In the latest blow to a verifiable deal, on Wednesday afternoon French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned that Iran is seeking 24 days advance notice prior to inspections, in the event of a suspected violation of a deal on its nuclear program. In an interview in March, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, stated that short notice inspections were essential to ensuring that all of Iran’s nuclear activities were for peaceful purposes. In response to Iran’s demand, Fabius declared that “a lot of things can disappear” in 24 days. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has repeatedly insisted that Iran will have to agree to “a historically intrusive set of inspections to verify their compliance with the agreement.”
Also on Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that Iran would not allow inspections of its military sites or interviews with its nuclear scientists. Iran’s refusal to grant the IAEA interviews and access to sites linked to the possible military dimensions of its program prevent the IAEA from getting a clear picture of Iran’s past weapons work and atomic research, which is crucial to designing an effective verification system and calculating Iran’s breakout time. Experts have emphasized that gaining access to military sites is necessary to being able to detect a covert attempt to break out. Along with Iran’s insistence for 24 day advanced notice, these Iranian demands call into question the ability to achieve a verifiable deal.
FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, will investigate the arrests of a team of BBC reporters by Qatari authorities, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The reporters, who were arrested Monday, were interrogated and jailed for two nights before being released. Their equipment, confiscated by Qatari officials, has not been returned.
Qatar has been stung by criticism from the likes of British Prime Minister David Cameron and the editors of The New York Times for the dangerous exploitation of migrant laborers to build the World Cup facilities. According to The Guardian, more than 180 migrants died working in Qatar in 2014.
In The Fruitful Game: How Qatar Uses Soccer to Polish its Image, which was published in the October 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, associate editor Ben Cohen described the symbiotic relationship between cash-rich Qatar and money-guzzling FIFA. (via TheTower.org)
Israeli teenager Nadav Guedj will beat the odds and make it to the grand final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, according to predictions by bookmakers. The 16-year-old Rising Star reality television contest winner will sing the song “Golden Boy” in the second semi-final of the campy international event. The Mediterranean pop tune with English lyrics was composed and written by Doron Medalie. “I am proud to represent Israel,” Nadav told Ynet.
The Eurovision Song Contest’s official slogan this year is Building Bridges, and Nadav seems to be doing just that with his song. Unlike the Miss Universe selfie snafu when Miss Lebanon decried Miss Israel for breaking into the frame, Nadav has a very public Lebanese fan who has hugged him, traded flags with him, and has even called on the international community to vote for the Israeli-French singer.
Israel has won the competition three times since entering the contest in 1973. In 1978, Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta won with the song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi.” In 1979, Gali Atari and the Milk & Honey group won with the song “Hallelujah” and in 1998, Dana International won with “Diva.” To listen to the song, click here. (via Israel21c)