Nuclear Policy News - May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012
U.N. probes possible North Korea arms trade with Syria, Myanmar


U.S. Envoy to Israel Says Nation Is Ready on Iran
US Senate Republicans block Iran sanctions vote
Revive the Airborne Laser?
Kingston Reif
U.N. probes possible North Korea arms trade with Syria, Myanmar
A U.N. panel of experts that monitors compliance with sanctions on North Korea is investigating reports of possible weapons-related deals between Pyongyang and Syria and Myanmar, the panel said in a confidential report seen by Reuters on Thursday.
North Korea Said to Resume Work on Nuclear Reactor
North Korea has resumed construction of a nuclear reactor that can be used to expand the country’s nuclear weapons program, an American-based institute said Thursday, citing the latest satellite imagery of the building site.
China pressuring N Korea over nuclear tests
Foreign Minister Bob Carr has praised China for putting pressure on ally North Korea to abandon reported plans for another nuclear test.
Japan PM Hit out on North Korea at Nuclear Summit
Japan has ignored protocol during the nuclear security summit in Seoul to strike at North Korea’s plan to launch a rocket in April while US President Barack Obama calls against being complacent on matters of nuclear threat.
US seeks extra $70m for Israel defence shield
The US plans to give Israel the extra $70m that it asked for this year for its short-range missile defence programme known as the "Iron Dome," Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary has said.
Netanyahu: Iran won't take nuclear talks seriously
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has serious doubts that Iran will stop its nuclear program or take upcoming talks seriously. Mr. Netanyahu made the remarks on Friday after a meeting with Czech President Vaclav Klaus.
OPEC Sees Sanctions Taking Toll on Iran Oil Production
New York Times
Iranian oil production, the backbone of the Islamic republic’s economy, fell by 12 percent in the first three months of the year and is likely to fall even more, industry experts say, as sanctions make it increasingly hard for the country to find markets for its crude.
U.S. Envoy to Israel Says Nation Is Ready on Iran
The American ambassador to Israel said this week that not only was America willing to use military force to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but that preparations had already been made for a possible attack.
'US encouraged by positive steps by India, Pak'
Observing that the US and India continue to advance a "fundamentally" strong partnership and that American defence sales of about USD nine billion is in the pipeline, a top Obama administration official on Wednesday said that Washington is encouraged by the efforts of New Delhi and Islamabad to normalise their bilateral trade ties.
Uranium sale: Australia says cases of India, Pak different
Amid Pakistan's demand that it be given access to Australian uranium for which India has been granted green light, Australia has said it believes Islamabad is not eligible to buy the yellow cake from it.
Russia says action on Syria, Iran may go nuclear
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned on Thursday that military action against sovereign states could lead to a regional nuclear war, starkly voicing Moscow's opposition to Western intervention ahead of a G8 summit at which Syria and Iran will be discussed.
Russian defense company worker convicted of divulging missile secrets to foreign intelligence
A Russian defense company worker was convicted Friday of passing missile secrets to foreign intelligence in the latest espionage case amid a cold spell in Moscow’s relations with Washington.
US Senate Republicans block Iran sanctions vote
U.S. Senate Republicans blocked legislation for new economic sanctions on Iran's oil sector on Thursday saying they needed more time to study the bill, a surprise move that drew anger from Democrats who wanted approval ahead of nuclear talks next week.
Don't Hold New START Hostage to Budget Battles
Daryl G. Kimball and Tom Z. Collina
This week, the House of Representatives will debate and vote on the annual defense authorization bill, which in its current form would hold up implementation of the 2010 New START Treaty unless Congress increases spending on nuclear weapons activities that the Pentagon did not request and does not want.
Revive the Airborne Laser?
Kingston Reif
In its mark-up of the Defense Authorization bill for Fiscal 2013, the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee lauded the prior accomplishments of the Airborne Laser Test Bed program. It then went further by directing the Missile Defense Agency to provide a report by 31 July 2012 on the costs that would be involved in returning the Airborne Laser aircraft to an operational readiness status to continue technology development and testing, and to be ready to deploy in an operational contingency, if needed, to respond to rapidly developing threats from North Korea.
Sanctioning Iran's central bank: An important step too long in coming
John Hannah
Washington is abuzz with speculation about a possible interim deal that might help defuse the brewing crisis over Iran's nuclear program. Color me skeptical.
Missile defense cuts: A perilous mistake
North Korea, under its new leader Kim Jong Un, made international news recently when its long-range missiles disintegrated just seconds after a test launch.