World News Brief, Thursday May 21

Iran launches surface-to-surface missile; Swat Valley "a war zone" (+ map); China-EU summit; Russia: arms reduction must lead to equal security; and more

Top of the Agenda: Iran Missile Launch

Iran's president today announced the successful launch (PressTV) of a surface-to-surface Sajjil-2 missile. The BBC says the test, which mirrors a similar missile test Tehran carried out last year, could stoke tensions between Iran and some of its adversaries. The Sajjil-2 is a mid-range weapon capable of striking Israel or U.S. military bases (AP) in the Persian Gulf, though Iran said last year that it was testing the weapon for defensive uses. The test marked an important technological advancement for Iran because the missile used solid fuel--which makes for a more accurate weapon than missiles using liquid fuel, which currently account for much of Iran's arsenal.

The test launch follows diplomatic talks between Israeli and U.S. officials focusing squarely on Iran. U.S. President Barack Obama said in meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would reassess his policy of trying to engage Iran at the end of the year, depending how negotiations go between now and then. And U.S. CIA Chief Leon Panetta, in a syndicated interview conducted with a political quarterly, cautioned Israel against attacking Iran unilaterally, saying it would "mean big trouble" for Israeli security.


- In a recent interview with CFR, Linton Brooks, a senior adviser at CSIS, says Iran poses the most difficult challenge to forging a working international nonproliferation regime.

- The BBC has a piece outlining the "slow but sure" advance of Iran's missile program.



Xinhua previews the upcoming China-EU summit in Prague, which was delayed from December following a spat over France hosting the Dalai Lama.

KAESONG: Yonhap reports a senior South Korean lawmaker urged Seoul to pull out of the Kaesong industrial complex project jointly run with North Korea, further complicating South Korean diplomacy following North Korea's recent threats to abandon the project.


Pakistan's military struggling in Buner.

Lavrov speaks on potential arms reduction treaty.

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