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January 12, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON -- Iran and six world powers said Sunday they have agreed on a plan of implementation for their first-phase nuclear deal, a sign the fragile effort to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions remains on track. The implementation agreement, worked out in a month of talks between technical experts and diplomats, will lay out how the group will carry out their plan to limit Iran's nuclear progress while they try to negotiate a long-term agreement. Officials of the United States, Iran and the European Union hailed the agreement as another step forward.
January 12, 2014 | Doyle McManus
The first war I covered as a foreign correspondent was the civil war in Lebanon. When the conflict began in 1975, it was just a series of skirmishes, a nasty but limited little war for control of a small nation. Then other countries got involved: Syria, Iraq, Libya and Israel. They supplied money and weapons to their favored factions, turning an internal struggle into a longer, more deadly proxy war in which outside powers fought one another through surrogates. Eventually even the United States sent troops, which is why 241 Americans died in a bombing in Beirut in 1983.
January 2, 2014 | By Ramin Mostaghim and Carol J. Williams
TEHRAN -- Two deadly bombings in Beirut over the last week and the arrest of a fugitive Saudi militant in the Nov. 19 attack on Iran's embassy in the Lebanese capital reflect the escalating spillover of a proxy war in Syria. Iranian Shiite Muslims and rival Sunnis in Saudi Arabia have been battling for years for dominance in the Middle East. But the rivalry has intensified since May, when the Lebanon-based and Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia made clear it had intervened in Syria's civil war on the side of the embattled Shiite-aligned government.
December 30, 2013 | By Christopher Reynolds
The U.S. and Iran may have miles to go in their negotiations over curtailing Iran's nuclear ambitions, but the ease in hostility has already produced a boomlet in American travel to Iran. Three U.S.-based tour operators say they've seen a surge of bookings and questions about Iran in recent months. They've also heard encouragement from Iranian government officials, who met in New York with several U.S. tour operators during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit to the city in September.
December 27, 2013 | By Ramin Mostaghim and Carol J. Williams
TEHRAN -- The chief foreign policy advisor to Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called for direct talks with the United States on nuclear issues, a possible sign from the supreme leader that he is amenable to ending the animosity that has defined relations with Washington for 34 years. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been the target of fierce criticism by political and religious hard-liners since he helped broker a deal with the United States and five other Western powers last month that will put Iranian high-level enrichment of uranium on hold for at least six months.
December 25, 2013 | By Ramin Mostaghim and Paul Richter, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
TEHRAN -- More than a third of Iran's parliament has signed on to a bill ordering an acceleration of the country's nuclear program if Congress follows through with new sanctions, lawmakers said. In a gesture apparently intended as retaliation for congressional sanctions legislation, 100 members of Iran's parliament have signed on to a resolution calling for an increase in uranium enrichment to 60% purity from a current 20%. The bill also would order activation of the partially built Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor, which could generate plutonium that could be used as bomb fuel.
December 24, 2013 | By Haim Saban
In recent weeks, the media have had a field day reporting on a so-called rift in the U.S.-Israel relationship over the nuclear negotiations with Iran. The story makes for great headlines, but it's poor analysis. Despite the heated rhetoric, the pillars that have anchored America's most important alliance in the Middle East for more than six decades are just as firmly rooted today as they have ever been. Just hours after Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced the interim deal to halt Iran's nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on American television and called the agreement "a historic mistake.
December 20, 2013 | By Ramin Mostaghim and Paul Richter
TEHRAN - Iranian lawmakers Friday threatened retaliation for a Senate bill that proposes tough new sanctions on Iran if the Islamic Republic fails to cooperate in upcoming negotiations aimed at curbing its nuclear program. Mehdi Moussavinejad, a senior member of the Iranian parliament's energy committee, said lawmakers were considering a measure that would hike Iran's uranium enrichment for the current top concentration of 20% to more than 60%, substantially closer to the 90% needed for nuclear weapons fuel.
December 19, 2013 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - A bipartisan group of 26 senators Thursday introduced legislation calling for tough new Iran sanctions that the White House warned could deal a death blow to upcoming negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program. Despite frantic lobbying by the White House, a group that includes top Democrats introduced a measure that would tighten economic sanctions on Iran if it doesn't cooperate in the upcoming talks, and also sets a minimum requirement for a final deal to curb the nation's nuclear development activities.
December 18, 2013 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - Three weeks after President Obama hailed a landmark deal to suspend most of Iran's nuclear program for the next six months, the mood among U.S. officials about the next round of negotiations has shifted from elated to somber, even gloomy. "I wouldn't say [chances of success are] more than 50-50," Obama said last week. U.S. officials are "very skeptical" that Iran will accept Western demands, said his lead negotiator, Wendy R. Sherman. The shift, officials say, is the result of a growing recognition of the compromises each side must make to resolve the decade-old impasse over Western suspicion that Iran will someday try to build nuclear weapons and the Iranian demand that the sanctions crippling its economy be lifted.
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