Top Brass Agrees: Iran's in Compliance

Dunford stresses Iran Deal compliance - “The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday joined other members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet in confirming that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal that has put a temporary halt to its nuclear weapons program,” writes Paul McLeary for Foreign Policy. “Rather than antagonizing the countries that worked on the deal, Dunford suggested getting them to help tackle other Iranian challenges… It would be better for Washington to ‘focus on leveraging our partners that were part of that agreement to deal with the other challenges that we know Iran poses,’ Dunford said.”

--“He said that if the U.S. were to withdrawal without first finding Iran in material breach of the deal, allies would likely question other American treaty obligations. And North Korea, for its part, would have little incentive to enter into talks over its own nuclear program if Washington were to tear up an agreement that, by all accounts, Iran is adhering to.” For the full article, click here.

See also - “Trump facing increased pressure from lawkers to abide by Iran nuclear deal” by Ron Kampeas for JTA here.

Tweet - @zackbeauchamp: Generals don’t typically contradict the president so brazenly. This is a big deal.

Trump couldn’t renegotiate Iran Deal - “Trump’s disdain for the Iran deal is long-standing, and the president claims to have decided what he plans to do about it. But what that is, exactly, remains unclear,” writes Colin Kahl for Foreign Policy. Kahl condemns in the strongest terms the idea that the Iran Deal could be renegotiated: “More pressure would not have produced a better outcome two years ago — and threatening to blow up the deal will not produce a better one today.”

--“The Iran nuclear deal addresses a critical threat to U.S. and international security, and it must be sustained. Expanding the agreement is a worthy enterprise, but not at the expense of the current deal. Improving the JCPOA will require patient, steady, and balanced diplomacy — not more presidential bluster and threats to destroy the deal. There is no crisis. The JCPOA has put Iran’s nuclear program in a straightjacket and it will continue to bind the program for years to come. At a time when the Trump administration faces actual nuclear crises elsewhere in the world, there is simply no reason to manufacture another one in the Middle East.” Full article here.

See also - “Backing Out of the Iran Agreement Would Damage America’s Moral Authority” by Tim Kaine for Time here.

Tweet - @hereandnow: Quitting the deal “would be devastating for the U.S. for non-proliferation in the region,” @barbaraslavin1 says:

Ploughshares Fund in the News - Ploughshares president Joe Cirincione was on Sirius XM’s Urban View this morning talking threat of nuclear war with Joe Madison here. Ploughshares CEO Philip Yun was on KQED this week talking North Korea here; and if you missed the debate on the INF Treaty that Ploughshares Fund and CSIS co-sponsored, you can find a recording here.

Zarif castigates Trump - “Iran’s top diplomat scolded President Donald Trump on Wednesday for a weekend tweet about a nonexistent Iranian missile launch and essentially ruled out renegotiating or launching follow-up talks to a landmark nuclear accord that Trump is threatening to dismantle,” write Bradley Klapper and Edith M. Lederer for Associated Press. “Regarding the seven-nation nuclear deal, Zarif rejected what he called the ‘myth’ that a renegotiation is possible — as argued by some in the Trump administration.”

--“The Iranian minister also ruled out a new agreement, as some U.S. and European officials have called for. ‘We need to be realistic in our expectations,’ Zarif said. ‘We dealt with all these issues. It took us many years. It took us 10 years of posturing on all sides and two years of serious negotiations to reach this deal. I don’t expect that a new round will produce any better results. In fact, a new round will get us in a quagmire that nobody will be able to get out of.’ Trump has to decide by Oct. 15 whether to certify Iranian compliance with the agreement.” Full article here.

See also - “Iran’s ballistic missiles are here to stay - for now” by Jarrett Blanc for The Hill here.

Mattis emphasizes diplomacy - “U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday that the United States wants to resolve the standoff with North Korea diplomatically and is focused on denuclearizing Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program,” writes Nirmala George for Associated Press. “‘Our goal is to solve this diplomatically,’ he said. Mattis’ comments come amid escalating rhetoric between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The Trump administration clarified Monday that it is not seeking to overthrow North Korea’s government after Trump tweeted over the weekend that Kim ‘won’t be around much longer.’” Article here.

See also - “Walking back from the brink with North Korea” by Bob Einhorn and Michael E. O’Hanlon for Brookings’ Order from Chaos blog here.

Don’t depend on missile defense - “The North Korean nuclear crisis is escalating out of control,” writes Will Saetren for South China Morning Post. “North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho recently declared that US President Donald Trump’s comments about destroying his country were a ‘declaration of war’, and that, in response, North Korea would shoot down US bombers, even if they were not in its airspace. If North Korea were to test-fire a live nuclear warhead using one of its ballistic missiles, it would seriously undermine the confidence of US allies.”

--“So, how should the US respond? One possibility that has been raised is to start shooting down the test missiles. But there is a very good reason that the United States and its allies haven’t been doing that: they probably can’t. Kim would have to tell the US exactly when the test was going to happen, provide the exact location of the launch site, the trajectory of the missile and the intended target of the test. Even if the stars aligned and missile interceptors had a perfect shot at a North Korean missile, it is far from certain that they would succeed in hitting it. Attempting to shoot down a North Korean missile test, and failing, would shatter the illusion of invulnerability. America’s allies would be shaken to the core, and North Korea would be led to believe that its missiles are untouchable.” Full article here.

Tweet - @Cirincione: This is a scandal. Taking money from military readiness to fund a #fakedefense. These weapons do not work.

Quick Hits

--“Facing North Korean threats, Seoul expects U.S. to send ‘strategic’ arms” by Anna Fifield for The Washington Post here.

--“Remote Textile Plant May Secretly Fuel North Korea’s Weapons” by Max Fisher for The New York Times here.

--“No One Can Stop Trump From Waging Nuclear War with North Korea, Not Even His Generals” by Jeff Stein for Newsweek here.

--“No good reason for Trump not to certify Iran nuclear compliance” by Mark Fitzpatrick for International Institute for Strategic Studies here.

--“North Korea taps GOP analysts to better understand Trump and his messages” by Anna Fifield for The Washington Post here.

--“Rand Paul: How to Achieve Peace on the Korean Peninsula” by Rand Paul for The National Interest here.


--”North Korea and the Nuclear Future.” Hosted by the George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government, Center for Security Policy Studies. Featuring Mark Fitzpatrick. Friday, September 29, 2017. 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. George Mason University Schar School, 3351 Fairfax Drive Hazel Hall 120, Arlington, VA 22201. Details here.

--“Monitoring and Verification in the Digital Age: Seven Recommendations for Improving the Process” Hosted by the Nuclear Verification Capabilities Independent Task Force of the Federation of American Scientists. Speakers include: Harvey Rishikof, Chris Bidwell and Valerie Lincy. Monday, October 2, 2017. 11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Capitol Visitor’s Center-HVC 200, First St. NE, Washington, D.C. 20515. Details and registration here.

--“Consequences of a Collapse of the Iran Nuclear Deal” Hosted by the Center for a New American Security. Two panels will discuss ramifications of withdrawing from the Iran Deal. Panelists include: Richard Nephew, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Ilan Goldenberg, Colin Kahl and more. Tuesday, October 3, 2017. 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Center for a New American Security, 1152 15th Street NW, Suite 950, Washington, D.C. 20005. Details and registration here.

--“How Do You Solve a Problem Like North Korea?” Hosted by CATO Institute. Speakers include: Joe Cirincione, Bill Richardson, Suzanne DiMaggio, Joshua Pollack, John Glaser and more. Monday, November 6, 2017. 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. Details and registration here.

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