Nuclear Policy News - February 17, 2012

Feb 17, 2012


NK remains ready to test nuclear devices: official
32 senators call for 'no containment' strategy for Iran
Israel Fears Losing Nuclear Monopoly, Talks of War with Iran
Avner Cohen
President Obama, Deterrence and Nuclear Weapons
Steven Pifer



The US and North Korea to test each other's ability to come to an agreement
The transfer of power in North Korea pushed the US to initiate direct talks with Pyongyang regarding the nuclear problem. That is how Konstantine Asmolov, an expert from the Institute of the Far East, explained Washington's consent to hold a meeting between the US special envoy Glyn Davies and First Deputy Foreign Minister of the DPRK Kim Kye-Gwan scheduled to take place in Beijing on February 23.
NK remains ready to test nuclear devices: official
North Korea remains ready to test nuclear devices or fire missiles with only brief preparation, a Seoul official said Friday, though such action does not appear to be imminent.
China calls for talks to resolve Iran nuke issue
China calls on all sides to seize the opportunity for an early resumption of talks with Iran on its nuclear program and will continue to play a constructive role in the process, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
32 senators call for 'no containment' strategy for Iran
A group of 32 senators from both parties unveiled a new Senate resolution Thursday that would establish the sense of the Congress that containing a nuclear Iran is not an option.
Iran is ready for nuclear talks, negotiator tells EU
Iran is offering to resume talks over the country's nuclear program as soon as possible, according to a letter that the nation's nuclear negotiator sent to the European Union.
Panetta: Iran undecided over nuclear bomb
US defence secretary tells congressional committee Iran has not yet decided to embark on a nuclear weapons programme.
India Treads Lightly Amid Accusations Against Iran
Indian police have yet to locate a suspect in a bombing attack on an Israeli vehicle that Israel blames on Iran. There are no easy options for India for getting tough with Iran.
Pakistan vows to progress with Iran pipeline deal
Pakistan's president vowed to continue with a proposed pipeline project with Iran despite American warnings of sanctions, saying Islamabad's relations with Tehran would not "be undermined by international pressure of any kind."
Nuclear Iran: Anti-India stir gains ground in US
Piggybacking on the anti-Iranian sentiments, an anti-India campaign seems to be gaining ground in the United States.
EU studying Iran's letter on nuclear talks
AFP reports that foreign policy spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic announced on Wednesday: "We have received the letter from [Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed] Jalili today, in reply to the letter [EU foreign policy chief Catherine] Ashton sent to him in October 2011."
UN chief urges Iran to cooperate with UN nuclear agency probe
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday that Iran must disprove allegations that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons, but that diplomacy is the only way to resolve international concern about its program.
Nigeria: Govt for World Nuclear Summit in Seoul
Nigeria is expected to participate in the 2nd Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul to be hosted by the Republic of South Korea from March 26 to 27.
U.S. can safely take deeper nuclear arms cuts, senior Defense official says
A top Defense Department official on Wednesday said a fresh round of reductions in strategic nuclear weapons could be done without harming U.S. security, though the Pentagon has not yet offered President Obama a recommendation on the matter.
Israel Fears Losing Nuclear Monopoly, Talks of War with Iran
Avner Cohen
Until recently, Israelis — leaders and citizens alike — avoided discussing in public the issue of a nuclear Iran.  Such discussion was viewed as off-limits — an extension of the nation’s nuclear taboo, which holds that on nuclear matters, silence is golden. Indeed, this was the practice before Israel destroyed the Iraqi Osirak reactor in 1981 and then a quarter of a century later when Israel bombed the North Korean reactor in Syria in 2007. In both cases, no national debate preceded military action; in the Syrian case, nobody even knew what the strike was about for months.
President Obama, Deterrence and Nuclear Weapons
Steven Pifer
The Washington defense and security communities are abuzz with press reports regarding possible presidential decisions on U.S. nuclear weapons numbers. Administration officials say the president has not yet seen the options that the National Security Council is preparing with the Defense Department and others, let alone made a decision.
Treaty and Pakistan’s nuke arsenal
Michael Krepon
Pakistan is blocking the start of negotiations of a global halt to the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
Nuclear New Math
Mark Thompson
Reports that the Pentagon is weighing a range of cuts to the nation’s nuclear arsenal – perhaps going as low as 300 deployed strategic weapons, down from the current 1,550 – has nuclear-triggered concern on Capitol Hill. “I have to suggest to you,” Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., told Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday, “I consider that reckless lunacy.”
So Much for Sanctions: China, Iran Iron Out Oil Agreement
Wayne Ma
China has, at least for now, dashed any hopes that it plans to obey tighter U.S. sanctions against Iran after hammering out an agreement to resume some imports of Iranian crude.