Iran

Chris Jensen for NHPR

President Obama says all of Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon are cut off under a landmark agreement announced today. 

File photos / NHPR

New Hampshire’s US Senators say they’re going to carefully review the details of the nuclear deal announced today between Iran and several world powers.

In a statement, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte calls the deal quote “an historic capitulation,” saying it lacks the ability to make sure Iran complies with the terms of the deal.

Democrat Jeanne Shaheen says she’s also concerned about how to keep Iran honest, but she’s less critical of the deal.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire said Monday that despite recent negotiation setbacks, she has no regrets in joining 46 other Republican Senators earlier this month in signing a letter addressed to Iran.

The letter warned Iranian leaders that any nuclear deal signed with President Obama would not last past his second term if Congress was not allowed to weigh in.

The Senators have received flak from colleagues across the aisle, arguing that the letter only stalled negotiations further putting the country at risk.

U.S.-Iran Relations And The Nuclear Negotiations

Feb 24, 2015
U.S. Department of State / Flickr/CC

After years of diplomatic false-starts, a deal over Iran’s nuclear program may finally be in sight. But as negotiators race to reach agreement by the end of March deadline, domestic politics, international relations, and a long history of mistrust threaten to derail what many see as a last best chance for a diplomatic solution.

GUESTS:

Karim Kadim / AP via NPR

A powerful group of radical Islamists has been overwhelming Iraqi cities and towns. The stunning onslaught has the capital Baghdad now girding for battle and the U.S. grappling with how best to deal with the threat. We’ll look at the situation there and at American options.

GUESTS:

An Opening In Iran?

Sep 30, 2013
757Live / Flickr Creative Commons

After more than three decades of tension and distrust, a new President and his charm offensive have caused hopes for better relations. But skepticism remains… about what Iran’s intentions are – and how other actors like Syria and Israel could play a role.

GUESTS:

Bill Martel, professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. His most recent book is called "Victory in War"

Iran's suspect nuclear program will again be in the spotlight this weekend when negotiators from Iran and six international powers meet in Istanbul.

Iran was reluctant to have Turkey host the meeting, reflecting Iran's growing unhappiness with Turkish foreign policy moves, especially its call for regime change in Syria, Iran's key ally in the Arab world.

Analyst and columnist Yavuz Baydar says Turkey has stuck its neck out for Iran in the past, defending what it calls Iran's peaceful nuclear energy program and even voting against U.N. sanctions on Iran two years ago.

For the first time in more than a year, diplomats from Iran will meet with representatives from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China — plus Germany.

The meeting, to be held in Istanbul this weekend, will focus on Iran's controversial nuclear program.

When similar talks have taken place in the past, Iranian officials tended to use the sessions to complain about the ways the U.S. and the West have treated Iran badly, and little actual negotiating got done.

Photo by Hapal via Flickr Creative Commons

Late last week, an investigative report from Reuters’ Enterprise Team uncovered the details of a big money contract between the Chinese telecommunications equipment company ZTE and the Telecommunication Company of Iran that included technology that can be used to conduct surveillance and crack down on dissidents. The details of the deal revealed surprising end-runs being made by Iran around global sanctions.

No nation has been sanctioned so frequently, and so thoroughly, as the Islamic Republic of Iran. For more than 30 years, the country has been under some kind of punitive economic measure.

The goal has been to prevent Iran from receiving and using the billions of dollars in oil profits that finance its nuclear program.

But none have been tougher, according to President Obama, than the sanctions his administration has imposed on Iran's banking system.

A War With Iran: Rhetoric Or A Reality?

Mar 10, 2012

In recent weeks and days, the divisions over how to deal with Iran and its nuclear program have sharpened. The only undisputed fact is that Iran is developing a nuclear energy program, but after that things get murky.

Israel and some European countries believe Iran is moving toward a nuclear weapons program, but U.S. intelligence agencies disagree. Israel argues that a nuclear-armed Iran poses an existential threat, and there's much speculation in the media about a possible Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear sites.

In several hours of talks, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to have different timelines and red lines on the issue of Iran's nuclear program: Obama said he prefers diplomacy and pressure; the Israeli leader made clear his country reserves the right to attack pre-emptively, saying Israel must remain master of its fate.

The troubled relationship between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency doesn't appear to be getting any better.

Back in February, senior agency delegations traveled twice to Iran to clarify its concerns about possible nuclear weapons work.

And on Monday, the head of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, said Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation that would allow the agency to give credible assurances that Iran's nuclear work is entirely peaceful.

Iran holds parliamentary elections on Friday, the first since the disputed, and many believe fraudulent, presidential election in 2009.

But unlike that presidential poll, candidates seeking to take on the country's conservative rulers will not be taking part Friday; they are mostly under house arrest or have been in prison for years now.

The focus will be on which conservatives end up on top and how many votes are cast.

Oil prices have jumped sharply in the past two weeks, and the price of gasoline is also moving up. Across the country, a gallon of regular costs nearly $3.60 on average, with some areas facing $4 gas. That's causing sticker shock at the pump, and concern that rising prices could derail the economic recovery.

According to Daniel Yergin of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, gas prices are up because of the West's current confrontation with Iran and sanctions over that country's nuclear program.

It was one of the more surreal photo ops this week: Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, live on Iranian TV, visiting a nuclear reactor. Ahmadinejad trumpeted his country's nuclear progress, but denied, once again, that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

In Washington, officials weren't buying it.

They rushed to repeat the official U.S. line — a line President Obama himself is fond of delivering.

"Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal," he said.

Iran has unveiled significant developments on two important components of its nuclear program: the centrifuges used to enrich uranium and the uranium used to fuel a research reactor.

The country has made no secret of its work in these areas. But the news on Wednesday suggests that Iran may be making progress in its nuclear program.

Iran also announced that it is cutting off oil sales to several European nations, only to reverse itself hours later.

The dispute over Iran's nuclear program has again rocked oil markets. And Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is just 34 miles wide yet serves as the passageway for 20 percent of the world's oil.

This is not a new drama. In fact, it was a recurring issue in the 1980s. Still, there's been relatively little activity among Gulf oil producers to find alternative routes to get their oil to market.