US, Russia Agree to Slash Nuclear Stockpiles

"Fresh Start" Aims for New Treaty by End of Year

President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a statement today pledging a “fresh start” to relations and a promise to seek a legally binding arms reduction treaty by the end of the year. Officials from both sides say they could agree to reduce their respective stockpiles to about 1,500 warheads each, which would be down from the 2,200 allowed in the Bush-era treaty. Such limits have been nebulous given the conflicting agreements and methods of counting warheads involved. Each side has dramatically more active warheads than this limit – 4,075 and 5,200 respectively.

Obama Administration officials say that the two nations also intend to move forward against the Iranian government’s civilian nuclear program. It did not appear that they talked about any specific actions against Iran, but one official pointed to Russia’s delay in fulfilling its contract on the S-300 defense missiles to Iran as “important.”

The START treaty on nuclear weapons expires at the end of this year. The Obama Administration says the new treaty will be much longer and have far-reaching implications.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.