Iran Nuclear Deal a First Step - The Obama administration moved quickly to sell the agreement to nervous U.S. allies, particularly Israel, and to persuade lawmakers not to push ahead with new economic sanctions that could prompt Iran to abandon the six-month freeze on its nuclear program set under the accord. In interviews, Secretary of State John F. Kerry defended the deal, saying that the United States and its allies believe that the agreement ensures Iran will either abide by the terms or face the reinstatement of measures that have crippled the country’s economy.
“We have no illusions. We don’t do this on the basis of somebody’s statements to you. We do it on the basis of actions that can be verified,” he told CNN.
Kerry also acknowledged that keeping the deal on track could prove to be more arduous than securing the landmark agreement had been.
“The next phase, let me be clear, will be even more difficult, and we need to be honest about it,” he told reporters after the pact’s first phase was approved by diplomats from Iran and six major world powers. “But it will also be even more consequential.” The Washington Post has more here.
Syria Peace Talks To Begin January 22 - An international peace conference aimed at ending Syria's civil war will be held on January 22, the first face-to-face talks between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels seeking to overthrow him, the United Nations said on Monday.
The United Nations is hoping for a peaceful transition in Syria, building on an agreement between world powers reached in June last year. The deal calls for the warring sides to agree to set up a transitional governing body with full executive powers, including over military and security entities.
"We will go to Geneva with a mission of hope," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.
The announcement came as Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi met senior U.S. and Russian officials in Geneva in his latest effort to get negotiations on track to end a war, now in its third year, that has killed more than 100,000 people. Reuters.com has more here.
Obama To Call on Congress to Pass Immigration Reform - President Obama on Monday will call on Congress to pass “commonsense immigration reform,” according to a White House official.
Obama will speak Monday morning in San Francisco, urging House Republicans to take up the issue as soon as possible.
Obama will highlight key principles that must be a part of any bipartisan comprehensive effort, the official said, including continuing to strengthen border security, creating an earned path to citizenship, holding employers accountable and bringing our immigration system into the 21st century. TheHill.com has more here.
President Marks as Manager Drop in New CNN Poll - Only four out of 10 Americans believe President Barack Obama can manage the federal government effectively, according to a new national poll.
And a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning also indicates that 53% of Americans now believe that Obama is not honest and trustworthy, the first time that a clear majority in CNN polling has felt that way. CNN.com has more here.
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Monday, November 25, 2013
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:49 AM