Three days after the official deadline lapsed for reaching a political framework agreement, on Thursday the P5+1 global powers and Iran finally issued a joint EU – Iranian statement of understanding. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said that the negotiating teams “have reached solutions on key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).” The JCPOA deadline is set for June 30. Mogherini read out the statement that highlighted some limits imposed on Iran’s nuclear program and the international community’s plan for sanctions relief. There was no formal agreement signed by all of the parties, nor was there a detailed release of the concessions to which Iran agreed.
Following the press conference, the State Department released a fact sheet containing a more detailed explanation of the understanding; however, minutes after its release, Foreign Minister Zarif tweeted, “The solutions are good for all, as they stand. There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.”
In the statement issued, the international community made a series of concessions. For instance, in the heavily fortified, underground enrichment facility of Fordow, centrifuges will continue to enrich, however, they will not enrich uranium but other elements. Previously, the P5+1 demanded that Iran close the facility. In any final deal, Iran will be able to engage in limited research and development on advanced centrifuges. The Institute for Science and International Security says that allowing Iran to develop advanced centrifuges that can enrich faster, would lead to a shorter breakout period, making it much more difficult for the West to detect and respond to an Iranian breakout. Arak will remain a heavy water reactor, despite previous statements by administration officials asserting that it should not. Absent were commitments on the fate of Iran’s stockpiles of enriched uranium and how the international community will resolve Iran’s past work on the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-N.Y.) issued a statement saying, “I greet any deal with Iran with great skepticism given its deceptive history and ongoing destabilizing and dangerous activities. I remain deeply concerned as to how a number of issues have been addressed in the framework and may be addressed in a final agreement.” Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said, “This attempt to spin diplomatic failure as a success is just the latest example of this administration’s farcical approach to Iran.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared that he will introduce the Corker-Menendez bill that calls for congressional review of any nuclear agreement with Iran. Following the announcement, Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said that he would move forward with his bill on April 14. The President has vowed to veto the bill – the question remains whether the Senate will form a veto-proof majority that would allow the bill to pass. The LA Times reported that in a recent poll, “By 2-1 in the Pew survey, Americans said Congress should ‘have final authority for approving any agreement.’”
The Internet of Things, or IoT for short, describes a network of Internet-enabled objects (“things”) capable of transferring data to one another to perform tasks without human intervention. This machine-to-machine connectivity will completely transform our daily lives, according to presenters at Israel’s first ISmart Conference. The February event in Jerusalem presented a window on the future of IoT and how Israeli entrepreneurs, investors, companies, designers and technologists will play a role in it. “IoT is going to be the biggest wave of the Internet that we’ve ever seen, more than mobile Internet and cloud computing,” declared Inbar Lasser-Raab, the Israel-based vice president of enterprise networks and IoT marketing for the multinational networking equipment maker Cisco. By 2020, it is expected that 26 billion objects will be connected to the Internet, not including PCs, tablets and smartphones. We’re talking about vehicles that communicate with each other on the road. Smart home systems that manage power consumption. Smart bracelets to help parents locate children. Wearables that let you and your doctor keep tabs on your health. Drones that can deliver a package for you and come back home automatically. Sensors and software are the heart and soul of IoT, and Israeli companies are hard at work designing smaller, smarter sensors and smarter apps. “We need to lower the cost of sensors, make smaller sensors, lengthen battery life and develop ‘killer’ apps so that IoT can really take off,” said Lasser-Raab. Connecting machines to machines is only the first step. “After we get the data from the sensors, we need to be able to analyze it and do something with it, so it is data analytics that is going to change this industry. Just as [ride-sharing app] Uber didn’t invent taxi service but used analytics to provide a better service, that’s what IoT is all about.” (via Israel21c)