U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday met to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, when the Middle Eastern leader offered more specifics than his U.S. counterpart did for how he wants Iran to address international fears that it is pursuing a nuclear weapon.
“It is of major concern to all of us that Iran not be able to develop a nuclear weapon,” Kerry told reporters before starting the closed-door meeting with Netanyahu, according to a State Department transcript. “We will need to know that actions are being taken which make it crystal clear, undeniably clear, failsafe to the world, that whatever program is pursued is indeed a peaceful program.”
The United States and five other governments last week joined Iran for talks aimed at ultimately defusing atomic tensions with Tehran, which insists its nuclear ambitions are peaceful. Plans are in place for a Nov. 7-8 follow-up meeting between Iranian diplomats and counterparts from the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany.
Netanyahu, whose government is not participating in the talks, said in the public remarks that he agreed with Kerry that “Iran must not have a nuclear-weapons capability.” He then went a step further, renewing his previous demand that Iran dismantle all uranium-enrichment and heavy-water equipment capable of generating nuclear-bomb fuel.
“I think we’re very close to getting that,” Netanyahu said. “The best way to get it peacefully is to maintain the pressure on Iran.”
The Israeli leader said “it would be a tragic mistake” to ease economic sanctions against Iran “right before that goal is realized.”
A high-level Obama insider said the White House is considering a full or partial release of Iranian financial assets frozen in other countries, as well as potential relief from restrictions on sales of civilian-aircraft components to Iran, Foreign Policy reported on Tuesday.
In a separate interview with the magazine, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said “Iran is now coming to the negotiating table solely because of the pressure.”
“They are really on the verge of the collapse and that’s the reason they’re coming to the negotiating table with some willingness to negotiate,” Steinitz said in the remarks published on Tuesday.
“The pressure on the regime is enormous. You can get a very serious agreement for this. Don’t give it up so easily,” he maintained. “And don’t give them extra oxygen while you’re negotiating with them. On the contrary, increase the pressure.”
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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."