Western nations to pursue “reformulated” negotiations with Iran
Following the November presidential elections, the P5+1 is reportedly planning on advancing a “reformulated” proposal to Iran in an effort to end the nuclear standoff. The plan would apparently follow a step-by-step process and include limited sanctions relief in return for Iranian halts on enrichment. Should this incremental process stall however, the Western officials say they are also prepared to “go big”, seeking a comprehensive deal that would allow Iran to enrich to low levels under strict international monitoring.
Iranian Foreign Ministry: “Iran is ready to show flexibility”
The Iranian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement in which it asserted, “Iran is ready to show flexibility to remove concerns within a legal framework but such measures should be reciprocal.” This statement comes as the P5+1 is also reportedly reformulating its negotiating posture and a week after the precipitous drop in value of the Iranian rial triggered protests in Tehran.
New EU Sanctions on Iran
On Monday the European Union augmented the existing sanctions imposed on Iran, targeting the Iranian natural gas industry, restricting various metal exports, and increasing the number of blacklisted Iranian financial entities. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said, “We want to see a negotiated agreement…But we will continue to keep up the pressure.”
Next Steps for Nunn-Lugar
Last week Russia indicated that it will not seek to extend the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, ending the two decades-old partnership between the U.S. and Russia. Nunn-Lugar was conceived following the dissolution of the Soviet Union to secure nuclear materials. Although there are concerns that Russia will no longer seek to reduce its nuclear stockpile without the Nunn-Lugar framework, U.S. officials remain optimistic that a revised agreement with Russia may still be possible.
Laser Enrichment Heightens Concerns of Nuclear Proliferation
A relatively new technology that relies on lasers to enrich uranium may be more a cost-effective alternative to centrifuge enrichment. Laser enrichment however, has stoked fears of nuclear proliferation. As one analyst noted, “The smaller physical footprint and lower energy requirements would make a clandestine laser facility more difficult to detect.” Iran has claimed that it possesses the capability to enrich using lasers, though experts argue that “it appears unlikely that Iran’s laser enrichment programme represents a serious proliferation threat.”
The 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis and CBS News provides an insightful, albeit brief, overview of the key events during the crisis. From the initial detection of Soviet missile on Cuba; to JFK’s public revelation of them a week later; to the establishment of a quarantine of Cuba; the events of October 1962 have become infamous, when the U.S. and Soviet Union stood “eyeball to eyeball” on the brink of nuclear war.
New Exhibit Provides Inside Perspective of Crisis
A new exhibit at the National Archives provides a unique perspective on the Cuban Missile Crisis. The exhibit includes previously classified documents from the Kennedy administration, including: the draft of a speech in which the president announces that he has ordered U.S. forces to attack Cuba; secret cables between JFK and Khrushchev in which the world leaders tried to negotiate a settlement to the crisis; and a CIA assessment of Khrushchev as an “obtuse, rough-talking man” with a “touch of gambler’s instinct.” Over two thousand papers of Robert Kennedy’s account of the crisis have also been released.
Lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis
As the United States and its allies find themselves confronted with several vexing foreign policy challenges, Bruce Allyn reminds that there are several lessons applicable to these challenges that can be taken from the Cuban Missile Crisis. The unintended consequences of military action, the impact of crisis situations on individual behavior, and the efficacy of setting “red lines” are all variables that must be considered when confronting today’s problems.