Iran

First Coast residents with connections to Iran are expressing optimism about this week’s announcement of a nuclear deal with the Persian state.  The agreement, which was years in the making, was struck to keep Iran from producing enough material for an atomic weapon for at least 10 years. It also imposes new provisions for inspections of Iranian facilities, including military sites.  And the deal is seen as giving an economic boost to Iran, which stands to finally rid itself of internationally-imposed sanctions and receive more than $100 billion in assets frozen overseas.  Reaction to the deal has been mixed though, with many Republicans denouncing the agreement. We discussed the deal with Marilyn McAfee, retired Ambassador and career foreign service officer who spent more than four years in Iran.


Some of the sanctions against Iran will be eased under an agreement reached between Iran and six world powers over the weekend. In return, Iran promises to temporarily curb part of its nuclear program.

There's widespread agreement that sanctions have worked, squeezing Iran financially and bringing its leaders to the negotiating table. Iran's economy is, by any measure, in terrible shape.

Iran is a notoriously closed society, so this was an unusual milestone: It was recently the setting for a high-fashion magazine shoot, published in California-based magazine FSHN.

Iran's justice minister says a convicted drug smuggler who survived an attempted execution by hanging earlier this month shouldn't go back to the gallows.

As we reported last week, the 37-year-old man, identified as Alireza M, was found alive in the morgue by his family following a 12-minute hanging. After the incident, an Iranian judge reportedly said Alireza would hang again once he had recovered from the botched execution.

Iran's proposal for easing the standoff over its nuclear program got seemingly positive initial reviews at Tuesday's start of multiparty talks in Geneva.

A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the Iranian delegation had made a PowerPoint presentation outlining the plan at the beginning of the two-day session. The spokesman said the plan had been received with "cautious optimism" but gave no further details of the close-door meeting, describing the proceedings as "confidential."

Iran has arrested four people who it says were intent on sabotaging facilities in its nuclear program. The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says the four are now being questioned.

"Some time ago, a number of people were arrested in one of the (nuclear) facilities when they were involved in planning activities," Ali Akbar Salehi said Sunday, according to Iran's state-run Tasnim News Agency.

Update at 3:07 p.m. ET. Leaders Will Not Meet:

After intense speculation that the United States and Iran were on the verge of making history today by coordinating a meeting between President Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, there came word this afternoon that the two would not meet during the ceremonies surrounding the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly.

Secretary of State John Kerry plans to meet his Iranian counterpart this week for the highest-level face-to-face between Washington and Tehran in six years.

The meeting with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and representatives of five other world powers — Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — would come as newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits the United Nations in New York. The talks would center on Iran's nuclear program.

Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, has launched a charm offensive ahead of his visit to the U.N. General Assembly in New York next week.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A West African man will not be released on bail before he goes to trial on U.S. charges that he tried to broker a deal to ship uranium ore to Iran.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Robin Wright

  The events of the Arab Spring were momentous and for many, exciting to watch as they unfolded in the Middle East. So what now?

That's the domain of acclaimed author and foreign correspondent Robin Wright. She's in town this week to discuss her book, Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Muslim World.