Lawyer criticizes US for nixing charges as part of Iran swap

BOSTON (AP) — A lawyer for a Chinese national who supplied Iran with U.S.-made devices that can be used to convert uranium for nuclear weapons is criticizing the U.S. government for dropping charges against his Iranian co-defendant as part of a breakthrough U.S.-Iran deal.

The criticism was leveled Wednesday during a sentencing hearing for Sihai Cheng, who pleaded guilty in December to supplying pressure transducers to an Iranian company.

Cheng's lawyer, Stephen Weymouth, objected to the 15-year sentence recommended by prosecutors, calling it unfair because his Iranian co-defendant, Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, won't face prison time.

Lost amid the US-Iran news, $1.7B deal now raising questions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration's $1.7 billion payment to Iran to settle an arcane, decades-old financial dispute is prompting questions among Republican lawmakers trying to piece together the full scope of last weekend's dramatic U.S.-Iranian prisoner swap and the lifting of many American sanctions on Tehran.

The announcement's timing, just after confirmation that three Americans left Iranian airspace, is leading to calls for investigations and shedding light on a little-known fund that the president can dip into when he wants to resolve international financial disputes. Legislative efforts are already afoot to curtail that ability.

U.S. officials deny claims that the payment was a bribe to ensure the release of a total of five Americans traded for the freedom of seven people in legal trouble in the U.S. over business deals with Iran.

Japan will lift Iran sanctions following nuclear deal

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese Cabinet approved Friday the lifting of sanctions on Iran, following the recent completion of a landmark deal to try to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The widely expected move will allow Japanese companies to pursue investment in Iran's oil and gas industry.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the government would cancel bans on Japanese investment in both exports to Iran and in oil and gas-related business.

White House says more work needed before any Iran sanctions

HONOLULU (AP) — The White House said on Saturday it has more diplomatic and technical work to do before it will announce any sanctions in response to ballistic missile launches by Iran.

The U.S. is considering designating a number of additional targets for sanctions related to Iran's ballistic missile program. Congress has been notified of those deliberations.

Some lawmakers have criticized the administration for what they describe as delayed punitive action in response to Iran's recent missile tests.

Fear at the tap: Uranium contaminates water in the West

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — In a trailer park tucked among irrigated orchards that help make California's San Joaquin Valley the richest farm region in the world, 16-year-old Giselle Alvarez, one of the few English-speakers in the community of farmworkers, puzzles over the notices posted on front doors: There's a danger in their drinking water.

Uranium, the notices warn, tests at a level considered unsafe by federal and state standards. The law requires the park's owner to post the warnings. But they are awkwardly worded and mostly in English, a language few of the park's dozens of Spanish-speaking families can read.

USGS finds uranium in South Texas


A study by the U.S. Geological Survey has identified about 60 million pounds of uranium oxide in South Texas sandstone, enough uranium to meet the country’s nuclear power needs for around five years, FuelFix reports.

Revised nuclear deal between South Korea, US takes effect

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A new nuclear treaty with the United States governing South Korea's commercial nuclear activities during the next 20 years went into effect Wednesday, the South Korean government said.

The treaty, which replaces a previous accord reached in 1972, opens the possibility of South Korea gaining the ability to enrich uranium to produce non-weapons-grade nuclear fuel depending on future negotiations with the United States.

UAE to US lawmaker: We have a right to enrich uranium, too

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid fears of an atomic arms race in the Middle East, a senior United Arab Emirates official has told a top U.S. lawmaker that it too might seek the right to enrich uranium that Iran has asserted under the recently signed nuclear deal.

The landmark Iran accord to curb its nuclear weapons in exchange for economic sanctions relief allows Tehran to enrich uranium. In barely noticed testimony last month, Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the UAE's ambassador in Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, had informed him in a telephone call that the country no longer felt bound by its previous nuclear agreement with the United States.

Wyoming uranium mine proposes to more than double in size

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — One of the biggest uranium mines in Wyoming, the nation's top producer of the radioactive metal, proposes to more than double in size amid hope that weak prices since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster will begin to climb back upward.

Littleton, Colorado-based Ur-Energy plans to expand its Lost Creek in-situ mine in south-central Wyoming to an area covering some 15 square miles.

Ohio unhappy as DOE ditches uranium project

The Associated Press

The Department of Energy’s decision to wrap up its contract with an Ohio uranium enrichment facility—Centrus Energy’s American Centrifuge Project—in favor of one at Oak Ridge, Tennessee has drawn criticism from the state’s congressional delegation, The Associated Press reports.


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