Nuclear Policy News – September 25, 2018

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Top News

Gina Haspel Is Skeptical of North Korea’s Willingness to Give Up Nuclear Arms
New York Times

Iran, major powers labor to keep nuclear deal afloat

Russia’s Nuclear Cruise Missile Is Struggling To Take Off, Imagery Suggests

East Asia

South Korea’s Moon Faces a World Skeptical of the North’s Motives
South Korean President Moon Jae-in faces a formidable task during meetings in New York this week with Donald Trump and other world leaders: convincing skeptics that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is actually serious about giving up his nuclear weapons.

Gina Haspel Is Skeptical of North Korea’s Willingness to Give Up Nuclear Arms
New York Times9/24/2018
The C.I.A. director said on Monday that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, will not give up his nuclear weapons easily, seeing them as crucial leverage to preserve his government.

US CIA Director: Indications N. Korea Serious About Giving Up Nukes
Voice of America9/24/2018
There may be indications North Korea is finally getting serious about giving up its nuclear arsenal in order to improve the lives of its citizens. U.S. intelligence officials have long doubted the sincerity of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his representatives when it comes to abandoning their nuclear capabilities, but CIA Director Gina Haspel said Monday there may be reason for hope.

U.S.-North Korean Relations Have Improved, CIA Chief Says
Wall Street Journal9/24/2018
U.S. relations with North Korea are better now than a year ago due to a thawing of tensions between the two countries’ leaders, Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel said, despite Washington’s cancellation of a recent diplomatic visit to Pyongyang.

Middle East

Iran, major powers labor to keep nuclear deal afloat
The remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal on Monday agreed to keep working to maintain trade with Tehran despite skepticism this is possible as U.S. sanctions to choke off Iranian oil sales resume in November.

Iran nuclear deal: Plan put forward to dodge US sanctions
The remaining members in the Iranian nuclear deal say they will set up a new payment system to maintain business with Iran and bypass US sanctions. The system would facilitate oil companies and businesses to continue trading, without relying on the US-led global market and dollar.

Iran’s Terms to Reopen Nuclear Talks? Trump Has to Back Down
New York Times9/24/2018
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, visiting the United States for the first time since President Trump exited the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, said Monday that the only way his country would consider new talks with Washington is for Mr. Trump to reverse himself and honor the agreement.


Russia’s Nuclear Cruise Missile Is Struggling To Take Off, Imagery Suggests
It’s a terrifying weapon: a nuclear-powered cruise missile that can fly anywhere on the planet, possibly spewing radioactivity as it goes. In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his nation had successfully tested just such a machine. But new satellite imagery of a remote Russian test site suggests that the missile may not be working as well as claimed.

Opinion and Analysis

Talks to ban nuclear materials need a fresh start
Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsPaul Meyer
If grades in disarmament diplomacy were given out for perseverance, then Canada would surely merit an “A” for its efforts on behalf of the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, or FMCT. Forging this treaty, which would ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, has been a supposed goal of the international community for over half a century. In that time, though, negotiations to bring the treaty about never even started, suggesting that the FMCT is one of those worthy goals that are periodically affirmed without any serious effort to realize them. And though Canada has traditionally led efforts to move forward on the treaty, the Canadian-led group most recently charged with supporting future negotiations has submitted a report that deserves a failing grade.

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