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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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."