Nuclear Policy News - May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012


North Korea Denies It Had Plans To Conduct Nuclear Weapons Test
US senate approves bill to tighten Iran sanctions
UN nuclear chief : Deal with Iran reached on probe
Why Europe still needs nuclear deterrence
Imants Liegis, Linas Linkevicius, and Janusz Onyszkiewicz



North Korea to boost nuclear deterrent after U.S. pressure
Isolated North Korea stepped up its war of words against the United States on Tuesday, vowing to boost its nuclear deterrent after Washington warned Pyongyang of further sanctions if it did not abandon its atomic program.
Images show more NKorean work at nuclear test site
North Korea has ramped up work at its nuclear test site, according to an analysis of satellite images released Tuesday, a day after a senior U.S. envoy warned the North that an atomic test would unify the world in seeking swift, tough punishment.
S. Korea to Boost Missiles Arsenal
Amid a perceived increased threat from North Korea, the military of South Korea intends to put a significantly larger number of missiles into its arsenal in the years ahead.
North Korea Denies It Had Plans To Conduct Nuclear Weapons Test
North Korea denied it had plans to test an atomic weapon and said a path to a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula remains possible through dialogue and negotiations.
Israel wary of expected IAEA - Iran deal
Israel eyed with suspicion on Tuesday an expected deal between the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Iran on investigating Tehran's nuclear activity, citing an Iranian track record of evading and limiting international inspections.
US senate approves bill to tighten Iran sanctions
The US Senate has approved a bill to tighten sanctions against Iran in a bid to force Tehran to abandon its nuclear programme.
India, Pakistan to Sign Gas-Pipeline Agreement
Countries involved in a U.S.-backed trans-Afghanistan pipeline will sign a commercial agreement Wednesday that's aimed at keeping the much-delayed $7.6 billion project alive.
Oil slips to near $92 in Europe on growth concerns, progress in Iran talks
The price of oil slipped to near $92 a barrel Tuesday, on concerns about global economic growth and news that that Iran will allow the U.N. nuclear agency to restart a probe into its nuclear program.
Russia says West still considering military action on Iran
Russia's deputy foreign minister said on Sunday that military action against Iran over its nuclear program was being considered in some Western countries.
UN nuclear chief : Deal with Iran reached on probe
Despite some remaining differences, a deal has been reached with Iran that will allow the U.N. nuclear agency to restart a long-stalled probe into suspicions that Tehran has secretly worked on developing nuclear arms, the U.N. nuclear chief said Tuesday.
U.N. Nuclear Monitor Says Deal With Iran Is Near
In an apparent breakthrough that could play into the broader confrontation over Iran’s disputed nuclear ambitions, the leader of the United Nations nuclear monitoring arm said on Tuesday that, despite unspecified differences, he expects to sign a deal with Tehran “quite soon” on arrangements for an investigation into potential military applications of the program.
Head of US nuclear safety agency to step down
The embattled chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission resigned Monday after a tumultuous three-year tenure in which he pushed for sweeping safety reforms but came under fire for an unyielding management style that fellow commissioners and agency employees described as bullying.
Why Europe still needs nuclear deterrence
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.
Middle East free of nuclear weapons can become reality
Anne Penketh
The United States has just stepped up Bahrain's security by agreeing to renew arms sales. Washington has also agreed to a huge hike of $680 million for Israeli security aid.
Iran talks in Baghdad: Western naiveté
Reza Kahlili
It’s hard to overestimate the degree of naiveté on the part of the West as it heads toward another round of nuclear talks with Iran in Baghdad on Wednesday.
Why Tehran Might Be Ready to Talk
Joe Klein
Here is how it usually works when the world attempts to negotiate with Iran about its rogue nuclear program: The U.N. passes a resolution, or threatens sanctions, or imposes sanctions. Iran's friends and trading partners, like Russia and China, quietly exert pressure for talks. Iran agrees to talks but dawdles, arguing that it will need time to prepare. Months pass. Finally, there are talks, which consist of dueling speeches. The members of the U.N. group designated to negotiate with Iran--the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China--present a statement listing the world's concerns about the Iranian program. The Iranians read a statement demanding an end to sanctions before any talks can begin. And that's it. The Iranians go home, continue to enrich their uranium and continue to refuse the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to inspect certain sites. That is what happened in Geneva in 2010 and in Istanbul in 2011. But something very different is happening this year.
A nuke by any other name
Benjamin Loehrke
Both NATO and Russia would like to see the other reduce its stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons, but the two sides have been unable to agree on mutual reductions. Even modest progress on the issue at NATO's Chicago summit seems unlikely. This is partially because it is unclear what a "tactical" nuclear weapon is.