Top News: War or peace? For Iran and the United States, it’s time to decide The Washington Post ANALYSIS: ‘A big blow’: Washington’s arms controllers brace for loss of their biggest backer Politico As Iran-U.S. nuclear talks loom, Ebrahim Raisi faces protests, economic strife Newsweek United States War or peace? For Iran and the United States, it’s time to decide The Washington Post7/19/2021 Diplomacy and peace remain possibilities — but they hang by a thread. If the United States truly intends to achieve peace with Iran, then a swift return to the nuclear deal is the starting point. But Congress must not erect new hurdles. As long as there is no deal, we remain on a path to war and nuclear confrontation. REPORT: Biden administration eyeing new sanctions on Iran oil sales if nuclear talks fail The HillMychael Schnell 7/19/2021 The Biden administration is reportedly considering slapping new sanctions on Iran’s oil sales to China if talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal fail. East Asia ANALYSIS: Caught between China and the U.S., Asian countries stockpile powerful new missiles ReutersJosh Smith 7/20/2021 Asia is sliding into a dangerous arms race as smaller nations that once stayed on the sidelines build arsenals of advanced long-range missiles, following in the footsteps of powerhouses China and the United States, analysts say. Middle East As Iran-U.S. nuclear talks loom, Ebrahim Raisi faces protests, economic strife Newsweek7/20/2021 Severe drought in southwestern Iran has prompted the latest wave of anti-government protests inside the authoritarian country in recent days, as the new president Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner known as “The Butcher,” prepares to enter power. Iran’s Security Council rejects draft nuclear deal with U.S., spokesman says Axios7/20/2021 Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has rejected a draft agreement negotiated indirectly with the U.S. over the past three months in Vienna, a government spokesman said Thursday. Pause in Iran nuclear talks ‘uncomfortable’: IAEA to AFP France247/19/2021 A pause in negotiations to salvage Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers has placed the International Atomic Energy Agency in an “uncomfortable position,” its boss told AFP on Monday. Alarm grows on Iran nuclear program among sidelined monitors Bloomberg7/19/2021 International monitors are watching Iran’s fast-expanding nuclear program with growing alarm, as Tehran refuses to extend an expired inspections pact and insists the experts must trust that it’s accurately documenting uranium-enrichment activities. Russia Russia, U.S. to hold nuclear arms control talks on July 28 – Kommersant Reuters7/20/2021 Russia and the United States have agreed to hold their first round of nuclear strategic stability talks on July 28 in Geneva, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Tuesday. International Affairs ANALYSIS: ‘A big blow’: Washington’s arms controllers brace for loss of their biggest backer PoliticoBryan Bender 7/19/2021 The MacArthur Foundation’s decision to stop funding nuclear policy work threatens to silence key voices amid fears of a new arms race. ANALYSIS: The global networks working to abolish nuclear weapons Foreign PolicyPeter Schmidt and Robert Muggah 7/19/2021 A web of treaties, agreements, and NGOs is dedicated to curbing nukes. Some hope to get rid of them altogether. OPINION: A new paradigm: Mutually assured security War on the RocksRaymond Smith 7/20/2021 How many empty chambers would there have to be in a gun before you considered playing Russian roulette? If you survived spinning the chamber and pulling the trigger a few times, would you keep playing the game? The United States and Russia continue to rely on mutually assured destruction to deter nuclear war, despite the fact that it has come close to failing multiple times, both during the Cold War and after.