Iran’s top leader said Tehran would need to purify uranium nearly 20 times faster, as outsiders raced to cap its ability to fuel nuclear bombs, Reuters reports.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday said six other negotiating countries want to limit Iran’s uranium-enrichment capacity to “10,000 separative work units, which is equivalent to 10,000 centrifuges of the older type that we already have.” Tehran insists it only wants to refine uranium to low levels for use in civilian reactors, but other countries suspect it wants an option to produce higher-purity material for weapons.
“Our officials say we need 190,000 centrifuges,” Khamenei said. “Perhaps this is not a need this year or in two years or five years, but this is the country’s absolute need.”
Tehran is discussing the possibility of limiting some of its nuclear activities for a number of years in exchange for sanctions relief from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The sides are pushing to complete a deal by July 20, when an interim atomic deal is scheduled to expire.
Former U.S. State Department official Mark Fitzpatrick said Khamenei’s latest comment “confirms” that Iran’s negotiators “are not authorized to accept cutbacks to the enrichment program.” The country has deployed over 19,000 uranium-enrichment centrifuges to date, and is currently producing civilian nuclear fuel in about 10,000 of the machines.
Khamenei accused the other governments of issuing hollow threats of military action against Iran’s atomic assets, Reuters reported separately.
“They make it seem like Israel wants to attack, but America is stopping it: the good cop, bad cop trick,” he said. “But I say out loud: the reason they are not attacking is because it is too costly. The enemy has no other option at its disposal but make threats and impose 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."