Iran’s Oil Ships Sail Into Troubled Waters
Benoit Faucon, Wall Street Journal – June 24, 2012
Iran, already braced for escalating sanctions in coming days, is facing another challenge to ship its oil that could ultimately curtail its crude sales more than expected. Under pressure from lobbying groups campaigning against Iran’s nuclear program, some specialized companies that supply the safety certificates required for ships to dock at foreign ports are terminating their dealings with Iran.
Putin visits Israel for talks over Iran’s nuclear program
Associated Press – June 25, 2012
The West’s standoff with Iran over its nuclear program was expected to top the agenda on Monday as Russian President Vladimir Putin began a 24-hour visit to Israel. Russia, in concert with China, has watered down four sets of international sanctions against Iran, but it has also joined world powers in their efforts to pressure Tehran to curb its nuclear ambitions. Russia’s stance on sanctions in the future could help to decide whether Israel attacks Iranian nuclear facilities, since Israel has warned that if Tehran doesn’t back down, a military strike could follow.
Stuxnet Just Died
Mark Thompson, Time – June 24, 2012
The wily computer code has died, only weeks after the New York Times told us, not amid its birth announcements, that it was the bastard child of the U.S. and Israel. Designed to screw up Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, the software – which ultimately made its way into 130,000 computers around the world – contained a couple of lines that were the silicon equivalent of a cyanide pill.
Op-Ed: Not-So-Crazy in Tehran
Nicholas Kristoff, New York Times – June 23, 2012
When I decided to bring two of my kids with me on a reporting trip to Iran, the consensus was that I must be insane. That anxiety reflects a view that Iran is the 21st century’s Crazy Country, a menace to civilization. That view also animates the hawks who believe that only a military option can stop Iran.
North Korea Tests the Patience of Its Closest Ally
Jane Perlez, New York Times – June 24, 2012
As Kim Jong-un, the young leader of North Korea, consolidates his grip on power, China is showing signs of increasing frustration at the bellicose behavior of its longtime ally. Mr. Kim has thumbed his nose at China, whose economic largess keeps the government afloat. For example, shortly after Mr. Kim took over, a Chinese vice minister of foreign affairs, Fu Ying, visited Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, and sternly warned him not to proceed with a ballistic missile test. The new leader went ahead anyway.
S. Korean, Russian envoys to discuss N. Korea’s nuclear programs
Yonhap – June 25, 2012
Senior South Korean and Russian diplomats will hold one-day talks this week in Seoul to discuss possible ways to revive the long-stalled six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, a Seoul official said Monday.
Editorial: Lift the Veil on the Spending Cuts
New York Times – June 24, 2012
The Pentagon’s powerful Republican friends in Congress are griping about a required $500 billion cut to the military budget over nine years beginning in January. The critics are right that taking an across-the-board cleaver to the Pentagon is bad policy, but that is because across-the-board cuts in general are bad policy. They never seem to mention that the cuts are matched by an equally devastating slash at domestic spending — $500 billion from education, law enforcement, environmental protection, and health and safety programs, among hundreds of others. Both are part of a $1.2 trillion sequester required by the law that ended last year’s debt-ceiling fight.