Nuclear Policy News – August 16, 2018

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Top News

Trump Administration Sanctions Companies Helping North Korea
New York Times

Iran Supreme Leader admits mistake over nuclear talks

State Department concerned over Russian satellite’s behavior

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Former Prime Minister of India, Dies at 93
New York Times


East Asia

Trump Administration Sanctions Companies Helping North Korea
New York Times8/15/18
The Trump administration announced new sanctions on Wednesday against three organizations and an individual accused of facilitating illicit shipments to North Korea, keeping pressure on the government of Kim Jong-un amid ongoing negotiations over the dismantling of his nuclear program. The companies targeted by the Treasury Department are based in China, Singapore and Russia. The shipments, which violate sanctions imposed by the United States and the United Nations, include exports of alcohol, tobacco and cigarette products, as well as refined oil products.

Vladimir Putin ready to meet Kim Jong-un to discuss ‘urgent issues’, says North Korean state media
The Independent8/15/18
Vladimir Putin has said he is ready to meet North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, “at an early date”, the north’s state media reported. The Russian president congratulated Mr. Kim in a telegram to mark North Korea’s national liberation day, which commemorates the end of the Second World War and the north’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule, the KCNA news agency reported. “I affirm that I am ready to meet you at an early date to discuss urgent issues of bilateral relations and important matters of the region,” Mr. Putin said in the message, without offering a specific date.

Middle East

Iran Supreme Leader admits mistake over nuclear talks
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has admitted he made a mistake in allowing the country’s foreign minister to speak to his U.S. counterpart during negotiations that led to a 2015 international nuclear agreement. Khamenei, who rarely admits in public to making errors, said he had done just that over the nuclear talks. “With the issue of the nuclear negotiations, I made a mistake in permitting our foreign minister to speak with them. It was a loss for us,” he said.

German rail operator, Deutsche Telekom end Iran projects
German rail operator Deutsche Bahn [DBN.UL] and Deutsche Telekom are ending projects in Iran after Washington imposed new sanctions against Tehran and said firms doing business with Iran would be barred from doing business with the United States. New U.S. sanctions against Iran took effect last week and several European companies have suspended plans to invest in Iran in light of the U.S. sanctions, including oil major Total as well as carmakers PSA, Renault and Daimler.


State Department concerned over Russian satellite’s behavior
A Russian satellite made a series of maneuvers in October 2017 that was “inconsistent” with its expected behavior and marks “a very troubling development,” a top U.S. diplomat said during a speech Aug. 14. “In October of last year the Russian Ministry of Defense deployed a space object they claimed was a ‘space apparatus inspector.’ But its behavior on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities, including other Russian inspection satellite activities,” said Yleem Poblete. the State Department’s assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance.

South Asia

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Former Prime Minister of India, Dies at 93
New York Times8/16/18
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who as India’s prime minister from 1998 to 2004 stunned the world by ending a decades-old moratorium on nuclear weapons tests, but managed to ease tensions with Pakistan and build closer ties to the United States, died Thursday. He was 93.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Sprint toward new missile-warning satellites begins with first contract award to Lockheed
Defense News8/15/18
The U.S. Air Force is racing to kick-start its new accelerated program to buy next-generation missile warning satellites, awarding a contract on Aug. 14 to Lockheed Martin for the first three satellites in the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared program. The award, which has a value of up to $2.9 billion, will allow Lockheed to do the design work, flight hardware procurement, early manufacturing and risk-reduction work necessary for a critical design review, the service said in a statement. Lockheed is set to provide the three geosynchronous Earth orbit satellites in the Next-Gen OPIR constellation.

Lockheed nabs another big hypersonic weapons contract
Defense News8/14/18
Lockheed Martin will design a second hypersonic weapon prototype for the U.S. Air Force, the service announced Monday. Although final terms have not been established, the contract could be worth up to $480 million for the critical design review, testing and production readiness support of the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW.

Opinion and Analysis

How the U.S. and North Korea can break the cycle of disappointment
Washington PostJoseph Yun
It is now time for the Trump administration to revisit [the 1994 Agreed Framework] in order to broaden the diplomatic process with North Korea. Exchanging liaison offices is a key step in assuring that the United States is not left out in the cold after the warmth generated in Singapore.

The U.S. Must Engage With Russia
The AtlanticRand Paul
My goal in visiting both government and opposition leaders in Russia is to promote dialogue. My hope on my return to Congress is that I will find bipartisan support for improved dialogue and continued progress on reducing nuclear arms.

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