White House criticises senators' letter about Iran; police and students clash in Burma; China reportedly building second aircraft carrier; Ivory Coast's former First Lady jailed for election violence; Venezuela hit with fresh sanctions over human rights violations; and more 


President Rejects Senators' Letter to Iran

The White House criticized (NYT) an open letter from U.S. Senate Republicans warning Iran against reaching a deal with the U.S. president, accusing them of undercutting foreign policy negotiations. The letter was signed by forty-seven of the Senate's fifty-four Republicans and cautions that any deal negotiated with the Obama administration could be nullified (Al Jazeera) by Congress once Obama’s term in office expires. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the letter had no legal value and he dismissed it as mostly a "propaganda ploy" (Hill). The letter follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address before a joint session of Congress in which he argued against the nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran. The United States, the four other UN Security Council permanent members, and Germany are negotiating with Iran on a framework agreement that faces an end of March deadline. 


"A vote of Congress would be needed to permanently lift crucial sanctions, including ones that have crippled Tehran’s financial sector. And Republican members of Congress say they have been shut out, left with little choice other than to alert the Iranians that though they appear powerless this moment, ultimately Capitol Hill’s support will be necessary for any deal Iran forges with diplomats," write Burgess Everett and Michael Crowley in Politico.

"Senators from both parties are united in an insistence that, at some point, the administration will need their buy-in for any nuclear deal with Iran to succeed. There’s no sign yet that Obama believes this—or, if he does, that he plans to engage Congress in any meaningful way," writes Josh Rogin at Bloomberg View.

"The United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany can take credit for an interim deal that has sharply limited Iran’s nuclear activities, and they are on the verge of a more permanent agreement that could further reduce the risk of Iran’s developing a nuclear weapon. Congress needs to think hard about the best way to support a verifiable nuclear deal and not play political games that could leave America isolated, the sanctions regime in tatters and Iran’s nuclear program unshackled," writes the New York Times


Police, Students Clash in Burma

Police charged (VOA) at students, beat them with batons, and forcibly removed them on Tuesday, ending a  days-long sit-in by students in the town of Letpadan.  Students are protesting a new education law which they say limits academic freedom.

CHINA: The People's Daily, the Communist party mouthpiece, cited media reports quoting top officials who confirmed the building (FT) of China's second aircraft carrier. Reports of China's second aircraft carrier have perennially surfaced, but have always been denied or censored.

This CFR InfoGuide explores China's maritime disputes. 


ivory Coast's former First Lady jailed over election violence

 Venezuela hit with fresh sanctions over human rights violations

This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org  


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