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Policy Analysis

Policy Focus 121

Nuclear Iran: A Glossary

Simon Henderson and Olli Heinonen

Also available in العربية

March 2015 Update

Understand the details of debates over Iran's nuclear program and the international response with this interactive glossary that translates technical jargon into language comprehensible even to the layperson.

As talks between the P5+1 and Iran intensify, The Washington Institute and Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center have copublished a completely revised and updated version of Nuclear Iran: A Glossary. Originally published in August 2012 and updated once already in May 2013, this interactive glossary has established itself as a key reference document for experts and governments alike. In language comprehensible even to the layperson, proliferation expert Simon Henderson and former IAEA deputy director-general Olli Heinonen cover the jargon and history behind IAEA inspections, centrifuge enrichment, basic nuclear physics, and early nuclear weapons development in Pakistan and the United States. Deal or no deal, the glossary provides an indispensable and timely guide to a complex and hotly debated issue.

Download this map of Iranian nuclear sites [PDF]


Simon Henderson is the Baker fellow and director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute. He has lived in both Pakistan and Iran and has written extensively on nuclear proliferation.

Olli Heinonen, a senior fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, is a former deputy director-general and head of the Department of Safeguards at the IAEA in Vienna, where his responsibilities included inspection of Iran's nuclear facilities.

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