Obama will be the only person sticking to Iran deal

Sometime this week, President Obama is scheduled to sign an executive order to meet the Oct. 15 “adoption day” he has set for the nuclear deal he says he has made with Iran. According to the president’s timetable the next step would be “the start day of implementation,” fixed for Dec. 15.

But as things now stand, Obama may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself.

The Iranians have signed nothing and have no plans for doing so. The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has not even been discussed at the Islamic Republic’s Council of Ministers. Nor has the Tehran government bothered to even provide an official Persian translation of the 159-page text. Continue reading

Russia threatens to change Iran stance over US sanctions

Moscow warns it will respond to Washington’s ‘unfriendly gestures’; US Treasury enforces financial sanctions

MOSCOW — Russia on Tuesday angrily criticized the latest US sanctions, saying they could derail cooperation with Washington on dealing with the Iranian nuclear standoff and the Syrian crisis.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday dismissed the new US sanctions as unfounded and warned Washington that its actions “are putting in question the prospects for bilateral cooperation in settling the situation around the Iranian nuclear program, the Syrian crisis and other acute international problems.”

“We haven’t left, and will not leave, such unfriendly gestures without response, as Washington might have seen,” the ministry said. Continue reading

Special Report: The battle for the Swiss soul

It has come to this: Swiss banks, under pressure from countries such as the United States, France and Germany, have been giving up their secrets, in some cases handing foreign tax authorities the names of their account holders. To avoid being blacklisted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Swiss government has agreed to share more information with foreign authorities hunting tax cheats.

The foreign assault has opened up a huge rift inside the fiercely independent Alpine nation.

Some bankers, as well as many academics and centrist and left-leaning politicians, think the country should bow to the inevitable and abandon strict secrecy. The pragmatists include big banks like UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, which argue that to survive they have no choice but to surrender more information about their customers and close the accounts of those who won’t come clean. Continue reading