October 05, 2017

Implement the JCPOA

Mark Hibbs

Very shortly, the United States government will make decisions about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that may have immediate and profound implications for Iran and the U.S; for the future of the Middle East; and for global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear arms. The JCPOA ultimately rests upon the authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify that all of Iran’s nuclear activities are declared and peaceful. Without the agreement, IAEA verification would be far more difficult. This should dissuade President Trump and the Congress from taking reckless actions that could curtail the IAEA’s fact-finding, preempt American credibility in dealing with Iran in the future, and terminate enhanced oversight in a country that could respond by ramping up its nuclear program to a crisis level.

Nuke Deal Hangs in Balance As Trump Plans Iran Policy Speech

Bradley Klapper and Matthew Lee | ABC News

President Donald Trump could announce his secret decision on the future of the Iran nuclear deal next week. U.S. officials familiar with the president's planning said Wednesday he is preparing to deliver an Iran policy speech in which he is expected to declare the landmark 2015 agreement contrary to America's national security interests.

North Korea's Kim 'Very Rational': CIA

Channel News Asia

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is a rational politician and the US needs to understand that to deal with the nuclear-armed country, a top Central Intelligence Agency Korea expert said on Wednesday (Oct 4). "Beyond the bluster, Kim Jong Un is a rational actor," said Yong Suk Lee, the deputy assistant director of the CIA's Korea Mission Center. "We have a tendency in this country to underestimate his conservatism."

North Korea Called Me a ‘War Maniac.’ I Ignored Them, and Trump Should Too

William J. Perry | Politico

The last time events on the Korean Peninsula were in a state of crisis as urgent as what we are experiencing now was in 1994, when President Bill Clinton drew a line by saying the United States would not allow North Korea to develop the enriched plutonium needed to make nuclear bombs—and was prepared to use military force to ensure this did not happen. The regime in Pyongyang responded by threatening to turn the South Korean capital into a “sea of flames” and calling the U.S. defense secretary a “war maniac.”

Lockheed, Rockwell to Develop Airborne C2 System for Launching ICBMs

Valerie Insinna | Defense News

Lockheed Martin and Rockwell Collins have been awarded contracts to continue development of an airborne command-and-control system that makes it possible for the U.S. Air Force to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile even if launch control centers on the ground are destroyed. On Tuesday, the Air Force announced it had given Lockheed an $81 million contract and Rockwell a $76 million contract for the technology maturation and risk reduction phase of the Airborne Launch Control System Replacement. That program, also known as ALCS-R, will support ICBM operations until 2075, meaning it will work with both the current Minuteman III system and its eventual replacement, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, which will come online in the late 2020s.

More Than Paper: How Nuclear Ban-Treaty Advocates Can Really Advance Disarmament

Jon Wolfsthal

A new convention that tries to ban nuclear weapons and make it illegal to possess or use them was opened for signature on Sept. 20.  But you would be forgiven if you hadn’t heard about it, since none of the countries that actually have nuclear weapons are likely to sign. Many nuclear experts are concerned about this treaty’s shortcomings, including in the area of inspections and verification, but also about the choice made by many signatories to put negotiation of the treaty above more pressing, and arguably more effective, approaches to advancing disarmament. Indeed, all of the countries that negotiated the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapon have long been on record opposing the possession of nuclear weapons and are legally committed to not possessing these weapons themselves.