Obama asks Democratic senators not to enact new sanctions
Josh Lederman, Associated Press – January 15, 2014
President Obama continued to push against S. 1881, a bill initially put forward by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Kirk (R-IL), telling Democratic senators last night that any new sanctions on Iran could derail the ongoing diplomatic process. Support for the bill among Democrats has waned over the past couple days, and it looks increasingly likely that the bill will not be brought to a vote.
IAEA to discuss Iran inspections
Fredrik Dahl and Andrew Roche, Reuters – January 15, 2014
The governing board of the IAEA is set to meet next week, January 24, in order to discuss the implementation of inspections to be carried out on Iranian nuclear facilities. The additional inspections could impose costs of over 5 million euros (about $6.8 million), but diplomats appear optimistic that the money will not be hard to find.
Iran wants to take part in Syria negotiations
Gabriela Baczynska, Timothy Heritage, and Elizabeth Piper, Reuters – January 15, 2014
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has stated that Iran would like to send delegates to an upcoming peace conference in Montreux, Switzerland, to help determine the future of Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for Iranian and Saudi participation in the conference, while the United States has cautioned that any participants should be prepared to support the establishment of a transitional government body in Syria.
US Air Force officers charged with nuclear weapons oversight suspended
Helene Cooper, New York Times – January 15, 2014
34 USAF officers were suspended for cheating on a test designed to test their knowledge of how to work with nuclear warheads. Even worse, the cheating only became apparent in the course of a separate investigation into illegal drug use–2 of the 11 officers investigated on suspicion of drug use were among the 34 later implicated in the cheating scandal. General Mark A. Welsh III, the Air Force chief of staff, played down the incident, stating, “This is not about the compromise of nuclear weapons,” but the “compromise of the integrity of some of our airmen.”
Pakistan improves nuclear material security
Usman Ansari, Defense News – January 15, 2014
According to the 2014 Nuclear Threat Initiative Nuclear Materials Security Index, Pakistan is the most improved nuclear weapons state in terms of securing its nuclear materials. Although the other nuclear weapons states may not have had as much room for improvement, Pakistan did apparently make strides in the physical security of its nuclear facilities and in the implementation of enhanced safety regulations.