Nuclear Policy News – November 2, 2018

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Top News

US, South Korea to decide on canceling 2019 military exercises by December
The Hill

US agrees to grant India waiver from Iran sanctions
Economic Times

GOP Senators Ask Trump to Shelve Saudi Nuclear Talks, Citing Khashoggi
Roll Call

East Asia

The wartime control of US, South Korean troops on the peninsula is evolving
Defense News11/1/18
U.S. and South Korean defense chiefs have agreed on a set of measures to transform their military alliance that has been led by U.S. commanders over the past 65 years. The agreement is meant to bring about a combined defense structure in which South Korea takes on more responsibility for its defense.

US, South Korea to decide on canceling 2019 military exercises by December
The Hill10/31/18
The United States and South Korea will review their joint military exercises and decide whether to suspend next year’s drills by the beginning of December, South Korea’s defense minister said Wednesday. In a visit to the Pentagon, South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said the results of the review will be due by Nov. 15 with a final decision on 2019’s joint military exercises due by Dec. 1.

Middle East

U.S., Iran policy depends not just on sanctions but on flexibility
As U.S. President Donald Trump resumes sanctions on Iran, the success of his push to curb its nuclear, missile and regional activities may hinge on how flexible he is willing to be on his extensive demands to coax Tehran into talks. Washington will reintroduce sanctions on Monday targeting Iran’s most important industry – oil – and U.S. officials have indicated a measure of flexibility is needed to ensure global markets are well supplied to keep prices from surging.

India and Korea Agree on Outline of Iran Oil Waiver With U.S.
India and South Korea agreed with the U.S. on the outline of deals that would allow them to keep importing some Iranian oil, according to Asian officials with knowledge of the matter. No final decision has been made and an announcement is unlikely before U.S. sanctions on Iran are reimposed Nov. 5, the officials said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.

Iran Sanctions Kick In, With Biggest Oil Disruption in Years
Midnight on Sunday will mark a dividing line in the world of oil. Beyond that point, anyone unloading a tanker from Iran risks the full wrath of the U.S. government. The Middle East’s third-biggest oil producer has already seen many buyers flee, with sales tumbling 37 percent since President Donald Trump announced that he’d reimpose sanctions.

South Asia

US agrees to grant India waiver from Iran sanctions
Economic Times11/1/18
The US has broadly agreed to grant India a waiver from Iran sanctions, which would allow Indian oil companies to continue to import about 1.25 million tonnes of oil a month till March from Tehran, sources familiar with the matter said, adding that an official announcement could come over the next few days.

Multilateral Arms Control

U.S. abstains from vote on Japan-sponsored antinuclear resolution at U.N. disarmament panel
The Japan Times11/2/18
A Japan-sponsored resolution calling for the total elimination of nuclear arms was passed by a United Nations committee on Thursday, but the United States — a key Tokyo ally — abstained, calling it a “step back” from last year’s document. The First Committee on Disarmament Issues at the U.N. General Assembly also adopted a resolution calling on member states to ratify a landmark treaty banning nuclear weapons at an early date.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

GOP Senators Ask Trump to Shelve Saudi Nuclear Talks, Citing Khashoggi
Roll Call10/31/18
A group of Republican senators is urging President Donald Trump to suspend ongoing discussions on a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia to limit that country’s nuclear capability as lawmakers learn more about the Saudi government’s role in the slaying of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi earlier this month. “The ongoing revelations about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as certain Saudi actions related to Yemen and Lebanon, have raised further serious concerns about the transparency, accountability, and judgment of current decisionmakers in Saudi Arabia,” the GOP senators wrote in a letter to the president Wednesday.

Opinion and Analysis

Arms control on the brink
Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsKingston Reif
Trump’s move is an unnecessary and self-defeating own-goal (to use the soccer term) that together with the uncertain future of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) has brought the bilateral US-Russia arms control framework to the brink of collapse.

Nukes in Europe: Facts, Not Hysteria
Atlantic CouncilFranklin C. Miller
Russian cheating on its nuclear arms control commitments must be confronted, especially by those who are threatened by the Russian weapons. There is no excuse for the European members of NATO to seek “moral equivalence” by casting aspersions on both the United States and Russia for increasing the nuclear threat to NATO; Russia alone bears that burden.

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