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Nuclear Coronavirus CSS Blog

Keeping the 2020 Momentum Around Nuclear Issues Alive

Image courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Brian Ferguson/DVIDS

This blog belongs to the CSS’ coronavirus blog series, which forms a part of the center’s analysis of the security policy implications of the coronavirus crisis. See the CSS special theme page on the coronavirus for more.

Various nuclear milestones in 2020 have provided important opportunities to raise awareness on the role of nuclear weapons in national security strategies, their impact on communities, the state of arms control treaties, and progress in nuclear disarmament. While the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference on its 50th anniversary was rescheduled due to the pandemic, the delay could enable member states to further engage in dialogue, seek compromises, and suggest new initiatives. Depending on when and how the conference will eventually take place, the coronavirus crisis might even bring much-needed change to conference proceedings.

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Nuclear Coronavirus CSS Blog

Corona and the Future of the Iran Nuclear Deal

Ever since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2018, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been in crisis. Tehran has taken various steps that violate the JCPOA provisions, but it is keeping the door open for their full implementation. European governments have tried to circumvent related US sanctions against Iran, at least for humanitarian supplies. This should help Iran, especially with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. But will it be possible to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons over the long term?

On 9 July 2020, Névine Schepers, Researcher in the Team Swiss and Euro-Atlantic Security at the CSS addressed this topic in a CSS Brown Bag Webinar entitled “Corona and the Future of the Iran Nuclear Deal.”

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Conflict

After Nine Years, Syria’s Conflict Has Only Become More Complicated

Image courtesy of Jodi Eastham/DVIDS.

This article was originally published by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on 12 March 2020.

The engagement of external actors has protracted the conflict and Syrians civilians continue to bear the brunt.


In March 2011, as the Arab world was roiled by demonstrations, protests broke out in Syria to demand political reform after four decades of Assad rule. Nine years later, the Assad regime is on the offensive against the last rebel stronghold of Idlib, with Russia, Turkey and Iran all heavily invested in the conflict. The humanitarian consequences for Syrians cannot be overstated and a political solution to the conflict seems as distant as ever. USIP’s Mona Yacoubian discusses the dreadful toll on the Syrian population and what the battle for Idlib means for the trajectory of the conflict.

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International Relations

Iran and the US Avoid War for Now, but Political Sparring Will Continue

Image courtesy of The White House/Flickr.

This article was originally published by the ASPI‘s The Strategist on 9 January 2020.

President Donald Trump’s public response to Iranian missile strikes on two US airbases in Iraq suggests that he and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have reached a mutual ‘no war’ agreement. Barring any miscalculation by either side that triggers military escalation, the confrontation will continue to be played out politically, with the US maintaining its ‘maximum pressure’ campaign that seeks to force regime change through severe economic sanctions. There will be a lot of bruising ahead for Iran, but Trump will not win politically.

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Conflict

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2020

Image courtesy of Adrian Weale/DVIDS.

This article was originally published by the International Crisis Group on 27 December 2019.

Friends and foes alike no longer know where the United States stands. As Washington overpromises and underdelivers, regional powers are seeking solutions on their own – both through violence and diplomacy.