This paper examines technical and institutional possibilities for improving the ability of the international safeguards regime to prevent or slow the spread of nuclear weapons. It relies strongly on the experience of the recently uncovered Iraqi nuclear-weapons program and the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations in the discovery of the program's extent and scope.
The Iraqi program and its exposure following the Gulf War surprised and disturbed much of the international community. However, the shock generated by the extent and the size of an effort that had been suspected but remained grossly underestimated and misunderstood has given a strong political impetus to the will of the international community for strengthening the non-proliferation regime.
This paper makes a number of suggestions based on a review of the Iraqi effort and on an assessment of possible future attempts by other nations to acquire nuclear weapons.