Nuclear Policy News - February 22, 2012

Feb 22, 2012
U.S., North Korea to hold first post-Kim Jong Il talks
Iran defiant as U.N. nuclear talks fail
Medvedev: Russia Will Counter U.S. Missile Defense
What Counts as Progress in NK-US Talks?
Evan Ramstand
U.S., North Korea to hold first post-Kim Jong Il talks
The U.S. and North Korea reopen nuclear talks Thursday that will provide a glimpse into where Pyongyang's opaque government is heading after Kim Jong Il's death and test its readiness to dismantle nuclear programs for much-needed aid.
N. Korea warns it won't overlook upcoming nuclear summit in S. Korea
North Korea warned Wednesday it would take unspecified actions against South Korea over next month's nuclear security summit to be held in Seoul, calling the event "an intolerable grave provocation."
US in talks with India,China to reduce Iranian oil imports
The Obama Administration has exuded confidence that it would comfortably sail through the challenging phase in its relationship with India on the issue of purchase of oil from Iran.
Khamenei: No obstacles can stop Iran's nuclear course
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Iran's nuclear course would not change regardless of international sanctions, assassinations or other pressures.
Iran defiant as U.N. nuclear talks fail
The U.N. nuclear watchdog ended its latest mission to Iran after talks on Tehran's suspected secret atomic weapons research failed, a setback likely to increase the risk of confrontation with the West.
U.S., Israel send mixed messages on Iran
The Obama administration is bluntly warning Israel about the danger of bombing Iran's nuclear facilities, but it is far from clear whether the allies are truly at odds over a core policy question or orchestrating an elaborate campaign to wring concessions from the Islamic Republic.
Iran Ready to Share N. Know-How with Other States
A senior Iranian legislator underlined the peaceful nature of the country's nuclear program, and said Tehran is prepared to share its experiences and know-how in the field of nuclear technology with other countries.
Pakistan, India extend validity of agreement about nuclear weapons
Pakistan and India have agreed to extend the validity of the “Agreement on Reducing the Risk from Accidents Relating to Nuclear Weapons” for another five years, with effect from February 21, 2012.
India, Pak extend agreement on reducing risks from nuke mishaps
India and Pakistan on Tuesday extended for another five years the agreement to reduce the risk from accidents related to nuclear weapons. The agreement had entered into force on February 21, 2007 for an initial duration of five years.

Russia Resuming Nuclear-Armed Missions
The recent veto by Russia and China of U.S. efforts in the United Nations Security Council to condemn the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad for its violent treatment of protesters has escalated tensions between the United States and Russia, which seeks to maintain its influence in the Middle East by protecting al-Assad, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Russia Warns Israel Not to Attack Iran
Russia warned Israel on Wednesday that attacking Iran would be a disastrous and played down the failure of a U.N. nuclear agency mission to Tehran, saying there is still a chance for new talks over the Iranian atomic programme.
Medvedev: Russia Will Counter U.S. Missile Defense
Russia will continue with the overhaul of its missile defense unless the United States drops its plans for a European missile shield or proposes a scheme for a joint effort, the Russian president said on Tuesday.
UN watchdog 'denied access to key Iran site'
The International Atomic Energy Agency has said that its team visiting Iran was denied access to a military site where the UN watchdog suspects activities related to the country's nuclear programme could be taking place.
North Korea calls Seoul nuclear summit a "childish farce"
Isolationist North Korea lashed out at its neighbour on Wednesday for hosting an international nuclear security summit in Seoul next month, calling it a "childish farce" and an "intolerable grave provocation".
Concerns grow over Iran, defense cuts
The same day Iran announced breakthroughs in its nuclear weapons quest, U.S. defense officials were on Capitol Hill pleading for an end to debilitating budget cuts that threaten to hollow out our military ("Iran proclaims nuclear advances").
India-Pakistan: Missing NCBMs
Ali Ahmed
An Indian think tank reports (‘Indo-Pak Nuclear CBMs: The Road to Nowhere’) on one reason why India and Pakistan do not pursue nuclear confidence building measures (NCBMs) with any sense of purpose or a degree of urgency as being “the threat of a nuclear showdown is primarily an invention of the West, especially the US.”
The Nation: US Warns Against War With Iran
Robert Dreyfuss
Despite all the hysteria and breast-beating about the nonexistent nuclear threat from Iran, and despite the overblown fears that Israel might attack Iran — it won't — there appears to some movement on the diplomatic front that could get Iran back to the negotiating table.
What Counts as Progress in NK-US Talks?
Evan Ramstand
With the U.S. and North Korea about to hold their first official meeting since the death of Kim Jong Il, the key question is what would constitute progress in diplomatic dealings that have been stalemated since 2009?
Two threats, no waiting
The global threats arrayed against the United States and its allies have created "a period of persistent conflict, with its toll on equipment, people and national will. ... No one should harbor the illusion that the developed world can win this conflict in the near future."
— Pentagon's "Joint Operating Environment" analysis of long-term national security challenges, 2010.
Shaking the Kaleidoscope in Iran
Laura Friedman

Discussion of military action against Iran is again taking center stage. It takes me back to a late September 2002 meeting, when I brought a former senior Israeli official to see the late Congressman Tom Lantos, then the ranking minority member of the House International Relations Committee. Our meeting focused on Iraq, with Lantos arguing passionately for pre-emptive U.S. military action against Saddam Hussein, who he compared to Hitler. Lantos dismissed out of hand our Israeli visitor's suggestion that a war might be destabilizing to the region and to Israel, telling us (and this is close to a direct quote):