By Jacob Solis
U.S. levies new sanctions after Iran reaches landmark in nuclear deal
The Obama administration enacted new sanctions against 11 Iranian companies and individuals Sunday, just as many old U.S. sanctions on the country were lifted after it completed the first steps in implementing last summer’s landmark nuclear deal.
Iran, whose nuclear disarmament program is being monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, has removed two-thirds of its centrifuges and shipped 25,000 pounds of uranium out of the country since October, according to the White House. President Barack Obama has hailed Iran’s cooperation as a victory for diplomacy.
Other events in the past few days, including the quick return of 10 U.S. sailors who strayed into Iranian waters and the release of five Americans from an Iranian prison, have backed up Obama’s assertions and signaled a historic thaw in relations between the two countries. Under the leadership of political hardliners, Iran has remained a staunch opponent to American foreign policy in the Middle East since its revolution in 1979.
However, despite its progress, Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism and a violator of human rights, so more progress on the diplomatic front is likely to be gradual, evidenced at least in part by these new sanctions.
State of emergency declared in Flint, Michigan, as water crisis continues
Flint, Michigan, will see federal money to help solve an increasingly serious water crisis after President Obama signed an emergency declaration on Saturday, according to The Associated Press.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide the city with water and filters for 90 days while Flint itself will receive up to $5 million in emergency funds. The move comes after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder requested the emergency funds last Thursday, saying that the necessary relief was outside the State of Michigan’s abilities.
The crisis itself, however, began in October when officials in Flint discovered increased lead levels in the city’s water supply, which had been temporarily drawn from the Flint River. The river water was more acidic than the city’s previous supply from Detroit and started to corrode old pipes in home and schools, releasing the lead into the system.
New school choice law on hold after injunction
State savings accounts that Nevada parents could use to pay for private school for their children are stuck on hold after a state court granted an injunction to opponents of the law, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The judge, District Judge James Wilson, said that the new law is likely unconstitutional and granted the injunction after the plaintiffs in the case were able to “[demonstrate] reasonable probability they would prevail at trial.”
The law itself, Senate Bill 302, could theoretically violate the state constitution because it uses some state money set aside for public schools in order to pay private school tuition. With the injunction, however, more than 4,000 parents have been left in administrative limbo as they await further action from the Nevada Supreme Court.
Jacob Solis can be reached at jsolis@ sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.