Iran has exceeded a key limitation on how much nuclear fuel it can possess under the 2015 international pact curbing its nuclear program, effectively declaring that it would no longer respect an agreement that President Trump abandoned more than a year ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Monday.
A new American intelligence assessment of global threats has concluded that North Korea is “unlikely to give up” all of its nuclear stockpiles, and that Iran is not “currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activity” needed to make a bomb, directly contradicting two top tenets of President Trump’s foreign policy.
President Trump is now fully engaged in two nuclear confrontations, one with Iran over a nuclear accord he finds an “embarrassment” and the other with North Korea that is forcing the Pentagon to contemplate for the first time in decades what a resumption of the Korean War might look like. The dynamics of those cases are entirely different, but they are also oddly interdependent. If Mr. Trump makes good on his threat to pull out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, how will he then convince the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, that America will honor the commitment to integrate North Korea into the world community if only it disarms — the demand Mr. Trump made from the podium of the United Nations.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, charged on Tuesday that the Trump administration’s attempt to reimpose sanctions on his country was a violation of the accord signed two years ago that sharply limited Iran’s ability to produce nuclear material in return for its reintegration into the world economy. “It is not clear what the administration is trying to do,” said Mr. Zarif, the urbane, American-educated diplomat who negotiated the agreement with John Kerry, then the American secretary of state.
Behind the Trump administration’s sudden urgency on North Korea lies a stark calculus: that the country is capable of making a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks. “People have put blindfolds on for decades, and now it’s time to solve the problem,” Mr. Trump said. He made his remarks after a Sunday night phone call on North Korea with Xi Jinping, China’s president, who urged Mr. Trump to show “restraint” with North Korea, according to a Chinese television report.
In the Washington of President Trump, Rex W. Tillerson has taken an understated approach that can be seen as brilliant, mystifying or a prescription for powerlessness. Mr. Tillerson has skipped every opportunity to define his views or give guidance to American diplomats abroad, limiting himself to terse, scripted statements, taking no questions from reporters and offering no public protest when the White House proposed cutting the State Department budget by 37 percent without first consulting him.
hese are chaotic and anxious days inside the National Security Council, the traditional center of management for a president’s dealings with an uncertain world.Three weeks into the Trump administration, council staff members get up in the morning, read President Trump’s Twitter posts and struggle to make policy to fit them. Most are kept in the dark about what Mr. Trump tells foreign leaders in his phone calls. Some staff members have turned to encrypted communications to talk with their colleagues, after hearing that Mr. Trump’s top advisers are considering an “insider threat” program that could result in monitoring cellphones and emails for leaks.
The former chief executive of Exxon Mobil found himself on the defensive over his reluctance to declare that some dictators were violators of human rights. On climate change, Mr. Tillerson said he did not view it as the imminent national security threat that some others did. On Iran he tried to strike a middle ground between Republicans who said the deal should be scrapped - including Vice President-elect Mike Pence - and those who simply call for tougher enforcement of its provisions.
Secretary of State John Kerry warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Wednesday that the Israeli government was undermining any hope of a two-state solution to its decades-long conflict with the Palestinians, and said that the American vote in the United Nations last week was driven by an effort to save Israel from “the most extreme elements” in its own government.
Addressing a Goldman Sachs event in 2013, in one of the speeches that WikiLeaks published on Saturday, Mrs. Clinton gave a tough-minded, realpolitik answer to the question of how to handle a problem like Syria. If the best chance of success was to act secretly inside that country, she made clear, she had no problem doing that.
The government formally accused the Kremlin of stealing and disclosing emails from the Democratic National Committee and other sources. In a joint statement from the director of national intelligence, James Clapper Jr., and the Department of Homeland Security, the government said the leaked emails that have appeared on a variety of websites were “intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”