Top diplomats head to London, Vienna ahead of November 24 nuke deal deadline


Washington’s representative to the IAEA in Vienna on Monday told reporters that the administration was “disappointed” in Iran’s failure to cooperate with nuclear investigators from the UN watchdog. Amb. Laura Kennedy is one of several U.S. diplomats in Vienna this week -- Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to join a team that includes Acting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and former Deputy Secretary of State Williams Burns -- as Western negotiators meet with Iranian officials ahead of the November 24 deadline for the P5+1 global powers to reach a deal with the Islamic republic over its nuclear program. The New York Times this weekend conveyed assessments from presidential national security advisers, who put “the chance of reaching an agreement this month at 40 to 50 percent.” The outlet noted that the parties standing against a final deal between Iran and the West include “not just Mr. Khamenei and the country’s hard-liners, but newly empowered Republicans, some of [President Obama’s] fellow Democrats, and many of the United States’ closest allies.” Newsweek bluntly assessed the situation in Washington: “Any Iran deal is DOA on Capitol Hill” and noted that Republicans and Democrats in Congress “might as well be sitting on the same side of the aisle.” Roll Call had last week reported that lawmakers were in the process of preparing a series of steps aimed at reasserting Congressional oversight over the final contours of a nuclear deal between the P5+1 global powers and Iran, with Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) telling reporters that "there will be a desire very quickly after the first of the year for Congress to weigh in on the topic in some form or fashion." The Roll Call report came weeks after leaked audio revealed that the Obama administration has been planning for almost a year to circumvent the House and Senate in structuring the agreement.


On November 13, Microsoft announced its acquisition of Israeli enterprise security startup Aorato. Financial details of the sale weren’t disclosed, but according to The Wall Street Journal Microsoft paid close to $200 million. “We are making this acquisition to give customers a new level of protection against threats through better visibility into their identity infrastructure,” wrote Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for cloud and enterprise marketing, in a blog post. “With Aorato we will accelerate our ability to give customers powerful identity and access solutions that span on-premises and the cloud, which is central to our overall hybrid cloud strategy,” Numoto continued. Aorato’s approach uses machine learning to detect suspicious activity on a company’s network by comparing with baseline “normal behavior.” The software then takes appropriate measures to protect the network. Part of the technology’s innovation is a continuously updated view of all of the people and machines accessing an organization’s Windows Server Active Directory, used by most enterprises to store user identities and administer access to critical business applications and systems. “We are excited about the technology that Aorato has built and, especially, the people joining the Microsoft team through this acquisition,” wrote Numoto. In past years, Microsoft has purchased a dozen Israeli startups. It also maintains a major R&D center in Israel, which recently sponsored a local Innovate for Good competition . Aorato, founded in 2012 in Herzliya, posted a statement that joining Microsoft “gives us a unique opportunity to … help customers at the broadest possible scale. With this acquisition, we will cease selling our Directory Services Application Firewall (DAF) product. As part of Microsoft, we will share more on the future direction and packaging of these capabilities at a later time.” (via Israel21c)

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