Iran’s Supreme Leader Sets Limits for Negotiations
Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has delivered a speech directed at the country’s hardliners with a firm message that the country would “not step back one iota” from its nuclear rights. In a televised address before the Basiji, a volunteer militia of young Iranians, Khamenei said that he would not intervene directly in the ongoing talks in Geneva, but that he had set “limits” for Iran’s negotiators when talking about the country’s nuclear programme with “enemies and opponents”. He criticised the lack of an agreement because of an apparent French veto, saying that the country’s officials were “not only succumbing to the United States, but they are kneeling before the Israeli regime” and that Iran would “slap aggressors in the face in such a way they will never forget it”. Khamenei also said Iran wished to “have friendly relations with all nations, even the United States. We are not hostile to the American nation. They are like other nations in the world”, but his remarks were met with chants of “Death to America”.
Venezuela Gives President Right to Rule by Decree
Venezuela’s national assembly has given President Nicolás Maduro the power to rule by decree for 12 months. On passing the so-called Enabling Law, the president of the assembly, Diosdado Cabello, said that the lawmakers were “following an order by President Chávez” who had apparently told them to “pass all the laws necessary to wring the necks of speculators and the money launderers” despite having died last March after a long struggle with cancer. President Maduro said he would had already planned his first two decrees. The first would limit businesses’ profit margins to 15 percent to 30 percent as part of the state’s drive against price gouging. The second would create a new body that would further restrict the trading of dollars inside the country. “The reality is that the origin of this economic crisis is named Nicolás Maduro”, said opposition leader Julio Borges.
Syrian Chemical Weapons Could Be Destroyed at Sea
The US is considering plans to destroy the Syrian chemical arsenal on a barge at sea after being unable to find a country willing to host the disposal process. Albania was the latest country to reject the mission of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons five days ago, with Prime Minister Edi Rama saying it was “impossible” for the country to take part in the operation. The plans would place high-temperature incinerators aboard a barge, which would destroy the most serious materials in less than 60 days and produce harmless salts and other solids in the process. US officials said no American companies, ship or personnel would take part in the operation, but US soldiers could provide security for the vessel once it was placed in international waters. US Secretary of State John Kerry said the plans would “provide us a complete capacity to do the destruction and meet the schedule” set by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Synod Approves Plan for Female Bishops
The Church of England’s General Synod has voted in favour of a set of proposals that could allow women to become bishops next year. The motion passed with a majority of 378 to eight, with 25 abstentions. The plans would also set out guidelines for parishes that rejected female ministers and comes almost a year after a vote on the same subject was defeated. British Prime Minister David Cameron reacted to the result by saying that he strongly supported women bishops, adding that he hoped “the Church of England takes this key step to ensure its place as a modern church, in touch with our society”. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, was more cautious. “We should not open the champagne bottles or whatever drink we regard as celebratory because we need to agree to work together until the end”, he said.