Israeli Intelligence: Iran’s Nuclear Program Slowing

On the radar: No weapon before 2015-2016; Big trouble in little everywhere; Hagel and the nuclear mainstream; Samore to Harvard; Space monkey; Drell awarded; and Google Maps in Pyongyang.

January 29, 2013 | Edited by Benjamin Loehrke and Alyssa Demus

Slowed timeline - Israeli intelligence officials now believe Iran will not be able to build a nuclear weapon before 2015 or 2016. The delay, officials say, may be attributed to a combination of tightening sanctions, international pressure, accidents and sabotage as well as a “deliberate slowing” on the Iranian end.

--”We can’t attribute the delays in Iran’s nuclear program to accidents and sabotage alone. There has not been a run towards a nuclear bomb that some people feared. There is a deliberate slowing on their end,” an Israeli intelligence officer told Sheera Frenkel of McClatchy. Full story here. http://owl.li/hecnr

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WWIII - Last night’s episode of The Daily Show featured a segment, “World War III Update - Big Trouble in Little Everywhere.” Tagline: “Veteran World War III chasers have pinned their hopes for global annihilation on Israel and Iran, but don't count out North Korea.” With a cameo from our own Joe Cirincione. Video here. http://bit.ly/WvaQNp

Mainstream - Critics of Sen. Chuck Hagel have recently taken to painting his views on nuclear weapons policy as out of the mainstream. However, “the basic premise -- that reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons is a wild, left-wing position -- is unquestionably false,” writes Joe Cirincione in The Atlantic.

--”That the center has shifted. Hagel's views are not unique among security experts; they are now the norm. They reflect the growing bipartisan consensus in the U.S. security establishment that whatever benefits nuclear weapons may have had during the Cold War are now outweighed by the threat they present,” writes Cirincione. http://bit.ly/14qp6cI

Global Zero statement - “Setting the Record Straight on Chuck Hagel’s Global Zero Position on Nuclear Weapons,” statement by Amb. Richard Burt, Gen. James Cartwright, Amb. Thomas Pickering and Gen. John Sheehan.

--Quote: “Chuck Hagel’s and Global Zero’s views on nuclear weapons are in the U.S. national security interest and squarely in the mainstream. Continuing with Cold War nuclear weapons policies is not,” write the authors. http://bit.ly/UA3mIg

Fact check - “The stretched case against Chuck Hagel” by Donna Cassata at AP. http://bit.ly/WMjFjK

Comings and goings - Gary Samore, Special Assistant to the President and Coordinator for Weapons of Mass Destruction Counter-Terrorism and Arms Control, has been appointed Executive Director (Research) for Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Press release here. http://bit.ly/117zEK6

Tweet - @barbaraslavin1: Samore to Harvard; Einhorn stepping down. New second term #Iran team.

Monkey business - The U.S. has yet to confirm that Iran put a monkey in space. But, if confirmed, Iran’s launch might have violated UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit Iran from testing ballistic missile technology. Hayes Brown at Think Progress looks into the issue. http://bit.ly/1180cuM

Tweet - @planet4589: Updated my comprehensive list of space monkeys. Just because there needs to be such a list. http://bit.ly/X5XgME

This week, in inflated headlines - “Iran Launches Monkey into Space Successfully, Raising Nuclear Fears,” reports the Toronto Star. http://bit.ly/Wd9Lu6

Award - “Sidney Drell, physicist, arms control expert and adviser, is one of 12 eminent researchers recently named by President Obama as a recipient of the National Medal of Science.” Press release from LLNL. http://t.co/PaOvBBof

Events:

--”Twenty Years of Transformation in South Asia.” Stability of Deterrence in South Asia. January 31, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. @ the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. http://owl.li/hbQXh

--Confirmation hearing on the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel. January 31, 9:30 a.m. @ Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room SD-G50. http://owl.li/h5Njc

--”Dealing with a Nuclear Iran: Redlines and Deadlines.” Gen. James Cartwright, Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and seven other speakers. February 6, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. @ CSIS. http://owl.li/hbQKm

--”What to do about Nuclear Outliers Iran and North Korea?” Robert Litwak, Vice President for Scholars and Academic Relations and Director of Int. Security Studies, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. February 6, 12:00-1:30 p.m. @ George Washington University. http://owl.li/hbTo6

Dessert:

Tweet - @AndreaRBerger: Google maps now covers North Korea, though we may have to wait awhile for street view. http://t.co/Rz9SZ6WM

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Comments

A fictional but highly plausible and still valid story

"The West Wing" has an episode in in which Israel tests a fission bomb over the Indian ocean. Although the dialogue and characters are pure fiction, I have not found so striking an exchange on the subject. For those interested, the Youtube video is located at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6C549fAaM0

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