nuclear weapons

President Barack Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office with Secretary of State John Kerry to thank him for his work with the negotiations on the nuclear agreement with Iran, July 13, 2015.
Pete Souza / The White House

After years of negotiation designed to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and keep the balance of power from shifting in the Middle East, Congress will vote on a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic next month.

The memorial in Nagasaki, Japan marking the location of ground zero of the August 9, 1945 nuclear attack.
Dean S. Pemberton / Wikimedia Commons

Seventy years ago Thursday, the United States dropped the first of two atomic bombs on the Empire of Japan – the opening salvo to the final days of World War II. The attack on Hiroshima, and Nagasaki three days later, killed as many as 200,000 people, and remain the only times nuclear weapons have ever been used against another nation.

In light of this week’s nuclear agreement with Iran, Asia-Pacific trade talks and renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba, Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot talk about why 2015 has been arguably President Obama’s most successful year in foreign policy.

Then I’ll talk with Nigerian filmmaker Kenneth Gyang about bringing attention to issues facing his country through narrative storytelling.

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot discuss this week’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the release of al-Qaeda prisoners in Yemen and air strikes led by a Saudi coalition.

Later, a conversation with the former director of the National Clandestine Service Michael Sulick. The 30-year CIA veteran argues information leaks by people like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden can cause far more problems than traditional spying ever did.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise are in Washington, D.C. this week, and discuss some of the comments they've been hearing about U.S-Iranian nuclear talks, and the implications of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reelection.

Then, a conversation with Texas A&M University political scientist Mohammad Tabaar about international sources of Iran's domestic politics. He argues Iran is actually one of the most pro-American countries in the Muslim World.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, flanked deputies, sits across from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other advisers on March 17, 2015, in Lausanne, Switzerland, before resuming negotiations about the future of Iran's nuclear program.
U.S. Department of State / Flickr

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met on Monday in the latest round of nuclear talks. Iran and Western governments have been working on negotiations with the goal of reducing the size of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting sanctions imposed on the country.

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot focus on the aggression in the east of Ukraine, and the well as the historical importance of Ukraine in Russian history. They also discuss how the war in Syria has affected the country’s ancient history and cultural heritage.

And later, a conversation with Israeli scholar Zaki Shalom. He says the Arab Spring has shifted focus away from the Middle East’s more long-standing discord.

Pete Souza / The White House

Israel’s nuclear capabilities and its relationship with the United States can be controversial and problematic during Middle East negotiations, but Zaki Shalom, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies and a researcher at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the study of Israel and Zionism, says Israel is an example of stability and development in the region.

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot discuss the 2014 State of the Union address and some of the foreign policy objectives President Obama outlined in Tuesday night’s speech.

Later, a conversation about migration and identity with Iranian-American novelist Laleh Khadivi, and Palestinian-American poet and physician Fady Joudah.

President Obama delivers his 2014 State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress Tuesday, January 28, 2014.
The White House / YouTube

President Obama’s international outlook remains heavily oriented toward decreasing the U.S. military presence in the Middle East. In his State of the Union address, the president promised to declare an end to the 12-year war in Afghanistan.

Joshua Landis, the author of Syria Comment and the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says President Obama’s address “claimed big successes” in a September Syria chemical weapons deal and a November interim agreement with Iran halting uranium enrichment programs in exchange for lifted sanctions.

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