Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Mary Beth D. Nikitin. September 1, 2016.

A ban on all nuclear tests is the oldest item on the nuclear arms control agenda. Three treaties that entered into force between 1963 and 1990 limit, but do not ban, such tests. In 1996, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear–Test–Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would ban all nuclear explosions. In 1997, President Clinton sent the CTBT to the Senate, which rejected it in October 1999. In a speech in Prague in April 2009, President Obama said, “My administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” However, while the Administration has indicated it wants to begin a CTBT “education” campaign with a goal of securing Senate advice and consent to ratification, it has not pressed for a vote on the treaty and there were no hearings on it in the 111th, 112th, or 113th Congresses. There will be at least one hearing in the 114th Congress—a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the CTBT planned for September 7, 2016.

[PDF format, 77 pages, 1.21 MB].

What Makes This North Korean Nuclear Test Different

What Makes This North Korean Nuclear Test Different. Brookings Institution. Jonathan D. Pollack. September 9, 2016.

North Korea’s fifth nuclear test was not a surprise. On multiple occasions over the past six months, senior officials have openly disclosed plans for additional testing. Pyongyang has made good on its threat. The pressing task for the outside world is to move toward far greater candor and cooperation in assessing North Korea’s weapons capabilities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Iran-North Korea-Syria Ballistic Missile and Nuclear Cooperation

Iran-North Korea-Syria Ballistic Missile and Nuclear Cooperation. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Paul K. Kerr et al. February 26, 2016.

Congress has at times expressed concern regarding ballistic missile and nuclear programs in Iran, North Korea, and Syria. This report focuses primarily on unclassified and declassified U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) assessments over the past two decades. These assessments indicate that there is no evidence that Iran and North Korea have engaged in nuclear-related trade or cooperation with each other, although ballistic missile technology cooperation between the two is significant and meaningful, and Syria has received ballistic missiles and related technology from North Korea and Iran and also engaged in nuclear technology cooperation with North Korea.

[PDF format, 13 pages, 608.0 KB].

Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress

Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Amy F. Woolf. October 13, 2015.

The United States and Soviet Union signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in December 1987. Negotiations on this treaty were the result of a “dual-track” decision taken by NATO in 1979. The United States has raised its concerns about Russian compliance with the INF Treaty in a number of meetings during the past few years. These meetings have made little progress because Russia continues to deny that it has violated the treaty. The United States could pursue a number of options that might move the diplomatic process forward and possibly lead to a resolution of the issue.

[PDF format, 35 pages, 726.4 KB].

Ensuring that the Nuclear Agreement Effectively Constrains Iran

Ensuring that the Nuclear Agreement Effectively Constrains Iran. Center for American Progress. Brian Katulis et al. July 17, 2015.

The nuclear deal between Iran and leading global powers set off an intense debate just hours after its announcement. With vital national security interests at stake, this is an important debate to have, one that will continue in the months ahead as Congress deliberates the deal. The report recommends that Congress measure the deal against the main alternatives and work with the Obama administration to ensure strong and effective implementation using three steps. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 6 pages, 81.8 KB].

Backed by Big Powers, a Successful Iran Deal Could Rescue NPT

Backed by Big Powers, a Successful Iran Deal Could Rescue NPT. YaleGlobal. Richard Weitz. July 16, 2015.

The leading impact of the July 14 Iran nuclear deal may be how it affects the overall pace and extent of nuclear-weapons proliferation. To succeed in resolving the Iranian nuclear deal and strengthening barriers against the further spread of nuclear weapons, China, Russia and the United States must cooperate despite their many other differences. “The agreement to freeze Iran’s nuclear-weapons program for a limited period might offer opportunities to strengthen the NPT, dispel assumptions of near-term nuclear disarmament and generate a fresh attempt to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions,” explains Richard Weitz. “To support disarmament as they eventually eliminate their own nuclear arsenals, Russia, China and the United States have agreed to reduce their reliance on nuclear weapons in the foreign and defense policies.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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The New Containment: Changing America’s Approach to Middle East Security

The New Containment: Changing America’s Approach to Middle East Security. Atlantic Council. Bilal Y. Saab. July 6, 2015.

Securing the Middle East after an Iran nuclear deal is the next big challenge for both the region and the international community. The United States and its allies have engaged in tireless diplomacy with Iran over the past few years to produce an agreement that would limit Tehran’s nuclear program for the next decade and a half. To protect the deal, assuming one is finalized, and take full advantage of its potential benefits, which include the drastic reduction of the risk of nuclear weapons proliferating in the region, the United States needs a comprehensive strategy for regional security in the Middle East, according to the author. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 34 pages, 5.75 MB].