News Roundup and Notes: July 14, 2015

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

IRAN

Iran nuclear accord. A deal has been reached between Iran and six world powers on Iran’s nuclear program, ending a 12-year standoff. A joint statement was given this morning from Vienna. Urging support from the world community in implementing the “historic agreement” the parties stated:

We know that this agreement will be subject to intense scrutiny. But what we are announcing today is not only a deal but a good deal. And a good deal for all sides – and the wider international community.

This agreement opens new possibilities and a way forward to end a crisis that has lasted for more than 10 years. We are committed to making sure this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is fully implemented, counting also on the contribution of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The agreement will lift sanctions from Iran but places its nuclear program under stringent limitations for over a decade. The deal will become official when it is incorporated into a UN Security Council resolution later this month. [The Guardian‘s Julian Borger]

The Guardian and the New York Times have live updates as the situation develops. A document purported to be the full text of the agreement by the Russian Foreign Ministry can be viewed here. [Buzzfeed News]

President Obama delivered a statement in Washington this morning. The president said that the agreement “meets every single one of the bottom lines” and that “every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off.” Warning Congress, Obama stated that he would “veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.” Video footage can be viewed here.

The statement from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani can be viewed here, during which the Islamic Republic’s leader announced an “important juncture” in his country’s history.

Statements from interested parties. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the deal as a “win-win solution,” which will open “new horizons.”  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has released a statement “warmly” welcoming the agreement and commending the commitment of the negotiators.  In a statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that with the deal’s conclusion the world had “breathed a huge sigh of relief.” [AFP]  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad congratulated Iran on the deal, saying that he was confident Iran would support “just causes” in the wake of the agreement. [Haaretz‘s Barak Ravid]

The final agreement contains a “snapback mechanism,” under which some sanctions could be reinstated within 65 days were Iran to violate the deal, according to Western diplomats. A UN arms embargo would remain in effect for five years and a ban on the purchase of missile technology for eight years. [Reuters’ Paris Hafezi et al]  The agreement reportedly gives the IAEA extensive but not automatic access to nuclear sites within Iran. [BBC]

Talks continued into the night yesterday, with negotiating parties coming together after midnight following a meeting late Monday between Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. [Washington Post’s Carol Morello]

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out against the nuclear agreement today, describing it as a “bad mistake of historic proportions.” [Haaretz’s Barak Ravid]  And Netanyahu’s office launched a Persian language Twitter feed to voice Israel’s opposition to the deal. [New York Times’ Robert Mackey]

Israel’s defense minister Moshe Ya’alon warned that the deal would cause a “nuclear arms race” in the Middle East, in an interview with Al-Monitor’s Ben Caspit.

President Obama will be “long out of office before any reasonable assessment can be made as to whether that roll of the dice paid off,” writes David E. Sanger, discussing the probable time frame for the implementation and consequent impact of the nuclear accord. [New York Times]

The nuclear accord “will not lead inexorably to a reduction in tensions” between the U.S. and Iran but nonetheless it is “built to last,” argues Richard Dalton at The Guardian.

IRAQ and SYRIA

Two senior ISIS leaders were killed by a suspected U.S.-led coalition airstrike targeting northeastern Syria yesterday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [Reuters]

The initial attacks of the Iraqi offensive to retake Anbar province focused on the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi yesterday, backed up by a large number of U.S. airstrikes. [Wall Street Journal’s Matt Bradley and Ghassan Adnan; New York Times’ Omar Al-Jawoshy and Anne Bernard]

Nearly 15,000 civilians were killed during conflict in Iraq over a 16 month period ending in April, according to a new UN report. The report did not break down who was responsible for the casualties. [AP]

The first delivery of U.S. F-16 fighter jets to the Iraqi government arrived yesterday at Balad air base; the jets are to be used in the fight against the Islamic State. [The Hill’s Martin Matishak]

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. The U.S. and coalition military forces carried out nine airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on July 12. Separately, military forces conducted a further 39 strikes on targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

Dozens of photos documenting the death of thousands of Syrian detainees will be displayed on Capitol Hill tomorrow; the photos were smuggled out of Syria in 2013 by a Syrian forensic photographer known as “Ceasar.” [NPR’s Deborah Amos]

AFGHANISTAN

Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, has received domestic backlash for his willingness to collaborate with Pakistan and attend negotiations with the Taliban. [Economist]

Taliban-led attacks increased in certain parts of Afghanistan, despite last week’s landmark talks between Taliban and Afghan government officials. [Washington Post’s Sudarsan Raghavan]  The increase in fighting has caused internal displacement to “unprecedented” levels, reports the Washington Post’s Sudarsan Raghavan.

NIGERIA

The Nigerian President dismissed all of the country’s top military officials, following ongoing concerns that they had been ineffective in countering Boko Haram. [New York Times’ Adam Nossiter]  Replacements have been named for chiefs of the army, navy, air force and defense. [Al Jazeera]

Boko Haram is suspected of killing dozens in northeast Nigeria, burning homes in two villages. No responsibility has been claimed. [Reuters’ Lanre Ola]

UKRAINE AND RUSSIA

Explosions targeted police stations in western Ukraine Tuesday morning, following clashes between police and a paramilitary group over the weekend. [Reuters’ Natalia Zinets]

Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, met President Obama and Vice President Biden to discuss Ukrainian efforts to adhere to the fragile ceasefire with Russia. [New York Times’ Peter Baker and Sabrina Tavernise]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Film-maker Laura Poitras is launching legal action against the U.S. government, demanding information on her subjection to “Kafkaesque harassment” at airports across the world; Poitras, along with journalist Glenn Greenwald, received copies of leaked NSA documents from Edward Snowden in 2013. [The Guardian’s Ben Child]

Houthi fighters attacked local rebels in the southern Yemeni city of Aden, causing a huge fire at an oil refinery. [Reuters]

Presumptions about the advantages of drone technology should be negated, especially considering the emotional distress caused to drone pilots, argues Pratap Chatterjee, executive director of CorpWatch, in an op-ed for the New York Times.

A 23 year-old man has been charged for allegedly plotting a terrorist attack in Massachusetts, and had previously admitted allegiance to ISIS. [Washington Post’s Adam Goldman]  Susan Zalkind asks whether the arrest was in fact the result of “FBI catfishing” of a mentally ill individual. [The Daily Beast]

Psychologists are tasked with crafting torture policy because they do not take a Hippocratic Oath, argues former federal prison psychologist, Garrett Koren, at The Guardian.   

Military policy allowing transgender people to serve openly will be examined as current protocol is “outdated”, announced Defense Secretary Ash Carter in a statement. [The Guardian’s Martin Pengelly and Amanda Holpuch]

An Army lab that accidentally shipped live anthrax had also recklessly handled lethal explosives, according to internal documents obtained by The Daily Beast’s Noah Shachtman.

A House bill would provide 22.1 million victims of the OPM hack with lifetime fraud protections, in lieu of the current compensation scheme which offers between 18 months and three years of monitoring services. [The Hill’s Cory Bennett] 

Filed under:
About the Author(s)

Nadia O'Mara

Former Assistant News Editor at Just Security

Sarika Arya

Former Summer Fellow at Just Security Follow her on Twitter (@sarika_arya).