No. 2 House Dem blasts 'irresponsible' Iran comments
January 14th, 2014
05:35 PM ET

No. 2 House Dem blasts 'irresponsible' Iran comments

By Deirdre Walsh

Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, blasted as "irresponsible" comments by Obama administration officials who have suggested that lawmakers pushing for tighter sanctions on Iran are increasing the risk of war.

Hoyer, of Maryland, didn't name names, but an aide said he was referring to several comments from various officials over the past month.

The New York Times quoted Obama's deputy national security adviser, Benjamin Rhodes, on the subject on Tuesday.

"It just stands to reason if you close the diplomatic option, you're left with a difficult choice of waiting to see if sanctions cause Iran to capitulate, which we don't think will happen, or considering military action," Rhodes said, according to the paper.
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Iran nukes: 'secret' side deal or face-saving attempt?
January 14th, 2014
12:51 PM ET

Iran nukes: 'secret' side deal or face-saving attempt?

 

By Elise Labott

Global powers and Iran are preparing to carry out an interim deal to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for easing some economic sanctions while they try to negotiate a comprehensive agreement.

Successful implementation may ultimately revolve around previously unreported details about Iranian rights regarding its nuclear program that were included in a 30-page side bar to the six-month agreement that takes effect on January 20.

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Clock ticking on Iran talks, possible further U.S. sanctions
January 13th, 2014
04:01 PM ET

Clock ticking on Iran talks, possible further U.S. sanctions

By Tom Cohen

The clock is ticking on an interim nuclear deal with Iran, as well as efforts in Congress to pass new sanctions for greater leverage in global negotiations on a comprehensive accord.

Sunday's announcement that a six-month interim agreement formally begins on January 20 means that Iran must dismantle or freeze some of its nuclear program and open it to more international inspections in return for limited relief from crippling international sanctions.

Assuming all goes as planned, further negotiations between Iran and the United States, France, Russia, China, Great Britain and Germany will seek a broader agreement intended to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, pro-Israel members of Congress are seeking additional sanctions against Iran that would take effect if the talks break down.

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Iran to start eliminating uranium stockpile January 20, White House says
January 12th, 2014
02:21 PM ET

Iran to start eliminating uranium stockpile January 20, White House says

By Catherine E. Shoichet

Save the date: Iran has pledged to start eliminating some of its uranium stockpile on January 20, the White House said Sunday.

That gives an official start time for the six-month interim deal with Iran, which was first announced in November.

"As of that day, for the first time in almost a decade, Iran's nuclear program will not be able to advance, and parts of it will be rolled back, while we start negotiating a comprehensive agreement to address the international community's concerns about Iran's program," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement Sunday.

Iranian officials also confirmed the start date for the deal, state media reported.

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Iran sanctions bill moves toward veto-proof majority in Senate
January 10th, 2014
12:54 PM ET

Iran sanctions bill moves toward veto-proof majority in Senate

By Jim Sciutto

The Obama administration's efforts to negotiate a final deal with Iran over its nuclear program faces a potential new hurdle as the Senate moves toward a veto-proof majority supporting legislation authorizing new economic sanctions on Iran.
The bipartisan proposal introduced by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, now has 59 senators who have formally committed to support it, a senior Senate aide tells CNN.

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Senators propose new Iran sanctions bill, White House opposed
December 19th, 2013
03:42 PM ET

Senators propose new Iran sanctions bill, White House opposed

CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto

Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday that would authorize new economic sanctions on Iran if it breaches an interim agreement to limit its nuclear program or fails to strike a final accord terminating those ambitions.

The proposal led by by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, and Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican, emerged despite Obama administration appeals for Congress to defer pursuing new sanctions with diplomatic efforts ongoing.

December 17th, 2013
02:00 PM ET

Levinson family wants meeting with FBI chief James Comey

By: CNN National Correspondent Susan Candiotti

The family of long-missing former FBI agent Robert Levinson has renewed its request for a meeting with the bureau's new director following reports Levinson had been working for the CIA when he vanished, the family's lawyer said Monday.

Levinson disappeared on a trip to Iran in 2007, and U.S. officials say they have no idea where he is now. The Associated Press and The Washington Post reported last week that he had been working as a contractor for the CIA, but the White House said Levinson "was not a U.S. government employee" when he disappeared.

Reports: American who went missing in Iran worked for CIA
Daniel Levinson (L) shows a picture of his father, ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, holding his grandson Ryan during a press conference with his mother Christine at the Swiss embassy in Tehran, 22 December 2007.
December 13th, 2013
09:02 AM ET

Reports: American who went missing in Iran worked for CIA

By Susan Candiotti and Catherine E. Shoichet

A former FBI agent who went missing in Iran was working for the CIA there, not conducting private business as officials have previously claimed, The Associated Press and the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Both the State Department and Bob Levinson's family have long denied he was working for the U.S. government when he disappeared on a trip to Iran in 2007.

But Thursday's reports from the Washington Post and the AP claim that Levinson had been on a CIA mission to dig up information.

A source who's involved in the matter told CNN that there's proof that Levinson worked for the CIA undercover and under contract while also working as a private investigator.

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Filed under: CIA • Iran • Security Brief
First on CNN: Memo: Iranians may have exploited visa program
December 12th, 2013
03:12 PM ET

First on CNN: Memo: Iranians may have exploited visa program

Updated 8:51 p.m., 12/12/2013

By Evan Perez

The Homeland Security Department has investigated whether Iranian operatives exploited a controversial U.S. visa program for immigrant investors, according to a DHS memo revealed on Thursday.

 
The EB-5 program has existed since 1990 but has exploded in popularity in recent years. It allows foreigners to obtain residency status, or a green card, for a $1 million investment in the United States.

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December 12th, 2013
01:54 PM ET

Wife of U.S. pastor held in Iran pleads for his freedom

CNN's Ashley Frantz

The wife of an American pastor imprisoned in Iran pleaded with a House subcommittee on foreign affairs Thursday to do something to free her husband.

Naghmeh Abedini said that her husband, Saeed Abedini, went to Iran to build an orphanage but was imprisoned unjustly because of his Christian beliefs.

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