U.S. legislators are considering a less ambitious alternative to an Iran-sanctions bill that has failed to come to a vote, Reuters reports.
Democrats in the Senate decided against pressing Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to allow floor consideration of the earlier sanctions proposal, legislative staffers told the wire service on Monday. That bill, called the Nuclear Weapon-Free Iran Act, now has 59 backers in the upper chamber.
Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are in talks on a potential new text for a non-binding resolution that would implore diplomats to assume specific stances in nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Capitol Hill insiders said. Some U.S. lawmakers are pressing for Tehran’s assent to giving up a wide range of assets relevant to a potential nuclear-arms program, including an unfinished heavy-water reactor and all uranium enrichment.
The congressional staffers added, though, that the Obama administration is likely to chafe even at a non-mandatory statement from Congress. The White House threatened to block the earlier sanctions proposal on grounds that it could endanger diplomacy intended to secure enduring restrictions on Iran’s disputed atomic program.
Iranian envoys are tentatively slated to hold new atomic discussions in New York next month with counterparts from the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said this week in comments reported by al-Monitor. The talks are aimed at securing a broader, longer-term successor to a November deal in which Iran agreed to restrict certain atomic activities for half a year.
On Tuesday, the Obama administration issued a rundown of short-term sanctions curbs it would provide to Iran under the interim nuclear accord, which took effect last week. Tehran maintains that its atomic efforts are strictly peaceful, but Washington and its allies fear the activities could lead to development of an Iranian nuclear-weapon capability.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."