JFP 7/30: Diplomacy letter; House fight on sanctions timing; Durbin, HRW denounce police violence in Egypt

Just Foreign Policy News, July 30, 2013
Diplomacy letter; House fight on sanctions timing; Durbin, HRW denounce police violence in Egypt

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I) Actions and Featured Articles

***Action: Urge your Senators to support the Feinstein letter backing diplomacy with Iran
This is a rare opportunity. Let's not screw it up. Write your Senators and urge them to sign the Feinstein letter backing diplomatic engagement with Iran following the election of a pro-diplomacy President in Iran.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/senate-iran-letter

Amnesty International: Don't blockade students in Gaza
Azza, Suhair, and Loujain are three Palestinian women who are blocked from attending the university of their choice, because the Israeli blockade prevents thousands of Palestinian students in Gaza from pursuing higher education in the West Bank. Urge the Israeli government to allow students in Gaza the freedom to access education where they choose.
http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/site/c.6oJCLQPAJiJUG/b.8624591/k.D2C/Help_Palestinian_Students_Access_Education/

The Oklahoman: Rally at Oklahoma Capitol opposes U.S. intervention in Syria
About 200 Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians, conservatives and liberals, hawks and doves show their opposition to U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war in a nonpartisan rally at the Oklahoma Capitol on Friday in Oklahoma City.
http://newsok.com/rally-at-oklahoma-capitol-opposes-u.s.-intervention-in-syria/article/3861879/

Durbin: no need for Gitmo when we can just drone 'em
"Durbin, meanwhile, suggested that there was no need to worry about releasing Guantanamo detainees, because the U.S. could always kill them using drones if necessary – as happened earlier this year with Saeed al-Shihri, a top operative in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It was an unintentionally revealing statement that gave credence to human rights advocates' belief that Obama and his Congressional allies favor killing terror suspects over detaining them."
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/senate-looks-at-closing-guantanamo-but-will-it-really-happen-20130725

Guardian: Barack Obama expresses reservations about Keystone XL pipeline project
Attacking two central pro-pipeline claims, Obama said the pipeline won't create jobs and won't lower gas prices.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jul/28/obama-reservations-keystone-pipeline-project

Summary:
U.S./Top News

1) There is growing optimism in Iran and in the West that Iranian President-Elect Rouhani is ready to restart serious talks on the nuclear issue, the New York Times reports. Diplomats who have faced Rouhani in negotiations praised his skills and flexibility. "He is perfectly placed in Iran's system of power," said Paul von Maltzahn, a former German ambassador to Iran.

2) Many of the at least 74 pro-Morsy protesters killed on July 27 in clashes with Egypt's riot police and plain clothed men who stood alongside were shot in the head or chest, Human Rights Watch reports. Medical staff interviewed by Human Rights Watch judged some of the deaths to be targeted killings.

"The use of deadly fire on such a scale so soon after the interim president announced the need to impose order by force suggests a shocking willingness by the police and by certain politicians to ratchet up violence against pro-Morsy protesters," said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "It is almost impossible to imagine that so many killings would take place without an intention to kill, or at least a criminal disregard for people's lives." Egypt's military and civilian interim rulers should immediately order an end to the use of live gunfire except where strictly necessary to protect life, Human Rights Watch said.

3) Sen. Dick Durbin told ABC that U.S. officials should denounce the Egyptian military for firing on and killing demonstrators at pro-Muslim Brotherhood rallies, Politico reports. "…we should make it clear in Egypt as we made it clear in Libya and in Syria that firing on your own people is unacceptable by any government," Durbin said. "We've got to make it clear to the Egyptians that's unacceptable conduct."

4) The US has scaled back the number of drone attacks against militants in Pakistan and limited strikes to high-value targets in response to growing criticism of the program in Pakistan, AP reports. Only 16 drone strikes have taken place in Pakistan so far this year, compared with a peak of 122 in 2010, 73 in 2011 and 48 in 2012, according to the New America Foundation. The CIA has been instructed to be more cautious with its attacks, limiting them to high-value targets and dropping the practice of "signature strikes" - hitting larger groups of suspected militants based purely on their behavior, such as being armed and meeting with known militants, according to a current and a former intelligence official briefed on the drone program.

Senior U.S. officials insist they continue to have a secret agreement with Pakistan, or at least from the army, to conduct drone strikes. But even that agreement seems to be based more on Pakistan's fear of what would happen if it stood up to the U.S. on drone strikes, rather than a real desire to see the program continue, AP says.

5) President Obama says the U.S. is at war with "Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces," but who those "associated forces" are is classified, writes Cora Currier for ProPublica. The Pentagon claims that releasing the list could cause "serious damage to national security," because "elements that might be considered 'associated forces' can build credibility" by being listed as such by the US, and "We cannot afford to inflate these organizations."

But Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law who served as a legal counsel during the Bush administration, told ProPublica the Pentagon's reasoning for keeping the affiliates secret seems weak. "If the organizations are 'inflated' enough to be targeted with military force, why cannot they be mentioned publicly?" Goldsmith said. He added that there is "a countervailing very important interest in the public knowing who the government is fighting against in its name."

6) The Obama administration announced Friday it was reviving the repatriation of low-level detainees from Guantánamo, the New York Times reports. The White House said it had informed Congress that it intended to return two detainees to Algeria under the terms of a statute that requires Secretary of Defense Hagel to certify that various security conditions have been met. 86 of the 166 detainees remaining at the prison have been recommended for transfer if security conditions can be met.

Iran
7) Congress is considering a new series of hard-hitting Iran sanctions, despite concern from the Obama administration that the measures could interfere with nuclear negotiations, AP reports. The administration wants to temper Congressional plans until Rouhani takes office in August and has an opportunity to demonstrate whether his government will offer concessions. If Rouhani is serious about compromise, setting new sanctions in advance of talks risks undercutting him, a senior U.S. official said. The House's bill may pass before Congress' August recess.

8) With the House of Representatives expected to vote on a tough Iran sanctions bill on Wednesday, a cohort of liberal Democrats are staging a last-ditch effort to stop it, Foreign Policy reports. Reps. Jim McDermott, John Conyers, Keith Ellison and Jim McGovern are urging the House leadership to delay the vote on the bill which they fear could jeopardize the Obama administration's renewed effort to engage Iran's newly-elected President Hassan Rouhani on the country's nuclear program. "We believe that it would be counterproductive and irresponsible to vote on this measure before Iran's new president is inaugurated on August 4, 2013," reads their letter.

In addition to delaying a vote, the lawmakers are also requesting a last-minute tweak to its language, Foreign Policy says. "As marked up in Committee, H.R.850 places significant restrictions on the President's authority to waive sanctions in exchange for Iranian concessions," reads the letter. "We therefore urge that the President's full waiver authorities that were weakened or removed in Committee to be reinstated in the bill."

9) Mohammad Javad Zarif, a former ambassador to the UN, will be picked as Rouhani's foreign minister, Reuters reports. Reuters says that if Rouhani wanted to signal his determination to rebuild relations with the US, he could hardly do better. "He was always trying to do what was possible to improve relations in a very intelligent, open and clear way," said a senior Western diplomat who had repeated dealings with Zarif. "This is someone who knows the United States very well and with all the frustrations of the past is still someone they know in Washington."

Contents:
U.S./Top News

1) President-Elect Stirs Optimism in Iran and West
Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times, July 26, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/27/world/middleeast/president-elect-stirs-optimism-in-iran-and-west.html

Tehran - Bogged down in faltering nuclear talks with the European powers nearly 10 years ago, Hassan Rouhani did something that no Iranian diplomat before or since has managed to do.

He took out his cellphone, say Western diplomats who were there, dialed up his longtime friend and associate, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and convinced him that Iran needed to suspend nuclear enrichment. The call by Mr. Rouhani, who was elected president in June and will take office next week, resulted in an agreement in October 2003, the only nuclear deal between Iran and the West in the past 11 years.

"Rouhani showed that he is a central player in Iran's political establishment," said Stanislas de Laboulaye, a retired director general of the French Foreign Ministry, who was a member of the European delegation during the talks between 2003 and 2005. "He was the only one able to sell something deeply unpopular to the other leaders."

There is growing optimism in Iran and in the West that Mr. Rouhani, 64, is ready to restart serious talks on the nuclear issue; Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq told the United States this month that Mr. Rouhani was ready to start direct talks, and the Obama administration has indicated a willingness to engage in head-to-head dialogue after years of inclusive multiparty negotiations.
[...]
Mr. Rouhani was defeated by the traditionalists after the nuclear deal fell apart in 2005 and left, politically speaking, for dead. He was a "sellout" in his critics' eyes who had committed the unpardonable sin of showing weakness - though his supporters would call it reasonableness - in the negotiations with the Europeans.

In one of the most startling turnarounds in the history of the Islamic republic, he has managed to resurrect his career from that low point, drawing on connections that trace back to the earliest days of the clerical resistance to the shah. If he is to realize his ambitions of redirecting the country to the moderate course he has laid out - stressing greater individual rights, a relaxation of tensions with the West and the repair of Iran's flagging economy - he will have to contend with precisely those forces that defeated him and Mr. Ahmadinejad.
[...]
Nevertheless, diplomats who have faced him in negotiations praised his skills and flexibility. "He is perfectly placed in Iran's system of power," said Paul von Maltzahn, a former German ambassador to Iran who met Mr. Rouhani several times. "He is not easily manipulated and assertive."

The last time they met was during a private visit by the former German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer. Mr. von Maltzahn recalled: "We all had dinner. Mr. Rouhani spoke about Glasgow, where he had studied in the 1990s. He cracked jokes. He's straightforward, no double dealer."

During his 16 years as the secretary of Iran's most important decision organ, the National Security Council, Mr. Rouhani prevented hard-liners from forming an alliance with Saddam Hussein after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, his associates said. Instead, Iran remained neutral. He directed Iran's unexpectedly respectful reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and he was instrumental in helping the United States coordinate with opposition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq when the United States invaded those countries.

It was his toughest negotiation - the one that led to the 2003 agreement - that led to his public fall from grace. Is he willing to try again? Analysts say he might well be. "He is a proactive soldier of this system since his youth," said Nader Karimi Joni, a columnist for reformist papers. "It's his brainchild, and he feels responsible. Any solutions he will come up with will be within the limits of the system of the Islamic republic."

Some European diplomats say they fear that Mr. Rouhani was too optimistic in 2003, perhaps getting ahead of most of the leadership. "After a while we started to worry whether he or his team had fully briefed the other leaders," said one European negotiator, who requested anonymity, not wanting to hurt the chances of success for any coming talks.

But Mr. Rouhani's associate, who has full knowledge of the talks, disagreed. "Our mistake was that we gave the Europeans too much credit, but they were on the phone with the Americans all the time," he said. "What matters now is that with Mr. Rouhani's election a new window of opportunity has opened up for the West. I suggest they seize the moment."

2) Egypt: Many Protesters Shot in Head or Chest
Risk of Further Killings as Security Officials Threaten to Forcibly Break up Sit-Ins
Human Rights Watch, July 28, 2013
http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/07/28/egypt-many-protesters-shot-head-or-chest

(London) – Many of the at least 74 pro-Morsy protesters killed in clashes with Egypt's riot police and plain clothed men who stood alongside were shot in the head or chest. They were killed on July 27 over a period of several hours during clashes on a road near the Muslim Brotherhood's sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya in eastern Cairo.

Human Rights Watch interviewed seven witnesses to the violence and reviewed extensive video footage of the events. Medical staff interviewed by Human Rights Watch judged some of the deaths to be targeted killings because the position of the shots would likely result in death.

The violence came hours after Interim President Adly Mansour announced, "the state has to impose order by all force and decisiveness." The same day, Interior Minister Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim warned that security forces would be clearing pro-Morsy sit-ins from Rabaa and Nahda squares "soon."

Protesters were shot and killed over a period of at least six hours, during clashes with Central Security Forces (riot police) on a major Cairo road. Human Rights Watch was in the field hospital as many of the dead and wounded were brought in, and was told by medical staff that the "majority of the bullet injuries were to the head, neck, and chest." Four doctors interviewed said that the angle of gunshot wounds indicated they were shot from above.

The Ministry of Health announced that at least 74 civilians died in the morning's violence. At a press conference earlier that day, the minister of interior insisted that "We never, as police, pointed any firearms at the chest of any demonstrator."

"The use of deadly fire on such a scale so soon after the interim president announced the need to impose order by force suggests a shocking willingness by the police and by certain politicians to ratchet up violence against pro-Morsy protesters," said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "It is almost impossible to imagine that so many killings would take place without an intention to kill, or at least a criminal disregard for people's lives."
[...]
Egypt's military and civilian interim rulers should immediately order an end to the use of live gunfire except where strictly necessary to protect life, Human Rights Watch said.
[...]
Under international human rights standards applicable to Egypt at all times, law enforcement officials need to take all reasonable steps to protect lives, especially when aware of specific threats. But they may only use intentional lethal force when it is strictly necessary to protect life. Both the past excessive use of lethal force and police failure to minimize casualties during protests indicate the pressing need for security sector reform and accountability for abuses perpetrated by the police and military.

3) Durbin: U.S. should denounce Egyptian violence
Burgess Everett, Politico, 7/28/13 10:43 AM EDT
http://www.politico.com/blogs/politico-live/2013/07/durbin-us-should-denounce-egyptian-violence-169346.html

U.S. officials should denounce the Egyptian military for firing on and killing demonstrators at pro-Muslim Brotherhood rallies, Sen. Dick Durbin said Sunday.

The Senate's No. 2 Democrat said he wants to maintain good ties with Egypt as Washington debates whether or not to continue military aid, but said the U.S. needs to send a message that it opposes violent military reactions to protests.

"We've had a positive relationship between the the United States and the Egyptian military -- I want to maintain that," Durbin said on ABC's "This Week." "But we should make it clear in Egypt as we made it clear in Libya and in Syria that firing on your own people is unacceptable by any government."

"We've got to make it clear to the Egyptians that's unacceptable conduct," Durbin added.
[...]

4) Criticism Alters US Drone Program in Pakistan
Kathy Gannon and Sebastian Abbot, Associated Press, July 25, 2013
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/criticism-alters-us-drone-program-pakistan-19771652

Islamabad - The United States has drastically scaled back the number of drone attacks against militants in Pakistan and limited strikes to high-value targets in response to growing criticism of the program in this country.

Those actions appear to have temporarily appeased Pakistan's powerful generals, who publicly oppose the covert CIA strikes, U.S. officials said. But some officials are still worried about pushback from Pakistan's new civilian leaders, who took power in June with a strong stance on ending the attacks altogether.

The future of the drone program is likely to be a key item on the agenda during U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Pakistan, which is expected soon.

Only 16 drone strikes have taken place in Pakistan so far this year, compared with a peak of 122 in 2010, 73 in 2011 and 48 in 2012, according to the New America Foundation, a U.S.-based think tank.

The CIA has been instructed to be more cautious with its attacks, limiting them to high-value targets and dropping the practice of so-called "signature strikes" - hitting larger groups of suspected militants based purely on their behavior, such as being armed and meeting with known militants, said a current U.S. intelligence official and a former intelligence official briefed on the drone program.
[...]
Senior U.S. officials insist they continue to have a secret agreement with Pakistan, or at least from the army, to conduct drone strikes.

But even that agreement seems to be based more on Pakistan's fear of what would happen if it stood up to the U.S. on drone strikes, rather than a real desire to see the program continue. Pakistan relies on the U.S. for hundreds of millions of dollars in civilian and military aid, and even more importantly, for support in getting a $5 billion bailout the country desperately needs from the International Monetary Fund.
[...]

5) Who Are We at War With? That's Classified
Cora Currier, ProPublica, July 26, 2013
http://www.propublica.org/article/who-are-we-at-war-with-thats-classified

In a major national security speech this spring, President Obama said again and again that the U.S. is at war with "Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces."

So who exactly are those associated forces? It's a secret.

At a hearing in May, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., asked the Defense Department to provide him with a current list of Al Qaeda affiliates.

The Pentagon responded – but Levin's office told ProPublica they aren't allowed to share it. Kathleen Long, a spokeswoman for Levin, would say only that the department's "answer included the information requested."

A Pentagon spokesman told ProPublica that revealing such a list could cause "serious damage to national security."

"Because elements that might be considered 'associated forces' can build credibility by being listed as such by the United States, we have classified the list," said the spokesman, Lt. Col. Jim Gregory. "We cannot afford to inflate these organizations that rely on violent extremist ideology to strengthen their ranks."

It's not an abstract question: U.S. drone strikes and other actions frequently target "associated forces," as has been the case with dozens of strikes against an Al Qaeda offshoot in Yemen.
[...]
Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law who served as a legal counsel during the Bush administration and has written on this question at length, told ProPublica that the Pentagon's reasoning for keeping the affiliates secret seems weak. "If the organizations are 'inflated' enough to be targeted with military force, why cannot they be mentioned publicly?" Goldsmith said. He added that there is "a countervailing very important interest in the public knowing who the government is fighting against in its name."

The law underpinning the U.S. war against Al Qaeda is known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, and it was passed one week after the 9/11 attacks. It doesn't actually include the words "associated forces," though courts and Congress have endorsed the phrase.

As we explained earlier this year, the emergence of new or more loosely-aligned terrorist groups has legal scholars wondering how effectively the U.S. will be able to "shoehorn" them into the AUMF. During the May hearing, many lawmakers expressed concern about the Pentagon's capacious reading of the law. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., described it as a "carte blanche."

Obama, in his May speech, said he looked forward "to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF's mandate." But he didn't give a timeframe. On Wednesday, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., introduced an amendment that would sunset the law at the end of 2014, to coincide with the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. It was voted down the same day, 185 to 236.
[...]

6) U.S. to Send 2 at Guantánamo Back to Algeria, Saying Security Concerns Are Met
Charlie Savage, New York Times, July 26, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/27/us/top-pentagon-official-on-detainees-to-step-down.html

Washington - The Obama administration announced Friday that it was reviving the repatriation of low-level detainees from the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which had dried up after Congress imposed strict limits on transfers.
[...]
The White House said it had informed Congress that it intended to return two detainees to Algeria under the terms of a statute that requires Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to certify that various security conditions have been met.
[...]
The statement did not identify the two detainees. There are as many as five Algerians at the prison who were recommended for transfer by a task force in early 2010. In all, 86 of the 166 detainees remaining at the prison have been recommended for transfer if security conditions can be met. President Obama has recently sought to revitalize his administration's effort to close the Guantánamo prison amid a widespread hunger strike.
[...]

Iran
7) Congress, Obama at odds over new Iran sanctions
Bradley Klapper, AP, July 23, 2013
http://news.yahoo.com/congress-obama-odds-over-iran-sanctions-071150782.html

Washington - Congress is considering a new series of hard-hitting Iran sanctions on everything from mining and construction to the Islamic republic's already besieged oil industry, despite concern from the Obama administration that the measures could interfere with nuclear negotiations.

House and Senate bills are both advancing at a time President Barack Obama's national security team is gauging whether Iranian President-elect Hasan Rouhani is serious about halting some elements of Tehran's uranium enrichment activity. Those involved in the process said the administration wants to temper Congressional plans until Rouhani takes office in August and has an opportunity to demonstrate whether his government will offer concessions.

The legislation would blacklist Iran's mining and construction sectors, effective next year, because they are seen as heavily linked to Iran's hard-line Revolutionary Guard corps. It also would commit the U.S. to the goal of ending all Iranian oil sales worldwide by 2015, targeting the regime's biggest revenue generator and prime source of money for its weapons and nuclear programs.

U.S. penalties that went into effect last year already have cut Iran's petroleum exports in half, but that still leaves billions of dollars coming in every month from Turkey, China and several other Asian countries.

The House's bill may pass before Congress' August recess. The Senate version won't get a vote until at least September, said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading advocate of tougher Iran sanctions. The Senate Banking Committee, which will put forward the package, is in ongoing consultations with the administration, according to one U.S. official who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about the sanctions.

John McCain, R-Ariz., said the U.S. should immediately "plow ahead" with greater and tougher measures against Iran. "We're running out of time," he said.
[...]
A senior U.S. official said the administration's concerns were about the timing and content of the legislation.

If Rouhani is serious about compromise, setting new sanctions in advance of talks risks undercutting him, the official said. Even if the new Iranian leader isn't serious, the oil measures in particular are problematic, turning a potential U.S. diplomatic success into a failure.

If China or Japan, for example, decides to flout the U.S. demand to stop all importing from Iran, the administration would then have to weigh enforcing the law by blacklisting Chinese and Japanese banks and companies at the risk of widespread economic harm - including for Americans. The likelier result is that the U.S. does nothing, making the sanctions look hollow and eroding international solidarity on pressuring Iran.

Despite wide bilateral support in Congress for tougher sanctions, some Democrats and Republicans are embracing the administration's cautious approach. In a letter last week to Obama, 18 GOP House members joined more than 100 of their Democratic colleagues in urging the president to "reinvigorate U.S. efforts to secure a negotiated nuclear agreement" and give Rouhani a chance.

Rouhani's election clearly has bolstered hope of compromise. A former nuclear negotiator and relatively moderate cleric, Rouhani has suggested a more accommodating approach than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has final say on nuclear issues.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said last week his country would be ready to resume talks once Rouhani, who takes office the first weekend in August, puts together a negotiating team.
[...]
The rough parameters of any larger nuclear deal with Iran are clear. It would have to include the West scaling back some of the sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy over the past few years. In return, the Iranians probably would be allowed to continue producing low-enriched uranium for fuel but would be required to halt production of any higher-enriched material that comes closer to warhead-grade, and send existing stockpiles of such material out of the country for safekeeping. Western powers also would surely demand tougher monitoring of Tehran's nuclear activities.

8) Liberal Democrats Move to Torpedo Iran Sanctions Bill
John Hudson, Foreign Policy/The Cable, Monday, July 29, 2013 - 5:08 PM
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/07/29/liberal_democrats_move_to_torpedo_iran_sanctions_bill

With the House of Representatives expected to vote on a tough Iran sanctions bill on Wednesday, a cohort of liberal Democrats are staging a last-ditch effort to stop it.

In a letter obtained by The Cable, Reps. Jim McDermott, John Conyers, Keith Ellison and Jim McGovern urge the House leadership to delay the vote on the bill which they fear could jeopardize the Obama administration's renewed effort to engage Iran's newly-elected President Hassan Rouhani on the country's nuclear program.

The dispute highlights the wide gulf on Iran policy between Congress and the White House. On the one side, you have the Obama administration easing sanctions on Iran last week and planning to engage with Rouhani, a relative moderate, on the nuclear issue in September. On the other side, the Republican-controlled House wants to squeeze Iran's oil exports to a trickle in a bill expected to pass with ease. That bill could then move to the Senate Banking Committee in September.

"We believe that it would be counterproductive and irresponsible to vote on this measure before Iran's new president is inaugurated on August 4, 2013," reads the letter. "A diplomatic solution remains the best possible means for ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, and the House of Representatives should not preempt a potential opportunity to secure such an outcome with another sanctions bill."

An aide for Ellison is currently collecting signatures for the letter with a deadline of Tuesday at noon. "Regardless of whether your boss supports [the bill], it could not come at a worse time," reads a note by Senior Legislative Assistant Stephen Lassiter. "Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, who campaigned on improving relations with the West, takes office in two weeks."

In addition to delaying a vote, the lawmakers are also requesting a last-minute tweak to its language. "As marked up in Committee, H.R.850 places significant restrictions on the President's authority to waive sanctions in exchange for Iranian concessions," reads the letter. "We therefore urge that the President's full waiver authorities that were weakened or removed in Committee to be reinstated in the bill."
[...]

9) Iran nominee seen as olive branch to United States
Marcus George and Paul Taylor, Reuters, Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:31pm EDT
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/29/us-iran-usa-zarif-idUSBRE96S0VO20130729

Dubai/Paris - If Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani wanted to signal his determination to rebuild relations with the United States and strike a "grand bargain," he could hardly do better than pick Mohammad Javad Zarif as his foreign minister.

Iranian news agencies reported on Monday that Zarif, a former ambassador to the United Nations and Tehran's leading connoisseur of the U.S. political elite, is set to be in the cabinet Rouhani will announce after taking office on Sunday. A source close to Rouhani confirmed Zarif will be nominated as foreign minister.

A fluent English speaker who earned his doctorate at the University of Denver, Zarif has been at the center of several secret negotiations to try to overcome 35 years of estrangement between Washington and Tehran, diplomats said.

Those talks failed because of deep mistrust on a range of disputes from Iran's secretive nuclear program and support for anti-Israeli militants to U.S. sanctions and hopes of engineering "regime change" in Tehran.

Zarif's elevation, however, suggests the moderate new president is keen to make another try at breaking the deadlock.

"He was always trying to do what was possible to improve relations in a very intelligent, open and clear way," said a senior Western diplomat who had repeated dealings with Zarif.

"This is someone who knows the United States very well and with all the frustrations of the past is still someone they know in Washington," he said.

The usual caveats about Iran apply: under the Islamic Republic's complex institutional set-up, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls the shots in foreign and security policy and controls the nuclear program, which Western powers say is aimed at developing atomic weapons.

The foreign minister ranks roughly fourth in the foreign policy pecking order, after Khamenei, the head of the National Security Council, who also serves as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, and the president.

Nevertheless, assuming he is confirmed by Iran's prickly, conservative-dominated parliament, Zarif's appointment would be a strong gesture of positive intent towards the United States.
[...]

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Can Youth Football Cleats Be Worn For Baseball? Youth football and baseball cleats serve going to be the same purpose helping young athletes perform and stay safe everywhere over the going to be the playing field on the basis of providing traction and stability. Both types are typically made both to and from going to be the same materials,Nike Dunk Shoes,and thus also going to be the purposes concerning youth sports,the short span of time answer to whether football cleats can be you can use and then for baseball is that in the affirmative Cleats can be which is quite advanced,and consequently your family can save your dollars by using going to be the same cleats for the sports and draw attention away from your little one safe and performing at a multi function and there fluctuate at going to be the same time.MaterialsYouth football and baseball cleats are primarily made from leather and/or synthetic materials. Leather often a lot of times more comfortable also children and breathes which is quite if that is so Leather is that often also much more durable than synthetic material. Cleats made leaving primarily synthetic material are an all in one not too much a lot fewer high - end Many cleat brands continue using the materials,allowing an individual the synthetics so as to provide extra offer you on areas such as going to be the forefoot,Nike 6.0 Shoes,midfoot and ankle. as well as StylesFootball cleats could be purchased on the low-cut,Nike Air Max Shoes, mid-cut and high-top forms Baseball cleats usually can come everywhere in the low- well mid-cut,but are also available upon high-tops as well as for players who should and want extra ankle assist Football cleats typically have spikes that owned or operated horizontally all over the going to be the sole,despite the fact that baseball cleats are positioned along going to be the sides having to do with going to be the sole too much better lateral running and jumping.SpikesThe spikes all around the football cleats are almost in those times made having to do with formed plastic. Baseball cleats are typically also made having to do with plastic. They are available upon metal, too,but take heart metal cleats are banned upon celebrities and others youth baseball leagues. Both types also are available to have detachable cleats and for that reason players can change the length and width of the surge based all around the playing for those of you The people common cleat measurements as well as for the football and baseball shoes is that often ½-inch.InterchangeabilityYouth football and baseball cleats are more often than not made with going to be the same materials,including the actual sporting goods and going to be the shoes Because metal cleats are banned upon many patients youth football and baseball leagues, plastic shoes are more often than not the objective a great many other option. The among the most real of the differences to and fro going to be the many is the position having to do with going to be the shoes everywhere in the going to be the sole. Football cleats generally speaking have a lift at going to be the center about going to be the toe area also planting and easy and quick starts,nikesneakerforsale2013,all of which may not care either even help baseball players when running going to be the bases. Plastic spikes are powerful and effective throughout the both football and baseball playing surfaces, and because low-cut for additional details on high-top cleat shapes and sizes also do just fine for both sports, there is the fact don't you think reason one of the reasons youth football cleats can't be worn to understand more about play baseball.
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"He is perfectly placed in Iran's system of power," said Paul von Maltzahn, a former German ambassador to Iran.

such as being armed and meeting with known militants, according to a current and a former intelligence official briefed on the drone program.

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