Nuclear Policy News - February 23, 2012

Feb 23, 2012
N. Korea, U.S. open first nuclear talks since Kim's death
Iranian Leader Promotes Nuclear Plans
European Union prepares to shut out Iran’s banks from major global financial clearinghouse
S. Korea's Lee says nuclear security summit beneficial to regional security
Would It Be So Bad If Iran Got Nuclear Weapons?
US and North Korea hold nuclear talks
US and North Korean officials met in Beijing for talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programme, the first since the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in December.
N. Korea, U.S. open first nuclear talks since Kim's death
Senior diplomats from North Korea and the United States began talks in Beijing Thursday over the North's nuclear weapons program that are the first such since the death of Kim Jong-il in December.
China urges Iran to cooperate with UN inspectors, but withholds criticism over recent mission
China on Thursday called on Iran to cooperate with U.N. nuclear inspectors, but declined to criticize the country for blocking recent requests for information and visits to sensitive sites.
Iran seeks to boost nuclear work in bunker: diplomats
Iran is believed to be carrying out preparations to expand nuclear activity deep inside a mountain, diplomats say, in a further sign of defiance in the face of intensifying Western pressure to curb its sensitive uranium enrichment drive.
Iranian Leader Promotes Nuclear Plans
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic would move ahead with its nuclear program, despite growing international pressure.
White House: IAEA visit a 'failure' for Iran

The White House has said it is disappointed that UN nuclear inspectors were barred from a site in Iran, calling the visit a "failure" for Iran.
Indian Oil Charters Tanker to Ship Iranian Crude in March
Indian Oil Co. hired a vessel to ship crude from Iran less than a week after loading another tanker in the Persian Gulf state, which is seeking to extend sales to Asian customers while reducing supply to Europe.
Pakistani media give wide coverage to Supreme Leader remarks
The remarks of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying that Iran would not yield to any kind of western pressure over its peaceful nuclear program got wide coverage in Pakistani newspapers on Thursday.
European Union prepares to shut out Iran’s banks from major global financial clearinghouse
The European Union is preparing regulations that will shut out Iran’s banks from a major financial clearinghouse used by virtually every country in the world, a senior official said Thursday.
Moscow Renews Opposition to Sanctions against Tehran
Russian officials reiterated their country's strong opposition to fresh sanctions against Iran, and urged a negotiated end to the differences between Iran and the West.
Putin Praises Cold War Moles for Stealing U.S. Nuclear Secrets
The Moscow Times
Vladimir Putin praised Cold War-era scientists Thursday for stealing U.S. nuclear secrets so that the United States would not be the world's sole atomic power.
Russia warns against 'hasty conclusions' over Iran
Russia said Wednesday the world should not draw "hasty conclusions" over Iran's most recent rebuff of U.N. attempts to investigate allegations the Islamic Republic hid secret work on atomic arms, but the U.S. and its allies accused Tehran of nuclear defiance.
S. Korea's Lee says nuclear security summitbeneficial to regional security
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said on Wednesday the upcoming conference on global nuclear security will help build security in Northeast Asia. "The Seoul Nuclear Security Summit will do a great deal of good in terms of security not only in South Korea but also in Northeast Asia,"Lee told reporters in a press conference marking the fourth anniversary of his inauguration. "It is of great importance that heads of some 50 countries and representatives of international organizations come together to discuss security issues in South Korea, a country under the threat of (use of) nuclear weapons," the president said, referring to the Nuclear Security Summit scheduled for March 26-27 in Seoul.
S. Korean officials in high gear for nuclear security summit in March
With the Nuclear Security Summit about a month away, South Korean officials have entered an "all-out preparation mode" to successfully host the global summit aimed at bolstering international safeguards and preventing nuclear terrorism, organizers said Thursday.
Panetta: No Iranian decision yet on nukes
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday that U.S. intelligence shows Iran is enriching uranium in a disputed nuclear program but that Tehran has not made a decision on whether to proceed with development of an atomic bomb.
Would It Be So Bad If Iran Got Nuclear Weapons?
Neil Padukone
There’s little evidence that Iran has a nuclear-weapons program, but if it did develop the bomb, that would not have to mean regional nuclear proliferation or Iran using nukes or giving them to terrorists.
A Chinese Parable: What history can teach us about nuclear deterrence
Michael Burleigh
In the final months of his presidency, John F Kennedy contacted Khrushchev with a view to a joint pre-emptive strike against the Chinese nuclear research complex at Lop Nor.
Reason over relics: Restructuring our nuclear force
Lt. Gen. Robert Gard
In To End All Wars, his excellent history of World War I, author Adam Hochschild recounts how passionately some strategists defended the perceived essential role of the horse cavalry. In an era that war was to be dominated by the machine gun, artillery bombardments and the emergence of the tank, these strategists resisted any re-evaluation of the role of cavalry as heresy itself. In the face of all the evidence, they stubbornly resisted change, and their blind devotion to the status quo cost their nation dearly.
Asking the Right Question
Scott Clement
"Lies, damn lies and statistics" is a jab sometimes aimed at political polls, and in the complicated business of foreign policy polling there's plenty for people to argue over.
New U.S. Talks With North Korea: What to Expect
Scott A. Snyder
The United States opens its first round of talks with North Korea under its new leader Kim Jong-un later this week in Beijing, following sessions in July in New York and October in Geneva. It is hard to find analysts these days who think that North Korea’s denuclearization is possible, yet the objective of these talks is to bring North Korea back to the denuclearization path that it had accepted as a signatory to the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of Six Party Talks. In the ensuing six years, however, North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests, which have been now been lauded as the primary accomplishments of the late Kim Jong-il, whose 70th birthday was commemorated last week in Pyongyang with the unveiling of a new Kim Jong-il statue and a military parade.
Dealing with the Kims
Joel Wit and Jenny Town
This week's meeting between U.S. Special Envoy Glynn Davies and North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan will be the first official encounter between the United States and North Korea since the death of Kim Jong Il two months ago. After endless speculation by the press and experts about the future of North Korea, this meeting will be an important reality check: an opportunity to take the pulse of the new management in Pyongyang, and particularly to discern changes or continuity in its efforts to build weapons of mass destruction.