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Nuclear Proliferation

Nuclear power was the failed answer to the horrors of the atomic bomb - the so-called "Peaceful Atom." However, the two technologies are inextricably linked. Countries such as India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea clandestinely developed nuclear weapons using the infrastructure, technology and know-how of their "civilian" nuclear programs. Contained expansion of nuclear power across the globe only increases the chances of nuclear weapons development and is counterproductive to disarmament.

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Monday
Oct302017

Saudi Arabia to extract uranium for 'self-sufficient' nuclear program

As reported by Reuters.

The article reports:

Extracting its own uranium also makes sense from an economic point of view, said Hashim bin Abdullah Yamani, head of the Saudi government agency tasked with the nuclear plans, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE).

In a speech at an international nuclear power conference in Abu Dhabi, he did not specify whether Saudi Arabia seeks to also enrich and reprocess uranium – steps in the fuel cycle which are especially sensitive as they can open up the possibility of military uses of the material.

As a matter of fact, Nobel Peace Price winner Mohamed ElBaradei, former Director General of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (UN IAEA) has indicated that the reason Saudi Arabia, and dozen other Arab countries, are interested in nuclear power programs, is the option that would provide them to pursue nuclear weaponry, if they someday so chose. Saudi Arabia, for example, could see nuclear weapons as a desired hedge against Israel's already established nuclear weapons arsenal, and Iran's potential for one.

Saudi Arabia is not only the "Saudi Arabia of oil," but also the "Saudi Arabia of solar," if the country only chose to tap it, as now U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has observed. This makes Saudi Arabia's claim that nuclear power is being sought for diversification of energy supply -- as opposed to a nuclear weapons option -- all the more suspicious.

Monday
Oct302017

North Korea Rouses Neighbors to Reconsider Nuclear Weapons

As reported by the New York Times.

The article reports that not only could Japan and South Korea quickly develop nuclear weapons of their own, but also that:

Beyond South Korea and Japan, there is already talk in Australia, Myanmar, Taiwan and Vietnam about whether it makes sense to remain nuclear-free if others arm themselves — heightening fears that North Korea could set off a chain reaction in which one nation after another feels threatened and builds the bomb.

Friday
Oct132017

Europe charts own course on Iran with Washington as outlier over nuclear deal

Friday
Oct132017

Trump to set new conditions for U.S. to stay in Iran nuclear deal, tossing issue to Congress

As reported by the Washington Post.

(Note: not indicated in the photo accompanying the article, the peace activists depicted include folks from Code Pink.)

Thursday
Oct052017

Peace Action: Defend diplomacy with Iran, support diplomacy with North Korea

Action alert from Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs, of Peace Action:

Urge Congress to speak up! Defend the Iran nuclear deal and support diplomacy with North Korea

Things are getting serious.

As President Trump continues insulting and threatening North Korea, undermining hopes for diplomacy and increasing the risk of war, he also appears poised to abandon the hard-won Iran nuclear agreement. As you know, that would be a disaster in its own right, but it would also be a disaster for the prospects of ever negotiating our way out of the crisis with North Korea.

The Iran agreement has been doing exactly what it was meant to: ensuring Iran’s paths to the bomb are all blocked. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) [1], the European Union [2], and over 80 nuclear policy experts [3] all say that Iran is adhering to the agreement. Even some of Trump’s top advisors Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford [4] and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis [5] agree the agreement is worth keeping.

Nonetheless, Trump has indicated he may decertify Iran’s compliance with the agreement on or before the October 15th deadline regardless of whether there is material evidence of a violation. That would then line up a vote in Congress on whether or not to reimpose sanctions on Iran, and that’s where you come in. Today, I need you to email your Members of Congress to urge them to defend diplomacy with Iran and support diplomacy with North Korea.

If Trump backs out of the Iran agreement, that would put war with Iran back on the table. At the same time, it would send a terrible signal to North Korea about the U.S.’s ability to stand by its international commitments, which could unravel any hopes of negotiating a similar agreement to scale back North Korea’s nuclear program.

If diplomacy with North Korea is taken off the table completely, war on the Korean Peninsula also becomes much more likely. To ensure the door to diplomacy stays open, and to prevent Trump from marching us into one or even two new wars of choice, members of Congress need to be speaking out in support of diplomacy with Iran and North Korea. That’s why I need you to email your Members of Congress today and ask them to protect the Iran agreement and call for direct talks with North Korea.

If Trump does decertify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, it will still be up to Congress to reimpose sanctions, and there are some indications that such a vote could be close. On top of Trump’s key military advisors urging him to stick with the agreement, Congressional Republicans are starting to think twice about walking away from the deal. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) [6] said he thinks Trump should “enforce the hell out of” the deal rather than back out of it. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said “I don’t think we should relieve Iran of its obligations.”

If stopping Trump from destroying the Iran agreement comes down to a vote in Congress, as it well may, we’re going to need all the votes we can get. If we hope to pressure the Trump administration to get serious about negotiating with North Korea, we’re going to need as many members of Congress speaking out as we can get.

Your activism around the Iran nuclear agreement was crucial to getting the deal through Congress and preventing a war. Now we need your activism again to protect that achievement and push for a similar agreement with North Korea. Email your Members of Congress Today and ask them to defend diplomacy with Iran and demand diplomacy with North Korea.

Humbly for peace,

Paul Kawika Martin
Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs
Peace Action

References:

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-31/iran-sticking-to-nuclear-agreement-with-powers-iaea-reports

[2] https://www.armscontrol.org/blog/2017-09-21/p51-iran-nuclear-deal-alert-september-2017

[3] https://www.armscontrol.org/pressroom/2017-09/more-80-nuclear-nonproliferation-experts-reaffirm-support-iran-nuclear-deal

[4] http://thehill.com/policy/defense/352463-top-general-says-iran-complying-with-nuclear-deal

[5] http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/03/jim-mattis-iran-deal-243411

[6] http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/03/trump-iran-nuclear-deal-republicans-243375

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