The International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe almost coincided with the US -North Korean summit. Though in different parts of the world – Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un met in Singapore whereas Luxembourg Forum experts resided in Geneva – the topics they discussed were quite similar: security and peacekeeping concerns. However, in Singapore they referred mostly to the South-Asian region, and in Geneva – to the world at large, including not only the relations between Pyongyang and Washington, but also between Washington and Moscow, Washington and Tehran, Washington and Beijing, Washington and the EU.
During the two-day Forum the analysts talked through many sensitive and worrying issues that had been introduced into the wider international agenda by the current US administration.
The latest challenge is the US pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal. The experts in Luxembourg looked into a whole range of drawbacks in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which had been unanimously approved by the UN Security Council on July 20 2015. The JCPA bans Tehran from possessing more than 300 kg of 3.67% low-enriched uranium, as well as producing high-enriched uranium and weapons grade plutonium, for the next 15 years. However, it is widely believed that in ten years from now, if no other agreement is in place, Iran would be capable of producing its first nuclear weapon within one or two years. Besides, this agreement doesn’t prohibit the long-range missiles development, which is a threat not only to the European, but other countries as well. This is something that all negotiating parties, including Russia, the US, China, the UK, France and Germany, were aware of. But they also realized that this was the best of all possible outcomes, because without this deal Iran had every chance to already possess a nuclear weapon.
“By pulling out of this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action the US undermines the whole nonproliferation regime, - says Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Sazhin. - After the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty the JCPA is the second most important document in nonproliferation. It proved that there are ways to restrain nuclear ambitions of some particular states. The collapse of this deal would create various loopholes for about 30 so-called “threshold states” which are already on the verge of creating their own nuclear weapons.”
The experts in Luxembourg also voiced their concern over many important treaties and agreements on nuclear weapons still remaining unratified, or not being implemented. Among them are the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, agreements on plutonium, Weapons Safety and Security Exchange agreement - all suspended for a long time. This undermines the principles of regional and strategic stability, the nonproliferation regime, removing these matters to the second plan, as the world’s leading states are trying to resolve newly emerging conflicts and standoffs. Moreover, this also leaves no chance of joining efforts to counter nuclear terrorism threat. According to some of the leading experts, the question here is not about whether it happens, but rather when it happens. Does it really take a real nuclear terrorist attack to make us realize how real the threat is with all its devastating consequences?
The experts also warned that the terrorist threat is increased by growing polarization that leads to the consolidation ultra-left, ultra-right and terrorist movements.
The Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe produced a Declaration containing experts’ suggestions and recommendations to leading international organizations and world powers on what needs to be done to enhance the nuclear nonproliferation regime and nuclear security.