Posted on

Diplomats: Iran announcement planned Today


Jul 12, 4:25 PM (ET)


VIENNA (AP) — Negotiators at the Iran nuclear talks plan to announce Monday that they’ve reached a historic deal capping nearly a decade of diplomacy that would curb the country’s atomic program in return for sanctions relief, two diplomats told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The envoys said a provisional agreement may be reached even earlier — by late Sunday. But they cautioned that final details of the pact were still being worked out. Once it is complete, a formal, final agreement would be open to review by officials in the capitals of Iran and the six world powers at the talks, they said.

Senior U.S. and Iranian officials suggested, however, there might not be enough time to reach a deal by the end of Sunday and that the drafting of documents could bleed into Monday.

All of the officials, who are at the talks in Vienna, demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly.

(AP) Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, talks to journalist from a…
Full Image
“We are working hard, but a deal tonight is simply logistically impossible,” the Iranian official said, noting that the agreement will run roughly 100 pages.

The senior U.S. official declined to speculate as to the timing of any agreement or announcement but said “major issues remain to be resolved.”

Despite the caution, the negotiators appeared to be on the cusp of an agreement.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who on Thursday had threatened to walk away from the negotiations, said Sunday that “a few tough things” remain in the way but added “we’re getting to some real decisions.”

En route to Mass at Vienna’s gothic St. Stephens Cathedral, Kerry said twice he was “hopeful” after a “very good meeting” Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had Muslim services Friday. The two met again early Saturday evening.

(AP) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks in the garden of Coburg where closed-door…
Full Image
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also was cautiously optimistic, telling reporters Sunday: “I hope that we are finally entering the last phase of this negotiation.”

In Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said an agreement was close, but not quite done, describing the negotiations as “still steps away from reaching the intended peak.”

Posted on

Obama Kept Iran’s Short Breakout Time a Secret


APR 21, 2015 6:00 AM EDT

By Eli Lake

The Barack Obama administration has estimated for years that Iran was at most three months away from enriching enough nuclear fuel for an atomic bomb. But the administration only declassified this estimate at the beginning of the month, just in time for the White House to make the case for its Iran deal to Congress and the public.

Speaking to reporters and editors at our Washington bureau on Monday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged that the U.S. has assessed for several years that Iran has been two to three months away from producing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. When asked how long the administration has held this assessment, Moniz said: “Oh quite some time.” He added: “They are now, they are right now spinning, I mean enriching with 9,400 centrifuges out of their roughly 19,000. Plus all the . . . . R&D work. If you put that together it’s very, very little time to go forward. That’s the 2-3 months.”

Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed to me Monday that the two-to-three-month estimate for fissile material was declassified on April 1.

Posted on

Iran Accuses U.S. of Lying About New Nuke Agreement

Switzerland Iran Nuclear Talks

Says White House misleading Congress, American people with fact sheet

BY: Adam Kredo
April 2, 2015 5:40 pm

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Just hours after the announcement of what the United States characterized as a historic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the country’s leading negotiator lashed out at the Obama administration for lying about the details of a tentative framework.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people and Congress in a fact sheet it released following the culmination of negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

Zarif bragged in an earlier press conference with reporters that the United States had tentatively agreed to let it continue the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, as well as key nuclear research.

Zarif additionally said Iran would have all nuclear-related sanctions lifted once a final deal is signed and that the country would not be forced to shut down any of its currently operating nuclear installations.

Following a subsequent press conference by Secretary of State John Kerry—and release of a administration fact sheet on Iranian concessions—Zarif lashed out on Twitter over what he dubbed lies.

Posted on

Menendez rips DOJ, says foes are trying to ‘silence’ him


file photo by Boyd Loving

By Jordain Carney

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) slammed the Justice Department Wednesday for indicting him, saying that he believes he will be “vindicated.”

“For nearly three years, I have lived under a Justice Department cloud. Today I am outraged that this cloud has not been lifted,” Menendez said at a press conference, where he was interrupted multiple times by supports who cheered him on.

Read more here.

Posted on

Gen. Flynn: Obama’s Middle East Policy One of ‘Willful Ignorance’



Gen. Flynn: Obama’s Middle East Policy One of ‘Willful Ignorance’

Sunday, 29 Mar 2015 01:16 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy is one of “willful ignorance,” retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency said Sunday, and he is concerned the pending deal with Iran over its nuclear weapons capabilities will worsen the situation.

“Right now, we have almost a complete breakdown of order in the Middle East,” Flynn told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace. “A new Middle East is essentially struggling to be born.”

Also , he pointed out that Iran is “clearly on the march,” and will influence the growing regional sectarian wars

Read Latest Breaking News from

Posted on

Menendez to Obama: You must be kidding on Iran



Menendez to Obama: You must be kidding on Iran
By Jennifer Rubin March 27

Thursday afternoon, following a slew of news reports about substantial concessions by the U.S. negotiators in the Iran nuclear talks, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) released a statement, which read:

If today’s news report from Lausanne is true, we are not inching closer to Iran’s negotiating position, but leaping toward it with both feet.  We have pivoted away from demanding the closure of Fordow when the negotiations began, to considering its conversion into a research facility, to now allowing hundreds of centrifuges to spin at this underground bunker site where centrifuges could be quickly repurposed for illicit nuclear enrichment purposes.  My fear is that we are no longer guided by the principle that “no deal is better than a bad deal,” but instead we are negotiating “any deal for a deal’s sake.”

An undue amount of trust and faith is being placed in a negotiating partner that has spent decades deceiving the international community; denying the International Atomic Energy Agency access to its facilities; refusing to answer questions about its nuclear-related military activities; and all the while, actively destabilizing the region from Lebanon to Syria to Iraq to Yemen.  A good deal must meet our primary negotiating objective – curtailing Iran’s current and future ability to achieve nuclear weapons capability.  If the best deal Iran will give us does not achieve this goal, it is not a good deal for the United States or its partners.  A good deal won’t leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state.

It is extraordinary on many levels — that so many giveaways would be tossed at the Iranians’ feet, that it should be publicly revealed (many speculate, by the French, who object to the collapse), that a Democratic senator would tell the president his deal is going nowhere and that things have gotten this far out of whack without a vote from the Senate. In reality, no Republican and a great many Democrats will refuse to assent to a deal that, for example, leaves 6,000 centrifuges in Iran’s hands, allows Fordow to continue operations, does not provide for snap inspections, does not require revelation of past activities, does not continue in a meaningful way beyond 10 years and does nothing to address the catastrophe throughout the region, caused in large part by Iran’s hegemonic ambitions. Oh, and there may be no written document. As former ambassador Eric Edelman, tells me, “I think it is axiomatic that any deal that cannot be put down on paper is not a deal at all.” Considering all we are giving up, that may be the good news.

Indeed, with Iranian surrogates and allies destabilizing the entire Middle East, why are we lifting any sanctions or talking about a deal at all? Unless the deal is far different than has been reported, look for an overwhelming vote in April to inject the Senate into the process or to increase sanctions.

Posted on

Iran deal worse than Israel feared, Netanyahu says



Iran deal worse than Israel feared, Netanyahu says

PM warns of ‘Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis’; Defense minister warns of ‘tragedy for moderate regimes in Middle East and entire Western world’

By Jonathan Beck March 29, 2015, 12:57 pm

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday against the emerging nuclear deal with Iran, as Iranian and Western officials in Lausanne, Switzerland were rushing to reach a framework agreement by an end-of-month deadline.

“After the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad axis, Iran is maneuvering from the south to take over the entire Middle East,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting, one of the last for his outgoing government. “The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is dangerous for mankind and must be stopped.”

Netanyahu told ministers that he had spoken with Republican leaders in the US Senate and “conveyed our serious concern regarding the arrangement with Iran at the nuclear talks. This agreement confirms all our fears and exceeds them.

“While [world powers] convene to sign this deal, Iran’s proxies in Yemen are conquering large swaths of land in an effort to overtake the Bab al-Mandab straits, so that they can change the balance of power in shipping oil,” he said, referring to recent unrest in Yemen.

Read more: Iran deal worse than Israel feared, Netanyahu says | The Times of Israel