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Washington denies secret plan for direct talks with Iran

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Obama administration responds to report that both sides have agreed in principle to one-on-one discussions after election

The Obama administration has moved quickly to water down a report that the US and Iran have agreed in principle to meet one-on-one for negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme.

The New York Times said secret talks between officials that began early in Barack Obama’s term as president had delivered the provisional agreement. Iran had insisted the talks wait until after the November presidential election, the New York Times said, attributing the information to a senior official in the Obama administration.

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However the National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in response that the United States would continue to work with fellow permanent members of the UN security council and Germany.

“It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” the statement said.

“We continue to work with the P5+1 [five permanent members of the UN security council plus Germany] on a diplomatic solution and have said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally.”

Vietor said on Saturday that Obama had made clear that he would do whatever was necessary to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Vietor said Iran must meet its obligations or it would “continue to face crippling sanctions and increased pressure”.

Obama and the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, will meet on Monday night in a debate focusing on foreign policy. Iran’s nuclear ambitions will likely be a topic.

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Obama has said he will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He hopes sanctions alongside negotiations can get Iran to halt uranium enrichment, but the strategy has not worked yet.

Obama has held out the threat of military action as a last resort but Romney has accused Obama of being weak on Iran, saying the US needs to step up the military threat.

© Guardian News and Media 2012


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The dangers of Trump TV: MSNBC host hammers Fox News as ‘genuine public health threat’ amid pandemic

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Tuesday night, Fox News decided that all anyone needed to do is to pump Americans with a Malaria drug and send them back to work to save President Donald Trump's economy.

Speaking Wednesday night, MSNBC host Chris Hayes bashed the conservative network for downplaying the seriousness of coronavirus, saying that they are "a genuine public health threat."

While Trump has advisers like Dr. Anthony Fauci, he also has the unofficial advisers he sees on Fox News.

They "are coalescing around the idea the whole thing is just overblown and we need to pump everyone full of the malaria drug and get them back to work. This is what you heard if you watch trump tv just last night," Hayes said. He then played clips illustrating exactly that, with hosts ranting and raving about the virus not being as serious as the flu.

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‘Don’t let him rewrite history’: GOP ex-congressman slams Trump for painting fewer than 100,000 COVID-19 deaths as a victory

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At Wednesday's coronavirus task force press conference, President Donald Trump reiterated his claim that if fewer than 100,000 Americans die from COVID-19, it will be a victory for him.

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) had none of it.

He ignored the warnings. He ignored the scientists & doctors. He refused to prepare. He lied about the virus. This country wasn’t ready. People got sick. People died. People lost their jobs. Because he cared more about himself than the country.

Don’t let him rewrite history. https://t.co/9snqoJ1VQI

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Wisconsin GOP plots to strip Democratic governor of more power — a day after forcing voters to stand outside in a pandemic

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This week, Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature have faced national fury after their successful lawsuits blocking Democratic Gov. Tony Evers from delaying the election and extending absentee voting.

But just one day after tens of thousands of voters were forced to stand in public lines and risk COVID-19 exposure just to exercise their constitutional right to vote, the Wisconsin GOP found yet another way to weaponize the pandemic for partisan gain.

According to Molly Beck of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Republicans in the legislature have slipped a provision into the state's relief bill authorizing unemployment disbursement under the federal CARES Act, that would allow the state's Finance Committee to make budget cuts without input from Evers — stripping him of power at exactly the moment when the public would be looking to the governor for help.

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