What we’re watching Sunday
Deal reached between Iran and the West
A deal was reached early Sunday morning in Geneva between Iran and six world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief.
The agreement hopes to ease tensions between Iran and the West, but the deal did not come without controversy.
Israel continues to lobby against the agreement, calling it “a historic mistake.”
An official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said, “It grants Iran exactly what it wanted — both a significant easing in sanctions and preservation of the most significant parts of its nuclear program. The U.S., France, Germany, Great Britain, China and Russia had been fearful that Iran was seeking the ability to build nuclear weapons, but the new agreement will halt Iran’s construction of a research reactor, neutralize its stockpile of uranium, and calls for U.N. nuclear inspections.
In exchange, Iran will have potential access to $1.5 billion in revenue from trade in gold and precious metals and a suspension in sanctions on their auto sector and petrochemical exports.
Iranian oil will remain at its reduced price, but if the country upholds its end of the agreement, they will receive installments of up to $4.2 billion from oil sales.
In total, Iran could receive up to $7 billion in sanction relief, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “that is only a fraction of the of the costs that Iran will continue to incur during this first phase under the sanctions that will remain in place.”
President Barack Obama said if Iran does not cooperate and meets its commitments in a six-month period, the sanctions would return and the U.S. would “ratchet up pressure.”
Afghan elders approve security deal; Karzai won’t sign
An assembly of Afghan elders, known as the Loya Jirga, endorsed a security deal on Sunday that would enable U.S. troops to operate in the country beyond 2014.
Following a four-day meeting, the group agreed that Afghan President Hamid Karzai should sign the deal into law, but he refused to sign anything until after the next presidential election in April.
“If there is no peace, then this agreement will bring misfortune to Afghanistan,” Karzai said. “Peace is our precondition. America should bring us peace and then we will sign it.”
If the deal isn’t signed, the U.S. could continue to pull out of Afghanistan, leaving the Afghan army to fight the Taliban on its own.
U.S. officials have said the deal must be signed by the end of the year to prepare for a post-2014 presence.