Mike Shuster http://kcur.org en To Combat Sanctions, Iran Buys Up Gold http://kcur.org/post/combat-sanctions-iran-buys-gold Iran is stockpiling gold. That's the way David Cohen sees it. He's undersecretary of the Treasury, and the Treasury's point man for the banking sanctions the U.S. has imposed on Iran.<p>"Iran is attempting to hoard gold, both by acquiring it and by preventing the export of gold from Iran, in a somewhat desperate attempt to try and defend the value of its currency," Cohen says.<p>Iran faces an oil embargo from many Western countries, and the U.S. has also imposed tough banking sanctions. Iran still manages to sell some oil, although a reduced amount, to neighboring Turkey. Fri, 09 Nov 2012 20:02:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 27376 at http://kcur.org To Combat Sanctions, Iran Buys Up Gold Signals From Iran Indicate Willingness To Talk http://kcur.org/post/signals-iran-indicate-willingness-talk Iran is hurting. Economic and banking sanctions, plus an effective oil embargo led by the European Union, have brought chaos to Iran's economy. The bottom fell out of its currency, the rial, a couple of weeks ago, provoking street protests. Iranians of all social classes are struggling to cope.<p>These challenges, along with other signals, hint at Iran's willingness to engage in bilateral talks with the U.S. about its nuclear activities. Mon, 22 Oct 2012 08:29:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 26343 at http://kcur.org Signals From Iran Indicate Willingness To Talk Panic Rises In Iran As Currency Plunges To New Lows http://kcur.org/post/panic-rises-iran-currency-plunges-new-lows Large crowds of anxious Iranians gathered in Tehran on Sunday and Monday at foreign exchange offices — some of which had shuttered their doors — <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/10/02/162165257/currency-in-crisis-collapse-of-irans-rial-continues">as Iran's currency continues its free fall</a>.<p>From Sunday to Monday, the rial lost nearly one-third of its value against the dollar — and the decline appears to have continued Tuesday.<p>Most economists say it's the very tough economic and banking sanctions against Iran, as well as an embargo on Iranian oil sales, that are respons Tue, 02 Oct 2012 20:47:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 25420 at http://kcur.org Panic Rises In Iran As Currency Plunges To New Lows As Sanctions Take A Toll, Debate In Iran Heats Up http://kcur.org/post/sanctions-take-toll-debate-iran-heats Yukiya Amano is frustrated.<p>Last week, Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told a meeting of the agency in Vienna that he is aggravated by Iran's unwillingness to show the IAEA what's going on at a base called Parchin.<p>"Iran should engage with us without further delay on the substance of our concerns," he said. Mon, 17 Sep 2012 21:53:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 24642 at http://kcur.org As Sanctions Take A Toll, Debate In Iran Heats Up Another Round Of Iranian Nuclear Talks To Begin http://kcur.org/post/another-round-iranian-nuclear-talks-begin Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.<p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>And I'm Steve Inskeep.<p>Talks with Iran on its controversial nuclear program are set to intensify in the coming days. Tomorrow in Vienna, authorities from the International Atomic Energy Agency meet again with Iranian representatives. They'll discuss some past suspicious nuclear activities. Next week, other talks involving the United States, Europe, Russia and China are set to resume.<p>Now, as they talk, banking sanctions and an oil embargo remain in effect. Thu, 23 Aug 2012 08:52:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 23297 at http://kcur.org From All Sides, Iran Under Siege http://kcur.org/post/all-sides-iran-under-siege Iran appears to be facing a crisis more serious than anything it has experienced since its war with Iraq in the 1980s.<p>Diplomatically, President Bashar Assad's regime is under threat from the widening war in Syria, Iran's sole ally in the Arab world. Domestically, the European oil embargo and U.S. Wed, 15 Aug 2012 19:11:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 22870 at http://kcur.org From All Sides, Iran Under Siege In Pakistan, Sounds Of A Different Kind Of Drone http://kcur.org/post/pakistan-sounds-different-kind-drone Bagpipes and Scotland? Aye, it's a natural association: Played for centuries, the instrument is especially identified with the Scottish military and traditional Scottish dress, tartan kilts and shawls.<p>But bagpipes and Pakistan? Nae, you say? Think again.<p>Turns out no place in the world manufactures more bagpipes than Pakistan. Thu, 26 Jul 2012 08:09:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 21650 at http://kcur.org In Pakistan, Sounds Of A Different Kind Of Drone It's Deja Vu As Pakistan's Political Crisis Deepens http://kcur.org/post/its-deja-vu-pakistans-political-crisis-deepens An ongoing political crisis has left Pakistan's government paralyzed and near collapse, as the country's Supreme Court attempts to revive corruption charges against the president in an apparent effort to force his resignation.<p>Accusations of corruption have always clouded the reputation of President Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.<p>Some time ago, the government of Switzerland opened an investigation into Zardari's financial dealings, but the case was closed with no action taken.<p>But Pakistan's Supreme Court has Zardari in its sights. Mon, 23 Jul 2012 19:50:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 21503 at http://kcur.org It's Deja Vu As Pakistan's Political Crisis Deepens The Cost Of Women's Rights In Northwest Pakistan http://kcur.org/post/cost-womens-rights-northwest-pakistan Earlier this month, 25-year-old Farida Afridi, who ran an organization that provides information for women about their rights, was gunned down in the street, near the city of Peshawar in northwest Pakistan. No one has been arrested for this killing. In all likelihood no one will be.<p>On July 4, Afridi was leaving her home to go to her office in Peshawar. Thu, 19 Jul 2012 07:06:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 21266 at http://kcur.org 'Hard Questions' Remain In U.S.-Pakistan Relations http://kcur.org/post/hard-questions-remain-us-pakistan-relations A U.S. operation in the mountains near Afghanistan last November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan wanted an apology. The U.S. refused. In response, Pakistan shut down supply routes to Afghanistan for NATO convoys.<p>After intense talks, two border crossings were reopened last week to convoys for the U.S. and NATO forces.<p>Pakistan's ambassador in Washington, Sherry Rehman, was at the center of the negotiations. Wed, 11 Jul 2012 07:39:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 20807 at http://kcur.org 'Hard Questions' Remain In U.S.-Pakistan Relations Pakistan Will Reopen NATO Supply Lines http://kcur.org/post/pakistan-will-reopen-nato-supply-lines Transcript <p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>Pakistan and the United States have reached agreement to reopen the strategic land supply routes from Pakistan into Afghanistan. Pakistan closed those routes last November after a U.S. attack left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead. Pakistan had wanted a formal apology from the U.S. but the administration refused because it believed American troops had come under fire first from the Pakistani side. Wed, 04 Jul 2012 10:26:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 20498 at http://kcur.org Iran's Nuclear Fatwa: A Policy Or A Ploy? http://kcur.org/post/irans-nuclear-fatwa-policy-or-ploy It's been an article of faith for nearly a decade that Iran's supreme leader issued a fatwa — a religious edict — that nuclear weapons are a sin and Iran has no intention of acquiring them.<p>President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently made references to this religious commitment from Iran's leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.<p>But with the next round of nuclear talks scheduled to resume on Monday in Moscow, analysts point out that there are serious questions about the nature of the fatwa and whether it's as persuasive as the Iranians would like the world to think.<p>As far as Thu, 14 Jun 2012 09:40:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 19344 at http://kcur.org Iran's Nuclear Fatwa: A Policy Or A Ploy? Planned E.U. Oil Embargo Looks Set To Squeeze Iran http://kcur.org/post/planned-eu-oil-embargo-looks-set-squeeze-iran On July 1, the European Union says it will stop buying oil from Iran. Thu, 07 Jun 2012 06:56:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 18965 at http://kcur.org Planned E.U. Oil Embargo Looks Set To Squeeze Iran To Tap Arctic Oil, Russia Partners With Exxon Mobil http://kcur.org/post/tap-arctic-oil-russia-partners-exxon-mobil Russia is still the world's largest producer of oil and gas, but growth has stalled and to get to new supplies requires going to a very difficult place — the Arctic.<p>"If you want to be in this business in 2020, 2025, you must think about the Arctic," says Konstantin Simonov, head of the National Energy Security Fund in Moscow.<p>In the past month, Moscow has signed several deals with foreign oil companies designed to maintain Russia's position as the top producer. Fri, 25 May 2012 07:33:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 18279 at http://kcur.org To Tap Arctic Oil, Russia Partners With Exxon Mobil In This Russian Trial, The Defendant Is A Dead Man http://kcur.org/post/russian-trial-defendant-dead-man The Russian government is about to put a dead man on trial.<p>Sergei Magnitsky was a tax lawyer for the investment fund Hermitage Capital, at one time the largest foreign investment firm in Russia.<p>In 2007, Hermitage Capital was seized by the Russian tax police, and through a number of shady maneuvers, they extracted more than $230 million in illegal tax refunds for themselves.<p>Magnitsky decided to investigate, angering those who had stolen the company. They had him arrested, and he died in prison in 2009.<p>But the case didn't die with him — far from it. Sun, 20 May 2012 21:17:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 18006 at http://kcur.org In This Russian Trial, The Defendant Is A Dead Man For A Third Time, Putin Returns As Russia's President http://kcur.org/post/third-time-putin-returns-russias-president Vladimir Putin is once again the president of Russia.<p>Putin, who held the job from 2000 to 2008, spent the past four years as prime minister because the Russian Constitution prohibits a third consecutive term.<p>So his hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, held the office for the past four years. Now they are switching places, with Putin returning as president and Medvedev tapped to be the prime minister.<p>Putin's inauguration took place Monday in the ornate halls of the Kremlin. Mon, 07 May 2012 19:39:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 17245 at http://kcur.org For A Third Time, Putin Returns As Russia's President For Putin's Third Term As President, A New Russia http://kcur.org/post/putins-third-term-president-new-russia On Monday, Vladimir Putin will again become president of Russia. When he is inaugurated in the Kremlin, it will be for a third term, even though the Russian constitution limits presidents to two four-year terms.<p>The restriction, however, is for two consecutive terms. It doesn't rule out a third term if someone else holds the presidency in the interim. That's exactly what Dmitri Medvedev did. Sun, 06 May 2012 09:56:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 17178 at http://kcur.org For Putin's Third Term As President, A New Russia N. Korea May Stage Nuclear Test After Rocket Launch http://kcur.org/post/n-korea-may-stage-nuclear-test-after-rocket-launch As North Korea reaches the final stage of preparations for a long-range rocket launch, concern is growing that it is in the early stages of preparing its underground test site for another nuclear explosion.<p>Pyongyang established the pattern three years ago when it tested a similar rocket and then followed it a month later with a nuclear test.<p>This time around, there may be a more urgent need to test a nuclear device. Wed, 11 Apr 2012 20:04:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 15837 at http://kcur.org N. Korea May Stage Nuclear Test After Rocket Launch Is North Korea Changing — Or Resisting Change? http://kcur.org/post/north-korea-changing-or-resisting-change Recent developments in North Korea are puzzling watchers of the "Hermit Kingdom" in both the U.S. Tue, 03 Apr 2012 19:53:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 15366 at http://kcur.org Is North Korea Changing — Or Resisting Change? Obama Asks China To Help Halt N. Korean Rocket http://kcur.org/post/obama-asks-china-help-halt-n-korean-rocket President Obama came to South Korea to talk about global nuclear security with world leaders, but found himself trying to build a unified front against North Korea's planned rocket launch next month.<p>Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak strenuously warned North Korea not to go ahead with the launch. In a speech Monday at the summit in Seoul, Obama used some of the toughest language he has ever used addressed to the leaders of North Korea.<p>"And know this: There will be no rewards for provocations," Obama said. "Those days are over. Mon, 26 Mar 2012 17:33:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 14886 at http://kcur.org Obama Asks China To Help Halt N. Korean Rocket Global Nuclear Summit Opens In South Korea http://kcur.org/post/global-nuclear-summit-opens-south-korea Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning to you. I'm David Greene.<p>In Seoul, more than 50 leaders from around the world have gathered today for the Global Nuclear Security Summit. The talks will focus on a plan to prevent nuclear materials from getting into the hands of terrorists. That initiative was President Obama's, and he is in South Korea. He used the gathering to propose deeper cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Mon, 26 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 14844 at http://kcur.org Obama In South Korea For Nuclear Security Summit http://kcur.org/post/obama-south-korea-nuclear-security-summit Transcript <p>SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST: <p>President Barack Obama is in South Korea to take part in the Global Nuclear Security Summit. This is the second meeting of its kind since Mr. Obama took office. It brings together more than 50 national leaders taking stock of progress in safeguarding dangerous nuclear materials and discussing what else might need to be done to keep it out of the hands of terrorists. President Obama arrives in South Korea at a time of considerable tension. Sun, 25 Mar 2012 12:00:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 14819 at http://kcur.org N. Korea Tests U.S. Deal Ahead Of Nuclear Summit http://kcur.org/post/n-korea-tests-us-deal-ahead-nuclear-summit Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>North Korea agreed, last month, to freeze uranium enrichment and missile tests in exchange for large amounts of food aid from the United States. American officials thought they had an understanding, but then last week North Korea announced it would be launching a satellite using a long-range missile. As NPR's Mike Shuster reports from Seoul, all this is now threatening to overshadow next week's global nuclear security summit in Seoul, which President Obama is planning to attend.<p>MIKE SHUSTER, BYLINE: For years, the U.S. Fri, 23 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 14709 at http://kcur.org Iranians Feel The Bite Of Tougher Sanctions http://kcur.org/post/iranians-feel-bite-tougher-sanctions No nation has been sanctioned so frequently, and so thoroughly, as the Islamic Republic of Iran. For more than 30 years, the country has been under some kind of punitive economic measure.<p>The goal has been to prevent Iran from receiving and using the billions of dollars in oil profits that finance its nuclear program.<p>But none have been tougher, according to President Obama, than the sanctions his administration has imposed on Iran's banking system.<p>The evidence suggests that these sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to carry out international transactions. Thu, 15 Mar 2012 04:01:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 14224 at http://kcur.org Iranians Feel The Bite Of Tougher Sanctions Atomic Energy Chief: Iran Hasn't Resolved Questions http://kcur.org/post/atomic-energy-chief-iran-hasnt-resolved-questions The troubled relationship between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency doesn't appear to be getting any better.<p>Back in February, senior agency delegations traveled twice to Iran to clarify its concerns about possible nuclear weapons work.<p>And on Monday, the head of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, said Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation that would allow the agency to give credible assurances that Iran's nuclear work is entirely peaceful.<p>"The agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program," Amano said in Vienna, Mon, 05 Mar 2012 21:41:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 13682 at http://kcur.org Atomic Energy Chief: Iran Hasn't Resolved Questions In Iran's Election, Not All Candidates Are Welcome http://kcur.org/post/irans-election-not-all-candidates-are-welcome Iran holds parliamentary elections on Friday, the first since the disputed, and many believe fraudulent, presidential election in 2009.<p>But unlike that presidential poll, candidates seeking to take on the country's conservative rulers will not be taking part Friday; they are mostly under house arrest or have been in prison for years now.<p>The focus will be on which conservatives end up on top and how many votes are cast.<p>Iran's leaders desperately want to avoid a repeat of the presidential election three year as ago that plunged the country into turmoil. Thu, 01 Mar 2012 19:55:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 13479 at http://kcur.org In Iran's Election, Not All Candidates Are Welcome Iran Ups The Ante With More Nuclear Moves http://kcur.org/post/iran-ups-ante-more-nuclear-moves Iran has unveiled significant developments on two important components of its nuclear program: the centrifuges used to enrich uranium and the uranium used to fuel a research reactor.<p>The country has made no secret of its work in these areas. Wed, 15 Feb 2012 21:31:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 12600 at http://kcur.org Iran Ups The Ante With More Nuclear Moves A New Weapon Against Nukes: Social Media http://kcur.org/post/new-weapon-against-nukes-social-media Here are two things you don't often hear mentioned in the same sentence: social media and nuclear weapons.<p>Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of state for arms control, quickly links those two unlikely partners in conversation. Wed, 08 Feb 2012 22:38:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 12193 at http://kcur.org A New Weapon Against Nukes: Social Media U.N. Atomic Agency To Visit Iran For New Probe http://kcur.org/post/un-atomic-agency-visit-iran-new-probe A senior delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency visits Iran on Sunday in a renewed attempt to probe aspects of Iran's nuclear program that could be connected to nuclear weapons work.<p>For years, the IAEA has been trying to get answers to some very uncomfortable questions about Iran's nuclear program.<p>Iran insists it has only a peaceful, civilian nuclear program, and so far it has refused to discuss evidence that it is engaging in some nuclear weapons work. Fri, 27 Jan 2012 21:01:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 11626 at http://kcur.org U.N. Atomic Agency To Visit Iran For New Probe Growing Pressures Prompt Plunge In Iranian Currency http://kcur.org/post/growing-pressures-prompt-plunge-iranian-currency The value of Iran's currency — which had been sliding steadily for months — took another plunge this week. Faced with new economic sanctions from the U.S. and Europe, the rial now seems to be in free fall.<p>But at least part of the dive could be linked to currency manipulation by the government itself in an effort to fund candidates in upcoming elections.<p>In images posted on the Internet, hundreds of Iranians are seen gathered outside the headquarters of the Bank Melli in Tehran Monday. Thu, 26 Jan 2012 05:01:00 +0000 Mike Shuster 11491 at http://kcur.org Growing Pressures Prompt Plunge In Iranian Currency