Setting the Table for Talks in Moscow
June 12, 2012 | Edited by Benjamin Loehrke and Leah Fae Cochran
On the table in Moscow - In an apparent de-escalation of tensions ahead of next week’s talks in Moscow, Iran has agreed to discuss a proposal from the P5+1 that would curb Iran’s nuclear program. This sign of progress could avert what some analysts worried could be a dead end to talks.
--The P5+1 proposal, originally offered in Baghdad last month, would see Iran stop enriching uranium to 20%, mothball Fordow, and ship its 20% stockpile out of country. In exchange, Iran would receive fuel for its research reactor and sanctions on commercial aircraft parts would be eased. Reuters has the story. http://reut.rs/LhCsif
Theater for Moscow Talks - Iran’s agreement to discuss steps toward a nuclear deal with the P5+1 next week in Moscow is significant progress. However, the road to and from Moscow has many hazards. David Ignatius in The Washington Post notes that talks could get complicated. Iranian officials have not made a formal proposal on the nuclear issue, Iran might seek to expand the agenda beyond the nuclear portfolio, and deadlines for the EU oil embargo grow nearer.
--”There’s a lot of theater here, to be sure, but also a danger of significant conflict if progress isn’t made soon,” writes Ignatius. http://wapo.st/NvjAj1
Flame and Stuxnet - Researchers have discovered that Flame, a computer virus believed to be designed for cyber espionage in Iran and the Middle East, shares modules with the Stuxnet virus.
--”Researchers believe that Stuxnet’s creators used part of Flame in the early stage of developing Stuxnet – perhaps because they were under pressure to get Stuxnet launched – but then developed Stuxnet separately from Flame thereafter,” reports Kim Zetter at Threat Level. http://bit.ly/LQdBRE
UK warhead cut - The UK intends to cut its active nuclear warhead count by 25% as it makes reductions to military spending. The nuclear reduction, originally announced in the 2010 Strategic Defense and Security Review, would bring the UK active arsenal from 160 to 120 warheads and would cap the total arsenal at 180 warheads. Global Security Newswire has the story. http://bit.ly/Mptl03
Off the list- The Obama Administration announced seven countries now exempt from the list of countries participating in the increasingly tight sanctions on Iran’s oil exports.
--China, a major importer of Iranian oil, and Singapore are not exempt. Iran’s daily exports have continued to fall, and are projected to be more than half of last year’s exports after the next round of sanctions hit in early July. The L.A. Times has the story.http://lat.ms/NvnWXhE
Iran sub? - An Iranian news agency is reporting that Iran’s navy is in the initial stages of developing a nuclear-powered submarine. AP has the story but few details.
--Things to note: Iran makes a lot of announcements like this, but rarely manages to acquire such complicated technologies. However, submarines are one of the very few legitimate reasons to possess uranium enriched to weapons grade. http://cbsn.ws/Klrw5f
Cold war peaks - For 28 years India and Pakistan have been locked in a stalemate on the what has been called the world’s coldest, highest battlefield in Saichen. Myra MacDonald in Foreign Policy chronicles the wars, skirmishes, and hardships of the two nuclear powers’ trench warfare at 18,000 feet above sea level. http://bit.ly/Ky2Ovm
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