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.
What We're Following See More »
"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."
Sen. Susan Collins, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, "said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia." She said the committee is also open to subpoenaing Trump himself. "This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," she said of Russia's interference. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area."
"Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight. United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months." Meanwhile, NPR has launched a "Trump Ethics Monitor" to track the resolution of ten ethics-related promises that the president has made.