Nuclear Policy News – April 4, 2019

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In Rare Speech to Congress, NATO Leader Says Allies Must Deter Moscow
New York Times

North Korea is Using Hackers to Steal Money for Nuclear Bombs

Report to Congress on Status of Iran’s Nuclear Program


In Rare Speech to Congress, NATO Leader Says Allies Must Deter Moscow
New York Times4/3/2019
The NATO secretary general gave a strong defense of the 70-year-old military alliance between Europe and the United States, using a high-profile appearance before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday to urge allies to stand up to a more assertive Russia.

NATO enhances nuclear component of military drills, warns Russian diplomat
TASS Russian News Agency4/4/2019
NATO countries are enhancing the nuclear component of their military drills, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Thursday. “NATO countries are enhancing the nuclear component of the drills held both by the Alliance as a whole and by its individual members,” he said in response to a TASS question. “In particular, NATO military exercises involve US strategic bombers, which conduct flights in areas that are sensitive for Russia’s security interests,” the senior diplomat added.

Interview with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg: The U.S. and President Trump ‘Are 100 Percent Behind’ Us
Spiegel Online4/2/2019
Stoltenberg: The world is less predictable today. During the Cold War, we had hundreds of thousands of soldiers ready for action in the East and the West and tens of thousands of nuclear warheads. This confrontation between NATO and the Warsaw Pact was very dangerous, but at the same time also very predictable. Today we have fewer soldiers, fewer nuclear weapons and the Warsaw Pact is history. But we are experiencing a new uncertainty.

East Asia

North Korea is Using Hackers to Steal Money for Nuclear Bombs
North Korea boasts an elite group of hackers, known as APT 38, that stole $1 billion from online banks and cryptocurrency exchanges last year. The hacker team, which has according to Wired established fraudulent cryptocurrencies and targeted digital money exchanges, is responsible for funneling money straight into the country’s military — and even helping it fund nuclear weapons.

Middle East

Report to Congress on Status of Iran’s Nuclear Program
From the report: The United States has assessed that Tehran possesses the technological and industrial capacity to produce nuclear weapons. But Iran has not yet mastered all of the necessary technologies for building such weapons. Whether Iran has a viable design for a nuclear weapon is unclear. A National Intelligence Estimate made public in 2007 assessed that Tehran “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003. The estimate, however, also assessed that Tehran is “keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons…”

Trump’s maximum pressure on Iran still isn’t working
Business Insider4/3/2019
Almost a year after President Trump reneged on US commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal, there is not the slightest sign that this move is achieving the declared objective of Iran crawling back to the negotiating table to negotiate a “better deal.”

Multilateral Arms Control

World’s nuclear chief says risk of weapons proliferation is rising
CBS News4/3/2019
“In general terms, the technology to develop nuclear weapons is an old one, dating back 70 years, and after that lots of progress has been made in technology,” said Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “You can get the information, you can get the material, the education. It’s available.”

Opinion and Analysis

Trump should trust his instincts, not Bolton’s, on North Korea
Los Angeles Times– Robert Carlin4/4/2019
At the historic June 2018 Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, the president had pragmatically laid aside Bolton’s all-or-nothing Libya model in favor of a more feasible approach. He’d have been better off to continue that approach in Hanoi. Yet, suddenly the Libya model was back.

Reinvigorating NATO’s Nuclear Deterrence Posture Through Transparency
The Atlantic Council – Aaron Richards4/2/2019
Given today’s emerging threat environment, including the dangers emanating from Russia, it is important for NATO to revive the role of its nuclear deterrence posture through clear messaging and effective confidence-building measures that will strengthen its security in future threat environments.

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