Author Archives: Lily Vaccaro

Iran’s Nuclear Deal

As you all know, the Iranian comprehensive deal is currently being negotiated. This issue has managed to make it into the news almost daily for months. But how much substantial information is being conveyed through the news? What do you know about the Interim Deal? What do you know about the prospective comprehensive deal? Take this quiz, and if you come across a question you don’t know the answer to off the top of your head, take a few minutes before answering to look it up. Are you surprised by what you did and didn’t know?

We are fortunate to live in a world where information and ideas are easily spread. On the other hand, that also means that misinformation is just as easily spread. This video is an excellent source for those who want a deeper understanding of these negotiations between the P5 + 1 and Iran from three experts on the Middle East and Nuclear Nonproliferation. If you have the time, I really recommend you watch the whole thing, at least until the question and answer section.

Please feel free to post any reactions to the quiz or video below. Also, please feel free to post any questions you might have as well.

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and It’s Members

By Lily Vaccaro

As you all know, the Treaty for the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) consists of two groups of members, Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) and Non-Nuclear Weapons States (NNWS). There is an interesting dynamic between these two groups, especially on the subject of disarmament. Since all NNWS committed never to acquire or seek to acquire nuclear weapons, many are concerned with the lack of progress from NWS to disarm their nuclear weapons.

We were lucky to host a discussion between two ambassadors at CNS last fall: former US ambassador, Ambassador Susan Burk, and an ambassador from Chile, Ambassador Alfredo Labbé Villa. Both have represented their respective states at NPT Review Conferences and had a lot of insight on the treaty and the nonproliferation regime in general. What makes this discussion particularly interesting is that Ambassador Burk represented a NWS while Ambassador Labbé represented a NNWS.

Each ambassador outlines what they see as priorities for the continued success of the NPT, what was similar and what was different? Imagine yourself as a diplomat representing your state at an NPT Review Conference, what would you make a priority?


Hi all,

I want to both introduce myself and this new feature of the site. My name is Lily Vaccaro, I’m a Masters Candidate, in my second semester of the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program, at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a Research Assistant for Dr. Avner Cohen, Education Program Director, and helping Masako for the Critical Issues Forum and other education programs at CNS. I have a strong background in U.S./Soviet and Russian relations as well as multilateral nonproliferation efforts.

As for the Discussion Board, Masako had the brilliant idea to provide both the students and teachers in this the CIF program with a forum to discuss issues pertaining to nonproliferation and disarmament. As the bulk of what I read/discuss are issues pertaining to nonproliferation and disarmament, she thought I would be a good moderator for the board. What we both hope is that this will become a great location for students and teachers to offer insightful comments or ask questions on the content within the posts and receive feedback and answers both from their peers, their teachers, myself and Masako. I will post about once a week and each post will contain a link to an article or a website and a few questions to guide discussion.

When responding to these questions, please give the response a title referring to what you will address and provide the name of your school. You may also provide you first name, if you or your teacher wishes.

Bellow this, is the first post in the series. As I mentioned I have background in U.S./Russian relations, so when I saw the article below in the New York Times, I couldn’t resist making it our first topic for discussion.


Cheating on Treaties:

Here’s a link to the New York Times article, “U.S. Says Russia Tested Missile, Despite Treaty:” 

For a quick overview of the treaty referred to in the article go to: CNS’s Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations & Regimes.

For an overview of U.S./Russia bilateral nonproliferation agreements, see a video lecture by Jon Wolfsthal, and his presentation slides.

Possible questions for discussion: What does it mean for U.S./Russian nonproliferation cooperation if one side “cheats” on a treaty? What does this “cheating” mean for the wider international community?