World News Brief, Thursday April 16

Progress on US efforts to curb Iran's nuclear programme; China approves founding members for new bank; Japan to propose increased rice imports from US; Europe accuses Google of monopoly abuse; Cuba removed from terrorism sponsor list; and more


Congress, White House Compromise on Iran Deal

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved (WaPo) a bill on Tuesday that grants Congress the power to review and then vote on the final text of a potential deal to curb Iran's nuclear program. The new legislation reduces (AP) the hold on sanctions relief to Iran from sixty to thirty days while Congress reviews the deal and requires the president to brief lawmakers every ninety days to ensure that Iran is complying with the terms of the agreement. In a statement on Tuesday, the White House expressed its willingness to sign (NYT) the bipartisan bill, in a move to avoid a standoff with legislators. Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz called the U.S. compromise an "achievement" (Haaretz) and said that it will prevent a bad deal. Meanwhile, Iranian leaders have said that all sanctions must be lifted upon reaching a final nuclear agreement. Nuclear talks are slated to resume (Reuters) on April 21. 


"Every president has negotiated similar agreements as part of executive authority. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has wrongly and inappropriately diminished the president’s power to conduct the nation’s foreign policy as he was elected to do," writes the New York Times.

"The Founders required two-thirds approval on treaties because they wanted major national commitments overseas to have a national political consensus. Mr. Obama should want the same kind of consensus on Iran. But instead he is giving more authority over American commitments to the United Nations than to the U.S. Congress," writes the Wall Street Journal.

"Perpetuation of the same spirit and commitment to the full implementation of the provisions of the final deal—once it goes into effect—will certainly help weaken the bitter feelings of the past and promote, over time and even if in small measure, a sound foundation for moving forward toward what I have termed all along as 'rapprochement and détente' between Tehran and Washington. It is not easy, but it is doable," writes Seyed Hossein Mousavian for Al-Monitor


Beijing Approves 57 Founding Members for AIIB

The Chinese Ministry of Finance announced (SCMP) on Wednesday that the fifty-seven prospective founding members of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank will have priority over nations that sign up later and will have the right to establish the bank's rules. Meanwhile, China's first quarter GDP growth dropped (FT) to 7 percent, its lowest rate since 2009.

JAPAN: Officials in Tokyo said Japan will propose increasing U.S. rice imports (Bloomberg) in a bid to make progress on negotiations of the twelve-country Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Separately, the U.S. Congress is expected to unveil (NYT) a bipartisan bill granting fast-track negotiating power to President Barack Obama to conclude the TPP on Wednesday.

This CFR Backgrounder provides an overview of the future of U.S. trade policy.


Europe accuses Google of monopoly abuse

Cuba removed from terrorism sponsor list

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