British defense minister calls on Iran to return to commitments of nuclear agreement

British defense minister calls on Iran to return to commitments of nuclear agreement
UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace comments came after the head of the UN atomic watchdog agency confirmed reports that Iran has begun operating centrifuges installed at an underground site. (File/AFP)
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Updated 19 November 2020

British defense minister calls on Iran to return to commitments of nuclear agreement

British defense minister calls on Iran to return to commitments of nuclear agreement
  • Iran is already far past the deal’s limits on enriched uranium
  • Last week Donald Trump considered but rejected a military strike 

Britain’s defence minister urged Iran on Thursday to return to commitments of nuclear agreement and for the United States to support the deal.

UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace comments came after the head of the UN atomic watchdog agency confirmed on Wednesday reports that Iran has begun operating centrifuges installed at an underground site.

Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters in Vienna that the 174 centrifuges had been moved into a new area of the Natanz nuclear site and had recently begun operating.
He said that operation of centrifuges of that type was in violation of the nuclear deal Iran had signed with world powers in 2015 — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — but would not lead to a greater overall output of enriched uranium.
Iran is already far past the deal’s limits on enriched uranium, he noted.
“It is already beyond the limits of the JCPOA but in general terms there is no significant increase in the volumes,” Grossi said.

Last week Donald Trump considered but rejected a military strike on Natanz, Iran’s main uranium-enrichment site. Advisers warned him that military action could spark a broader conflict, US media reported. 

(With Agencies) 


Pygmies, soldier killed in clashes over DR Congo park

Updated 02 December 2020

Pygmies, soldier killed in clashes over DR Congo park

Pygmies, soldier killed in clashes over DR Congo park
  • In 2018, Pygmies began to move onto land inside the perimeter of Kahuzi-Biega National Park and started to cut down trees, mainly to make charcoal
  • According to park authorities, Pygmies have destroyed vast acres of woodland — an act of deforestation that gnaws away at the habitat of endangered gorillas

BUKAVU, DR Congo: Three Pygmies and a soldier were killed in clashes near DR Congo’s Kahuzi-Biega National Park, military sources and local officials said Wednesday, as calls grow for protection of the country’s indigenous peoples.
The national park, which celebrated its 50th anniversary on Monday, is a haven for critically endangered gorillas but faces an emerging threat from a conflict between rangers and local Pygmies, who claim they were robbed of ancestral lands when the park was extended in the 1970s.
The central African country’s parliament is currently considering a law to guarantee the rights of Pygmies.
Clashes erupted on Monday in the nearby village of Kabamba in South Kivu province, military sources and the territory’s administrator Thadee Miderho said Wednesday.
In addition to the four killed, others were wounded, they said.
The Pygmies wanted to retrieve bags of charcoal seized by the military, according to Miderho.
In 2018, Pygmies began to move onto land inside the park’s perimeter and started to cut down trees, mainly to make charcoal.
According to park authorities, Pygmies have destroyed vast acres of woodland — an act of deforestation that gnaws away at the gorillas’ habitat.
Their return led to open conflict between Pygmies and rangers in which people on both sides have been killed.
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park celebrated 50 years of existence on Monday, priding itself as “a sanctuary and refuge” of eastern lowland gorillas.
Meanwhile a civil society group in the territory of Kabare wrote an open letter to UNESCO asking for it to help “save” the Pygmies.
“Fifty years later, the existence of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park = 50 years of suffering of our Pygmies brothers and sisters,” the group wrote.
In the capital Kinshasa, the National Assembly passed a bill on November 26 for the “protection and promotion of the rights of the indigenous Pygmy peoples,” which will now be considered by the Senate.
“In the Democratic Republic of Congo, unlike other indigenous ethnic groups, the Pygmies have not always received special attention as an indigenous group,” parliament acknowledged in a memorandum.
The proposed law guarantees the recognition of the culture of the Pygmies, easy access to justice and social services, and “full access to the land.”