France has made a scheduled congressional hearing on Iran this week more interesting than promised.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius early Sunday scuttled a deal pushed by the U.S. and other Western nations to get Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment in exchange for easing some crippling economic sanctions.
Critics, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had been warning that the deal would do nothing to stop Iran’s suspected program to build a nuclear bomb. He repeatedly said “no deal is better than a bad deal.”
Mr. Fabius on Saturday first expressed displeasure with the deal, telling France-Inter Radio that he did not want France to be part of a “con game.”
In Washington, Sen. John McCain praised Mr. Fabius.
“France had the courage to prevent a bad nuclear agreement with Iran. Vive la France!” the Arizona Republican said Sunday on Twitter.
The exiled Iranian resistance also cheered.
“France should be lauded for showing backbone to object to the ‘sucker’s’ deal,” said Ali M. Safavi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which revealed two of Iran’s secret nuclear sites in 2002.
Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, was shocked at the potential deal.
“My concern here is that we seem to want the deal almost more than the Iranians,” the New Jersey Democrat said on ABC’s “This Week.”
France’s stand comes as Rep. Edward R. Royce, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, is preparing to turn a diplomatic spotlight on Iran at a 10 a.m. Wednesday hearing in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The California Republican already was upset with the Iran talks.
“Instead of toughening sanctions to get meaningful and lasting concessions, the Obama administration looks to be settling for interim and reversible steps [by Iran],” Mr. Royce said Friday as he announced his committee hearing. “A partial freeze on enrichment … is not a freeze.”
The hearing was scheduled to coincide with the 100th day in office of Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.
TACLOBAN, PHILIPPINES | Rescuers faced blocked roads and damaged airports Monday as they raced to deliver desperately needed tents, food and medicine to the typhoon-devastated eastern Philippines where thousands are believed dead.
Three days after the Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the region, the full scale of the disaster was just becoming apparent. Authorities estimated that up to 10,000 people may have died. In the city of Tacloban, corpses hung from trees and were scattered on sidewalks. Many were buried in flattened buildings.
“This area has been totally ravaged,” said Sebastien Sujobert, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tacloban. “Many lives were lost, a huge number of people are missing, and basic services such as drinking water and electricity have been cut off,” he said.
He said both the Philippine Red Cross and the ICRC offices in Tacloban had been damaged, forcing staff to relocate temporarily.
Haiyan hit the eastern seaboard of the Philippines on Friday and quickly barreled across its central islands, packing winds of 147 mph that gusted to 170 mph, with a storm surge of 20 feet.
Its sustained winds weakened to 74 mph as the typhoon made landfall in northern Vietnam early Monday after crossing the South China Sea, according to the Hong Kong meteorological observatory.
It inflicted serious damage to at least six of the archipelago’s more than 7,000 islands, with Leyte, Samar and the northern part of Cebu appearing to bear the brunt of the storm. About 4 million people were affected by the storm, the national disaster agency said.
Video from Eastern Samar province’s Guiuan township — the first area where the typhoon made landfall — showed a trail of devastation. Many houses were flattened and roads were strewn with debris and uprooted trees. The ABS-CBN video showed several bodies on
Survivors walk through the rubble of damaged homes and a ship that was washed ashore in Tacloban in central Philippines on Sunday. The city remains littered with debris from damaged homes as many complain of shortages of food and water and no electricity since Typhoon Haiyan slammed into their province.
A Filipino resident reacts after getting supplies from a grocery that was stormed by people in Tacloban.