Monthly Archives: October 2011

Sandia Papers

Sorry that it has taken longer than expected for blogging to resume; the week’s been busier than expected.

My token offering for today is a “series of papers”: from Sandia’s Cooperative Monitoring Center to which a colleague recently drew my attention. I haven’t had a chance to dig through them, but many look interesting.

Amorim on Tehran Declaration

Former Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim wrote a “piece”: for the Cairo Review of Global Affairs a while back. It covers a range of topics, including the diplomacy which produced the May 2010 “Tehran Declaration.”:

After citing Brazil’s past work on nuclear issues, Iraq, and the CD, Amorim explains that his government also got involved because of “Brazil was also interested in developing her economic and commercial ties with a country roughly the same size as Turkey and Egypt.”

The article gives a fair amount of background on the negotiations, most/all of which you probably know. But it’s good to get it from another official source.

Perhaps the most interesting addition to the record is Amorim’s assessment of the discussions:

bq. Iran made voluntary concessions regarding three central points that she had been resisting before Brazil and Turkey joined the talks. *It is fair to ask why Brazil and Turkey succeeded where the major powers had consistently failed.* Probably the main reason consists in the fact that *Brazil and Turkey have good relations with Iran.* We talk to her government with respect and understanding. Second, *Brazil and Turkey are non-nuclear states, thus enjoying far greater legitimacy in negotiating issues related to Iran’s nuclear file.* Third, *the two countries did not prejudge that the Iranian nuclear program was necessarily for non-peaceful ends.* Giving the benefit of the doubt is both a powerful encouragement and a valuable bargaining chip in a negotiation. *Finally, Brazil and Turkey have always recognized Iran’s right to a peaceful nuclear program,* to which every member of the NPT is entitled, so long as the clauses of the treaty and the regulations of the IAEA are respected.

MEWMDFZ Conference in Finland

Well. Russia, the UK, and the US, along with UN S-G Ban Ki-moon, “announced”: that Finland will host “the 2012 Conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.” The joint statement says that Jaakko Laajava, Under-Secretary of State, Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will be the facilitator.

AQK and the IAEA

I knew that the IAEA had received information from Pakistan regarding the AQ Khan network, but Olli Heinonen recently gave an “interview”:,1518,790042,00.html to Der Spiegel in which he said that Khan had communicated with him:

bq.. SPIEGEL: Have you ever met Khan? Were you at least able to question him after his arrest in Islamabad in 2004?

Heinonen: I followed his trail for years, and met several of his confidantes. But I never got to speak to him. *Nevertheless, he answered some of my questions in writing through secret channels.*

p. Heinonen’s response to AQK’s “denial”:,1518,770746,00.html of a nuclear black market’s existence is also amusing:

bq.. SPIEGEL: From his house arrest he now insists he had nothing to do with passing on nuclear secrets or having made lucrative private deals. Do you believe him?

Heinonen: *It brings tears to my eyes.* Of course Khan was the worst black marketeer and made millions from it. Even so, it’s quite possible that others — for instance Pakistani generals or leading secret-service officials — profited even more than Khan did. It’s more than likely that his country’s political authorities were often aware of his dealings.

IR-1 Centrifuges at Fordow

Well. Peter Crail has a “piece”: in ACT which states that Iran, despite earlier claims from Iranian officials, has begun installing IR-1 centrifuges at Fordow, rather than more advanced models.

Writes Peter:

bq.. Last June, Iran announced that it would soon begin using the plant to produce uranium enriched to 20 percent uranium-235 to produce fuel for research reactors and that it would triple such production through the use of more-advanced centrifuge designs it has been developing. The Sept. 2 IAEA “report”: said that as of Aug. 20, Iran had installed one of two centrifuge cascades designated for the production of 20 percent-enriched uranium.


Although the report did not specify the type of machine being installed, *diplomatic sources confirmed that the centrifuges are IR-1 machines, a crash-prone design Iran currently uses at its commercial-scale Natanz enrichment plant.* The improved designs Iran has been developing, called the IR-2m and IR-4, are believed to enrich uranium three times faster than the IR-1.

p. ISIS analysts David Albright, Paul Brannan, Andrea Stricker, and Christina Walrond “confirmed”: the IR-1 installation with their own sources:

bq.. The IAEA reports that Iran has installed one cascade of centrifuges at the Fordow site to be designated for production of 19.75 percent enriched uranium. *ISIS has learned that these machines are new IR-1 centrifuges, not existing ones transferred from Natanz.*

Earlier this summer, the Vice President of Iran and head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, implied that Iran would soon deploy advanced centrifuges at Fordow, stating that these machines would be installed in 164-machine cascades.

Stimson on Pakistan

Unsurprisingly, Stimson has published another “report”: about South Asia. I’ve only skimmed it so far, but the report, co-edited by Michael Krepon and Nate Cohn and titled “Crises in South Asia: Trends and Potential Consequences,” has a bunch of good material about the role of nuclear weapons in the region.

As one who’s always looking for primary source material about India and Pakistan, I was struck by the footnote to a paragraph which cites the well-known _New Yorker_ “piece”: about the 1990 India-Pakistan crisis:

bq. The US intelligence community appears to have been more alarmed by the potential for nuclear weapons’ use. Richard J. Kerr, the deputy director of the C.I.A. during this crisis, was quoted by Seymour Hersh as saying, “It was the most dangerous nuclear situation we have ever faced since I’ve been in the US government. It may be as close as we’ve come to a nuclear exchange. It was far more frightening than the Cuban missile crisis.”

We have heard this before, but check out the footnote:

bq. The author [M Krepon], attended an event with Kerr after Hersh’s article appeared and asked whether he was quoted properly. Kerr answered affirmatively. When asked whether he really believed that that 1990 crisis was second only to the Cuban missile crisis in terms of nuclear danger, Kerr allowed as how *he might have exaggerated this point.*

Doesn’t quite put paid to the metaphor, but a useful addition to the record.

Amb. Soltanieh and CWC

I recently learned that Amb Ali Asghar Soltanieh was involved in Iran’s implementation of the CWC.

As it happens, his “cv” confirms that he was “Secretary of the National Authority of the Chemical Weapons Convention” from 1997-99. Incidentally, he was also “Chief Negotiator, Additional Protocol to Biological Weapons Convention” from 1999-2002 – something else I didn’t know.

Not sure why I find this interesting, but there it is.