Iran nuclear deal commission to meet in Vienna

A handout picture released by Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization on December 23, 2019 shows the nuclear water reactor of Arak, south of capital Tehran. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran/AFP)
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Updated 24 February 2020

Iran nuclear deal commission to meet in Vienna

  • Meeting comes as the European parties try to find a way to persuade Iran to come back into line
  • Tehran would be prepared to move back toward the deal if Europe provides ‘meaningful’ economic benefits

BRUSSELS: The remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal will meet in Vienna on Wednesday, the EU’s diplomatic service announced, after Britain, France and Germany launched a dispute process over Iran’s successive pullbacks.
The office of EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell — who is tasked with convening the commission under the dispute mechanism — said the get-together would be chaired on his behalf by senior official Helga Schmid.
The meeting comes as the European parties try to find a way to persuade Iran to come back into line with the deal after Tehran made a series of steps away in protest at the US pulling out and reimposing sanctions.
The 2015 agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief has been slowly crumbling since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018, describing the accord signed by his predecessor Barack Obama as a bad deal.
The EU has led efforts to try to save the deal, arguing that it is vital for international security, but after repeated warnings over Iran’s moves, Germany, Britain and France triggered the dispute process on January 14.
In its last announcement, Tehran said it would no longer observe limits on the number of centrifuges used to enrich uranium. It was its fifth step away from the deal since Trump’s pullout.
Borrell has said he believes all the countries still in the deal — which also include Russia and China — are determined to save the accord.
Western diplomats recognize it is highly unlikely Iran will heed calls to come back into full compliance without substantial concessions in return — such as an end to US sanctions or Europe taking measures to offset their economic impact.
Instead they hope to use the dispute process, which can be strung out for quite some time, to convince Iran not to take any more moves away from the deal, giving space for back-channel diplomacy aimed at bringing Washington and Tehran back into alignment.
At a major international security conference in Munich earlier this month, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran would be prepared to move back toward the deal if Europe provides “meaningful” economic benefits.
Crucially, Iran has said it will continue to cooperate with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which carries out regular detailed inspections on the ground.
Europe has set up a special trading mechanism called Instex to try to enable legitimate humanitarian trade with Iran, but it has yet to complete any transactions and Tehran regards it as inadequate.
The renewed US sanctions have almost entirely isolated Iran from the international financial system, driven away oil buyers and plunged the country into a severe recession.


UAE examines thousands for COVID-19, opens new drive-through test facilities

Updated 31 min 56 sec ago

UAE examines thousands for COVID-19, opens new drive-through test facilities

  • The UAE has tested 40,000 people in the last two days for COVID-19
  • There have been a further 13 drive-through test facilities opened in the UAE

DUBAI: The UAE has tested more than 40,000 people for the coronavirus in the last two days, the Ministry of Health and Prevention confirmed on Sunday.

The continued increase in tests led to the detection of 331 new cases in the country, bringing the total number of people infected in the UAE to 2,990.

The number of fatalities has increased after the death of two people - both who had pre-existing health conditions - bringing the death toll to 14, the ministry added.

Meanwhile there have been more people recovering from COVID-19, the latest being 29 people making a full recovery, bring that total to 268.

The UAE continues to open drive-through testing facilities in the country.

The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, SEHA, opened 13 of the new faciltities.

“In collaboration with our strategic partners across the UAE, SEHA has equipped all drive-through centers with the most advanced testing systems, techniques and globally-accredited health care teams,” said Group Deputy Chief Executive Officer, SEHA, Rashid Al-Qubaisi.

He said that all centers were equipped with the latest in testing systems and medical devices.

“There are 630 of the most experienced and qualified medical professionals from SEHA’s network, staffing the centers,” he added.

The test at the drive-through facilities take five minutes.

There are seven drive-through testing centers have opened, so far, in Abu Dhabi, with three in Abu Dhabi City, Al Wathba and Al Bahia – they are open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., from Sunday to Thursday.

There are also two in Al Ain in the Asharj and Al Hili areas.

People can book an appointment through the SEHA hotline on 800 1717 or alternatively the SEHA smartphone app.

Both callers and users of the app be asked a series of questions to help evaluate their condition, and then given an appointment for a test.

Al-Qubaisi said priority will be given to people exhibiting symptoms of the virus, or those most vulnerable to the infection including pregnant women, the elderly, people with disabilities and those suffering from chronic illnesses.

The test costs $100.