Iran finished expert talks with six other countries on obstacles to ending an entrenched nuclear dispute by July, the Islamic Republic News Agency reports.
“The Wednesday and Thursday intensive, technical negotiations were focused on technical details, which were surveyed painstakingly,” Hamid Baeedinejad, Iran’s top delegate to the two-day meeting in Vienna, said in comments reported by the state-run news organization.
“The results of this technical round of talks will be delivered to the top officials of the two sides,” the Iranian envoy said.
The gathering was intended as preparation for a higher-level meeting of Iranian diplomats and their counterparts from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Those officials, who are slated to begin several days of talks on June 16, are pursuing an agreement that would grant Tehran sanctions relief in return for potentially limiting activities feared in Washington and other capitals to be geared toward nuclear-weapons development.
Their most recent high-level meeting concluded in May with neither side reporting significant progress, despite their stated aim to reach a long-term deal before an interim accord is scheduled to expire on July 20.
Tehran reportedly dug in on demands last month for robust nuclear capabilities under a potential deal, in part by pressing to retain uranium-enrichment systems sufficient to fuel its domestic nuclear power plant. Negotiators from the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany have resisted such calls, citing the potential for the equipment to alternatively generate higher-purity uranium for nuclear bombs.
Iran may also have taken a hard stance last month on plans for its unfinished heavy-water reactor. Other countries have aired concerns over the Arak site’s potential to generate weapon-usable plutonium once activated.
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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.”
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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.”
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