Iran and six key governments signaled early optimism on the first day of a closely watched nuclear meeting on Tuesday, the state-run Fars News Agency reported.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif opened the two-day discussion in Geneva with a slideshow briefing thought to detail a proposed timeline for trust-boosting steps over its disputed nuclear activities, the London Guardian reported. The sides are seeking to resolve international fears that secret nuclear-bomb ambitions are guiding Iran’s nuclear program; Tehran insists the atomic effort is nonmilitary in nature.
“There is a positive atmosphere. … The first reactions were good,” Reuters quoted Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas as saying after Zarif’s morning discussion.
Undisclosed details from the foreign minister’s talk — titled “Closing an unnecessary crisis: Opening new horizons” — could include proposals to restrict certain Iranian nuclear activities, according to the Guardian. In return, Tehran would likely expect the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany to curb international economic penalties and affirm the Persian Gulf power’s right to enrich uranium, the newspaper said.
A spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Zarif’s discussion was “very useful.”
The top Iranian diplomat met one-on-one with Ashton after multilateral talks ended for the day, Fars News reported. Ashton has communicated with Iran on behalf of the six other negotiating powers: China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.