US offers nuclear compromise as Russia turns on Iran; Security forces arrest journalists and opposition ahead of Iranian revolution anniversary; Honda latest automaker to issue recall; Germany steps in to rescue Greece; Russia ally wins Ukraine election; and more
Top of the Agenda: US Offers to Help Iran Purchase Isotopes
The United States is promoting a plan (WashPost) to help Iran purchase medical isotopes on the international market to constrain the country's nuclear ambitions. The offer is meant to deter Iran from producing fuel for a medical research reactor, which the international community says indicates Iran's pursuit of a nuclear bomb. Iran may be reluctant to buy isotopes from abroad since it has viewed production of its own isotopes as a source of pride. The Obama administration's new offer might be primarily intended mostly to show China its exhaustive diplomatic efforts.
Iran began enriching uranium at levels closer to weapons-grade Tuesday, according to state media (WSJ). Russia, which has wavered in its support of UN sanctions, criticized Iran's move, suggesting Russia might back more punitive measures.
Iranian security officials have increased arrests (NYT) across the country, attempting to neutralize the political opposition and prevent widespread protests during Thursday's anniversary of the revolution. According to Reporters Without Borders, Iran has more journalists in prison than any other country in the world, with at least 65 in custody.
In the New York Times, Robert Wright says Iranians support their nuclear program as a means of resisting external punishment, suggesting a new round of sanctions might not be a "game changer," even if China supports them.
In Haaretz, A.B. Yehoshua says peace between Israel and Palestine would neutralize Iran's hatred for Israel and undermine the Iranian government's public support.
In the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby says gentle diplomacy with Iran won't work.
This CFR Backgrounder examines Iran's nuclear program.
PACIFIC RIM: Honda Recalls More Cars
Honda, Japan's second largest carmaker, said it would recall (Reuters) another 440,000 cars globally for faulty airbags, as rival Toyota faced further probes over its safety crisis.
China: Chinese exports and imports grew (AP) in January, signaling the recovery in global and Chinese demand is on track.