Nuclear Policy News – November 6, 2018

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Top News

U.S., North Korea Toughen Stance Ahead of Nuclear Talks
Wall Street Journal

Iran sanctions: Rouhani defiant as US re-imposes measures
BBC News

Iran sanctions: Trump administration exempts eight countries, including China, from new penalties
USA Today

U.S. Backs Disarmament Steps Along Korean Demilitarized Zone: General


East Asia

U.S., North Korea Toughen Stance Ahead of Nuclear Talks
Wall Street Journal11/6/18
As the U.S. prepares to resume nuclear negotiations with North Korea this week, both sides are hardening their positions, dimming hopes for a compromise. North Korea has said it has made enough concessions on nuclear disarmament and has grown more strident in its demands for the United States to reciprocate.

U.S., South Korea resume low-key military drills ahead of talks with North Korea
The United States and South Korea will begin small-scale military drills on Monday just days ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting with a North Korea official to discuss denuclearization and plans for a second summit between the two countries. The Korean Marine Exchange Program was among the training drills that were indefinitely suspended in June after U.S. President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore and promised to end joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises often criticized by the North.

Pompeo not worried by North Korean ‘rhetoric’ ahead of New York talks
With denuclearization talks set to continue in New York, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated Sunday that the United States would offer no relief on North Korea sanctions until full denuclearization is achieved. Pressed by “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace on his reaction to North Korea’s threat to resume nuclear activity if the U.S. doesn’t remove economic sanctions, Pompeo dismissed it as “rhetoric.”

Middle East

Iran sanctions: Rouhani defiant as US re-imposes measures
BBC News11/5/18
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has vowed to “break” swinging sanctions re-imposed by the US targeting core parts of the economy. The Trump administration is restoring all sanctions lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal in a bid to pressure Iran.

U.S. Vows ‘Relentless’ Pressure On Iran As Sanctions Take Effect
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty11/5/18
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned that the United States will exert “relentless” pressure on Iran unless it behaves “like a normal country.” Pompeo made the comments on November 5, hours after Washington imposed sanctions targeting key sectors of Iran’s economy following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.

South Asia

Indian Navy Boomer Completes First Deterrent Patrol
The Diplomat11/6/18
India’s first domestically developed and built nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), the INS Arihant, has completed its first deterrent patrol, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 5.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Iran sanctions: Trump administration exempts eight countries, including China, from new penalties
USA Today11/5/18
The Trump administration will allow Japan, China, India and five other countries to escape U.S. sanctions against Iran, even as those nations continue to buy oil from Iran in defiance of the White House’s push to block all such sales. The decision to grant eight exemptions – including to six of Iran’s biggest oil-buying customers – sparked some criticism among hardline conservatives who are normally aligned with the White House.

State Department confirms waivers for work on Iranian nuclear sites
Washington Examiner11/5/18
President Trump will let countries helping to overhaul three Iranian nuclear facilities escape sanctions that have been reimposed as part of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, the State Department confirmed Monday. “We are not issuing waivers for any new civil nuclear projects,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert’s office said in a Monday bulletin. “We are only permitting the continuation for a temporary period of certain ongoing projects that impede Iran’s ability to reconstitute its weapons program and that lock in the nuclear status quo until we can secure a stronger deal that fully and firmly addresses all of our concerns.”

U.S. Backs Disarmament Steps Along Korean Demilitarized Zone: General
The outgoing commander of American troops in South Korea voiced support on Monday for controversial measures to reduce military activity along the border with North Korea, as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepared for talks with North Korean officials on denuclearization and plans for a second leaders’ summit. Writing in a South Korean military publication, U.S. General Vincent Brooks said recent steps by South and North Korea to disarm areas along the so-called demilitarized zone between the two nations have “the support and agreement of the United States.”

Opinion and Analysis

China is reaping the rewards of undermining Trump’s Iran strategy
Washington PostJosh Rogin
The Trump administration’s Iran strategy is meant to force the Iranian government to cave to the United States and change its behavior by squeezing its finances. One huge flaw in that plan is that it depends on countries such as China to cooperate. Yet Beijing is playing Washington and Tehran against each other and making a ton of money in the process.

Despite sanctions, Iran unlikely to restart nuclear program—yet
Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsKelsey Davenport
We are lucky that Iran has decided thus far not to withdraw from the JCPOA and expand its nuclear program, despite the US decision to renege and reimpose sanctions. To help ensure continued Iranian compliance, US policymakers can continue to support the nuclear deal and refrain from overreacting to rhetoric out of Iran.

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