Nuclear Policy News – March 25, 2019

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Russia Urges Trump to Reset Relations After Mueller Report

U.S. Says Iran Poised to Resume Work on Nuclear Weapons
Wall Street Journal

Fight over America’s nuclear arsenal heats up in Congress
Defense News


Russia Urges Trump to Reset Relations After Mueller Report
“There’s a chance to renew much in our relations, but the question is whether Trump will take the risk,” Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the international relations committee in the upper house of parliament, wrote Monday on Facebook. “We, of course, are ready. And I suggest starting with the most acute issues: the START and INF agreements” limiting nuclear weapons, he said.

Middle East

U.S. Says Iran Poised to Resume Work on Nuclear Weapons
Wall Street JournalMarch 22, 2019
Iran’s Ministry of Defense unit responsible for developing nuclear weapons is poised to restart work and is using front companies to buy materials from Russia and China that could be used to reactivate its banned bomb program, U.S. officials alleged Friday.

U.S. Accuses Iran Of Plotting to Restart Nuclear Weapons Program
PoliticoMarch 22, 2019
U.S. officials on Friday accused Iran of plotting to restart work on its nuclear weapons program, despite Tehran agreeing in a 2015 accord to not pursue such weapons. The charges were made as the Treasury and State Departments announced a new round of sanctions against 14 individuals and 17 entities linked to the Iranian Ministry of Defense unit responsible for nuclear weapons development, senior administration officials said Friday.

The Risks of Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Power Plans
Financial Times3/25/2019
Since the capabilities and skills necessary for any nuclear development programme take years to put in place, the surge of interest in the civil nuclear programme is unsurprising. But some fear that once Saudi Arabia had developed its nuclear capabilities, in a moment of crisis the country could buy weapons technology, perhaps from Pakistan — a close ally — and other countries in the region would follow suit in the name of self-defence.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Fight over America’s nuclear arsenal heats up in Congress
Defense News3/23/2019
As the Republican-led Senate and Democratic-led House prepare competing versions of the annual defense policy bill, they’ve been soliciting expert testimony to build their arguments on one of the key defense budget fights to come: How much nuclear modernization does America need?


US Envoy to North Korea Arrives in Beijing To Discuss ‘Coordination On Policies’
South China Morning Post3/25/2019
Stephen Biegun, the US special representative for North Korea, is in Beijing “to continue US-China coordination on policies related to North Korea”, the US embassy confirmed in an email to the South China Morning Post.

N. Korea Sends Staff Back to Liaison Office After Trump Reverses Sanctions Decision
Stars & Stripes3/25/2019
North Korea sent staff back to the liaison office it shares with the South on Monday, the Unification Ministry said, days after the communist state withdrew from the facility in apparent frustration over slow progress in inter-Korean initiatives and stalled nuclear talks with the United States. The return, limited to four or five staffers, followed President Donald Trump’s decision to reverse plans to impose new economic sanctions against North Korea, which experts said was likely to be seen as an olive branch by leader Kim Jong Un.

US Imposes Sanctions on Chinese Companies For Helping North Korea
Al Jazeera3/22/2019
The United States imposed sanctions on Thursday on two Chinese shipping companies it says helped North Korea evade sanctions over its nuclear weapons programme.


Norms of Responsible Nuclear Stewardship
Arms Control Wonk – Michael Krepon3/25/2019
A nuclear deterrence-based system will be with us for a long time — and that’s if we’re successful and lucky. The goal for me is how to create conditions so that a deterrence-based system doesn’t kill us. How do we create these conditions? One way is through numbers. Another way is through norms. The best way is by numbers in conjunction with norms.

Nuclear Deterrence: A Guarantee or Threat to Strategic Stability?
Carnegie Moscow Center – Alexey Arbatov3/22/2019
Nuclear deterrence can serve as a pillar of international security only in conjunction with negotiations and agreements on the limitation, reduction, and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. Without them, deterrence fuels an endless arms race, while any serious crisis between the great powers will bring them to the brink of nuclear war.

Nuclear Proliferation Is A Dangerous Game
The Toledo Blade3/23/2019
During the first Cold War, people said that the United States and Russia were trending toward mutually assured destruction. If the two countries continue to walk back all the progress they have made on nuclear arms, we are likely to find ourselves on that same well-worn path.

Special Interest

Atomic Anxiety: 10 Times the U.S. Military ‘Lost’ Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest3/19/2019
As the numbers of nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal grew quickly during the early years of the Cold War, so did the number of accidents involving nukes.

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