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Iran slows down nuclear inspectors, but appears to be giving way to deal

Iran appears to have partly lifted its threat to sharply limit international inspections of its nuclear facilities as of Tuesday, giving Western countries three months to see if the start of a new diplomatic initiative with the United States and the United States. Europe will reinstate the 2015 nuclear deal.

After a weekend in Tehran, Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Sunday that his inspectors would have “less access” from Tuesday, but that they could still monitor the main production sites where Iran has said it manufactures nuclear material. He did not describe what form these new limits would take, but said there would be a three-month hiatus on some of Iran’s new restrictions under a “technical annex” that did not has not been made public.

At the same time, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that under a law passed by the country’s parliament, Tehran would no longer abide by an agreement with the nuclear agency that gives inspectors the right to require access to any site where they suspicious nuclear activity may have taken place. He also said inspectors could not get footage from security cameras that keep some of the sites under constant surveillance.

The vague announcement appeared to be part of maneuvers in Iran on how to respond to an offer by the Biden administration to resume diplomatic contact on restoring the deal that President Donald J. Trump abandoned nearly three years. President Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken have offered to join European nations in what would be the first substantial diplomacy with Tehran in more than four years.

“Iran has yet to respond,” Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “But what happened as a result was that the script was flipped. It is Iran that is now diplomatically isolated, not the United States. And the ball is in their court.

Iran has consistently tried to pressure Washington to lift sanctions, with gradual increases in the amount of nuclear fuel it produces and announcements that it is starting to enrich uranium to higher levels. high, closer to bomb grade materials. Threatening to restrict inspectors is part of that effort.

But now the Iranians are finding themselves in a corner of their own accord: with a presidential election in four months, no one wants to appear weak in the face of international pressure.

Iranian leaders also recognize that Mr Biden’s election gives them their best chance since 2018 to see sanctions lifted – and international oil sales are pouring in. This will require restoring the production limits prescribed in the 2015 agreement. The agreement also requires Iran to submit to snap inspections of sites not declared under what is called the Additional Protocol, the rules that the Most members of the International Atomic Energy Agency join by granting inspectors broader rights.

Mr Grossi and White House officials appeared keen to avoid any suggestion that the limits on inspectors created a crisis such as the one the Clinton administration faced in 1994, when North Korea expelled the agency inspectors and ran for a bomb. In this case, inspectors will continue their work in Iran, even if their vision of nuclear fuel production and their ability to trace past nuclear activities is limited.

“Grossi has mitigated some damage,” said Andrea Stricker, a researcher at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, who was a major criticism of the deal with Iran, on Sunday. But she added that “reducing surveillance in any form is extremely problematic given the major nuclear advances that Iran has undertaken,” particularly after the agency began to question it. past nuclear activity at sites where it had found traces of radioactive material.

“The IAEA must publish the technical agreement and explain exactly how the surveillance has been reduced so that the international community can assess the seriousness of Iran’s move,” Stricker said.

Henry Rome, an expert on Iran at the Eurasia Group, said Sunday’s announcement “presents an opening, but we are not out of the woods yet,” noting that the country has continued to ramp up its enrichment of uranium and testing new, more advanced centrifuges to produce the fuel.

The news that Iran had come to some sort of accommodation with Mr. Grossi that could buy diplomacy time drew reactions from all factions in Iran. And the lack of details from the country’s atomic energy agency and the international nuclear agency gave material to both those who wanted to restore the deal and those who thought it was a lot. too restrictive for Iran’s capabilities.

Conservative commentators have taken to social media to criticize the government for circumventing a law passed by parliament in January that requires restricting inspectors’ access.

“Bypass the law?” Seyed Nezameddin Mousavi, a conservative lawmaker, tweeted on Sunday, suggesting the government was trying to circumvent Parliament’s actions. “It seems my anxiety was justified.

Proponents of diplomacy praised the government for its creative thinking on how to recognize the legal requirement without removing the inspectors. Some have suggested that the compromise involved Iran’s agreement to preserve footage recorded by security cameras that monitor fuel production, but not hand them over to inspectors until the 2015 deal is reinstated.

“The Iranians have accepted more than it seems at this stage, but because for the IAEA to be fully satisfied there has to be continuity of knowledge,” said Ali Vaez, Iranian director of the ‘International Crisis Group. “It basically delayed the crisis.”

Rick gladstone contribution to reports.

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Atlanta prosecutor appears to be moving closer to Trump investigation

Mr Worley said he would bring forward the motion based on an external complaint filed with the state electoral board by John F. Banzhaf III, law professor at George Washington University.

Mr. Banzhaf and other legal experts say Mr. Trump’s appeals can go against at least three state criminal laws. The first is criminal solicitation to commit electoral fraud, which can be either a felony or an offense.

There is also a related conspiracy charge, which can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony. A third law, a misdemeanor offense, prohibits “intentional interference” in the “exercise of electoral functions” of another person.

“My feeling based on listening to the phone call is that they’ll probably see if they can get it to a grand jury,” said Joshua Morrison, a former senior Fulton County deputy attorney who previously worked in close collaboration with Mrs. Willis. “It clearly appears that a crime has been committed.”

He noted that Fulton County, which encompasses much of Atlanta, is not friendly territory for Mr. Trump if he were to face a grand jury.

The investigation, if successful, would be the second known criminal investigation of Mr. Trump outside the federal pardon authority. He already faces a criminal investigation for fraud on his finances by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. to issue a pardon anyway, given his unraveled relationship with Mr. Trump. However, in Georgia pardons are administered by a state council.

Whether or not to indict the country’s 45th president would present a unique challenge for any district attorney. Ms Willis, who took office just a few days ago, is a seasoned prosecutor unfamiliar with the limelight and criticism. A graduate of Howard University and Emory University Law School in the Atlanta area, she is the first woman, and second African American, to serve as attorney general for Fulton County, the most populous in Georgia, with over one million residents.

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Citing Taylor Swift, Supreme Court Appears To Support Nominal Damages Lawsuits

WASHINGTON – About 70 minutes into what had been a technical and twisty Supreme Court argument on Tuesday over whether two Georgian students could sue their college for symbolic damages, a series questions about Taylor Swift brought the issue to the forefront.

Judge Elena Kagan asked about “the most famous nominal damages case that I know of in recent times, namely the Taylor Swift sexual assault case.”

Pop superstar Ms. Swift sued a Denver radio host who she said had groped her. She asked for $ 1 in nominal damages.

“I’m not really interested in your money,” Justice Kagan said, describing Ms. Swift’s thinking. “I just want a dollar, and that dollar will mean something both to me and to the world of women who have been through what I have been through.”

The jury sided with Ms Swift and awarded her the dollar she asked for. “It was undoubted physical harm, but she just asked for that dollar to say she was injured,” Justice Kagan told Andrew A. Pinson, solicitor general of Georgia. “Why not?”

Mr Pinson admitted that he only vaguely knew about the case. But he said proving a point, as opposed to getting compensation, “isn’t something federal courts exist to do.”

Judge Amy Coney Barrett followed up on her own thoughts on Ms Swift’s case. “What Taylor Swift wanted was, you know, the moral right, the legal right, that sexual assault is wrong and wrong,” Justice Barrett said.

And Judge Neil M. Gorsuch said the court should be wary of penalizing plaintiffs who act on principle, including “those like Ms Swift who have a qualm or a reason not to ask for more, who might.”

At the end of the discussion, it seemed that the singer’s position would help that of the students in the case before the judges, Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, No. 19-968.

The students said officials at Georgia Gwinnett College, a public institution in Lawrenceville, Georgia, violated their First Amendment rights by enforcing a particularly harsh version of school language codes that have become commonplace at colleges and universities across the country. .

One of the students, Chike Uzuegbunam, was threatened with discipline for making public remarks about his Christian faith outside a campus food court. Shortly after pursuing college, he abandoned his policy and replaced it with one that allows students to “speak anywhere on campus and at any time without having to first obtain a permit.”

The revised policy, state officials said, rendered the case moot. A trial judge agreed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta upheld her ruling.

The students said they should be able to pursue their claim for symbolic damages to gain recognition that their constitutional rights had been violated.

Some members of the Court have expressed concern over this approach. “The only remedy you are asking for is a statement that you are right,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. told Kristen K. Wagoner of the Defending Freedom Alliance, which represents the students.

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh said nominal damages claims may have an additional purpose, at least when plaintiffs are entitled to recoup their legal fees. He said he had “a strong suspicion that attorney fees are what drives all of this on both sides.”

But Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. said nominal damages can serve an important purpose, such as when there is “a real, concrete violation that cannot be easily monetized.”

Justice Alito made a similar point in a dissent in April, when the court dismissed a Second Amendment challenge to a New York City gun control order after the city repealed it. The majority said there was nothing more to decide, with the plaintiffs only asking for a declaration of unconstitutionality of the law and an injunction blocking its application.

But, Judge Alito wrote, the plaintiffs may well be entitled to symbolic damages.

“Courts routinely award nominal damages for constitutional violations,” he wrote. “And it is widely accepted that a claim for symbolic damages excludes mootness.”

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Supreme Court appears poised to limit human rights lawsuits against companies

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court, which has placed strict limits on prosecutions in federal court for human rights violations abroad, appeared set on Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit accusing two U.S. companies of complicity in slavery children in cocoa plantations in Côte d’Ivoire.

The case was brought by six Malian citizens who claimed to have been victims of trafficking in children as children. They sued Nestlé USA and Cargill, claiming the companies aided and profited from the practice of forced child labor.

“The plaintiffs are former child slaves seeking compensation from two US companies that maintain a system of child slavery and forced labor in their supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire as a corporate policy to obtain a competitive advantage in the US market, ”said Paul L. Hoffman, counsel for the plaintiffs.

Neal K. Katyal, a lawyer for the companies, said they “abhor child slavery” and are not involved in it.

“The complaint that the plaintiffs allude to is something horrible: tenants in Mali sold them as children to an Ivorian farm where supervisors forced them to work,” Katyal said. But, he added, “the defendants are not the locators, nor the guards, nor the farm”.

The plaintiffs brought an action under the Alien Tort Statute, a cryptic law of 1789 that allows federal district courts to hear “any civil action from an alien for a misdemeanor only, committed in violation of the law of nations or of ‘a treaty of the United States’.

The law was largely ignored until the 1980s, when federal courts began to enforce it in international human rights cases. A 2004 Supreme Court decision, Sosa v. Álvarez-Machain, left the door open to certain claims under the law, as long as they involve violations of international standards with “final content and acceptance among civilized nations”.

Since then, the Supreme Court has narrowed the law in two ways, saying it does not apply when the behavior in question was almost entirely abroad or when the defendant was a foreign company.

In 2013, in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, the court stated that there was a general presumption against the extraterritorial application of US law. He dismissed a lawsuit against a foreign company accused of aiding and abetting atrocities committed by Nigerian military and police forces against Ogoni villagers.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said even minimal contact with the United States would not be enough to overcome the presumption.

“Even when the claims touch and concern the territory of the United States,” he wrote, “they must do so with sufficient force to dispel the presumption against extraterritorial application.”

In 2018, in Jesner v. Arab Bank, the court ruled in favor of a Jordan-based bank that had been accused of processing financial transactions through a branch in New York for groups linked to terrorism. The court said that foreign companies could not be prosecuted under the 1789 law, but that it left open the question of the status of domestic companies.

In Tuesday’s case, Nestlé USA v. Doe, n ° 19-416, the societies sought to extend both types of limitations. They said the 1789 law did not allow prosecution even when the conduct of some of the defendants took place in the United States, and they urged the court to ban prosecutions under the law against all companies, whether foreign or national.

They seemed likely to succeed, but on a more limited basis. Judges of all ideological backgrounds questioned whether the plaintiffs’ trial had sufficiently linked the defendants to the abuse they said they had suffered.

“When I read your complaint,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer told Mr. Hoffman, “it seemed to me that all or almost all of your complaint was about dealing with these people. They help pay for the farm. And that’s about it. And they do it knowingly.

Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. even said the questions were exaggerated because the lawsuit, first filed in 2005, only said that companies knew or should have been aware of the practices.

“After 15 years, is it too much to ask that you specifically allege that the defendants involved, the defendants who are before us here, knew precisely that forced child labor was used on the farms or agricultural cooperatives with which they did business? ? ” he asked Mr. Hoffman. “Is that too much to ask?”

These questions suggested that the court could rule for corporations without making a general declaration on corporate immunity. Indeed, Judge Alito said that some of the broader business arguments “lead to results that are quite difficult to accept.”

Suppose, he said, that a company “surreptitiously hires agents in Africa to kidnap children and keep them in bondage on a plantation so that the company can buy cocoa or coffee or some other agricultural product from the farm. unbeatable prices ”.

“You would say,” Judge Alito asked Mr. Katyal, “that the victims, who could not obtain redress in the courts of the country where they had been detained, should be deported from court in the United States, where this company is headquartered and does business? “

Mr. Katyal said there were ways to hold such a company accountable. But he said the 1789 law was not one of them.

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The presidency appears within Biden’s grasp as his lead widens on crucial battlefields.

The outside stage was all set in Wilmington, Del., For Joseph R. Biden Jr. to speak and address the nation – presumably in a victory speech as president-elect.

There were banners and spotlights and people in cars ready to honk their approval for the next president and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris. But the hour was getting late and the vote count continued with no sign of a winner in the contest between Mr. Biden and President Trump.

Finally, around 11 p.m., Mr. Biden emerged. He did not give a victory speech, but came as close as possible, speaking about what he intended to do as president while assuring Americans that “your vote will be counted.” It was clear that Mr. Biden was becoming as restless with the long and laborious account as much of the country.

“It’s that slow,” Biden said, describing watching the numbers flow on television. “As slow as it gets, it can be numbing.”

It has now been four days since polling day. As long as it sounds, it is a far cry from the 36 days it took in 2000 before the Supreme Court ended the recount and effectively declared George W. Bush the winner over Al Gore.

While all indications suggest that Mr. Biden was successful in defeating Mr. Trump, he’s still close enough in four states – Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Georgia – that the contest remains unsolved.

As the number of outstanding ballots slowly dwindled, Mr. Trump increasingly found himself with only legal challenges to avoid defeat. He was unusually out of sight on Friday.

This post-election limbo was more proof of the bizarre election it was. Polling counters have been overwhelmed by the record number of early votes in the mail due to the pandemic; hence the slow and meticulous counts taking place across the country.

Most elections end when one candidate calls on the other to give in. Mr. Trump may be lagging behind – with dwindling hopes of winning – but he’s not the kind of person to concede. And it is not in Mr. Biden’s political interest to unilaterally declare victory (as Mr. Trump effectively did) and fuel the conspiracy theory pushed by the President and his supporters that Democrats are trying to steal the elections.

The count therefore continues. And on. And on.

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Victory appears within Biden’s grasp as his lead widens on crucial battlefields.

The outside stage was all set in Wilmington, Del., For Joseph R. Biden Jr. to speak and address the nation – presumably in a victory speech as president-elect.

There were banners and spotlights and people in cars ready to honk their approval for the next president and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris. But the hour was getting late and the vote count continued, with no sign of a winner in the contest between Mr. Biden and President Trump.

Finally, around 11 p.m., Mr. Biden emerged. He did not give a victory speech, but came as close as possible, speaking about what he intended to do as president while assuring Americans that “your vote will be counted.” It was clear that Mr. Biden was becoming as restless with the long and laborious account as much of the country.

“It’s that slow,” Biden said, describing watching the numbers flow on television. “As slow as it gets, it can be numbing.”

It has now been four days since polling day. As long as it sounds, it is a far cry from the 36 days it took in 2000 before the Supreme Court ended the recount and effectively declared George W. Bush the winner over Al Gore.

While all indications suggest that Mr. Biden was successful in defeating Mr. Trump, he’s still close enough in four states – Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Georgia – that the contest remains unsolved.

As the number of outstanding ballots slowly dwindled, Mr. Trump increasingly found himself with only legal challenges to avoid defeat. He was unusually out of sight on Friday.

This post-election limbo was more proof of the bizarre election it was. Polling counters have been overwhelmed by the record number of early votes in the mail due to the pandemic; hence the slow and meticulous counts taking place across the country.

Most elections end when one candidate calls on the other to give in. Mr. Trump may be lagging behind – with dwindling hopes of winning – but he’s not the kind of person to concede. And it is not in Mr. Biden’s political interest to unilaterally declare victory (as Mr. Trump effectively did) and fuel the conspiracy theory pushed by the President and his supporters that Democrats are trying to steal the elections.

The count therefore continues. And on. And on.