What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

News Wrap: Iran exceeds allowed levels of uranium enrichment

In our news wrap Monday, Iran announced it has begun enriching uranium to levels higher than is allowed under the 2015 nuclear accord. The new level is still far below weapons-grade, but a foreign ministry spokesman threatened that it could continue to rise. Also, Attorney General William Barr says he believes there is a legal “pathway” to including a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Iran has raised the ante in a high-stakes standoff with the United States. The Islamic republic announced today that it has begun enriching uranium to levels higher than allowed under the 2015 nuclear accord.

    The new level is still far below weapons-grade. But, in Tehran, a Foreign Ministry spokesman threatened to go higher still, unless Europe helps to bypass U.S. sanctions.

  • Abbas Mousavi (through translator):

    If the remaining countries in the deal, especially the Europeans, do not fulfill their commitments seriously, and do not do anything more than talk, Iran's third step will be harder, more steadfast and even stunning.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal last year. Today, Vice President Pence called the agreement disastrous, and he warned that — quote — "America will not back down."

  • Mike Pence:

    Iran shouldn't confuse American restraint with a lack of American resolve.

    We hope for the best, but the United States of America and our military are prepared to protect our interests and protect our personnel and our citizens in the region.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Under President Trump, the U.S. has sent thousands of troops, an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf region. But he called off a planned military strike on Iran last month.

    In New York, billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein entered a not guilty plea today to sex trafficking and conspiracy. He allegedly sexually abused dozens of underage girls in the early 2000's. A 2008 agreement let Epstein avoid prison time on similar charges in Florida. But federal prosecutors in Manhattan argued that they are not bound by that deal.

    We will get the details later in the program.

    A federal grand jury in New York is probing Republican fund-raiser Elliott Broidy. He served as vice chair of President Trump's inaugural committee. The Associated Press reports that the investigation is focused on whether Broidy illegally used that position to cut business deals with foreign leaders.

    U.S. Attorney General William Barr says that he sees a way forward on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. He gave no details today, but he said that he believes it is possible to address the concerns that led the U.S. Supreme Court to block the question.

  • William Barr:

    You know, we have been considering all the options. And I have been in constant discussions with the president ever since the Supreme Court decision came down. And I think, over the next day or two, you will see what approach we're taking.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Barr spoke after the Justice Department announced that new lawyers are taking over the effort. But, in San Francisco, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi charged again that the goal of the census question change is to scare off people in the country illegally.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    But this is about keeping — you know, make America — you know, his hat? Make America white again. They want to make sure that people — certain people are counted. It's really disgraceful, and it's not what our founders had in mind.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The census count determines the distribution of congressional seats and greatly influences the disbursing of federal funds.

    The International Criminal Court has convicted a Congo rebel leader of war crimes. Bosco Ntaganda had been dubbed the Terminator. He was found guilty today of mass murder, rape and sexual slavery in the early 2000s, as rival ethnic groups fought over mineral riches. In all, hundreds of civilians were killed, and thousands were forced to flee.

    In Greece, the center-right leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis took office as prime minister today. He vowed to cut taxes and ease budget cuts imposed by international bailouts. The swearing-in came a day after the new Democracy Party scored a landslide election victory over a left-wing regime that had governed for four years.

  • Kyriakos Mitsotakis (through translator):

    The Greek people gave us yesterday a strong mandate to change Greece. We will honor this mandate in full. Starting today, we are prepared for hard work, and I have total confidence in our ability to stand at the height of the circumstances.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The extreme right Golden Dawn Party was turned out of Parliament entirely.

    Back in the country, the U.S. Navy will have to wait a while longer for a new top officer. Admiral William Moran announced late Sunday that he is retiring. He had been set to become chief of naval operations in August. Moran acknowledged that he had continued to rely on the counsel of another officer who was reprimanded for misconduct toward women.

    In economic news, Germany's Deutsche Bank began laying off the first of 18,000 employees mainly in investment banking.

    And Wall Street slumped again as hopes dimmed for lower interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 116 points to close at 26806. The Nasdaq fell 63 points. And the S&P 500 dropped 14.

    And the U.S. women's national soccer team headed home from France today, after winning a record fourth World Cup. They beat the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday. The players flew back today to Newark, New Jersey, and greeted fans with a chorus of "We Are the Champions."

    A parade is scheduled Wednesday in New York City.

Listen to this Segment