Iran's President Dismisses US Congressional Involvement in Nuclear Deal
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran is in talks to reach a final nuclear agreement with six world powers, not with U.S. lawmakers.
Mr. Rouhani's remarks on Wednesday were an apparent reaction to developments Tuesday in Washington, where President Barack Obama pledged to sign a bill that would subject the agreement to U.S. congressional review.
In a speech to thousands of Iranians in the northern city of Rasht, Mr. Rouhani also reiterated his stance that Tehran will not sign a final nuclear deal unless all sanctions are simultaneously lifted.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a measure Tuesday after a bipartisan compromise that calls for a 30-day review period and for the president to certify every 90 days that Iran is living up to the deal curbing its nuclear activity. Sanctions levied by Congress would be immediately re-imposed in case of a violation.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he is confident about reaching a final agreement with Iran, after Mr. Obama agreed to sign the congressional measure.
Kerry spoke before a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers in Germany that was expected to include discussion on the negotiations, which yielded a framework deal earlier this month.
China Economic Growth Hits Six-Year Low
China's economy grew at its slowest pace in six years last quarter, according to data released Wednesday, raising fresh concerns over the condition of the world's second largest economy.
Growth declined to 7 percent in the first quarter of 2015, down from 7.3 percent in the previous quarter. That is the slowest quarterly growth rate since early 2009 during the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
China's ruling Communist Party has set a modest target of 7 percent growth for 2015. While that rate of expansion would be among the fastest of any major economy, it would be China's slowest pace in a quarter of a century.
Reacting to the figures, a spokesman for China's National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday that Beijing expected the slowdown. He said the government attributes this to "sluggish global economic recovery" and "ongoing structural reforms."