After eight days of talks in Switzerland, Iran and world powers have reached a framework agreement on curbing Iran’s nuclear program for at least a decade. In return, the United States and Europe plan to lift economic sanctions on Iran. As part of the deal, Iran must reduce the number of its centrifuges that can be used to enrich uranium into a bomb by more than two-thirds. Iran also has to redesign a power plant so it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium, eliminate much of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and be subject to regular international nuclear inspections. While U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the deal would contribute to peace and stability in the region, praise for the deal was not universal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the agreement as a "threat to Israel’s existence." We speak to Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former nuclear negotiator for Iran. He served as Iran’s ambassador to Germany from 1990 to 1997. He joins us from Princeton, New Jersey, where he is an associate research scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Last year, he published the book, "Iran and the United States: An Insider’s View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace."
After a national outcry, both Indiana and Arkansas have passed fixes to their so-called religious freedom laws that threatened to sanction anti-LGBT discrimination. Both measures were signed into law Thursday by the states’ governors. The revisions to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act provide new protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, tenants and customers, lawmakers. The fixes do not apply to churches or schools. The new Arkansas bill is crafted to make the state’s religious freedom law more closely mirror a federal law that had been signed by former President Bill Clinton. Critics note the fixes to the anti-LGBT laws will not expandLGBT rights. We speak to George Takei, legendary actor and gay rights activist. Last week, he called for a boycott of Indiana to condemn its anti-LGBT law saying he wanted to "not only send a clear message to Indiana, but also to help stop the further erosion of our core civil values in other parts of this country."
Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock in the Star Trek television series and movies, died in February at the age of 83. We speak to his Star Trek co-star, George Takei, who said, "Leonard played an alien, but he was the most human individual I ever met."
In Kenya, officials say at least 147 people, mostly students, were killed when al-Shabab militants stormed a university in Garissa, making it the worst attack on Kenyan soil since the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy. Al-Shabab militants reportedly went through the university dorms, separating Muslims from Christians, and killing the Christians. The Kenyan government said at least 79 people were wounded in the assault. The siege lasted about 15 hours before security forces killed four militants. Al-Shabab has carried out a series of attacks inside Kenya following Kenya’s 2011 invasion of Somalia. We speak to Leslie Lefkow, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division.
Full episodes of Democracy Now! can be viewed at the link: https://www.freespeech.org/collection/democracy-now.
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