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March 20, 2023

Obama to push delay in new Iran sanctions

Representatives from Iran and the P5+1 group of nations will begin a new round of negotiations in Geneva today.
President Barack Obama was expected to directly appeal to lawmakers to delay any new sanctions against Iran while international negotiations aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear program continue. Obama hosted a meeting on Tuesday at the White House with the leaders of the Senate’s committees on banking, foreign relations, armed services and intelligence. According to Voice of America, he was due to give an update on the talks in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1, which are due to resume Wednesday, and continue his administration’s push to allow that diplomacy to take its course.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry said talks to limit Iran’s nuclear program do not threaten Israel’s security. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is campaigning against what he says is a “bad agreement” that does not require Iran to dismantle any of its nuclear activities.
With international nuclear negotiators reconvening in Geneva this week, Kerry says they remain united in ensuring that Iran never gets an atomic bomb.
A so-called “first step” agreement with Iran to pause its nuclear program and allow for talks on a longer-term agreement faces opposition in Israel and from some in the U.S. Congress.
Prime Minister Netanyahu told his cabinet Sunday that it is a “bad agreement.” He said tougher economic pressure of more sanctions “will be able to achieve the much-better result of a peaceful, diplomatic solution.”
Israel has long threatened to attack Iran to prevent it from developing an atomic bomb. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Monday that if Israel were to strike Iran in an effort to damage the country’s nuclear program, the United States would meet “some defined obligations” it has to the Middle East nation, CNN reported. “I feel like we have a deep obligation to Israel,” the military leader said. “That is why we are in constant contact and collaboration with them.”
Speaking to reporters following talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu, Kerry said he has great respect for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s concerns about Israeli security.
“As Turkey, we don’t want to see any nuclear weapon in the region. We don’t want any state obtaining nuclear weapons. But at the same time we are in favor of peaceful access of nuclear technology,” said Davutoglu.
On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned world powers trying to negotiate a deal over Iran’s nuclear programme that they should not make “excessive demands”, the BBC reports. He was quoted by an official website as telling Russian President Vladimir Putin that they could “complicate the process towards a win-win agreement”. The Kremlin said Mr Putin had stressed there was a “real chance” of a deal. Representatives from Iran and the P5+1 group of nations will begin a new round of negotiations in Geneva today.
Hollande: We won’t allow a nuclear-armed Iran
Francois Hollande, the French president, has told Israeli MPs that his country would not allow Iran to secure a nuclear weapon, saying that such a situation was a threat to Israel and the region. To loud applause inside the Israeli parliament, Hollande said: “We have nothing against Iran, or its people, but we cannot allow Iran to get nuclear arms as it is a threat to Israel and the region.” “We will maintain the sanctions as long as we are not certain that Iran has definitively renounced its military programme.”

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