Deputy Vice President, Nuclear Materials Security
Eric Brewer on the Iranian Nuclear Program’s Entry Into Dangerous New Territory
In an op-ed for Foreign Affairs, “Iran on the Nuclear Brink,” Eric Brewer, deputy vice president for NTI’s Nuclear Materials Security Program, calls on Washington to improve its ability to detect and respond to Iran’s nuclear activities now that its nuclear program enters “dangerous new territory” with enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb.
“To increase the odds that the international community would detect an Iranian breakout, the United States, its allies, and, if possible, China and Russia should push Iran to allow daily IAEA visits to Iran’s two enrichment sites and nuclear material storage locations,” writes Brewer. “In addition, Iran should resume using online enrichment monitors—an automated technology that continuously monitors enrichment levels when IAEA officials are not present.”
Brewer explains that there are reasons why Iran would comply with IAEA oversight and assure the international community that they are not “sprinting for a bomb.” For one, these conditions would not prevent Iran from continuing its nuclear advances, which “it believes provide important negotiating leverage.”
In the op-ed, Brewer also outlines a selection of steps that the United States could take to avert a crisis in Iran, such as shortening military response times and properly communicating its diplomatic and military moves. “These options are not ideal, but in the absence of a restored nuclear agreement, they may be all Washington has left to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran,” he says.
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Eric Brewer, deputy vice president for NTI’s Nuclear Materials Security Program, co-authored a piece for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace titled “South Korea’s Nuclear Flirtations Highlight the Growing Risks of Allied Proliferation.”
NTI Co-Chairs Ernest J. Moniz and Sam Nunn call on the United States to resume a position of global leadership to reduce the risks posed by nuclear weapons.
“The bottom line is that the countries and areas with the greatest responsibility for protecting the world from a catastrophic act of nuclear terrorism are derelict in their duty,” the 2023 NTI Index reports.