World and Nation

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‘No guarantee’ of nuclear deal with Iran says European Union

TEHRAN, Iran — The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said Sunday that there was “no guarantee” that Iran and world powers would be able to reach a final, comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

Ashton, who talked with Iranian leaders in Tehran, represents the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States), plus Germany, known as the P5-plus-1 group, which reached a six-month, renewable interim agreement with Iran in November to limit its nuclear program, a breakthrough after more than a decade of talks.

The temporary agreement obliged Iran to stop enriching uranium to high levels and to reduce its stockpile of near-weapons-grade uranium in return for the lifting of some economic sanctions, including access to $4.2 billion in Iranian cash frozen in foreign banks.

But on Sunday, Ashton tried to temper optimism about a final deal.

“This interim agreement is really important but not as important as a comprehensive agreement,” Ashton said at a joint news conference with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. Because of the “difficult” and “challenging” nature of the process, however, “there is no guarantee that we will succeed,” she added.

Zarif, who has faced pressure from Iranian hard-liners who accuse him of selling out the country’s nuclear program, emphasized that his negotiators would agree only to a deal that respected Iran’s “rights,” a reference to the nation’s ability to enrich uranium independently on its own soil.

—Thomas Erdbrink, The New York Times

Apple updates iOS 7 for iPhone and iPa

Apple on Monday released its first major update for iOS 7, its latest operating system for iPhones and iPads. The upgrade improves reliability of the fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5S and makes adjustments to Siri, among many other changes.

A few months after Apple released the iPhone 5S, some users complained that the phone’s signature feature, TouchID, occasionally failed to read a person’s fingerprint when unlocking the phone. Apple said that iOS 7.1 would improve the accuracy of TouchID.

Many users had also reported that with iOS 7, apps frequently crashed, causing the phone to restart sporadically. The latest software update will address this issue as well, according to the company.

Apple also made a major change in the way that Siri, voice assistant, works. Previously, a user would hold down the iPhone’s home button for a few seconds, let go, talk, and then wait for it to react. Now, a user can simply hold down the home button and start dictating the command, and Siri will react.

Apple also added new languages for Siri, including Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, British English and Australian English.

The company modified its camera software for the iPhone 5S. The camera will detect when a feature called High-Dynamic Range (HDR) will improve the look of a photo and automatically enable that feature so that the user does not have to bother switching it on before snapping the picture. (HDR mode is typically useful in situations with high contrast between a subject and the background — for instance, when shooting a photo of a person who is standing in front of bright light.)

The most surprising thing about iOS 7.1 is not the new features, but how long it took Apple to fix the nagging problem of devices randomly restarting. Jan Dawson, an independent telecom analyst for Jackdaw Research, said the challenge for Apple was probably that it had to test the new software and get the CarPlay announcement out of the way before releasing it.

“It’s frustrating for users, but the last thing Apple wants to do is introduce new bugs and problems when it’s trying to fix other ones,” he said.

—Brian X. Chen, The New York Times