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Thursday December 18th 2014

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Iran News – Yahoo!News

Obama has power to further weaken Cuba sanctions

By Anna Yukhananov and Alistair Bell WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has the power to further weaken U.S. sanctions against the Communist-run island beyond the normalization of relations with Havana that he announced on Wednesday, sanctions experts said. While the restoration of diplomatic ties to Havana after decades of animosity was a big breakthrough, the real obstacle to normal ties between the two countries is the decades-old embargo. With Republicans due to take control of both the U.S. …

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 1:24 am

Like Iran, secret diplomacy leads to US-Cuba thaw

Alan Gross, accompanied by his wife, Judy, speaks during a news conference at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after five years in a Cuban prison. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)WASHINGTON (AP) — Fresh off his 2012 re-election victory, President Barack Obama summoned senior advisers to a series of meetings, asking them to "think big" about a second-term agenda, including the possibilities of new starts with long-standing U.S. foes such as Iran and Cuba. Two years later, after painstaking secret diplomacy on separate but surprisingly similar tracks, efforts with Tehran and Havana are in full swing.

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 10:47 pm

Secret talks in Canada, Vatican City led to Cuba breakthrough

CUBA-USA/By Warren Strobel and Lesley Wroughton WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The historic breakthrough in U.S.-Cuban relations began in spring 2013, when President Barack Obama authorized secret talks with Havana, the same tactic he used to open nuclear negotiations with Iran. Months of talks in Canada and at the Vatican, involving one of Obama's closest aides, culminated on Tuesday when Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro spoke by phone for nearly an hour and gave final assent to steps that could end a half-century of enmity and reshape Western Hemisphere relations. Obama believed that "if there is any U. …

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 10:40 pm

After 53 years, time is right for US and Cuba

President Barack Obama is shown on a television screen with Spanish captions as a Spanish language television network shows his speech live inside a Cuban coffee shop, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Union City, N.J. Obama announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and an easing in economic and travel restrictions on Cuba Wednesday, declaring an end to America's "outdated approach" to the communist island in a historic shift aimed at ending a half-century of Cold War enmity. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)MEXICO CITY (AP) — After 53 years of hostility between the United States and Cuba, the timing to make amends was perfect for both governments.

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 10:13 pm

Iran calls nuclear talks ‘very useful’; next meeting in Jan

GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi said on Wednesday he had “very useful and helpful” nuclear negotiations with major powers in Geneva. Araqchi, speaking to reporters at the end of all-day closed-door talks, said there was an agreement to continue nuclear talks “next month” at a venue to be decided. “We had very intense negotiations. It was very useful and helpful,” Araqchi said, without giving details. The U.S. …

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 8:48 pm

After first big step, U.S. faces long path to forge ties to Cuba

By Alistair Bell WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The renewal of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba could be the start of a long thaw in decades of animosity but the path is full of obstacles, not least the U.S. sanctions on the Communist-run island. The embargo is enshrined in law, most notably the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, which tightened bans on U.S. trade with Cuba and Americans visiting the country. …

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 8:39 pm

In northeast Iraq, flashes of resistance against Islamic State militants

Upon a small card table set in the mud, on ground once controlled by the Islamic State, an Iraqi Army colonel unrolls his well-worn map of central and eastern Iraq.

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 5:23 pm

Aussie leader: Siege gunman dropped off watch list

People come to lay flowers to pay respect to the shooting victims at a temporary memorial site close to the Lindt cafe in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The siege ended early Tuesday with a barrage of gunfire that left two hostages and the Iranian-born gunman dead, and a nation that has long prided itself on its peace rocked to its core. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)SYDNEY (AP) — The gunman responsible for a deadly siege in a Sydney cafe was once on the national security agency's watch list, but was dropped off it years ago for reasons that remain unclear, Australia's prime minister said Wednesday.

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 3:37 pm

U.N. should stop funding Iran anti-drugs operations: rights groups

VIENNA (Reuters) – Six rights groups urged the United Nations anti-drugs agency on Wednesday to stop funding counter-narcotics police operations in Iran until Tehran ends the death penalty for such offences. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) confirmed it had received a letter from the groups, including U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, but had no comment on it. Because of a large number of executions, some countries, including Britain and Denmark, have in recent years stopped providing funding for UNODC drug control programs in Iran. …

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 3:13 pm

Hamas’ deputy chief says it has patched up ties with Iran

Deputy Hamas chief Moussa Abu Marzouk gestures during an interview with Reuters in Gaza CityBy Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) – Hamas and Iran have repaired a close political and military relationship frayed by the Syrian civil war, the Palestinian Islamist group's deputy leader said on Wednesday. Patching up ties with Tehran could ease Hamas's financial and political isolation. Israel is blockading the Gaza Strip, while Egypt, battling Islamist militants in neighboring Sinai, has largely kept its Gaza frontier closed. …

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 3:03 pm

Iran – Google News

Iran calls nuclear talks ‘very useful’; next meeting in Jan – Reuters


New York Times

Iran calls nuclear talks 'very useful'; next meeting in Jan
Reuters
GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi said on Wednesday he had "very useful and helpful" nuclear negotiations with major powers in Geneva. Araqchi, speaking to reporters at the end of all-day closed-door talks, said there was
In Iran, a 'Japanese solution'?The Hill (blog)
Iran's President Pledges to Face Down Forces Opposing a Nuclear DealNew York Times
2014: A rollercoaster of a year for Iran's nuclear negotiationsAl-Arabiya
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
all 376 news articles »

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 10:49 pm

US and Iran could become, well, BFFs…really – CNBC


CNBC

US and Iran could become, well, BFFs…really
CNBC
The Iranian economy has been severely hampered by eight years of escalating sanctions imposed over the country's nuclear ambitions. While a deal to ease sanctions would be transformative for Iran's economy, some see an agreement paving the way for an …

and more »

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 9:37 pm

Western-style stores growing in Iran – CNN


CNN

Western-style stores growing in Iran
CNN
(CNN) — When Thomas Cristofoletti walked into the Hyperstar supermarket in Shiraz, Iran, he was stopped at the door. He had his camera over his shoulder, and the international-style grocery store was built inside a large mall with a strict policy

and more »

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 8:19 pm

The right prism on Iran – The Hill (blog)


The right prism on Iran
The Hill (blog)
Talk about the “wrong prism” to view Iran. An Iranian regime consulate employee in New York has recently taken to the American press to spew Tehran's propaganda against the main Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). He is on a …

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 5:03 pm

Castro, Cuba, Obama—and Iran – The Weekly Standard (blog)


The Weekly Standard (blog)

Castro, Cuba, Obama—and Iran
The Weekly Standard (blog)
Imagine for a moment that you are a Saudi, Emirati, Jordanian, or Israeli. Your main national security worry these days is IranIran's rise, its nuclear program, its troops fighting in Iraq and Syria, its growing influence from Yemen through Iraq and
Like Iran, Secret Diplomacy Leads to US-Cuba ThawABC News

all 5,226 news articles »

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 5:01 pm

Ex-US Marine Held In Iran Goes On Hunger Strike, Has Message For Obama – CBS Local


CBS Local

Ex-US Marine Held In Iran Goes On Hunger Strike, Has Message For Obama
CBS Local
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The family of a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran says he is going on a hunger strike and has dictated a letter asking President Obama not to forget him as dialogue continues between the two countries over Iran's nuclear activities.

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 3:46 pm

Ex-US marine starts hunger strike in Iran – Aljazeera.com


Aljazeera.com

Ex-US marine starts hunger strike in Iran
Aljazeera.com
Amir Hekmati, a former US marine imprisoned in Iran, has started a hunger strike, his family said, after sending a letter to US President Barack Obama asking not to forget him. Hekmati told his family about the hunger strike on Tuesday after dictating
Marine veteran Amir Hekmati, imprisoned in Iran, is launching a hunger strikeWashington Post
Iran hostage from Michigan to start hunger strikeDetroit Free Press
A Former US Marine Imprisoned in Iran Has Gone on Hunger StrikeTIME

all 87 news articles »

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 8:57 am

Iran Criticized for Executing Drug Offenders – New York Times


Drug War Chronicle

Iran Criticized for Executing Drug Offenders
New York Times
Six international human rights groups have petitioned the United Nations to freeze its counternarcotics aid to Iran until that country abolishes the death penalty for drug offenses. In a jointly signed Dec. 12 letter released Wednesday by the groups
UN should stop funding Iran anti-drugs operations: rights groupsReuters
UN, Europe aiding execution of drug offenders in Iran: rights groupsMiddle East Eye
Iran Rights Group Wants Access To United StatesRadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Human Rights Watch
all 21 news articles »

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 5:03 am

Sydney siege: Iran says it ‘requested extradition’ of gunman Man Haron Monis … – Sydney Morning Herald


Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney siege: Iran says it 'requested extradition' of gunman Man Haron Monis
Sydney Morning Herald
"It lasted four years to collect evidence on Manteqi's [Monis'] identification documents and we reported this to the Australian police but since Australia has no extradition treaty with Iran, they didn't extradite him," General Moghaddam told the Mehr
Sydney Siege: Iran Says It Requested Man Haron Monis' ExtraditionNBCNews.com
Sydney gunman was 'wanted in Iran'BBC News
Iran warned Australia about Sydney attackerAl-Monitor
ABC Online -International Business Times
all 12,646 news articles »

Posted on 16 December 2014 | 11:45 pm

Iran says nuclear talks with US proceed in good atmosphere – Reuters


Iran says nuclear talks with US proceed in good atmosphere
Reuters
DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran said on Tuesday bilateral nuclear talks with the United states were proceeding in a good atmosphere despite lingering gaps over key issues such as Tehran's uranium enrichment capacity and how fast economic sanctions should be …

Posted on 16 December 2014 | 10:26 am