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Newsflash: Iran-US Talks Near Deadline, Backlash to Indiana Law Heats Up, Poll Shows Republicans Fear Obama

Uprising’s guest expert Rahul Mahajan, a sociologist and news analyst and author of Full Spectrum Dominance: US Power in Iraq and Beyond, analyzes today’s news headlines:

With hours left before a deadline to sign an interim agreement, US and Iranian negotiators continued talks in Lausanne, Switzerland over the weekend and through today. Representatives from Britain, France, Russia, and China have also been involved in the so-called P5+1 talks. A major sticking point seems to be how to dispose of Iran’s current stockpile of uranium. While there have been reports that Iran might agree to transport its uranium to Russia, Iranian officials vehemently maintained they would not agree to such a move. Discussions are also centering on how much how much nuclear technology research Iran can conduct, and how fast international sanctions can be lifted. The deadline for a framework agreement is tomorrow, with final talks scheduled for June. Newly reelected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has vociferously criticized the talks, labeled them the “Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis.” Click here for a New York Times article and here for a Washington Post article about the story.

Controversy over Indiana’s newly passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act mounted fiercely over the weekend with many figures denouncing a potential legalization of anti-gay discrimination. Angie’s List put on hold a planned expansion in Indianapolis. Basketball star Charles Barkley said, “Discrimination in any form is unacceptable to me,” ahead of a final round of NCAA games which are based in the state. Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an op-ed against the law in the Washington Post. The mayors of Seattle and San Francisco announced a travel boycott of the state by their cities. There were street protests and social media protests under the #BoycottIndiana. Gov. Mike Pence, who signed the law last Thursday appeared on ABC where he defended the law saying he would not change it. He refused to give a straight answer to whether the law would allow businesses to deny services to the LGBT community. The state of Georgia, which was considering a similar law, has put their process on hold in response to the backlash against Indiana. Click here for an ABCnews article and here for an LA Times article about the story.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll on how Americans view threats to the United States has revealed a bizarre set of priorities particularly among Republican respondents. The poll of near 3000 adults in the US, found that 34% of Republicans see President Barack Obama as a bigger threat to the United States than Russian President Vladimir Putin, or Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. Meanwhile just under a quarter of Democrats saw the GOP as a threat, while 27% of Republicans saw the Democratic Party as a threat. Most feared internationally was the Islamic State, followed by Al Qaeda, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, and Iran’s religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The issue that is likely to be a real threat to everyone – climate change – was not ranked very high on the list, with Democrats more likely to fear it than Republicans. Click here for a Guardian article about this story.