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US, Allies Weigh Iran Nuclear Deal


French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius (R) and US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about efforts to secure a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of a March 31 deadline. (AFP PHOTO /ERIC FEFERBERG)

French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius (R) and US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about efforts to secure a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of a March 31 deadline. (AFP PHOTO /ERIC FEFERBERG)

President Barack Obama says American negotiators have made progress in talks with Iran about its nuclear program. But he says a deal will not be reached unless Iran is completely open about its nuclear activities. He said that if Iran does not provide verification about its nuclear program, the U.S. and its negotiating partners would, in his words, “walk away.” Other nations involved are Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China.

The president spoke in an interview, which was recorded earlier, and shown on American television Sunday. In it, Mr. Obama told CBS News that Iran has negotiated seriously because of what he called some of the strongest economic restrictions, or sanctions, ever put in place.

He said he believes negotiators will know in the next month if Iran is truly interested in a nuclear program designed to make energy or whether it wants to make nuclear weapons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was interviewed on the same television program Sunday. He said he disagrees with the Obama administration on how to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. He said a better deal would limit Iran’s ability to develop nuclear technology and halt its threats against Israel.

Russian court: Chechen admits ties to Nemtsov’s killing

A Russian judge says a former Chechen police commander has admitted he was involved in the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. Police are questioning four other suspects. All five men were in a court in Moscow on Sunday.

Officials said a sixth suspect blew himself up with a small bomb as police tried to arrest him in the Chechen capital, Grozny.

Boris Nemtsov was shot and killed near the Kremlin on February 27th. He had been a sharp critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Officials have not said why they believe Mr. Nemtsov was killed. His supporters say officials at the highest levels of the Russian government ordered him killed to silence critics.

South Korean president visits US ambassador in hospital

South Korean President Park Geun-hye visited American Ambassador Mark Lippert in the hospital on Sunday. Mr. Lippert was attacked last week in Seoul. He suffered knife wounds on his face and wrist.

President Park suffered the same kind of attack during an election campaign in Seoul in 2006. She was cared for at the same hospital where Ambassador Lippert is being treated.

Officials say the suspect, 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong could face attempted murder charges.

Oil refinery target of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes

Activists say airstrikes carried out by U.S.-led coalition forces hit an oil refinery in northern Syria on Sunday. They say thirty people were killed.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the Islamic State group was operating the refinery. It says both militants and refinery workers were killed in the attack.

Nigerian neighbors join fight against Boko Haram

A senior Nigerian military official says the armies of Chad and Niger have joined to attack Boko Haram militants in northeastern Nigeria. Major General Chris Olukolade told VOA, “There should be no hiding place for terrorists.”

The troops launched their offensive early Sunday in Borno state. Boko Haram seized large areas of the state although the government has declared a state of emergency there.

The attack began the day after Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said the group would join with the Islamic State group.

The Nigerian army is trying to regain control of areas seized by Boko Haram so the government can hold presidential and parliamentary elections. Elections had been set for last month but have been delayed until March 28 because of the violence.
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Words in the News

Verification - n. to prove, show, find out, or state that (something) is true or correct

Sanctions - n. an action that is taken or an order that is given to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country, by not allowing economic aid for that country, etc.

Refinery - n. a place where something is refined, purified

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