In a bold and unprecedented act, the Republican-led Congress hosted an address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he urged Washington to back away from talks with Iran on nuclear proliferation and keep sanctions in place.

The speech by the Israeli Prime Minister was unprecedented because it used the institution of the U.S. Congress to undermine diplomatic negotiations of the White House. The United States is one of six countries—China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom and United States—negotiating with Iran to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions. The talks face a checkpoint deadline at the end of this month.

Although some diplomats have expressed progress in the effort to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Netanyahu contends that the state of current negotiations would leave Iran on the road to being a nuclear-weapon armed state and therefore would create a nuclear arms race in the region.

He said that negotiators should not provide relief from sanctions until Iran stops aggression against its neighbors, stops supporting terrorism and stops threatening to annihilate Israel.

In response to Netanyahu’s speech, President Obama said he read the speech and saw “nothing new” in terms of persuasion or solutions.

Separately, Obama voiced support for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “to promote the safe, secure uses of nuclear energy and to ensure that it remains exclusively peaceful.” The IAEA is the watchdog agency for nuclear technologies.

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Meanwhile, IAEA director said the agency has not completed work on studying Iran’s nuclear program to establish “the whole picture concerning issues with possible military dimensions.”

“The Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said, calling for increased cooperation by Iran on access to information, documentation, sites, material and personnel requested by the Agency.

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BACKGROUND: The initial six-month Joint Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 countries (the United States, China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and Germany) started on Jan. 20, 2014; it was extended through Nov. 24, 2014 and extended again with a directive to reach a political agreement within four months and complete technical extras by June 30, 2015.

Under the obligations of the plan, Iran is responsible for freezing its nuclear program in exchange for some relief of sanctions and access to assetts.

(For more information on the Joint Plan of Action, see updates by the Arms Control Association.

Sources:

Full transcript of the speech, see the Washington Post link.

Statement by the International Atomic Energy Agency on nuclear energy (March 2, 2015).

President Obama comments on the anniversary of the 45th anniversary of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Patti Mohr

Patti Mohr is an independent journalist living in North Carolina. She has a Master's Degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University and a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a certificate in journalism from the University of Cincinnati. After spending 12 years working in Washington, D.C., Patti moved to North Carolina where she consulted clients with their resumes and began working in property management. She continued to work on research and writing on an independent basis and conceptualized the structure for a media organization that would support independent journalism. Patti's lifelong dream is to pursue a career in writing about international relations. She has a strong belief in the fundamentals of journalism, namely the pursuit of truth, the maintenance of independence from sources, and in the verification of information. She is a reliable researcher with strong analytical and problem-solving skills.

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Patti Mohr is an independent journalist living in North Carolina. She has a Master's Degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University and a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a certificate in journalism from the University of Cincinnati. After spending 12 years working in Washington, D.C., Patti moved to North Carolina where she consulted clients with their resumes and began working in property management. She continued to work on research and writing on an independent basis and conceptualized the structure for a media organization that would support independent journalism. Patti's lifelong dream is to pursue a career in writing about international relations. She has a strong belief in the fundamentals of journalism, namely the pursuit of truth, the maintenance of independence from sources, and in the verification of information. She is a reliable researcher with strong analytical and problem-solving skills.

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Patti Mohr is an independent journalist living in North Carolina. She has a Master's Degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University and a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a certificate in journalism from the University of Cincinnati. After spending 12 years working in Washington, D.C., Patti moved to North Carolina where she consulted clients with their resumes and began working in property management. She continued to work on research and writing on an independent basis and conceptualized the structure for a media organization that would support independent journalism. Patti's lifelong dream is to pursue a career in writing about international relations. She has a strong belief in the fundamentals of journalism, namely the pursuit of truth, the maintenance of independence from sources, and in the verification of information. She is a reliable researcher with strong analytical and problem-solving skills.

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