Nuclear Policy News – May 7, 2018

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Verifying the End of a Nuclear North Korea ‘Could Make Iran Look Easy’
New York Times

Trump’s Talk of U.S. Troop Cuts Unnerves South Korea and Japan
New York Times

As Deadline on Nuclear Deal Nears, Israel and Iran Issue Warnings
New York Times

Pakistan’s nuclear agency bus attacked, 2 killed
The Mainichi


Verifying the End of a Nuclear North Korea ‘Could Make Iran Look Easy’
New York Times5/6/18
As he weighs opening nuclear disarmament negotiations with North Korea, President Trump faces a regime that for decades has hidden key elements of its nuclear programs from international monitors and has banned inspectors from the country.

Trump’s Talk of U.S. Troop Cuts Unnerves South Korea and Japan
New York Times5/4/18
With diplomacy moving apace to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Northeast Asia is bracing for something few had thought likely just months ago: a reduction or withdrawal of American troops from South Korea.

Abe, Xi agree to cooperate in tackling N. Korea nuclear issue
Japan Times5/5/18
In a landmark telephone conversation, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday agreed to closely cooperate in resolving the North Korean nuclear and missile issues and confirmed the importance of U.N. sanctions against the North to achieve that goal.

North Korea says US ruining mood of detente ahead of summit
Washington Post5/6/18
With just weeks to go before President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are expected to hold their first-ever summit, Pyongyang on Sunday criticized what it called “misleading” claims that Trump’s policy of maximum political pressure and sanctions are what drove the North to the negotiating table.

S. Korea’s nuke envoy plans to visit U.S. this week: source
Yonhap News Agency5/7/18
South Korea’s top nuclear envoy plans to visit the United States this week to talk about inter-Korean summit agreements and other related issues, a source here said Monday.


Saudi energy minister ‘optimistic’ on South Korea being shortlisted for nuclear project
Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Friday he was “optimistic” about South Korea being shortlisted to build nuclear power plants for the Middle Eastern kingdom.

As Deadline on Nuclear Deal Nears, Israel and Iran Issue Warnings
New York Times5/6/18
With time running out before the May 12 deadline by which President Trump is to decide whether to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, the leaders of Israel and Iran weighed in on Sunday, with one calling the agreement “fatally flawed” and the other warning of “historic regret” if the United States rips up the deal.

Iran warns US abandoning nuclear deal would be ‘historic mistake’
Iran warned the US on Sunday that abandoning the nuclear deal would be a “historic mistake,” less than one week before President Donald Trump is set to make a decision on the pact.

Complex choices await world if Trump exits Iran nuclear deal
Washington Post5/4/18
It’s not as simple as just saying “we’re out” of the Iran nuclear deal.

Israeli Operatives Who Aided Harvey Weinstein Collected Information on Former Obama Administration Officials
The New Yorker5/6/18
The e-mail appears to be part of an undercover campaign by an Israeli private-intelligence firm to discredit Obama officials who had been leading proponents of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.


Israeli PM Netanyahu briefs Modi on Iran’s ‘nuclear breaches’
Times of India5/5/18
Drumming up international support for his call to “fix” or “nix” the Iran nuclear deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reached out to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to update him on the recent developments.

Pakistan’s nuclear agency bus attacked, 2 killed
The Mainichi5/4/18
At least two people were killed and 13injured Thursday evening in an attack on a bus carrying Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission employees in Attock district, 85 kilometers northwest of Islamabad, according to police.


A Speck of Weapons-Grade Plutonium Is Missing in Idaho
Live Science5/4/18
According to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) statement, 1 gram (0.04 ounces) of plutonium-239 — about the weight of a paper clip — disappeared from Idaho State University.

Rudy Giuliani speaks his mind on Iran deal, hostages in North Korea at Iran Freedom Convention
President Trump’s newest attorney Rudy Giuliani — who seized the news cycle this week by claiming on national television Mr. Trump “reimbursed” Michael Cohen for his $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels — addressed a range of foreign policy and domestic topics at the Iran Freedom Convention for Democracy and Human Rights Saturday afternoon, in a free-wheeling style that mirrored Mr. Trump’s.


Israeli intelligence coup could hep Trump “fix” the Iran deal
BrookingsRobert Einhorn
In the now-unlikely event that President Trump were to decide to waive sanctions again before May 12 and keep the nuclear deal alive, the Israeli intelligence coup could be used effectively to help remedy what Trump has regarded as the critical flaws of the deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA).

What Netanyahu’s dramatic speech about Iran’s nuclear program revealed — and concealed
Washington PostOr Rabinowitz
Did the presentation reveal anything new?

Don’t Count on Regime Change to Stop Iran’s Nuclear Program
The AtlanticPhilip Gordon
It’s certainly possible the Islamic Republic could fall sometime soon. But the nuclear deal prevents weapons development now.

Trump thinks his North Korea strategy will work on Iran. He’s wrong on both.
Washington PostVipin Narang and Colin Kahl
What Trump seems to have internalized from North Korea is that threats and “maximum pressure” can force his opponents to negotiate away their nuclear programs on American terms.

The Nuclear Deal Keeps America From Confronting Iranian Aggression
The AtlanticReuel Gerecht
Once Trump is out, Washington can get serious about the regime’s misbehavior.

Never mind the Nobel talk. Trump has a different mission on North Korea.
Washington PostMarc A. Thiessen
Trump needs to go into his summit not with visions of Nobel prizes, but with eyes wide open.

President Trump, don’t fall for North Korea’s trap
CNNSamantha Vinograd
The North Koreans have traded public insults and escalatory rhetoric with you before, and they may be trying to throw you off. They know there’s a lot of real work to do, and sowing confusion or anger on our side may be a tactic to distract you and gain the upper hand in any upcoming negotiation.

What China wants from North Korea
Asia Times5/7/18
It is in China’s interest to maintain stability on its periphery; a weak North Korea or a unified Korean Peninsula is not.

Don’t Scuttle the Iran Nuclear Deal
New York TimesBoris Johnson
Of all the options we have for ensuring that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon, this pact offers the fewest disadvantages.

Is regime change in Iran part of Trump’s agenda?
Washington Post5/7/18
“We have a president who is tough,” Giuliani said on Saturday. “We have a president who is as committed to regime change as we are.”

The Challenge of Reinstating Sanctions Against Iran
Foreign AffairsPeter Harrell
It’s Not as Simple as Withdrawing From the JCPOA

The United States Should Seize on Iran’s Currency Crisis
Foreign PolicySaeed Ghasseminejad and Richard Goldberg
An anti-regime alliance of rich and poor could be the key to ending clerical rule.

Israel’s intel coup actually provides good arguments for staying in the Iran nuclear deal
Washington PostDennis Ross
The Trump administration should use the Israeli revelations as a new source of leverage to “fix” the deal and not simply walk away from it.

The Nuclear Deal Makes America Complicit in Iranian Crimes
The AtlanticReuel Marc Gerecht
Why would the U.S. want to fund the regime’s imperialism?

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