Iran nuclear talks to resume in Geneva Thursday
AFP – December 18, 2013
According to a spokesman for EU foreign policy chef Catherine Ashton, talks between Iran and the P5+1 (Russia, China, France, the UK the US + Germany) on implementing last month’s nuclear deal will resume on Thursday in Geneva. Michael Mann told said that “the technical talks will be resumed tomorrow and continue until Friday.”
Exclusive: Top Senate Democrats Break with White House and Circulate New Iran Sanctions
Ali Gharib, Foreign Policy – December 18, 2013
Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez (NY), along with Check Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill) are defying the Obama administration’s repeated requests to hold of on any new sanctions legislation on Iran. Yesterday, the three senators began circulating a draft form of a new Iran sanctions bill. Critics have said that any new sanctions against Iran could violate the terms of the P5+1 agreement reached last month.
Now’s No Time for New Iran Sanctions
Senator Carl Levin and Senator Barbara Boxer, Politico – December 18, 2013
The United States’ number one international challenge is preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. The P5+1 deal reached last month is an important step toward that goal. If the Senate passes new sanctions legislation against Iran now, it “would run the risk of derailing efforts toward a peaceful resolution, and risk the unity we have achieved with the world community that has been so crucial to our progress to date.”
Inside the Ring: Dispute between foreign minister, Republican guard commander in Iran
Bill Gertz, The Washington Times – December 18, 2013
The commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, has criticized Iranian Foreign Minister Javid Zarif. Mr Zarif, speaking at an event at Tehran University last week, had stated his belief that the US military could easily defeat Iranian air defenses. Brig. Gen. Jafari challenged the Minister’s comments claiming that the Iran’s military could withstand any attack.
France Voices Doubt on Iran Nuclear Deal
Stacy Meichtry and Gerard Baker, The Wall Street Journal – December 18, 2013
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has voiced doubts about the prospects of a successful conclusion to ongoing negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Fabius said “it is unclear if the Iranians will accept to definitively abandon any capacity of getting a weapon or only agree to interrupt the nuclear program.”
Seoul Says North Korea Is Unlikely to Conduct Nuclear Test in Near Term
Global Security Newswire – December 18, 2013
South Korea’s unification minister, Ryoo Kihl-jae, has claimed that North Korea is unlikely to carry out any new nuclear test in the near future. Mr Kihl-jae, disputing comments made days earlier by another South Korean parliamentarian, said that “preparations have been made continuously … but I don’t think a nuclear test or long-range missile launch is imminent.”
How Many Nuclear Weapons Does the U.S. Have? Don’t Ask Congress…
Lisabeth Gronlund, The Equation – December 17, 2013
The United States possesses a nuclear arsenal of roughly 7,700 nuclear weapons. 2,150 of these weapons are deployed, 2,500 are in reserve and 3,000 are awaiting dismantlement. A recent polling of Congressmen by the organization Global Zero has found that 99% of those representatives polled did not know – even roughly speaking – how many nuclear weapons the United States has.
‘Nuclear train’ returns: Russia to deploy rail-based missiles to counter US ‘Prompt Global Strike’
Russia Today – December 18, 2013
The Russian military is planning to revive railroad-based nuclear missiles to counter the US military’s Conventional Prompt Global Strike concept. The commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force, Lt. Gen. Sergey Karakayev, told a Russian news agency on Wednesday that “a Defense Ministry report has been submitted to the president and the order has been given to develop a preliminary design of a rail-mounted missile system.”