Nuclear Policy News - May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012
TOP NEWS
 
North Korea Urged to Back Down on Nuclear Test
 
Iran Economic Minister: Sanctions Not Hurting Us
 
A Whisper of Nuclear War Spurs a Sell-Off in a Russian Stock Market
 
The Goldilocks Arsenal (Op-Ed)
J. Peter Scoblic
 
EAST ASIA
 
North Korea Urged to Back Down on Nuclear Test
 
Senior American, Japanese and South Korean diplomats warned on Monday that North Korea would face more sanctions if it conducted a nuclear test following its failed rocket launch last month. But, in their first meeting since the rocket launch, they also urged the North to back down.
 
Diplomats say UN experts report NKorea continues violating sanctions, citing Syria and Myanmar
 
An expert panel’s report says North Korea continues to violate U.N. sanctions, citing possible attempts to ship arms to Syria and Myanmar and illegally import luxury goods, U.N. diplomats said Friday.
Two Security Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the report has not been released, said the panel concluded the violations “illustrate elaborate techniques” used by North Korea to evade the discovery of its sanctions-busting.
 
MIDDLE EAST
 
Iran Economic Minister: Sanctions Not Hurting Us
 
As Iran prepares to meet again with the U.S. and other countries to negotiate its nuclear program, the country's economic minister insisted in an interview Sunday with CNN's Fareed Zakaria that the crippling sanctions imposed on Iran were not having as much of an impact as believed.
 
Iran nuclear talks gaining traction
 
When Iran proposed and the P5+1 accepted at the Istanbul meet last month that their next round of talks could be scheduled for May 23 in Baghdad, Western observers - not even the vigilant Israelis, ironically - didn't notice the significance of the date.
 
SOUTH ASIA
 
DNA exclusive: Nothing new about Pak’s latest missile, scientists tell PM
 
Scientists of the Bangalore-based National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), closely monitoring the development of nuclear weapons and missiles in India’s immediate neighbourhood, have concluded that the Hatf IV Shaheen 1A missile recently test-fired by the Pakistan establishment had almost the same capabilities of the earlier Shaheen 1 and was hardly an improvement of the previous weapons system.
 
RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE
 
A Whisper of Nuclear War Spurs a Sell-Off in a Russian Stock Market
 
An unusually candid reference to nuclear war by Russia’s prime minister prompted a sell-off in the nation’s stock market this week, underscoring how nervous traders here have become about worsening relations with the West, a street protest movement in Moscow and an overall slump in emerging markets.
 
Progress Continues Toward NATO Missile Defense System
 
The United States will announce at next week’s NATO summit in Chicago that the new missile defense system in Europe has reached interim operational capability, the alliance’s supreme allied commander for Europe said.
 
MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION
 
Nuclear Agency Resumes Talks With Iran
 
Top officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency were meeting Monday in Tehran with senior representatives of the Iranian government. The aim was to resume talks begun last week in Vienna on the proposed inspection of a building that the agency suspects Iran used to test explosives that can trigger a nuclear blast. Iran denies the charge, and so far has given the inspectors no access.
 
U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY
 
United States to Unveil Plans to Bolster NATO Alliance
 
President Obama on Sunday will unveil a new package of NATO initiatives that includes the alliance purchasing a fleet of surveillance drones, sharing weapons and training facilities, and sustaining nuclear deterrence in Europe even as disarmament efforts continue with an often belligerent Russia, according to senior administration officials.
 
OPINIONS
 
The Goldilocks Arsenal
J. Peter Scoblic
 
On Wednesday, May 16, just days before the leaders of NATO countries meet in Chicago to discuss the future of the military alliance, retired Gen. James Cartwright, former head of U.S. nuclear forces, dropped his own bomb: a report arguing that the United States could reduce the number of nuclear weapons it deploys by two-thirds and the number of warheads it keeps in reserve by nearly 90 percent. Calls for lower numbers are not new, certainly not from groups dedicated to nuclear disarmament like the one Cartwright worked with -- and not even among former heads of Strategic Command.
 
Peeling or Trading Onions?
Phil Krepon
 
J.P. Donleavy used to be a popular author. He made a big splash with The Ginger Man, but many readers lost interest when it became apparent in The Saddest Summer of Samuel S and The Onion Eaters that he kept writing the same book. Donleavy comes to mind when following efforts over the past two decades by Pakistani and Indian diplomats to negotiate confidence-building and nuclear risk-reduction measures.
 
Why Europe still needs nuclear deterrence
By Imants Liegis, Linas Linkevicius, and Janusz Onyszkiewicz
 

In recent months, we have joined discussions led by former United States Senator Sam Nunn, former British Minister of Defense Lord Desmond Browne, and others to find a way to reduce nuclear weapons in Europe. Although we fully endorse the aim of working towards a world free of nuclear arms, we firmly believe that NATO must remain a nuclear alliance so long as these weapons continue to exist around the world.