Nuclear ‘Framework’ Reached with Iran
On Thursday evening, P5+1 and Iranian diplomats in Lausanne, Switzerland, announced that they had reached a framework for a nuclear deal. The statement came after negotiators pushed through a nominal end-of-March deadline for a political agreement earlier in the week, prompting concerns that the talks would not secure a consensus. The negotiations will now continue ...
On Thursday evening, P5+1 and Iranian diplomats in Lausanne, Switzerland, announced that they had reached a framework for a nuclear deal. The statement came after negotiators pushed through a nominal end-of-March deadline for a political agreement earlier in the week, prompting concerns that the talks would not secure a consensus. The negotiations will now continue to work on technical issues as diplomats work toward a deadline for a comprehensive agreement at the end of June.
The framework announced yesterday would permit Iran a limited nuclear enrichment capacity, but would subject its civil nuclear program to a strict and intrusive inspection regime. Iran, in exchange, would receive gradual relief from nuclear sanctions as it demonstrates compliance, according to a White House fact sheet. The terms “impressed two of the most skeptical experts on the negotiations: Gary Samore and Olli Heinonen of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and members of a group called United Against Nuclear Iran,” noted the New York Times. “It appears to be a fairly comprehensive deal with most important parameters,” said Heinonen. That perspective isn’t shared by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told reporters this morning that “A deal that is based on this framework will threaten Israel’s existence.” In Iran, the announced framework was met with private jubilation and scattered public celebrations, and Iranian television stations took the unprecedented step of broadcasting remarks by President Barack Obama live.
Human Rights Group Investigating Abuses in Tikrit
Amnesty International is investigating human rights abuses said to have occurred during fighting with the Islamic State for the Iraqi city of Tikrit. The city was captured this week by Iraqi Security Forces supported by Shia militias and U.S. airstrikes after several weeks of siege. “We are investigating reports that scores of residents have been seized early last month and not heard of since, and that residents’ homes and businesses have been blown up or burned down after having been looted by militias,” said a representative for Amnesty. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said today that the military will arrest and prosecute anyone found looting.
- Gunmen believed to belong to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis attacked Egyptian military checkpoints in the Sinai, killing 15 soldiers and two civilians.
- The Israeli government announced that it had conducted a successful test of David’s Sling, a medium-range missile interceptor currently under development.
- With declines in oil prices taking a toll on Saudi currency reserves, the Saudi government may need to issue sovereign debt for the first time since 2007.
- Bahraini authorities have arrested Nabeel Rajab, a human rights activist, for a series of tweets about prison abuses.
- The Israeli Supreme Court rejected a plan to construct a separation barrier in the Cremisan Valley near Bethlehem, ending a decade of legal arbitration on its placement.
-J. Dana Stuster
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images