Nuke negotiators aim to start crafting Iran deal in May
April 4th, 2014
08:17 PM ET

Nuke negotiators aim to start crafting Iran deal in May

By Laura Koran

Talks will resume next week on the future of Iran's nuclear program with the goal of beginning to draft a comprehensive agreement in May, a senior Obama administration official said on Friday.

The next round of negotiations will seek to build on the work that has been done since January, when an interim deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council took effect.

That deal eased some economic sanctions in return for Iran rolling back parts of its nuclear program, which the United States and others believe is designed to produce a weapon. Iran says its nuclear intentions are peaceful.

While officials in Washington are optimistic that negotiations are progressing on track, a number of significant potential roadblocks need to be worked through if a long-term agreement is to be reached.

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Filed under: Arms Control • Iran • Nuclear
Why is Iran building giant mock-up of U.S. aircraft carrier?
U.S. nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (L); Commercial satellite picture of Iran building a fake aircraft carrier (R)
March 21st, 2014
07:10 PM ET

Why is Iran building giant mock-up of U.S. aircraft carrier?

By Laura Koran

Amid ongoing high-level diplomatic talks between the United States and Iran, it's a symbol of underlying mistrust.

Commercial satellite images obtained by CNN reveal that Iran is constructing a large-scale replica of a U.S. military aircraft carrier, complete with fake U.S-style airplanes, near the southern port city of Bandar Abbas.

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Filed under: Iran
February 17th, 2014
05:13 PM ET

Iran nuclear deal commitments kept so far, U.S. official says

By Jamie Crawford

Iran is rolling back parts of its nuclear program and getting relief from sanctions in return as an interim agreement aimed at gauging Tehran's willingness to curb its nuclear ambitions appears to be working with global powers gearing up for talks on Tuesday to forge a long-term pact.

"So far everyone, both Iran and all of the rest of us who provided some very limited, targeted sanctions relief have kept their commitments," Wendy Sherman, a senior State Department official and lead negotiator for the United States on the Iran deal, told Wolf Blitzer on Monday in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room."

Sherman, the under secretary for political fairs, spoke from Vienna where talks on a comprehensive accord between Iran, the United States, Germany and other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are due to begin on Tuesday.
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Obama administration: Iran deal 'not perfect'
February 4th, 2014
06:51 PM ET

Obama administration: Iran deal 'not perfect'

By Jamie Crawford

An interim agreement that freezes aspects of Iran's nuclear program is not ideal but is necessary to achieve a long-term accord, a senior Obama administration official said Tuesday.

"This is not perfect, but this does freeze and roll back their program in significant ways and give us time on the clock to in fact negotiate that comprehensive agreement," Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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January 29th, 2014
07:44 PM ET

Exclusive: Iran's Zarif says Obama remarks for 'domestic consumption'

By CNN Staff

President Barack Obama had some sharp language on Iran in his State of the Union address, but Tehran saw it mainly as tough talk for a domestic audience.

 
CNN's Jim Sciutto met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Iran to get his first-hand response to Obama's speech on Tuesday night in which the President said American diplomacy - backed by pressure - has "halted the progress of Iran's nuclear program."

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Filed under: Iran • Obama
Iran's foreign minister talks of possible relief for jailed Americans
January 23rd, 2014
07:04 PM ET

Iran's foreign minister talks of possible relief for jailed Americans

By Jennifer Rizzo

A reduced sentence for two Americans jailed in Iran may be possible, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an exclusive interview with CNN's Jim Sciutto.

"We have various clemency measures in Iran that can be introduced, happened in the past, can be introduced again in these cases," Zarif said in the interview this week from Davos, Switzerland.

Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq, was arrested in Iran in August 2011 and held on espionage charges.

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Filed under: Iran
January 22nd, 2014
05:53 PM ET

Iranian official on nuke deal: 'We did not agree to dismantle anything'

By Tom Cohen

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted Wednesday that the Obama administration mischaracterizes concessions by his side in the six-month nuclear deal with Iran, telling CNN in an exclusive interview that "we did not agree to dismantle anything."

Zarif told CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto that terminology used by the White House to describe the agreement differed from the text agreed to by Iran and the other countries in the talks - the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

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Filed under: Iran • Nuclear
Kerry: 'No way' al-Assad can be part of a transitional government in Syria
January 22nd, 2014
06:14 AM ET

Kerry: 'No way' al-Assad can be part of a transitional government in Syria

The aim is ambitious, but the expectations are low.

As top diplomats gathered in Switzerland for international talks aimed at ending Syria's protracted civil war, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the opposing sides in the conflict to seize the opportunity for peace.

"After nearly three painful years of conflict and suffering in Syria, today is a day of fragile but real hope," he said at the start of the conference in the Swiss town of Montreux.

But the obstacles to finding a solution to a conflict that threatens to destabilize the Middle East quickly became apparent at the conference, which was beset by squabbles before it even began.

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January 16th, 2014
08:34 PM ET

Gates on Iran sanctions, Biden and biggest mistakes as defense secretary

By Dana Davidsen

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is defending his criticism of Vice President Joe Biden's record on national security.

Gates writes in his new book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War," that Biden was "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."

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Filed under: Biden • Gates • Iran
How Syria talks were derailed before they started
January 16th, 2014
01:06 PM ET

How Syria talks were derailed before they started

By Elise Labott

When Secretary of State John Kerry first took office he talked of changing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's calculus.

Assad "needs to know that he can't shoot his way out of this," Kerry said in March at a Rome meeting with members of the Syrian opposition.

When he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov first conceived the idea of bringing the regime and the opposition together for peace talks in Geneva, they believed strengthened international support for both the political opposition and rebel forces would leave the Syrian leader ready to negotiate his own ouster.

U.S. policy since then has had the opposite effect.
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