NEW YORK. May 19. The EastWest Institute (EWI) released today a U.S.-Russia joint threat assessment on Iran's nuclear and missile potential. More than a year in the making, the report was produced by a team of Russian and American scientists and experts brought together by EWI. "The EastWest Institute is proud to have facilitated such an unprecedented effort," said John Edwin Mroz, President and CEO of the EastWest Institute. "We hope that this joint threat assessment by Russians and Americans will serve to inform a more collaborative and robust response to the Iranian program."
The report finds that Iran could produce a simple nuclear device within one to three years. It could develop a nuclear warhead for ballistic missiles in six to eight years. It further finds that Iran will not be able, for at least ten to fifteen years, to independently master the technologies necessary for advanced intermediate-range ballistic missiles or intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Those timetables could be accelerated, the report notes, if Iran were to receive substantial outside help. While stressing that they do not know Iran's political intentions, the report's authors call on the U.S. and Russia to explore cooperative responses if Iran should try to "break out" as a nuclear power.
"It wasn't easy to produce a report both sides could agree on," said Grigory Chernyavsky, Chairman of the Committee of Scientists for Global Security and Arms Control and one of the Russian contributors to the report. "But the final result provides a solid technical base for decision-making."
The report's participants warn that European missile defenses will not provide dependable protection against an Iranian threat if and when it emerges. They suggest that an effective response requires cooperation between Russia and the U.S. on missile defense, avoiding the kind of tensions that have arisen over the planned deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.
"The important thing is for the U.S. and Russia to cooperate in resolving the urgent crisis arising from the Iranian program," said David Holloway, one of the contributors to the report and a faculty member at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.
The idea of conducting the joint threat assessment on Iran first surfaced on October 27, 2007, when EWI convened a meeting of its U.S.-Russia Group on Counter-terrorism and Strategic Security in Moscow. The U.S. team was led by retired General James L. Jones and the Russian team by Ambassador Anatoly Safonov, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation.
The conclusions and recommendations in the report are the group's own-EWI was pleased to convene the group and provide the space and resources for them to do their work, but did not exercise editorial control of the contents.
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