The Non-Proliferation Agenda in 2022

Next year kicks off with the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference that will be held 4-28 January, following two years of delay due to Covid-19. The delays may favor a more constructive conference given the Biden Administration’s less rigid positions. For the Middle East in particular, new life may be breathed into the ever-elusive Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) initiative, particularly following the UNGA mandated Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East WMDFZ, but genuine progress does not seem possible in light of the political situation in the region. The Iran deal will likely eclipse any attention awarded to the WMDFZ initiative. Coinciding with the resumption of indirect talks between the United States and Iran, Tehran announced it has started producing enriched uranium with more efficient advanced centrifuges at its Fordow enrichment facility. Any enrichment at the facility had been prohibited under the 2015 Iran deal, which in many respects highlights how badly eroded the deal is. Iran will likely not restrict its nuclear activities until there is immediate sanctions relief, arguing that this was a clear quid pro quo of the deal. Tehran will also seek reassurances that future US Administrations could not so easily walk away from any deal that would be reached.

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