Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency held “very productive” discussions this week about resolving a rift over the Middle Eastern nation’s nuclear activities and will meet again in two weeks, the two sides said Tuesday in an unusual joint statement.
The declaration came after two days of meetings that started on Monday with a face-to-face talk between Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s headquarters in Vienna. Iranian and IAEA technical experts then spent Monday and Tuesday pouring over an undisclosed Iranian proposal for resolving outstanding issues regarding his nation’s nuclear program — which Iran insists is peaceful but some nations fear is geared toward weapons development.
Tero Varjoranta, IAEA deputy director general in charge of nuclear inspections, on Tuesday told reporters gathered at his agency’s headquarters that the two-day technical meeting was “very productive.”
“Iran presented a new proposal on practical measures as a constructive contribution to strengthen cooperation and dialogue with a view to future resolution of all outstanding issues,” Varjoranta said, reading the joint statement.
Iran and the U.N. atomic watchdog decided after their “substantive discussions” that they will convene another meeting in Tehran on Nov. 11, in order “to take this cooperation forward,” Varjoranta said.
Iranian Ambassador Reza Najafi, standing next to Varjoranta, spoke optimistically about a new resolution to the nuclear dispute that he said his country is offering.
“I believe that, with the submission of these new proposals by Iran, we have been able to open a new chapter of cooperation,” he said, according to Reuters.
Iran’s meetings with the U.N. body are separate and distinct from those it also is holding with the so-called “P-5+1” — United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany. Technical experts from the seven nations are slated to meet on Wednesday and Thursday in Vienna in preparation for a Nov. 7-8 Geneva summit between senior diplomats from the countries.
In the United States, some members of Congress are pushing for the passage of Senate legislation that would expand economic sanctions against Iran. President Obama’s administration has pled with Senate aides to delay any move to expand sanctions as talks continue with the Middle Eastern nation.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday night said it “would be the height of irresponsibility” to not continue the diplomatic negotiations with Iran, according to Bloomberg.
“We will not succumb to fear tactics” against continuing the talks, Kerry said at the nonpartisan U.S. Institute of Peace. Kerry didn’t elaborate on his comments. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though, has been critical of the Obama administration’s desire to engage as it has been with Iran.
Obama and Netanyahu talked over the phone on Monday about Iran and other issues, Reuters reported separately.
“The two leaders agreed to continue their close coordination on a range of security issues,” the White House said.
What We're Following See More »
"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."
Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."
NBC's Lester Holt hasn't hosted the "Nightly News" since Tuesday, as he's prepped for moderating the first presidential debate tonight—and the first of his career. He's called on a host of NBC talent to help him, namely NBC News and MSNBC chairman Andy Lack; NBC News president Deborah Turness; the news division's senior vice president of editorial, Janelle Rodriguez; "Nightly News" producer Sam Singal, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, senior political editor Mark Murray and political editor Carrie Dann. But during the debate itself, the only person in Holt's earpiece will be longtime debate producer Marty Slutsky.
"The House passed legislation late Thursday that would prohibit the federal government from making any cash payments to Iran, in protest of President Obama's recently discovered decision to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash in January. And while the White House has said Obama would veto the bill, 16 Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the measure, 254-163."
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”