Washington – Secretary of State John Kerry warned Congress on Wednesday against scuttling a historic opportunity for a nuclear pact with Iran by pressing ahead with new sanctions while international negotiators seek to prevent Tehran from being able to assemble an atomic weapons arsenal.
Kerry, who as a senator joined the effort to impose crippling oil, trade and investment restrictions on Iran, said the United States and other world powers are united behind an offer they presented to Iranian negotiators in Geneva last week.
But he said new action now from U.S. lawmakers could shatter an international coalition made up of countries with interests as divergent as France, Russia and China, endangering hopes for a peaceful end to the decadelong nuclear standoff with the Islamic republic.
Toronto mayor admits to buying illegal drugs
Toronto – Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford acknowledged purchasing illegal drugs under questioning Wednesday by City Council members trying to pressure him to step aside.
“Yes, I have,” Ford answered when asked by a Toronto City Council member whether he had purchased illegal drugs within the last two years.
Ford is resisting calls for him to either step down or take time off to deal with substance abuse problems. He said he is not an addict and had already apologized for his behavior.
Two Islamist groups added to terrorist list
Washington – Two Islamist groups in Nigeria have been added to the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations for killing thousands of people and threatening Westerners in West Africa, U.S. officials said Wednesday.
Boko Haram and a splinter group, Ansaru, were named to the federal roster of terrorist groups after U.S. officials determined that they had received training and some financing from the al-Qaida affiliate in North Africa.
The listing makes it a federal crime to knowingly provide support to the groups.
It also blocks them from the U.S. financial system and enables banks to freeze their U.S. assets. The State Department previously had named three of Boko Haram’s leaders to its global terrorism sanctions list.