Nuclear Policy News - March 2, 2012

Mar 1, 2012

TOP NEWS

N. Korea agrees to suspend uranium enrichment, nuclear tests
 
Dubai Bank Says It Cut Ties With Iranian Institutions
 
India's entry into NSG club may get easier post-July
 
Nuclear security would see funding increase under Obama’s budget
 
DPRK Announcement
Michael Krepon

 

EAST ASIA

China backs US-N. Korea nuclear freeze deal
AFP
 
China Thursday welcomed North Korea's agreement to freeze nuclear activities in return for massive US food aid, a deal that raised cautious hopes of eased tensions under Pyongyang's new young leader.
 
N. Korea agrees to suspend uranium enrichment, nuclear tests
 
North Korea announced Wednesday that it would halt major aspects of its nuclear weapons program and allow the return of international inspectors, a breakthrough in negotiations with the United States, which offered the country’s authoritarian government food aid and a pledge of no “hostile intent.”
 
North Koreans Agree to Freeze Nuclear Work; U.S. to Give Aid
 
North Korea announced on Wednesday that it would suspend its nuclear weapons tests and uranium enrichment and allow international inspectors to monitor activities at its main nuclear complex. The surprise announcement raised the possibility of ending a diplomatic impasse that has allowed the country’s nuclear program to continue for years without international oversight.
 
China, Russia, Japan welcome nuclear deal on N. Korea
 
China, Russia and Japan, all members of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programs, welcomed the latest nuclear deal between Washington and Pyongyang and called for its implementation.
 
MIDDLE EAST
 
Dubai Bank Says It Cut Ties With Iranian Institutions
 
An Islamic bank in the United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that it “took pre-emptive action” to end business relationships with some Iranian banks when it learned that the United States planned to apply economic sanctions against those banks.
 
US weighs joint strike on Iran nuclear sites
Sydney Morning Herald
 
OBAMA administration officials are escalating warnings that the United States could join Israel in attacking Iran if the regime does not dispel concerns that its nuclear-research program is aimed at producing weapons.
SOUTH ASIA
 
India taking steps in right direction on Iran sanction: Clinton
 
The US appeared to express satisfaction with the steps being taken by India to reduce its dependence on Iranian oil even as Washington said it was having "very intense and very blunt" conversations with New Delhi, China and Turkey to bolster American sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme.
 
India's entry into NSG club may get easier post-July
 
As foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai prepares to engage the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for an eventual Indian membership, New Delhi is signaling that it will press ahead despite the NSG's decision to constrain transfers of enrichment and reprocessing technology to non-NPT nations. Mathai travelled to Vienna on Wednesday to meet the NSG troika - the US, the Netherlands and New Zealand - along with Venkatesh Varma, who is in charge of disarmament issues in the ministry of external affairs.
           
Iran offers financial aid to build Pakistan pipeline
 
Iran has agreed to provide US$250 million to help Pakistan build its end of a gas pipeline between the two countries after Pakistani institutions, including Oil and Gas Development Co Ltd (OGDCL) and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), refused to provide funds for the project because of US sanctions imposed against Iran at the beginning of this year.
 
India to build two more nuclear powered submarines
 
INS Arihant, which is the first nuclear powered submarine of the Arihant class submarine genus, was fully developed by the Indian agency Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It is expected to complete its marine trials by early next year. The Indian Navy’s capabilities are already boosted significantly, after they recently inducted the Russian built INS Chakra in to its fold. However defence sources were sceptical whether the Indian Navy was technically advanced enough to operate two additional nuclear submarines without overstretching the resources.
 
RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE
 
Russia welcomes North Korea nuclear moratorium pledge
 
Russia welcomed North Korea's decision to suspend key elements of its nuclear weapons program on Thursday, calling Pyongyang's deal with the United States a step towards a resumption of six-party disarmament talks.
 
Britain sees info security as priority at nuke summit
 
Great Britain is taking aim atinformation security, in addition to safeguarding the world’s nuclear material, as a top priority at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit this month.
 
MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION
 
IAEA says ready to return to DPRK
 
Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said on Wednesday that the agency stands ready to send its inspectors back to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to monitor the country's moratorium on uranium enrichment.
 
IAEA worried about "activities" at Iran site
 
The U.N. nuclear watchdog believes unspecified "activities" may be taking place at Iran's Parchin military facility that make its request to visit the site more urgent, Western diplomats said on Wednesday.
 
U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY
 
Nuclear security would see funding increase under Obama’s budget
 
The agency in charge of securing the U.S. nuclear arsenal and guarding against loose nuclear material would see an increase of half a billion dollars under President Obama’s budget proposal, said the agency’s administrator.
 
OPINIONS
 
DPRK Announcement
Michael Krepon
 
Surprise can come in two big packages labeled pleasant and unpleasant. North Korea’s announcement that it has agreed to suspend enrichment and long-range missile flight tests, while resuming IAEA inspections clearly falls in the first category. If Pyongyang reneges on these pledges in due course, after haggling for something, the result will be unpleasant, but not a surprise. The announced moratorium on nuclear testing now links North Korea’s declaratory policy with that of India and Pakistan. Renewed testing remains a possibility, but breaking this pledge will probably entail higher costs.
 
How to Read North Korea Deal
Scott Snyder
 
The United States released a statement February 29 announcing "important, if limited, progress" in addressing U.S. concerns related to North Korea's nuclear program. In return for the provision of least 240,000 tons of nutritional assistance, Pyongyang has pledged to place a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests and to pursue an IAEA-monitored shutdown of its uranium enrichment activities at Yongbyon.
 
The Thin Red Line: Six Observations on Obama's Iran Policy
Jaclyn Tandler
 
With the Iranian nuclear crisis nearing a watershed, the question of the Obama administration’s “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear program is the subject of considerable speculation and debate. While the details of the policy are classified, a close reading of statements by senior officials from press conferences, interviews, congressional hearings, and formal speeches conveys the administration’s public efforts to delineate what level of nuclear activity or other moves by Iran would prompt the United States to take more decisive action, most prominently the use of overt force. These are mostly carefully crafted statements intended to simultaneously deter Iran and reassure U.S. allies, while avoiding unnecessary or at least premature escalation (full list here).
 
N.Korea Agrees to Nuclear, Missile and Uranium Enrichment Activity Moratoria
Duyeon Kim
 
In a rare move, the U.S. and North Korea simultaneously released statements on the results of their February 23rd exploratory meeting in Beijing. While the overall gist and key points appear to be in sync, there are some differences in nuances and details.
 
Nuke deal: State talks moratorium, North Korea talks food
Josh Rogin
 
The United States and North Korea have each issued statements about the results of last week's meetings in China, but the two sides seem to be reading from two different sheets of paper.