(Reuters) – The United States and Iran resumed negotiations on Thursday aimed at clinching a nuclear deal before a March 31 deadline, and officials close to the talks said some kind of preliminary agreement between Tehran and six powers was possible.
As the talks began, Washington and Tehran took opposing stands on Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen against rebels allied to Iran who are fighting to oust the country’s president, but it was unclear whether this would affect the nuclear talks.
The goal of the negotiations, underway for nearly 18 months, is an accord under which Iranwould halt sensitive nuclear work for at least a decade. In exchange, international sanctions on Iran would be lifted under the deal to end its 12-year nuclear standoff with the West and reduce the risk of another war in the Middle East.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz met their Iranian counterparts, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi in the Swiss city of Lausanne.
Earlier, Iranian media quoted Zarif as condemning the Saudi-led military operation against the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi fighters in Yemen, and demanding that it stop.
By contrast, Kerry spoke to the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council members on Thursday and welcomed their decision to take action against the Houthis, a senior U.S. official said.
However, neither Kerry nor Zarif responded when asked by a reporter in Lausanne to comment on the air strikes.
Speaking to reporters traveling with Kerry from Washington on Wednesday, a senior State Department official said the six powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany,Russia and China – would not rush to complete a framework agreement with Iran just because there was a March 31 deadline.
But the official said the parties had made progress at last week’s inconclusive round of negotiations in Lausanne.
“We very much believe we can get this done by the 31st,” the official said. “We see a path to do that.” The official added, however, that there was no guarantee of success.
Israel, Saudi Arabia, France and U.S. Congress have all raised concerns that the administration of President Barack Obama might be willing to conclude a deal that would allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability in the future.
The official said: “Any political understanding needs to address in some way all of the elements of a final agreement.”
“We do not know what form this will take … We have always said it needs to have specifics. We will need to communicate as many specifics as possible in some form or fashion (to the public and U.S. Congress).”
Those elements include the different ways to a nuclear weapon, ensuring that it would take Iran at least one year to produce enough high enriched uranium for a single bomb, research and development into advanced centrifuges, transparency measures and monitoring, and sanctions relief for Iran.
FABIUS TO JOIN TALKS
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, opposes the idea of a two-step process. Iranian officials say they fear a written framework accord would curtail Tehran’s negotiating space for a final deal by the end of June.
Iranian officials have also suggested they could accept some kind of statement or political declaration in Lausanne, as opposed to a formal written agreement.
Officials close to the talks said deep disagreements remained between Tehran and the powers, while divisions had also emerged in recent weeks between the United States andFrance on what to demand of Tehran.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will go to Lausanne on Saturday to join the talks, a ministry spokesman said.
Iran denies Western allegations it is seeking the capability to procure atomic weapons. But Israel, which is believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, has previously threatened Iran with military attack.
With the Republican-led U.S. Congress threatening to vote on new sanctions against Iran if there is no agreement this month, the Obama administration is pushing hard to secure a deal. Obama has vowed to veto any new sanctions moves.
Other officials said some kind of agreement in Lausanne was possible. “The aim is to get a sort of memorandum of understanding that would be enough for Americans to take to Congress and the Iranians to keep to Khamenei’s demand,” said a Western diplomat involved in the talks.
“The aim is to get something out by Sunday, although the deadline is March 31,” the official added.
The main obstacle, Western officials say, remains Iran’s refusal to compromise on sanctions, research and development and other issues.
Even if there is a deal in the next few days, the U.S. official said much work will remain between now and the end of June to work out technical details. And there was no guarantee the talks would not collapse later.
The six powers and Iran have twice extended talks on a long term accord after missing deadlines in the wake of an interim agreement struck in 2013.
(additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi; editing by Andrew Hay and David Stamp)
Muslim inbreeding dragging Britain back to the 19th century
Britain is seeing an alarming spike in birth defects, defects they have not seen since the end of the 19th century. There is a one-word explanation: Islam.
The resurgence of these birth defects is due to the prevalence of first cousin marriages in the Muslim community, particularly among immigrants from Pakistan. Such marriages are legal in Britain, to be sure, but by the late 1800s the risk of birth defects in the children of such unions had become so common and so widely known that the practice virtually vanished. (First cousin marriages, which are not specifically banned in Scripture, are illegal in about half the states in the U.S., which is the only country in which such marriages are prohibited anywhere.)
An article in the London Telegraph (which doesn’t use the word “Islam” anywhere in the article, and waits til the 12th paragraph to mention the word “Pakistani”) opens this way (emphasis mine):
Bradford coroner Mark Hinchliffe spoke out after being told how two-year-old Hamza Rehman died as a result of a brain disorder.
An inquest heard how the child suffered from daily fits and vomiting as a result of a condition probably arising from his parents being too closely related.
The boy’s father, Abdul, broke down and wept as the court heard that if he had lived he would have suffered severe learning difficulties.
Through a translator, Mr Rehman, from Bradford, West Yorks, explained that he and his wife, Rozina, were first cousins.
“We were very anxious whether to have more children,” he told the court. “We have recently had another baby with the same problems again.”
After expressing his “profound sympathy to the family” Mr Hinchliffe said the cause of death “arose as a direct consequence of the neurological developmental disorder.”
He said the family had lost another child through a similar disorder and a third child born had now “presented with difficulties.”
Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, Mr Hinchliffe added: “On the face of it this case highlights a cultural and religious issue relating to first cousin marriages and the potential risk of medical difficulty that some medical experts say can result from such unions.”
Pakistani parents in Britain are responsible for 3.4% of all births in England, yet shockingly account for 30% of all children born with recessive gene disorders. This is because the acceptability of first-cousin marriages is engrained in Muslim culture. In Bradford, 55% of all Pakistanis are married to their first cousins.
Even though Pakistanis represent just 15% of Bradford’s population, Bradford has the second highest number of infant deaths in England, and Pakistani parents are 13 times more likely than the general population to have children with birth disorders. (This according to a study by St. Luke’s Hospital in Bradford.)
According to The Guardian, intermarriage between first cousins doubles the risk that children will be born with birth defects. The difficulty of purging this harmful practice will be especially difficult because it is an established religious as well as cultural practice in the Muslim community.
In Norway, the incidence of first-cousin Pakistani unions is slowly declining, but this is due only to a concerted campaign to inform Muslims of the risk.
There are no quick fixes, which means the U.K. will continue to labor under this burden for decades to come. With Britain’s socialized medicine, the excessive costs of providing lifetime care for patients with birth defects will fall entirely on British taxpayers. And this doesn’t account for the enormous social costs associated with providing education and employment opportunities for this demographic group.
In the worldwide Muslim community, first-cousin marriage rates routinely run as high as 50%, while the rate is about 1% in Europe and 0.2% in the U.S. With unrestrained Muslim immigration the trend du jour, Europe is about to be hit with a medical tsunami which would be entirely avoidable with sensible immigration policies. Alas, the Western world is likely to awaken only after it is too late.
Winston Churchill presciently said 120 years ago, “[T]he influence of the religion (i.e., Islam) paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.” (Emphasis mine.)
Islam is pulling British society in a backwards direction. Apart from a spirited revival of the Christian faith and some severe, Donald-Trump style restrictions on Muslim immigration, the United States will be next.
THE UNITED STATES OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZES JERUSALEM AS ISRAEL’S CAPITAL
On Wednesday, December 06, 2017, President Donald Trump declared that the United States officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. President Trump also indicated that the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv would be moved to Jerusalem.
Israel had declared Jerusalem as its capital since its founding in 1948. Previous U.S. presidents have remained neutral on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to appease Israel’s Arab neighbors, but Trump declared that every sovereign nation has the right to declare the location of its own capital.
There are a few notable observations of Scripture prophetic significance concerning the historic announcement by President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
2017 represents a jubilee (50-year) time period since Israel’s Six Day War of 1967, and before that another jubilee (50-year) time period since the Balfour Declaration of 1917 by the British government announcing support for a homeland for the Jewish people in the land of Israel.
President Trump’s Jerusalem announcement on December 6th was declared just six days before Hanukkah, the 12-day Feast of Dedication (John 10:22), which begins December 12th.
The United States’ official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital brings Israel one political step closer to fulfilling the rebuilding of their Third Temple, on the Temple Mount site, where the Dome on the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosques currently sit. In the decades to come these mosques will come down and be relocated by Muslims. Israel’s Third Temple will be erected on its Temple Mount site and Scripture prophecy will be fulfilled, as it is written (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 11:1).
TRUMP TO UN ON NORTH KOREA: We will “totally destroy” them if they attack us or our allies.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump addressed the United Nation, discussing one of the most recent conflicts pertaining to U.S. national security. President Trump discussed the North Korea nuclearization situation, and threatened to “totally destroy” them if the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies.
“The United States has great strength and patience,” Trump continued, “but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
He also told the assembly that the country is operated by a “depraved regime.”
The President called upon other nations to work together, striving to cease doing business with and isolate the country, until it decides to discontinue its nuclear program and aggressive threats.
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