IPFM releases report on Steps toward a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and all other Weapons of Mass Destruction

IPFM has released a new research report "Fissile Material Controls in the Middle East: Steps toward a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and all other Weapons of Mass Destruction" by Frank von Hippel, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Emad Kiyaei, Harold Feiveson and Zia Mian (pdf file).

The report suggests possible initiatives for fissile material control that could serve as initial steps toward an eventual Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction. These initiatives include actions that Israel, the only regional state with nuclear weapons, could take towards nuclear disarmament; and measures of collective restraint regarding fissile material production and use to be taken by all states of the region to foster confidence that their civilian nuclear activities are indeed peaceful in intent and not being pursued as a cover to develop nuclear-weapon options.

For Israel, the initial steps proposed include ending production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, declaring its stockpiles of these materials, and placing increasing portions under international safeguards as steps toward their elimination. The regional measures that are proposed would serve to bring a Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone closer and make the zone more robust when it is in force. These measures include no separation of plutonium, no use of highly enriched uranium or plutonium as fuel, and no national enrichment plants. It would greatly strengthen the global nonproliferation regime if these measures were adopted worldwide, including by the nuclear weapon states.