Iran has not ruled out talks to end nuclear dispute

Abbas Mousavi spoke at a televised weekly news conference. (File/AFP)
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Updated 20 January 2020

Iran has not ruled out talks to end nuclear dispute

  • Iran has gradually stepped back from its obligations to the 2015 deal
  • US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal earlier

DUBAI: Iran said on Monday that it had not closed the “door to negotiations” in efforts to resolve a dispute over its nuclear agreement with world powers that has escalated steadily since the United States withdrew from the deal in 2018.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said any further move by Tehran to scale back its commitments to the deal would depend on actions by other parties, after European states triggered a mechanism that could lead to the reimposition of UN sanctions.
Iran has gradually stepped back from its obligations to the 2015 deal, under which Tehran secured sanctions relief in return for limiting its nuclear work, after Washington quit the agreement and then imposed stringent U.S. sanctions.
Britain, France and Germany, also signatories to the pact, triggered a dispute mechanism this month, citing Iranian violations. This starts a diplomatic process that could lead to U.N. sanctions being reimposed.
“Tehran still remains in the deal ... The European powers’ claims about Iran violating the deal are unfounded,” Mousavi told a weekly news conference in Tehran, saying that the “door to negotiations” had not been closed.
“Whether Iran will further decrease its nuclear commitments will depend on other parties and whether Iran’s interests are secured under the deal,” Mousavi said.
US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and began a policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran, saying he wanted a new deal that would cover nuclear issues, Iran’s ballistic missile programme and Iranian activities in the Middle East.
Britain has said a “Trump deal” could replace the 2015 agreement and France has called for broad talks to end a crisis with the United States, which briefly erupted into tit-for-tat U.S.-Iranian military action this month.
Mousavi repeated Iran’s rejection of a “Trump deal.” Iranian officials have said Trump could not be trusted, so such deal would not have any value.


Egypt sets virus vaccine target

Updated 22 min 48 sec ago

Egypt sets virus vaccine target

  • Volunteers will be closely monitored in order to take a second dose after 21 days

CAIRO: Assistant Health Minister and Coordinator of the Anti-COVID-19 Scientific Committee Ihab Kamal said that 842 people have volunteered in just one week to take part in Egypt’s coronavirus vaccine trials.

About 332 have been admitted in accordance with the health ministry’s requirements, which include being free from chronic disease.

Kamal said: “The number of volunteers until now is not low. We are working on raising the awareness of the citizens through various media platforms on the importance of the vaccine tests.” He added that the required number of volunteers is 6000.

He said the first two phases of the vaccine tests are complete and the third phase has begun. He added that volunteers are called for 21 days, pointing out that volunteers take a second dose in case they do not suffer any side effects. Kamal said the blood’s antibodies are measured throughout the year as part of the program.

Egyptian Minister of Health Hala Zayed announced on Thursday that she had launched the third and final phase of clinical trials on two vaccines developed by Egypt. She said the results of the two vaccine trials are positive so far.

Sources said that the Ministry of Health and the three centers taking part in the trials have received many applications. However, many of the applicants do not match the prerequisites, and therefore only 335 were accepted for the trials.

Zayed said in a press conference in Cairo that the current phase targets the participation of 6000 Egyptians. She said there are three places allocated for clinical trials.

Volunteers will be closely monitored in order to take a second dose after 21 days. After 45 days of the first dose, antibodies produced by the vaccine are measured to test their efficiency, Zayed said.

She said that national medical committees have been formed from civil and military bodies representing Egypt’s best medical experts.

She added that a committee will oversee conducting the clinical trials and that two vaccines out of seven have reached the third phase of clinical trials.

Zayed said that the first phase of the two vaccines included a test on a small group of 10 to 20 people with the aim of ensuring safety and also determining an appropriate dose. About 200 people took part in the second phase.

The third phase aimed included trials on 45,000 people from around the world, including 6,000 Egyptians.

The Ministry of Health and the company responsible for conducting the clinical trials explained the conditions that volunteers must follow to be eligible for tests.

They include an age bracket from 18 to 60 years old according to health condition. Registration must also be carried out using official documents. Volunteers must reside in Egypt or have valid residency documents during the trial period. Moreover, volunteers must sign an “informed consent” form prior to taking part in the trial.

There are a number of health conditions that prevent volunteers from taking part in the trials, including suffering from the symptoms of fever, dry cough, exhaustion and gonorrhea during the 14 days that precede the tests.