US ‘Not Setting Deadlines’ for Iran, Clinton Says
Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Businessweek – September 10, 2012
The U.S. is “not setting deadlines” for Iran and still considers negotiations as “by far the best approach” to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear weapons, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. While Clinton said in an interview yesterday that economic sanctions are building pressure on Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week the sanctions aren’t slowing Iran’s nuclear advances “because it doesn’t see a clear red line from the international community.”
Iran Central Bank Under Fire as Rial Hits New Lows
Yeganeh Torbati, Reuters – September 10, 2012
Iran’s central bank has for weeks failed to provide U.S. dollars to traders to import essential goods, driving down the value of the country’s currency against the dollar, a senior Iranian lawmaker said on Monday. The Iranian rial slid to a record low on Monday, reaching 25,650 rials per dollar, about half its value a year ago, according to currency tracking website Mesghal.
Germany Urges Iran to Make “Substantial” Nuclear Offers
Jeffrey Heller, Reuters – September 9, 2012
Germany’s foreign minister on Sunday urged Iran to make “substantial offers” to restart nuclear talks with world powers and told Israel allowing the Islamic Republic to get the bomb was “not an option”. Guido Westerwelle’s comments, made during a visit to Jerusalem, followed weeks of rhetoric in Israel over a possible go-it-alone strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities and calls by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for world powers to set a “red line” for Tehran.
Obama’s Wily Strategy May Temper Iran
James Carroll, Boston Globe – September 10, 2012
While the preference for diplomacy continues to be Obama’s position, the drums at home grow louder, too. Time is said to be on the side of Iran’s nuclear efforts. Obama has been regularly derided for ineffectual talk — “kabuki negotiations,” in columnist Charles Krauthammer’s phrase — while Iran continues toward weaponizing uranium. Another critic decries the Obama strategy of talk and delay as a “mechanism for stalling.” Is it mere fecklessness, or weakness? A justification for Mitt Romney’s charge that Obama has thrown Israel under the bus? But consider another possibility: What if Obama’s purchase of time, instead of sharpening the dangers of Iran, is actually defusing them?
Nuke Talk Questions Await Iranian President at UN
Brian Murphy, Associated Press – September 8, 2012
As Iran’s president crafts his talking points for his annual trip to New York, one message is likely to remain near the top: Tehran has not closed the door on nuclear dialogue and is ready to resume negotiations with world powers. The offer is not very different from those coming out of Washington and other capitals. The challenge is figuring out how to overcome the huge divides after three rounds of high-level meetings since April failed to make headway.
North Korea Accepts Flood Ad Offer from Rival South
Reuters – September 10, 2012
Impoverished North Korea has accepted an offer of aid from rival South Korea after devastating summer floods, the South said on Monday, the first time the new leadership in Pyongyang has accepted aid from Seoul. In an unusually grim assessment of the North’s grain harvest this year, South Korea said last week that crop production for the year probably dropped by more than 10 percent due to flooding and a drought.
North Korea and the US “Hostile Policy”
Scott A. Snyder, Council on Foreign Relations – September 7, 2012
The DPRK has signaled several times over the course of the summer that it is reviewing its nuclear policy and that a central feature of the review is connected with the “hostile policy” of the United States. Against this backdrop, North Korea’s foreign ministry released a lengthy statement last Friday. The statement did not contain any surprises. Instead, it provided a straightforward explanation of how North Korea sees the world, arguing that despite a stream of U.S. assurances over the course of the past two decades, a U.S. attitude of hostility toward the DPRK has prevented confrontation from being resolved. (Of course, what stands behind the argument is the unwavering decades long opposition that U.S. policymakers have held toward North Korea’s nuclear development.)
Cuts Would Not Affect Security
Lawrence J. Korb, New York Times – September 9, 2012
The Budget Control Act of 2011 mandated that baseline defense spending be reduced from $6.5 trillion over the next decade to about $6.0 trillion. If sequestration — the second part of the Act — takes effect, defense spending will drop to about $5.5 trillion. The secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, has argued that such a reduction would be devastating. His claim has been supported the Republican ticket. The vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, would increase defense spending to $6.2 trillion while Mitt Romney would raise it to a whopping $8.3 trillion over the next decade.
Clinton Tells Russia that Sanctions Will Soon End
Steven Lee Myers & David M. Herszenhorn, New York Times – September 8, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged Saturday that the United States would soon lift cold-war-era trade sanctions on Russia, but she did not address human rights legislation in Congress that has so far stalled passage, infuriated the Kremlin and become an unexpected issue in the American presidential race. Attending the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting here in place of the campaigning President Obama, Mrs. Clinton welcomed Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization last month. And she said that the United States must now normalize trade relations so that American businesses can reap the benefits of Russia’s membership, including lower tariffs for American products.