Report

Obama Defends Nuclear Deal while IAEA Briefs Congress

President Obama defended the Iran nuclear agreement in a major speech at American University yesterday. In addition to laying out his arguments for implementing the agreement, the speech was a riposte to critics of the deal, who Obama said were “selling a fantasy” by suggesting the United States could re-negotiate a better deal. He also ...

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President Obama defended the Iran nuclear agreement in a major speech at American University yesterday. In addition to laying out his arguments for implementing the agreement, the speech was a riposte to critics of the deal, who Obama said were “selling a fantasy” by suggesting the United States could re-negotiate a better deal. He also singled out Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his opposition to the agreement, saying bluntly that “I do not doubt his sincerity, but I believe he is wrong.” President Obama will be giving interviews to the Israeli press next month to make his case for the agreement to the Israeli public.

Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the investigation into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s previous nuclear activities remains stalled and that Iranian nuclear scientists are still refusing to answer questions from the agency. Amano’s remarks came after a meeting with members of Congress to discuss the agreement between the IAEA and Iran to resolve the investigation.

Economists Expect Little Effect from New Canal

While the Egyptian government is promoting the opening an expansion of the Suez Canal today, economists say it will have little practical effect either on shipping or the Egyptian national economy. “This is politics. [The government] wants to give the impression we are entering a new phase of the Egyptian economy,” Ahmed Kamaly, an economics professor at the American University of Cairo, told the Washington Post. “It’s all propaganda.”

Headlines

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have agreed on language for a new U.N. Security Council resolution to “create a process of accountability” in the investigation of chemical weapons use in Syria.

 

  • Wilayat Sinai, the Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State, released a video in which it threatens to execute a Croatian man who was abducted in Cairo last month if Egyptian officials do not release “Muslim women” being held in prison.

 

  • Captain Ammar al Wawi, a leader of the Syrian rebel group Division 30, sharply criticized the support the organization has received from the United States, saying that the training program is too slow, that there has been no guarantees of protection, and that when U.S. air support has come it has been too late.

 

  • The diversion of aid ships away from Houthi-occupied territories in Yemen and toward pro-government strongholds in the south has prompted fears of food shortages and a siege of the capital.

 

  • 367 migrants were rescued from a capsized ship off the coast of Libya yesterday, but at least 25 people — and possibly many more, based on survivors’ estimates — died at sea.

Arguments and Analysis

Assessing the Iran Nuclear Agreement and The Washington Institute’s Iran Study Group June 24 Policy Statement” (Iran Study Group, Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

“The JCPOA has several major achievements, especially the long-term restrictions on key aspects of Iran’s declared nuclear program that — if fully implemented, monitored and verified—are likely to prevent Iranian nuclear breakout for up to 15 years. These include the cap on the stockpile of low-enriched uranium for 15 years, the absence of any reprocessing capabilities for this same period, the removal of the core of the Arak plutonium reactor and the monitoring of the core elements of the supply chain for 25 years. At the same time, we assess that critical aspects of the JCPOA may fall short of the standards outlined in the study group’s June 24 statement. We recommend the following clarifications and additional measures, many of which should appropriately be addressed before Congress votes on the JCPOA.”

 

The Kurds’ Choice” (Piotr Zalewski, Harper’s)

“‘There’s been a revolution in Turkey,” Kisanak told me, beaming. “We’ve managed to prevent one man rule.’ I asked Erdogmus, a former mufti, what this revolution might mean for the AKP government’s peace talks with the PKK, the armed group that has waged war against Turkish security forces for the past thirty years in the name of Kurdish autonomy. The conventional wisdom, at least in policy circles, has been that only Erdogan, who led the AKP to three consecutive electoral victories since 2002, had the clout to reconcile Turks to the concessions needed to make peace with the PKK. Erdogmus did not buy it. “What today’s result shows is that maybe he wasn’t such a strong leader to begin with,” he said. “And if the AKP doesn’t read the message delivered today by Kurdish voters, it will be the beginning of the end for it.’”

-J. Dana Stuster

Pete Marovich/Bloomberg/Pool

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