Photo of the Day: Bottled Water and Pizza in Vienna

Posted: 4:35 pm EDT
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Via state.gov:

Secretary Kerry sits with State Department Chief of Staff Finer in Austria While Conducting Negotiations on Implementation of Plan Controlling Iran's Nuclear Program U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sits with State Department Chief of Staff Jon Finer at the Palais Coburg Hotel in Vienna, Austria, on January 16, 2015, as they conduct final negotiations before the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action outlining the shape of Iran's nuclear program.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sits with State Department Chief of Staff Jon Finer at the Palais Coburg Hotel in Vienna, Austria, on January 16, 2015, as they conduct final negotiations before the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action outlining the shape of Iran’s nuclear program.

 

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Americans in Iran Prisoner Swap Arrived in Germany

Posted: 2:20 am EDT
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According to media report, Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, Marine veteran Amir Hekmati and Christian pastor Saeed Abedini arrived in Germany Sunday and will meet with their families soon.  The three arrived on a flight at Ramstein Air Base via Geneva and were scheduled to undergo medical checkups at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, a U.S. military hospital in Germany.

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US Embassy Baghdad: “Several” Americans Missing in Iraq

Posted: 2:15 am EDT
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CNN is reporting that three American contractors went missing in Iraq two days ago, citing an unnamed senior security official in Baghdad.

“A company filed a report Sunday about three of its staff going missing two days ago. They are American contractors. We are looking into this report,” the official told CNN. Separately, an Iraqi security official with knowledge of the case said that two of three missing contractors are dual Iraqi-American citizens, and that the third is an American national.

“We are working in full cooperation with Iraqi authorities to locate the missing Americans,” said U.S. Embassy spokesman Scott Bolz according to the AP.

Although some media outlets are reporting that three are missing, the U.S. Embassy has confirmed to the AP on Sunday that “several” Americans have gone missing in Iraq, after local media reported that three Americans had been kidnapped in the Iraqi capital.

The latest Travel Warning for Iraq dated December 4, 2015 notes:

The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. government personnel in Iraq to be serious enough to require them to live and work under strict security guidelines.  All U.S. government employees under the authority of the U.S. Chief of Mission must follow strict safety and security procedures when traveling outside the Embassy and Consulates.

It is not clear if the missing are American contractors working for NGOs operating in Iraq or if they are USG contractors. We also have yet to see reporting on the circumstances of their disappearance.

 

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