Friday, April 3, 2015
Pakistan - Co-Chairman PPP & Former President Asif Ali Zardari pays glowing tributes to Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
“On the eve of 36th martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto I ask the democracy loving people to rededicate themselves to the ideals of democracy and to take forward the collective march to empower the people and make Pakistan strong and prosperous”.
This has been stated by former President Asif Ali Zardari in a message on the eve of 36th martyrdom anniversary of the Party’s founding chairman today.
To take forward the mission of empowering citizens I urge the people to freely and fearlessly choose their representatives in the forthcoming local bodies’ elections and thus carry forward the process of empowering power at the grass root level, he said.
Paying tributes Mr. Asif Ali Zardari said that Shahhed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gave the nation the gifts of, among other things, a unanimous democratic Constitution and peaceful nuclear program that strengthened national defense.
“This twin legacy of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto must be protected at all cost it will be”, he said.
“Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto not only awakened the people but also gave them hope. He made the people of Pakistan realize that they alone were the fountain of all political power and that power does not from the barrel of the gun. It is this realization that has not permitted dictatorship to take roots in the country. Indeed Shahhed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto stands tall as a beacon of light, hope and inspiration for the people”.
No one can rob Shaheed Bhutto of his great achievements in the cause of the people and the country, he said.
The former President said that Shaheed Bhutto left deep footprints in history. He strode on the national scene like a colossus. It is a measure of his greatness that while the killers of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto have been consigned to the dustbin of history, he lives in the hearts and minds of the people, he said.
“On this day I ask the democracy loving people to rededicate themselves to the ideals of democracy. On this day let us also pledge to continue our forward march to empower the people and make Pakistan strong and prosperous”.
By Humayun Zaman Mirza
Undoubted it was many years after the untimely death of the Founder of Pakistan and Father of the nation, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto emerged as the only leader who could be acknowledged as a genuine and popular national leader of the Pakistani masses. The tragedy of this great follower of Quaid-i-Azam was, however, that he rose to power in Pakistan at the most critical juncture of our history, when, as a result of misdeeds of the past rulers of Pakistan and those of the dictatorial regimes, Pakistan was divided into two as a result of international intrigues of the Super Powers and naked armed aggression of India.
It is an irony of fate that politicians with vested interests, their supporters and hand-picked intellectuals in Pakistan have spared no effort in the character assassination of Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto SHaheed. However, the question that arises is as to what were those rare qualities of Mr. Bhutto Shaheed that he lives in the hearts of the millions of Pakistanis despite negative propaganda against him.
Much before the founding of Pakistan Peoples’ Party in 1967, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed and acquired a distinguished status in international politics. However, as foreign Minister, he had risen to heights and emerged on the international scene as a great leader when, within and outside the Security Council, he pleaded the cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir with great ability, devotion and enthusiasm. In fact his forceful advocacy of the Kashmir dispute earned him international recognition, on the one hand, and, on the other, he became and hero of the Pakistani Youth and the people of Kashmir. The role played by Mr. Bhutto Shaheed in strengthening Pakistan’s relations with its great neighbor-the People’s Republic of China, would also go down in the history of Pakistan as a unique event to be written in the letters of gold. In fact, he was the arch-intact of friendly relations between the two countries.
Like all great personalities, Mr. Bhutto was also a controversial figure. However, the biggest factor responsible for making Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed as a con-traversal personality in the national politics and history of Pakistan was the establishment of the Pakistan’s Peoples’ Party itself. Although the establishment of any political party cannot be considered as an unusual event in Pakistan Politics but the establishment of Pakistan People’s Party was more than an earth-quake for the traditional politicians, civil and military bureaucracy and lender aristocracy. The manifesto of the newly established Pakistan People’s Party was an harbinger of a real revolution, which struck at the roots on the vested interests.
Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the first genuine leader in the history of Pakistan who emphasized on the sovereign will of the people and made it clear that in is the people who are the fountain-head of power. He created a consciousness among the people and made them realize that it is they for whom Quaid-i-Azam had created Pakistan, and it is they who are the masters and real heirs of the legacy of Quaid-i-Azam’s Pakistan. It is thus evident that such was this consciousness that gave a severe blow to the vested interests. However, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, during his short period of power in Pakistan, introduced and implemented far reaching and revolutionary reforms in all walks of life which benefitted the people and were detrimental to the vested interests and the supporters of dictatorial system.
Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto introduced reforms, especially in the fields of agriculture and industry which changed the lot of the common man. He introduced reforms in the health and education sectors, which brought a qualitative and quantitative change in the social structure. He increased military strength and started projects to increase military productions, and above all to counter and fail the nefarious designs of Pakistan’s enemy-India; he launched with full force the program of nuclear power, which ultimately took his life.
Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto rendered glorious and invaluable services for the cause of the solidarity and unity of the world of Islam. It is for these distinguished services that he is even now greatly respected among the people and governments of the Islamic world. It was he who, in Feburary 1994, brought together the heads of State and Government of the Muslim countries in Lahore, the heart of Pakistan and held the Islamic Summit Conference. This Islamic Summit was a milestone in the realization of the century’s old dream of the solidarity and unity of Muslim World. The Post-Philosopher of Islam, Allama Iqbal, who concaved the idea and demand of Pakistan, was a great advocate of Muslim unity. It was a tribute to Iqbal that leaders of the Muslim World assembled in Lahore where he lies buried.
Although Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto has left his lasting imprint in the history of Pakistan but he has to his credit a great achievement that he gave this country a unanimously adopted constitution of 1973. However, dictator Zia-ul-Haq made many amendments in this Constitution to perpetuate his tuition of 1973 is the symbol of the solidarity, territorial integrity, national unity and ideological guarantee of the god gifted-State of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This is the very reason that despite political difference, all leaders and sections of society and the patriotic people of Pakistan are unanimous in their demand that the constitution of 1973 should be restored in its original form.
To conclude, I would like to say that the greatest tribute which we can pay and should be acknowledged by every one is that Mr. Bhutto kissed the gallows but did not surrender before the will of a Dictator. He has earned the eternal love of the people of Pakistan and lives in their hearts.
Thousands of Yemeni protesters took to the streets of Sana'a on Friday, and condemned the Saudi-led aggression against their country.
Chanting anti-Saudi slogans, the protesters slammed the Saudi monarchy's war crimes, and called for a swift end to the regime's military aggression against their country.
The protesters also accused the kingdom of having blood on its hands over the massacre of hundreds of innocent people, mostly women and children.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for nine days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. According to a report recently released by the United Nations, two weeks of Saudi-led aggression against Yemen has killed at least 519 people, hundreds of women and children among them. Another 1,700 people have also been wounded over the past two weeks.
Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement.
Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
Five Persian Gulf States -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait -- and Egypt that are also assisted by Israel and backed by the US declared war on Yemen in a joint statement issued on March 26.
US President Barack Obama authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to the military operations, National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said late on March 25.
She added that while US forces were not taking direct military action in Yemen, Washington was establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support.
Jailed Saudi blogger Raef Badawi in his first letter from prison has written of how he "miraculously survived 50 lashes", part of his sentence for "insulting Islam", a German news weekly said Friday.
Badawi, 31, recalled that he was "surrounded by a cheering crowd who cried incessantly 'Allahu Akbar' (God is greatest)" during the whipping, according to a pre-released article from Der Spiegel's edition published Saturday.
Badawi received the first 50 of the 1,000 lashes he was sentenced to outside a mosque in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on January 9. Subsequent rounds of punishment were postponed on medical grounds.
"All this cruel suffering happened to me because I expressed my opinion," Badawi is quoted as writing in what Der Spiegel said was his first letter from prison since he was jailed in 2012.
"He's in a poor condition," his wife Ensaf Haidar was quoted as saying. "He suffers from high blood pressure but above all he is mentally very stressed."
Saudi Arabia in early March dismissed criticism of its flogging of Badawi and "strongly denounced the media campaign around the case".
Badawi co-founded the Saudi Liberal Network Internet discussion group.
He was arrested in June 2012 under cybercrime provisions, and a judge ordered the website shut after it criticised Saudi Arabia's notorious religious police.
His case has sparked worldwide outrage and criticism from the United Nations, United States, the European Union, Canada and others.
Washiqur Rahman, the latest Bangladeshi blogger who has been hacked to death, was not very famous. But Islamists generally consider secular bloggers a big threat due to their growing influence in Bangladeshi society.
Washiqur Rahman was attacked with machetes near his home in the capital Dhaka on Monday, March 30. The 27-year-old blogger was taken to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where the doctors pronounced him dead.
"Blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu was brutally hacked to death this morning… just 460 meters (500 yards) from his home in Dhaka's Begunbari area," deputy police commissioner Wahidul Islam said.
"They hacked him in his head and neck with big knives and once he fell on the ground, they then hacked his body," he added.
Rahman was an atheist blogger who wrote under the pen name Kutshit Hasher Chhana, meaning Ugly Duckling, on Facebook. There he posted his thoughts on religious fundamentalism, fellow writer, Asif Mohiuddin, told news agency AFP via Facebook from Berlin.
Rahman is the fifth writer to be attacked in Bangladesh since 2004. Last month, another Bangladeshi atheist writer, blogger and government critic Avijit Roy was killed in the capital. In early 2013, Rajib Hyder, another liberal blogger, was killed in the same way.
Rahman, however, was not as famous a blogger as US national Roy, therefore it comes as a surprise for many that Babu had been targeted.
As Imran Sarker, head of Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh, told DW: "Washiqur Rahman was not really a very influential blogger. Most of us bloggers did not know him, and he has not done anything spectacular or important, to my knowledge. He was targeted because open-minded and progressive bloggers are being targeted in general. They are killing those who are easy to access, when they get the opportunity... The main attempt is to create fear among bloggers."
Of the three youth who attacked Rahman – all in their twenties – two have been apprehended while the third managed to escape.
Both the suspects who have been arrested are students of Islamic schools, one of them coming from the Hathazari madrassah in the southeastern district of Chittagong. He came to Dhaka only the day before the attack and had spent the night in a mosque, he told the police. He claimed to have stabbed Rahman "because he humiliated my prophet."
Rahman might also have been targeted because his Facebook page carried the sign #Iamavijit in support of the slain blogger Roy.
A threat to fundamentalists
Rahman's death highlights the fact that bloggers are being consciously targeted by certain groups.
"Bloggers are very influential in the Bangladesh society," Sarker told DW. "Sixty percent of the population in Bangladesh are below the age of 35. Among those involved in online activism, the majority are young people. This is also important in the political field, because a major part of the voters are young," he added.
Rahman's murder can also be seen in the context of the struggle between secular and fundamentalist forces in Bangladesh, said Sarker.
"There is a political aspect to that struggle between those who are promoting political Islam to turn Bangladesh into a fundamentalist, religious state and the secular political forces. The more radical branches of the Islamic organizations are gaining strength by the day," underlined the expert.
Islamists consider these young bloggers to be the major hindrance in the struggle to create a fundamentalist Bangladesh as opposed to the secular republic that emerged from the 1971's "War of Independence," according to various observers.
"That is why (the bloggers) have become the main target, and the political parties who are supposed to prevent such attacks and provide security to them seem unable to do so. The main problem is that even mainstream political parties prefer to compromise with these radical groups to remain in power," said Sarker.
Targeted from all sides
Dr. Tazreena Sajjad, Bangladesh expert and Professorial Lecturer at American University, is of the view that this use of extreme targeted violence against individuals with certain expressed religious and philosophical orientations is relatively new in Bangladesh. However, she adds, it is critical to keep in mind this is happening within a hyperpolarized political context where violence is used on a regular basis.
"In recent years, violence has frequently been instrumentalized to intimidate, harass and abuse people with different political affiliations and from different sections of the society who are just trying to go about their lives," Sajjad told DW. "It also exposes the level of political volatility at play, the weakening law and order situation in the country, and a virulent strain of political and pseudo-religiosity that is trying to move from the obscure margins to the mainstream."
Secular writers and bloggers are not only under attack from extremists; Bangladesh's liberal government of Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina too is not very friendly towards them.
In 2013, when four online writers were arrested on charges of "hurting religious sentiment through their writings against Islam," the Islamists took to the streets to demand the death penalty for the bloggers. Instead of defending the bloggers, PM Hasina said her government would take action against anyone defaming Islam. In a meeting with some Islamic scholars who sought action against the bloggers, Hasina said that her government was indeed serious about taking action against people involved in anti-Islam blogging. However, the PM rejected the demands of new blasphemy laws from the opposition.
A number of Bangladeshi and international rights organizations, including Reporters Without Borders, have been critical of the bloggers' intimidation both by Islamists and the government. "The persecution of atheist bloggers is the result of a political desire to restrict freedom of expression and reinforce censorship in the name of combating blasphemy … This is unacceptable and contrary to all the fundamental freedoms we defend," according to a Reporters Without Borders statement.
France will ban excessively France will ban excessively thin fashion models and expose modelling agents and the fashion houses that hire them to possible fines and even jail, under a new law passed on Friday.
In 2007, Isabelle Caro, an anorexic 28-year-old former French fashion model, died after posing for a photographic campaign to raise awareness about the illness.
By PETER BAKER
On the day he took office, President Obama reached out to America’s enemies, offering in his first inaugural address to “extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” More than six years later, he has arrived at a moment of truth in testing that proposition with one of the nation’s most intransigent adversaries.
The framework nuclear agreement he reached with Iran on Thursday did not provide the definitive answer to whether Mr. Obama’s audacious gamble will pay off. The fist Iran has shaken at the so-called Great Satan since 1979 has not completely relaxed. But the fingers are loosening, and the agreement, while still incomplete, held out the prospect that it might yet become a handshake.
For a president whose ambitions to remake the world have been repeatedly frustrated, the possibility of a reconciliation after 36 years of hostility between Washington and Tehran now seems tantalizingly within reach, a way to be worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize that even he believed was awarded prematurely. Yet the deal remains unfinished and unsigned, and critics worry that he is giving up too much while grasping for the illusion of peace.
“Right now, he has no foreign policy legacy,” said Cliff Kupchan, an Iran specialist who has been tracking the talks as chairman of the Eurasia Group, a consulting firm. “He’s got a list of foreign policy failures. A deal with Iran and the ensuing transformation of politics in the Middle East would provide one of the more robust foreign policy legacies of any recent presidencies. It’s kind of all in for Obama. He has nothing else. So for him, it’s all or nothing.”
As Mr. Obama stepped into the Rose Garden to announce what he called a historic understanding, he seemed both relieved that it had come together and combative with those in Congress who would tear it apart. While its provisions must be translated into writing by June 30, he presented it as a breakthrough that would, if made final, make the world a safer place, the kind of legacy any president would like to leave. “This has been a long time coming,” he said.
Mr. Obama cited the same John F. Kennedy quote he referenced earlier in the week when visiting a new institute dedicated to the former president’s brother, Senator Edward M. Kennedy: “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” The sense of celebration was captured by aides standing nearby in the Colonnade who exchanged fist bumps at the end of the president’s remarks.
But Mr. Obama will have a hard time convincing a skeptical Congress, where Republicans and many Democrats are deeply concerned that he has grown so desperate to reach a deal that he is trading away American and Israeli security. As he tries to reach finality with Iran, he will have to fend off legislative efforts, joined even by some of his friends, to force a tougher posture.
House Speaker John A. Boehner, who has been traveling in the Middle East in recent days, repeated his insistence that Congress review any deal before sanctions are eased. “My concerns about Iran’s efforts to foment unrest, brutal violence and terror have only grown,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement. “It would be naïve to suggest the Iranian regime will not continue to use its nuclear program, and any economic relief, to further destabilize the region.”
Mr. Obama tried to reverse that argument on Thursday, framing the choice as either accepting his deal or risking war, a binary formulation his critics reject. “Do you really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented, backed by the world’s major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East?” Mr. Obama asked. If Congress kills the deal, he said, “then it’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy.”
An agreement with Iran remains the most promising goal left in a foreign policy agenda that has unraveled since Mr. Obama took office. Rather than building a new partnership with Russia, he faces a new cold war. Rather than ending the war in Iraq, he has sent American forces back to fight the Islamic State, though primarily from the air. Rather than defeating Al Qaeda, he finds himself chasing its offshoots. Rather than forging peace in the Middle East, he said recently that is beyond his reach.
Mr. Obama still aspires to reorient American foreign policy more toward Asia, and a pending Pacific trade pact could have a lasting impact if he can seal the deal and push it through Congress. He has nudged the world, particularly China, toward more action on climate change. He will count the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba after a half-century of estrangement as a major achievement.
But with so many disappointments, Iran has become something of a holy grail of foreign policy to Mr. Obama, one that could hold the key to a broader reordering of a region that has bedeviled American presidents for generations. Aides say he has spent more time on Iran than any other foreign policy issue except Afghanistan and terrorism.
Since the 1979 Iranian revolution that swept out the Washington-supported shah and brought to power an anti-American Islamic leadership, the country has been the most sustained destabilizing force in the Middle East — a sponsor of the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas, a supporter of Shiite militias that killed American soldiers in Iraq, a patron of Syria’s government in its bloody civil war, and now a backer of the rebels who pushed out the president of Yemen.
A nuclear agreement will not change all of that, or perhaps any of that, a point Mr. Obama’s critics have made repeatedly. But Mr. Obama hopes it can be the start of a new era. An Iran that would “rejoin the community of nations,” as he put it Thursday, may have incentive to stop fomenting so much trouble. Failure as Mr. Obama sees it means more war, more instability. He has been willing to gamble America’s relationship with Israel and his own presidency on that premise.
“Obama always saw the Iranian nuclear threat as a major security challenge that would lead to war if not controlled, and further proliferation if not prevented,” said Gary Samore, a former top arms control adviser to Mr. Obama who is now president of the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran.
“If we get a nuclear deal, it won’t solve the problem, because the current government in Iran will still be committed to acquiring a nuclear weapons capability,” he added. “But it would give the next president a much stronger basis to manage and delay the threat.”
Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former C.I.A. analyst who is now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said a nuclear accord with Iran was all that remained of Mr. Obama’s dream of transformation. But Mr. Obama, he said, has misjudged Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and its president, Hassan Rouhani.
“A reading of the supreme leader or of Hassan Rouhani in their own words ought to tell you that there is a near-zero chance that an accord will diminish the revolutionary, religious hostility that these two men, the revolutionary elite, have for the United States,” he said.
If Mr. Obama does turn out to be right, Mr. Gerecht added, history will reward him. “If he is wrong, however, and this diplomatic process accelerates the nuclearization of the region, throws jet fuel on the war between the Sunnis and the Shia, and puts America into a much worse strategic position in the Middle East,” he said, “then history is likely to be harsh to Mr. Obama.”
R. Nicholas Burns, who was President George W. Bush’s lead negotiator on Iran, said Mr. Obama had embraced and enhanced a strategy his predecessor began. “We’ll have to judge him by the final result, but so far, this has been a successful effort,” he said. “A good deal could prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. A bad deal could end up empowering Iran, a defeat for him and the country.”
“In terms of legacy,” Mr. Burns added, “this is one of the two or three things that will determine it, for good or bad.”
After 18 months of drawn-out negotiations, the U.S. and its partners on Thursday arrived at an agreement on a framework for curbing Iran’s nuclear capabilities.If that sounds tentative, that’s because it is. The two sides have until June 30 to hash out the details of a final agreement. As President Barack Obama warned following the announcement of the latest progress, “there will be no deal” if Iran backtracks.
But the agreement sets the stage for a comprehensive deal that the U.S. and its allies believe could prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons in the near future, while providing relief to Iran’s limp economy. Here’s what you need to know about the ongoing talks:
What does the U.S. and its partners want?
The U.S. side consists of U.N. Security Council members Britain, China, France and Russia as well as Germany (dubbed the P5+1). They are pressing for restrictions that will extend the amount of time it will take Iran to build a nuclear weapon — the so-called “breakout time” — from the current 2-3 months to a year. To do that, the P5+1 are pushing to reduce the number of centrifuges Tehran can use to enrich uranium into fuel for a nuclear weapon, as well as cut its stockpiles of enriched uranium. Meanwhile, the U.S. and its partners are demanding monitors to continuously inspect Iran’s nuclear program.
What does Iran want?
Iran is keen to see the removal of sanctions to ease pressure on its struggling economy and gain access to the international market. But it insists that it has the right to nuclear capabilities for energy and medical purposes and is unwilling to scrap its nuclear resources altogether.
So what does the framework agreement say?
According to the framework agreement, Iran agreed to cut by two-thirds its supply of centrifuges, from roughly 19,000 to about 6,000, and retain only its earliest generation centrifuges. It said it would keep continuing enrichment far below levels necessary for a nuclear weapon and also agreed to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 97%.
But exactly how it plans to scrap its extra centrifuges and enriched uranium is the kind of question negotiators will be answering over the next three months. Finally, Tehran pledged to give the International Atomic Energy Agency access to all of its nuclear facilities and to its nuclear supply chain. “If Iran cheats, the world will know,” Obama said.
The U.S., the United Nations and the European Union will lift nuclear-related sanctions once Iran is deemed to have complied with its side of the bargain; American sanctions related to terrorism, human rights abuses and non-nuclear weapons will remain in place. Meanwhile, the U.S. will be poised to “snap-back” nuclear sanctions if Iran backpedals.
What do opponents of a deal say?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been a staunch critic of the negotiations, came out swinging after the framework agreement was reached. “The proposed agreement would constitute a real danger to the region and the world, and it would threaten the existence of Israel,” said Netanyahu, who was re-elected last month. An official close to his office went even further, saying the framework agreement “kowtows to Iranian dictates.”
Opponents say in part that a one-year breakout time is insufficient, giving the U.S. and its allies too little time to react if Iran does race to build a nuclear weapon. They also raise concerns that no matter what access Iran gives IAEA inspectors, they could still attempt to build a weapon without inspectors or U.S. intelligence finding out. “We are all concerned that the Iranians will circumvent the deal,” said Israeli politician Yair Lapid, a leading Netanyahu opponent who still says the deal is troubling to all Israelis.
In the U.S., Republicans, with some support from Democrats, have lined up a bill that will effectively require Congressional approval for a nuclear deal by giving legislators the power to reject lifting sanctions on Iran. The White House opposes the perceived interference from Congress and has said it would veto such a bill. “If Congress kills this deal, not based on expert analysis, and without offering any reasonable alternative, then it’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy, international unity will collapse, and the path to conflict will widen,” Obama said.
Other lawmakers appear willing to hear out the administration when the negotiators reconvene on April 13, albeit with a heavy dose of skepticism:
What do the Iranians Say?
In Iran, people took to the streets to celebrate news of the framework agreement. In a sign that the deal has the support of supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Friday prayer leaders throughout the country praised the negotiations, calling the talks a success. President Hassan Rouhani, who has spearheaded the talks since he took office in 2013, was scheduled to speak Friday afternoon.
What happens now?
Now the hard work begins, as both sides determine the details and logistics of a deal. The White House will have to contend with a skeptical Congress that wants more of a say in the details of a final deal, as well as with potential schisms with its negotiating partners, which include rival Russia. Meanwhile, the talks will continue even as Iran engages in proxy and increasingly overt wars with U.S. Sunni allies in the region. There’s always the chance that the June 30 deadline will be extended, but as TIME’s Massimo Calabresi notes, “keeping Congress onside, the sanctions coalition together and the Iranians at the table may be impossible after the next deadline.”