Rouhani at Davos: Iran seeks nuclear deal to restore its economy
Paul Taylor, Reuters – January 23, 2014
Iranian President Rouhani spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos and expressed his desire to negotiate a comprehensive nuclear deal while an interim agreement is in place. Such a deal, he said, is necessary to revive the deteriorating Iranian economy. While much of the sanctions framework remains in place, Rouhani also met with energy executives and discussed planned Iranian policies aimed to bring foreign investment back into the country.
IAEA confirms Iran’s coopeartion on interim agreement
Michael Adler, Breaking Defense – January 22, 2014
IAEA inspections have confirmed that Iran is, so far, living up to its end of the bargain. Iran has ceased production of 20% enriched uranium and begun to dilute or convert present stocks thereof, and construction at the Arak heavy-water reactor has been put on hold. At stake in further negotiations will be the status of Iranian centrifuge research and access to sites operated by the Defense Ministry, among other questions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif plays the bad cop
Tom Cohen, CNN – January 23, 2014
Much has been made of the foreign minister’s recent assertion that Iran had not agreed to “dismantle” anything. No doubt, this is largely for his domestic audience–US leaders similarly insist that the sanctions regime is not being dismantled. Indeed, the interim deal does not dismantle the Iranian nuclear program. As Zarif points out, Iran’s main concession is in no longer enriching to 20% and diluting its stocks of 20% enriched uranium. Only a final deal–the sort Rouhani seeks–will lead to any sort of dismantling.
While Rouhani is the good cop
Dmitry Zhdannikov, Reuters – January 22, 2014
Rouhani has been busy at Davos, discussing the potential for a comprehensive nuclear deal, but also more specifically talking about the future of the US-Iran relationship. On the subject of a rapprochement between the two countries, Rouhani said, “No animosity lasts eternally, no friendship either lasts eternally. So we have to transform animosities into friendship.”
Waning support for sanctions bill pushed by Senators Kirk and Menendez
Sara Sorcher and Elahe Izadi, National Joournal – January 22, 2014
Support for the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill (S. 1881) continues to decline, mainly because the interim deal is being properly implemented by both parties involved, but also because of rival lobbying groups. While groups like AIPAC have lobbied hard for sanctions on Iran, J Street, founded in 2008, has lobbied against further sanctions while providing “an alternative definition to what, exactly, it means to be pro-Israel”.
Congressman suggests Guam host missile defense system
Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno, Pacific Daily News – January 22, 2014
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system, currently on a 90-day deployment in Guam, could find a permanent home there if Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA), chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, gets his way. North Korea has listed Guam as a possible target.
Cheating prevalent among US nuclear missile crews
Helene Cooper, New York Times – January 22, 2014
Following revelations that dozens of nuclear missile crew members cheated on routine proficiency exams, further insiders have come forward to paint an unflattering picture of the nation’s missileers. Cheating on the exams, on which less than a 90% is a failing grade, has apparently become commonplace, and morale among the crews has waned since the end of the Cold War.