Highlighting the U.S. Commitment to Nuclear Disarmament

May 6, 2010
Under Secretary Tauscher Speaks at NPT Review Conference

About the Author: Ellen Tauscher serves as the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

On Monday, Secretary Clinton delivered the opening U.S. statement at the Eighth Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon), reinforcing President Obama's goal of achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.

“I represent a President and a country committed to a vision of a world without nuclear weapons and to taking the concrete steps necessary that will help us get there,” Secretary Clinton said. “I come to this conference with sincere and serious proposals to advance the fundamental aims of the NPT and strengthen the global nonproliferation regime.”

Ever since the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty entered into force in 1970, the Parties to the Treaty have gathered every five years to review its effectiveness and members' implementation of its provisions. We hope that the 2010 Review Conference will reaffirm the support of Parties for the Treaty, and also strengthen both the NPT and the broader nuclear nonproliferation regime.

At the conference, the United States delegation will hold a number of briefings for other delegations and non-proliferation NGOs on key NPT-related issues. The first of these, held at the United Nations on Wednesday, focused on our commitment to disarmament, which is one of the NPT's three central pillars. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs Dr. Michael Nacht and Under Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Security Thomas D'Agostino joined me in highlighting U.S. disarmament efforts.

I began the discussion with a review of the agenda for disarmament outlined by President Obama in Prague one year ago, and I discussed the concrete steps that the U.S. has been taking since then on this issue, such as signing the New START Treaty, releasing the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), and hosting the Nuclear Security Summit. From there, Assistant Secretary Nacht provided a more intensive explanation of the NPR, including reductions in the role and size of nuclear weapons in U.S. defense policy. Administrator D'Agostino then discussed reductions to our nuclear stockpile and how the Department of Energy Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration is leading U.S. efforts to dispose of excess fissile material. He also spoke about reductions in our nuclear weapons complex and how the NPR has affected our nuclear stockpile management.

After our official remarks, we were able to spend forty-five minutes answering a number of questions from the mixed audience of delegation members, NGO representatives and press. Those exchanges helped us to make clear how much effort the United States is making on the disarmament pillar of the NPT and to further explain our goals for this Review Conference. Questions ranged from detailed inquiries on our stockpile management techniques to our policies on nuclear weapons in Europe and how the United States intends to move forward on our efforts to increase peace and stability worldwide. Many of the questions focused on the recently-released NPR and prompted a more in-depth discussion of the conclusions, policies, and recommendations contained in that document. Unfortunately, there were many more questions than we had time to answer, but we look forward to additional discussions on how, by working together, we can achieve President Obama's goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.

This was a fantastic first event for our delegation, highlighting our important transparency and disarmament commitments, and we hope for continued engagement with the non-proliferation community throughout the course of the RevCon. The United States has made a strong effort, but there is still a lot of work to be done -- by all of the Treaty Parties.

Want to learn more?President Obama's Statement on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review ConferenceWatch Secretary Clinton's Opening RemarksVisit our NPT HomepageRead our NPT Disarmament One-PagerVisit the Department of Defense Nuclear Posture Review PageRead Department of Defense Release on Nuclear Stockpile TransparencyVisit the UN's Review Conference Website



New Mexico, USA
May 7, 2010

Eric in new Mexico writes:

@Ellen Tauscher,

(from the transcript of State Dept briefing of May 5th)

"And finally before taking you questions, over the past few hours, we’ve done an intensive search here at the Department of State – every nook and cranny, every rock – and we can safely report that Usama bin Ladin is not here. (Laughter.)

No, it was an interview with the president --

QUESTION: Right – greater Washington or you’ve looked at the State Department?

MR. CROWLEY: Just the confines of our State Department, but it was reported by the president of Iran that he is here in Washington. That’s news to us.

QUESTION: Let’s --

MR. CROWLEY: And thank you for laughing, by the way.

QUESTION: Let’s hope we don’t find him here after you’ve said that.

MR. CROWLEY: I’m pretty confident of that.

QUESTION: I don’t know. There were some strange looking people down at the cafeteria. (Laughter.)
I'm tempted to offer Matt Lee (in being witness to some "strange looking people"), a thought that perhaps we just haven't got UBL back from the taxidermist yet... (chuckle).

But seriously, when a nation's president (Aminidijad) goes public in accusing other nations of what itself is guilty of (in accusing the US of sponsoring terrorism), and then claims bin laden is afforded safe haven by the US gov. in Washington D.C., it strikes me as being so totally out to lunch that in stating this, and with respect to his accusing others of what the Iranian Government is guilty of, that folks should really think about just how much Aminidijad actually knows about where bin Laden is currently.

Since bin Laden has family in Iran and likes being a "guest".

My question is this; Since we know al-quaida seeks nuclear weapons and we know Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world today, and is also seeking nuclear weapons would we go get bin Laden if we knew he was in Iran?

Regardless of what we had to do to go get him, up to and including removing the Iranian regime from power if they didn't hand him over?

I believe precedent has already been set in regards to the taliban...but just how far is this Admin. willing to go to bring bin Laden to justice?

Your thoughts on this would help clarify a few issues of international security as far as the parameters of achieving it are concerned.

On a more relevant note to this topic, and all that's been stated in the links you've provided;

A fairly interesting debate is in process on The Secretary's post here:


And I'd be remis not to invite you and the Secretary to weigh in on the following bit of analysis included in the big picture.

"As it is, to attack the founding principals of the NPT the way Aminidijad did in his speech sends a clear message that the Iranian government neither respects the terms of the treaty nor has any intent to abide by its tenants.

So their "withdrawl" from the NPT is already a done deal in model respects except for the formality of an announcement."

As a long-time public contributor to this blog I have a simple suggestion on interactive government.

That when anyone (senior official to the rank and file FSO) posts a blog topic for discussion here, that if you've taken the time to write it and post it, please take the time to follow-up with the citizens that respond to your posts, because we're taking time out of our day to help you do your jobs better for one, and two, that you can dispel the rampant urban myth that this government doesn't bother to listen to its citizens and that this blog only pays lip service to our opinions, analysis, and ideas. I don't personally hold that to be the case, but the level of interaction has dropped to absolute zero since the blog had a makeover and that is a problem for its continued credibility and stated purpose in being.

One that's easily resolved, I might add.

I know you folks have a lot on your plate and the pressures of the job etc..etc.., so if for nothing else, do it for the credibility of the State Dept's official blog when you can find the time please, if not for our mutual comic relief on occasion.

Keep up the good work,

United States
May 7, 2010

O.C. in USA writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico,

I'm glad that you're laughing as our foreign policy decisions are laughable at times. Was it a line in the Godfather that stated, "keep your friends close and your enemies even closer"? Obama recently stated too that taking an "Us" and "Them" stance does little to further dialogue to two opposing sides.
It's only through dialogue where one can find common ground. If this issue is important to the U.S. then the State Department should be in their with Ahmadinejad fighting for understanding. Bombs do not a foreign policy make. We live in a much different time now.

New Mexico, USA
May 7, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ OC in USA,

Unfortunately OC, the United States is still a nation at war, and I'm not inclined to see us lose it.

Dialoge is only constructive when it is a two-way street, and negotiation in good faith takes place only among the willing to find common ground.

Now if and when Iran proves that it is capable and willing to proceed with such a constructive attitude, could I ever entertain the idea that this nation should take options off the table with regards to dealing with them.

Being at war with terrorism includes any and all adhearants to, or sponsors of such activity...as US policy, whether that war plays out on a diplomatic level or the kinetic. Both are employed to assure success to bring folks home with the honor and respect they deserve for having not only protected their fellow citizens, but in having brought a measure of hope, sustainability, security, and the good will among friends to bring nation's subjected to terrorist agenda full circle with that nation's potential, to create the future they choose for themselves, rather than the one terrorists would choose for them by dictat.

Nor do we have to "fight" for understanding on these matters, as they become redily self evident to those concerned, (friend and enemy alike) where our nation's priorities lie.

Bin Laden should have payed more attention to Admiral Yammamoto's thoughts after Pearl Harbor when he spoke of "awaking a sleeping giant.", and the Iranian Government would do well to bear this in mind.

As to what we face;


Iran weekly advertises “application form” for suicide operations
Friday, 22 July 2005
Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Jul. 23 – The following is the translation of the text of an advertisement that appears regularly in the hard-line weekly Parto Sokhan as part of a recruitment drive for suicide operation volunteers.

English translation below:



In the Name of God, the Most High

“Martyrdom-seeking operations embody the pinnacle of a nation’s greatness and the apex of its epics”

His Eminence the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Statement for Recruitment of Martyrdom-seeking Forces

In order to achieve all-round readiness against the enemies of Islam and the sacred Islamic Republic and to protect the foundations of Islam, the Lovers of Martyrdom Garrison plans to organise “a martyrdom-seeking division” for each province in the country from the martyrdom-seeking and brave popular forces of that province and give them specific and specialised training.
We therefore request all our pious brothers and sisters, who are committed and determined to defend Islam, if willing, to submit two photographs of themselves, a copy of their identity cards, and the filled-in application form below to the following address, so that preparations for their organisation and training could begin:

P.O. BOX 16535-664, Tehran

It should be noted that for the forces of the martyrdom-seeking division from each province, the training and preparations for martyrdom-seeking operations will be implemented in that province.

Membership request application;

I, …, son/daughter of ………… ID number………… Date of Birth …………
Address: …………………………………………… Telephone: ……………………
Request membership in the Martyrdom-seeking Division in the province of …………..

Signature: ……………


As long as the leading sponsor of terrorism exists as safe haven next door to the fledgling democracies we've helped establish over the last 5 years, no amount of troops, no amount of diplomacy, and no amount of money spent in nation building will change the dynamics of the instability created by those who want, and have been engaged in war with the US over several decades.

That said, I am in full agreement with then President Bush when he said,

"And the Shia extremists have achieved something that al Qaeda has so far failed to do: In 1979, they took control of a major power, the nation of Iran, subjugating its proud people to a regime of tyranny, and using that nation's resources to fund the spread of terror and pursue their radical agenda."
(Excerpt from speech-President Discusses Global War on Terror
Capital Hilton Hotel ,Washington, D.C.)

We don't want to give them the war they want nor expect....on their terms. We give them the war they are neither prepared for nor able to fight...on our terms.

And you're seeing that happen on multiple levels in multiple international fora and on the ground in foiling the Iranian government's non-peaceful agenda and interdicting and disrupting their activities.

Susan C.
Florida, USA
May 7, 2010

Susan C. in Florida writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico In response to your observation about "our" blog...I think what has happened is that we are now sharing most, if not all, of these postings with the DoS's twitter and Facebook sites. I am afraid a lot of the conversation has moved to these places. I am an individual who does not like twitter or Facebook. I still love this blog and all the postings/comments. I will continue to read and comment right here, along with you, John in Greece, Flavius in VA., O.C. in USA, and anyone else who joins us. Best regards, Eric, keep on posting.

United States
May 7, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

@ Eric,

Iranians aren't stupid. There will be the poor occasional fanatic to sign up. But most Iranaians don't like him as much as the West doesn't like him. Why does Ahmadinejad come here? He's looking for dialogue and connection despite what you may think. He just wants what he wants on his terms. It's not like America has the best track record in Iran. There is wariness on both sides. You speak of a sleeping giant but how do you know Iran isn't the sleeping giant?

United States
May 7, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

If you offered every Iranian a chance to study and earn a diploma from a well respected American or British University, most would probably jump at the chance.

Foreign policy through education and access makes sense to people. You're giving Iranians hope for a bright future outside of their fishbowl.

New Mexico, USA
May 7, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Susan,

I guess I'm having a bit of a time fitting reality into 5000 characters or less, let alone an entire concept in a tweet.


I'll take that critical info under advisement, thanks.

Perhaps there comes a point where public diplomacy becomes slave to technology, and thus limited to those who posess access to the media.

I forget the President's exact words during the correspondant's dinner, but as I see it developing, print media may become the horse drawn cart of the digital age.

I hope Dipnote does not share the same fate among State's digital outreach formats.

I think right about next week would be a real good time for the President to post a blog here, on this very subject regarding the US committment to disarmament.

After all, he's right about one thing, we may not see a nuclear-free planet in this lifetime.

I was kind of thinking July,2045 would be a reasonable target date if we're to see it.

I'm in a wee bit of a hurry Susan, having just turned 50, so posing the notion seems reasonable under the circumstance.

Mark a hundred years of insanity, and call it over and done with.

New Mexico, USA
May 10, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ O.C.:

I believe the US was educating something like 20,000 Iranian students per year before 1979, the most of any other foreign nation at the time.

The regime wants to isolate its people from influence by western culture, and the international community intends to isolate Iran if it won't comply with the UN Security Council.

The Iranian students are the ones that have kept the dreams of freedom alive for well over two decades, culminating in last year's protests en-mass over a rigged election.

Right now their outlook for freedom itself is lost between a rock and a hard place.

Donald M.
Virginia, USA
May 10, 2010

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

5 9 10


Disarming Nuclear Weapons, what a wonderful idea. The world can do with less Nuclear Weapons and more people who care about the planet and mother earth. Countries have the right to defend themselves but using Nuclear Weapons means the end of the world. Everyone knows that once one Nation uses this kind of weapon in the 21th Century it would be mass casualties, everyone who has Nukes would Nuke Each other, so the end game is Nuclear Disaster on the largest scale to mankind. I don't think that when God created man or woman on this planet, he would give them this kind of power to destroy so many lives at once. When we all take a step back, look around the world, smell the roses, plant flowers, plant veggies, grow trees and above all take the time to appreciate what life has to offer. Everyone, takes things for granted. When life and death can happen in a blink of an eye, stop and remember you had only one life to give and one life to offer hope and faith to others. Planting good roots, and above all means finding solutions to new energy problems without Nuclear power or Nuclear Arms that comes with a hefty price of Nuclear Waste. We all are guardians of the planet and when this stewardship is faulted, who do you blame? You can blame the oil companies, but then were you so eager to blame them when you were driving into work, or flying on your Jet Aircraft that requires fuel? Changes need to happen, when it comes to drilling for oil, the storage and handling process, maybe even a review of the oil tanks in Midland Texas should have an investigation as to who owns them, how crude oil is sent to these refineries, and who is really making the big profits with OPEC? If President Barack Obama is about change, then maybe he needs to make a trip to the State of Texas and figure out exactly what in the sam hill is going on at the refineries, and storage tanks in that state. How OPEC continues to trade barrels of oil on the open market, when it comes out of the ground in the Gulf of Mexico. How does the Arabs profit on oil that is on this side of the world?


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