October 12, 2017
Jarrett Blanc and James Acton
By Sunday, President Trump must decide whether to certify to Congress that Iran is complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and whether this agreement remains vital to U.S. national security interests. By all accounts, he appears set not to do so. This would be a serious mistake—both on the merits of the decision and because it would undermine the United States’ ability to constrain the long-term proliferation threat from Iran.
Is Tehran complying with its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran deal? There has been a robust and useful public debate about Iranian compliance, with critics pointing to a long list of claimed problems, to which other analysts have responded. More recently, Trump administration spokespeople have effectively winnowed the long list of criticisms, focusing on a smaller number of supposed Iranian violations. In some instances, the spokespeople have made fairly detailed claims about noncompliance. In other cases, they have been vaguer.
Courtney Kube, Kristen Welker, Carol E. Lee and Savannah Guthrie | NBC News
President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room. Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve.
Yoshihiro Makino | Asahi Shimbun
North Korea has developed a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile, but quite what it can do is still not known, sources here said. They said Pyongyang in late September completed development of what is believed to be the Hwasong-13, an upgraded version of the Hwasong-14 that Pyongyang test fired twice in July. The Hwasong-14 is a two-stage rocket with a range of 13,000 kilometers or so.
As U.S. President Donald Trump pondered possible military strikes against North Korea, his military, along with South Korea and Japan, staged a combined show of force against Pyongyang with missile firing exercises off both the east and west coasts of the Korean peninsula on Tuesday. Trump, meeting with members of his national security team, discussed “a range of options to respond to any form of North Korean aggression or, if necessary, to prevent North Korea from threatening the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons,” according to a statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Jon Wolfsthal and Toby Dalton
South Korean officials announced last month that the United States would begin to routinely deploy strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula to help deter North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. The South Korean demand for tangible signals of America’s defense commitment is unlikely to stop there, and prominent South Korean politicians are publicly pushing for the United States to return nuclear weapons to the peninsula. Some American politicians, like Sen. John McCain, have made similar suggestions.