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Iran's Fifth Step

Arms Control Wonk

Release Date: 01/08/2020

What's Up with Turkey's S400? show art What's Up with Turkey's S400?

Arms Control Wonk

Turkey previously announced that its S400 air defense regiment would be activated and in service by the end of April, 2020, after its delivery from Russia in 2019. Since it is now May 2020, with no S400 deployment in sight, Aaron and Scott sat down with Rob Lee for an in-depth talk about what could be holding it up.  Rob Lee is pursuing his PhD at the Department of War Studies at King's College London. He was previously a Marine infantry officer and fellow at the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST).  Support us over at !

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Renewed Nuclear Testing in China?  show art Renewed Nuclear Testing in China?

Arms Control Wonk

The Wall Street Journal reported that "" based on the State Department's 2020 Annual , but that is not quite what the report actually says. Jeffrey and Anne sit down to talk about open-source tracking of the Lop Nur nuclear testing site, the difference types of nuclear-related tests, and how one little treaty could make a big difference in preventing actual nuclear explosive tests. 

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Iran's Satellite and the IRGC Space Program show art Iran's Satellite and the IRGC Space Program

Arms Control Wonk

Iran launched a small satellite into orbit. But more importantly, it was Iran's revolutionary guards, not the civilian space program, that did the launching -- and with a new solid rocket motor as the second stage. Fabian Hinz joins Jeffrey to talk about the IRGC space program and break down its most recent launch. Support us over at !

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Russia's Nudol Anti-Satellite Missile Test show art Russia's Nudol Anti-Satellite Missile Test

Arms Control Wonk

In mid-April, Russia tested a direct ascent anti-satellite missile (DA ASAT), the Nudol/PL19, against a point in space. Anti-satellite weapons are an old favorite of the pod, so Anne, Aaron, and Jeffrey meet to discuss the history of anti-satellite weapons, the U.S. negotiating strategy that led to the spread of hit-to-kill and anti-satellite weapons, and the hypocrisy of certain PR statements. They also gush over open-source collection and analysis of NOTAMs, which allowed Michael Thompson to predict the ASAT test ahead of time. Check out previous Arms Control Wonk episodes about Hit-to-Kill...

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The IAEA's questions for Iran show art The IAEA's questions for Iran

Arms Control Wonk

The International Atomic Energy Agency has questions about three sites in Iran -- but Iran doesn't feel like answering. Aaron, Anne and Jeffrey discuss the atomic archive, access to suspect facilities, and environmental sampling. Plus, there are a few things in recent IAEA reports that worry us. Support us over at !

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Tracking the PLA Rocket Forces show art Tracking the PLA Rocket Forces

Arms Control Wonk

The People's Liberation Army Rocket Forces used to be a nearly opaque organization to all but a few open-source researchers. Now, increased availability of satellite-imagery and public media enable open-source exploitation and tracking of PRC missile forces like never before.  joins Jeffrey and Scott to discuss open-source tracking PRC missile brigades, his geolocated order of battle KMZ, and the increasing accessibility of open-source research methods.  Links of Note: Decker's blog and PLARF ORBAT in KMZ form: Support us over at !

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Mort Halperin and the Okinawa Decision show art Mort Halperin and the Okinawa Decision

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Mort Halperin a giant as an academic and a policy practitioner. And he's working on a memoir that covers his sixty year career in foreign policy. Mort played an important role in the US decision to revert Okinawa to Japanese control without nuclear weapons -- a case study Jeffrey teaches in is class on decision-making. Jeffrey talks to Mort about that pivotal period in US-Japanese relations. Support us over at !

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Biden and the Bomb show art Biden and the Bomb

Arms Control Wonk

Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. While the popular perception of Biden is that he's quite moderate, on nuclear issues he's always been relatively progressive. Aaron and Jeffrey discuss Biden and bomb. Support us over at !

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The PLA Rocket Force's Rapid Expansion  show art The PLA Rocket Force's Rapid Expansion

Arms Control Wonk

China's People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) has been very busy in the last few years, testing new high-tech missiles and standing up new launch brigades.  Superproducer Scott joins Jeffrey and Anne to talk about reports of the PLARF test launching over 100 missiles in 2019, rapidly expanding since 2017, and some of the data issues with analysis of the PRC's nuclear and missile arsenal.  Links of Note: The PLARF launched over 100 missiles in 2019: The PLARF stands up 11 brigades since 2017: Support us over at !

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Visualizations and Verification  show art Visualizations and Verification

Arms Control Wonk

James Palmer of the UK's Atomic Weapons Establishment joins the ACW trio to talk about the importance of 3D modelling and data visualization, including recreations of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site and virtual reality training simulations. Links of Note, Courtesy of James Palmer: Posters with example images (click ‘Download Poster’ on page): Software discussed during podcast. GeoVisionary:  Cesium:  Support us over at !

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More Episodes

The ACW crew discusses the JCPOA...again. Iran has announced its 5th step away from the JCPOA. The trio discusses what that means, what it doesn't mean, and where we go from here. 

And, for your ease of reference, Iran's Five Steps:

  1. May 2019: No longer limit stockpiles of LEU or heavy water
  2. July 2019: No longer limit uranium enrichment to 3.67%
  3. September 2019: Abandoned all limits on R&D for new centrifuges 
  4. November 2019: Resume uranium enrichment at Fordow, resulting in a podcast.
  5. January 2020: Abandon limits on number of centrifuges. 

 

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