World News Brief, Friday November 8

Nuclear talks begin among six world powers and Iran; rural businesses in China take to the web; Taiwan and Singapore sign free-trade agreement; Ireland heads towards final bailout review; historic gay rights bill before US Senate; and more

Top of the Agenda: Iran Nuclear Talks Begin in Geneva

Iran and six world powers began two days of negotiations on Thursday with the aim of discussing specific steps that Tehran can take to limit its ability to make nuclear weapons in exchange for relief from sanctions that have devastated the Iranian economy (AP). Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said after a breakfast meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (Reuters) that a deal in Geneva is conceivable. The Obama administration indicated that the United States is willing to offer "very limited, temporary, reversible sanctions relief" if Tehran agrees to a six-month freeze of its nuclear program (Hill).


"Should the negotiations not yield an accord in a timely manner, it is Khamenei, not President Obama, who would face a popular backlash. A disenfranchised and dispossessed population is an explosive political problem for Khamenei. The Western powers should not be afraid to suspend negotiations or walk away, should the Iranians prove intransigent. Ironically, stalemated negotiations are likely to pressure Iran into offering more concessions," CFR Senior Fellow Ray Takeyh writes in the Washington Post.

"The bottom line is that Iran does not want to suspend uranium enrichment, the process which makes what can be fuel for civilian power reactors or the explosive core of atom bombs. The United States, leader of the six nations negotiating with Iran, wants to see enrichment reined in enough to guarantee that the Islamic Republic cannot 'break out' and in a dash make enough weapon-grade uranium to produce a nuclear weapon," Michael Adler writes for Breaking Defense.

"To Western nuclear experts, such an agreement would have to cover a daunting list of issues. It would need to eliminate Iran's stockpile of highly enriched uranium, either by shipping it out of the country or by reducing it to a less dangerous form. It would need to limit Iran's ability to enrich nuclear fuel by reducing the number of centrifuges in the country. It would need to stop the new Arak nuclear reactor from producing plutonium. And it would need to impose intrusive international monitoring to ensure that the agreement was kept," Doyle McManus writes in the Los Angeles Times.


Rural China Seeks Economic Growth Online

Chinese villages and towns are creating tens of thousands of jobs by selling products online, usually through the e-commerce site Alibaba, a development that is helping slow the flow of Chinese moving to cities for work (Bloomberg).

TAIWAN: Taipei has signed a free-trade agreement with Singapore, its first with a Southeast Asian economy, in a move that lessens the island's dependence on China (WSJ).


Ireland heads towards final bailout review

Historic gay rights bill before US Senate

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