Iran rejected claims that a Saturday meeting may spotlight its past work with a potential ingredient for triggering nuclear explosions, Iran Daily Brief reports.
“We are not going to discuss any issues that have already been examined and closed” with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, Iranian Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said in Persian-language news reports quoted by the website on Thursday.
He was referring to media chatter about the International Atomic Energy Agency’s possible renewed interest in the nation’s previous research involving polonium 210. The organization in 2008 said Iran had satisfactorily answered its questions concerning the substance, but IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at a Munich conference last weekend said his organization wanted to “clarify” related matters.
The unusual radioactive material could be used to help detonate nuclear blasts, but also has some civilian applications.
At the same time, envoys are guardedly hopeful that Iran will agree in this weekend’s talks to begin allowing some investigation into whether it carried out past activities relevant to the potential weaponization of its nuclear work, Reuters reported on Thursday.
The Vienna-based nuclear agency might initially limit its demands for Iran — which insists its nuclear program is strictly peaceful — to permit scrutiny of so-called “possible military dimensions,” or “PMD,” of its atomic activities.
One Western diplomat said IAEA negotiators “absolutely have to start with some PMD issues. Low-hanging fruit would be fine as long as it was real PMD.”
A focus on less divisive priorities suggests the U.N. agency might hold off for the moment on demanding access to a military base where Iran is suspected to have carried out nuclear arms-relevant research, according to Reuters. Other points of concern include an allegation that Iran carried out digital modeling activities tied to potential nuclear tests.
The IAEA probe “is about being thorough and transparent, not about being fast,” said the Western envoy, who Reuters said was not affiliated with any of the six governments negotiating with Iran on its disputed nuclear activities.
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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.”