Stay Connected


President Barack Obama gestures while speaking at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council annual meeting in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. Obama answered questions on the economy, the problems with the new health care law roll out, immigration reform, and negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
FILE - This is a Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, file photo of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, as he updates the audience on the results of his bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry alongside Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a address and discussion hosted by the Asia Society and the Council on Foreign Relations at the Hilton Hotel in New York. Iran has suddenly gone public with a significant concession just days ahead of a new round of talks with six world powers later this week in Geneva. It still insists that it has a right to the program, but it now says that the six no longer need to publicly acknowledge its claim, opening a way to sidestep the dispute and focus on more practical steps both sides can agree on. Less than two months ago, President Hassan Rouhani conditioned any agreement on recognition by the United States and its allies of such a right. But with both sides hoping to seal a deal at meetings that start Wednesday Nov. 20, 2013, Tehran tweaked its message last Sunday (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, file photo,  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, listens as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, updates the audience on the results of his bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, during a address and discussion hosted by the Asia Society and the Council on Foreign Relations at the Hilton Hotel in New York. Iran has suddenly gone public with a significant concession just days ahead of a new round of talks with six world powers that begin Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 in Geneva. It still insists that it has a right to enrich uranium, but it now says that the six no longer need to publicly acknowledge its claim, opening a way to sidestep the dispute and focus on more practical steps both sides can agree on. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, following a meeting with President Barack Obama. The President met with chairmen, ranking members, as well as other members of the Senate Banking Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Armed Services Committees, and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding Iran. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Iranian Jewish men pray in Hebrew during a gathering of Iran's Jewish community outside a U.N. office in Tehran, Iran, Nov. 19, 2013. Hundreds of Iranians including university students and members of the country's Jewish community rallied Tuesday in support of the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear program on the eve of the resumption of talks with world powers. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi) Iranian Jewish men pray in Hebrew during a gathering of Iran's Jewish community Iranian Jews hold a banner during a gathering of Iran's Jewish community outside a U.N. office in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. Hundreds of Iranians including university students and members of the country's Jewish community rallied Tuesday in support of the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear program on the eve of the resumption of talks with world powers. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi) An Iranian Jewish man walks past a banner during a gathering of Iran's Jewish community in front of the U.N. office in Tehran, Iran, Nov. 19, 2013. Hundreds of Iranians including university students and members of the country's Jewish community rallied Tuesday in support of the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear program on the eve of the resumption of talks with world powers. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi) An Iranian Jewish man walks past a banner during a gathering of Iran's Jewish community Iranian Jews hold a banner during a gathering of Iran's Jewish community outside a U.N. office in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. Hundreds of Iranians including university students and members of the country's Jewish community rallied Tuesday in support of the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear program on the eve of the resumption of talks with world powers. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Obama plunges ahead toward Iran nuclear deal


WASHINGTON (AP) — On the eve of new talks, President Barack Obama is plunging ahead in search of a nuclear agreement with Iran despite outright opposition from American allies in the Middle East and deep skepticism, if not open hostility, from Congress.

Iran is pressing ahead in its own way, trying to make a deal more likely to ease painful economic sanctions without losing its own hardliners at home.

There was a fresh sign of efforts to make headway as negotiators from Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany prepared for Wednesday’s new round of talks in Geneva. British Prime Minister David Cameron contacted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the first such conversation between the leaders of the two countries in more than a decade.

Cameron’s office said the leaders agreed during their telephone conversation that significant progress had been made in recent talks and that it was important to “seize the opportunity” in this week’s new negotiations.

Obama’s willingness to embrace a pact that falls short of Security Council demands for Iran to halt uranium enrichment has pushed his administration’s already contentious relationship with Israel to the brink, strained ties with Gulf Arab states and exacerbated tensions with Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Although everyone claims to have to same goal — preventing Iran from developing atomic weapons — the rancorous, public disagreement over how to achieve it has driven a wedge between the administration and those who the administration insists will benefit most from a deal.

Opponents say Iran is getting too much in the way of sanctions relief for too little in the way of concessions. And, they argue, Iran just can’t be trusted. Obama and his national security team counter that the risk is worth taking. The alternative, they say, is a path to war that no one wants.

In the run-up to the new talks, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani conceded a longstanding demand that Iran’s right to enrich uranium must be recognized in any deal, and that incited opposition from hardliners in the his country. Also, speaking to reporters in Rome while en route to the negotiations, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif accused Israel of trying to “torpedo” a possible agreement.

Obama, along with Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, personally appealed to senators in a White House meeting to hold off on seeking additional sanctions in order to test Iran’s seriousness in addressing concerns it is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

“We have the opportunity to halt the progress of the Iranian program and roll it back in key respects, while testing whether a comprehensive resolution can be achieved,” the White House said in a statement after the two-hour meeting Tuesday. It said if there is not an initial agreement, Iran will keep making progress on increasing enrichment capacity, growing its stockpiles of enriched uranium, installing new centrifuges and developing a plutonium reactor in the city of Arak.



Back to National
Top Stories of the Week

Man charged in March drug raid arrested again by Meriden …
MERIDEN — Police surveillance led to the arrest of two people on drug charges last week, including a 25-year-old city man previously arrested in March … more ...

Last copper beech planted by prominent Meriden industrialist cut down …
MERIDEN — The last of three European copper beech trees planted along Broad Street 150 years ago by prominent industrialist Jebediah Wilcox was cut down … more ...

Top 5 stories on MyRecordJournal.com this week …
Here are the top 5, most clicked stories on MyRecordJournal.com this week. Father of Southington teen killed in car crash helps others heal “I recently … more ...

City market sold to Durham investor …
MERIDEN — The former George’s East Side Market and Deli on South Curtis Street sold to a Durham investor who plans to renovate the vacant … more ...

Meriden man accused of “groping” co-worker in Cheshire …
CHESHIRE — A Meriden man accused of “groping” a co-worker was released on $10,000 bond and is due to appear in court next week, police … more ...

Comments