A risky bid on tough Iran sanctions
Julie Pace and Anne Gearan, Associated Press – February 15, 2012
The United States and Europe are considering unprecedented punishment against Iran that could immediately cripple the country’s financial lifeline. But that extreme option in the banking world would come with costs.
Iran Leader to Announce Atomic Steps
Rick Gladstone, New York Times – February 14, 2012
Iran signaled on Tuesday that it had made further advances in the country’s disputed nuclear energy program, announcing that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would reveal “key nuclear achievements” on Wednesday. An Iranian news agency said he was likely to proclaim that a new uranium enrichment plant built inside a mountain near the holy city of Qum was “fully operational.”
Blasts in Bangkok Add to Suspicions About Iran
Thomas Fuller and Rick Gladstone, New York Times – February 14, 2012
A series of explosions rocked a residential neighborhood here on Tuesday, leading the Thai authorities to a cache of bombs in a rented house and the capture of two men who the Thai police said carried Iranian passports. Thai officials said that two other suspects, whom they believed to be Iranians, were being sought, and that one of them had fled to neighboring Malaysia.
U.S. Steps Up Watch of Syria Chemical Weapons
Adam Entous and Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal – February 15, 2012
The U.S. and some Mideast allies are intensifying surveillance of Syria’s chemical and biological depots amid fears that the weapons could go loose if unrest escalates out of control.
U.S. Weighs Sharp Cuts to Nuclear Stockpile
Julian E. Barnes, Wall Street Journal – February 15, 2012
The White House and Pentagon are considering several proposals that would deeply cut the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, potentially to as low as 300 warheads under one such plan, according to a U.S. official.
White House weighs nuclear arms cuts, but will wait for more talks with Russia
Craig Whitlock and Walter Pincus, Washington Post – February 14, 2012
The Obama administration is contemplating further cuts to the nation’s nuclear arsenal, but any decision about potential reductions is unlikely until Russia and the United States can resume negotiations after both countries hold presidential elections this year, defense officials and analysts said Tuesday.
Analysis: New China landing vessels point to Pacific rivalry
David Lague, Reuters – February 14, 2012
As looming budget cuts force the Pentagon to plan for a smaller U.S. navy, China is accelerating the launch of new, increasingly capable warships as part of a sustained drive to become a major maritime power.
Sarkozy, Cameron To Hold Talks on Defense, Nuclear Ties
Philippe Alfroy, Agence France-Presse – February 15, 2012
France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy hosts British Prime Minister David Cameron on Feb. 18 for a summit on boosting defense cooperation and to clear the air after recent bitter clashes over Europe.