Iran nuclear talks: 11 things you need to know
A general view of the heavy water plant in Arak, 320 kms south of Tehran. Iran's nuclear reactor being built at Arak figures highly in the discussions.
November 20th, 2013
08:44 AM ET

Iran nuclear talks: 11 things you need to know

By Nick Thompson

Iran and world powers are resuming talks in Geneva amid high hopes that a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program will finally be reached.

But while the P5+1 - the U.S., UK, France, Russia, China and Germany - and Iran appear to be closer than ever to striking a deal, there are still a lot of details to iron out.

Read our explainer to get up to speed on 60 years' worth of nuclear history in Iran.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Diplomacy • Iran • Nuclear • Sanctions
November 20th, 2013
08:24 AM ET

Iran nuclear talks: Controversial plan takes the stage

By Tom Cohen and Holly Yan

A breakthrough deal on Iran's nuclear program could be on the horizon - even though Western allies are splintered on the terms.

World leaders will meet Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss a proposed deal that would loosen economic sanctions against Tehran in exchange for a suspension of part of its nuclear program.

The Geneva talks involve Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain and France - as well as Germany in what is known as the P5+1 in diplomatic shorthand.

U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the plan would benefit the global community.
FULL POST


Filed under: Diplomacy • Iran • Nuclear
‘Operation Damayan’ takes shape in storm-ravaged Philippines
November 13th, 2013
04:49 PM ET

‘Operation Damayan’ takes shape in storm-ravaged Philippines

By Barbara Starr

The U.S. military relief effort in the storm-struck Philippines is expected by Sunday to have more than 30 land-based aircraft ferrying relief supplies, in addition to dozens of additional ship-based helicopters and heavy vehicles, according to military officials.

A third amphibious ship, the USS Denver, is now also on its way to the region devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, along with the USS Ashland and USS Germantown.

It is anticipated about 500 Marines will be on board the three ships to help with moving material to Philippine distribution points.

The ships, however, are not expected to arrive before November 19. The bulk of the Marines are expected to move back and forth from their ships as needed.

There are another 300 U.S. military personnel on the ground in Manila, Tacloban and Cebu assisting in operations.

All of the ships, including the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which is expected to arrive Thursday, will help with critical water purification needs, officials say.
FULL POST

On eve of Iran talks, optimism on initial agreement
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
November 6th, 2013
10:02 PM ET

On eve of Iran talks, optimism on initial agreement

By Elise Labott

World powers and Iran hope to reach an initial agreement at talks this week on Tehran’s nuclear program, diplomats and Iran’s foreign minister said.

If Iran agrees at talks in Geneva to take steps toward curbing its nuclear program, a senior U.S. administration official said Iran could see some relief from economic sanctions that have crippled its economy

"What we're looking for is a first phase, a first step, an initial understanding that stops Iran's nuclear program from moving forward and rolls it back for first time in decades," the senior U.S. administration official told reporters in Geneva on the eve of a fresh round talks between Iran and world powers.

In exchange, Washington would be willing to offer Iran "very limited, temporary, reversible sanctions relief,” the official said.
FULL POST


Filed under: Diplomacy • Iran • Nuclear • Sanctions • Sec. State John Kerry
Kerry: Relations with Saudi Arabia are 'close'
Secretary of State John Kerry at a press conference in London on Tuesday.
October 22nd, 2013
03:05 PM ET

Kerry: Relations with Saudi Arabia are 'close'

By Jamie Crawford

Secretary of State John Kerry says relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia are strong despite reports the Saudis are looking to de-emphasize its alliance with Washington.

"I have great confidence that the United States and Saudi Arabia will continue to be the close and important friends and allies that we have been," Kerry told reporters on Tuesday in London on the sidelines of a conference about the international response to the civil war in Syria.

Kerry was responding to questions based on a report from Reuters that quoted Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, telling European diplomats the kingdom would be making a "major shift" in relations with Washington over perceived inaction towards the carnage in Syria, and a possible rapprochement with Iran over its nuclear program.

The comments were noteworthy coming from Bandar, who served as the kingdom's ambassador to Washington for many years and enjoyed warm relations with both Democratic and Republican administrations.
FULL POST

John Kerry's praise for Bashar al-Assad on chemical weapons destruction raises eyebrows
October 7th, 2013
06:35 PM ET

John Kerry's praise for Bashar al-Assad on chemical weapons destruction raises eyebrows

By Elise Labott

It was unusually positive language for a top U.S. official speaking about the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but there was Secretary of State John Kerry giving the Syrian leader a pat on the back.

Speaking to reporters in Bali on Monday, Kerry hailed the quick pace at which inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have been able to get on the ground in Syria and begin their work to destroy its vast chemical weapons arsenal, as called for in a recent U.N. Security Council resolution.
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U.S. holds out prospect of some sanctions relief for Iran
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman
October 3rd, 2013
05:38 PM ET

U.S. holds out prospect of some sanctions relief for Iran

By Jamie Crawford

The United States would be prepared to consider relaxing certain sanctions on Iran if it engaged in confidence-building steps to prove its sincerity to negotiate over its disputed nuclear program, a top State Department official said Thursday.

"There may be some elements that we can do initially if they take verifiable, concrete actions that will put time on the clock that are reversible or in fact don't go to any of the key sanctions that have brought them to the table," Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sherman made clear the entire sanctions regime targeting Iran would not be lifted "any time soon" unless the entire litany of concerns about Iran's nuclear program were fully addressed.

Iran's recent opening and seeming willingness to negotiate seriously over its nuclear program is believed to be a result of crippling sanctions on its economy.
FULL POST

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Filed under: Congress • Diplomacy • Iran • Sanctions
All eyes turn to Geneva talks on Syria
Secretary of State John Kerry will explore Russian plan on Syria in Geneva talks on Thursday.
September 11th, 2013
03:01 PM ET

All eyes turn to Geneva talks on Syria

By Jamie Crawford

Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Geneva on Thursday for a high-stakes meeting with his Russian counterpart that could conceivably tip the balance on whether the United States strikes Syria militarily over alleged chemical weapons use.

Kerry will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss the specifics of Moscow's plan that would put Syria's chemical stockpiles under international control, described as a difficult but momentous step that would nullify the threat of weapons of mass destruction and diffuse the crisis.

In his address to the nation on Tuesday, President Barack Obama said he was willing to test the seriousness and feasibility of the proposal before resuming his push for a vote in Congress on whether to authorize force to punish the Syrian regime over an alleged poison gas attack last month the United States says killed more than 1,400 people.

Kerry will take the lead in dealing with the Russians, Obama said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Diplomacy • John Kerry • Lavrov • Russia • Secretary of State • Syria
August 19th, 2013
10:36 PM ET

Why Obama is not cutting aid to Egypt

More than 900 people have died in the violence across Egypt over the past week. And now, 51% of Americans say the United States should cut off the $1.3 billion in military aid we give that country each year.

But the Obama administration said Monday it hasn't yet decided – its review of the situation is still "ongoing."

Egypt on edge amid questions about U.S. aid

One, incredibly powerful group wants to keep the money flowing to egypt.

CNN's Chris Lawrence reports for Erin Burnett OutFront.

Billions in aid on the line: What will the U.S. do about Egypt?
August 15th, 2013
05:23 AM ET

Billions in aid on the line: What will the U.S. do about Egypt?

When Egypt's first democratically elected president was tossed out earlier this year, the White House stopped short of calling it a coup.

Doing so would force an end to the $1.3 billion that the U.S. sends in military aid every year - and change the course of its relationship with one of its strongest Arab allies in the region.

But that was before Wednesday when the military-led interim government stormed two camps full of former President Mohamed Morsy's supporters. More than 300 people were killed and close to 3,000 wounded in the bloodiest day in Egypt's recent history.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Egypt • Foreign Aid • Mohamed Morsey
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