CI Magazine / New issue

Editor's Note

By Editor CI

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:57 PM

The current issue of the Caucasus International (CI) jour nal entitled “Nuclear Security in the Caucasus and in the World” is dedicated to the nuclear threats to the South Caucasus region, the evolving nuclear strategies of the World’s nuclear powers that have to certain extent an influence over the security of the South Caucasus region. While analyzing the nuclear aspects of the regional security, the authors also reflected their views on the impact of nuclear issues over the bilateral relations of these countries with other international/regional actors. Read more...

"Nuclear Security of the South Caucasus" by Ravan Mehdiyeva Nadir

By Editor CI

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:56 PM

Nuclear security is a concern that no country can handle alone. This is what moti-vated the South Caucasian states to join the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to ratify relevant international conventions, and to join various IAEA documents on nuclear security. While all three South Caucasus states have had nuclear interests since the Soviet Union, today only Armenia has nuclear facilities – the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) – and since the Metamor NPP is technically outdated and located in a seismic zone, the focus has for some time been on nuclear security. The concern is well founded; Metsamor NPP is located in an area only 12 km from the Azerbaijani-Georgian border, 60 km from the Iranian border and 16 km from Turkey. All of these countries are at risk of radioactive contamination in the event of an accident in any category in the Metsamor NPP. This article analyzes the risk factors driving the region’s concerns about Metsamor, examines the possible effects of an accident through comparison with Chernobyl (which had the same type of reactor as Metsamor), and finally evaluates the measures taken to ensure the nuclear security of the South Caucasus. Read more...

"Nuclear Security in the EU’s vicinity: Challenges of the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant" by Licínia Simão

By Editor CI

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:54 PM

Armenia’s aging Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant continues to pose a serious chal-lenge to regional security. The decommissioning of Metsamor was included in both the 2006 European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan and the 2017 Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Despite this, the European Union has thus far been unable to produce either the requisite material incentives or political pressure points to compel Yerevan to take action. This paper analyzes the ways in which the EU’s previous experience using conditionality on nuclear issues with the Central and Eastern European countries can provide valuable insights on the lack of EU leverage over Armenia in this regard. One of the key findings is that more substantial “carrots” are needed for a policy change in this field. These incentives include deeper integration perspectives or commitment to major investments in Armenia’s nuclear sector. The research also underlines the importance of changing the regional constraints on Armenia’s energy options. Read more...

"Russia-Armenia Nuclear Energy Cooperation and the Metsamor Power Plant" by Nina Miholjcic

By Editor CI

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:53 PM

Metsamor, a Soviet-made nuclear reactor still operating in Armenia, causes serious security concerns not only within the region, but also at the international level. Unfortunately, the nuclear threat in the Caucasus is pressing, as Metsamor lacks the requisite safety containment structures, and is located in a seismically active zone. Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as the wider neighborhood, Turkey and Iran, have expressed serious concerns regarding the recent Russia-Armenia nuclear agreement to prolong Metsamor’s operational life. Due to Armenia’s inability to implement a more secure energy production policy, and Russia’s continued interference and influence, Metsamor remains operational in the face of international warnings and the clear nuclear threat. The West is also concerned about Russia-Armenia nuclear cooperation. The EU and the US, accordingly, advocate for the decommissioning of the plant, as this would prevent future environmental catastrophe as well as helping to limit Russian dominance in the region. This paper examines how Russian-Armenian nuclear cooperation influences regional security in the South Caucasus and entrenches Russian dominance in the region. The paper also discusses the developments that could avert potential nuclear crisis and force Armenia to decommission this outdated nuclear plant such as the normalization of political relations within the South Caucasus, the development of Armenia’s renewable energy sector, and the clear foreign policy visions of the surrounding powers towards the region. Read more...

"The EU public diplomacy and the Iran nuclear problem post-JCPOA" by Elena Andreea Bordea

By Editor CI

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:52 PM

The following paper assesses the use of public diplomacy tools between the European Union and Iran after signing JCPOA. Drawing on official statements, it tries to extract insights about the advantages or disadvantages of the agreement, the contributions and the interests of the parties, developments and implementation, hopes for a peaceful nuclear future, and messages designed to shape public opinion and influence attitudes towards the outcome of 12 years of work. It presents how the EU has projected its own institutional image, beyond member state governments, by presenting its own actions and by contextualizing them, concluding that EU as the factor which ensured the balance of negotiations and success of the agreement. Consequently, the Iranian people are focused on JCPOA because, over time, people’s lives have been affected by the nuclear issue. Accordingly, I argue that the attempt of High Representatives of the EU to send messages of encouragement to people who are aware of isolation, human rights restrictions, and radical interpretation given to religion marks a step forward in establishing cordial relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Read more...

"Nuclear Deal and Iran-Azerbaijan Economic Ties" by Hamed Kazemzadeh

By Editor CI

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:51 PM

Since 1991, there has been great potential for economic cooperation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and following the nuclear deal and the lifting of international sanctions, this has become even more apparent. The collapse of the Soviet Union had a significant effect on the geopolitics of Iran, especially on its northern borders with the Caucasus. However, international sanctions against Iran had been a barrier to expanded economic and political cooperation between Iran and the Caucasus, specifically Azerbaijan. Therefore, it seems likely that the post-sanctions era will see economic and trade cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan develop rapidly. This article provides an overview of economic relation between these two neighboring states following the Nuclear Deal and discusses the prospects for high-level cooperation. Read more...

"The US’s Post-9/11 Nuclear Strategy and its Security Implication for Russia" by Azad Garibov

By Editor CI

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:50 PM

The 9/11 terrorist attacks revealed the vulnerabilities of the US vis-à-vis terrorists and so-called “rogue states”, and built strong consensus among policy makers about the country’s new security environment. Therefore, shortly after 9/11, in order to meet the challenges of a new security environment, new strategies, including a New Nuclear Strategy, were adopted. The New Nuclear Strategy was markedly different from the Cold War strategy. Although key components of the strategy (for example, New Triad and Ballistic Missile Defense) had an inherent defensive nature, they had dangerous implications for Russia, intended or unintended. The Strategy rendered Moscow insecure vis-à-vis the US because of Washington’s increased defense and offence capabilities. Despite being declaratively directed against rogue states and terrorist organizations, the new capabilities were actually highly suitable for achieving nuclear superiority over the US’ main contender in the field, Russia, and threatened to push Moscow into a costly arms-race that it could ill afford. This article aims to outline the changes that were introduced in the US nuclear strategy by the Bush Administration after 9/11, explaining why and how they were perceived as security threats by Russia. Read more...

"The Ban on Nuclear Weapons, Negative Security Assurances, and NATO States" by Heinz Gärtner

By Editor CI

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:42 PM

At a United Nations Conference on 7 July, 2017, 122 state parties voted in favor of a treaty that that would prohibit nuclear weapons. None of the nucleararmed states, or their allies, participated in the vote (with the exception of the Netherlands, which voted against the treaty). The treaty expresses concern about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, and calls for their complete elimination. The Treaty calls for the full implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), including the disarmament obligations of the nuclear-armed states. The treaty should close the gap between nuclear and nonnuclear-armed states. It is very unlikely that the nuclear states will give up their nuclear weapons anytime soon. This paper looks for alternative proposals by the nuclear-armed states which could satisfy the non-nuclear weapon states, at least for the time being. If nuclear-armed states are unwilling or unable to sign the ban treaty, they could offer non-nuclear-armed states Negative Security Assurances (NSAs). This is a commitment not to attack or threaten to attack those states with nuclear weapons. These NSAs must be based on international law, however. This means that they have to sign and ratify the existing and future NWFZs. A nuclear weapon free belt could be created from Mongolia to Africa (for the time being, excluding Israel). NSAs would have to be extended to states that are in a military alliance with another, nuclear-armed state. Extended deterrence should be amended via extended NSAs. Read more...

"Relations between Iran and the EU in the Post-JCPOA Era" by Hassan Beheshtipour

By Editor CI

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:40 PM

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was reached in Vienna on July 14 2015, between Iran, the P5+1, and the European Union (EU), and was formally put into action on January 16 2016. This accord is considered to be one of the most important international agreements since World War II. JCPOA has a key role in shaping the future prospects of Iran-EU relations. As such, this article will examine the foundation for collaboration between the two parties in the post-JCPOA era. In this context, the paper assesses the positive outcomes of the accord on economic cooperation, along with the potential challenges in Iran-EU relations at the aftermath of the US’s withdrawal [from the agreement] in the post-JCPOA era.** The main hypothesis of this paper is that it is in the best interests of both Iran and the EU to directly and fully implement JCPOA. Equally important, both parties will benefit from limiting the influence of external parties, in particular the United States. Under these conditions, we can expect that both parties will seek to expand economic, political, and cultural relations during the coming years. Read more...

Commentary: "Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev Addresses New Messages Through His New Cabinet" by Farhad Mammadov

By Editor CI

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:35 PM

The March 11th, 2018 presidential elections in Azerbaijan confirmed the political weight and the overwhelming popular support for President Ilham Aliyev. Nevertheless, the elections’ strategic aftermath has yielded remarkable changes with implications for the future prospects of the country – the appointment of a new cabinet being the most notable of these changes. The restructuration of the cabinet of ministers hails new prospects for multiple economic reforms and structural-institutional changes, with the overall aim of promoting a more attractive domestic business environment and ensuring the sustainable development of the country in the years ahead. Read more...
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