Up To The Hour News About The Fukushima Meltdown

Deal near in Iran nuclear talks?

[Breaking news update, posted at 3:09 p.m. ET]



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US Says Enough Progress Made in Iran Nuclear Talks to Extend Talks to Wednesday

US says enough progress made in Iran nuclear talks to extend talks to Wednesday



Read The Full Article Here: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/us-progress-made-iran-nuclear-talks-extend-talks-30032870

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U.S. Says Enough Progress Made In Iran Nuclear Talks To Extend To Wednesday

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — US says enough progress made in Iran nuclear talks to extend talks to Wednesday.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers will pass the negotiators’ self-imposed Tuesday night deadline to produce the outline of an agreement and will be extended by at least a day, the United States said.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said enough progress had been made to warrant an extension, although there still were “several difficult issues” to bridge. Secretary of State John Kerry who had planned to leave the talks on Tuesday will remain until Wednesday, she said.

Diplomats said China’s foreign minister had left the talks to return to Beijing and would be represented by his deputy. U.S. officials said they were prepared to continue to negotiate into Wednesday if it could lead to a framework accord.

An Iranian negotiator, meanwhile, said his team could stay “as long as necessary” to clear the remaining hurdles.

In Washington, White House press secretary Josh Earnest suggested that talks meant to produce an outline that would allow the sides to continue negotiations until the June 30 final deadline had not bridged all gaps. But he said that the sides were working to produce a text with few specifics, accompanied by documents outlining areas where further talks were needed.

“If it’s necessary — and, when I say if it’s necessary I mean if it’s midnight and a deal has not been reached but the conversations continue to be productive — we’ll be prepared to continue the talks into tomorrow,” he told reporters. “If we are making progress toward the finish line, than we should keep going.”

Officials said earlier Tuesday they hoped to wrap up the talks by the deadline with a joint general statement agreeing to start a new phase of negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear program. That statement would be accompanied by more detailed documents that would include technical information on understandings of steps required on all sides to resolve outstanding concerns.

Those documents would allow the sides to claim that the new phase of talks is not simply a continuation of negotiations that have already been twice extended since an interim agreement between Iran and the so-called P5+1 nations — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — was concluded in November 2013.

President Barack Obama and other leaders have said they are not interested in a third extension.

After six-days of intense negotiations in the Swiss town of Lausanne, though, obstacles remained on uranium enrichment, where stockpiles of enriched uranium should be stored, limits on Iran’s nuclear research and development and the timing and scope of sanctions among other issues, according to negotiators.

If the parties agree only to a broad framework that leaves key details unresolved, Obama can expect stiff opposition from members of Congress who want to move forward with new Iran sanctions legislation. Lawmakers had agreed to hold off on such a measure through March while the parties negotiated.

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renewed his severe criticism of the unfolding deal, saying it would leave intact much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, including underground research facilities, a plutonium reactor and advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium.

The U.S. says any final deal will stretch the time Iran would need to make a nuclear weapon from several months to a year. But Netanyahu said Washington initially promised “years” to a breakout time.

“In our estimate, it will be reduced to perhaps a year, most likely much less than that,” he said.

The softening of the language from a framework “agreement” to a framework “understanding” appeared due in part to opposition to a two-stage agreement from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Earlier this year, he demanded only one deal that nails down specifics and does not permit the other side to “make things difficult” by giving it wiggle room on interpretations.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who had left Lausanne on Monday, returned to the talks on Tuesday, saying that he believed prospects for an agreement were “good.”

Kerry and others, including Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have said the sides have made some progress. Other officials have said Iran is considering demands for further cuts to its uranium enrichment program but pushing back on how long it must limit technology it could use to make atomic arms.

Officials in Lausanne said the sides were advancing on limits to aspects of Iran’s program to enrich uranium, which can be used to make the core of a nuclear warhead.

Uranium enrichment has been the chief concern for more than a decade. But Western officials say the main obstacles to a deal are no longer enrichment-related.

Tehran says it wants to enrich only for energy, science, industry and medicine. But many countries fear Iran could use the technology to make weapons-grade uranium.

___

White House Correspondents Julie Pace and Darlene Superville contributed to this story.



Read The Full Article Here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/31/iran-nuclear-talks_n_6979370.html?utm_hp_ref=world&ir=WorldPost

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Israeli Premier: Nuclear Deal Will ‘Pave the Way’ for Iran

Israeli prime minister says nuclear deal will ‘pave the way’ for Iran to develop atomic bombs



Read The Full Article Here: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/israeli-premier-nuclear-deal-pave-iran-30028508

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Who Are the Nuclear Scofflaws?

Given all the frothing by hawkish U.S. Senators about Iran’s possible development of nuclear weapons, one might think that Iran was violating the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

But it’s not. The NPT, signed by 190 nations, and in effect since 1970, is a treaty in which the non-nuclear nations agreed to forgo developing nuclear weapons and the nuclear nations agreed to divest themselves of their nuclear weapons. It also granted nations the right to develop peaceful nuclear power. The current negotiations in which Iran is engaged with other nations are merely designed to guarantee that Iran, which signed the NPT, does not cross the line from developing nuclear power to developing nuclear weapons.

Nine nations, however, have flouted the NPT by either developing nuclear weapons since the treaty went into effect or failing to honor the commitment to disarm. These nine scofflaws and their nuclear arsenals are Russia (7,500 nuclear warheads), the United States (7,100 nuclear warheads), France (300 nuclear warheads), China (250 nuclear warheads), Britain (215 nuclear warheads), Pakistan (100-120 nuclear warheads), India (90-110 nuclear warheads), Israel (80 nuclear warheads) and North Korea (<10 nuclear warheads).

Nor are the nuclear powers likely to be in compliance with the NPT any time soon. The Indian and Pakistani governments are engaged in a rapid nuclear weapons buildup, while the British government is contemplating the development of a new, more advanced nuclear weapons system.

Although, in recent decades, the U.S. and Russian governments did reduce their nuclear arsenals substantially, that process has come to a halt in recent years, as relations have soured between the two nations. Indeed, both countries are currently engaged in a new, extremely dangerous nuclear arms race. The U.S. government has committed itself to spending $1 trillion to “modernize” its nuclear facilities and build new nuclear weapons. For its part, the Russian government is investing heavily in the upgrading of its nuclear warheads and the development of new delivery systems, such as nuclear missiles and nuclear submarines.

What can be done about this flouting of the NPT, some 45 years after it went into operation?

That will be a major issue at an NPT Review Conference that will convene at the UN headquarters, in New York City, from April 27 to May 22. These review conferences, held every five years, attract high-level national officials from around the world to discuss the treaty’s implementation. For a very brief time, the review conferences even draw the attention of television and other news commentators before the mass communications media return to their focus on scandals, arrests and the lives of movie stars.

This spring’s conference might be particularly lively, given the heightening frustration of the non-nuclear powers at the failure of the nuclear powers to fulfill their NPT commitments. At recent disarmament conferences in Norway, Mexico and Austria, the representatives of a large number of non-nuclear nations, ignoring the opposition of the nuclear powers, focused on the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear war. One rising demand among restless non-nuclear nations and among nuclear disarmament groups is to develop a nuclear weapons ban treaty, whether or not the nuclear powers are willing to participate in negotiations.

To heighten the pressure for the abolition of nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament groups are staging a Peace and Planet mobilization, in Manhattan, on the eve of the NPT review conference. Calling for a “Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World,” the mobilization involves an international conference (comprised of plenaries and workshops) on April 24 and 25, plus a culminating interfaith convocation, rally, march, and festival on April 26.

Among the hundreds of endorsing organizations are many devoted to peace (Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi, Peace Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Veterans for Peace, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom), environmentalism (Earth Action, Friends of the Earth, and 350NYC), religion (Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Unitarian Universalist UN Office, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist General Board of Church & Society), workers’ rights (New Jersey Industrial Union Council, United Electrical Workers and Working Families Party), and social welfare (American Friends Service Committee and National Association of Social Workers).

Of course, how much effect the proponents of a nuclear weapons-free world will have on the cynical officials of the nuclear powers remains to be seen. After as many as 45 years of stalling on their own nuclear disarmament, it is hard to imagine that they are finally ready to begin negotiating a treaty effectively banning nuclear weapons — or at least their nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, let us encourage Iran not to follow the bad example set by the nuclear powers. And let us ask the nuclear-armed nations, now telling Iran that it should forgo the possession of nuclear weapons, when they are going to start practicing what they preach.

This post originally appeared in TIME Magazine.

Lawrence Wittner (www.lawrenceswittner.com) is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. He is the author of Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement (Stanford University Press).



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Argentina, Bolivia sign agreement to develop nuclear energy

Argentina and Bolivia have signed a cooperation agreement to promote and develop infrastructure and institutions for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the Bolivian ministry of hydrocarbons and energy said on 28 March.



Read The Full Article Here: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-Argentina-Bolivia-sign-agreement-to-develop-nuclear-energy-31031504.html

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France’s larger reactors OK for 40 years, says regulator

ASN inspection 48 (ASN)French nuclear regulators have found no generic elements that would compromise the safety of the country’s 1300 MWe nuclear reactors over a 40-year operating life.



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Iran And World Powers Will Reportedly Continue Nuclear Talks In New Phase

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Wrapping up six days of marathon nuclear talks with mixed results, Iran and six world powers prepared Tuesday to issue a general statement agreeing to continue talks in a new phase aimed at reaching a final agreement to control Iran’s nuclear ambitions by the end of June, officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Officials had set a deadline of March 31 for a framework agreement, and later softened that wording to a framework understanding, between Iran and the so-called P5+1 nations — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. And after intense negotiations, obstacles remained on uranium enrichment, where stockpiles of enriched uranium should be stored, limits on Iran’s nuclear research and development and the timing and scope of sanctions relief among other issues.

The joint statement is to be accompanied by additional documents that outline more detailed understandings, allowing the sides to claim enough progress has been made thus far to merit a new round, the officials said. Iran has not yet signed off on the documents, one official said, meaning any understanding remains unclear.

The talks have already been extended twice as part of more than a decade of diplomatic attempts to curb Tehran’s nuclear advance.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the talks on the record.

If the parties agree only to a broad framework that leaves key details unresolved, President Barack Obama could face stiff opposition from members of Congress who want to move forward with new Iran sanctions legislation. Lawmakers had agreed to hold off on such a measure through March while the parties negotiated.

Obama has warned that passing new sanctions during the talks could upend the sensitive discussions.

The softening of the language from a framework “agreement” to a framework “understanding” appeared due in part to opposition to a two-stage agreement from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Earlier this year, he demanded only one deal that nails down specifics and does not permit the other side to “make things difficult” by giving it wiggle room on interpretations.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who left Lausanne Monday, was heading back to the Swiss city, also indicating that an end to the talks was near.

In Moscow, he told reporters: “Prospects for this round of negotiations were not bad, and I would even say good.”

Some of the P5+1′s foreign ministers joined Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the talks over the weekend in an intense effort to reach a political understanding on terms that would curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Kerry and others said the sides have made some progress, with Iran considering demands for further cuts to its uranium enrichment program but pushing back on how long it must limit technology it could use to make atomic arms. In addition to sticking points on research and development, differences remain on the timing and scope of sanctions removal, the officials said.

The Obama administration says any deal will stretch the time Iran needs to make a nuclear weapon from the present two to three months to at least a year. But critics object that it would keep Tehran’s nuclear technology intact.

Officials in Lausanne said the sides were advancing on limits to aspects of Iran’s program to enrich uranium, which can be used to make the core of a nuclear warhead.

Uranium enrichment has been the chief concern for more than a decade. But Western officials say the main obstacles to a deal are no longer enrichment-related but instead the type and length of restrictions on Tehran’s research and development of advanced centrifuges and the pace of sanctions-lifting.

Over the past weeks, Iran has moved from demanding that it be allowed to keep nearly 10,000 centrifuges enriching uranium, to agreeing to 6,000, plus another 480 centrifuges in the underground facility in Fordo that the Iranians say would be used only to enrich other elements used for peaceful purposes. The officials said Tehran now may be ready to accept even fewer.

Tehran says it wants to enrich only for energy, science, industry and medicine. But many countries fear Iran could use the technology to make weapons-grade uranium.

___

White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this story.



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Iran Nuclear Negotiations as Sticking Points Fester

The most contentious issues within the talks have yet to be resolved.



Read The Full Article Here: http://abcnews.go.com/International/iran-nuclear-talks-deadline-nears-sticking-points-fester/story?id=30015514

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HUFFPOLLSTER: Americans Favor A Nuclear Deal With Iran

Polls find support for a nuclear deal with Iran, but by varying margins. Clinton’s support drops in three swing states but she still runs ahead in Ohio and Pennsylvania. And Americans want to make voting easier, but not mandatory. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

POST/ABC FINDS SUPPORT FOR IRAN NUKE DEAL – Scott Clement and Peyton M. Craighill: “By a nearly 2 to 1 margin, Americans support the notion of striking a deal with Iran that restricts the nation’s nuclear program in exchange for loosening sanctions, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds. But the survey — released hours before Tuesday’s negotiating deadline — also finds few Americans are hopeful that such an agreement will be effective. Nearly six in 10 say they are not confident that a deal will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, unchanged from 15 months ago, when the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia reached an interim agreement with Iran aimed at sealing a long-term deal. Overall, the poll finds 59 percent support an agreement in which the United States and its negotiating partners lift major economic sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. Thirty-one percent oppose a deal….Republicans are about evenly divided on an Iran deal, with 47 percent in support and 43 percent opposed. The split contrasts with Republican lawmakers’ widespread backing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech deriding the potential deal in early March before a joint meeting of lawmakers.” [WashPost]

Pew poll finds support by narrower margin – Pew Research: “Ahead of a March 31 deadline for nuclear talks with Iran, more Americans approve (49%) than disapprove (40%) of the United States negotiating directly with Iran over its nuclear program. But the public remains skeptical of whether Iranian leaders are serious about addressing international concerns over their nuclear enrichment program. If a nuclear agreement is reached, most Americans (62%) want Congress to have final authority over the deal. Just 29% say President Obama should have final authority over any nuclear agreement with Iran. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 25-29 among 1,500 adults, finds that just 27% have heard a lot about the nuclear talks between the United States and Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland. Another 49% have heard a little about the negotiations, while 24% have heard nothing at all. Among those who have heard at least a little about the nuclear talks (76% of the public), 63% say Iranian leaders are not serious “about addressing international concerns about their country’s nuclear enrichment program.” [Pew]

Net negative ratings on US-Israel relations for Obama, Netanyahu – Gary Langer: “The [ABC/Post] poll finds both Obama and Netanyahu underwater in their handling of U.S.-Israel relations. Just 38 percent approve of Obama’s handling of relations with Israel, and 37 percent approve of Netanyahu’s work on relations with the United States. Fifty and 44 percent, respectively, disapprove. There’s vast partisanship in these views…Obama’s approval for handling relations with Israel ranges from 66 percent among Democrats to 34 percent of independents and a mere 8 percent of Republicans. Opinions on Netanyahu run the other way; 59 percent of Republicans approve of his handling of U.S. relations, vs. 37 percent of independents and just 21 percent of Democrats. Lastly, the poll finds essentially a split decision on the establishment of a Palestinian state, a cornerstone of U.S. policy that Netanyahu appeared to call into question during his recent re-election campaign. While many are undecided, 39 percent support establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while 36 percent are opposed. That’s backed off from 58-22 percent in a Gallup poll in June 2003, as the Bush administration pushed its ‘Roadmap for Peace.’” [ABC]

CLINTON SUPPORT DROPS IN SWING STATES – Quinnipiac: “Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s margins are down in matchups with possible 2016 Republican presidential candidates in three critical swing states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and in no state do voters say she’s honest and trustworthy, but she still runs best overall of any candidate… The closest contests are in Florida, where former Gov. Jeb Bush gets 45 percent to Clinton’s 42 percent, and Pennsylvania, where U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky gets 45 percent to Clinton’s 44 percent… The Swing State Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states. Clinton’s favorability rating is down in each state, but she still does better than Republican contenders, except for Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida… The gender gap remains wide as Clinton leads among women in every contest, by margins of 7 percentage points to 28 percentage points. Her margins among men range from a 3 percentage point lead to a 23-point deficit.” [Quinnipiac]

TOUGH BATTLE AHEAD FOR REPUBLICANS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE – HuffPollster: “There are a lot of potential hats in the ring to be the 2016 Republican candidate, and two new state polls suggest that New Hampshire voters have not yet identified a clear frontrunner. In a Franklin Pierce-Boston Herald poll asking which potential candidates respondents would be most likely to support as the Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker each received 15 percent of the votes. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) effectively tied with 13 percent, followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (10 percent), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (9 percent) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (7 percent). Ten percent of voters say they are undecided. Eighty-one percent of voters say they could change their mind before the day of the election. Only 19 percent say they are firm in their decision…** A Suffolk University poll conducted in New Hampshire…the same week as the Franklin Pierce-Boston Herald poll, finds Bush garnering support from 19 percent of respondents, followed by Walker at 14 percent**… HuffPost Pollster, which aggregates all publicly available polls on elections, also finds that the New Hampshire primary is shaping up to be competitive. According to these aggregated results, Bush has a slight lead (18 percent) over Walker (15 percent). [HuffPost]

Boston Herald, Franklin Pierce University to team up on election polling – Boston Herald: “Franklin Pierce University and the Boston Herald today announced an innovative partnership for expansive and exclusive coverage of the 2016 first-in-the-nation presidential primary in New Hampshire.” [Herald]

SUPPORT FOR EASIER REGISTRATION, BUT NOT MANDATORY VOTING – HuffPollster: “Earlier this month, Oregon became the first state in the nation to automatically register voters using data from the Department of Motor Vehicles, a move that stands in contrast to voting restrictions many states have enacted in recent years….Most Americans are in favor of enacting a similar proposal in their own state, a new survey finds. A 54 percent majority of Americans say they’d favor an automatic registration law in their state, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds, while 55 percent favor allowing eligible citizens to register on the day of an election. But there’s stringent opposition to making voting compulsory…While most non-registered voters, unsurprisingly, don’t consider low turnout a big problem, four in 10 support automatic registration, and most say they’d favor being able to register to vote on the day of an election….Just 22 percent of Americans agree that the government should work to get more people to vote in elections, with 71 percent saying it’s an individual’s own responsibility to decide whether to vote.” [HuffPost]

LATINO TURNOUT LOW IN 2014 – Matt Barreto: “Across the board voter turnout was down in 2014….Looking at Democratic losses in states such as Colorado, Florida and Illinois, some observers questioned whether Latino turnout in particular was even lower. While not all 50 states have data available on official validated vote in 2014 yet, most states have now reported vote history and we can assess what happened in the 2014 midterms….While turnout was generally low in 2014, among Latino registered voters it was even lower. For example, Latino turnout in Florida was only 36.5 percent compared to 50.5 percent statewide. In 2010, Census data suggest the Latino turnout rate was roughly equal to non-Latino turnout in Florida. In 2014, there was a significant decline in Latino turnout in Florida….In Colorado a similar story unfolded where the U.S. Senate election was decided by about 40,000 votes. Latino turnout [in Colorado] was 54.8 percent compared to 71.3 percent statewide among active registered voters in 2014. Had Latino turnout been equivalent to the statewide average about 52,000 additional Latino votes would have been cast. Across each state for which official vote history data is available in 2014, Latino turnout among those registered was significantly lower than the statewide average.” [HuffPost]

HUFFPOLLSTER VIA EMAIL! – You can receive this daily update every weekday morning via email! Just click here, enter your email address, and click “sign up.” That’s all there is to it (and you can unsubscribe anytime).

TUESDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ – Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-A strong majority of Americans support an international climate agreement. [HuffPost]

-Americans are split over whether businesses with religious objections must serve same-sex couples. [Pew]

-A slim majority of Americans supports the use of nuclear energy. [Gallup]

-Harry Enten questions Martin O’Malley’s credentials to position himself to the left of Hillary Clinton. [538]

-A new Chicago Tribune poll gives Rahm Emanuel a 58 to 30 percent lead over challengers Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. [Tribune, Pollster chart]

-Ben Lauderdale explains the 538 U.K. election forecasting model. [538]

-Kristen Soltis Anderson (R) finds young Republicans are positive about birth control and expect insurance to cover it. [National Campaign]

-Two sociologists propose a “new class of research instruments called wiki surveys.” [WashPost]



Read The Full Article Here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/31/iran-nuclear-deal_n_6975792.html?utm_hp_ref=world&ir=WorldPost

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