World News Brief, Tuesday November 19

Putin says there is a "real chance" to end standoff over Iran's nuclear programme; Philippines corruption concerns magnified by typhoon; Australian spies have reportedly targeted phones of top Indonesian officials; US-funded clinic in Kabul to close; Boeing books $100 millions in orders; and more 

Top of the Agenda: Putin Sees Chance to End Iran's Nuclear Row

Russian president Vladimir Putin told Iranian president Hassan Rouhani on Monday that there is a "real chance" to end the international standoff over Iran's nuclear program (Reuters). Negotiators from Iran and six global powers are scheduled to meet in Geneva this week to discuss a deal, but some allies of the United States remain skeptical of the talks. French president François Hollande said before meeting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on Sunday that Paris will continue to oppose easing economic sanctions on Iran until Tehran gives up its pursuit of nuclear weapons (al-Jazeera).


"The trickiest issue probably will be Iran's demand for some recognition of what it claims is its 'right' to enrich uranium for civilian purposes, as some other signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) have done. The United States insists that there's no such right under the NPT. But negotiators have explored language that might provide Iran with a face-saving assurance that under a comprehensive deal to halt nuclear-weapons capability, it could have limited domestic enrichment for civilian use," writes David Ignatius in the Washington Post.

"Like the Soviet Union early on in the Cold War, even a nuclear-armed Iran would be vastly outmatched by the U.S. strategic arsenal. Unlike the Soviets, the Iranians can't ever hope to match the U.S. Thus, in any crisis, American negotiators will have the upper hand and should be able to compel the Iranians to back down quickly, even accepting significant reversals to avoid a war," Kenneth M. Pollack writes for Bloomberg.

"Iran came to Geneva for the same reason that the six world powers did: because its leaders believe that they can get something they require at an acceptable cost. These are the conditions that make diplomacy possible, and it has taken ten years to produce them. The United States can use them to secure an imperfect peace. Or it can start over by increasing the pressure on Iran and demanding unconditional surrender. If it chooses the latter, it will avoid a compromise, but it may find itself left with a choice between an unmonitored Iranian nuclear program and war," writes Laura Secor writes in the New Yorker.


Corruption Magnifies Typhoon Suffering

Concerns about corruption in the Philippines are mounting as the country takes in more than $270 million of aid donated to the victims of a devastating November 8 typhoon (AP). The government said it will monitor the movement of funds to make sure it reaches the victims.

AUSTRALIA: Spy agencies in Australia have reportedly targeted the personal phone of Indonesia's president and inner circle, according to leaked documents from Edward Snowden (SMH).


US-funded clinic in Kabul to close

Boeing books $100 million in orders

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