Nuclear Nonproliferation Meetings in Vienna

Today I returned from Vienna where I had high level meetings on multilateral nuclear nonproliferation efforts with officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

The IAEA is tasked with ensuring that countries are abiding by commitments in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.  The main topic of our conversations was on the nuclear threat posed by Iran.  I received an extensive briefing from the IAEA staff on their work around the globe and met with Director General Yukiya Amano.  I was reassured by the commitment of the new IAEA leadership and support its efforts to shed light on Iran’s ongoing efforts to pursue a nuclear weapon.  I was not, however, reassured by the mounting evidence of Iran’s nuclear weapons programs, and these briefings reaffirmed my strong commitment to ensuring that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapons capability.  In the coming weeks, I look forward to impressing a sense of urgency upon my colleagues in the Senate and officials in the Administration.  We need to move on strong sanctions now.

I was also impressed with the U.S. diplomats in Vienna, some of whom hail from Pennsylvania.  These individuals are true professionals, who are dedicated to strong nuclear security and ensuring that America’s interests are well represented.

On Monday, I met with Tibor Toth, the Director General of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization and his staff.  He provided a detailed briefing of the CTBTO’s efforts to ensure that nuclear testing does not go undetected around the world.  I met with a broad cross-section of CTBTO staff and analysts and toured its International Monitoring System which uses sensor equipment to detect nuclear weapons testing.  This important organization is central to our efforts to counter nuclear proliferation and monitoring rogue states in pursuit of nuclear weapons.  It is an important element in our nuclear security toolbox, and I appreciated the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their work.