CNN's Dana Davidsen
After President Barack Obama said he would accept a peaceful nuclear program from Iran, including modest uranium enrichment, U.S. congressmen on the Homeland Security and Intelligence committees agreed Sunday that the concession complicates further negotiations.
"We can envision a comprehensive agreement that involves extraordinary constraints and verification mechanisms and intrusive inspections but permits Iran to have a peaceful nuclear program," Obama said Saturday at the Brookings Institution's Saban Forum in Washington.FULL STORY
By CNN Political Unit
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made explicit the administration's renewed attempts to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Palestine Saturday as the United States begins to assume a more muscular role in talks.
At the Brookings Institution's annual Saban Forum on Middle East issues and U.S.-Israeli relations, Obama and Kerry each spoke about a budding interim deal that would work towards a two-state solution.FULL STORY
By Elise Labott
The United States and Israel are "absolutely in sync" about the need to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.
Talk of Iran's nuclear program took center stage in close to nine hours of talks Thursday and Friday between Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Kerry met with Netanyahu for the first time since the U.S. and five other world powers reached a deal with Iran over its nuclear program.
His talks aimed to convince the Israeli leader to move beyond the "first step" deal and work on a comprehensive agreement that addresses all of Israel's concerns about Iran's program.FULL STORY
By Barbara Starr
The U.S. plans to begin sea trials by the end of the month of a merchant marine ship with special equipment on board that can destroy much of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, according to a U.S. Defense Department official who briefed reporters.
The ship, the M/V Cape Ray, is now in port in the Norfolk area of Virginia being outfitted with a chemical weapons "neutralization" system developed by the Pentagon. If the trials go well and the Pentagon plan is accepted by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the ship could head to the region in January. The official, along with two others who briefed reporters, declined to be identified because the plan has not been approved by those international organizations.
The neutralization technology is called the Field Deployable Hydrolysis System. It mixes chemical agents with water and other chemicals to significantly lower any toxicity. The remaining material will then be destroyed in a commercial waste disposal site. "Absolutely nothing will be dumped at sea," the official said, adding that the technology is "safe and environmentally sound."
By Elise Labott
Jerusalem (CNN) - John Kerry’s ninth trip to Israel since becoming secretary of state could be among the most difficult.
He needs Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s buy-in for the two issues U.S. President Barack Obama has declared the centerpiece of his second term foreign policy – Iran and Middle East peace.
But at a time when the Israeli leader’s confidence in the United States is shaken over the Iran deal, his trust in the administration as broker of a peace deal with the Palestinians may waver.
By Chelsea J. Carter
Iran will not dismantle any of its nuclear facilities as part of an effort to reach a long-term agreement to limit its nuclear development, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in an interview published Friday in The Financial Times.
Asked during the interview if dismantling Iran's nuclear facilities was a "red line," Rouhani said: "100 percent."
Rouhani's statements are unlikely to sit well with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said any long-term agreement with Iran over its nuclear development must lead to the dismantling of the country's nuclear capability.
Iran and the so-called P5+1 - the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany - agreed Sunday to a six-month deal to limit Tehran's nuclear development.FULL STORY
By CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty
With a breakthrough interim nuclear deal and relations between the United States and Iran improving, the White House on Tuesday "respectfully" asked the Iranian government to help return Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who went missing in Iran more than six years ago.
"We do want to test the regime. The new administration has said that they want to take a different approach toward the West, toward the United States. One way that they could clearly demonstrate that is they could help us find Bob Levinson, help reunite him with his family," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told CNN.
By CNN Justice Reporter Even Perez
The interim deal to limit Iran's nuclear program casts some uncertainty over how the Justice Department and other agencies investigate alleged sanctions violations.
The deal struck over the weekend between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, gives Iran a temporary respite from some of stringent international economic sanctions that U.S. officials say helped bring Iran to the negotiating table.
After months of delays, a "Geneva II" conference meant to broker an end to the Syrian civil war has been scheduled to begin on January 22 in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations said Monday morning.
But which parties will attend - a subject that helped push back the conference for months - wasn't immediately clear.
The conference would bring representatives from Syria's government and elements of the opposition to negotiate an end to the fighting that has wracked Syria since March 2011.
Yet the opposition is hardly a single group; it consists of numerous factions that often oppose each other. The al Qaeda-linked groups Islamic State in Iraq and Jabhat al-Nusra have made substantial gains in Syria in recent months, especially in the north, tilting the balance away from more moderate factions of the rebel Free Syrian Army.FULL STORY
To say reactions to the Iranian nuclear deal have been all over the place would be an understatement.
In one corner, ardent supporters, like the White House, touted it as a resolution in which they didn't waver from their core beliefs. Iranian officials boasted the same.
The United Nations and the European Union threw in their weight, saying the compromise is a huge step with tremendous potential.
Then you have Israel, which says the deal is based on global "self-delusion" and could help Iran get closer to having a nuclear bomb. Meanwhile, some U.S. Republicans are skeptical about the Obama administration's true intentions in helping strike the deal.FULL STORY