U.N.-sponsored inspectors are expected to visit two Iranian facilities this week as part of an agreement with Tehran to explain its nuclear activities.
Citing Iran’s semi-official IRNA news service, the Associated Press on Sunday reported that International Atomic Energy Agency personnel will be granted access to a uranium mine and a uranium-thickening facility in the towns of Ardakan and Yazd early this week.
“Following the visit, Iran will be able to say that seven agreed measures between Iran and the agency have [been] fulfilled,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the country’s atomic department, was quoted as saying. “Already six steps have been taken.”
Among those steps is a requirement for Tehran to provide information about a program to develop explosive detonators of a type that can be used in nuclear weapons. According to the quasi-official ISNA news agency, Tehran has already supplied the requested data. Officials at the nuclear watchdog agency in Vienna, though, had no immediate knowledge of the issue on Sunday, Reuters reported.
Western officials fear that Iran’s nuclear program could be used to develop atomic arms. Tehran has insisted its ambitions are aimed solely at power generation, medical uses and research.
Experts from Iran and six world powers are slated to meet in New York this week on the sidelines of a Preparatory Conference for next year’s Review Conference on the status of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Associated Press reported separately on Monday. The side gathering serves to prepare for the next round of ministerial-level deliberations in Vienna in mid-May.
Envoys are eyeing a long-term deal to replace an interim agreement due to expire in July. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, are seeking assurances that Iran will be unable to fabricate nuclear arms. In return, Tehran stands to gain relief from international sanctions.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.