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Nuclear News - 11/1/2004
RANSAC Nuclear News, November 1, 2004
Compiled By: Samantha Mikol

A.  Chemical Weapons Destruction
    1. Russia to Destroy 20% of Chemical Weapons by 2007 � Foreign Ministry, MosNews (11/1/2004)
B.  Nuclear Terrorism
    2. Outside View The EMP threat is real, UPI (10/28/2004)
C.  Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. U.S. Experts Call for Nuclear Posture Debate, David Ruppe, Global Security Newswire (10/28/2004)
D.  Nonproliferation Diplomacy
    1. Nuclear Watchdog Chief Advocates Tougher Non-Proliferation Treaty, AFP (10/28/2004)
E.  US-Russia
F.  Russia-Iran
    1. Iran, Russia to sign deal on spent nuclear fuel , IranMania (10/30/2004)
G.  Nuclear Forces
    1. Topol-M missile system tests to be completed in 2004, Interfax (10/29/2004)
H.  Nuclear Safety
    1. "Serious Shortcomings" Seen In Security At Russian Nuclear Plants, AFP (10/28/2004)
I.  Official Statements
    1. Alexander Yakovenko, the Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Answers a Russian Media Question Regarding Outcome of 38th Session of Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) , Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (10/30/2004)
    2. Daily Press Briefing (excerpted), U.S. Department of State (10/29/2004)
    3. Regarding Presentation by Russia of Report on Compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1540 on Nonproliferation , Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (10/29/2004)
J.  Links of Interest
    1. 20th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference, IAEA (11/1/2004)
    2. Commission: Nuclear decommissioning funds should be harmonised,  (10/29/2004)

A.  Chemical Weapons Destruction

Russia to Destroy 20% of Chemical Weapons by 2007 � Foreign Ministry
(for personal use only)

Russia announced plans to destroy 20 percent of its chemical weapons stockpiles by early 2007, fulfilling its obligations to conventions banning chemical weapons.

The Foreign Ministry�s official spokesman, Alexander Yakovenko, commented Monday on the results of the 38th session of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

�Russia has presented the session with information on the course of the destruction of chemical weapons in our country and on the construction of new facilities for this purpose. This will enable us to fulfill our obligations to destroy 20 percent of chemical weapons stockpiles by April 29, 2007,� Yakovenko was quoted as saying.

Talking about chemical weapons reductions in other countries, Yakovenko noted that the session discussed possibilities for converting former chemical weapons production facilities for states which have only just joined the organization, such as Libya.

He added that the obligation to destroy potential for the production of chemical weapons was the top priority.

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B.  Nuclear Terrorism

RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the importance of the adoption of the Russian draft of the international convention against nuclear terrorism at the current session of the UN General Assembly. The head of state said this in reply to the message of the Iranian President, who offered his condolences in connection with terrorist attacks in Russia.

According to Vladimir Putin, the convention is a "unique international agreement aimed to combat WMD-terrorism and to create conditions preventing all terrorists' attempts to get access to nuclear weapons and materials".

Russia highly values Iran's support and regards it as an evidence of solidarity in the face of common terrorist threat, the Russian leader stressed.

"I agree with you that bandits who performed bloody terrorist acts in Russia have nothing to do with Islam and slander its ideals by their crimes. I am convinced that any advances to terrorists are counter-productive and illusions on the possibility of bringing them to reason by human values are dangerous. We should not only neutralize terrorists themselves but also fight against their ideologists, political lobbyists and financial sponsors," Vladimir Putin noted.

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Outside View The EMP threat is real
(for personal use only)

Imagine the only people you could communicate with are those within your visual range or within the sound of your voice. Imagine the only way you could travel was to walk or ride a bike. Imagine no electricity, working telephones or computers; no fuel for cars or airplanes, no running elevators, no heat or light for houses and buildings, no running water and after a few days, no food. Imagine that you had to live under these conditions for weeks, months or even years.

An electromagnetic pulse attack could inflict this catastrophic scenario across the entire United States. The same day the 9/11 commission released its final report, Congress and the nation were warned, The current vulnerability of our critical infrastructures can both invite and reward an (EMP) attack if not corrected. That was the unanimous conclusion by nine of the United States' most respected experts in nuclear weapons and military and civilian infrastructure, in the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack, released on July 22.

Where the terrorist airliner attacks of 9/11 killed thousands, a terrorist EMP attack could indirectly kill millions and conceivably cause the permanent collapse of our entire society. An EMP attack is achieved by launching a nuclear missile and detonating it at altitude tens or hundreds of kilometers above the target.

The blast, through a variety of physical mechanisms, generates an electromagnetic pulse from the detonation point through the atmosphere to the Earth's visible surface, all the way out to the horizon. Thus, a single nuclear weapon could produce an EMP attack that damages or destroys electronic systems across the entire continental United States. Satellites in low Earth orbit would also be damaged. EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences, the report stated. It has the capability to produce significant damage to critical infrastructures and thus to the very fabric of U.S. society, as well as to the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power.

The commission found terrorists or other adversaries could project an EMP attack without having a high level of sophistication. A short-range Scud missile launched from a freighter off our coast would suffice to deliver an EMP attack against the United States. Scud missiles are inexpensive and widely available on the world market.

At least eight to nine countries have EMP capability. More actors may acquire this capability in the next 15 years. Terrorists could steal a nuclear weapon, purchase one from the black market or be given a bomb by a rogue state.

While any nuclear weapon will generate EMP, even super EMP nuclear weapons of special design may be available to terrorists. According to the report, Certain types of relatively low-yield nuclear weapons can be employed to generate potentially catastrophic EMP effects over wide geographic areas and designs for variants of such weapons may have been illicitly trafficked for a quarter-century.

Consider Iran. The leading sponsor of international terrorism, Iran is also defying the efforts of the United Nations to restrain its nuclear ambitions. Iran has successfully tested launching a Scud missile from a vessel in the Caspian Sea. Given the gross inaccuracy of the launch mode, a Scud armed with a nuclear weapon would probably be unable to hit even a very large target, like a city. An EMP attack, however, is not dependent upon missile accuracy.

Moreover, Iran has conducted a number of flight tests of its Shahab III medium range missile, which have been described as failures by the Western media because the missiles did not complete their ballistic trajectories, but were deliberately exploded at high altitude.

Iran has described these same flight tests as successful. Is the West misinterpreting Iran's purpose for these missile flight tests?

The EMP commission conducted a worldwide survey of foreign military and technical open source literature and found the international community is well aware of EMP and its military potential. States aware of the military potential of EMP attack include Egypt, Israel, Taiwan, Pakistan, India, Iran and North Korea. The panel also found that China and Russia have considered limited nuclear attack options that, unlike their Cold War plans, employ EMP as the primary or sole means of attack. An article written in English about EMP was recently published in a Chinese-language technical journal.

These findings by the EMP commission contrast sharply with the position of the Clinton administration, which dismissed the potential threat from EMP. In late April 1999, I was among a bipartisan delegation of 10 House members who traveled to Vienna under the leadership of Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., in an effort to reduce tensions between the United States and Russia as a result of Operation Allied Force, the NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia.

We met with three of our Russian counterparts on the Dumas International Affairs Committee, including its chairman, Vladimir Luclin, and senior Communist Party member Alejandro Sharon.

On May 2, the Russians chastised the United States for military aggression in the Balkans and warned Russia was not helpless to oppose Operation Allied Force.

Luclin said, If we really wanted to hurt you with no fear of retaliation, we would launch an (submarine launched ballistic missile) and detonate a single nuclear warhead at high altitude over the United States and shut down your power grid and communications for six months or so. Sharon added, And if one weapon wouldn't do it, we have some spares.

Accurately identifying the source of a ballistic missile launched from the ocean could be difficult. After that wake up call, I introduced legislation to analyze the potential threat from EMP under Title XIV of the fiscal 2001 defense authorization bill. The nine-member EMP Commission, led by William R. Graham, former science adviser to President Reagan, also included John Foster, Earl Gjelde, Robert Hermann, Henry Kluepfel, Gen. Richard Lawson, Gordon Soper, Lowell Wood and Joan Woodard.

Commissioners were selected for their expertise on EMP phenomenology, nuclear weapons design and U.S. military and civilian infrastructures. The commission labored for two years to assess the EMP threat terrorists, rogue states or others might pose to the United States. The commission tasked the intelligence community, the Department of Defense and others to help in its work. The commission sponsored experiments that had never previously been performed to evaluate the vulnerability of modern electronics to EMP.

The most important finding of the EMP commission is this: Correction is feasible and well within the nation's means and resources to accomplish. Safeguarding the United States from EMP attack can be accomplished at relatively low cost.

The nation's vulnerability to EMP gives rise to potentially large-scale, long-term consequences can be reasonably and readily reduced below the level of a potentially catastrophic national problem by coordinated and focused effort between the private and public sectors of our country, the report said. The cost for such improved security in the next three to five years is modest by any standard -- and extremely so in relation to both the war on terror and the value of the national infrastructures involved. The appropriate response to this threatening situation is a balance of prevention, protection, planning and preparations for recovery ... a number of these actions also reduce vulnerabilities to other serious threats to our infrastructures, thus giving multiple benefits.

The EMP commission has provided Congress with the equivalent of a detailed blueprint for safeguarding our nation against a catastrophic EMP attack. Commission recommendations provide specific strategic, operational, tactical and technical guidance for improving the security against EMP of U.S. military forces and civilian infrastructures, including the infrastructures for power, communications, transportation, government, finance and banking, emergency medical services, and food and water. The destruction of these infrastructures and our inability to recover them would kill millions of people the old-fashioned way, through starvation and disease.

Will government and industry heed the recommendations of the EMP commission? Or will the pattern of the United States' growing vulnerability and collective denial by our leaders repeat, until, as with Pearl Harbor and 9/11, an unimaginable catastrophe teaches us the hard way?

One way to keep us focused on reducing the threat from EMP is legislation I have written with Representative Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, to establish the EMP commission on a permanent basis. This commission would serve as a watchdog and advisor to the Congress, Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and industry to see the necessary steps are taken to defend the United States against EMP attack.

EMP Commissioner Lowell Wood calls EMP attack a giant continental time machine that would move us back more than a century in technology to the late 1800s. Responding to the EMP commission report, The Wall Street Journal editorialized on Aug. 12, All we can say is, we hope someone in Washington is paying attention.

The United States' technological superiority could be our Achilles' heel unless we pay attention to the EMP threat.

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C.  Cooperative Threat Reduction

U.S. Experts Call for Nuclear Posture Debate
David Ruppe
Global Security Newswire
(for personal use only)

A diverse panel of experts last night called for a national debate on the future composition and uses of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, with some arguing the current U.S. strategy lacks clarity and a clear mandate.

Madelyn Creedon, counsel for the Democratic staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Peter Huessy, a senior defense associate at the National Defense University Foundation, and Amy Woolf, an analyst with the Congressional Research Service, expressed similar lines of thought at an event sponsored by the nonprofit Women in International Security.

�We need to have a serious nationwide discussion that involves both Congress and the administration and the American public about where are our nuclear weapons going. Are they going to be for deterrence? Are they going to be a first strike weapon?� Creedon said.

�We haven�t had this debate. It�s kind of been under the table. We�ve let the arms control process go through, START I, START II, and then SORT, and I�m not sure where we are now with respect to the nuclear posture review, but it hasn�t been done in a clearly appropriate way,� Huessy said.

Ambiguous Policies Alleged

Creedon argued the Bush administration�s much-debated 2001 Nuclear Posture Review and subsequent government policy documents have suggested that the White House is pursuing new roles for nuclear weapons beyond traditional deterrence, possibly including pre-emptive attack.

The administration has not been clear, though, on exactly where the United States is headed, she said.

�Exactly what signal that the Nuclear Posture Review gave is still the source of substantial debate. The question is, is that a signal to look at new nuclear weapons? Is that a signal to look at modifying nuclear weapons? Is it a signal to make nuclear weapons less usable or more usable?� she said.

�What�s the role of nuclear weapons in the policy of pre-emption?� she said.

She asked further whether unspecified, planned cuts to the current U.S. nuclear arsenal announced by the administration earlier this year are intended merely to reduce numbers, or instead, are part of a plan to develop new nuclear weapons.

�Are these reductions enabling new nuclear weapons?� she said.

Congress Needs to Act

The administration�s Nuclear Posture Review effectively initiated a discussion of what role, if any, U.S. nuclear weapons could play in a post-Cold War world where potential adversaries may have different deterrence calculations than the Soviet Union did, Woolf said.

�Congress did not pick up on that discussion,� she said.

One reason, Huessy said, may be that �only 25 percent of Congress was here when the Cold War ended.�

Similarly, many congressional staff may do not appear to be familiar with the issues, he said.

�That makes it tough because when you go in to talk to a staffer about deterrence and the Triad, they say, �What�s deterrence and what is the Triad?�� he said, referring to the three elements of the U.S. nuclear strike force � land-based missiles, submarine-launched missiles and bombers.

Many of the weapons systems for delivering the current arsenal will need to be retired in the coming decades, creating an imperative to discuss what might come after, Creedon said.

�In probably 10 or 15 years, the current forces aren�t going to be with us any longer probably, and so it�s a good time to start this debate,� she said.

Also appearing on the panel last night was Col. Richard Patenaude, chief of the deterrence and strike division at the Air Force Space Command. He said that his command does not appear engaged in a debate over the larger issues of the implications of U.S. nuclear weapons policies for arms control and international stability.

�What I don�t get is an intellectual discussion on deterrence outside of our own book club that we have,� he said, adding jokingly, �We read books that are antinuclear just so we have a dissenting opinion in the room.�

Discussions focus more on justifying new strategic weapons initiatives and concepts, such as a conventionally armed intercontinental ballistic missile, in battles for funding resources, he said.

�For every dollar I�m able to get I have to really put forth a strong argument for competing with exciting programs like the space-based infrared, and space-based radar, and new launch vehicles and faster launch vehicles,� he said.

�There�s a lot Space Command needs to do and it�s a constant struggle to keep nuclear deterrence and conventional programs on the table and funded.�

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D.  Nonproliferation Diplomacy

Nuclear Watchdog Chief Advocates Tougher Non-Proliferation Treaty
(for personal use only)

Tighter global controls on the export of nuclear material and technology must be included in a bolstered nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) up for debate next year, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said Thursday.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed El Baradei insisted in an article for a UN review that the multilateral treaty - whose effectiveness has been questioned by the United States - remained "the essential anchor" for global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

Its weaknesses in the face of the advancing availablity of nuclear weapons know-how - now thought to extend to 40 countries - should be tackled by bringing more countries on board a stronger NPT at a review conference due in 2005, he added.

"The nuclear export control system should be universalised and treaty-based, while preserving the inalienable rights of all states to peaceful nuclear technology," El Baradei wrote.

One hundred and eighty-eight countries have joined the 1970 NPT limiting the spread of nuclear weapons, including the five main nuclear superpowers, but not emerging weapons states India, Pakistan, or Israel.

North Korea pulled out last year.

India earlier this month repeated that it was not ready to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, saying the pact imposes stricter conditions on fledgling nuclear states than on established nuclear powers.

However, the NPT's system of checks on technology and material exports are not binding, and only 61 of the signatories have subscribed to them.

The flaw was one of the triggers for the current tensions between Iran and the IAEA over its enrichment facilities.

The United States has also accused countries of seeking nuclear weapons capability while under the cloak of the NPT.

El Baradei said nuclear inspectors must have the right to conduct checks in all countries, while transparent limits must be placed on processing of plutonium and weapons grade enriched uranium.

No country should be allowed to bow out of the NPT "without clear consequences" before the UN Security Council, he added, rejecting the current allowance for three months notice.

North Korea withdrew from the NPT in 2003 after it revived the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, marking the first time any country has withdrawn from a multilateral arms control treaty.

The move raised international tensions and prompted warnings of "nuclear anarchy".

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E.  US-Russia

RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

The Russian Defense Ministry has delivered protest over the allegation by John Shaw, the Pentagon's Undersecretary of Defense for International Technology Security, that the Russian military helped Iraq move out hundreds of tons of explosives.

The U.S. Embassy's Military Attache was summoned Friday to the Russian Defense Ministry, where protest was delivered to him in connection with Mr. Shaw's statement, a ministry source told RIA Novosti. The ministry's press office refused to comment.

The Undersecretary of Defense said in a recent interview with The Washington Times that the Russian military had assisted Iraqi special services in moving several hundred tons of explosives from a military facility only days before the launch of the U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq last March.

Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry described the allegations as "absurd and far-fetched." "The media reports media about Russia's alleged involvement in moving some explosives out of Iraq are absurd and far-fetched. This could not have happened physically as all Russian servicemen and women left Iraq a long time before the launch of the U.S-British campaign," Colonel Vyacheslav Sedov, chief spokesman for Russia's Defense Ministry, said in a RIA interview. According to him, the allegations are false.

According to RIA Novosti's correspondent in Beirut, Saraya al-Islam, a militant group operating in Iraq, claims it was able to obtain some of the missing explosives not without assistance of the American military.

"We want the Iraqis and the Americans to know that thanks to Allah and to the cooperativeness of quite a few officers and men from U.S. special services, our fighters were able to get a large amount of explosive material previously stored at the al-Qaqaa installation under American troops' guard," the group says in a statement carried Friday by the Saudi newspaper al-Vatan.

Saraya al-Islam is threatening to use the explosive material against "American forces and their associates" in case they launch an offensive against an Iraqi city.

Earlier this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported to the United Nations security Council on the disappearance of 380 tons of highly explosive material from the al-Qaqaa installation, located south of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

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F.  Russia-Iran

Iran, Russia to sign deal on spent nuclear fuel
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Tehran and Moscow are set to sign a deal on the return of the spent nuclear fuel to Russia in early December during a visit to Tehran by the Russian Atomic Energy Agency Alexander Rumyantsev, a source told Iran's Mehr News Agency.

The pledge was made during a meeting between Iranian Atomic Energy Agency (IAEO) and foreign ministry officials with Rumyantsev in Moscow.

IAEO deputy chairman Mohammad Saeedi and Iran�s special representative for Caspian Sea affairs and the director of the Foreign Ministry Department for Commonwealth of Independent States Mahdi Safari were among the delegates present at the meeting.

During the meeting the two sides discussed various bilateral issues and Tehran-Moscow ties.

Saeedi called for more precise and accurate managerial approaches to expedite the completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

Rumyantsev stressed that Russia has not changed its position toward nuclear cooperation with Iran. He said Moscow still insists on preserving and expanding bilateral ties with Iran based on international law.

He said that it is Iran�s obvious right to access technology and science and master a nuclear fuel cycle, stressing that according to international regulations no country or organization can ask Tehran to halt its peaceful nuclear program.

Iran can pursue its peaceful nuclear program as long as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitors the country�s nuclear activities and it can resolve the problems in the international arena through dialogue and negotiation, the Russian official stated.

Rumyantsev further expressed readiness to negotiate with Iran for the construction of a new nuclear power plant after resolving various issues between the two sides.

Meanwhile Safari called for the prompt establishment of a joint commission for the cooperation of the two countries and the expansion of economic and commercial ties between Russia and Iran over the next months.

The Russian official stressed that the range of cooperation between Iran and Russia would double with the establishment of this commission in late November.

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G.  Nuclear Forces

Topol-M missile system tests to be completed in 2004
(for personal use only)

Testing of the mobile ground-based Topol-M missile system will be brought to completion in December 2004, Yury Solomonov, director of the Moscow Heat Engineering Institute and general designer of Topol-M and Bulava missile systems, told reporters on Friday.

"The industry's enterprises have done whatever is necessary to carry out the final test of the Topol-M in December," he said.

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RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

The production of the mobile Topol-M systems may be included in the state defense order in 2005, director general of the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering Yury Solomonov said.

The fourth test firing of the mobile Topol-M missile is planned for the end of December, Mr. Solomonov added.

"The Defense Ministry has set a very difficult goal: to complete the test this year," he said. "We are doing everything possible to conduct the fourth test firing at the end of December."

He said that if the test is conducted, the production of the mobile Topol-M systems would most likely be included in the state defense order in 2005.

He said that in the future the Topol-M and the Bulava would be combined into a single missile. "These two systems will be turned into one," he said. "This will save a large amount of money."

According to Mr. Solomonov, the Topol-M missile can it can be used both in silo-based systems and on a mobile platform.

This change limits the amount of equipment that needs to be designed and will make it possible to create one missile system instead of several.

Mr. Solomonov said work on the Bulava was proceeding 2-3 years faster than on previous generations of the missile for several reasons.

He said that if the program was properly funded, work would be completed on schedule.

He also said that the Bulava was intended for two types of submarines: test firings from one type of submarine were conducted in September, the tests from Borei class submarines were planned for 2006.

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H.  Nuclear Safety

"Serious Shortcomings" Seen In Security At Russian Nuclear Plants
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Security at three Russian nuclear power plants has "serious shortcomings" despite steps to improve security levels, Russia's deputy prosecutor general, Vladimir Kolesnikov, said Thursday.

"Following checks by the prosecutor, serious shortcomings were discovered in the protection of nuclear stations" at three sites in Russia, the state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Kolesnikov as saying.

"Certain steps to modernize the security systems were taken, but the problems still persist," he said, without specifying what those shortcomings were.

The three nuclear stations he referred to - at Kola, Novovoronezh and Smolensk - are located in regions of Russia bordering Finland, Ukraine and Belarus.

Kolesnikov also said that security checks had also shown up flaws in protection of Russia's huge network of oil pipelines, the report said.

In early October, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said nuclear sites in Russia had adequate protection against terrorism following a string of spectacular attacks that rocked the country in August and September.

Russian environmentalists have on numerous occasions warned authorities against the risk of attacks on nuclear sites in Russia and have called for them to be better protected.

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I.  Official Statements

Alexander Yakovenko, the Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Answers a Russian Media Question Regarding Outcome of 38th Session of Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
(for personal use only)

Question: What could be said about the outcome of the 38th session of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons?

Answer: The 38th session of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) took place in The Hague on October 12-15. It concentrated on practical questions of the progress in the elimination of chemical weapons in accordance with the commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), on the issues of having it universalized and creating national mechanisms to implement the Convention in the member states and on administrative and budgetary matters of the OPCW.

Russia presented at the session information on the course of the destruction of chemical weapons in our country and on the construction of new facilities for this purpose, which will enable us to meet our commitments to eliminate 20 percent of our stocks of chemical weapons by April 29, 2007.

The Convention as an exceptional case provides a possibility to convert former plants for the production of chemical weapons and establish civilian facilities at them. But under the provisions of the CWC the entire conversion should have been completed by April 29, 2003, a date that has already expired. In view of the fact that a new state, Libya, possessing chemical weapons, has recently acceded to the Convention, the session adopted a recommendation for making a technical change to the text of the CWC, by which states acceding to the Chemical Weapons Convention after April 29, 2003, will be able, as needed, to accomplish the conversion of former plants for the production of chemical weapons.

At the same time we presume that the priority is the obligation contained in the CWC to destroy the potential for the production of chemical weapons, whereas conversion is determined therein as a measure of a supplementary and exceptional character. It was based on this recorded understanding that we supported the draft of this recommendation of the Executive Council.

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Daily Press Briefing (excerpted)
U.S. Department of State
(for personal use only)

MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I don't have any statements or announcements. I'd be glad to take your questions.

QUESTION: Well, somehow, the European talks with Iran have slipped off the scope. There's nothing coming from there and I wondered if you got a report from them and some sort of a size-up of -- is it what we see that Iran is saying? You know, no total suspension of enrichment?

MR. BOUCHER: I've seen a lot of different statements from the Iranians, most of them saying that they're not going to suspend or end these programs. The Europeans have had some discussions with the Iranians, now two sets of discussions. We have been hearing from the Europeans. We've talked to them. We've heard about their meetings. They will continue to conduct these meetings and have another meeting soon, we expect, but at this point I really don't have anything to report. There is no particular commitment from the Iranians that I'm aware of that's been made.

QUESTION: Commitment --

MR. BOUCHER: As we've always said, the issue is whether Iran commits to do what is required by the IAEA Board, and at this point they're just not.

QUESTION: No, I meant immediately. They are --

MR. BOUCHER: Well, they are apparently going to meet again soon. That's what we're told.

QUESTION: And you have no -- do you have any --

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to be able to brief on their meetings if they're not doing it.

QUESTION: Well, not on the meetings. I mean, don't you think this is sort of, some sort of a slowdown process to prevent a final judgment?

MR. BOUCHER: The fact of the matter is that in September the IAEA board said when we come to the November meeting we want to have a definitive report on whether Iran is or is not meeting the Board's requirements. That is the expectation that we will all have. Iran needs to agree to that and we need to -- it needs to be able to put the IAEA in a position to verify and report it.

So yes, time is running out on the Iranians, but at the same time these discussions will continue and we will see where we are in November, whether or not Iran has met the requirement. That�s the issue and it's a simple issue, as far as we're concerned.

QUESTION: Okay, a senior Iranian official is quoted in Tehran as saying that he thinks that even if you do eventually refer the matter to the Security Council, there's maybe a ten percent chance that Iran would actually face sanctions. Do you want to try to disabuse him of that notion or do you agree that if it goes to the Security Council there will probably just be a lot of thinking and then no sanctions?

MR. BOUCHER: First of all, there's a lot of different things the Security Council can do with it once it gets it. I would just -- I don't know who this senior official is, whether he's named or unnamed.

QUESTION: I don't have the name. I'm sorry.

MR. BOUCHER: Okay. But in any case, I would say that at least some of the Iranian Government seemed to have gone to great lengths to argue against referral to the Security Council for over a year. And I guess there are many, perhaps, others in Iran, in Tehran, that are more concerned than this particular gentleman.


QUESTION: Is the U.S. aware of the offer that the IAEA has reportedly made to Iran to guarantee a supply of fuel for their reactors? And what's your reaction to such a move?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know that -- I think you'll have to check with the IAEA as to whether there's a particular offer on their behalf. It has been a feature of the discussions that, as you know, the Russians, in terms of their supply of fuel, the Europeans, in terms of how they have discussed, I think, in public, their potential cooperation with Iran, and the IAEA, that in order to reassure the world that Iran's not going to conduct enrichment activities that lead to the possibility of nuclear weapons, the best way to do that is to have a supply in of fuel and a of taking back of spent fuel. That's the arrangements the Russians have proposed for the power plants that they're building, so -- and it's always been our understanding that the IAEA would have a role in whatever is worked out with Iran, whatever Iran needs to do. I mean, Iran, even if it's referred to the Security Council, the IAEA still has a role in verifying, describing, looking at what is going on in Iran and trying to get -- to ascertain whether or not Iran is meeting its commitments. So -- I guess we saw the report this morning that sort of stems from the logic of everything we've seen, but it doesn�t -- I'm not in a position to say that there's a particular offer like that being made.

QUESTION: Do you happen to know if experts, American experts, feel secure that there can be verification of uranium enrichment so as to discern the point at which the intensity of the enrichment packed -- moves into the weapons preparation stage? You have to get its confidence --

MR. BOUCHER: That's not what we're thinking about. The IAEA Board has asked --

QUESTION: No, I know.

MR. BOUCHER: -- has demanded of Iran that it suspend all enrichment activity, period. That's the standard we expect Iran to meet, because of these concerns that anything short of that would still leave a lot of concerns on our part and the part of others that Iran was continuing to pursue a weapons program.


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Regarding Presentation by Russia of Report on Compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1540 on Nonproliferation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
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On October 26 the Russian Federation presented to the Security Council Committee, established in accordance with UNSCR 1540 of April 28, 2004, a national report detailing our steps for ensuring the implementation of the provisions of this resolution.

The forwarding by states of such reports, as well as the establishment of the Security Council Committee, are provided for in the said resolution.

Resolution 1540, of which our country was an initiator, provides for actions on a national and international basis to put a stop to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their means of delivery and related materials with the chief objective of preventing them from falling into the hands of non-state actors, primarily terrorists.

The Russian report contains information on the measures carried out at the national level by Russia to strengthen the legislative base and law enforcement activities and to ensure accounting, control and physical protection as well as control over the export and transit of WMD-related components. It also reflects the specific Russian steps undertaken on the international scene in the context of the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Aware of the dangers inherent in the spread of WMD and their link with terrorism, which is a global challenge to peace and international stability, the Russian Federation advocates the building-up of efforts by all states to counter this threat, with the United Nations and its Security Council playing a central coordinating role.

Moscow highly assesses UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and intends to actively work in terms of the implementation of the obligations therein contained by all the UN member states.

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