Top News:

Senior U.S. envoys head to Middle East amid concerns over Iran deal
Aljazeera

Biden calls North Korean nukes a ‘serious threat’ in first speech to Congress
NK News

Biden on Russia: ‘I told them I would respond and we have’
The Hill

United States

Biden calls North Korean nukes a ‘serious threat’ in first speech to Congress
NK News4/29/21
The U.S. president said he will address DPRK issues with “diplomacy” and “stern deterrence.”

ANALYSIS: Transactional diplomacy: a path toward nuclear “grand bargains” with Iran and North Korea
Bulletin of Atomic ScientistsChristopher Lawrence
4/29/21
As the Biden Administration re-engages Iran and reviews U.S. policy toward North Korea, analysts are debating whether a “transactional” approach that focuses on reducing the nuclear threat is sufficient, or whether the U.S. should seek a transformative “grand bargain” that addresses other “malign behaviors.”

OPINION: Missile defense is compatible with arms control
War on the RocksRobert Soofer
4/29/21
What will it take for Russia and the United States to make progress on arms control? In announcing the Biden administration’s intent to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) for another five years, Secretary of State Anthony Blinkin offered a hint.

OPINION: Nuclear deterrence for China needs upgrade
Washington TimesBill Gertz
4/28/21
The American strategy for deterring nuclear war is outdated and needs to be revised to address more likely scenarios, such as nuclear conflict growing out of a conventional war with China or Russia, according to Paul Bracken, a political science professor at Yale University.

East Asia

OPINION: It is time to change approach to North Korea
Real Clear WorldDaniel DePetris
4/28/21
As one might expect, North Korea was a top agenda item during U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Middle East

Senior U.S. envoys head to Middle East amid concerns over Iran deal
Aljazeera4/28/21
President Biden’s attempt to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal, de-escalation of regional tensions on the agenda.

U.S. eyes major rollback in Iran sanctions to revive nuke deal
Associated Press4/28/21
The Biden administration is considering a near wholesale rollback of some of the most stringent Trump-era sanctions imposed on Iran in a bid to get the Islamic Republic to return to compliance with a landmark 2015 nuclear accord, according to current and former U.S. officials and others familiar with the matter.

Despite optimistic statements, Iran nuclear talks proving difficult
Axios4/29/21
While Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and negotiators from the EU and Russia have all heralded significant progress in the Vienna nuclear talks, there are still big gaps between the U.S. and Iranian positions, according to three U.S. and Israeli sources briefed on the talks.

Russia and Europe

Biden on Russia: ‘I told them I would respond and we have’
The Hill4/28/21
President Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “understands” that actions by Moscow against the U.S. will incur consequences, pointing to a host of sanctions imposed on the Russian economy and individuals over election interference and a massive cyber hack of government and private businesses.

OPINION: Russia secretly feared the Iran nuclear deal. Here’s why.
Atlantic CouncilMark Katz
4/28/21
The leaked audiotape of remarks made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif did not just reveal friction within the Iranian political establishment over the nuclear accord, it also disclosed that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander, Qasem Soleimani—who was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq in January 2020—collaborated with Russia “to sabotage the nuclear deal.”