"Stopping the Nuclear Threat from Iran"

Burkle Talks

"Stopping the Nuclear Threat from Iran"

Ambassador Thomas Pickering in discussion with Joseph Cirincione, Ploughshares Fund, moderated by Mike Shuster.

Thursday, March 6, 2014
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
UCLA Bunche Hall, Room 2209A
Los Angeles, CA 90095
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Audio: To listen to audio from the lecture click here.



The debate around Iran’s nuclear program has shifted from hawkish calls for military action and increased sanctions to a new era of negotiations that many hope will lead to a comprehensive agreement within the year. The Iran Project, Ploughshares Fund and a broader community of experts and non-governmental organizations have been working to secure a negotiated settlement with Iran that would prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. Ambassador Pickering, a core member of The Iran Project and Joe Cirincione, President of Ploughshares Fund will give an insider perspective on how we’ve reached this moment and what to watch as negotiations move forward. What will it take to reach a lasting agreement? What are the roadblocks and political problems that will be faced in both Tehran and Washington, DC? How will the agreement control Iran’s nuclear program and make it more transparent? What is the impact for the U.S. and the broader international community?


AMBASSADOR THOMAS R. PICKERING is a core member of the Iran Project. He holds the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service. In a diplomatic career spanning five decades, he was U.S. ambassador to Israel, the Russian Federation, India, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan. From 1989 to 1992, he was Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, and he then served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Earlier in his career, Amb. Pickering was Special Assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry Kissinger. He also served in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves.

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE is the president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. He is the author of the new book Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too LateBomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons and Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats. He is a member of Secretary of State John Kerry's International Security Advisory Board and the Council on Foreign Relations.

His commentary has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Financial Times, Kyodo News, Moscow Times, Foreign Policy, The Hill, Daily Beast, and Huffington Post. He has appeared on ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, PBS, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC News, Australian Broadcasting Coporation, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NHK, Russia Today, and Al Jazeera.

Cirincione worked for nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives on the professional staff of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations. He is the author of hundreds of articles on nuclear weapons issues, the producer of two DVDs, a frequent commentator in the media, and he appeared in the films, Countdown to Zero and Why We Fight. He previously served as Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress and Director for Nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has held positions at the Henry L. Stimson Center, the U.S. Information Agency and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He teaches at the graduate School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.


MIKE SHUSTER is an award-winning diplomatic correspondent and former roving foreign correspondent for NPR News. Shuster covered issues of nuclear non-proliferation and weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and the Pacific Rim.

In recent years, Shuster has helped shape NPR’s extensive coverage of the Middle East as one of the leading reporters to cover this region – traveling in the spring of 2007 to Iraq to cover the increased deployment of American forces in Baghdad. He has traveled frequently to Iran – seven times since 2004 – to report on Iran's nuclear program and political changes there. He has also reported frequently from Israel, covering the 2006 war with Hezbollah, the pullout from Gaza in 2005 and the second intifada that erupted in 2000. His 2007 week-long series "The Partisans of Ali" explored the history of Shi'ite faith and politics, providing a rare, comprehensive look at the complexities of the Islamic religion and its impact on the Western world.

Shuster has won numerous awards for his reporting. He was part of the NPR News team to be recognized with a Peabody Award for coverage of September 11th and its aftermath. He was also part of the NPR News teams to receive Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for coverage of the Iraq War (2007 and 2004); September 11th and the war in Afghanistan (2003); and the Gulf War (1992). In 2003, Shuster was honored for his series "The Middle East: A Century of Conflict" with an Overseas Press Club Lowell Thomas Award and First in Documentary Reporting from the National Headliner Awards. He also received an honorable mention from the Overseas Press Club in 1999, and the SAJA Journalism Award in 1998.






Sponsor(s): Burkle Center for International Relations, Center for Near Eastern Studies, Center for Middle East Development