Iran Seeks to Boost Nuclear Work in Bunker: Diplomats
Frederik Dahl, Reuters – February 23, 2012
Iran is believed to be carrying out preparations to expand nuclear activity deep inside a mountain, diplomats say, in a further sign of defiance in the face of intensifying Western pressure to curb its sensitive uranium enrichment drive.
U.S. Does Not Believe Iran is Trying to Build Nuclear Bomb
Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times – February 23, 2012
As U.S. and Israeli officials talk publicly about the prospect of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, one fact is often overlooked: U.S. intelligence agencies don’t believe Iran is actively trying to build an atomic bomb.
Up in the Air
The Economist – February 25, 2012
The crisis has been a long time coming. Iran started exploring paths to nuclear weaponry before the fall of the shah in 1979. Ten years ago the outside world learned of the plants it was building to provide “heavy” water (used in reactors that produce plutonium) and enriched uranium, which is necessary for some types of nuclear reactor, but also for nuclear weapons. The enrichment facilities have grown in capability, capacity and number; there has been work on detonators, triggers and missile technology, too.
Formerly Secret Telexes Reveal Iran’s Early Use of Deceit in Nuclear Program
Joby Warrick, Washington Post – February 25, 2012
The reason for the unusual purchase — 220 pounds of highly caustic fluorine gas — was never explained, but someone at Iran’s Sharif University was clearly anxious to collect. For months, the mysterious buyer bombarded a British supply company with telexes, demanding to know when his 45 canisters would arrive.
Planning Underway for Other ‘Options’ on Iran
Herb Kenon, Jerusalem Post – February 23, 2012
Not only are all options “on the table” regarding Iran, but planning is under way to ensure those other options can be exercised if it becomes necessary, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro said on Thursday.
N.Korea, U.S. Open First Nuclear Talks Since Kim’s Death
Yonhap News Agency – February 23, 2012
Senior diplomats from North Korea and the United States began talks in Beijing Thursday over the North’s nuclear weapons program that are the first such since the death of Kim Jong-il in December.
U.S. Nuclear Talks with N.Korea Produce Progress But No Breakthrough
Chico Harlan, Washington Post – February 24, 2012
The United States’ nuclear negotiations with North Korea ended Friday with “a little bit of progress” but no breakthrough, said chief U.S. negotiator Glyn Davies, who hinted that a long and slow process will determine Pyongyang’s willingness to swap its weapons program for aid.
U.S. and North Korea Hold Talks in China
Jane Perlez, New York Times – February 23, 2012
The first official talks between the United States and North Korea since a youthful new North Korean leader came to power were “serious and substantial,” the senior American negotiator said Thursday, and would extend into a second day.
Obama Administration Renews Case for Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
Kate Brannen, Defense News – February 21, 2012
A lot has changed since 1999. That is the case the Obama administration is making as it pushes for reconsideration of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which the U.S. Congress voted not to ratify in 1999.
Defense Budget Cuts Are Far Too Timid
Jon Rainwater, San Jose Mercury News – February 22, 2012
Washington’s deficit cutting theater, with its cast of budget warriors and their sacred cows, leaves little room for common sense. The 2012 sequester — the $1.2 trillion in cuts required by last year’s debt ceiling compromise — dangles like a cartoon anvil. Thankfully, even in this overwrought atmosphere, some lawmakers are holding serious discussions about military spending.