TIME Iran

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Iran Deal

We finally have a framework for a nuclear deal. Here's what that means.

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.”

TIME faith

How Coca-Cola Became Kosher for Passover

Always Coca-Cola
Cincinnati Historical Society / Getty Images An inspector scrutinizes bottles of Coca-Cola as they pass in front of a piercing light, in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the 1940s

Thanks to the efforts of an Atlanta-based rabbi in the 1930s, Jews keeping kosher for Passover can still drink a Coke

Starting when Passover begins on Friday night, Jews who are keeping kosher for the holiday must forgo foods with wheat, corn and other grains for the eight-day festival, severely restricting their diet. But one luxury is not out of reach: Coca-Cola.

The Atlanta-based soda maker provides a kosher-for-Passover version of its mainstay cola, identifiable by its yellow cap. Unlike most commercial sodas in the U.S. that are sweetened with corn syrup, this concoction uses sugar, helping it pass muster for those avoiding grains—and making it popular among those who say they prefer the flavor.

Hipsters and observant Jews alike are largely indebted to the efforts of one Orthodox rabbi eight decades ago. Rabbi Tuvia Geffen, Lithuanian-born but residing in Coke’s Georgia hometown, noticed that, of all the dietary restrictions of Passover, staying away from the soda was proving particularly difficult for his congregants. Before the holiday rolled around in 1935, responding to popular demand, he investigated the ingredients of the soft drink.

“Because it has become an insurmountable problem to induce the great majority of Jews to refrain from partaking of this drink,” Rabbi Geffen wrote in his rabbinical ruling. “I have tried earnestly to find a method of permitting its usage. With the help of God, I have been able to uncover a pragmatic solution.”

The solution was, it turned out, relatively easy. This was before the use of corn syrup, but the ingredients still sometimes included grain sugars; so Coca-Cola assured Rabbi Geffen that they would exclusively use cane sugar during Passover as well as scrap one other minor ingredient that the rabbi deemed not to be kosher. And with that, Rabbi Geffen pronounced Coke to be kosher.

The dramatic development was announced in a letter to TIME published in the May 13, 1935, issue, sent by one Samuel Glick of Atlanta. Glick was following up on a TIME article about the Jewish Passover celebration that had been published the previous month:

In connection with your interesting article on the celebration of Passover (TIME, April 29), you may be interested to know that, for the first time. Atlanta orthodox Jews were allowed to drink Coca Cola during this solemn season. With the approval of Atlanta rabbis, special Coca Cola bottle caps were stamped with the Kosher symbol and signs denoting the same were displayed in soda fountains. The drink was not altered in any way.

Read the 1935 story about the Passover celebration: Passover and Easter

TIME faith

The World Is Getting More Religious

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Getty Images

Muslims and Christians are expected make up nearly equal shares of the global population by 2050 for the first time.

Atheists, agnostics and other people who don’t affiliate with a religion will make up a smaller fraction of the world’s population in 2050, according to a new study.

The Pew Research Center study released Thursday found that the growth of major religious groups will outpace the rise in the unaffiliated population despite trends in the United States and other Western countries, where the proportion of religiously unaffiliated people is expected to grow. By 2050, the total global population is expected to rise to 9.3 billion from 6.9 billion today.

Islam will expand faster than any other major religion, according to the report, with Muslims and Christians expected make up nearly equal shares of the global population by 2050 for the first time. While much of the Muslim and Christian population growth is expected to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, the share of Muslims in Europe and the U.S. is also expected to grow.

In Europe, for example, Muslims will make up 10% of the total population. In the U.S., they will make up 2.1%, up from 0.9%, and outnumbering the Jewish population in America.

Among all major religions, Buddhism is the only one that is not expected to expand by 2050, due largely to low fertility rates in countries like China and Japan. Here’s a breakdown of religious growth around the world from the Pew Research Center:

 

 

TIME Yemen

Al-Qaeda Group Frees Hundreds of Inmates in Yemen

Mideast Yemen
Hani Mohammed—AP Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, chant slogans to protest against Saudi-led airstrikes, during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Wednesday, April 1, 2015.

Unrest in Yemen could fuel al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's expansion

The powerful al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen stormed a southern port city and freed hundreds of prisoners as it took advantage of mounting turmoil in the country.

The New York Times reports that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) launched an offensive early Thursday against the city of al-Mukalla, targeting the security headquarters, government buildings and the central prison. Witnesses reported seeing hundreds of inmates fleeing, according to the Times.

Yemen has descended into civil war since the rebel Houthis from the north seized the capital, Sana’a, last fall and ousted President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi earlier this year. Clashes between the advancing Houthis and forces loyal to Hadi intensified last month and prompted neighboring Saudi Arabia to launch airstrikes to push back the predominantly Shi’ite Houthis, who are perceived to have support from Saudi rival Iran.

The city of al-Mukalla had been spared the fighting, but onlookers have long raised concerns that the unrest could fuel AQAP’s growth in strength and stature, especially as the Sunni extremist group positions itself as a leading opposition force to the Houthis.

[New York Times]

TIME Britain

Watch Benedict Cumberbatch Read a Poem at Richard III’s Reburial

The actor is also a distant relative of King Richard III, who died 530 years ago

Was ever a crowd in this humor wooed?

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch read a poem Thursday to the somber group that gathered for the reburial of King Richard III.

The poem was written by British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy to commemorate the event in honor of the last British King to die in battle, whose remains were rediscovered beneath a parking lot in 2012. King Richard III was given a ceremonious burial more than 500 years after he fell fighting Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth.

Cumberbatch, who is a distant cousin of Richard III, is set to play the monarch in BBC’s The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses set for next year.

Read next: 7 Things We Learned About Benedict Cumberbatch Today

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Iraq

Shi‘ite Militias Reportedly Back Out of Iraq Campaign After U.S. Air Strikes

Iraqi security forces prepare to attack Islamic State extremist positions in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, Iraq, March 26, 2015.
Khalid Mohammed—AP Iraqi security forces prepare to attack ISIS's positions in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, Iraq, on March 26, 2015

The withdrawing militias represent roughly a third of the 30,000-strong government-led forces

Three key Shi‘ite militias pulled out of the Iraqi assault on the Islamist-held city of Tikrit in protest of U.S. air strikes supporting the campaign, according to a new report.

The New York Times reports that the militia groups, representing a third of the 30,000 government-led forces, are withdrawing from the front lines. The leader of the largest militia group in the battle, the Badr Organization, told the Times that he was also considering pulling out.

U.S. warplanes had sat out the weeks-long assault to retake the city held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) amid concerns that the U.S. would find itself fighting alongside the Iranian-backed militias. But the Pentagon reversed course on Wednesday, after receiving assurances that the Shi‘ite militias would step back from the operation according to one top U.S. general.

The U.S. participation in the Tikrit campaign added a new layer to its convoluted relationship with rival Iran, and it came as the U.S. expressed support for the Saudi Arabian–led campaign to intervene in Yemen against Iranian-backed rebels.

[NYT]

Read next: Why the U.S. Is Fighting Besides Iran in Iraq and Against It in Yemen

 

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME France

Paris Takes Cars Off the Road to Fight Smog

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Marcaux—Getty Images Paris Dusk

The restrictions—and free public transportation—helped cut traffic by 40 percent

About 750 police officers were deployed in and around Paris on Monday to enforce emergency traffic laws aimed at reducing the city’s encompassing fog.

Only “clean” vehicles, hybrids and electrics, as well as cars with odd number plates were allowed to circulate the streets on Monday, and violators faced a 22-euro ($24) fine, according to Le Monde. Exceptions were also made for emergency and some commercial vehicles. Meanwhile, public transportation was free.

According to Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said traffic was down by 40 percent on Monday morning.

Paris has struggled to bring down high pollution rates, and last week it briefly topped cities like Beijing and Delhi as the most polluted in the world.

The government said the restrictions, which have been imposed twice before, will be lifted on Tuesday thanks to a projected improvement in conditions.

TIME faith

Watch Pope Francis Get a Pizza in a Moving Popemobile

When you’re the Pope, your wishes really do come true

Pope Francis said earlier this month that the one thing that bugged him about being Pontiff was not being able to go out unnoticed to get pizza.

At least one Neapolitan sympathized with the Pope.

In a fearless act caught on video, pizzeria owner Enzo Cacialli ran toward the Pope’s motorcade in Naples—the legendary home of pizza—and handed the Pontiff a personal pie. Pope Francis reached down and accepted the offering, which had “Il Papa” spelled out in dough on top.

“It’s really hard for me to understand what I managed to do,” Cacialli told CNN. “Giving a pizza you made with your own hands to the Pope is very emotional. It’s really hard for me to express the value of this gesture for a man we really love and value, for a beautiful person full of humanity.”

Read next: How the World Knew What to Expect From Pope Francis

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Britain

King Richard III to Be Laid to Rest

Floral tributes are pictured as members of the public queue to view the coffin containing the remains of England's King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral in Leicestershire, England on March 23, 2015.
Ben Stansall—AFP/Getty Images Floral tributes are pictured as members of the public queue to view the coffin containing the remains of England's King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral in Leicestershire, England on March 23, 2015.

530 years later

The last British King to die in battle will be buried Thursday, more than 500 years after he fell fighting Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth.

The remains of King Richard III, which were found beneath a parking lot in 2012, were ceremoniously taken to the Leicester Cathedral on Sunday before thousands of onlookers, BBC reports. On Monday, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, will give a mass for Richard, and the public will be able to view the coffin over the next few days

The King, who died at the end of the tumultuous War of the Roses, will be reburied at the Cathedral on Thursday.

[BBC]

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