Democratic senators issue deadline to President Obama on Iran negotiations


Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) announced today that he along with nine other Democratic senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama issuing a deadline for a political framework to be reached with Iran over its nuclear program. The senators warned that if Iran fails to agree to a framework that “addresses all parameters of a comprehensive agreement” by March 24, they will vote in favor of legislation that levies economic pressure against Iran. The legislation before the Senate Banking Committee, the Nuclear Free Iran Act of 2015, is a bipartisan piece of legislation coauthored by Sen. Menendez. The legislation, also known as the Kirk-Menendez bill for its Republican co-author Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), is designed to give leverage to the U.S. negotiating team by implementing economic penalties against Iran if a final agreement is not reached by June 30. For weeks, the Obama Administration has been threatening to veto any new legislation that contains economic penalties against Iran. The Hill reported, “The White House had been pressuring Democrats to hold back on the sanctions bill, warning it could blow up the negotiations and empower hard-liners in Iran who want to walk away from the table.” According to Reuters, reporting on Tuesday’s hearing in front of the Senate Banking Committee, “He [Menendez] and his Democratic colleagues ‘remain hopeful’ for a diplomatic solution, but Menendez said they are ‘deeply skeptical’ about Iran's commitment to making concessions that would show its nuclear program is peaceful by the deadline set by international negotiators.” In the letter to President Obama, the senators argued that “this deadline is the critical test of Iranian intentions.” The signatories of the letter, in addition to Sen. Menendez, include Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Bob Casey, Jr. (Pa.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Manchin (W. Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.).


TouchéMedical is developing a low-cost ‘smart’ patch pump designed for patients of all ages with diabetes, Parkinson’s and other chronic conditions. The patch pumps worn by many people with diabetes are a game-changer in managing the daily infusions of insulin needed to control their chronic condition. Now an Israeli father-son team seeks to further change the game with a significantly lower-cost and “smarter” patch pump, hoping to put the devices in reach of many more patients needing constant medication. Not only millions of diabetics of all ages, but also those with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, would benefit. Avi Keret of TouchéMedical stresses that he and his inventor son Amir are not reinventing the wheel, rather making it more universally accessible. “Our device gives the same amount of medication as any other pump; it just delivers the drug in a way that allows for a better quality of life,” he tells ISRAEL21c. The device would be especially welcome, he believes, in parts of India and other Asian countries with a rising diabetes rate and a high incidence of thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder often affecting multiple members of the same family. A patch pump is the best solution for administering lifesaving medication continuously, but the high cost forces many of these families to share one device, compromising its effectiveness. “We’ll offer them an alternative,” Keret pledges. “People who have or don’t have medical insurance will be able to afford it. Children all over the world will be able to use it.” (via Israel21c)

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