Pickering, Luers, Hagel, Hayden, Nunn and more on Iran Sanctions

On the radar: Sanctions effectiveness and negotiating strategies; North Korea’s rocket record; Demint leaving; Collapsing WMD-armed state; Indifference on DPRK; and a little Little Boy.

December 6th, 2012 | Edited by Benjamin Loehrke and Marianne Nari Fisher

Report - A new report from the Iran Project weighs the costs and benefits of international sanctions on Iran and assesses that “the effectiveness of sanctions against Iran will depend not only on the sanctions themselves, but also on the negotiating strategy associated with them.”

--”While the pain of recent sanctions may well help bring Iran to the negotiating table, it is not clear that these sanctions alone will result in agreements on changes in Iranian policies, much less in changes in Iran’s leadership.”

--The report observes that the US could maximize the effectiveness of recent sanctions by focusing the objective of sanctions on the most pressing issues, disentangling them from other objectives. The authors also note the importance of communicating a plan for easing sanctions in response to any Iranian cooperation. Full report here: (pdf) http://bit.ly/Vpm1Tg

--Signers include: Amb. James Dobbins, Sen. Chuck Hagel, Rep. Lee Hamilton, Gen. Michael Hayden, Amb. William Luers, Jessica Matthews, Vali Nasr, Sen. Sam Nunn, Amb. Thomas Pickering, Paul Pillar, Paul Volcker, Sen. Timothy Wirth, Amb. Frank Wisner and Gen. Anthony Zinni.

Report launch - Tweets @JoelMartinRubin: @IranProject2012 unveils groundbreaking report on #sanctions on #Iran at Carnegie Endowment in DC. http://t.co/CUkqDiXm

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After launch, Security Council - “The U.S. and key Asian allies have agreed to seek U.N. Security Council action if North Korea launches a long-range rocket this month, the State Department said Wednesday,” reports AP. http://n.pr/11KJGUP

It’s rocket science - North Korea is 0-4 on satellite launches since 1998, with each rocket either blowing up or plunking into the ocean. Will North Korea have any more success this time? Robert Beckhusen at Danger Room gives an overview of North Korea’s rocket record in advance of the upcoming satellite launch attempt. http://bit.ly/VpgID6

Tweet - @lrozen: With departure of Senators DeMint and Kyl, two of biggest opponents to Obama's international arms control goals going.

2nd term - President Obama has the opportunity to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in US national security strategy. In addition to issuing new presidential guidance for the nuclear arsenal, “He should also increase warning and decision time by ‘de-alerting’ the nuclear arsenal in cooperation with Russia, and reduce the requirements for costly, new nuclear weapons delivery systems,” writes Amb. Nancy Soderberg on a potential agenda for meeting global challenges over the next four years.

--On Iran: “There is still time to reach a negotiated deal with Iran that ties its enrichment activities and stockpiles to its peaceful nuclear needs, combined with more extensive IAEA safeguards that would guard against an Iranian sprint to the bomb,” writes Soderberg. Full post at Huffington. http://huff.to/REnda2

--Greater detail on Amb. Soderberg’s recommendations in a recent letter from 181 policy experts. http://bit.ly/TGJ10W

Tweet - @DangerRoom: NBC: Syria is loading chemicals into weapons.http://t.co/J5KHjgUD

Syria - “This is an unprecedented situation. Never before has a country armed with WMDs been on the verge of collapse...We are in uncharted territory here and it’s going to require a great deal of coordination between the United States, the countries bordering Syria, and the international community and the Assad regime, and the international community and the rebels to make sure the situation does not become catastrophic,” said Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association. Full story from the Christian Science Monitor. http://bit.ly/TUHzXU

$10 million - “The contractor that runs Los Alamos National Laboratory is on the hook for $10 million as a result of construction management problems that mean the new security system at the lab’s primary plutonium site does not work.” John Fleck at the Albuquerque Journal has the story. http://bit.ly/TMdiLC

Tweet - @Gottemoeller: On this day in 1994, START entered into force. This groundbreaking treaty reduced the # of deployed strategic #nuclear weapons by 80%.

Yawn response - “Instead of paying attention to Pyongyang, the U.S. government should exhibit indifference. Expressing outrage merely encourages the DPRK to follow the same strategy again and again,” argues Doug Bandow. The US should use the North Korea’s launch to persuade China to press North Korea, suggests Bandow. Full post at The National Interest. http://bit.ly/THoo7H

Tweet - @Maddow: Joe @Cirincione on the underappreciated pillar of the Obama national security agenda: http://t.co/2kBXlDMq

Speech - “Just as the President had used his first foreign policy speech after becoming president in 2009 to talk about the elimination of nuclear weapons, he used this speech to reaffirm his personal commitment to this goal and its critical importance to American national security,” writes Joe Cirincione about President Obama’s recent speech at the Cooperative Threat Reduction Symposium. Summary and analysis at the Ploughshares Fund blog. http://bit.ly/YRIKxU

Tweet - @Wellerstein: Your own little Little Boy; tiny pieces of HEU not included. http://bit.ly/120pxsW