January 09, 2018

The Iranian Protests Are an Opportunity for Trump – Just Not the One He Wants

William J. Burns and Jake Sullivan | Washington Post 

Recent protests across Iran offer a new opportunity for American policy — just not the one to which President Trump is instinctively drawn. Over the next few days, the president has to decide whether to continue the nuclear deal with Iran. Trump and his team may be tempted to argue that abiding by the deal while the Iranian government cracks down on protesters is a fool’s errand. But that would amount to a strategic own goal. It would make the issue about us, not the vulnerability and wounded legitimacy of a regime out of touch with its people. It would also miss the real policy opportunity before us — to renew international pressure against the Iranian leadership’s threats to the region and its people, while still constraining its nuclear ambitions. The Trump administration could reset its Iran policy in a way that puts Washington back in the lead and Tehran on the diplomatic defensive.

Iran Hints at Rift with Atomic Agency If U.S. Quits Nuclear Deal

Rick Gladstone | New York Times

Iran’s top nuclear official said Monday that his country might rethink its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency if President Trump scrapped American participation in the 2015 agreement limiting Iranian nuclear activities. 

North and South Korea Agree to Hold Talks on Easing Military Tensions

Taehoon Lee, Joshua Berlinger, and Angela Dewan | CNN

North Korea has agreed to send a delegation to next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea and to hold talks with Seoul to ease military tensions, in the most significant thaw in relations between the neighboring states in years.

Russia and the United States Are Wrecking a Landmark Treaty

Editorial Board | Washington Post

The United States and Russia seem to be returning to an arms race they halted a generation ago. Both sides claim they do not want this even as they let it happen.

In Shift from Obama Policy, Trump Plans Flexible Use of Nuclear Weapons, Including Low-Yield Arms

Japan Times 

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration will adopt a policy allowing the flexible use of nuclear weapons through the new Nuclear Posture Review to be unveiled as early as February, according to congressional and diplomatic sources. Such a shift would mark a major departure from the nuclear policy advocated by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, who pledged in 2009 to pursue a “world without nuclear weapons.”

Regulators Kill Perry’s Proposal to Prop Up Coal, Nuclear Power Plants

Timothy Cama | Hill

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Monday rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to prop up coal and nuclear power plants. In a unanimous order released Monday afternoon, the five-person commission — four of whom President Trump nominated — said Perry and other supporters of the proposal failed to show that current electricity markets are not just or reasonable, findings that would be necessary in order to mandate the higher electricity payments that Perry sought.