EU’s Ashton given credit for keeping tense Iran talks on an even keel
John Zarocostas, McClatchy DC – November 24, 2013
Much of the credit for the successful outcome of the P5+1 (Russia, China, France, the UK, the US and Germany) talks over the weekend should go to EU High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton according to a number of senior diplomats who were present at the talks. Her personality and positioning played a significant role in ironing out differences and finding common ground between the different powers.
Analysis: Iran deal leaves Israel few options
Josef Federman, Associated Press – November 24, 2013
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has little choice but to accept the interim deal made between the P5+1 and Iran over the weekend, which he has described as deeply flawed. According to Israeli analyst Yoel Guzansky, Netanyahu’s options – including a military strike against Iran – remain limited despite tough rhetoric in recent weeks; “How can Israel, after the entire international community sat with Iran, shook hands with Iran and signed an agreement, operate independently?”
Iran’s Nuclear Triumph
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal – November 24, 2013
The deal between the P5+1 and Iran “takes Iran one giant step closer to becoming a de facto nuclear power”. Iran has gotten sanctions relief, but does not have to give up its uranium centrifuges, its control of its present uranium stockpile, its right to enrich in the interim, or its plutonium reactor at Arak. Because of these holes, the deal merely delays Iran’s ability to “break out” and develop a nuclear weapon by a mere couple of weeks.
An Iran deal worth trying — risks and all
The Editorial Board, The Washington Post – November 24, 2013
The Geneva accord between the P5+1 and Iran may be risky, however it is worthy as a first-phase step towards coming to a comprehensive agreement in six months time. The deal will cap expansion of the country’s nuclear infrastructure and delay the time it would take for Iran to potentially develop a nuclear weapon. All in all, the deal is far more preferable to the alternative option; a military strike.
Lawmakers Continue Push for New Iran Sanctions
Siobhan Hughes – November 24, 2013
Despite the weekend P5+1 deal, a group of hardliners within the US senate are refusing to back down on the threat of a new round of sanctions against Iran. A leading figure within this group, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), said in a statement that “disproportionality of this agreement makes it more likely that Democrats and Republicans will join together and pass additional sanctions when we return in December”.
Markey Seeks Cost Options for Modernizing Ballistic-Missile Submarines
Rachel Oswald, Global Security Newswire – November 22, 2013
Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) has proposed an amendment to the FY 2014 Defense Authorization Bill that would require the Navy to provide the US Congress with cost projections for alternatives for modernizing the country’s current ballistic-missile submarine fleet. The amendment states that “the update shall specify how the cost updates account for differences in survivability, targeting responsiveness and flexibility”.
Could a Missed Deadline Spell Doom for the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent?
Dianne Barnes, Global Security Newswire – November 22 , 2013
Department of Energy analysts have warned that the US may run out of tritium, a crucial ingredient used to maintain nuclear warheads, by 2015 if it misses a deadline for analyzing the effects of a potential production increase. The nuclear-weapons office within the department has already missed a mid-2013 deadline for the analysis.
Syria may have given up chemical weapons, but what to do next is proving tricky
Michael Birnbaum, The Washington Post – November 23
Destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile is proving trickier than many expected when the international community agreed to destroy the stockpile months ago. Although Syria no longer has the capabilities to produce new chemical weapons, the organization responsible for overseeing the destruction of the stockpile, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), has highlighted the problem of transporting the existing stockpile to a secure location where it can be destroyed.