Nuclear Policy News – May 8, 2019

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Iran rolls back nuclear pledges but stops short of violating pact

NNSA’s FY20 Budget Request: Full Speed Ahead on Weapons Development and Production
Union of Concerned Scientists

Support the JASON science-advisory group
Nature Magazine

Middle East

Iran rolls back nuclear pledges but stops short of violating pact
Iran announced on Wednesday it was scaling back curbs to its nuclear program, announcing steps that stop short of violating its 2015 deal with world powers for now, but threatening more action if countries did not shield it from U.S. sanctions.

Iran nuclear deal: Tehran may increase uranium enrichment
BBC News5/8/2019
Iran has suspended commitments under the 2015 international nuclear deal, a year after it was abandoned by the US. President Hassan Rouhani said he would keep enriched uranium stocks in the country rather than sell them abroad. He also threatened to resume production of more-highly-enriched uranium in 60 days if other signatories did not act to protect Iran from US sanctions.

5 questions about Iran’s nuclear deal announcement
Iran has announced it will no longer fully comply with the landmark nuclear deal it signed with the United States and five other nations in 2015, following Washington’s own reneging on the agreement and increased diplomatic and military pressure on Tehran.

World reacts to Iran’s decision to abandon parts of nuclear deal
Al Jazeera5/7/2019
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that the remaining signatories – the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia – had 60 days to implement their promises to protect Iran’s oil and banking sectors from US sanctions. Here’s a round-up of statements from around the world.

East Asia

North Korea’s Newest Missile Appears Similar to Advanced Russian Design
North Korea’s newest missile has a striking resemblance to an advanced Russian design, according to experts analyzing images from a test of the weapon on Saturday morning. The missile, which North Korea describes as a “tactical guided weapon,” appears superficially to be nearly identical to Russia’s Iskander missile — a highly accurate short-range weapon capable of striking targets more than 150 miles away.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

NNSA’s FY20 Budget Request: Full Speed Ahead on Weapons Development and Production
Union of Concerned Scientists5/6/2019
In March the Department of Energy released its FY20 budget request for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which is responsible for developing, producing and maintaining US nuclear warheads and bombs.

Multilateral Arms Control

Thanks, But No Thanks: China Pushes Back on Trilateral Strategic Nuclear Arms Control
The Diplomat5/7/2019
China’s Foreign Ministry has pushed back against the idea that Beijing may participate in trilateral strategic nuclear arms control with Russia and the United States. In remarks at a press conference on Monday, Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explained Beijing’s disinterest in the proposal, which is reportedly under consideration by the Trump administration as the extension deadline for the 2011 U.S.-Russia New START Treaty looms.


Counterproliferation Strategy & the Proliferation Security Initiative
Next Generation Nuclear Network – Cameron Trainer5/7/2019
When the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) was founded in 2003, it was very much a creature of the United States. Specifically, it was a creature of then Under Secretary of Arms Control and International Security John Bolton.

Wanted: A Trump policy for Iran
CNN – Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky5/7/2019
Wednesday marks the first anniversary of the Trump administration’s decision to pick up its marbles and exit the Iran nuclear accord, otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. The sky hasn’t fallen. But tensions are mounting; Iran has not yet bolted from the agreement or resumed its nuclear enrichment, but reports suggest Tehran may well stop abiding by some provisions in the JCPOA, particularly on research on advanced centrifuges, as payback against US sanctions.

Hypersonic Weapons: Strategic Asset or Tactical Tool?
Air Force Magazine – Rachel S. Cohen5/7/2019
As the Pentagon moves ahead in its pursuit of hypersonic weapons, the defense community has mixed opinions on whether the new missiles should be considered as strategic assets—driven by the principle that simply owning them should dissuade adversaries from using their own, and would be devastating if deployed.

Support the JASON science-advisory group
Nature Magazine5/8/2019
If there is one thing that President Donald Trump’s administration sorely needs, it is rational, independent science-based advice on crucial issues. Which is why it was so concerning when the US Department of Defense (DOD) abruptly decided in March to end its long relationship with a science-advisory panel known as JASON.

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