• Where did the idea of an ‘Islamic bomb’ come from?

    The heavily freighted idea of an “Islamic bomb” has been around for some decades now. The notion behind it is that a nuclear weapon developed by an “Islamic” nation would automatically become the Islamic world’s shared property – and more than that, a “nuclear sword” with which to wage jihad. But as with many terms applied to the “Islamic world”, it says more about Western attitudes than about why and how nuclear technology has spread. It’s true that prominent Muslim figures spoke rhetorically about a “bomb for the ummah”. But this was never more than rhetoric. Leaving aside all nuclear matters, internecine and sectarian differences and conflict mean that global Islamic political unity is unlikely in the extreme. The Islamic bomb has always been a convenient device with which to elide complex problems of religion, politics, and nuclear weapons. And sadly, it still is. Those who still casually bandy the term about would do well to think about where it really comes from.

  • Should we really be so afraid of a nuclear North Korea?

    The common thinking is that North Korea’s nuclear program poses a threat to global peace and diverts economic resources from an impoverished population. North Korean leaders are depicted in the Western media as a cabal of madmen who won’t be satisfied until Washington, Seoul, or some other enemy city is turned into a “sea of fire.” But it also pays to consider what sounds like a perverse question: could a North Korean bomb actually benefit both the country’s people and the world at large? As far as Pyongyang is concerned, its militaristic strategy has worked: It has kept the Kim government internally stable, the population dependent on the government, and the country’s enemies at bay. Accepting the country’s nuclear status, rather than trying to head it off with sanctions and threats, could bring it back to the diplomatic bargaining table.

  • Report: German intelligence believes Iran tested nuclear-capable cruise missile

    In addition to a ballistic missile test that Iran itself revealed, Germany believes that Iran also test-fired a Sumar cruise missile, which could have a range of 2,000-3,000 kilometers (1,250-1,875 miles) and could reach Germany at its maximum capability. In its test, the Sumar successfully traveled 600 kilometers (375 miles), a little less than half the distance to Israel.

  • U.S. warns Iran about ballistic missile test

    Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, said the administration is putting Iran “on notice” after Iran tested a ballistic missile, in what may be a violation of a UN resolution. Flynn told reporters that the Trump administration “condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East that puts American lives at risk.”

  • Uranium deal raises concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions

    A deal to provide Iran with stockpiles of natural uranium that “significantly exceed” its needs raises concerns about the nature of Tehran’s nuclear program, Olli Heinonen, the former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said.

  • Nuclear expert: Newly revealed side deals let Iran violate nuke deal limits without penalty

    Newly disclosed side agreements to the nuclear deal with Iran reveal that the Islamic Republic is allowed to exceed limits on its nuclear-related stockpiles without penalty, a leading nuclear expert said. The documents recently released by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, show that Iran can declare certain amounts of low-enriched uranium (LEU) “unrecoverable.” This designation ensures that the material, which Iran has promised not to build a facility to recover, will not count against its 300 kilogram limit on LEU.

  • Is Iran cooperating with North Korea on a nuclear weapon?

    Spurred by a letter written by Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) to three senior Obama administration officials, investigative journalist Claudia Rosett on Thursday examined the possibility that Iran and North Korea are collaborating on nuclear weapons research in the wake of last year’s nuclear deal. Rosset explained that the two nations have a history of collaborating on weapons development. Usually, North Korea undertakes much of the development while Iran that foots the bill, with technicians traveling back and forth between the countries.

  • Netanyahu to discuss with Trump “various ways” to do away with Iran deal

    The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said he planned to discuss with Donald Trump “various ways” to undo the Iran nuclear deal, after the president-elect moves into the White House next month. “I think what options we have are much more than you think,” Netanyahu told CBS’s 60 Minutes in an interview which was aired on Sunday. “Many more. And I’ll talk about it with President Trump.”

  • Tearing up Iran nuclear deal would be “disastrous”: Former IAEA director

    Hans Blix, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said it would be disastrous for the world if the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement, but warned that President-Elect Donald Trump would be unlikely to listen to advice from the British government on the advantages of keeping the deal.

  • Trump may release documents with secret details of Iran deal

    Documents containing previously-unpublished details of the nuclear deal with Iran could be released after Donald Trump is inaugurated as president next month. The documents, which the Obama administration has refused to release publicly, are stored in special rooms in the Capitol complex called Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facilities (SCIFs) that are normally used for storing top-secret information. However, the Iran documents are not officially designated as classified, and therefore could be released by the Trump administration relatively easily.

  • Former IAEA deputy director criticizes nuclear agency’s Iran investigations

    Olli Heinonen, the former deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency has criticized the agency for “reduc[ing] the level of transparency and details in its reporting” on Iran’s nuclear program, making it “practically impossible” to confirm that Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear deal.

  • Expert: Iran falsely accusing U.S. of violating nuclear deal to gain more concessions

    Iranian warnings against the passage of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) reflect “a broader strategy” in pursuit of additional sanctions relief, a senior analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in a policy brief on Saturday. The ISA was originally passed in 1996, targeting Iran’s energy sector and expanding U.S. secondary sanctions. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a ten-year extension of the act earlier this month. In order to be renewed, the legislation must now pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Barack Obama.

  • Trump’s U.S. could give up the fight to stop nuclear arms from spreading

    With a few notable exceptions, Democratic and Republican presidents alike have generally tried to restrain if not reverse nuclear proliferation since nuclear weapons came into existence. There were failures – Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea — but the overall thrust of global politics, under U.S. leadership, has been toward nonproliferation. The United States is far from the sole global arbiter of nuclear status, but Washington wields immense power on nuclear issues. This may change now as Trump, throughout his campaign, seemed unconcerned about the further spread of nuclear weapons. The nonproliferation regime is flawed, sometimes unfair, but ultimately functional. Under the Trump administration, however, the one nation that has done more to restrain proliferation than any other might yet destroy the entire fragile edifice.

  • IAEA says Iran has violated terms of nuclear agreement -- again

    The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Wednesday that for the second time, Iran has exceeded the 130 metric ton threshold for heavy water, which is used to cool reactors that can produce weapon-grade plutonium. In February, the IAEA has cited Iran for the first time for producing more heavy water than allowed by the nuclear deal.

  • Russia’s ultimatum to US: Reduce commitment to NATO, lift sanctions – or nuclear deal is off

    The Kremlin, in an unprecedented series of ultimatums on Monday, said Russia would suspend an agreement it had signed with the United States to turn weapons-grade plutonium into nuclear reactor fuel unless the United States rescinds the sanctions imposed on Russia because of its annexation of Crimea – and also cuts its military commitments to NATO. The Kremlin said that both the economic sanctions and the U.S. military commitments to its NATO allies are “unfriendly” acts to ward Russia.