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The Iran Nuclear Accord and the Future of Nonproliferation: A Constructivist-Critical Approach

Essays and Interviews
Nader Entessar
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

The 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference turned out to be a disappointment. Once again, nuclear and non-nuclear states were unable to bridge the differences that have prevented them from reaching a final agreement on the abolition of nuclear weapons.The 2015 conference was unproductive in comparison to the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which adopted a comprehensive 64-point action plan. The 2010 convention was spurred in part by the April 2010 New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) signed by Russia and the United States. However, by the time of the 2015 NPT Conference, conditions had changed significantly; the Ukraine crisis had triggered a new wave of U.S.-Russia hostilities that stunted progress toward the reduction of nuclear weapons, while North Korea’s successful testing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile in May 2015 heightened international nonproliferation concerns. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the 2015 NPT Review Conference was its failure to schedule a conference on a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)–free zone in the Middle East, an issue raised two decades earlier at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. The Non- Aligned Movement blamed this failure on the obstructionism of the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, while the United States criticized the Arab League’s inflexibility. In sum, the failures of this conference have reinforced the perception that the NPT is in a state of (semi) crisis and requires reform.