Diplomats say they are tackling an entrenched uranium-enrichment standoff, as talks resume on Iran’s disputed nuclear activities, the New York Times reports.
The focus emerged as Iran and six other countries prepared for new negotiations in Vienna over potential long-term limits on Tehran’s atomic efforts, which Western powers see as cover for development of a nuclear-arms capability. The Middle Eastern nation denies any intention to refine uranium into nuclear-bomb fuel, and has raised the possibility of expanding its current fleet of 19,000 enrichment centrifuges to include 50,000 or more of the machines.
The United States, though, is urging Iran to cut its existing enrichment capacity so it would need more than 12 months to refine enough uranium for a bomb. Robert Einhorn, who stepped down in 2013 as U.S. State Department special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, last week wrote that more than “a few thousand first-generation [Iranian] centrifuges” would be unacceptable.
Past months of negotiations have focused largely on less divisive issues, resulting partly in a tentative offer by Iran to modify its Arak heavy-water reactor to generate less weapon-usable plutonium upon activation.
Speaking on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said “Arak and transparency [appear] riper than all other items on the agenda for getting primary results … by Friday,” ITAR-Tass reported.
Information on Iran’s past atomic activities may emerge as a sticking point, Western envoys told Reuters for a Tuesday report. A Monday meeting between Tehran and the U.N. nuclear watchdog reportedly did not yield substantial traction.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is expected to meet late on Tuesday with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is representing the six other negotiating governments, the Los Angeles Times reported. Three days of discussions are slated to begin on Wednesday, with delegates from Iran as well as China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.
"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."
No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."
"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."