Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Planned U.S. Bunker-Buster Sale Targets Iran
A pending U.S. arms deal would supply the United Arab Emirates with as many as 4,900 bunker-buster bombs suited for possible airstrikes against underground Iranian nuclear facilities, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday (see GSN, Nov. 10).
The proposed sale -- slated for submission within days to U.S. lawmakers for approval -- is part of a wider effort by President Obama to contain Iran as international disagreement persists over potential new measures to target the Middle Eastern state, according to the Journal. The United States and its Western allies suspect Iran's nuclear program is geared toward weapon development; Tehran insists its atomic ambitions are strictly peaceful.
The proposed deal is not expected to face significant challenge in Congress, said insiders with knowledge of talks with legislators, but it was uncertain how well the bombs could penetrate hardened Iranian facilities during a potential strike. The United Arab Emirates already possesses a quantity of the "joint direct attack munitions" that numbers in the hundreds.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday said Washington and its partners would not tolerate any Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons, but he described armed action as a "last resort" with possible unexpected repercussions. An attack on the Persian Gulf state "could have a serious impact in the region and it could have a serious impact on U.S. forces in the region," he said (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 11).
An International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards report on Iran published this week makes "very clear that additional sanctions need to be applied," Panetta said (see GSN, Nov. 9). “It is important that the world come together to apply sanctions against Iran and make very clear to them that they are going to pay a heavy price if they continue along this track,” a Pentagon press release quotes him as saying.
“As to what happens down the road, I think our hope is that we don’t reach that point, and that Iran decides that it should join the international family,” he said (U.S. Defense Department release, Nov. 10).
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Beijing on Thursday to take new steps against Iran, Agence France-Presse reported.
Speaking with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Clinton asserted "it was critical for China to communicate both publicly but also privately with Iran that they were on a course that was dangerous," a high-level U.S. official said. The top U.S. diplomat also encouraged China at the meeting to back international efforts to end North Korea's nuclear activities (see related GSN story, today; Agence France-Presse/Google News, Nov. 10).
Separately, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Thursday “discussed in detail Iran’s nuclear problem," ITAR-Tass quoted the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying (ITAR-Tass I, Nov. 10).
White House spokesman Jay Carney on Thursday played down Russia's earlier dismissal of the IAEA report's findings.
“We share a strategic goal with Russia” on Iran's atomic activities, Carney said. “All of us stand firm together in our belief that an Iran armed with nuclear weapons is an intolerable threat to regional and international security, and we remain determined to prevent that outcome. Our efforts with Russia have produced a situation … where (the regime in) Iran is now suffering from the most stringent set of sanctions that it has ever faced."
“So we will continue to work with the Russians and others on this process, and we will continue to isolate and pressure Iran to change its behavior,” the spokesman said (ITAR-Tass II, Nov. 11).
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on Thursday said his country would back international efforts to penalize Iran in light of the new U.N. assessment (Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News/Montreal Gazette, Nov. 10).
Tehran indicated it was still willing to join talks on its atomic activities with the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany, the nation's Fars News Agency reported on Thursday.
"We have always announced that we are ready for positive and useful negotiations but, as we have mentioned repeatedly, the condition for those talks to be successful is that we enter those negotiations with equal footing and respect for nations' rights," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said (Fars News Agency, Nov. 10).
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday reaffirmed the importance of resolving the standoff through negotiation, but added that "the onus is on Iran" to show that its nuclear program has no military component, the Xinhua News agency quoted U.N. representative Martin Nesirky as saying (Xinhua News Agency, Nov. 11).
Meanwhile, U.S. presidential contender Mitt Romney appeared to soften a prior call for military action against Iran in a Thursday Wall Street Journal commentary, Wired magazine reported (Ackerman/Shachtman, Wired, Nov. 10).
Elsewhere, a relative of former Soviet atomic expert Vyacheslav Danilenko said the scientist played a more significant role in Iran's disputed efforts than previously believed, the Associated Press on Friday quoted envoys as saying. Danilenko was previously reported to have been implicated in data supplied to the U.N. nuclear watchdog (see GSN, Nov. 7; Associated Press/USA Today, Nov. 11).
Feb. 14, 2013
A new brochure describes the origins and the work of the Nuclear Security Project.
Feb. 14, 2013
George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn laid out their vision of a world without nuclear weapons and the urgent, practical steps to get there in a groundbreaking series of co-authored Wall Street Journal op-eds.
This article provides an overview of Iran’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.