BERLIN – The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog says Iran is complying with the 2015 deal with major world powers aimed at preventing the country from building nuclear weapons. Yukiya Amano made his assessment in a regular update to the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors, confirming a confidential report distributed to member states last month. He said Monday that "Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," referencing the official name of the 2015 deal. Amano added that "it is essential that Iran continues to fully implement those commitments." The U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the deal last year and re-imposed sanctions.
VIENNA – Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has expressed hope that Japan will join negotiations later this month on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. "Japan, as the world's sole atomic-bombed nation, has a moral voice and can give an invaluable opinion on the issue of nuclear disarmament," Kurz said in a written interview ahead of the first round of negotiations that begin March 27 in New York. "We would very much welcome the chance to hear Japan's views during the negotiations," said Kurz, whose country is among those leading the negotiations and urging Japan and NATO members to take part. Japan, which relies on U.S. nuclear deterrence for protection, has not said whether it will join the talks. Kurz, Austria's foreign minister since December 2013, stressed the need for a treaty given the stalemate in multilateral nuclear disarmament efforts for the past 20 years.
Foreign ministers from the G-7 recently ended several days of talks in Hiroshima, Japan with John Kerry's visit to the atom-bombed city the first ever by an American secretary of state. In an interview with the Hiroshima-based Chugoku Shimbun newspaper, Kerry reaffirmed President Barack Obama's preference for "a world free of nuclear weapons," a preference that was repeated by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. The foreign minister indicated, also, that this core objective would become part of a pertinent "Hiroshima Declaration." In principle, of course, such an expressed hope for worldwide nuclear disarmament sounds utterly welcome and benign. In fact, however, it is dangerously naive, neither plausible, nor desirable.