Nuclear Policy News

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Nuclear Policy News - November 13, 2013

TOP NEWS

Nuclear envoys from S. Korea, China to hold talks in Beijing
Global Post

Blame Game Quickly Follows Iran Nuclear Talks
ABC News

Analysts: Pakistan Unlikely To Transfer Nuclear Weapons, Know-how to Saudis
Defense News

No radical change in Iran's nuclear program: IAEA
Reuters

Kerry against new sanctions on Iran
The Hindu

EAST ASIA

Nuclear envoys from S. Korea, China to hold talks in Beijing
Global Post

South Korea and China will hold high-level talks in Beijing on Wednesday about ways to resume the long-stalled multilateral talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program, officials said.

Putin Says Korean Reunification Only Possible via Peaceful Means
Ria Novosti

Reunification of the two Koreas is only possible through peaceful talks with mutual interests taken into account, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday ahead of an official visit to South Korea.

MIDDLE EAST

UAE urges Iran to tackle regional issues as well as nuclear row
Reuters

The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday it hoped Iran would address issues straining ties with Gulf Arab countries as well as its nuclear row with the West following the election of President Hassan Rouhani.

Blame Game Quickly Follows Iran Nuclear Talks
ABC News

The deadlocked international effort to sign a nuclear deal with Iran has spurred a global blame game over who walked away from the negotiating table and why.

Israel promises to lobby against ‘bad’ nuclear deal between US and Iran
RT

Israeli officials say they intend to lobby US congressional lawmakers in an attempt to stop any deal from being reached on Iran’s nuclear program.

SOUTH ASIA

Analysts: Pakistan Unlikely To Transfer Nuclear Weapons, Know-how to Saudis
Defense News

Contrary to a Nov. 6 report by the BBC, analysts here do not believe Pakistan has an agreement to supply Saudi Arabia with nuclear weapons.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

No radical change in Iran's nuclear program: IAEA
Reuters

The head of the U.N. nuclear agency said on Wednesday he saw "no radical change" in Iran's nuclear program in the past three months, broadly covering the period since relative moderate Hassan Rouhani became president.

Russia Says Iran Not to Blame for Geneva Talks Failure
Ria Novosti

Russia has said Iran was not to blame for the failed outcome of nuclear talks in Geneva last week, hinting at cracks in what had previously appeared to be a relatively united international front on the issue.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Kerry against new sanctions on Iran
The Hindu

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is to testify Wednesday behind closed doors in the US Senate, where he is expected to make an appeal against a rising push for more sanctions against Iran.

US says world powers unified on Iran after nuclear talks stall
Jerusalem Post

World powers were unified over a deal in Geneva that would put much of Iran’s nuclear program on hold, the US government said on Tuesday.

OPINIONS

Iranian nukes and ethnic politics  
Haaretz

Ever since the acceleration of the negotiations between Iran and the West, which followed the election of Iranian President Hassan Rohani, many references have been made to the growing opposition of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to this process. Although the Saudis have not issued many official statements, it is obvious that they do not share the optimism of the world powers negotiating in Geneva. Apparently, the Gulf states and Israel have become strategic partners in the attempt to persuade the West to reject the Iranian “charm offensive.”

Ending Nuclear Overkill
New York Times

Over 20 years after the Cold War, America’s nuclear arsenal remains bloated. True, it now deploys only about 1,600 strategic nuclear weapons — down from 12,000 in 1990 — and the Obama administration has proposed to cut the number to as few as 1,000 if Russia agrees.

Obama’s desire for nuclear deal with Iran sparks worry at home and abroad
Washington Post

President Barack Obama’s hopes for a nuclear deal with Iran now depend in part on his ability to keep a lid on both hard-liners on Capitol Hill and anxious allies abroad, including Israel, the Gulf states and even France.

West must respect Iran’s nuclear rights: Poll
Press TV

The results of a new poll by Press TV website show that an overwhelming majority of respondents across the world believe that the West should respect Iran’s right to a peaceful nuclear energy program.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 12, 2013

TOP NEWS

S. Korean envoy to N. Korean nuclear talks to visit China this week
Yonhap News Agency

Iran blames Western powers for nuclear talks failure
BBC

Analysts: Pakistan Unlikely To Transfer Nuclear Weapons, Know-how to Saudis
Defense News

Russia Develops Multiple Nuclear Systems
Aviation Week

The Case for Conventional Deterrence
Tom Nichols for the National Interest

EAST ASIA

S. Korean envoy to N. Korean nuclear talks to visit China this week
Yonhap News Agency

SEOUL, Nov. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top negotiator on North Korea will visit Beijing this week to meet his Chinese counterpart and discuss ways to resume multinational talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, a diplomatic source said Sunday.

N. Korea slams President Park for fueling inter-Korean tensions
Yonhap News Agency

SEOUL, Nov. 12 (Yonhap) -- North Korea slammed President Park Geun-hye Tuesday for fueling tensions with provocative anti-Pyongyang remarks made during her recent trip to Europe.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran Says It Has Agreed to ‘Road Map’ With U.N. Agency on Nuclear Inspections
New York Times

PARIS — The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Monday that Iran had agreed to resolve all outstanding issues with the agency and would allow international inspectors “managed access” to two important nuclear facilities that have not been regularly viewed.

Iran blames Western powers for nuclear talks failure
BBC

Iran's foreign minister has blamed divisions between Western powers for the failure to agree a deal on its nuclear programme on Saturday.

Shapiro: US won't let Iran get nuclear weapons, nor sign a bad deal
Jerusalem Post

US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro vowed Monday that US President Barack Obama would not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, and that the United States would not sign on to a "bad deal" at negotiations with Iran tipped to restart later this month.

SOUTH ASIA

Analysts: Pakistan Unlikely To Transfer Nuclear Weapons, Know-how to Saudis
Defense News

ISLAMABAD — Contrary to a Nov. 6 report by the BBC, analysts here do not believe Pakistan has an agreement to supply Saudi Arabia with nuclear weapons.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia Develops Multiple Nuclear Systems
Aviation Week

Russia is making new nuclear delivery systems a national priority, with a new ballistic-missile submarine class and missile in production; continued deliveries of a modern, road-mobile ICBM; and reports of a new silo-based heavyweight weapon.

Russia Says Iran Not to Blame for Geneva Talks Failure
Ria Novosti

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has said Iran was not to blame for the failed outcome of nuclear talks in Geneva last week, hinting at cracks in what had previously appeared to be a relatively united international front on the issue.

Nuclear Cruiser Leads Russian Task Force in Mediterranean
Ria Novosti

MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Northern Fleet's nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky was assigned on Monday to lead the country’s permanent naval task force in the Mediterranean.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Kerry says Iranians balked on nuclear arms deal at conference
Associated Press

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the major powers were unified on an Iran nuclear deal during weekend talks in Geneva but the Iranians were unable to accept it. He also said critics of the diplomatic effort should withhold their comments until a deal is reached.

Iran nuclear talk participants eye next meeting with optimism
Deutsche Welle

Shortly after the participants of the three-day meeting in Geneva praised the progress that had been made toward reaching an agreement on Tehran's nuclear program, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani weighed in on Sunday and said his country wouldn't be pressured into a deal by the international community.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US to Turn Old Bombs Into All-Purpose Weapons
Spiegel

The U.S. wants to modernize nuclear bombs stationed in Europe in a way many experts call the equivalent of creating a new weapon. Critics believe the move violates pledges by President Obama he would not develop new nukes.

OPINIONS

How close is Iran to a nuclear weapon?
David Albright interview for PBS

HARI SREENIVASAN: Of course whenever there's any discussion about Iran’s nuclear program the question arises of how close are the Iranians to developing a nuclear weapon.

The Case for Conventional Deterrence
Tom Nichols for the National Interest

We need nuclear weapons. Let’s just stipulate that at the outset, at least for now. But the United States needs a new deterrent strategy against rogue states that does not require threats of nuclear retaliation.

Why France Is to Blame for Blocking the Iran Nuclear Agreement
Christopher Dickey for The Daily Beast

France blocked the first stage of a nuclear deal with Iran that had support from the United States, Britain, Germany, most of the rest of Europe, Russia, and China. The simple—too simple—explanation for the French obstruction? They just want to call attention to themselves. They are contrary. They are perverse. They want to reestablish their weight in international affairs—their grandeur, if you will—precisely because there’s not much of it left.

Obama may need to bite bullet on a nuclear Iran
Hugh White for the Age

If a deal is eventually done over Iran's nuclear program it would be a big win for Tehran, because Western governments will never be sure whether Iran has really stopped working towards a bomb or not. Washington's eagerness to do a deal anyway shows how far its position in the Middle East has weakened.

Bazaar Rhetoric
The Economist

THE Obama administration has eased off since the summer on identifying new violators of economic sanctions against Iran, report Eli Lake and Josh Rogin, presumably as a diplomatic overture to the newly elected government of moderate president Hassan Rouhani. This is excellent news! And one of the ways you can be confident it is excellent news is that people with ridiculously terrible ideas about US-Iranian relations are up in arms about it.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 8, 2013

TOP NEWS

Iran is offered temporary relief from some sanctions if it freezes uranium enrichment
Washington Post

Nuclear-capable Agni-I missile test fired
The Hindu

Pakistan denies report of nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia as ‘baseless’
Al Arabiya

U.S. and Russia at impasse on nuclear disarmament
Columbia Daily Tribune

Only Diplomacy, Not Force, Will Prevent Nuclear-Armed Iran
Defense One

EAST ASIA

S. Korea's alliance with U.S. facing 'conundrum' as China rises
Yonhap

South Korea's military alliance with the United States is facing a "long-term conundrum" with China increasingly flexing its military and economic muscles across Northeast Asia, a Seoul expert said Friday.

China's top-secret nuclear base to be revived as £30m Communist Party theme park
The Telegraph

Travellers to this remote and rugged nook of northwest China will find no trace of the Red Mountain Command Base on their maps. Guidebooks make no mention of its name.

MIDDLE EAST

Hopes rise for Iran nuclear deal amid 'intense' talks, but Israel skeptical
CNN

Western diplomats and Iran appear to be on the verge of a breakthrough agreement on a first step toward curbing international concerns about the Middle Eastern state's nuclear program.

Netanyahu calls U.S. strategy at Iran nuclear talks a mistake
LA Times

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday condemned the Obama administration’s strategy in ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, saying any deal based on the approach would be a “mistake of historic proportions.”

Iran is offered temporary relief from some sanctions if it freezes uranium enrichment
Washington Post

A deal that would give Iran limited relief from economic sanctions in exchange for a temporary freeze of some of its nuclear activities was near completion late Thursday, and Secretary of State John F. Kerry was preparing to fly to Geneva Friday morning for a likely announcement.

SOUTH ASIA

Nuclear-capable Agni-I missile test fired
The Hindu

The nuclear-capable surface-to-surface Agni-I missile was successfully test-fired by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) from Wheeler Island off Odisha coast on Friday.

Pakistan denies report of nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia as ‘baseless’
Al Arabiya

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday denied as “speculative, mischievous and baseless” a report by the BBC that Islamabad has agreed to sell nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia's Lavrov sees chance of road map on Iran nuclear dispute
Daily Star

Six world powers and Iran could agree on a "road map" for ending the dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme at talks in Geneva on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

U.S. and Russia at impasse on nuclear disarmament
Columbia Daily Tribune

Proposals from the White House for bi-lateral nuclear disarmament between the world’s two nuclear superpowers won’t be taken seriously unless the United States scales back its plans to deploy updated nuclear missiles in Europe, Russian military experts said on Thursday.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Nuclear plan 'backed' by 6 world powers: Iran
Hindustan Times

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator signaled progress at talks with six powers Thursday on a deal to cap some of his country's atomic programs in exchange for limited relief from sanctions stifling Iran's economy, saying the six had accepted Tehran's proposals on how to proceed. US officials said Secretary of State John Kerry will fly to Geneva on Friday to participate in the nuclear negotiations - a last minute decision that suggests a deal could be imminent.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

America’s Killing Machine: “Life Extension” of the B61-12 Nuclear Bomb
Global Research

With every official statement about the B61 nuclear bomb life-extension program, the capabilities of the new version (B61-12) appear to be increasing.

U.S. Signals Flexibility as Iran Nuclear Talks Resume
New York Times

Negotiators from Iran and six world powers convened in Geneva on Thursday as American officials signaled that the United States was prepared to offer Iran limited relief from economic sanctions if it agreed to halt its nuclear development program and reverse part of it.

OPINIONS

Only Diplomacy, Not Force, Will Prevent Nuclear-Armed Iran
Defense One

America’s core interests in the Middle East will pivot around Geneva this week as five world powers and Iran resume negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program. The United States should remain committed to a reasonable, verifiable and enforceable deal, as all other roads lead to a nuclear-armed Iran or a devastating regional war.

Obama to allow Iran to keep its nuclear weapons program?
Washington Post

Critics of the president’s feeble Iran policy have known all along this was coming. If the report in the New York Times is accurate, the president is about to countenance a nuclear-armed Iran. The administration doesn’t put it that way, and the Times is compliant enough not to mention it directly, but that is precisely what is entailed: “On the eve of a new round of talks between world powers and Iran, a senior Obama administration official said Wednesday that the United States was prepared to offer Iran limited relief from economic sanctions if Tehran agreed to halt its nuclear program and reversed part of it.” The planned “relief” is to last six months, much longer than some experts believe is needed for Iran to go nuclear.

The Dummies Guide to Iran’s Nukes
TIME

A new round of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program convenes in Geneva on Thursday. And there’s growing optimism about the talks.

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 7, 2013

TOP NEWS

Negotiators attempting to restart six-party nuclear talks with N Korea
Channel News Asia

Iran urges elimination of all ‘inhuman’ nuclear weapons
Tehran Times

Saudi banks on Pak for nukes: BBC report
The Hindu

America’s Nuclear Arsenal: The B61-12, A New “More Efficient” “High Precision” Nuclear Bomb
Global Research

Obama fails to respond to Chinese reports on nuclear missiles targeting U.S. cities
World Tribune

EAST ASIA

China calls for 'wisdom' to resume N. Korea nuclear talks
Yonhap

Nations involved in the long-stalled nuclear talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program should use their "wisdom" to restart the multilateral forum at an early date, China's foreign ministry said Thursday.

Negotiators attempting to restart six-party nuclear talks with N Korea
Channel News Asia

Top negotiators are trying to find a way to resume six-party talks, aimed at getting North Korea to end its nuclear programme.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran foreign minister optimistic as nuclear talks resume
The Guardian

Iranian negotiators are entering a new round of nuclear talks with major powers in Geneva, insisting they are optimistic that a deal is possible in the course of the two-day meeting.

Iran Loses Nuclear Leverage as World Ignores Export Drop
Bloomberg

Iran’s new government enters nuclear negotiations today with limited economic leverage, seeking relief from oil sanctions that have squeezed as much as $5 billion a month from its revenues as the world has found other suppliers.

Iran urges elimination of all ‘inhuman’ nuclear weapons
Tehran Times

On Monday, Iran's UN ambassador called nuclear weapons the greatest threat to present and future generations.

FACT CHECK: A look at Israel’s claims on Iran’s nuclear program
Washington Post

Israel has said it is ready to stand alone if needed to stop moves by Iran toward possessing nuclear weapons. Iran, which says its atomic program is only for energy and medical applications, has called this scare-mongering that seeks to undermine nuclear talks starting Thursday between Tehran and six world powers, including the U.S.

SOUTH ASIA

Saudi banks on Pak for nukes: BBC report
The Hindu

Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects and believes it could acquire atomic bombs “at will”, the BBC reported on Thursday.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia to Deploy More Yars Ballistic Missiles by Year-End
Ria Novosti

Russia will arm two more regiments of the Strategic Missile Forces with Yars mobile ballistic missile systems by the end of 2013, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Powers seek 'first-step' nuclear deal with Iran in Geneva talks
Reuters

World powers will seek to hammer out a breakthrough deal with Iran to start resolving a decade-old dispute over its nuclear program in two-day talks that begin on Thursday, although both sides say an agreement is far from certain.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

America’s Nuclear Arsenal: The B61-12, A New “More Efficient” “High Precision” Nuclear Bomb
Global Research

The US wants to modernize nuclear bombs stationed in Europe in a way many experts call the equivalent of creating a new weapon. Critics believe the move violates pledges by President Obama he would not develop new nukes.

Obama fails to respond to Chinese reports on nuclear missiles targeting U.S. cities
World Tribune

The Obama administration declined to comment on Sunday on provocative state-run Chinese media reports outlining Beijing’s nuclear war plans, including land-based and submarine-launched missile strikes on U.S. cities that would kill up to 12 million people.

U.S. seeking deal on Iranian nuclear ‘freeze,’ diplomats say
Washington Post

The Obama administration is hoping to rapidly secure a deal with Iran that would temporarily freeze the country’s nuclear program and buy time for diplomats to try to hammer out a more comprehensive agreement restricting Tehran’s future ability to seek atomic weapons, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

US to Spend Billions 'Modernizing' Nuclear Arsenal
Newsmax

The United States plans to spend billions to upgrade a decades-old atomic bomb designed to stop a Soviet invasion of Europe, as part of a controversial project to modernize its nuclear arsenal.

Push to upgrade AF's nuclear arsenal faces opposition
Military Times

The Defense Department’s plans to extend the life of its main nuclear gravity bomb continues to meet resistance with lawmakers questioning the need to spend the money on the department’s most expensive life extension program on nuclear weapons.

OPINIONS

The U.S., not Iran, has the upper hand in nuclear negotiations
Washington Post

On the surface, the Islamic Republic of Iran is an unsavory authoritarian state unworthy of support, much less acclaim. A regime that is deeply embedded in Syria’s civil war and has embraced terrorism as an instrument of statecraft would seemingly be at a disadvantage in presenting its case to the international community. Yet Iran has had some success imposing its narrative on the negotiations Iranian officials and Western nations are conducting about its nuclear program. The theocratic state demands that its “right to enrich” be recognized upfront and that its past nuclear infractions be forgiven. The great powers’ diplomacy will be judged not by clever formulations they devise to accommodate Iran’s “red lines” but by their ability to veer Tehran away from its maximalist positions.
Bangkok Post

When the United States and its allies resume talks over Iran's nuclear programme today, the vexing task of crafting Iran's recent proposal into an enduring agreement will begin in earnest.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 6, 2013

TOP NEWS

N.Korea 'Has the Edge in Nuclear, Biochemical Weapons'
The Chosun Ilbo

Hagel: U.S. will maintain military presence in Gulf to deter Iran
JTA

Iranian Minister Says Nuclear Deal Is Possible This Week
New York Times

Iran Talks Won't Change U.S. Missile Plans in Europe, Kerry Says
Wall Street Journal

The answer on Iran? Yes.
Doyle McManus for the LA Times

EAST ASIA

N.Korea 'Has the Edge in Nuclear, Biochemical Weapons'
The Chosun Ilbo

The South Korean army is inferior to the North Korean army in a one-on-one in terms of so-called asymmetric warfare capabilities, a Defense Ministry official told a parliamentary audit Tuesday.

China's offer not enough to resume N. Korea nuke talks: official
Yonhap News Agency

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (Yonhap) -- China's new offer for conditions to restart the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program is "forward-looking" but it still falls far short of South Korean and U.S. expectations, a senior South Korean official said Tuesday.

North Korea's 'fake' missiles are not so harmless now, experts fear - See more at:
The Times

WHEN they first appeared in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, experts laughed at their crudeness - six huge but obviously fake inter-continental “missiles” carried on flatbed lorries in a grandiose military parade.

Lawmakers question efficacy of six-way talks on N.K. nukes
Yonhap News Agency

SEOUL, Nov. 6 (Yonhap) -- With diplomatic efforts underway to revive the long-stalled talks on North Korea's nuclear program, some right-wing lawmakers here cast doubts on the effectiveness of the multilateral forum on Wednesday.

MIDDLE EAST

Hagel: U.S. will maintain military presence in Gulf to deter Iran
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The United States will maintain a robust military presence in the Persian Gulf to deter Iran, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said, although military action would be a last resort to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.

Iranian Minister Says Nuclear Deal Is Possible This Week
New York Times

PARIS — Two days before negotiations resume in Geneva between Iran and the United States and other Western powers aimed at ending a fight over the disputed Iranian nuclear program, the country’s foreign minister sounded an optimistic note on Tuesday, saying a deal was possible as soon as this week.

'Next Generation' Seeks WMD-Free Zone in Middle East
Al-Monitor

Concerns over the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East have dominated the discussions on the region for decades. However, new developments on the governance of these weapons in the region have been unfolding.

SOUTH ASIA

Artillery: Cheap, Ballistic And Indian
Strategy Page

November 6, 2013: India is offering an export version of its Prahaar short range, solid fuel, ballistic missile to friendly countries (this would apparently include everyone except Pakistan and China). In 2011 India competed tests for Prahaar. The export version will be called Pragati and sells for about $3 million each.  

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Netanyahu to tell Putin: Don't ease sanctions on Iran
Israel Hayom

The question being asked before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travels to Moscow in two weeks to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, is whether Russia will help Israel increase the pressure on Iran.

Iran Talks Won't Change U.S. Missile Plans in Europe, Kerry Says
Wall Street Journal

WARSAW—The U.S. said Tuesday it was going ahead with its missile-defense plans for Europe despite improving relations with Iran, one of the main threats the system is designed to counter.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Israel, Iran, Arabs Attended Same Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament
Wall Street Journal

Iran, Israel and Arab states took part in a recent meeting about prospects for an international conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East, diplomats said Tuesday.

Lasers point to the future of uranium enrichment
Gizmag

With the world’s first laser enrichment plant having received a construction and operating license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2012, the stage has been set for a radical change in the industry. So how does laser enrichment work, and what commercial benefits, along with proliferation concerns, does this new process present compared to current methods?

UN urges nuclear cooperation from North Korea, Iran, Syria
AP

(AP) - The head of the United Nations (UN) nuclear watchdog on Tuesday urged North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons, Iran to resolve outstanding issues about its suspect nuclear programme, and Syria to answer questions about an alleged covert nuclear reactor.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

USAF Planning To Develop New Means Of Nuclear Deterrence
Business Insider

The U.S. Air Force plans to modernize its nuclear deterrence capabilities.

OPINIONS

Nuclear disarmament examples provide Iran bleak options
Daily Star

When the United States and its allies resume talks over Iran’s nuclear program on Nov. 7-8, the vexing task of crafting Iran’s recent proposal into an enduring agreement will begin in earnest. There are many obstacles to an agreement, but among the least examined is the legacy of nuclear-disarmament efforts in Libya and North Korea. Both cases raise issues that neither Iran nor the U.S. wants to see repeated – but that will be difficult to avoid.

The answer on Iran? Yes.
Doyle McManus for the LA Times

After years of fruitless negotiations, the United States may soon face an unfamiliar problem in its long confrontation with Iran: Are we willing to take yes for an answer?

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 5, 2013

TOP NEWS

South Korea: North Developing EMP Weapons
AFP

Pyongyang making ICBM gains: report
Japan Times

Kerry to Saudis: US will not let Iran acquire nuclear weapons
Reuters

Pakistan test-fires short-range nuclear-capable missile
Kyodo News International

Size Matters
Crispin Rovere and Kalman A. Robertson for Arms Control Wonk

EAST ASIA

South Korea: North Developing EMP Weapons
AFP

SEOUL — South Korea’s spy agency said Monday that North Korea was using Russian technology to develop electromagnetic pulse weapons aimed at paralyzing military electronic equipment south of the border.
    
State Media Boasts of China’s Ability to Nuke US Cities
The Diplomat

A number of state run Chinese newspapers ran an article last week boasting of China’s ability to launch nuclear attacks against the United States, according to multiple media outlets in the Western world and Taiwan.

U.S., South Korea far from agreeing to relaunch nuclear talks with North Korea
Washington Free Beacon

The Obama administration remains adamant that it is opposed to renewed six-nation nuclear talks on North Korea until Pyongyang takes concrete steps toward giving up its nuclear arsenal and infrastructure, a senior Obama administration official said yesterday.

Pyongyang making ICBM gains: report
Japan Times

SEOUL – North Korea is making progress on an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a first-generation nuclear warhead to the continental United States, a leading U.S. think tank said Tuesday.

MIDDLE EAST

Kerry to Saudis: US will not let Iran acquire nuclear weapons
Reuters

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the US would not let Iran acquire nuclear weapons.

Iran calls for global nuclear disarmament
AP

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran’s UN ambassador called nuclear weapons the greatest threat to present and future generations on Monday, just days before Tehran resumes talks with six world powers aimed at reining in its suspect nuclear program.
    
US-Iran seek change on crisis anniversary
Asia Times

WASHINGTON - On the 34th anniversary of the seizure by Iranian militants of the US Embassy in Tehran, a growing number of experts here believe Washington and the Islamic Republic may be moving toward detente, if not rapprochement.

Iran, Israel take part in Middle East nuclear meeting: diplomats
Reuters

(Reuters) - Iran, Israel and Arab states took part in a secret meeting about prospects for an international conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East, diplomats said on Tuesday, a rare such gathering of regional adversaries.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan test-fires short-range nuclear-capable missile
Kyodo News International

The Pakistani army on Tuesday successfully test-fired its short-range nuclear-capable Nasr missile from an unspecified site, a Defense Ministry press release said.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian Strategic Bombers Complete South American Mission
RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, November 5 (RIA Novosti) – Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers returned on Tuesday from a tour-of-duty in South America, where they carried out a series of patrols in line with a combat training program.

Russia implores UN to take control of Libya’s ‘unguarded’ yellowcake uranium
RT

Russia has asked the UN Security Council to look into the dangers posed by a badly-guarded stockpile of yellowcake uranium in the Libyan Desert. Recent reports have said that Al-Qaeda is interested in the supply as a potential nuclear weapon component.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

India-Pak being consulted by US for international nuclear power treaty
First Post

Washington: The United States is consulting with key nuclear powers along with India and Pakistan on ways to commence negotiations on the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), a US official said.

U.S., international partners remove last weapons-grade uranium from Hungary
Oak Ridge Today

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Energy announced Monday that all remaining highly enriched uranium has been removed from Hungary.

The ticking clocks of Iran's nuclear program
Jerusalem Post

WASHINGTON – On October 29, with just a day’s notice, members of the National Security Council summoned four of America’s most influential pro-Israel lobbyists to the White House for an urgent meeting.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Lawrence Livermore Lab sets up new 'big data' computer
San Francisco Business Times    

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory worked with Intel Corp. and Cray Inc. to set up a computer cluster meant to crunch tremendous amounts of data.

NNSA reaffirms decision to select Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, to manage the Consolidated contract for nuclear production operations
Your Industry News

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today reaffirmed the award to Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (CNS), to be the management and operating contractor for the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas. The contract includes project management of the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) at Y-12 and an unexercised option for Savannah River Tritium Operations at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C.

OPINIONS

Size Matters
Crispin Rovere and Kalman A. Robertson for Arms Control Wonk

A few weeks ago — ok, maybe longer — I commented on an interesting proposal (that I nevertheless disagree with) by Crispin Rovere and Kalman Robertson to prohibit low yield nuclear weapons. I agued (“Size Doesn’t Matter“) that I didn’t agree with the problem as framed, didn’t think the treaty could be verified and, in any event, thought entry-into-force of the CTBT would be a better use of our time and energy.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 4, 2013

TOP NEWS

China reveals its ability to nuke the US: Government boasts about new submarine fleet capable of launching warheads at cities across the nation
Daily Mail

Khamenei tells Iran's hardliners not to undermine nuclear talks
Reuters

US vows to consult Israel on any nuclear deal with Iran
Press TV

US readies for $400 bln nuclear arms upgrade
RT

US, Japan and S Korea to hold joint discussions on N Korea’s nuclear program
Washington Post

EAST ASIA

Chinese nuclear envoy visits Pyongyang
Yonhap

China's top nuclear envoy is visiting Pyongyang, North Korean media reported Monday, in what appears to be another Beijing-led initiative to restart stalled denuclearization talks.

Park cautions against letting N. Korea abuse nuclear talks
Yonhap

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said North Korea should not be allowed to capitalize on nuclear disarmament talks to earn more time to move its atomic weapons program forward.

China reveals its ability to nuke the US: Government boasts about new submarine fleet capable of launching warheads at cities across the nation
Daily Mail

The Chinese government has revealed for the first time that it has nuclear submarines capable of attacking cities throughout the United States.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran “Not Optimistic” About Nuclear Talks: Supreme Leader
Outlook Afghanistan

The Islamic republic is not optimistic about the ongoing nuclear talks with the major powers, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday.

Khamenei tells Iran's hardliners not to undermine nuclear talks
Reuters

Iran's supreme leader gave strong backing on Sunday to his president's push for nuclear negotiations, warning hardliners not to accuse Hassan Rouhani of compromising with the old enemy America.

Syria’s shadow lurks behind Iran nuclear talks
Deutsche Welle

Much was made of the positive diplomatic noises that came out of the first round of talks on Iran's nuclear program in Geneva earlier this month. The spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's noted the novelty of "very detailed technical discussions," while the US praised a "level of seriousness and substance that we have not seen before."

SOUTH ASIA

South Asia's nuclear gamble
Asia Times

Listening to tips on nuclear strategy from a Pakistani novice politician usually is an extremely disappointing experience. A few weeks ago, someone even claimed that "grass would stop growing in India if it goes to war with Pakistan". Such aggressive statements, if analyzed in tandem with former president Asif Ali Zardari's past unilateral offer to India of dropping the "first use" clause from Pakistan's nuclear doctrine, illustrates lack of political comprehension on the issue.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian Navy’s Newest Missile Subs Not Operational – Source
Ria Novosti

Russian Navy’s newest ballistic missile submarines are not ready to begin operations in their primary role of carrying out nuclear deterrent patrols due to a failed test firing of the Bulava missile last year, a high command source told RIA Novosti on Friday.ir primary role of carrying out nuclear deterrent patrols due to a failed test firing of the Bulava missile last year, a high command source told RIA Novosti on Friday.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Iran, World Powers to Meet Again on Nuclear Issues
Voice of America

International nuclear negotiators will meet with Iran's foreign minister again this week for talks on limiting the country's nuclear program. Some nations fear that Tehran may be trying to develop atomic weapons. Iran is hoping to bring to an end crippling economic sanctions by offering new proposals at the upcoming negotiations. However, U.S. allies Israel and Saudi Arabia believe the Obama administration is moving too quickly.

IAEA prepared to close Iran’s “nuclear dossier”
Voice of Russia

Tehran, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the six international mediators are about to attain their objective and close Iran's "nuclear dossier". The decisive round of consultations involving IAEA inspectors is due in Tehran on November 11th, while the mediators (the five UN Security Council Permanent Members plus Germany) are scheduled to meet Tehran officials in Vienna on the 7th and 8th of this month to reach a new settlement agreement.

US vows to consult Israel on any nuclear deal with Iran
Press TV

“Whatever agreement we reach, Israel will know about, understand and consulted with us on, because Israel’s security is bedrock and there is no closer security relationship than what we have with each other,” Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman told Israel’s Channel 10 on Sunday.

US, Japan and S Korea to hold joint discussions on N Korea’s nuclear program
Washington Post

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US readies for $400 bln nuclear arms upgrade
RT

High-ranking Pentagon officials told members of Congress this week that the United States is in dire need of billions of dollars’ worth of upgrades to the country’s arsenal of antiquated atomic warheads.

OPINIONS

Washington’s nuclear agenda
The News International

The Pakistan-US joint statement on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington last month contains a section on ‘Non-proliferation, Nuclear Security and Strategic Stability’. As noted by Michael Krepon of the Stimson Centre, there are no words in the joint statement on “Pakistan’s growing stockpiles of nuclear weapons and fissile materials; short-range, tactical or battlefield weapons; Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; [and] Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.”        

Conflicting Blueprints
Arms Control Wonk

Sometimes it helps to frame choices about familiar subjects in different ways. By way of prologue – and to dust off the arguments in my book, Better Safe than Sorry (2009) – here’s another way to think about future arms control choices:

Hold the line on Iranian nuclear weapons
San Diego Union Tribune

Secretary of State John F. Kerry and other senior State Department officials engaged in “negotiations” with the Islamic Republic of Iran over its illicit nuclear weapons program have made clear they would be willing to accept continued Iranian enrichment of uranium as long as the Iranians agree to certain limits and to international monitoring.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 1, 2013

TOP NEWS

Gov't examining calls to lift N. Korea sanctions: unification minister
Yonhap News Agency

Iranian nuclear program chief denies halting uranium enrichment
Asharq Al-Awsat

Russian Navy’s Newest Missile Subs Not Operational – Source
RIA Novosti

Iran Talks: Congress Won't Wait Long for Progress
National Interest

No More Nuclear-Tipped Cruise Missiles
Tom Z. Collina for Defense One

EAST ASIA

Gov't examining calls to lift N. Korea sanctions: unification minister
Yonhap News Agency

SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Yonhap) -- The government is keeping tabs on demands to lift its three-year-old blanket sanctions that virtually halted all inter-Korean economic exchange, and weighing actions it can take, a senior policymaker said Friday.

Talks underway over S. Korea's requirements for missile defense: U.S. official
Yonhap News Agency

WASHINGTON, oct. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States are discussing how Seoul can contribute more to regional missile defense, a senior U.S. official said.

MIDDLE EAST

Iranian nuclear program chief denies halting uranium enrichment
Asharq Al-Awsat

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Iranian officials have denied reports that Iran has halted its production of medium-enriched uranium, a key demand of world powers in on-going negotiations over Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

SOUTH ASIA

India, Australia to hold 3rd round of talks on nuclear pact
Economic Times

MELBOURNE: India and Australia will hold the third round of talks in the last week of November to expedite negotiations for finalising a civil nuclear cooperation pact.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian Navy’s Newest Missile Subs Not Operational – Source
RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Navy’s newest ballistic missile submarines are not ready to begin operations in their primary role of carrying out nuclear deterrent patrols due to a failed test firing of the Bulava missile last year, a high command source told RIA Novosti on Friday.

Russian Bombers to Continue Patrols Over South America
RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) – Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers currently on a tour-of-duty in South America will carry out a series of patrol missions over the region in line with the program of combat training, the Defense Ministry said.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Iran's nuclear issue should be solved peacefully, via talks – FM
Trend News

Iran's nuclear issue should be solved peacefully, via talks, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at the joint press conference in Turkey with country's FM, Ahmet Davutoglu, TRT Haber channel reported live.

Iran Talks: Congress Won't Wait Long for Progress
National Interest

Despite all of the talk in Washington on the need to work together across partisan lines, the White House and the U.S. Congress have continued to clash on virtually every issue of major importance. From the view in the White House, the legislative branch can be an incredibly difficult partner to work with—a body that is characterized these days more as a debating society than as a productive branch of the U.S. government. The feeling is mutual for hundreds of lawmakers on Capitol Hill, many of whom complain that the White House either doesn’t take them seriously as a partner, or leaves them out of the loop.

White House meets with Jewish groups on Iran
AP

The White House has updated Jewish and pro-Israel groups about its talks with Iran amid concerns by some of the groups about the U.S. easing sanctions pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Smart Bombs Keep B-52s In Business
Strategy Page

Despite their age, the U.S. Air Force is continuing to upgrade its fifty year old B-52s. The latest upgrade will enable B-52 crew to program (enter GPS coordinates for a target) smart bombs carried internally. Previously only the smart bombs carried under the wings could be programmed by the crew. This upgrade simply means wiring the bomb bay so that smart bombs can be plugged into the aircraft fire control system. This is important because that makes it possible to carry other programmable weapons like the MALD (radar and anti-aircraft missile decoys) and the JASSM (long range smart bombs used for taking out enemy air defenses).  By 2017, 44 B-52s will have their bomb bay wiring upgraded.

OPINIONS

No More Nuclear-Tipped Cruise Missiles
Tom Z. Collina for Defense One

Sometime in the next few months, the Defense Department is expected to decide whether the nation needs a new nuclear-armed cruise missile. This decision is worth about $30 billion, and is a key test of whether U.S. military planners have finally moved beyond Cold War thinking.

Dan Ervin's opinion: Megatons-to-megawatts reduced real risks
Dan Ervin for Delmarva Now

One of the most remarkable achievements in nuclear-weapons disarmament is scheduled to come to a close next month. For many observers, the success of the megatons-to-megawatts accord between the United States and Russia could increase the prospects of further progress on arms control.

Iranian “threat” unites Saudi Arabia and Israel
Hassan Masiky for Open Democracy

Obama’s overture to Rouhani is costing the United States the goodwill of some old pro-Washington friends in the Arab world. When Prince Bandar, a close friend of the United States and a trusted adviser to the Saudi King, issues threats, Washington must listen.

Is Turkey Abetting Iran?
Jonathan Schanzer for the National Interest

David Ignatius of the Washington Post dropped a bomb last month, citing unnamed sources claiming Turkey “disclosed to Iranian intelligence the identities of up to ten Iranians who had been meeting inside Turkey with their Mossad case officers.”

Diplomacy is key to a deal with Iran
Paul Pillar for the Washington Post

There are popular fundamental misconceptions about Iran’s nuclear program: that the Iranian leadership has a fixed goal of acquiring a nuclear weapon, that if left alone Iran would build such a weapon and that this presumed ambition will be thwarted only if the rest of the world imposes enough costs and barriers. These misconceptions infuse much of the U.S. discourse on Iran, as reflected in frequent, erroneous references to Iran’s “nuclear weapons program.” These mistakes encourage a posture toward Iran that makes it more, not less, likely that Tehran will decide someday to build a bomb.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 31, 2013

TOP NEWS

Iran hopes for 'early' understanding in nuclear talks
AFP

India will not halt nuclear programme
The Hindu

Putin Checks Readiness of Russia’s Nuclear Deterrent
Ria Novosti

Kuwait calls for Mideast free of nuclear weapons
Kuwait News Agency

Nuclear subs show transparency
China Daily

EAST ASIA

IAEA: South Korea shouldn't reduce nuclear power capacity
Penn Energy

South Korea may be thinking about reducing its dependence on nuclear power, but a new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency said the country would struggle to provide enough energy if it did so. South Korea has no natural energy resources to fill the holes left by a declining use of nuclear power, IAEA said.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran’s Nuclear Black Box
The Daily Beast

Western intelligence agencies have had great success in the past sleuthing out Iran’s undeclared nuclear facilities. But the Iranians have gotten better at hiding their tracks, according to some current and retired United States intelligence officers who say it could prove very difficult for the world to catch Iran again if it tries to build a nuclear weapon in secret.

Iran hopes for 'early' understanding in nuclear talks
AFP

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran would approach crunch nuclear talks in Geneva next week "with good faith" and "with determination to reach understanding and with hope to reach an understanding at an early stage".

Analysis: As Iran closes in on nuclear capability, regional states pursue their own programs
Jerusalem Post

It is no secret that Shi’ite Iran’s nuclear program has increased already high sectarian tensions with Sunni states in the region, seeming to play a significant part in their decisions to pursue their own.

Israel: Nuclear armed Iran is threat to Africa
Associated Press

Israel's prime minister has told Nigeria's president that a nuclear armed Iran threatens Africa.

SOUTH ASIA

India will not halt nuclear programme
The Hindu

India will continue its nuclear programme without any interruption, irrespective of decisions taken by other countries, said R.K. Sinha, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy on Wednesday.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Putin Checks Readiness of Russia’s Nuclear Deterrent
Ria Novosti

Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw a snap check Wednesday of Russia’s nuclear deterrent, aerospace defenses and strategic aviation.

Moscow Conducts Large-Scale Nuclear Attack Drill
Washington Free Beacon

Russian strategic forces carried out a large-scale surprise military drill on Wednesday, launching four nuclear missiles that were closely monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies, U.S. officials said.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Kuwait calls for Mideast free of nuclear weapons
Kuwait News Agency

The State of Kuwait has called on the international community to work actively to achieve the goal of establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

EU official: Iran ‘undoubtedly’ has adopted new nuclear approach
Tehran Times

A deputy to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has said that Iran has undoubtedly adopted a new approach in talks over its nuclear activities.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Tested Soviet MiG Fighters at Mysterious Area 51
Ria Novosti

The United States covertly tested Soviet MiG fighter planes at the mysterious Area 51 site in the Nevada desert in the 1960s, including one plane secretly obtained by Israel, according to declassified US government documents published this week.

House Democrat Eyes More Powerful Alternative to B-61 Nuclear Bomb
Global Security Newswire

A key House Democrat on Tuesday pressed the Obama administration over whether it could use another, more powerful nuclear weapon to defend U.S. allies in Europe rather than making controversial and costly upgrades to the B-61 atomic warhead.

Debating Nuclear Deterrence
TIME

Weighing the utility of nuclear weapons has always been more theology than science. That was made clear again Tuesday when the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee poked into the need to spend $10 billion or more improving the Pentagon’s existing arsenal of B61 nuclear bombs.

US, biggest nuclear threat to world: Ken O’Keefe
Press TV

The United States poses the biggest nuclear threat to the world, former US Marine Ken O’Keefe tells Press TV in an interview.

OPINIONS

The Nuclear Problem in India-Japan Relations
Ankit Panda for the Diplomat

I’ve argued before in The Diplomat that the relationship between India and Japan is the one to watch in the Asia-Pacific in the 21st century. It makes good strategic sense. It brings together Asia’s largest and Asia’s richest democracies. It brings together two states who share a similarly strained relationship with China: economic dependence combined with strategic distrust.

Nuclear subs show transparency
China Daily

This week, Chinese official media released photos and videos of China's first generation of nuclear-powered submarines and reported that the first is to be decommissioned after more than 40 years of service.

When paranoia dictates nuclear policy
Shreveport Times

Many nuclear weapons analysts consider Pakistan to be the most dangerous country on earth. The state is corrupt and the people increasingly paranoid. Militant Islam has been cultivated for years and the country has repeatedly gone to war with neighboring India. The one thing that has comforted U.S. decision makers is that Pakistan’s leadership seemed lucid.

Capabilities of B61-12 Nuclear Bomb Increase Further
FAS

With every official statement about the B61 nuclear bomb life-extension program, the capabilities of the new version (B61-12) appear to be increasing.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 30, 2013

TOP NEWS

Iran never stopped 20 percent uranium enrichment: Salehi
The Daily Star

India denies charge of involvement in illicit nuclear trade
The Hindu

New US warships will prompt PLA to play catch-up
South China Morning Post

U.S. nuclear arms overhaul needed to ensure reliability: officials
Reuters

China and North Korea: New Thinking, Old Policies
Richard Weitz for The Diplomat

EAST ASIA

New US warships will prompt PLA to play catch-up
South China Morning Post

Beijing is closely monitoring the US' development of two new, highly advanced marine warfare ships which will likely operate in Asia-Pacific in the coming years, several analysts say.

Senior diplomats from N. Korea, China hold talks in Beijing
Yonhap News Agency

BEIJING, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) -- Senior diplomats from North Korea and China held talks in Beijing, China's foreign ministry said Wednesday, with Beijing reinforcing its efforts to reopen the six-party talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear weapons program.

China, US talk nuclear Korea
World Bulletin

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hua Cunying has said that officials from US and China are taking up the nuclear issues in Korean peninsula.

N. Korea says won't bargain on nuclear arms
Kuwait News Agency

TOKYO, Oct 30 (KUNA) -- North Korea said Wednesday that its nuclear weapons program is not a bargaining tool and slammed South Korean policymakers for challenging the country's sovereign right to defend itself from outside aggression, Seoul's Yonhap News Agency reported.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran ‘Two Weeks’ From Nuclear Weapon Capability
Jewish Week

Iran’s nuclear development program is rapidly approaching the capability to build an atomic weapon, a former official of the International Atomic Energy Association said on Monday.

Israel: Nuclear armed Iran is threat to Africa
Associated Press

Israel's prime minister has told Nigeria's president that a nuclear armed Iran threatens Africa.

SOUTH ASIA

India denies charge of involvement in illicit nuclear trade
The Hindu

India has refuted charges of involvement in covert nuclear trade, saying that a single suspect case of export of a dual use item to Iran was due to difference in perception.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Construction starts on US base in Romania _ part of missile defense system worrying Russia
Washington Post

DEVESELU, Romania — Construction has begun on a U.S. base in Romania that will form part of a ballistic missile defense system that has angered Russia.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Iran never stopped 20 percent uranium enrichment: Salehi
The Daily Star

TEHRAN: Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Tehran has never stopped 20 percent uranium enrichment, denying earlier claims of a temporarily halt, parliament's website reported Wednesday.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Pentagon, Energy Department Moving Ahead with Upgraded, Precision-Guided Nuclear Bomb
Washington Free Beacon

The oldest nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal is being modernized with a precision-guidance kit and more modern safety features, Pentagon and Energy Department officials told Congress on Monday.

U.S. nuclear arms overhaul needed to ensure reliability: officials
Reuters

(Reuters) - The U.S. nuclear arsenal needs a multi-billion dollar overhaul in the coming decade to ensure the weapons' safety and effectiveness, defense officials said on Tuesday, despite warnings from arms control groups that the effort is unaffordable and unnecessary.

Budget debates worry Sandia director
Albuquerque Business First

Federal budget decisions will likely mean delays, and higher costs, for Sandia National Laboratories’ core nuclear mission, said Paul Hommert, president and director of Sandia in testimony Tuesday to the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services’ Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.

OPINIONS

Is the nonproliferation agenda stuck in the Cold War?
Francesca Giovanni and Amy J. Nelson for the Washington Post

Some have argued that the current global nuclear governance agenda is overwhelmingly skewed in favor of the nonproliferation goals of nuclear weapons states (NWSs).  While there is some truth to this argument, the notion that this agenda has been crafted by direct design with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in corroboration with NWSs has little merit.  Although an examination of the past 20 years of nuclear institution-building at the global level reveals an increasing tendency toward working to prevent the conversion of existing civilian nuclear programs to military ones and impeding rogue states from gaining access to nuclear weapons, the suggestion that the efforts of the nonproliferation community are in the service of any “Western” global [nuclear] authority is reductive and, most importantly, flawed.

Is a cold war reprise coming in the Middle East?
Nick Gray for The Commentator

America is taking its diplomatic paws off the Middle East. Alliances are changing, “friendships” are being broken and made; the acrid fluidity of diplomacy since the Arab Spring (some spring!) is making for some interesting bedfellows.

Trudy Rubin: Was U.S. fooled again on Pakistan?
Trudy Rubin for the Philadelphia Inquirer

When Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Washington last week, I couldn’t help but think of the adage “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

China and North Korea: New Thinking, Old Policies
Richard Weitz for The Diplomat

With the current provocation pause on the Korean peninsular, the extent to which China’s policies towards North Korea have changed due to the leadership turnovers in Beijing and Pyongyang and the DPRK’s provocative behavior is now clearer. In essence, PRC policymakers now employ sharper rhetoric and tactics with Pyongyang, even though China’s goal and strategy for resolving its North Korean problem remains largely unchanged. Beijing still prefers to see a divided Korean Peninsula and seeks a change in the DPRK’s behavior rather than a change in the regime itself. Moreover, it is hard to see what near-term developments could occur that might fundamentally change Beijing’s approach.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 29, 2013

TOP NEWS

North Korea upgrading main nuclear site
AFP

Israel army intel chief: Iran undergoing 'significant, strategic' changes

Haaretz

Russia Wants to Compromise on U.S.-NATO Missile Shield Plans
Global Security Newswire

U.N. inspectors hold 'very productive' nuclear talks with Iran
Reuters

Nuclear negotiations: Ball in North Korea's court, U.S. says
UPI

EAST ASIA

China flexes muscle and unveils mystery nuclear sub fleet
Washington Times

China unveiled this week a fleet of nuclear submarines that has been shrouded in mystery and hidden for 40-plus years — a move seen by security experts as a show of force and confidence from a nation that’s aggressively pursuing the top spot on the world stage.

North Korea upgrading main nuclear site
AFP

North Korea has undertaken major construction work at its main missile launch site, possibly to cater to larger and more mobile weapons, a US think-tank said on Tuesday.

N. Korea's vice FM in Beijing amid nuclear diplomacy
Yonhap

A senior North Korean diplomat arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for talks with his Chinese counterparts, a diplomatic source said, as China steps up its efforts to reopen the six-party talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear weapons program.

South Korea may struggle to cut reliance on nuclear power: IAEA
Hindustan Times

South Korea may struggle to cut its reliance on nuclear power, as a working group has suggested it do, because the country has no natural resources to fill its huge energy requirements, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Tuesday.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran-IAEA brainstorm nuclear inspections
The Hindu

Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have held technical discussions for a second successive day on a framework of inspections that could allay Western apprehensions about Tehran’s suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Israel army intel chief: Iran undergoing 'significant, strategic' changes
Haaretz

Since Hassan Rohani was elected Iran’s president in June, the country has been undergoing a process of deep internal political change. Nevertheless, there has as yet been no change in the regime’s “nuclear vision” or its ongoing nuclear policy, according to a position paper written by the head of Military Intelligence late last month.

Full Tally of Syria's Chemical-Arms Sites Not Clear
Global Security Newswire

Syria has submitted an official report detailing the contents of its chemical-weapons arsenal to international overseers, though it remains unclear if the embattled country has more than 23 locations holding the poisonous arms, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

SOUTH ASIA

Safety of Pakistan’s nuclear assets has improved: US
Dawn

In a document issued after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the United States, the White House has acknowledged improvement in a key area of US concern: the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian Tu-160 Strategic Bombers Land in Venezuela
Ria Novosti

Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers on Monday flew from an airbase in southwestern Russia and landed in Venezuela, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Russia Wants to Compromise on U.S.-NATO Missile Shield Plans
Global Security Newswire

Russia on Monday said it was open to reaching a compromise with NATO on its plans for European ballistic-missile defense, but warned the current negotiating posture of the alliance is "unacceptable," ITAR-Tass reported.

Russia’s New Nuclear Sub Completes Sea Trials – Shipbuilder
Ria Novosti

Russia’s new nuclear-powered submarine, the Alexander Nevsky, has completed sea trials, a shipbuilder said Monday.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

U.N. inspectors hold 'very productive' nuclear talks with Iran
Reuters

he U.N. nuclear watchdog and Iran held "very productive" talks this week on how to advance a long-blocked investigation into Iranian atomic activities and will meet again in Tehran next month, they said in a rare joint statement on Tuesday.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Nuclear negotiations: Ball in North Korea's court, U.S. says
UPI

North Korea needs to show it is serious about commitments to honor its international obligations in nuclear security, a U.S. government official said.

Kerry Urges Pursuing Diplomacy on Iran’s Nuclear Program
Bloomberg

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that failing to pursue diplomacy on Iran’s disputed nuclear program would be irresponsible and urged Congress to become more involved in efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.

GOP Senator Concerned by U.S.-Vietnam Nuclear Trade Deal
Global Security Newswire

A senior Republican senator on Monday wrote to the Obama administration to voice concerns about a recently negotiated nuclear-trade agreement with Vietnam that does not explicitly prohibit the country from developing fuel-production technologies that also can be used for weapons-related work.

OPINIONS

How to negotiate with Iran
LA Times

This month in Geneva, at the first negotiations over its nuclear program since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, Iran took an unprecedented step: It negotiated. For the first time, Tehran presented an actual vision of the endgame for the talks with six world powers, and how to get there. However, contrary to expectations, it offered no concessions, leaving serious questions about Iranian purposes. With another round of talks scheduled for next week, U.S. negotiators would do well to follow principles that signify the core interests at stake.

Nuclear shield: A change of priorities
Pravda

Russia's strategic rocket forces (RSF) by 2021 will be re-armed with universal defense systems of the fifth generation by 98 percent.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 28, 2013

TOP NEWS

China nuclear subs ‘gallop to depths of ocean’
The Financial Times

North Korea's nuclear strength grows in isolation
Hindustan Times

Nuclear group: Time Iran would need to make uranium for a bomb 'too short'
CNN

Strikes on Pakistan can create nuclear holocaust: Feroz Khan
Times of India

Pushing for nuclear disarmament
Japan Times

EAST ASIA

China nuclear subs ‘gallop to depths of ocean’
The Financial Times

China has revealed that its first fleet of nuclear submarines has started sea patrols, in the latest sign of its military’s growing confidence which has raised concerns in the region.

Xinhua, the official news agency, released photographs of what appeared to be Xia-class vessels – China’s first generation of nuclear-armed submarines, which are several decades old – saying they were being “declassified” for the first time.

North Korea's nuclear strength grows in isolation
Hindustan Times

If the international community's main goal is to push North Korea towards denuclearisation In August, images suggested the North had doubled its uranium enrichment capacity at its Yongbyon nuclear complex.

N. Korea vows to launch more satellites in defiance of U.N. ban
Yonhap

North Korea has vowed to continue to launch "commercial" satellites in defiance of a United Nations resolution banning such actions, the communist country's media reported Monday.

Stung by scandal, S.Korea weighs up cost of curbing nuclear power
Reuters

It started with a few bogus safety certificates for cables shutting a handful of South Korean nuclear reactors. Now, the scandal has snowballed, with 100 people indicted and Seoul under pressure to rethink its reliance on nuclear power.

MIDDLE EAST

Senior Iranian official pledges new approach in dealings with UN nuclear agency
Fox News

A senior Iranian nuclear negotiator says his country is taking a "new approach" with the U.N.'s nuclear agency, which is concerned about allegations that Tehran secretly worked on atomic arms.

Israel issues warning to Iran over nuclear bomb report
Fox News

An Israeli defense official says a new report claiming Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build a nuclear bomb in less than a month is further justification for why Israel will take military action before that happens.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

French PM to discuss space nuclear deals in Russia – Envoy
Ria Novosti

Transport, space and nuclear cooperation are expected to be discussed during the French premier’s forthcoming visit to Russia, a French diplomat said in an interview with Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Nuclear group: Time Iran would need to make uranium for a bomb 'too short'
CNN

Iran may need only a month to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear bomb, a U.S.-based anti-proliferation group says in a new assessment of Tehran's enrichment program.

Iran Says Time Right for New Approach With IAEA Nuclear Monitors
Bloomberg

Iran and nuclear monitors will seek to find a new approach to ensure the Persian Gulf nation’s atomic program is intended for exclusively peaceful purposes.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Eric Schlosser raises alarm in Vancouver about nuclear weapons and nuclear power
Straight.com

Speaking at a Vancouver Writers Fest event on October 26, Eric Schlosser outlined several examples of sloppy handling of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Obama administration to Congress: Wait on new Iran sanctions for nuke talk flexibility
The Province

The Obama administration is asking Congress to hold off on enacting new sanctions against Iran. It says a pause in the push to impose new penalties would give negotiators flexibility in talks now under way to get Iran to comply with demands it prove its nuclear program is peaceful.

OPINIONS

Strikes on Pakistan can create nuclear holocaust: Feroz Khan
Times of India

Pakistani soldier-turned-academic Feroz Khan's book Eating Grass is an insider account tracing the history of Pakistan's nuclear programme — and its survival despite hurdles. Khan, who was involved in formulating Pakistan's nuclear arms control policy, spoke with Sameer Arshad about how Pakistan's nuclear arsenal grew, implications of its nuclear race with India — and how restraints are possible:

A patch-up to keep it going
The Hindu

There is always a “good” reason for slipping back to business-as-usual in U.S.-Pakistan relations. This time it is America’s need to buy Pakistan’s cooperation for a safe exit from Afghanistan. And Pakistan’s need to break out of its isolation.

Nuclear weapons must remain secure
Tuscaloosa  News

For more than 40 years, the United States and the Soviet Union stared at each other across a line that Winston Churchill dubbed the “Iron Curtain.” Opposing aims and ambitions between the Soviets and the West kept the world on the edge of real war throughout the Cold War.

Pushing for nuclear disarmament
Japan Times

Japan on Oct. 21 joined 124 other countries in signing a United Nations statement that underlines the inhuman nature of nuclear weapons and calls for the nonuse of such weapons. This is the first time that Japan has supported such a joint statement despite its being the only nation to have suffered from nuclear attacks. Now that Japan has signed the statement, it should play a constructive role in global efforts to realize the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 25, 2013

TOP NEWS

North Korean activity signals plan for another rogue nuclear weapons test
Washington Times

Nuclear group: Time Iran would need to make uranium for a bomb 'too short'
CNN

Senior lawmaker says Iran has halted 20 percent enrichment
Reuters

Steinitz: There Are Small Differences with the U.S. on Iran
Arutz Sheva (Israel)

Nuclear North Korea: Bad or mad?
The Economist

EAST ASIA

North Korean activity signals plan for another rogue nuclear weapons test
Washington Times

Increased activity at North Korea’s main underground nuclear test site suggests that the rogue communist nation is preparing to conduct another illegal atomic weapons blast, according to a report by a Washington-based research institute.

US Expert on Japan Says “Japanese Nukes May Be Possible”
Business Korea

An American expert on Japan said that Japan could pursue nukes using North Korea and China as a pretext.

Two New Tunnel Entrances Spotted at North Korea’s Punggye Nuclear Test Site
38 North

Recent commercial satellite imagery has identified two new tunnel entrances and continued excavation at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. Excavation in the West Portal area, where North Korea’s 2009 and 2013 nuclear tests were conducted, and the South Portal area may be intended to complete new tunnels that will be used for future nuclear tests. An alternative explanation, particularly for work in the West Portal area, is that North Korea is digging a secondary entrance to a nearby existing tunnel intended, for example, to allow increased traffic flow or ventilation.[1] Whether Pyongyang is following this practice remains unclear. Continued observation of excavation at Punggye-ri should reveal additional information since it may take as long as one to two years to dig separate new tunnels.

MIDDLE EAST

Nuclear group: Time Iran would need to make uranium for a bomb 'too short'
CNN

(CNN) -- Iran may need only a month to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear bomb, a U.S.-based antiproliferation group says in a new assessment of Tehran's enrichment program.

Steinitz: There Are Small Differences with the U.S. on Iran
Arutz Sheva (Israel)

Minister of Intelligence and International Relations Yuval Steinitz said on Thursday said there were "small differences" with the United States over the Iranian nuclear issue, AFP reported.

SOUTH ASIA

Obama Says He is Confident About Pakistani Nuclear Security
Global Security Newswire

President Obama asserted he was confident Pakistan is committed to maintaining security around its nuclear arsenal on Wednesday, just weeks after it was revealed the U.S. intelligence community has made surveillance of the South Asian country's nuclear sites one of its top priorities.

Obama says ‘no’ to Sharif on Kashmir, nuclear parity with India
IANS

Washington: As expected, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif failed to get any traction with President Barack Obama on his wish list – US mediation on Kashmir, nuclear parity with India and an end to drone strikes on suspected terror dens in Pakistani territory.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Soviets performed nuclear blasts at Siberian oilfield to be shared with China
Reuters

MOSCOW, Oct 25 (Reuters) - A series of underground nuclear blasts was carried out in the 1970s and 1980s at an oilfield in Siberia that state firm Rosneft has agreed to develop with China.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Senior lawmaker says Iran has halted 20 percent enrichment
Reuters

(Reuters) - Iran has halted its most sensitive uranium enrichment work, a senior Iranian parliamentarian was quoted as saying, a move that would meet a main demand of world powers negotiating with Tehran over its disputed nuclear work.

US: No sanctions lifting at front end of Iran nuclear talks
Reuters

WASHINGTON - The United States is not looking to ease sanctions on Iran "at the front end" of negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program, a senior White House official said on Thursday.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Malmstrom reports 'highest possible grade' in nuclear inspection redo
Air Force Times

The 341st Missile Wing received a perfect score Thursday on a nuclear inspection redo.

OPINIONS

Nuclear North Korea: Bad or mad?
The Economist

UNDERNEATH THE “TOWER of the Korean War”, a monument in Seoul resembling a bronze sword, is a bunker managed by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security. Inside, visitors learn how to protect themselves from a North Korean attack, chemical (seal the windows), biological (cover your mouth and nostrils) or nuclear (find a bunker).

Editorial: U.S. missile bases have unacceptable lapses
Dale McFeatters for Scripps Howard News Service

In the Cold War years of the 1950s and '60s and even into the '70s, America's nuclear arsenal -- its size, deployment, the aircraft and rockets that would deliver it and the Air Force officers and crews who oversaw it -- were front and center in the U.S. defense posture.

Column: The point of negotiating with Iran
Steve Chapman for the Chicago Tribune

Munich, I am told, is a lovely city near the Alps, with a rich history, many architectural and cultural attractions and oceans of great beer. But you wouldn’t know any of that from listening to politicians, who never mention it except as an example of disastrous naivete.

Burns: The Iran end game
Nicholas Burns for the Longview News Journal

While extremists in Congress were hijacking the government during the shutdown, State Department diplomats were pursuing much more productive work a world away in Geneva. With surprisingly little fanfare, American and Iranian negotiators launched long-awaited talks over Iran’s increasingly advanced nuclear program. They described their first meeting as “substantive and forward-looking.” In diplo-speak, that means they had a surprisingly good start.

The IR-40 and Diplomacy
Mark Hibbs for Arms Control Wonk

Because neither side has disclosed details, we don’t know for sure whether the roadmap Iran proposed to the P5+1 powers in Geneva in mid-October includes the future of the IR-40 reactor project. Iran’s counterparts have good reason to make sure that the unfinished heavy water reactor is on a short list of must-resolve issues. Once it is completed, Iran will have an installation that can generate annually in its irradiated fuel between 5 and 10 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium. That’s enough for one nuclear weapon a year.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 24, 2013

TOP NEWS

Increase in Activity Reported at North Korean Nuclear Test Site
New York Times

Iran halts 20-percent enrichment. Are nuclear talks working?
Christian Science Monitor

Barack Obama says 'no' to Nawaz Sharif on Kashmir, nuclear parity
Indo-Asian News Service

Moscow Needs More ‘Predictability’ in NATO Missile Defense Plans
Ria Novosti

U.S., Israel differ on how to resolve Iran nuclear issue
Reuters

EAST ASIA

S. Korean FM calls for N. Korea's 'strategic choice' of denuclearization
Yonhap

The denuclearization of North Korea is "the most immediate challenge" of the moment, Seoul's foreign minister said Thursday, calling on Pyongyang to make a "strategic choice" and take notes from the Syrian government's decision to abandon its chemical weapons.

Increase in Activity Reported at North Korean Nuclear Test Site
New York Times

North Korea has increased activity at its main underground nuclear test site, digging new tunnel entrances in what could be preparations for another nuclear test, a Washington-based research institute reported Thursday.

Korean, U.S. presidential aides to discuss OPCON, missile defense
Yonhap

The top national security aide to South Korean President Park Geun-hye arrived in Washington Wednesday for consultations on North Korea and Seoul-Washington alliance issues.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran halts 20-percent enrichment. Are nuclear talks working?
Christian Science Monitor

By most accounts, the negotiations in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear program are going well.

Rift widens on Iranian nuclear deal as Israel, Arabs warn against allowing enrichment
Washington Post

The Obama administration on Wednesday acknowledged a widening gulf with key Middle Eastern allies over nuclear talks with Iran, as Israeli and Persian Gulf Arab leaders pressed for drastic cuts to Iran’s atomic infrastructure that Tehran has insisted it will never accept.

Iran will not forgo its nuclear right
Press TV

A senior Iranian parliamentarian has reiterated that Tehran will not renounce its entitlement to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

SOUTH ASIA

Barack Obama says 'no' to Nawaz Sharif on Kashmir, nuclear parity
Indo-Asian News Service

As expected, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif failed to get any traction with President Barack Obama on his wish list - US mediation on Kashmir, nuclear parity with India and an end to drone strikes on suspected terror dens in Pakistani territory.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Moscow Needs More ‘Predictability’ in NATO Missile Defense Plans
Ria Novosti

Russia aims to cooperate with Western powers on security issues but needs guarantees that a US missile shield in Eastern Europe would not target its nuclear forces, Russia’s defense minister said Wednesday.

Russia Floats Plan for Nuclear Power Plants at Sea
National Geographic

Back in the early 1970s, U.S. utility companies, frustrated with growing public unease about nuclear power that made it difficult for them to find sites for new plants, came up with a wild brainstorm. Why not put full-sized nuclear power plants on barges and position them offshore, where they wouldn't be in anyone's backyard, unless you counted fish?

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Nobel Laureates Call for End to Nuclear Weapons
ABC News

Nobel Peace Prize laureates called on world leaders Wednesday to bring about the "universal, legal and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons."

U.N. nuclear inspectors hope to end deadlock with Iran
Reuters

Iran's apparent new readiness to address international concerns about its atomic ambitions will be tested in talks with U.N. inspectors on Monday, with diplomats hoping for progress such as on access to a sensitive military site.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Iran must prove nuclear program peaceful, Kerry says
Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up a marathon meeting Wednesday evening in Rome, after discussing peace talks and the Iranian nuclear issue.

U.S., Israel differ on how to resolve Iran nuclear issue
Reuters

U.S. and Israeli officials differed over Iran's nuclear program on Wednesday as Israel called for its effective dismantlement and the United States suggested better safeguards could assure that it is peaceful rather than military in nature.

OPINIONS

Iran does have a right to enrich uranium
Washington Post

Regarding the Oct. 18 editorial “Iran’s sticking point”:

The Post editorial board is wrong. Unfortunately for those of us committed to the global abolition of nuclear weapons and power, starting here in the United States, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) most certainly does guarantee all signatories an equal right to enrich uranium.

Reprocessing is a safe, sound nuclear option
Centre Daily

Since it began 20 years ago, a program established by the United States and Russia to convert surplus nuclear-weapons materials into fuel for electricity production has been a bastion of stability and security in bilateral relations that have seen relatively little of either.

Realpolitik plus principle
The Hindu

Talks between Iran and the G6 countries — the United States, Russia, China, Germany, France, and Britain — in Geneva on October 15 and 16 concluded, as expected, with no clear breakthrough but with another Geneva meeting scheduled for November 7 and 8. The delegations, respectively led by European Union Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, issued a joint statement that an Iranian plan for negotiation was followed by “in-depth” bilateral and joint consultations. The reasons for this cautious optimism are largely but not solely instrumental. Western sanctions have hit Iran hard, and many other countries have imposed their own under threat of U.S. sanctions against themselves. On the western side, President Barack Obama needs a foreign policy success, for which Iran offers better prospects than do Israel-Palestine, Syria, or Egypt. Both Iran and the G6 are offering various inducements, with Iran reportedly willing to accept stronger inspection powers for the International Atomic Energy Authority, to suspend production of 20 per cent enriched uranium, and to negotiate on the number of centrifuges it uses for enrichment. The U.S. can offer to unblock tens of billions of dollars Iran has in accounts around the world; in September the European Court of Justice ruled several EU-based freezes illegal, and the West could lift sanctions on medical supplies, aircraft spare parts, and travel by Iranian citizens.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 23, 2013

TOP NEWS

Comparing Israel to Syria, Israeli PM rejects any partial deal in Tehran nuclear negotiations
Washington Post

Iran’s overtures at nuke talks: Less than an offer, they show willingness to tackle hot issues
Washington Post

China, Russia discuss resumption of nuclear talks with N. Korea
Yonhap

U.S., Israel differ over how to resolve Iran nuclear issue
Reuters

Spending cuts: a new lever for reducing US nuclear arsenal?
Walter Pincus for the Washington Post

EAST ASIA

Navy chief pledges to speed up plans for three more Aegis ships
Yonhap

South Korea's Navy chief said Wednesday that he will push to speed up plans to build three more Aegis destroyers by a few years -- expected to begin in early 2020 -- as part of the mid-term plan to have three naval strike groups around the Korean Peninsula.

S. Korea, Finland sign nuclear cooperation pact
Yonhap

South Korea and Finland officially signed a deal on Wednesday to expand cooperation in the nuclear energy field and to ensure its peaceful use, Seoul officials said.

MIDDLE EAST

Comparing Israel to Syria, Israeli PM rejects any partial deal in Tehran nuclear negotiations
Washington Post

Israel’s prime minister said Wednesday that the world should not accept what he called a “partial deal” to curb Iran’s nuclear program — just as it is not allowing the Syrian government to keep any of its chemical weapons stockpile.

Bushehr nuclear plant to begin producing fuel in three months, says Iran nuclear chief
Haaretz

Fuel production at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant will begin within three months, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported Tuesday, citing the country's atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi.

Iran’s overtures at nuke talks: Less than an offer, they show willingness to tackle hot issues
Washington Post

Iran nuclear talks ended last week with enthusiastic pronouncements of progress from negotiators. Tehran’s willingness to engage is a big step, but diplomats familiar with the meeting also say significant gaps remain between what the Iranians offered and what the six negotiating powers seek in order to reduce fears Iran wants to build nuclear weapons.

In Iran, relations with U.S. a matter of national interest
Washington Post

Recent moves by the United States to engage the new Iranian government, led by a moderate president, have triggered a public debate in Iran over its national interests, forcing hard-line conservatives to defend Tehran’s 34-year-old enmity with Washington.

SOUTH ASIA

Sharif Says He Wants Serious Peace Talks with India and to End Arms Race
Global Security Newswire

Pakistan's leader on Tuesday said he is ready to hold substantive peace talks with India aimed at resolving the two nations' arms race and other longstanding areas of dispute.

Russia's hypersonic trump card edges closer to reality
Russia & India Report

By the end of this year, Moscow will test its newest ballistic missile, the RS-26 Rubezh (which means frontier in Russian) equipped with hypersonic manoeuvring nuclear units. As Colonel General Vladimir Zarudnitsky, chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, said to Vladimir Putin, this system will significantly expand the ability of Russian strategic nuclear forces to overcome missile defence systems. The technical specifications of the new missile have not been disclosed. However, public recognition of the fact that it has “hypersonic manoeuvring nuclear units” indicates it is an ultimate weapon.

Russia steps in to improve military ties with Iran
The Hindu

After consolidating in Syria, Russia is set to expand military ties with Iran, as part of its bid to re-emerge as a major player in the Levant and Gulf.

Russian Missile Forces to Field All-New Arsenal by 2021
RIA Novosti

Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) will be fully equipped with fifth-generation missile systems by 2021, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

China, Russia discuss resumption of nuclear talks with N. Korea
Yonhap

The chief nuclear envoys from China and Russia held talks earlier this week during which they discussed ways to resume the long-stalled multilateral talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program, China's foreign ministry said Wednesday.

U.S., Israel differ over how to resolve Iran nuclear issue
Reuters

U.S. and Israeli officials differed over Iran's nuclear program on Wednesday as Israel called for its effective dismantlement and the United States suggested safeguards could show that it is peaceful rather than military.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Nuclear Officers Napped With Blast Door Left Open
Associated Press

Air Force officers entrusted with the launch keys to long-range nuclear missiles have been caught twice this year leaving open a blast door that is intended to help prevent a terrorist or other intruder from entering their underground command post, Air Force officials said.

Los Alamos Celebrates 50-year Anniversary of Launch of First Pair of 'Watchmen'
Targeted News Service

The U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory issued the following news release:

Fifty years ago this month, Los Alamos National Laboratory sensor technology lifted off into space to help verify that world Superpowers were abiding by the newly signed Limited Test Ban Treaty--a pledge by the United States, the former Soviet Union and the United Kingdom to refrain from testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, underwater or in space.

OPINIONS

The U.S.-Vietnam Nuclear Deal
Victor Gilinsky & Henry Sokolski for the National Review

On October 10, Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that while one team of State Department negotiators was trying to get Iran to back off producing nuclear fuels that can also be used as explosives, another team negotiated a U.S.-Vietnam Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement — which Kerry initialed — that contains no legal bars to such fuel activities. This disparity will not escape Iran’s attention. It will also limit what restrictions on the making of nuclear fuel U.S. negotiators can demand of South Korea as they renew America’s current civilian-nuclear-cooperation agreement with Seoul. Congress will get an opportunity in December to review the Vietnam agreement. It should say No.

Iran needs to come clean on past weapons research
Boston Globe

In 1993, South African president F.W. de Klerk acknowledged something the world had long suspected: South Africa had developed nuclear weapons and then destroyed them. De Klerk’s decision to come clean about South Africa’s activities — and to invite the International Atomic Energy Agency in to verify the claim — helped transform South Africa from an international pariah into a trusted actor on the world stage.

Spending cuts: a new lever for reducing US nuclear arsenal?
Walter Pincus for the Washington Post

IT won’t save much money in the short run, but it’s an opportunity to apply some logic to the Cold War thinking that hangs over these most destructive weapons.

Where Does Geneva Leave Us?
Matt Lerner for the Daily Beast

The P5+1 negotiations in Geneva ended last week on a positive note, with White House spokesman Jay Carney announcing to reporters that the Iranians had presented “a new proposal with a level of seriousness and substance that we had not seen before.” E.U. High Representative Catherine Ashton referred to the talks as “very intensive and very important” and Iranian foreign affairs minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed hopes for the “beginning of a new phase” in relations between Iran and the West.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 22, 2013

TOP NEWS

Al-Qa'ida eyes Gaddafi's missiles and uranium
The Australian

Iran willing to consider enrichment levels during talks
UPI

Netanyahu to Prod Kerry on Iran After Vatican Visit Scrapped
Bloomberg News

U.N. nuclear agency says malware infected some computers
Reuters

How Nuclear Was It? New Testimony on the 1973 Yom Kippur War
Avner Cohen for Arms Control Wonk

EAST ASIA

Hiroshima, Nagasaki mayors commend Japan’s support for UN statements against nuclear weapons
Japan Daily Press

The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki commended the Japanese government’s support for two U.N. statements against the use of nuclear weapons. Being the two cities that suffered the devastating effect of atomic bombing during World War II, both are hoping that the use of nuclear weapons in the world will soon come to an end.

MIDDLE EAST

Al-Qa'ida eyes Gaddafi's missiles and uranium
The Australian

THE barefoot rebel in the pork pie hat is a troubled man. A former human trafficker, today he presides over a vast arsenal in southern Libya that includes an estimated 4000 surface-to-air missiles, each capable of downing a passenger jet, and has access to thousands of barrels of uranium yellowcake (ore sometimes used to produce nuclear weapons) in an abandoned desert warehouse.

Netanyahu to Prod Kerry on Iran After Vatican Visit Scrapped
Bloomberg News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, mistrustful of warming ties between world powers and Iran, flies to Rome today to discuss Iranian nuclear talks and Middle East peace efforts with Secretary of State John Kerry.

Sanctions Relief Could Come for Iran Before Nuclear Program Is Suspended
Jewish Daily Forward

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew suggested that sanctions relief could come before Iran fully suspends its suspected nuclear weapons program — a tactic rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Iran willing to consider enrichment levels during talks
UPI

GENEVA, Switzerland, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The scale of enrichment in Iran's nuclear program is up for debate though enrichment itself is not a matter for negotiation, an Iranian minister said.

Hints of Israel-U.S. rift over Iran

Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP)—Just days after the first round of global nuclear talks with Iran, a rift appears to be emerging between Israel and its closest ally, the United States.

SOUTH ASIA

India PM fails to strike nuclear deal in Russia
AFP

Moscow (AFP) - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh failed Monday to strike a long-delayed nuclear power deal with Russia during talks with President Vladimir Putin that also focused on big arms and energy deals.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian Nuclear Cruiser Departs on Atlantic Mission
RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) – The flagship of Russia’s Northern Fleet, the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky, set off Tuesday from a naval base in northern Russia for the Atlantic on a regular tour of duty, a fleet spokesman said.

Alex Salmond targets 2016 Trident withdrawal date
The Guardian

Alex Salmond has suggested a final deal on removing Trident nuclear submarines from an independent Scotland would be delayed until 2016, as he urged his party to seize the hour and win next year's referendum.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

U.N. nuclear agency says malware infected some computers
Reuters

(Reuters) - Malicious software infected some U.N. nuclear agency computers over the past few months but no data in its network has been compromised, the agency said on Tuesday.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

New Sub Program Still Top Priority
Brunswick News (GA)

Oct. 21--ST. MARYS -- Navy officials call the replacement of Ohio-class submarines home-ported at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay and at the Pacific base in Bangor, Wash., the service's "top priority program."

Clock is ticking on aging B61 bomb, StratCom chief says
Omaha World-Herald

The oldest atomic bomb in the U.S. arsenal desperately needs to be upgraded before its aging electronics go bad early in the next decade, the head of the Offutt-based U.S. Strategic Command says.

New Report Offers Smart Choices for Nuke Weapons Complex
Project on Government Oversight blog

What are the challenges and decisions facing the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today and in the future? Which NNSA programs truly require the billions of dollars appropriated annually and which are wasteful money pits? And why is the United States spending $60 billion over the next quarter century to replace the nuclear stockpile with a suite of newly designed weapons when President Obama has established policy to reduce the nuclear arsenal?

OPINIONS

Nuclear arms wake-up call
Ramesh Thakur for the Japan Times

HO, CHI MINH CITY – Nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to humanity that is unmatched by any other contemporary threat in magnitude, gravity and urgency.

How Nuclear Was It? New Testimony on the 1973 Yom Kippur War
Avner Cohen for Arms Control Wonk

Two weeks ago the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project (NPIHP), which is housed at the History and Public Policy Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C., released the first installment from my personal archival collection, known now as the “Avner Cohen Collection,” on its digital nuclear archive web site.

Three reasons the US should pay attention to Israel's Iran fears
Claire M. Lopez for The Hill

At the U.N. on Oct. 1, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed concern that, while Iranian President Rouhani blinds the world with his ‘charm offensive,’ Iran is preparing to race to nuclear weapons status.  The Iranians accused him of being inflammatory – but Netanyahu’s fears are legitimate and Iran’s threatening capabilities ought to be considered seriously by the United States.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 21, 2013

TOP NEWS

Experts observe development in North Korea’s nuclear program
The Hankyoreh

Iran sees nuclear talks with powers finishing within year: official
Reuters

India likely to acquire another nuclear-powered submarine from Russia on lease
Times of India

Scientists raise concerns over $60-billion nuclear weapons plan
LA Times

In Defense of the Nuclear Triad
Peter Huessey for Defense One

EAST ASIA

Experts observe development in North Korea’s nuclear program
The Hankyoreh

Leading North Korea experts in the US are warning that the country’s nuclear capabilities are becoming more sophisticated, and it is looking less likely that Pyongyang will give up its nuclear program.

Japan should be active peace contributor, review arms embargo: panel
Kyodo News International

A government panel on security issues agreed Monday that Japan should build a new national security strategy on the basic principle of serving as a "proactive contributor" to peace, and rethink its arms embargo to bolster cooperation in developing defense equipment.

Expert: Reactor gives NKorea more bargaining power
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — North Korea’s restart of a plutonium reactor could strengthen not just its nuclear weapons program but its negotiating position if aid-for-disarmament talks resume, a top U.S. expert says.

In cyberarms race, North Korea emerging as a power, not a pushover
Christian Science Monitor

Often dismissed as a laggard in the global cyberarms race, North Korea has long been seen as a chronic cyber-superpower wannabe. Its poverty, minimal Internet access, and paucity of malicious software to its credit together have indicated that the "hermit kingdom" has just not yet arrived.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran sees nuclear talks with powers finishing within year: official
Reuters

(Reuters) - Iran believes it can wrap up negotiations with world powers over its disputed nuclear program in one year or less, Iranian media quoted its chief nuclear negotiator as saying.

Egypt pushes for WMD-free Middle East
Daily News Egypt

Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy called on the foreign ministers of Middle Eastern countries to inform UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that they support announcing the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

SOUTH ASIA

India likely to acquire another nuclear-powered submarine from Russia on lease
Times of India

NEW DELHI: India now seems all set to acquire a second nuclear-powered submarine on lease from Russia, at a cost of about $1.5 billion, to bolster its ageing underwater combat arm that took a major hit with the sinking of a conventional submarine in Mumbai in August.

India needs security doctrine to address strategic ambiguity: Experts
ANI News

New Delhi, Oct. 21 (ANI): Underscoring the vulnerabilities in the existing national security paradigm, Indian defence analysts strongly advocated the need of formulating a well-defined strategic policy framework while addressing an Aspen Institute India (AII) session here on Monday.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia, U.S. to Update Nuclear Crisis Communications
Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON -- A new U.S.-Russian deal made public on Thursday paves the way for the former Cold War rivals to bring their nuclear-arms communications into the digital age.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Future of Enrichment ‘Gold Standard’ in Doubt After U.S.-Vietnam Nuclear Deal
WPR

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh signed an agreement to enable future civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries. While the text has not been made public, it appears that the agreement will not include a so-called Gold Standard provision proscribing Vietnam from enriching uranium or reprocessing plutonium.

Iran Parliament Chief Warns Over Nuclear Pressures
Associated Press

Iran's parliament speaker warned Sunday that lawmakers could call for stepped-up atomic work if the West presses too hard for concessions in ongoing nuclear negotiations.

Steinitz Hopes Canada Can Influence Western Powers on Iran
Israel National News
On route to Washington to be briefed regarding the West's negotiations with Iran, Minister for Strategic Affairs, MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) has first traveled to meet senior politicians in Canada to ask the country to exert its influence to force Iran to end all uranium enrichment.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Scientists raise concerns over $60-billion nuclear weapons plan
LA Times

The Energy Department's plan to modernize its aging nuclear weapons complex and update the seven hydrogen bomb designs in the nation's arsenal would require massive investments at a time of severe budget pressure.

US adding to nuclear weapon capacity, despite Obama's pledges
Voice of Russia

WASHINGTON (VOR)— A new report by the independent science advocacy organization, The Union of Concerned Scientists, targets the U.S.'s plans to build a new plutonium research facility in New Mexico.

OPINIONS

Nuclear weapons are Israel's 'worst-kept secret,' says Israeli historian
Interview with Avner Cohen for Al Jazeera

Talks between six world powers and Iran conducted in Geneva this week reflect international concern about the danger of nuclear weapons proliferation in the volatile Middle East. Rarely discussed amid the concern over Iran's nuclear intentions is the unacknowledged but widely accepted reality that there has been a nuclear weapons state in the Middle East for decades.

Iran’s diplomatic thaw with the West
Joel Rubin for Politico

Congratulations, Congress. Your Iran strategy is working. Now what?

What Follows A Deal With Iran? – OpEd
Neville Teller for Eurasia Review

On October 15 and 16 the five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany sat round a table in Geneva with the Iranian president and foreign minister, and discussed whether, how and to what extent Iran’s nuclear program could be brought under the control of the International Atomic Energy Authority (the IAEA) and shorn of its capacity to produce nuclear weaponry. As the conference adjourned until November 7, both sides stressed: “many details remained to be discussed.”

In Defense of the Nuclear Triad
Peter Huessey for Defense One

CATO Institute researchers, in a new report, conclude we can kill our nuclear bombers and land based missiles and save $20 billion a year. They assert bombers and missiles have a sharply diminishing role in that you cannot use such weapons against terrorist threats. They further claim the world is so safe that there is no adversary that would seek to destroy our nuclear deterrent, so reducing our force from 500 potential targets (bombers, missiles and submarines) to less than 10 (just the submarines) is without risk.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 18, 2013

TOP NEWS

Chinese scholar skeptical about nuclear talks with N. Korea
Yonhap

Iranian foreign minister accuses Israel of trying to undermine nuclear talks with world powers
Washington Post

Nuclear expert raises concerns about Chinese role in UK’s new nuclear plants
The Guardian

Australia draws up draft U.N. statement on nuclear disarmament
Global Post

Analyst: Disarming Syria could open Russia to more nuclear arms cuts
Global Security Newswire

EAST ASIA

Chinese scholar skeptical about nuclear talks with N. Korea
Yonhap

Even if nations resume the long-stalled talks on ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program, it "could take decades" to get the secretive communist state to give up its atomic weapons, a Chinese scholar said Friday.

S. Korea’s national security chief to visit U.S.
Yonhap

The top security advisor to South Korean President Park Geun-hye plans to visit the United States next week for talks about the North Korean nuclear standoff and bilateral security issues, a news report and an official said Friday.

What China’s growing nuclear power means for the world
Time

Chinese companies have had a hard time breaking into markets considered vital to Western national security. Forays by Chinese telecoms, for instance, have failed due to supposed threats to American vital interests. But when it comes to nuclear energy, China Inc., backed by the economic might of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, is making a push overseas—and succeeding.

MIDDLE EAST

Iranian foreign minister accuses Israel of trying to undermine nuclear talks with world powers
Washington Post

Iran’s foreign minister on Friday accused Israel of trying to undermine what he described as progress in Tehran’s nuclear talks with world powers.

Despite reported progress in talks with Iran, skepticism persists over possible nuclear deal
Washington Post

In a rare moment of accord, Iranian and Western diplomats decided during nuclear talks this week to keep the details of their negotiations strictly secret. The fear, they said, was that even modest gains could be endangered if they were publicized prematurely.

SOUTH ASIA

Prime Minister to focus on nuclear liability in Russia visit
The Hindu

The annual summit between India and Russia taking place in Moscow next week will see one more effort by both sides to bridge their differences over the nuclear liability issue.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Britain opens nuclear market to China
CNTV

British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has announced that his government will allow Chinese companies to own majority stakes in British nuclear power plants.

Osborne made the statement on Thursday, while he visited the Taishan nuclear power plant in southern China’s Guangdong province.

Nuclear expert raises concerns about Chinese role in UK’s new nuclear plants
The Guardian

One of Britain's leading nuclear engineering consultants has raised serious concerns about the safety implications of handing over some of Britain's nuclear plants to Chinese operators.

France cautious on Iran nuclear talks, says it’s too early to cheer, too much still unknown
Washington Post

France’s foreign minister is warning against unguarded optimism over this week’s talks between Iran and six leading world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Australia draws up draft U.N. statement on nuclear disarmament
Global Post

With a New Zealand draft U.N. statement on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons gaining traction, Australia has begun a push to drum up support for its own submission, U.N. diplomats said Thursday.

Russia pushes for level-playing field between West and Iran
The Hindu

Russia has proposed a nuclear deal with Iran, involving the lifting of sanctions if Tehran agrees to put all its atomic installations under international supervision.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. nuclear arms modernization plan misguided: scientists’ group
Reuters

An Obama administration plan to spend $60 billion over the next 25 years to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal is misguided and violates the spirit of its pledge not to develop new nuclear arms, a Union of Concerned Scientists report said on Thursday.

Obama may unfreeze Iranian assets to keep nuclear diplomacy going
The Guardian

US officials are contemplating unfreezing some of the tens of billions dollars of Iranian assets in blocked accounts around the world, to give them bargaining chips to take the table with Iran, now that substantive negotiations have finally begun, the New York Times reports today.

OPINIONS

The road to finalizing a nuclear deal with Iran
Al Jazeera

On Tuesday and Wednesday, representatives from the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) and Germany — the so-called P5+1 — held a first round of talks in Geneva with negotiators from the new Iranian administration over the country’s nuclear program. Since 2006, Iran has been subject to severe sanctions to force its compliance to international demands about its uranium enrichment program.

Analyst: Disarming Syria could open Russia to more nuclear arms cuts
Global Security Newswire

Russia's work with international partners to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons could encourage Moscow to consider additional cuts to its own nuclear forces, an analyst told the Inter Press Service for a Wednesday report.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 17, 2013

TOP NEWS

In Bid to Restart Talks, N. Korea Offers to Halt Nuke Tests, but Not Rocket Launches
Global Security Newswire

Iran hints at significant concessions over nuclear programme
The Guardian

Inside the Ring: Russia to test new missile
Washington Times

White House: Iranian Nuclear Talks 'Very Useful'
VOA News

Submarines Alone Are Not Enough Nuclear Deterrent
Robert Spalding for Defense One

EAST ASIA

Gov't Has 'No Plans' to Join U.S. Missile Defense
The Chosun Ilbo

Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on Wednesday played down suspicions that South Korea is about to join the U.S.-led missile defense program by the back door.

IAEA Chief Amano Meets South Korean Foreign Minister Byun-se
NTD TV

The Director-General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano on Wednesday met South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byun-se in Seoul.

In Bid to Restart Talks, N. Korea Offers to Halt Nuke Tests, but Not Rocket Launches
Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON -- North Korean officials recently told a U.S. delegation they would cease nuclear and missile tests if the United States returns to negotiations, though they would not rule out firing more long-range rockets, a former State Department official told Global Security Newswire.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran hints at significant concessions over nuclear programme
The Guardian

Iran signalled the possibility of significant concessions over its nuclear programme in talks that closed on Wednesday, bringing the prospect of a breakthrough closer than at any time in the last decade, according to western diplomats.

Congress presses Turkey to reverse deal with China on missile defense system
World Tribune

WASHINGTON — Congress has urged Turkey to reverse its decision to acquire a ballistic missile defense system from China.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan military says one killed by India firing
AFP

Pakistan accused India of killing a paramilitary soldier in "unprovoked firing" across the border in eastern Punjab province Thursday in the latest frontier flare-up between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia tepid about results of Iran nuclear talks
Reuters

(Reuters) - Moscow expressed skepticism over the results of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers which ended on Wednesday, with a senior Russian diplomat saying the two sides were "kilometers apart" in their approaches.

International nuclear fuel bank to be hosted in Kazakhstan poses no environmental risks
Tengri News

The planned international nuclear fuel bank to be hosted in Kazakhstan poses no environmental risks, Tengrinews reports, citing the country’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov as saying before the country’s Senate.

Inside the Ring: Russia to test new missile
Washington Times

Russia will test launch a controversial missile over the next several weeks that U.S. officials say is raising new concerns about Moscow’s growing strategic nuclear arsenal and Russia’s potential violations of arms treaties.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Iran, 6 world powers praise 'forward looking' nuclear talks
LA Times

GENEVA — With both sides desperate for a deal, Iran and six world powers Wednesday hailed a new round of negotiations on Tehran's disputed nuclear program as "substantive and forward looking," and set an accelerated schedule of meetings to determine whether they can find common ground after a decade of stalemate.

Serious progress and a familiar roadmap at Iran nuclear talks
Al Jazeera

GENEVA – After years of disappointment and awkward exchanges that only exacerbated tensions, Tuesday's nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers concluded on an almost effusive note. That and the media silence adopted by both parties on the substance of the Geneva talks were both clear signs that significant progress had been made. Both sides appear to have invested in the success of the negotiations rather than the more familiar habit of describing and critiquing the other side's positions.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

White House: Iranian Nuclear Talks 'Very Useful'
VOA News

The White House says Iran's talks with world powers on its nuclear program show "a level of seriousness and substance that we have not seen before."

OPINIONS

How West sees Iran's nuclear program
Bruce Stokes for CNN

As American, European, Russian, Chinese and Iranian negotiators jockey in Geneva over ending the West’s economic sanctions on Tehran in return for a dismantling of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, European and U.S. publics are sending negotiators on both sides a clear message: they oppose Iran having nuclear armaments. They agree on the current imposition of economic sanctions. And they generally support the use of military force if sanctions fail. The Chinese and Russian publics, though, dissent.

How Long Will Israel Stay Off the Nuclear Hook?
Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is totally right.

A Reasonable Iran?
Fred Kaplan for Slate

Readers glancing away from the debt ceiling showdown may have noticed the hopeful headlines on some other unlikely negotiations in Geneva over the fate of Iran’s nuclear program. Two points are missing from most of the stories about these talks. First, the chances for a truly historic breakthrough are pretty good—which, at this stage in talks of such magnitude, is astonishing. Second, the Iranians’ main demands—at least what we know of them—are pretty reasonable.

Submarines Alone Are Not Enough Nuclear Deterrent
Robert Spalding for Defense One

There are ten primary missions outlined in the Department of Defense’s 2012 strategy guidance. Three of those missions require the Pentagon to maintain an effective deterrent to nuclear war that, the guidance says, “can under any circumstances confront an adversary with the prospect of unacceptable damage, both to deter potential adversaries and to assure U.S. allies and other security partners that they can count on America’s security commitments.”

Mass-destruction weapons: Hypocrisy isn't policy
Praful Bidwai for DNA India

Three recent developments highlight the issue of weapons of mass destruction and India’s policy towards them. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has gone to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), dealing with armaments that figure prominently in the Syrian crisis.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 16, 2013

TOP NEWS

New joint chiefs vow retaliation if North Korea provokes
Yonhap

Report: Iran may accept visits of nuclear sites
USA Today

A real nuclear deterrent: US, Russia may team up to use weapons against asteroids
NBC News

Iran nuclear talks enter second day; Western officials call Tehran’s proposal ‘very useful’
Washington Post

Iran’s choice: nuclear program or regional influence
Haaretz

EAST ASIA

New joint chiefs vow retaliation if North Korea provokes
Yonhap

The new head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) pledged Wednesday to strike back against any provocation by North Korea, saying strong military capabilities are the most powerful deterrence against aggression.

Defense chief denies U.S.-led missile defense participation
Yonhap

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on Wednesday brushed aside the possibility of joining the U.S.-led regional missile defense, putting emphasis on the indigenous program aimed at intercepting low-flying missiles coming from North Korea.

Japan on gas, coal power building spree to fill nuclear void
Reuters

Japan plans to start up 14 new gas and coal-fired power plants by the end of 2014, allowing a switch away from pricey oil, as Tokyo struggles with a shutdown of nuclear reactors and energy imports drive a record trade deficit.

MIDDLE EAST

Report: Iran may accept visits of nuclear sites
USA Today

Iran says it could allow short-notice visits of its nuclear sites as a final step in a year-long process it has proposed to end a standoff with the West, according to the BBC.

Iran presents ‘timetable’ to end nuclear talks deadlock
The Guardian

The Iranian delegation to international talks in Geneva has presented proposals which it claims will end the longstanding deadlock over its nuclear programme.

Israel urges powers to be tough in nuclear talks with Iran
Reuters

Israel urged world powers that resumed talks with Iran on Tuesday to demand a full rollback of the Iranian nuclear programme and not to ease economic sanctions on Tehran prematurely.

SOUTH ASIA

China defends its plans to build nuclear reactors in Pakistan
Economic Times

Amid concern in India and the US over a Chinese plan to build two 1000 MW nuclear reactors in Karachi, China today defended its civilian nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, saying it was under "strict" international norms.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

A real nuclear deterrent: US, Russia may team up to use weapons against asteroids
NBC News

When geophysicist H. Jay Melosh attended a meeting of U.S. and ex-Soviet nuclear weapons designers in May 1995, he was surprised by how eager the Cold Warriors were to work together against an unlikely but dangerous extraterrestrial threat: asteroids on a collision course with Earth.

France keeps hard line as Iran nuclear talks open
France 24

With a moderate Iranian president in office, negotiations over Iran’s nuclear ambitions resume this week. While the US seems willing to strike a conciliatory tone, France is maintaining a harder line, according to diplomatic sources.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Iran nuclear talks resume in 'positive' spirit
CNN

Iran and six world powers entered a second day of talks Wednesday over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, after what appeared to be a positive opening exchange.

Iran nuclear talks enter second day; Western officials call Tehran’s proposal ‘very useful’
Washington Post

Negotiations on ending a standoff over Iran’s nuclear program entered a pivotal second day Wednesday as Western diplomats pressed Tehran for details about a proposal that it says could alleviate fears of a future nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

A realistic and effective policy on sensitive nuclear activities
Carnegie Endowment

The U.S. government will very soon set a new policy course on the nonproliferation terms it wants to incorporate into new bilateral peaceful nuclear cooperation agreements with foreign countries.

OPINIONS

We cannot verify and must not trust Iran's promises on nuclear weapons
John Bolton for The Guardian

Tuesday's opening of yet another round of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear-weapons program creates enormous risks for America's anti-proliferation efforts. Tehran's extensive propaganda campaign, stressing the "moderation" of its new president, Hassan Rouhani, seems to be working, softening up the gullible in the United States and Europe.

Four good reasons why Iran doesn’t trust America
TIME Swampland

One basic obstacle for the new round of talks over Iran’s nuclear program that open today will be America’s basic distrust of the Iranian regime. Before striking any deal with Tehran, the Obama Administration will have to gauge whether a country where hostility toward the U.S. has been a core political theme since 1979 is acting in good faith. That could be a hard notion to swallow, given that some Iranian leaders still call America the Great Satan, and that Iran still celebrates the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran with a national holiday.

Iran’s choice: nuclear program or regional influence
Haaretz

The expression Israelis know so well in its Palestinian context, “The legitimate right of a people,” is now part of the official public discourse coming from Tehran. “Iran did not come to Geneva to gain extra rights or renounce rights,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a press conference on Sunday. “We will not renounce the legitimate rights of the Iranian people.” President Rohani has said that the right to enrich uranium is a basic right, and Iran will not give it up.

Read more…

Tuesday's Top Nuclear Policy News

TOP NEWS

North Korea says it’s ready to deploy, mass-produce new missile
Defense News

U.N. Panel Releases Draft of Treaty to Ban Nuclear Arms
The New York Times

Iran targets Booz Allen, others with reciprocal sanctions
Defense News

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