syria

Iran: Perceptions and Politics

When I put out the feelers for potential companions for a trip to Iran not long ago, I was struck by the incredulity with which people regarded my plans. There seemed to be a widespread notion that embarking upon such a trip equated to, at best, terrible taste in holiday destinations and at worst, an ill-disguised death wish.

The OPCW and Syria: learning the lessons of verification

Verification remains a key challenge on the road to nuclear disarmament and the continued non-proliferation of WMD. It is complex, politically and technically, and ultimately can only be sustainable in the long run if it is freely entered into, non-discriminatory, universally applicable and credible. Does the OPCW hold lessons for confidence in multilateral nuclear disarmament?

Multilateral cooperation on non-proliferation & regional security

This week we will witness several examples of multilateral cooperation on non-proliferation and regional security. Beginning today, it was reported that representatives from Middle East states are convening in Switzerland at a meeting organized by Finnish Ambassador Jaakko Laajava, the facilitator of the official conference to establish a zone free of nuclear and WMD in the Middle East.

The importance of seeing and grasping the opportunities

The annual month-long meeting of the General Assembly’s First Committee, responsible for issues of international peace and security, begins today in New York. Two issues have been on the media’s agenda: disarming Syria of its chemical weapons and the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and the E3+3. Both involve a degree of optimism, perhaps even an excitement around the possibilities, rarely seen in the U.N. corridors in recent years. Perhaps it is because these openings for progress have been so unexpected.

Working towards a WMD-free Middle East

Despite notes of caution and a lack of concrete offers, Presidents Obama and Rouhani set the stage for increased engagement at the UN last week. With calls for a WMD-free zone in the Middle East reaffirmed, Israel's game plan will be central.

All eyes were on the UN last week, as Presidents Obama and Rouhani took historic steps towards breaking the long-standing mutual mistrust between the US and Iran, and the Security Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria.

The Iran-Russia Relationship & Reviving Nuclear Negotiations

Recent developments in the Middle East look to be further strengthening the relationship between Iran and Russia. The election of relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, holds great promise for the future of the diplomatic approach to Iran’s nuclear programme that the Russians have invested a great deal in, and in which they have supported reduced sanctions.

Iran, the United States, Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, at the United Nations

World leaders will descend upon New York this week to meet, and deliver their annual remarks to the United Nations General Assembly. The Syrian crisis is sure to take up a fair amount of diplomatic attention at the podium and on the sidelines, but there will also be opportunities for nuclear diplomacy.

Syria: lessons for the nuclear debate

The threat of military intervention in Syria in response to alleged chemical weapons use by Bashar Al-Assad’s government was put on hold this past week as U.S. and Russian Foreign Ministers, John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, negotiated a deal that would see Syria sign up to the U.N. Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and hand their chemical weapons stockpile over to the international community. As we edge towards a decision, it may be valuable to reflect on the core arguments that have been driving the debate.

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