EU Looks to Rekindle Iran Nuclear Talks
Vanessa Mock and Laurence Norman, Wall Street Journal – September 17, 2012
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, plans to meet with Iran’s chief negotiator in Istanbul Tuesday in a bid to give new impetus to the virtually stalled talks with Tehran over its nuclear program, her office announced. Baroness Ashton will tell Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, that Tehran must take an “urgent” step toward resolving the standoff, a spokeswoman for the EU foreign affairs commissioner said.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Admits to Providing Military Assistance in Syria
Arthur Bright, Christian Science Monitor – September 17, 2012
The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard officially confirmed that its organization is assisting the Syrian government side of that country’s civil war. The statement is the first public confirmation of Iran’s involvement in the Syrian conflict. Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari told a press conference in Tehran Sunday that members of the Qods Force, the Revolutionary Guards’ international branch, are currently operating in Syria and Lebanon, Haaretz reports.
U.S., Allies in Gulf Naval Exercise as Israel, Iran Face Off
Sami Aboudi and Daniel Fineren
The United States and its allies have launched a major naval exercise in the Gulf that they say shows a global will to keep oil shipping lanes open as Israel and Iran trade threats of war. Publicly announced in July, the operation, known as IMCMEX-12, focuses on clearing mines that Tehran, or guerrilla groups, might deploy to disrupt tanker traffic, notably in the Strait of Hormuz, between Iran and the Arabian peninsula.
Iran on Brink of Nuclear Bomb in Six-Seven Months: Netanyahu
Matt Spetalnick and Dan Williams, Reuters – September 16, 2012
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Iran was just six to seven months away from the brink of being able to build a nuclear bomb, adding urgency to his demand that President Barack Obama set a “red line” for Tehran in what could deepen the worst U.S.-Israeli rift in decades. Taking to the television airwaves to make his case directly to the American public, Netanyahu said that by mid-2013 Iran would be “90 percent of the way” toward enough enriched uranium for a weapon. He again urged the United States to spell out limits that Tehran must not cross if it is to avoid military action – something Obama has refused to do.
North Korea Lacks Rich Relation in Russia
Andrei Lankov, Asia Times – September 17, 2012
When people discuss the international dimension of the North Korean issue, Russia is always bound to feature prominently. Indeed, Russia is a great power, a member of the Group of Eight, and a neighbor of North Korea. It is usually assumed as well that Russia has numerous strategic interests in the area going back decades, even centuries.
U.S. and Japan Agree to Deploy Advanced Missile Defense System
Thom Shanker, New York Times – September 17, 2012
The announcement that the United States and Japan reached a major agreement to deploy a second advanced missile-defense radar on Japanese territory was met with immediate criticism in China, where Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta landed Monday ahead of a meeting with Xi Jinping, who is expected to become the nation’s next leader.
The B61 Bomb: A Case Study in Costs and Needs
Dana Priest, Washington Post – September 16, 2012
The B61 was once heralded as a cornerstone of the country’s air-delivered nuclear force. Now, nearly five decades after the first version rolled out of Los Alamos National Laboratory 100 miles north of here, age threatens to make the workhorse of the arsenal unreliable. So the B61 is poised to undergo a major renovation to extend its life span, a project that could cost as much as $10 billion, according to the Pentagon, or about $25 million for each of the 400 or so left in the arsenal.
Aging U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Slated for Costly and Long-Delayed Modernization
Dana Priest, Washington Post – September 15, 2012
The U.S. nuclear arsenal, the most powerful but indiscriminate class of weapons ever created, is set to undergo the costliest overhaul in its history, even as the military faces spending cuts to its conventional arms programs at a time of fiscal crisis. For two decades, U.S. administrations have confronted the decrepit, neglected state of the aging nuclear weapons complex. Yet officials have repeatedly put off sinking huge sums into projects that receive little public recognition, driving up the costs even further.