TIME Egpyt

Obama to Release Military Aid for Egypt

U.S. officials say the aid is necessary for national security

President Barack Obama is releasing military aid to Egypt that was suspended after the 2013 coup in that country.

The White House says Obama is lifting the hold on sending F-16 fighter jets, tanks and other material to Egypt. The U.S. has been weighing whether to lift the hold to help combat the extremist threat spilling over from Libya and in the Sinai Peninsula.

But the White House says it is not issuing a certification that Egypt has made progress toward democracy. Instead, the U.S. is maintaining that the aid is in the interest of U.S. national security.

The U.S. had to do one or the other to unblock the aid. The funds were suspended 21 months ago when the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

 

TIME Crime

FBI Identifies Man Killed in Shooting at NSA Headquarters

APTOPIX Fort Meade Injuries
Andrew Harnik—AP A police officer directs a vehicle to turn away at the National Security Agency, March 30, 2015, in Fort Meade, Md.

The FBI declined to comment on the conditions of the surviving suspect and officer

(FORT MEADE, Md.) — Two cross-dressing men who were fired upon by National Security Agency police when they disobeyed orders at a heavily guarded gate had just stolen a car from a man who had picked them up to “party” at a motel, police said Tuesday.

The FBI said the driver, Ricky Shawatza Hall, 27, died at the scene, and his passenger remained hospitalized. An NSA police officer who was slightly injured was released from a hospital.

NSA police opened fire on the stolen SUV after the men failed to follow instructions for leaving a restricted area, authorities said.

Only minutes before that, the pair drove off in the sport utility vehicle of a 60-year-old man who had picked them up in Baltimore and brought them to a Howard County motel to “party.”

The SUV’s owner, a Baltimore resident who has not been publicly identified, told investigators that he picked up the two strangers in Baltimore, and they checked into a room at the Terrace Motel in Elkridge at about 7:30 a.m. Monday with a plan to “party,” Howard County Police said.

Police spokeswoman Mary Phelan told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she “can’t confirm there was any sexual activity involved,” and declined to elaborate on whether drugs or alcohol were part of their “party.”

The two men were dressed as women, but “not in an attempt to disguise themselves from authorities,” FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said, repeating in a statement Tuesday that terrorism has been ruled out.

The SUV owner told police that he went to the bathroom about an hour after checking in to a room, and when he came out, the others were gone, along with his car keys. He called police to report the stolen car. Minutes later, just before 9 a.m., the men took a highway exit that leads directly to a restricted area at the NSA entrance at Fort Meade.

The FBI said Monday that agents do not believe terrorism was their motive. No one has explained yet why the men ended up outside the NSA. However, the new timeline suggests they may have simply taken a wrong turn while fleeing the motel, about 12 minutes away.

Once so secretive that it was known as “No Such Agency,” the NSA is now in some ways just another part of the suburban sprawl between Baltimore and Washington. Thousands of daily commuters who traverse the Baltimore-Washington Parkway pass its heavily secured campus at Fort Meade each day. About 11,000 military personnel and about 29,000 civilian employees with security clearances work inside the barbed wire.

Similarly, the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, is less than a mile from the George Washington Parkway, a heavily-traveled link between downtown Washington and the Capital Beltway. The CIA also has a training facility known as “The Farm” at Camp Peary, also conveniently located along Interstate 64 in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The NSA is Maryland’s largest employer, and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, whose district includes the NSA campus, said its convenient location is critical.

He also said the NSA gate is far enough removed from the highway that it’s easy to avoid ending up there by mistake.

“I drive by there every day, when I come from Baltimore to go to the Capitol. There’s plenty of signage there,” he said. “If you follow the signs that say ‘prohibited,’ you can very easily get off. When you break the law, you break the law everywhere.”

But it’s not uncommon for drivers to take the wrong exit and end up at the tightly secured gates.

Most drivers then carefully follow the orders of heavily armed federal officers and turn around without getting into more trouble. In this case, authorities say the men ignored instructions on how to leave, and ended up stuck behind barriers. Police ordered them to stop, and then things escalated quickly.

“The driver failed to obey an NSA Police officer’s routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus,” Jonathan Freed, an NSA spokesman, said in a statement. The vehicle failed to stop, then “accelerated toward an NSA Police vehicle blocking the road. NSA Police fired at the vehicle when it refused to stop. The unauthorized vehicle crashed into the NSA Police vehicle.”

The FBI declined to comment on the conditions of the surviving suspect and officer, except to say they were being treated at a local hospital. They also haven’t said how the man driving the stolen car died.

It’s not the first time someone has disobeyed orders at an NSA gate. In July, a man failed to obey an NSA officer’s command to stop as he approached a checkpoint. That man drove away, injuring an NSA officer and nearly striking a barricade. He was later arrested and is awaiting trial on federal charges.

The FBI is investigating and working with the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted.

___

Associated Press writers Amanda Lee Myers and Ben Nuckols in Washington, David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Maryland and Juliet Linderman in Baltimore contributed to this report.

TIME

Germanwings Co-Pilot Informed Flight School of Depressive Episode

Lufthansa said the notice occurred in 2009

(BERLIN) — German airline Lufthansa says the co-pilot of the passenger plane that crashed in the French Alps last week informed his flight school in 2009 that he had had a “serious depressive episode.”

Lufthansa says the note was found in emails that Andreas Lubitz sent to the Lufthansa flight school when he resumed his training after an interruption.

The airline said Tuesday it has provided the documents to prosecutors and declined to make any further comment.

Questions have been raised about what the airline knew about Lubitz’s condition before last week’s fatal crash.

 

TIME World War II

Anne Frank Died 1 Month Earlier Than Previously Thought, Museum Says

This is an undated photo of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who, with her family, hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam, Netherlands, during World War II.
Anonymous—AP This is an undated photo of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who, with her family, hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam, Netherlands, during World War II.

The new date lays to rest the idea that Frank could have been rescued if she had lived just a little longer

(THE HAGUE, Netherlands) — Teenage Jewish diarist Anne Frank likely died of typhus in a Nazi concentration camp about a month earlier than previously thought, the Amsterdam museum that honors her memory said Tuesday on the 70th anniversary of the officially recognized date of her death.

Anne likely died, aged 15, at Bergen-Belsen camp in February 1945, said Erika Prins, a researcher at the Anne Frank House museum.

Frank’s diary about hiding from the Nazis in the occupied Netherlands during World War II was published after the war. It became an international best-seller and made her an enduring symbol of Holocaust victims.

The new date of her death changes little about the tragic lives of Anne and her sister Margot, who went into hiding with their family in an Amsterdam canal house but were eventually betrayed, sent to Nazi concentration camps and died in the Holocaust along with millions of other Jews.

“It was horrible. It was terrible. And it still is,” Prins said.

But she said the new date lays to rest the idea that the sisters could have been rescued if they had lived just a little longer.

“When you say they died at the end of March, it gives you a feeling that they died just before liberation. So maybe if they’d lived two more weeks …,” Prins said, her voice trailing off. “Well, that’s not true anymore.”

Allied forces liberated the Nazis’ Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15, 1945.

The earlier March 31 date of Anne’s death was set by Dutch authorities after the war, based on accounts suggesting she and her sister died sometime in March. At the time, Dutch officials did not have the resources to establish an exact date.

The new research studied existing eyewitness accounts, documents and archives, including at least one new interview. Witness accounts said Anne and her sister already showed signs of typhus in early February. Researchers cited Dutch health authorities as saying most typhus deaths happen around 12 days after the first symptoms.

“In view of this, the date of their death is more likely to be sometime in February. The exact date is unknown,” the researchers said.

In the words of one witness, Rachel van Amerongen, who knew the Frank sisters and was cited by researchers, “one day they simply weren’t there anymore.”

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Also Used iPad Despite Claims of Single Device

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes part in a roundtable discussion in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2015.
Brooks Kraft—Corbis Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes part in a roundtable discussion in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2015.

"Pls let me know if you got a reply from my ipad. I'm not sure replies go thru"

(WASHINGTON) — Hillary Rodham Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal email address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The State Department released a total of four emails between Clinton and her top advisers as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2013 by the AP, which sought Clinton’s correspondence with senior advisers over a four-year period relating to drone strikes overseas and U.S. surveillance programs.

While limited, the emails offer one of the first looks into Clinton’s correspondence while secretary of state. The messages came from and were sent to her private email address, hosted on a server at her property in Chappaqua, New York, as opposed to a government-run email account.

They show that Clinton, on at least one occasion, accidentally mingled personal and work matters. In reply to a message sent in September 2011 by adviser Huma Abedin to Clinton’s personal email account, which contained an AP story about a drone strike in Pakistan, Clinton mistakenly replied with questions that appear to be about decorations.

“I like the idea of these,” she wrote to Abedin. “How high are they? What would the bench be made of? And I’d prefer two shelves or attractive boxes/baskets/ conmtainers (sic) on one. What do you think?”

Abedin replied, “Did u mean to send to me?” To which Clinton wrote, “No-sorry! Also, pls let me know if you got a reply from my ipad. I’m not sure replies go thru.”

The other emails between Clinton and her advisers provided by the State Department contained a summary of a 2011 meeting between Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and senior Egyptian officials in Cairo. It was uncensored and did not appear to contain sensitive information. That email was forwarded to Clinton’s private account from Abedin’s government email address.

In another note, Clinton expressed apparent dismay at leaks of classified U.S. government information to the media. Referencing a CNN story, which described “loose lips” in the Obama administration, she asked two officials if she should comment on the matter as had Leon Panetta, the former Central Intelligence Agency director.

“I think this is both dishonorable and dangerous and want to find way to say it,” she wrote.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said early Tuesday that the secretary used her iPad from time to time, primarily to read news clippings.

At the United Nations earlier this month, Clinton said she chose a personal account over a government one out of convenience, describing it as a way to carry a single device, rather than one for work emails and another for personal messages.

“Looking back, it would have been probably, you know, smarter to have used two devices,” Clinton said. Her office that day released a statement saying she “wanted the simplicity of using one device.”

Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, a year before Apple Inc. released the iPad. Clinton at that time could have potentially split her accounts, reverting to an official State.gov email account and BlackBerry for work and leaving her personal email on her iPad.

Clinton has said she exchanged about 60,000 emails in her four years in the Obama administration, about half of which were work-related. She said none contained classified information, and that her private email system did not suffer any security breaches.

The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email server gave Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination should she run as expected, complete control over access to her message archives.

Clinton said she deleted emails — some 30,000 in total — that she described as personal in nature, such as yoga routines, plans for her mother’s funeral or her daughter’s wedding. It’s not clear how Clinton handled emails that mixed personal and official business, such as the exchange with Abedin.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., the chairman of a House committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks, said Clinton wiped her email server “clean,” permanently deleting all emails from it and has declined to relinquish her server to a third party for an independent review.

Clinton’s attorney said she had turned over to the State Department all work-related emails sent or received during her tenure and it would make no sense to turn over her server, since “no emails … reside on the server or on any backup systems associated with the server.”

The emails obtained by AP stem from several public-records requests filed with the State Department, starting in 2010. Most were unfulfilled until this week, when the State Department said it could find only four messages that met the search terms of one such request.

Earlier this month, AP sued the department to force the release of email correspondence and government documents from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including those provided by the department this week.

The FOIA requests and federal lawsuit sought materials related to Clinton’s public and private calendars; correspondence involving aides likely to play important roles in her expected campaign for president; and Clinton-related emails about the Osama bin Laden raid and controversial U.S. surveillance practices.

___

Read the email exchanges: http://apne.ws/1Cqba3R

___

Associated Press writer Ken Thomas contributed to this report. Follow Jack Gillum on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/jackgillum

Read next: Martin O’Malley Gears Up to Take on Hillary Clinton

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

 

TIME Nigeria

Challenger Edges Ahead in Tense Nigerian Elections

Opposition candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari holds his ballot paper in the air before casting his vote in his home town of Daura, northern Nigeria on March 28, 2015.
Ben Curtis—AP Opposition candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari holds his ballot paper in the air before casting his vote in his home town of Daura, northern Nigeria on March 28, 2015.

Partial results so far give former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari a considerable lead over the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan

ABUJA, Nigeria — The second day of vote counting in a bitterly contested presidential vote started late on Tuesday and electoral officials hope to announce later in the day who will be governing Africa’s richest and biggest nation.

Early returns from half the states have President Goodluck Jonathan winning nine states and the Federal Capital Territory and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari winning nine states. Buhari won 8.5 million votes to Jonathan’s 6.48 million. A candidate must take at least 50 percent of all votes and at least 25 percent of votes in two-thirds of the states to win.

Electoral commission spokesman Kayode Idowu told The Associated Press he hopes for final results by the end of the day but results from only “a few” of the remaining states have been delivered.

TIME Iran

Iran Nuke Talks To Continue in New Phase To Reach Deal by July

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stands after arriving for a meeting with air force commanders and officers in Tehran on Feb. 8, 2015.
Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/AP Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stands after arriving for a meeting with air force commanders and officers in Tehran on Feb. 8, 2015.

The deadline for the talks has already been extended twice

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Wrapping up six days of marathon nuclear talks with mixed results, Iran and six world powers prepared Tuesday to issue a general statement agreeing to continue negotiations in a new phase aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord by the end of June, officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The joint statement is to be accompanied by additional documents that outline more detailed understandings, allowing the sides to claim enough progress has been made thus far to merit a new round, the officials said.

The talks have already been extended twice as part of more than a decade of diplomatic attempts to curb Tehran’s nuclear advance, and the next stage will be presented as a new phase, because most of the parties had ruled out another prolongation of this round.

One of the officials said the statement was general in part because differences between the sides remained ahead of a new phase of negotiations toward a comprehensive deal by late June. The second official said other documents will be more technical in nature and will also be made public later in the day.

Both demanded anonymity because they are not authorized to comment on the talks.

American officials earlier had said the sides were aiming for a framework agreement by the end of March but then revised the language, speaking of an “understanding.”

That appeared due in part to opposition to a two-stage agreement from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Earlier this year, he demanded only one deal that nails down specifics and does not permit the other side to “make things difficult” by giving it wiggle room on interpretations.

The documents were being finalized among the six countries negotiating with Iran, and the Iranian side had not yet signed off on them, said the first official.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who left Lausanne Monday, was heading back to the Swiss city, also indicating that an end to the talks was near. He departed on Monday but said he would return if a deal was imminent.

In Moscow, he told reporters: “Prospects for this round of negotiations were not bad, and I would even say good.”

Foreign ministers of five nations at the table already joined U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the talks over the weekend in an intense effort to reach a political understanding on terms that would curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Kerry and others at the table said the sides have made some progress, with Iran considering demands for further cuts to its uranium enrichment program but pushing back on how long it must limit technology it could use to make atomic arms. In addition to sticking points on research and development, differences remain on the timing and scope of sanctions removal, the officials said.

The Obama administration says any deal will stretch the time Iran needs to make a nuclear weapon from the present two to three months to at least a year. But critics object that it would keep Tehran’s nuclear technology intact.

Officials in Lausanne said the sides were advancing on limits to aspects of Iran’s program to enrich uranium, which can be used to make the core of a nuclear warhead.

Uranium enrichment has been the chief concern in over more than a decade of international attempts to cap Iran’s nuclear programs. But Western officials say the main obstacles to a deal are no longer enrichment-related but instead the type and length of restrictions on Tehran’s research and development of advanced centrifuges and the pace of sanctions-lifting.

Over the past weeks, Iran has moved from demanding that it be allowed to keep nearly 10,000 centrifuges enriching uranium, to agreeing to 6,000. The officials said Tehran now may be ready to accept even fewer.

Tehran says it wants to enrich only for energy, science, industry and medicine. But many countries fear Iran could use the technology to make weapons-grade uranium.

TIME Japan

Taiwan to Join China-Led Regional Bank, Japan Says Not Now

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, with guests of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in Beijing, Oct. 24, 2014
Takaki Yajima—AP Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, with guests of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in Beijing on Oct. 24, 2014

Japan has no plan as of now to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, while Taiwan will apply for membership

(TOKYO) — Japan has no plan as of now to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, its government spokesman said Tuesday, while Taiwan announced it would apply for membership, joining dozens of countries in signing up to an initiative opposed by Washington.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that Japan, the world’s No. 3 economy, is still seeking answers about how the regional financing institution would be governed. “As of today, Japan will not join AIIB and a clear explanation has not been received from China,” Suga said.

The U.S. has found itself isolated in its resistance to the bank, with more than 40 countries including major allies in Asia and Europe moving to join.

Washington maintains that the Beijing-based regional bank should work in partnership with existing institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, which by convention is headed by a Japanese official, and the U.S.-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund. It contends the bank might extend credit without adequate environmental, labor and social safeguards.

Beijing set a March 31 deadline for founding members to express interest in joining the AIIB. Taiwan’s Finance Ministry issued a notice Tuesday saying it was applying to join, following earlier comments by leaders in favor of the idea.

China claims Taiwan, a self-governing island, as part of its territory and has vowed to respond to any formal independence declaration with force, but the two sides have extensive economic and trade ties. It is unclear whether China would accept Taiwan’s membership in the regional bank, though its leaders have said it is open to all countries.

In Tokyo, Suga did not say Japan would never consider joining the bank. Recently, Finance Minister Taro Aso indicated it was a possibility, but backpedalled on the issue. Japanese media reports Tuesday said the ruling Liberal Democratic Party was still considering its stance.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told party leaders, “There is no need to participate hastily,” Kyodo News Service reported. He indicated Japan was siding with its powerful ally the U.S. on the issue, adding that “The United States now knows that Japan is trustworthy.”

Suga denied reports Japan was seeking more time to decide on the issue.

“We want to ensure there is clear governance,” he said. “We want to make sure no other lenders would be damaged.”

TIME LGBT

Fight Over Religious-Objection Proposals Shifts to Arkansas

Arkansas is poised to become the second state this year to enact a proposal critics say discriminates against LGBTs

(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — The fight over “religious freedom” proposals facing increasing criticism from businesses and advocates who call them a license to discriminate against gays and lesbians has shifted toward Arkansas, which was poised to become the second state this year to enact such a measure.

A final vote could come as early as Tuesday in the state House on the proposal that would prohibit state and local government from infringing on someone’s religious beliefs without a “compelling” reason. Unlike Indiana — where Republicans were working on adding language to clarify the state’s recently enacted law after a firestorm of protests — Arkansas lawmakers said they weren’t seeking to modify the measure.

“There’s not really any place to make any changes now,” Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger of Hindsville said about his proposal. “If there are questions in two years we can fix it.”

Hundreds of protesters filled Arkansas’ Capitol to oppose the measure, holding signs that read “Discrimination is not a Christian Value” and “Discrimination is a Disease,” and chanting “Shame on You” at Ballinger after the measure was endorsed by a House committee.

“I believe that many people will want to flee the state and many people will want to avoid our state,” said Rita Jernigan, a protester and one of the lead plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ gay marriage ban. “I think it will hit us hard everywhere. I feel like we’re moving backwards rather than being a progressive state.”

The protests echo the backlash in Indiana, where Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a similar bill into law last week. Some companies and organizations have canceled future travel to Indiana or halted expansion plans in the state, and Republican legislative leaders said they are working on adding language to Indiana’s law to make it clear that the measure does not allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Similar proposals have been introduced in more than a dozen states, patterned after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Nineteen other states have similar laws on the books.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who had expressed reservations about unintended consequences of an earlier version of the bill, has said he’ll sign the current measure into law.

“If this bill reaches my desk in similar form as to what has been passed in 20 other states then I will sign it, but I am pleased that the Legislature is continuing to look at ways to assure balance and fairness in the legislation,” Hutchinson said in a statement Monday.

Sexual orientation and gender identity are not included in Arkansas’ anti-discrimination protections. Last month, Hutchinson allowed a measure to go into law that prevented local governments from including such protections in their anti-discrimination ordinances.

Opponents of the bill hoped to target Hutchinson’s promise to be a “jobs governor” made during his successful bid last year for the state’s top office. The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group, has run ads in Silicon Valley aimed at the same technology firms Hutchinson has said he wants to lure to Arkansas.

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post over the weekend opposing the Arkansas and Indiana measures, while retail giant Wal-Mart has said the proposal sends the wrong message about its home state. Little Rock-based data services company Acxiom also urged Hutchinson to veto the bill, saying the measure would enable discrimination and open the state up to ridicule.

“This bill is at direct odds with your position that ‘Arkansas is open for business,'” CEO Scott Howe and Executive Vice President Jerry C. Jones wrote Monday in a letter to the governor.

In Indiana, the fallout has ranged from the public-employee union known as AFSCME canceling a planned women’s conference in Indianapolis this year because of the law to the band Wilco saying it was canceling a May performance.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued an open letter to Indiana corporations saying Virginia is a business-friendly state that does “not discriminate against our friends and neighbors,” while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent letters to more than a dozen Indiana businesses, urging them to relocate to a “welcoming place to people of all races, faiths and countries of origin.”

TIME Iran

Differences Persist on Deadline Day for Iran Nuke Talks

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, right, and European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini wait for the start of a meeting on Iran's nuclear program In Lausanne, Switzerland, March 31, 2015
Brendan Smialowski—AP Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, right, and E.U. High Representative Federica Mogherini wait for the start of a meeting on Iran's nuclear program In Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 31, 2015

Kerry has been meeting with his Iranian counterpart since Thursday in an intense effort to reach a political understanding

(LAUSANNE, Switzerland) — Diplomats scrambled Tuesday to reach consensus on the outline of an Iran nuclear deal just hours ahead of a self-imposed deadline to produce an agreement.

Facing a midnight local time (6 p.m. EDT) target to conclude a framework accord, substantial differences persisted with officials predicting a long day of talks that may or may not result in success. The top diplomats of four of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany met alone and then with Iran’s foreign minister to try to bridge the remaining gaps. They hope to hammer out an understanding that would serve as the basis for a final accord to be reached by the end of June.

It was not immediately clear what missing the deadline would mean for the nearly two years of negotiations that have been twice extended since an interim agreement was reached in November 2013. Most countries involved have said they are not interested in another extension, although they have also said that the interim agreement will remain in place until July 1, suggesting talks could continue.

“Long day ahead,” the spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department said in a tweet announcing the early Tuesday morning start of the foreign ministers’ meeting with Iranian officials.

Late Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry told a CNN reporter that “everyone knows the meaning of tomorrow,” adding that “there are still some tricky issues.”

Kerry has been meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in the Swiss town of Lausanne since Thursday in an intense effort to reach a political understanding on terms that would curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Kerry and others at the table said the sides have made some progress, with Iran considering demands for further cuts to its uranium enrichment program but pushing back on how long it must limit technology it could use to make atomic arms. In addition to sticking points on research and development, differences remain on the timing and scope of sanctions removal, the officials said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday that Iran’s expectations from the talks are “very ambitious” and not yet acceptable to his country or the other five negotiating: the U.S., Britain, China, France and Russia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov left the talks on Monday and planned to return only if the prospects for a deal looked good.

Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, told Iranian state television on Monday that the talks were not likely to reach any conclusion until “tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.”

The Obama administration says any deal will stretch the time Iran needs to make a nuclear weapon from the present two to three months to at least a year. But critics object that it would keep Tehran’s nuclear technology intact.

Officials in Lausanne said the sides were advancing on limits to aspects of Iran’s program to enrich uranium, which can be used to make the core of a nuclear warhead.

Tehran has said it is willing to address concerns about its stockpiles of enriched uranium, although it has denied that will involve shipping it out of the country, as some Western officials have said. One official said on Monday that Iran might deal with the issue by diluting its stocks to a level that would not be weapons grade.

Uranium enrichment has been the chief concern in over more than a decade of international attempts to cap Iran’s nuclear programs. But Western officials say the main obstacles to a deal are no longer enrichment-related but instead the type and length of restrictions on Tehran’s research and development of advanced centrifuges and the pace of sanctions-lifting.

Over the past weeks, Iran has moved from demanding that it be allowed to keep nearly 10,000 centrifuges enriching uranium, to agreeing to 6,000. The officials said Tehran now may be ready to accept even fewer.

Tehran says it wants to enrich only for energy, science, industry and medicine. But many countries fear Iran could use the technology to make weapons-grade uranium.

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