(NEWSMAX) — The Obama administration is weighing whether to offer Iran the chance to recoup billions of dollars in frozen overseas assets if it takes steps to scale back its nuclear program, U.S. officials and congressional aides said Friday. The proposal would face a skeptical Congress determined to make the end of Tehran’s uranium enrichment activity the condition for any sanctions relief.
The brainstorming comes after two days of nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers ended this week in Geneva. The talks — the first since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took office — ended on an upbeat note although it fell short of specific and concrete commitments by Iran to stop enriching uranium or ship out its stockpiles of higher-enriched uranium.
The proposal is one of several under consideration to spur negotiations to ensure Tehran can’t produce atomic weapons. Enriching uranium can produce material for peaceful energy purposes or nuclear arms.
Under the plan being weighed, Iran would be able to access money from oil sales overseas that it currently can only barter with because of U.S. and international sanctions. Senate aides put the total between $50 billion and $75 billion. It’s not clear what Iran would have to do in return to prompt the Obama administration to allow banks to release the money. Read more via Newsmax…
Obama says is shifting to domestic priorities from Syria focus
(Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Thursday he is shifting his focus to domestic priorities from a tense period during which he sought congressional approval to use military force against Syria for its suspected use of chemical weapons.
“Even as we have been spending a lot of time on the Syria issue and making sure that international attention is focused on the horrible tragedy that occurred there, it is still important to recognize that we’ve got a lot more stuff to do here in this government,” the president said before a meeting with his Cabinet at the White House.
The president said he hopes meetings between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will result in action to eliminate Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons again.
Obama has asked Congress to authorize military strikes against Syria in response to what the United States says was a chemical weapons attack by the government that killed more than 1,400 people on August 21. The issue is on hold pending diplomatic efforts to disarm Syria of chemical weapons.
“I am hopeful that the discussions that Secretary Kerry had with Foreign Minister Lavrov as well as some of the other players in this can yield a concrete result,” Obama said.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were to hold talks on Syria in Geneva.
The president cited the budget, immigration, and implementation of his signature healthcare legislation as concerns he is turning to.