Korea expert Victor D. Cha says effective implementation of the UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang in June prompted recent conciliatory gestures from the regime. He says the United States might resume bilateral talks with North Korea in addition to pursuing multilateral discussions on Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
Low oil prices are undermining Iran’s economy, a political liability for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as he seeks reelection in June. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, a former Iranian central bank economist, assesses the link between politics and economy in Iran.
Despite a spotty record of effectiveness, Western states continue to promote UN sanctions in cases ranging from North Korea to Iran. But the UN Security Council is more divided than ever about implementing these coercive measures.
The president of the American Council on Germany sees a "definite improvement" in U.S.-German relations since Angela Merkel became chancellor five months ago. Ahead of Merkel’s second visit to Washington this year, William Drozdiak says that a key issue for Merkel and President Bush is what to do about Iran’s nuclear program.
The UN Security Council is debating how to restrict Iran’s nuclear program. Western states seek a firm statement and the threat of eventual sanctions if Iran does not suspend its uranium enrichment work. But Russia and China oppose sanctions, leading to talk about economic penalties outside the United Nations’ authority.