Monday, May 17, 2010

FP morning brief 5/17

Iran agrees to ship uranium to Turkey

Top news: In a surprise agreement negotiated by Brazil, Iran agreed to ship much of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey. The deal is similar to one negotiated with Western countries last October, but could now complicate the Obama administration's efforts to ratify international sanctions against Iran.

Under the new deal, negotiated at a three-way meeting including Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iran would ship 2,640 pounds of low-enriched uranium to Turkey for storage. In exchange, after one year Iran would be eligible to receive 265 pounds of material enriched in France and Russia. An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said the country would continue to enrich uranium on its own, despite the new deal.

Under the similar deal negotiated last October, Iran would have shipped around two-thirds of its stockpile out of the country, leaving it with too little material to make a nuclear weapon. Since that time, Iran's stockpile has grown significantly.

However, Iran's apparent cooperation with the new agreement could make it less likely that Russia and China will support tougher sanctions against Iran in the U.N. security council and puts President Barack Obama in the awkward position of potentially rejecting a deal, nearly identical to one he negotiated months earlier.

Greek crisis: Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said his government may consider taking legal action against U.S. investment banks for their role in his country's debt crisis.

  • Rogue Thai General Khattiya Sawasdiphol, who was shot on the streets of Bangkok last week, died from his wounds.
  • The Philippines' largest militant separatist group said they were willing to enter negotiations with newly elected President Benigno Aquino.
  • All five of Hong Kong's pro-democracy lawmakers won reelection in a vote that was marked by low turnout.
  • The euro continued to fall as EU finance ministers met in Brussels to address the ongoing European debt crisis.
  • London's airports reopened after a 6-hour closure due to volcanic ash.
  • Russia's Dmitry Medvedev is in Ukraine for bilateral talks with President Viktor Yanukovych.
Middle East
  • Mexican President Felipe Calderon is in Washington where he is likely to discuss U.S. assistance in the drug war and Arizona's controversial immigration law.
  • Dominicans vote in legislative elections today.
  • The Pakistani man arrested at the U.S. embassy in Chile with explosive residue on his clothing last week has been released.
  • At least 20 people were killed by shelling in Mogadishu on Sunday.
  • Sudanese troops seized control of a key rebel stronghold in Darfur.
  • A rail strike in South Africa has left millions of commuters stranded, less than a month before the World Cup.
-By Joshua Keating


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