danforth, US Senator (R-MO) 1977-95
Kenneth M. Duberstein, White House Chief of Staff 1988-89
Slade Gorton, US Senator (R-WA) 1981-87, 1989-2001
Thomas Graham, Jr., Special Representative of the President for Arms Control, Non-proliferation and Disarmament 1994-97
Lee Hamilton, US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99, Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board
Gary Hart, US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87
Rita Hauser, Chair, International Peace Institute
Carla Hills, US Trade Representative 1989-93
Nancy Kassebaum Baker, US Senator (R-KS) 1978-97
Thomas Kean, Governor, New Jersey 1982-90, 9/11 Commission Chair
John Lehman, Secretary of the Navy 1981-87
Richard Leone, President, The Century Foundation
Robert McFarlane, National Security Advisor 1983-85
Donald McHenry, US Ambassador to the UN 1979-81
Robert S. McNamara Secretary of Defense 1961-68
Sam Nunn, US Senator (D-GA) 1972-96
William Perry, Secretary of Defense 1994-97
Thomas Pickering, Under Secretary of State 1997-2000
Warren Rudman, US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92, Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board
George Shultz, Secretary of State 1982-89
Alan Simpson, US Senator (R-WY) 1979-97
Theodore Sorensen White House Special Counsel 1961-63
John C. Whitehead, Deputy Secretary of State 1985-88
Timothy E. Wirth, US Senator (D-CO) 1987-93
Frank Wisner, Under Secretary of State 1992-93

 

 

This project is made possible by the generous support of Ploughshares Fund.

Nuclear Terrorism

September 2008

US Policies to Reduce the Threat of Nuclear Terror
Brian D. Finlay
This report, part of the WMD Report Card Initiative, analyzes current US government policies and programs to prevent nuclear terrorism, giving these efforts a grade of “C.”

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