Obama: Iran ‘year or more’ from getting bomb
Julie Pace, Associated Press – October 6, 2013
In an interview with the Associated Press, President Obama contradicted Israeli claims that Iran is on the verge of being able to make a nuclear weapon. Obama cited estimates by the U.S. intelligence community that argue that Iran is still a year or more away from developing a nuclear weapon.
Iran nuclear talks: Congress is the elephant at the negotiating table
Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times – October 5, 2013
The U.S. Congress may prove to be a spoiler for upcoming negotiations with Iran. Iran has made it clear that it seeks relief from sanctions; however, to get relief Congress must first agree to loosen sanctions. A recent round of sanctions passed through the House in July and is now awaiting consideration by the Senate – the Obama administration has asked that this round of sanctions be delayed to allow for negotiations to take place.
Kerry appears to reject Iran’s call for a new nuclear proposal
Anne Gearan, Washington Post – October 7, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry has told Iranian officials that they must consider U.S. negotiation offers put forth back in February before a new round of offers can be made next week. Kerry also rejected the notion that the recent reduction in tensions with Iran will change the U.S. plan to build a missile defense system in Europe.
4 Held in Iran Nuclear Site Plot
Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times – October 6, 2013
Four assumed employees of an Iranian nuclear facility have been arrested in connection with attempting to sabotage the facility, according to the chief of the facility, Ali Akbar Salehi. Details are limited, but Salehi commented that the alleged saboteurs were being monitored and were arrested prior to successfully sabotaging the facility.
U.S.-Russia Agree to Update 1987 Accord on Reducing Nuclear Risk
Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg – October 6, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have agreed to sign an updated version of the 1987 Accord on Reducing Nuclear Risk. This accord originally established infrastructure necessary to share information between the Soviet Union and the U.S. for the purpose of avoiding accidental nuclear exchanges. An update to the Accord was necessary to account for changes in technology.
Senior North Korean official says US must drop hostile policy so it can focus on economy
Associated Press – October 4, 2013
North Korea has demanded that the U.S. abandon its policy of harsh sanctions so that the North Korean government can focus upon building its economy. The official stated that North Korea wants a formal peace treaty with South Korea and also wants the removal of all U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula.
Syria shows signs of preparing to surrender its chemical-weapons stockpile
Joby Warrick, Washington Post – October 5, 2013
U.S. intelligence has detected that the Syrian government is in the process of moving its chemical weapons stockpile to a small number of centralized facilities. This move appeared to be in preparation for a visit from weapons inspectors. The U.S.-Russian plan for dealing with Syria’s chemical weapon stockpile is expected to eliminate most of Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities within a few weeks.
US credits Syria’s Assad over chemical weapons destruction
BBC News – October 7, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry had some positive words regarding progress in Syria. Kerry stated that Russia and Syria’s cooperation with the recent UN Security Council resolution was appreciated, and he also credited the Assad regime for the fact that an initial round of chemical weapons is already being destroyed. However, delays are expected as these weapons are being destroyed in Syria which is still an active combat zone in many places.