Nuclear Policy News – October 16, 2017

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North Korea Lawmaker: Need Nukes Because of US Threat
New York Times

Nobody will trust U.S. to engage in long-term negotiation: Zarif
Tehran Times

U.S. officials try to ease concerns Trump may quit Iran deal

Tillerson: US prefers diplomacy with NKorea, but has options
Associated Press


North Korea not ready to meet with South Korea in Russia: agencies
Politicians from North and South Korea will not hold direct talks in Russia on Monday about Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program despite attending the same event and being urged to do so by Moscow, Russian news agencies said on Sunday.

North Korea Lawmaker: Need Nukes Because of US Threat
New York Times10/15/17
A high-ranking North Korean official says the country’s development of nuclear weapons is necessary because of the threat posed by the United States and contends the nuclear program is for deterrence.

S. Korean military eyes new operation plan against N.K. threats
Yonhap News Agency10/16/17
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) chairman said Monday that the military is considering a new operational plan to counter “advanced” threats from North Korea.

N.K. unlikely to talk until securing ICBM capability that levels playing field
Yonhap News Agency10/16/17
Former U.S. nuclear negotiator Robert Gallucci said Monday that North Korea might not be interested in talks on its nuclear and missile programs until it secures an intercontinental ballistic missile capability that levels the playing field with the U.S.


Rouhani says U.S. cannot decertify nuclear deal “unilaterally”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump cannot decertify Iran’s international nuclear deal “unilaterally.” “Iran’s nuclear deal is a multilateral deal and cannot be removed by the president of one country,” Rouhani said in the live broadcast of the state TV, following Trump’s aggressive remarks on Iran on Friday.

Larijani calls Trump’s nuclear argument ‘childish’
Tehran Times10/15/17
Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani on Sunday described Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the nuclear agreement as “childish.”

Nobody will trust U.S. to engage in long-term negotiation: Zarif
Tehran Times10/15/17
“Nobody else will trust any U.S. administration to engage in any long-term negotiation because the length of any commitment, the duration of any commitment from now on with any U.S. administration would be the remainder of the term of that president,” he told CBS News in an interview published on Saturday.


EU defends Iran deal despite Trump, appeals to U.S. Congress
The European Union on Monday reaffirmed its support for a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers despite sharp criticism of the accord by President Donald Trump, and it urged U.S. lawmakers not to reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Russia condemns North Korea nuclear tests: agencies
Moscow condemns North Korea’s nuclear tests and calls on North Korea and the international community to comply with all U.N. resolutions, Russian news agencies quoted the speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper house as saying on Monday.

German FM warns against military escalation over Iranian nuclear accord dispute
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) has warned on Monday against a military escalation as a consequence of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear accord.


U.S. officials try to ease concerns Trump may quit Iran deal
Senior Trump administration officials said on Sunday that the United States was committed to remaining part of the Iran nuclear accord for now, despite President Donald Trump’s criticisms of the deal and his warnings that he might pull out.

U.S. Officials Back Trump’s Stance on Iran Nuclear Accord
Wall Street Journal10/15/17
U.S. officials defended President Donald Trump’s refusal to certify the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, saying the country threatens global stability even while technically complying with the accord itself.

Trump in Asia will call for increased pressure on NKorea
Associated Press10/16/17
President Donald Trump will ask U.S. allies to pressure North Korea on its nuclear program in an upcoming trip to the Asia-Pacific region.

Tillerson: US prefers diplomacy with NKorea, but has options
Associated Press10/16/17
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the North Korean crisis “will continue until the first bomb drops.”

U.S. not recertifying Iran deal sends a ‘perfect message’ to N. Korea: Haley
Yonhap News Agency10/15/17
U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision not to recertify a nuclear deal with Iran sends the “perfect message” to North Korea about its own nuclear program, Washington’s top envoy to the United Nations said Sunday.


Deadly Overconfidence: Trump Thinks Missile Defenses Work Against North Korea, and That Should Scare You
War on the RocksAnkit Panda and Vipin Narang
If Trump believes U.S. missile defenses work this effectively, he might actually think a first strike attempt to disarm North Korea of its missile and nuclear forces would successfully spare U.S. cities from North Korean nuclear retaliation. They probably wouldn’t.

AP Analysis: Iran angered by Trump, but needs nuclear deal
Associated PressJon Gambrell
Brinksmanship aside, Iran needs to sell its oil on the international market as allowed by the atomic accord. And politically, Trump’s speech helps the same hard-liners America’s president says he wants to target, offering them a convenient punching bag as many Iranians took his words as a personal insult.

The Risks of Pakistan’s Sea-Based Nuclear Weapons
The DiplomatAnkit Panda
The Babur-3‘s introduction presents a classic at-sea deterrent dilemma for Pakistan. It can choose to have its presumed second-strike capability either totally secure or readily usable in wartime. For a range of reasons, Pakistan can be expected to opt for the latter option. This will require real compromises on nuclear weapons security that expose Pakistan’s sea-based deterrent to theft and unauthorized use. Combined with the crisis stability implications and the more mundane concerns rising from costs, a sea-based leg to Pakistan’s nuclear forces appears to be, on balance, a net negative for its overall security.

Act I: The Iran Deal Begins to Unravel
Arms Control WonkMichael Krepon
We are headed toward a world of greatly increased nuclear dangers amidst U.S. diplomatic impotence, the hollowing out of alliances and the shearing of what’s left of the nuclear safety net woven by previous generations. Trump’s specialty is to make a mess and then pass the baton to Capitol Hill. If members of Congress can’t agree on cleaning up the mess, they are to blame for screwing up.

If Trump doesn’t want a nuclear war with North Korea, a ‘No First Use’ pledge might work better than threats
Washington PostSteven J. Brams
An alternative might be for the United States to draw a bright line, requiring verifiable information that a nuclear attack has occurred, before nuclear weapons would be used. Such a policy of No First Use, or NFU, of nuclear weapons has long been advocated by many prominent government officials and foreign policy analysts, both during and after the Cold War.

Here’s How to Fix But Not Nix the Iran Deal
The AtlanticRobert Satloff
Achieving this outcome won’t be easy but it’s doable. Here are three core problems of the original Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and how President Trump could correct them, without requiring Iran to renegotiate any terms of the deal.

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