Top News:

Iran’s uranium metal production is ‘most serious nuclear step’ to date, but deal can still be saved
CNBC

China may exercise ‘nuclear option’ against US defense industry with rare-earths export ban – reports
RT

ANALYSIS: What does the history tell us about Iran’s nuclear intentions?
CSIS PONI

United States

State Department refuses to discuss Iran envoy’s talks with Chinese leaders
Fox News2/16/21
The State Department is refusing to provide details or even confirm statements by the Chinese government indicating the U.S.-Iran envoy Robert Malley recently spoke to Communist Party officials about the Biden administration’s efforts to reenter the 2015 nuclear accord.

OPINION: Setting a course away from the intercontinental ballistic missile
War on the RocksGarret Hinck, Pranay Vaddi
2/16/21
As the new administration reassesses U.S. nuclear policy, it will be forced to make decisions about the future of the country’s ground-based, nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) arsenal.

OPINION: Why are hypersonic weapons so important for America’s security?
Defense NewsSeth Cropsey
2/16/21
America’s enemies learned from the Gulf and Iraq wars that they could not allow the U.S. and its allies geographic access to a combat zone, and have therefore developed denial techniques.

OPINION: U.S. military awards contracts striving to take the lead in the hypersonic arms race
ForbesVikram Mittal
2/15/21
Arms races no longer garner the attention that they received during the Cold War.

East Asia

China may exercise ‘nuclear option’ against US defense industry with rare-earths export ban – reports
RT2/16/21
The world’s largest rare-earth miner, China, is reportedly trying to calculate the damage to US defense contractors if it moves to curb supplies of the minerals vital for the country’s weapons industry.

Middle East

Iran’s uranium metal production is ‘most serious nuclear step’ to date, but deal can still be saved
CNBC2/16/21
Iran says its uranium metal development is meant to produce fuel for a research reactor. IAEA inspectors confirmed a tiny volume of 3.6 grams of the substance at an Isfahan facility.

Israel hints it may not engage Biden on Iran nuclear strategy
Reuters2/16/21
Israel held out the possibility on Tuesday that it would not engage with U.S. President Joe Biden on strategy regarding the Iranian nuclear programme, urging tougher sanctions and a “credible military threat” against its arch-enemy.

ANALYSIS: What does the history tell us about Iran’s nuclear intentions?
CSIS PONISina Azodi
2/16/21
The debate on the direction of Iran’s nuclear program is a multifaceted puzzle which will continue to draw attention for the foreseeable future. Will Iran cross the threshold and weaponize its decades long nuclear program?

Russia and Europe

ANALYSIS: Russia’s nuclear activity in 2019: Increasing strength and pressure
Atlantic CouncilMaxim Starchak
2/16/21
2019 stands out as a year with notable shifts in nuclear exercises and activity, as some forms of activity show increasing trends while other indicators show drops.

OPINION: America’s India problem is all about Russia
Foreign policySalvatore Babones
2/16/21
Forget U.S. sanctions over arms deals. Indian-Russian alignment is in Washington’s best interest.