By Chris Raggett, Assistant editor
Although foreign policy played a small role in the US presidential campaign late last year, the way Barack Obama handles Iran before 2016 could determine how the president goes down in history. So argues Mark Fitzpatrick, the director of the IISS’s non-proliferation programme, speaking at a discussion meeting last week about Obama’s upcoming second term.
Over the weekend, Iran signalled it might return in late February to talks with the international community over its disputed nuclear programme. However, the country has also recently notified the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, that it will be installing new, more efficient centrifuges at its uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz. This would dramatically shorten the time it would take Tehran to ‘break-out’ and make a nuclear bomb after expelling IAEA inspectors. Fitzpatrick, who believes there is the chance that some sort of military action ‘may come into play’ in the next four years to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, has said the installation of new centrifuges would be a ‘game changer‘.
By Dr Jeffrey Mazo, Managing Editor, Survival; Research Fellow for Environmental Security and Science Policy
Stuck in my hotel in Washington DC channel-zapping for hours during Hurricane Sandy last week, I was surprised not to hear one mention of global warming in connection with the storm, despite the almost non-stop coverage that pushed even the close-fought presidential election out of the headlines.
Admittedly, this was a limited and idiosyncratic sample of the coverage, and people began blogging and writing about Sandy and global warming quickly enough. And I was in DC for a series of meetings and lectures at IISS-US and SAIS on the consequences of catastrophic climate change. At my (rescheduled) events the question of whether Sandy was a manifestation of climate change came up again and again.