World News Brief, Wednesday May 19

Cautious response to Iran's pledge to send nuclear fuel to Turkey; China welcomes Iran's news; Thai government refuses to talk to Red Shirts until protest ends; Eighteen killed in Kabul attack; Iraq elections panel will pursue more bans; and more

Top of the Agenda: US, Europe, Russia Cautious on Iran Deal


The United States, Europe, and Russia responded cautiously (NYT) to Iran's unexpected announcement Monday that it had reached an agreement to ship roughly half its nuclear fuel to Turkey. The countries said they would continue to press for new sanctions against Iran. Officials were concerned that concern the deal was timed to undermine the UN Security Council's sanctions effort. Under the agreement, Iran would keep about half its current stockpile of low-enriched uranium in-country, enough fuel for one nuclear weapon. The deal illustrates how Brazil and Turkey, which have their own economic interests in opposing sanctions, could derail international consensus on sanctions.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the proposal "must now be conveyed clearly and authoritatively" to the International Atomic Energy Agency and that "the United States and international community continue to have serious concerns" (WashPost).


A Daily Star op-ed says if the three powers closest to Iran can convince it to behave with more transparency and to stop posturing, then avoiding sanctions is a possibility.

The nuclear fuel-swap agreement announced in Tehran put the United States in a bind. Contrary to its sponsors' intentions, it will not improve confidence between the United States and Iran, writes CFR's Michael Levi.

CFR's Matias Spektor says a newly assertive Brazil is likely to remain a lead player in diplomacy on Iran's nuclear program.


Read the May 2010 joint declaration by Iran, Turkey, and Brazil on nuclear fuel.

This Backgrounder examines Iran's nuclear program.


PACIFIC RIM: Thai Govt Refuses Talks Until Rally Ends


The Thai government said it will not enter mediated talks (BangkokPost) with red-shirt protesters in the capital until they end their rally.

The escalating standoff between Thai government troops and red-shirt protesters reflects a fundamental shift in Thai politics and a weak government, writes CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick.

China: China welcomed Iran's nuclear fuel-swap deal (WSJ) as a way to resolve concerns over Iran's nuclear program with diplomacy rather than sanctions or force.



Eighteen killed in Kabul attack

Iraq elections panel to pursue more bans

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