LEILA FADEL, HOST:
The federal govt is shut now for the latest federal vacation – Juneteenth.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Bang. This transpired so rapidly. The president signed the invoice just yesterday, and nowadays, below we are observing the holiday, which marks June 19, 1865. That’s the day when enslaved men and women in Texas identified out they were being free of charge extra than two decades just after President Lincoln experienced signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Vice President Harris was there as President Biden signed the Juneteenth Nationwide Independence Working day Act.
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VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS: Throughout history, Juneteenth has been identified by many names – Jubilee Day, Liberty Day, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day and, now, a nationwide holiday.
INSKEEP: The passage of that national vacation was a single of a pair of bipartisan times in Congress this week.
FADEL: NPR congressional reporter Claudia Grisales is next this. Hey, Claudia.
CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Hey, Leila.
FADEL: So let’s chat about the importance of the authorities recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
GRISALES: This marks the 1st new federal holiday break in virtually four decades. And it came jointly instead immediately this week after yrs of tries by a team of bipartisan lawmakers, such as many from Texas where this working day specifically has major which means. That consists of Houston place Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Texas Senator John Cornyn. Now, the real working day, of system, falls on Saturday, but the federal govt rapidly adjusted to enable the getaway to be recognized by its employees nowadays. And whilst this brief-shifting motion been given a great deal of praise, we need to take note that a lot of lawmakers and activists say this is a symbolic transfer that should not eclipse initiatives to consider on extra challenging worries, these as voting and law enforcement reform.
FADEL: Now, this was not the only history-producing celebration for Congress this 7 days, correct? The Property also moved to repeal a nearly two-decade-outdated evaluate giving the president very expansive war powers.
GRISALES: Ideal. The House accredited a bipartisan evaluate to repeal one of two war ability initiatives handed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. In this case, this was the 2002 Authorization of Use of Navy Force in Iraq. California Democrat Barbara Lee authored this monthly bill, and I talked to her forward of the vote. Let us take a hear.
BARBARA LEE: Authorizations are unable to be blank checks that remain as authorizations for any administration to use the way they see healthy. It is really Congress’ duty and responsibilities.
GRISALES: Practically 20 a long time in the past, Lee was the lone member of Congress to vote from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She opposed these independent extensive-ranging presidential authorities to invade these international locations and buy military motion for terrorist groups all around the planet considering the fact that. Now, some like Lee and other individuals say this new momentum is the initial action to dismantling both these war powers maybe as early as this calendar year and Congress having back again this authority.
FADEL: So the to start with phase. What are the next ways for that repeal effort?
GRISALES: Lee has some essential allies to at minimum repeal this 2002 war electricity. Both equally Senate Bulk Leader Chuck Schumer and President Biden are on board. But there are even now concerns. Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell warned Congress initial requirements to debate how the U.S. will fight terrorism before repealing these war powers that are in area. Let us consider a pay attention.
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MITCH MCCONNELL: Truth is extra challenging, additional dangerous and fewer politically easy than its supporters really believe that.
GRISALES: So this also ties into a greater debate about the 2001 war electrical power, which was issued forward of the invasion of Afghanistan and is a key justification for buying military motion from terrorists. And Biden and lots of other folks have signaled that that can not be repealed without the need of a replacement. So that signifies a a great deal larger struggle in advance.
FADEL: NPR’s Claudia Grisales. Thanks.
GRISALES: Thanks much.
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FADEL: It is really been approximately 20 several years because the commence of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. And within weeks, the final U.S. troops on the ground could depart. But what occurs to the 1000’s of Afghans who risked their lives operating for the U.S. as interpreters, drivers, advisers, cooks? If the Taliban retakes the nation, numerous experience they are marked for demise. We’re withholding this man’s identify for his safety.
Unidentified Individual: Every single day, now you can see an enhance in assaults. You can see an boost of the Taliban’s existence in important metropolitan areas. What am I going to do following September? You know, what is heading to come about in November? Am I likely to be even alive by by December?
FADEL: NPR has spoken with a number of Afghans trying to get visas to the United States. A exclusive application is supposed to welcome them, but numerous have been turned down or have been waiting for several years. Steve Inskeep has been reporting on this. So, Steve, inform us what men and women have been telling you.
INSKEEP: Stories of desperation. I imply, the guy we just read states he is been receiving threatening phone calls from persons who declare to be the Taliban stating, we know exactly where you dwell, we are coming for you. We talked with yet another person who works for a U.S. army protection contractor who’s also receiving threats alongside with a hand grenade connected to his doorway, which could’ve blown him up. And this man has been waiting for a U.S. visa for 3 years. He feels time is quick mainly because his brother-in-regulation worked for the very same defense contractor, and gunmen currently killed the brother-in-law though he was driving.
FADEL: Oh, that is terrifying. And you said a protection contractor. Did some of the Afghans serve the U.S. armed service in fight?
INSKEEP: Not all of them, Leila, but many of them did. We, for this story we were being doing work on, interviewed a Maritime veteran who explained to of his interpreter being with him as they acquired artillery and machine gunfire. And think about this – the Marine is battling together with Afghan models, so that interpreter’s function to get most people to talk is a issue of everyday living and death.
FADEL: A make any difference of daily life and dying. Is his interpreter receiving out?
INSKEEP: Not now. There is a law which lets Afghans who served the United States to apply for specific immigrant visas. But there is a substantial backlog. The system can acquire years. And you have to verify that you gave beneficial company to the United States. And, in this situation, the interpreter couldn’t doc that he experienced a fantastic history. We did talk with that Marine who labored with the interpreter, retired Key Weston Amaya. And a few weeks in the past, he claims he been given an email from his Afghan interpreter, which he go through for us.
WESTON AMAYA: (Studying) Expensive sir, as you are informed, the U.S. Army is withdrawing from Afghanistan, and the security is acquiring worse day by working day, and the Taliban is coming back again. They will focus on and kill me. So make sure you, sir, rescue me from the enemy. Please do a little something to help save me.
Since that email, I have tried to e mail him a handful of times. But as of previous week, I haven’t heard something from him. I never know if he is safe or not.
INSKEEP: Now, we ought to point out, Leila, that right after our interview, Amaya eventually heard from the interpreter, who’s been laying very low due to the fact of violence in his neighborhood. So he is alive but continue to trapped.
FADEL: That’s so tricky to hear a man begging to be saved when he risked his lifetime for the U.S. What retains the U.S. from having him and other former personnel out?
INSKEEP: Effectively, we spoke with the prime U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan, who suggests, listen, we truly feel a moral obligation to get people out, but the law has needs. Not every person qualifies. And even for persons who qualify, there can be a wait of several years. On leading of almost everything else, Leila, an outbreak of COVID at the U.S. embassy has stopped visa interviews right now, slowing down the method even far more. And there are a good deal of men and women in Afghanistan who sense that time is running out for them.
FADEL: Thanks for that, Steve.
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INSKEEP: Iranians are voting for a new president at a time when a lot of people in Iran say they’re worn out by a weak economic climate and a COVID outbreak. There are four candidates who could realize success President Hassan Rouhani. A person of them is a hardline former prosecutor now choose connected to executions. He is the entrance-runner.
FADEL: NPR’s Peter Kenyon is in Tehran and joins us now. Peter, excellent early morning.
PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Hi, Leila.
FADEL: So why never you 1st set the scene for us? Does it sense like Election Day?
KENYON: Properly, it feels like a muted model of an Iranian election working day. There are some quick traces outside some polling stations. State Tv set is demonstrating those each hour. But seriously it is really nothing compared with what I’ve observed in earlier elections. At one particular polling station, I occurred to obtain myself proper up coming to just one of the candidates, not Ebrahim Raisi, the hardline cleric who’s favored to earn, but Abdolnaser Hemmati. He is the former central bank governor. He was speedily surrounded by reporters, and he explained he hopes men and women do turn out to vote right now. This is a little bit of what he said.
ABDOLNASER HEMMATI: (Non-English language spoken).
KENYON: “It is really about what you’d be expecting on Election Working day,” he claimed. He really hopes persons do come out to vote. They require to exhibit they’re major simply because it is all about turnout at this issue. And officials, by the way, say we could have success as early as this weekend.
FADEL: So the present president is Hassan Rouhani. He was viewed as a pragmatist, the gentleman who led the country into the nuclear offer with planet powers hoping for sanctions relief. Inform us a little bit about the man Iranians assume to exchange this president.
KENYON: Ebrahim Raisi is recognized to Iranians. He ran four many years back, but voters chose to elect Rouhani to a next phrase in its place. He is a hardline cleric, longstanding credentials. At this time, he’s the head of Iran’s judiciary. He was criticized for his part in buying mass executions of dissident prisoners in the late 1980s. Continue to, he is a person of just a few candidates out of hundreds who experimented with to run, and he is obviously the chosen candidate of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who voted, by the way, early right now and urged Iranians to arrive out and enhance the turnout considerably. A number of of Raisi’s rivals have now dropped out of the race. There had been some effort to get voters to rally at the rear of Hemmati, but it would unquestionably be a surprise if he managed to get additional votes than Raisi.
FADEL: So what would this signify for U.S.-Iran relations and items like the 2015 nuclear agreement?
KENYON: Effectively, so much, analysts say a Raisi government is showing no sign of wanting to be in any rush to pull out of the nuclear offer. While numerous of his hardline supporters would want him to do that. He does have a window of prospect to have it the two strategies, if you will. Concerning now and August, there will be a political transition time period in Iran. So if negotiators do get to an settlement to restore the nuclear offer just before then, it truly is feasible Raisi could explain to his hardline voters, hey, it is really now a completed offer, it was Rouhani’s fault, not mine.
FADEL: NPR’s Peter Kenyon in Tehran. Thanks, Peter.
KENYON: Thank you.
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