Nuclear Policy News – September 26, 2018

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Top News

SKorean president: Kim is serious about giving up his bombs
Associated Press

Other nuke deal nations craft plan to keep doing business with Iran
CBS News

Bolton Warns of ‘Terrible Consequences’ for Those Doing Business with Iran
New York Times


East Asia

South Korea’s Moon Becomes Kim Jong Un’s Top Spokesman at UN
While Kim Jong Un isn’t attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, he had what amounted to a de facto spokesman singing his praises: South Korean President Moon Jae-in. In speeches and television appearances, Moon — who has held three summits this year with Kim — portrayed the North Korean autocrat as a normal world leader who wants to bring economic prosperity to his people. He made no mention of atrocities that prompted President Donald Trump to call North Korea a “cruel dictatorship” during his State of the Union address in January.

SKorean president: Kim is serious about giving up his bombs
Associated Press9/25/18
South Korean President Moon Jae-in pushed back Tuesday against widespread skepticism about the sincerity of Kim Jong Un’s vows to give up his nuclear bombs, saying that the current round of diplomacy with North Korea is “completely different” than the many failed deals that have frustrated past negotiators. Moon, fresh off a dramatic summit in Pyongyang last week with Kim that saw more promises from the North Korean leader to dismantle his weapons programs, is at the U.N. General Assembly this week, meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and other world leaders to explain and, to some extent, defend his efforts to bring peace to the famously hostile Korean Peninsula.

Middle East

Other nuke deal nations craft plan to keep doing business with Iran
CBS News9/25/18
Five world powers and Iran agreed late Monday to establish a financial facility in the European Union to facilitate payments for Iranian imports and exports including oil, a key move sought by Tehran following the U.S. pullout from the 2015 nuclear deal and its re-imposition of sanctions. Foreign ministers from Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran said in a joint statement that the so-called “Special Purpose Vehicle” will “assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran.”

Europe’s Payment Channel to Salvage Iran Deal Faces Limits
Wall Street Journal9/25/18
The European Union’s announcement that it would establish a special payments channel to maintain economic ties with Iran sent a clear message to Tehran and Washington: Europe is intent on trying to save the 2015 nuclear deal. The special-payment channel is intended to bolster those in Iran arguing Tehran should keep honoring the deal’s terms, but experts question how it will escape U.S. sanctions.

Rouhani says Iran wants no war, no sanctions, no threats, no bullying
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday criticized Washington for its hostile policy toward the country and said the U.S. approach was doomed to failure. “Our proposal is clear: commitment for commitment; violation for violation; threat for threat; and step for step, instead of talk for talk … What Iran says is clear: no war, no sanctions, no threats, no bullying; just acting according to the law and the fulfillment of obligations,” Rouhani said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

Multilateral Arms Control

The Arms Control Believer
Foreign Policy9/25/18
In the era of Donald Trump, traditional arms control and disarmament treaties feel like vestiges of a bygone era, but [Lassina] Zerbo, a 54-year-old geophysicist born in Burkina Faso, insists that they are relevant. After a recent trip to South Korea, he opined that “the CTBT and its organization can play an important role in finding a lasting solution to the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula.”

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Trump Attacks Iranian Leaders and Defends Exit From Nuclear Deal
President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani traded barbs Tuesday in speeches just hours apart at the United Nations as the U.S. pressed its campaign to isolate the Islamic Republic with new oil sanctions coming in November. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Trump charged that Iran’s leaders “sow chaos, death and destruction” and he called on the rest of the world to join his administration’s “economic pressure” offensive against the nation.

Bolton Warns of ‘Terrible Consequences’ for Those Doing Business with Iran
New York Times9/25/18
The Trump administration issued a stark warning to the United States’ closest European allies on Tuesday, promising to sharply penalize European governments or companies that continue to do business with Iran. “We do not intend to allow our sanctions to be evaded by Europe or anybody else,” John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, said in a speech Tuesday at a forum sponsored by a group intensely critical of the Iran nuclear accord.

Pompeo’s New North Korea Envoy Wades Into Diplomatic Minefield
Foreign Policy9/25/18
Just over a month into his job, the Trump administration’s point man for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, may face his first trial by fire with another summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at the United Nations General Assembly this week that he was laying the groundwork for a second summit between Trump and Kim.

Opinion and Analysis

The Second Coming of Kim Jong Un
The National InterestPatrick Cronin
Will 2019 and 2020 become the years of peaceful transformation? Or should Washington prepare for a phony political peace?

The coming Middle East missile arms race
Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsBilal Y. Saab
America has long wished that its partners in the Middle East would step up and share the burden of regional security. But for this approach to end well, one crucial variable is required: American leadership, which currently is uncertain at best and nonexistent at worst.

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