Nuclear Disarmament


Nuclear disarmament refers to the act, by unilateral decision or international agreement, of reducing or eliminating the total number of nuclear weapons worldwide, with the end goal of a nuclear-free world. RAND research has provided policymakers with guidance and analysis on options for reduction or elimination of nuclear arsenals and the long-term enforcement of international nuclear disarmament.

  • Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 25, 2020, photo by Mark Makela/Reuters


    Why Biden Can't Turn Back the Clock on the Iran Nuclear Deal

    Mar 1, 2021

    Enacted in 2016, the Iran nuclear deal was predicated on a geopolitical context that no longer exists. Addressing Iran's nuclear program today may require a different solution.

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a Report on Enlarged Meeting of the 2nd Political Bureau of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this image released July 5, 2021, photo by KCNA via Reuters


    A Realistic Approach for Dealing with North Korea's Nuclear Weapons

    Nov 3, 2021

    Pursuing the unachievable goal of convincing North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons can only complicate the real challenge of managing a nuclear-armed North Korea. The United States and its allies should instead focus on deterrence and a series of negotiated agreements to control further development.

Explore Nuclear Disarmament

  • Hassan Rouhani giving a speech


    Before Piling on New Sanctions, Give Rouhani a Chance

    The imposition of sanction after sanction without a clear diplomatic approach may convince Iran's leadership that the United States seeks regime implosion and overthrow rather than a solution to the nuclear crisis, write Alireza Nader and Colin H. Kahl.

    Jun 27, 2013

  • Marines practicing a chemical, biological, or radiological attack


    The Syrian Chemical Weapons Conundrum

    Dealing with chemical weapons in Syria is a complicated and dangerous task, but nowhere near the challenge of securing a nuclear arsenal in a country consumed by crisis, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 1, 2013

  • ROK guards in the DMZ


    A Delicate Deterrence Dance with North Korea

    How does Washington signal tenacity to a pugnacious Pyongyang and demonstrate resolve to a jittery Seoul, all without inadvertently triggering an escalatory spiral?

    Apr 11, 2013

  • Iranian people living in France protested the 2009 the reelection of Ahmadinejad and the irregularities in the vote count for his main opponent, the reformist Moussavi.


    Iran's Elections to End All Elections

    The June election will not be about mobilizing the Iranian public. It is instead the culmination of a years-long evolution in Iranian politics: the transformation of the Islamic Republic from a mildly representative theocracy into a Revolutionary Guards-controlled kleptocracy, writes Alireza Nader.

    Mar 7, 2013

  • North Korean soldiers attend a rally celebrating the country's third nuclear test at the Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang, February 14, 2013


    North Korea's Third Nuclear Test: A Sign of Weakness, Not Strength

    The ROK and the United States should take actions to deter subsequent North Korean provocations while punishing the country for its nuclear weapon test. Such actions could convince it that the ROK/U.S. are serious and able to impose high costs, writes Bruce Bennett.

    Feb 15, 2013

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev shake hands after signing the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) at Prague Castle in Prague, April 8, 2010


    The Challenge of Securing Russian Cooperation in Achieving Further Nuclear Reductions

    Unless the Obama administration can design a strategy that can engage the Russians despite their preconceptions, which have been consistently stated in diplomatic encounters over the past two years, Russia is unlikely to agree to an informal agreement on further reductions, writes Lowell Schwartz.

    Feb 13, 2013

  • Israeli and Iranian flags, weapons, fire


    Khamenei's Mounting Pressures

    Khamenei's mounting pressures may compel him to be more flexible on the nuclear program, writes Alireza Nader. Otherwise, he will face greater sanctions, more internal political opposition, and, possibly, the wrath of his own people.

    Feb 11, 2013

  • Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili listens to a reporter's question during a news conference in New Delhi January 4, 2013


    What Is Iran's Strategy at New Talks?

    Iran is still willing to give diplomacy a chance after a seven-month hiatus, as demonstrated by the announcement of new talks. But Tehran wants the P5+1 to make the first move, writes Alireza Nader.

    Feb 5, 2013

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast


    How to Defuse Iran's Nuclear Threat: Bolster Diplomacy, Israeli Security, and the Iranian Citizenry

    In this June 2012 Congressional Briefing, a panel of RAND experts—Lynn Davis, James Dobbins, and Alireza Nader—discuss nuclear negotiations and the long-term prospects for Iranian relations with Israel and the United States.

    Jun 7, 2012

  • Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague (L) talks to Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal at the start of a European Union foreign ministers meeting at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels, December 1, 2011


    Dissuading Iran from the Bomb and Avoiding War

    By refusing to face more squarely the probability that Iran will eventually acquire a nuclear weapons capability, the American and Israeli governments actually reduce their ability to dissuade Iran from crossing that threshold, writes James Dobbins.

    Dec 2, 2011

  • :An Iranian cleric talks to students who are forming a human chain around the Uranium Conversion Facility to show their support for Iran's nuclear programme in Isfahan, Iran, November 15, 2011, photo by Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters


    An Attack Would Only Strengthen Iran's Influence

    Reaction to a strike against Iran among neighboring populations would be almost uniformly hostile. The sympathy thereby aroused for Iran would make containment of Iranian influence much more difficult for Israel, for the U.S., and for the Arab regimes currently allied with Washington, writes James Dobbins.

    Nov 16, 2011

  • Commentary


    Alternative to Futile Negotiations with N.K.

    Clearly, it's time for a new strategy, one that North Korea has been loathe to discuss: hasten Korean unification under South Korea's leadership, writes Bruce Bennett.

    Nov 23, 2010

  • Commentary


    Iran's Counter-Strike

    Iran's attempt to join the world's nuclear-weapons club is setting the stage for a military confrontation. Israel's view on the matter is clear—a nuclear-armed Iran is a threat to its existence. What will Iran do in the wake of an Israeli attack that Iran will almost certainly assume has U.S. support, asks David E. Johnson.

    Feb 25, 2010

  • Commentary


    Punish Iran's Rulers, Not Its People

    As the potential for a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program wanes, the U.S. must consider what steps might dissuade Tehran from continuing its nuclear program without punishing the Iranian people or strengthening those who rule over them, chiefly the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, writes Alireza Nader.

    Dec 14, 2009

  • Commentary


    Finding a Solution to Iran

    The revelation of a secret nuclear facility near the holy city of Qom, and the likely existence of other advanced facilities across Iran, makes more urgent the need for a quick solution to the nuclear impasse, writes Alireza Nader.

    Sep 30, 2009

  • Commentary


    Limited Options: Deterring North Korea and Iran

    The question today is no longer whether the United States can still prevent North Korea and Iran from emerging as nuclear-armed regional adversaries, but instead, how to prevent them from being empowered by their nuclear weapons. This won't be easy, writes Lowell H. Schwartz.

    Aug 14, 2009

  • Commentary


    The Multilateral Path To Disarming North Korea

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Feb 16, 2005

  • Commentary


    A Thaw Between Giants

    commentaries by RAND Staff: insightful commentaries on current events, published in newspapers, magazines and journals worldwide.

    Aug 3, 2003

  • Commentary


    Don't Open the Door to Russia Yet

    Putin may prove sincere about wanting to realign Russia with the West. It may be that changes since the end of the Cold War and Sept. 11 argue for new Continent-wide security arrangements. But these must be grounded in common interest and common practice.

    Nov 13, 2001

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program: Taking Care of the Cold War's Deadly Legacy

    The danger of nuclear proliferation from the Former Soviet Union requires continued funding of this initiative.

    Jan 1, 1995