Menendez, AIPAC no longer pushing for a vote on sanctions bill
Manu Raju and Burgess Everett, Politico – February 6, 2014
In a major blow for supporters of S. 1881, a bill that would threaten new sanctions and endanger the ongoing diplomatic process with Iran, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is no longer pushing for a vote on the legislation to which his name was attached. Similarly, AIPAC offered a statement of support for the senator and stated that an immediate vote would not be necessary. Though support for the bill had waned in recent weeks, particularly as high-level administration officials (and apparently Bill Clinton) lobbied Democratic senators not to support the bill, Republicans had still planned to push for a vote as recently as yesterday.
US continues to enforce existing sanctions
Rick Gladstone, The New York Times – February 6, 2014
Sanctions relief under the interim deal with Iran is quite limited, and the administration has made clear that it will still enforce extant sanctions. Yesterday, however, provided the first major example of the continued enforcement of sanctions as the administration penalized several companies and individuals who violated or sought to evade the sanctions.
IAEA hopes to learn about nuclear bomb research
Fredrik Dahl, Reuters – February 6, 2014
The IAEA is seeking answers to questions about Iran’s nuclear program, specifically on any research Iran had conducted related to nuclear weapons. Iran has not previously addressed the possible military applications of its nuclear research. The IAEA is seeking to determine if Iran sought or conducted research on nuclear weapons in the past and if such research has ceased.
Syria still behind on chemical weapons removal, probably not intentionally
Michelle Nichols and James Dalgleish, Reuters – February 6, 2014
Sigrid Kaag, head of the UN’s chemical weapons mission in Syria, does not believe Syria is intentionally delaying the removal of its chemical weapons stocks. Syria has come under criticism for the slow pace of its chemical weapons removal, but security issues have plagued the process.
US, South Korea agree on new deterrence strategy aimed at North Korea
Ashley Rowland and Yoo Kyong Chang, Stars and Stripes – February 6, 2014
In joint military exercises in later February and March, the US and South Korea will practice elements of a strategy dubbed “tailored deterrence”, a strategy intended to dissuade or, if necessary, to respond to a North Korean nuclear threat.
North Korea adding to satellite launch pad to allow for larger rockets
AFP – February 7, 2014
North Korea is reportedly close to finishing construction at a satellite launch site in order to launch rockets up to 165 feet in length. The Unha-3 rocket was launched from this site in 2012 to put a satellite into orbit in what was condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test. The construction should be finished within the next couple months.
Pentagon requests $4.5 billion for missile defense
Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters – February 7, 2014
When the 2015 budget request is sent to Congress in March, the Department of Defense will include a request for $4.5 billion for missile defense programs over the next five years. This follows failed tests of the current system and calls for a major redesign of the kill vehicle.