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Climate vs. Economy: Four Lessons From a Year of Reporting

January 19, 2020 by · Comments Off on Climate vs. Economy: Four Lessons From a Year of Reporting 

VOA – Does fighting climate change mean wrecking the economy?  That’s the question my editor posed to me about a year ago. It has been the focus of my reporting ever since.  The rhetoric from climate change skeptics suggests it would. President Donald Trump has made canceling Obama-era greenhouse gas regulations a central part of his tenure. Economic rationales are always front and center.  Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidates say they will create millions of jobs by transforming the energy system to carbon-free sources.  Job killer or job creator? Leaving aside for the moment the fact that climate change is already imposing enormous costs that are only becoming worse, I went looking for answers in Massachusetts, Wyoming and Colorado.  Here’s some of what I learned. It’s not simple. And much remains to be seen.   

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US Official: Unknown if Iran Athlete Plans to Seek Asylum in America

January 18, 2020 by · Comments Off on US Official: Unknown if Iran Athlete Plans to Seek Asylum in America 

VOA – STATE DEPARTMENT – A U.S. official says women are the force behind the massive protests in Iran, and that the United States is unaware of whether Iranian Olympic athlete Kimia Alizadeh is seeking asylum in the U.S. Alizadeh, Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, said earlier this week on social media that she has permanently left Iran because she had had enough of being used by its authorities for political purposes.“ I don’t know if she is seeking asylum so I can’t speak to that,” Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, said Friday when asked by VOA if the  U.S. would welcome Alizadeh if she seeks asylum in the United States.  “Much of the strength and the energy in the anti-regime protests are being led by Iranian women,” Hook said, adding he believes “many more Iranian women would like to leave the oppression that this regime presents to them.”
Iran was shocked when Alizadeh announced her defection earlier this week.

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Iran’s State TV Airs Apparent Prank Call to C-SPAN to Back False Claims of US Casualties

January 18, 2020 by · Comments Off on Iran’s State TV Airs Apparent Prank Call to C-SPAN to Back False Claims of US Casualties 

VOA – Iranian state TV has broadcast what appears to be a prank call to a U.S. television network to try to support false Iranian claims of heavy U.S. casualties in an Iranian missile attack on an Iraqi base last week. Several Iranian diaspora journalists tweeted a video clip of Thursday’s broadcast by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) TV channel, whose presenter, Ali Zohourian, introduced a segment about Washington’s purported “cover-up of heavy losses” from Iran’s January 8 strike on the al-Asad base that houses U.S. and Iraqi forces.  No U.S. or Iraqi forces were killed in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) missile attack, which caused some damage to the base. Iran had given advance notice of the strike to Iraqi authorities, enabling the troops at the base to take cover.  In the IRIB news segment, Zohourian said: “Eight days after the IRGC’s missile slap on the (face of) the United States war machine, a father of a terrorist soldier of America admits in a telephone interview with (C-SPAN’s) Washington Journal (program) that he has no information about his son’s whereabouts since last week, and says his numerous pursuits of U.S. Defense Department officials bore no fruit.”

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Iran: Uranium Enrichment at Higher Level Than Before Nuclear Pact

January 16, 2020 by · Comments Off on Iran: Uranium Enrichment at Higher Level Than Before Nuclear Pact 

VOA – President Hassan Rohani says Iran is now enriching more uranium than the country did before it agreed to a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, as Tehran gradually scales back its commitments under the agreement.“Pressure has increased on Iran, but we continue to progress,” Rohani said in a televised speech on January 16. The country has lifted all limits on its production of enriched uranium, which can be used to make reactor fuel but also nuclear weapons. Iran has breached its main limitations, exceeding the stockpiles of heavy water and uranium allowed, the number and types of centrifuges it can operate to enrich uranium, and the purity of uranium, in response to sanctions reinstated by the United States after President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned the nuclear agreement in 2018. Trump wants Tehran to negotiate a new accord that would place indefinite curbs on its nuclear program and restrict Tehran’s ballistic-missile program.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Says Future of Nuclear Deal Up To Europe

January 15, 2020 by · Comments Off on Iranian Foreign Minister Says Future of Nuclear Deal Up To Europe 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Wednesday the future of the 2015 international deal regarding his country’s nuclear program “depends on Europe,” after the three European signatories accused Iran of breaking key restrictions. Speaking at an event in India, Zarif reiterated long-standing Iranian complaints about Europe not living up to its economic promises under the deal, citing a lack of purchases of Iranian oil and the withdrawal of companies from Iran. Zarif acknowledged that Iran has stepped back from its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but said Iran’s complaints went ignored as it complied with the deal and the United States withdrew from the pact and imposed new economic sanctions.

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Britain, France, Germany Invoking Dispute Resolution Over Iran Nuclear Non-Compliance

January 15, 2020 by · Comments Off on Britain, France, Germany Invoking Dispute Resolution Over Iran Nuclear Non-Compliance 

VOA – Britain, France and Germany announced Tuesday that Iran’s steps away from the 2015 nuclear agreement leave them no choice but to refer the situation to a dispute resolution process laid out in the deal. The countries say they have upheld their responsibilities under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, including lifting economic sanctions against Iran and working to promote legitimate trade with the country. “However, in the meantime Iran has continued to break key restrictions set out in the JCPOA,” they said in a joint statement. “Iran’s actions are inconsistent with the provisions of the nuclear agreement and have increasingly severe and non-reversible proliferation implications.”

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Iran Standoff Shines Spotlight on New Trump Security Adviser

January 13, 2020 by · Comments Off on Iran Standoff Shines Spotlight on New Trump Security Adviser 

VOA – WASHINGTON – In a defining week for President Donald Trump on the world stage, national security adviser Robert O’Brien was a constant presence at the president’s side as the U.S. edged to the brink of war with Iran and back again. The contrasts with O’Brien’s predecessor along the way — in secret consultations at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, in the Oval Office and in basement deliberations in the White House Situation Room — could not have been more stark.

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Trump Threatens to Strike Iranian Cultural Sites

January 6, 2020 by · Comments Off on Trump Threatens to Strike Iranian Cultural Sites 

Huge crowds gathered Monday in Tehran to mourn top general Qassem Soleimani, as his replacement vowed to take revenge for the U.S. airstrike that killed him, and U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to hit Iranian cultural sites if Iran does retaliate. “They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people and we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One late Sunday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to her Democratic colleagues that the House will vote this week on a war powers resolution “to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran.”

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Trump Says 52 Targets Already Lined Up if Iran Retaliates

January 5, 2020 by · Comments Off on Trump Says 52 Targets Already Lined Up if Iran Retaliates 

VOA- The body of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike, arrived Sunday in Iran to throngs of mourners, as President Donald Trump threatened to bomb 52 sites in the Islamic Republic if Tehran retaliates by attacking Americans Soleimani’s death Friday in Iraq further heightens tensions between Tehran and Washington after months of trading attacks and threats that put the wider Middle East on edge. The conflict is rooted in Trump pulling out of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, an accord likely to further unravel as Tehran is expected to announce as early as Sunday it will break another set of limits. Iran has promised “harsh revenge.” Already, a series of rockets launched in Baghdad late Saturday fell inside or near the Green Zone, which houses government offices and foreign embassies, including the U.S. Embassy. Trump wrote on Twitter afterward that the U.S. had already “targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture.”

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Soleimani’s Killing an Earthquake With ‘Reverberations Around the Globe’

January 4, 2020 by · Comments Off on Soleimani’s Killing an Earthquake With ‘Reverberations Around the Globe’ 

The U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian commander at Baghdad’s airport in Iraq has created an earthquake that will have “reverberations around the globe,” according to Jason Brodsky, policy director of the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran. “Qassem Soleimani was not just a symbol. He also had substantive power and authority in the Islamic Republic,” he said. Brodsky said in an interview with VOA Persian that Soleimani had achieved rock-star status in the region, developing a “cultlike following.” Soleimani was Iran’s top military strategist and head of the elite Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force. U.S. President Donald Trump said he ordered the strike to prevent imminent attacks against Americans in the region.

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