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North Korea's Kim Jong Un walks away from what state media report is a "new type" of ICBM.

KCNA via REUTERS

Will standing up to North Korea work?

North Korea has engaged in an aggressive spate of missile testing this year. In response, the US and South Korea are changing tack and pushing back against Pyongyang with a more muscular show of force. Washington and Seoul’s robust replies are designed to push Kim Jong Un back to the negotiating table, furthering their quest to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

But it’s a risky gamble. The fresh approach could convince an isolated and broke North Korea to talk shop, or Kim could double down and conduct his first nuclear test since 2017.

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Ian Explains: The Iran Nuclear Deal | GZERO World

The Iran nuclear deal

The Iran nuclear deal was enacted in 2015 to stop Tehran from getting the bomb in exchange for economic sanctions relief. At the time it was a big win — especially for the Obama administration.

But not everyone was a fan. Critics say the deal only slowed down the nuclear program, didn’t address Iran's support for Hezbollah, and hardly reset US-Iran ties.

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The Pros and Cons of a Nuclear Program for Iran | GZERO World

The pros and cons of a nuclear program for Iran

Has the war in Ukraine changed Iran's calculus on getting nuclear weapons?

Not necessarily, says Ali Vaez, Iran program director at the International Crisis Group. Like the Ukrainians now, the Iranians know Iraq and Libya basically gave up their weapons programs and then got invaded — a sharp contrast to North Korea when Donald Trump was in the White House.

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The US Can’t Let Iran Get Any Closer to Nuclear Weapons, Says Iran Expert Ali Vaez | GZERO World

The US can’t let Iran get any closer to nuclear weapons, says Iran expert Ali Vaez

Even if the US rejoins the Iran nuclear deal, many Republicans are fiercely opposed to it — and could withdraw again in 2025 if they win the White House in two years.

Why do it at all then? Ali Vaez, Iran program director at the International Crisis Group, has some thoughts.

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Iran Nuclear Deal 2.0? | GZERO World

Iran nuclear deal 2.0, or war?

Since taking office, the Biden administration has worked hard for the US to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Donald Trump walked away from in 2018.

Now, reaching an agreement is more urgent than ever because the Iranians are closer to getting the bomb than they've ever been. But Russia's war in Ukraine has complicated things, and some fear that even if a deal happens, the US may withdraw again with a Republican president in 2025.

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Podcast: Iran on the verge: why you don’t want the nuclear deal to fail, according to Iran expert Ali Vaez

Listen: Renewing the Iran nuclear deal is more urgent than ever for the Biden administration. Iran is closer to getting the bomb, with the breakout time to enrich enough uranium for a single nuclear weapon reportedly less than two weeks. On the GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer speaks to Ali Vaez, Iran project director at the International Crisis Group, who says the odds of reaching an agreement in the short term are 50/50.

There are domestic political risks for Biden either way, but a new deal would significantly delay Iran’s ability to enrich enough uranium for a weapon. It's also now clear that the real effect of pulling out of the deal in 2018 was that it boosted Iran's nuclear program. Vaez also digs into Israel's strategic interest in a deal, which they have long opposed, and Russia's role in the negotiations with Iran.

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Iran Nuclear Deal Now a Toss-Up, Says International Crisis Group Expert | GZERO World

Iran nuclear deal now a toss-up, says International Crisis Group expert

So, is the Iran nuclear deal 2.0 finally happening, or not?

Ali Vaez, Iran project director at the International Crisis Group, says he stopped making predictions months ago. Still, he puts the odds now at 50/50.

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Ari Winkleman

The Graphic Truth: Nuclear weapons — who has what?

Vladimir Putin has the Russian military on nuclear alert in response to Western sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But what does that mean in terms of numbers? Russia has the most warheads deployed — 1,625 — of any nuclear power other than the US. What’s more, the Russians could soon become the second country after the US to store nukes in another country. Belarus, a top Russian ally, recently tweaked its constitution to allow this. Here's a look at which nuclear powers have warhead stockpiles — and who's ready to use them.

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