Iran’s Khamenei says Biden has same demands as Trump on nuclear issue

Iran’s Khamenei says Biden has same demands as Trump on nuclear issue
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi and his cabinet members, in Tehran, Iran August 28, 2021. (Reuters)
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Updated 28 August 2021

Iran’s Khamenei says Biden has same demands as Trump on nuclear issue

Iran’s Khamenei says Biden has same demands as Trump on nuclear issue

TEHRAN:Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday accused US President Joe Biden of making the same demands as his predecessor Donald Trump in talks to revive a nuclear deal.
The multilateral deal that offers Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program was torpedoed by Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from it in 2018.
A last round of negotiations between Iran and the deal’s remaining parties to revive the 2015 accord concluded in June with no resumption in sight.
“America’s current administration is no different from the previous one, because what it demands from Iran on the nuclear issue is different in words, but the same thing that Trump demanded,” Khamenei said, quoted by his official website.
“The Americans truly have no shame on the nuclear issue, and even though they withdrew from the JCPOA... they now talk in a way and make demands as it was (Iran) that withdrew,” he added, referring to the deal by its official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Khamenei made the remarks during a meeting with President Ebrahim Raisi’s newly formed cabinet.
A year after Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal and impose sanctions on Iran, the Islamic republic retaliated by gradually waiving most of the key nuclear commitments that it had accepted under the agreement.
Six rounds of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers — with the United States taking part indirectly — were held in Vienna between April and June.
The last round concluded on June 20, with no date set for another.
In his speech, Khamenei also called on Raisi to “repair” the public’s damaged trust in government.
“It’s a great asset for a government to be able to attract the people’s trust, which has unfortunately been slightly damaged. You must repair this.”
He said the way to do it is “officials’ words and actions becoming one” and realizing promises made.
Iran has in recent years been hit by several protests over the economy and living conditions made worse by punishing US sanctions.
The latest was protests over water shortages that erupted in July in southwest Iran, where, according to Iranian media, at least four people were killed.
Human rights groups outside of Iran have previously accused the Islamic republic of using force against protesters.
Iran has denied the charges and blamed violence at protests on “opportunists” and “rioters” linked to its enemies.
 


El-Sisi on Renaissance Dam: We are committed to preserving our water security

El-Sisi on Renaissance Dam: We are committed to preserving our water security
Updated 14 sec ago

El-Sisi on Renaissance Dam: We are committed to preserving our water security

El-Sisi on Renaissance Dam: We are committed to preserving our water security
  • Speaking after a meeting with Spanish prime minister, the Egyptian president stressed the importance a just agreement between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on use of the dam
  • He also warned against any unilateral action that result in a fait accompli that ignores the rights of peoples in countries downstream of the dam

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Thursday reiterated Egypt’s determination to guarantee and maintain its water security, now and in the future, in light of concerns about the new Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia.

Speaking in Cairo after a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, he stressed the importance of reaching a comprehensive, just and legally binding agreement between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the rules for filling and operating the dam, which is on the Blue Nile River. He also highlighted the important role of the international community in pushing for this and working to support an effective negotiation process to achieve it.

El-Sisi also warned against any unilateral actions that result in a fait accompli that ignores the rights of the countries’ peoples, and Egypt’s vision to make the Nile River a source of cooperation and development as a lifeline for all the people of the Nile Basin countries.

Regarding the other issues discussed by the two leaders, El-Sisi said: “I had fruitful and constructive discussions with the Spanish prime minister which clearly reflected our common political will to strengthen cooperation frameworks between Egypt and Spain in various fields, allowing optimal use of our capabilities to serve the interests of both countries.

“I also exchanged views with the Spanish prime minister regarding developments in our region in general, and with regard to the overall strategic situation in the Mediterranean Basin and our common regional neighborhood."

According to the official spokesman for the Egyptian presidency, Sanchez stressed that Egyptian-European cooperation reflects common interests and enhances the distinguished relationship between the two sides, especially in light of the fact that Egypt hosts millions of refugees, and its efforts to control its coasts which have resulted in no cases of illegal immigration since 2016.

Ethiopia’s decision to proceed with the second phase of the filling of the Renaissance Dam this year before reaching a binding agreement with downstream countries Sudan and Egypt has been the most prominent challenge during the decade-long negotiation process between the three countries about the dam. The talks have been officially suspended since April after they failed to reach an understanding prior to the start of phase two. Egypt and Sudan reject Ethiopia’s decision to proceed before reaching a binding agreement on filling the dam and its operation.


Christmas cheer at Gaza Catholic school as war damage repairs go on

Christmas cheer at Gaza Catholic school as war damage repairs go on
Updated 1 min 59 sec ago

Christmas cheer at Gaza Catholic school as war damage repairs go on

Christmas cheer at Gaza Catholic school as war damage repairs go on
  • Holiday decorations are going up even as repairs to the facility continue after last May's 11-day Gaza war
  • "War won't stop us," said Sister Nabila, who joined colleagues and students in decorating a Christmas tree

GAZA: Seven months ago, Sister Nabila and two other nuns huddled in a Gaza Catholic school compound, shaken by the sound of explosions from Israel’s bombing of what it said were Palestinian militant targets nearby.
Now she is looking forward to some Christmas cheer in the Rosary Sisters’ school, where she serves as principal. Holiday decorations are going up even as repairs to the facility continue after last May’s 11-day Gaza war.
The explosions outside the school perimeter were still powerful enough to cause the structure to lean 8 centimeters (3 inches), Sister Nabila said. Engineers saved it from demolition and began fixing damaged classrooms.
No students were in the kindergarten-grade 12 school during the night-time attack on what Israel described as tunnels in the neighborhood used by militants who fired rockets at its towns.
“War won’t stop us,” said Sister Nabila, who joined colleagues and students in decorating a Christmas tree. “We are determined to have a Christmas atmosphere inside the school because this symbolizes continuity.”
With fewer than 1,000 Christians in Gaza, where two million people live, 95 percent of the 1,150 students are Muslim. Mainly Greek Orthodox, Gaza’s Christians celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7.
Sister Nabila said she was still “overcome with fear and horror” when she recalled the night of the bombing. She and two other nuns live in the school compound.
“I thought the entire school had collapsed,” she said. “I hope there will be no more wars because Gaza had enough — our children shouldn’t live through any more wars because they leave bad memories.”
Palestinian authorities said Israeli strikes on Gaza killed 250 people, while Israeli officials put the death toll in Israel from Gaza rocket salvoes at 13. The Hamas group, which has fought four wars with Israel since 2008, runs Gaza.


Bus attack kills 10 oil workers in east Syria: state media

Bus attack kills 10 oil workers in east Syria: state media
Updated 02 December 2021

Bus attack kills 10 oil workers in east Syria: state media

Bus attack kills 10 oil workers in east Syria: state media
  • “Ten workers at the Al-Kharata oil field were martyred and another was wounded in a terrorist attack on a bus transporting them back from work,” the official SANA news agency said
  • Daesh group has regularly claimed operations in the oil-rich province

DAMSCUS: At least 10 oil field workers were killed Thursday in an attack on their bus in eastern Syria’s Deir Ezzor province, state media reported.

“Ten workers at the Al-Kharata oil field were martyred and another was wounded in a terrorist attack on a bus transporting them back from work,” the official SANA news agency said, without elaborating.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible.

But Daesh group has regularly claimed operations in the oil-rich province that was once a part of its sprawling proto-state straddling Syria and Iraq.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an explosive device was used in the bus attack in an area of Deir Ezzor where “Daesh sleeper cells are active.”

Al-Kharata oil field lies 20 kilometers (12 miles) southwest of Deir Ezzor city, said the Observatory.

Regime forces recaptured it in 2017 after Daesh militants were expelled from the area, the Observatory said.

The Daesh group’s self-proclaimed caliphate was declared defeated in Syria in the riverside hamlet of Baghouz in March 2019 following a gruelling US-backed offensive.

But the group still attacks government forces from hideouts in the vast Syrian desert, which stretches all the way from the Damascus outskirts to the Iraqi border.

Last month, Daesh killed at least 13 pro-regime militia fighters in an ambush in Deir Ezzor province, according to the Observatory.

Another five Syrian soldiers were killed in an explosion in Deir Ezzor that same week, state media reported.

The government’s ally Russia has carried out heavy air raids on Daesh positions in the desert over the past two days, the Observatory said.


Japan’s foreign minister urges Iran to cooperate with IAEA

Japan’s foreign minister urges Iran to cooperate with IAEA
Updated 02 December 2021

Japan’s foreign minister urges Iran to cooperate with IAEA

Japan’s foreign minister urges Iran to cooperate with IAEA

TOKYO: Japan’s Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa on Thursday urged Iran to make serious efforts towards the immediate return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and to cooperate fully and immediately with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In a telephone conversation with Dr. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Foreign Minister of Iran, Minister Hayashi also expressed his intention to cooperate with Minister Amir Abdollahian “to further strengthen and expand the historically friendly relationship between Japan and Iran in a wide range of fields.”

In response, Minister Amir Abdollahian expressed Iran’s intention to further deepen the long-established relationship between Japan and Iran, according to the foreign ministry in Tokyo.

The ministers exchanged candid views on the JCPOA in light of the talks among relevant parties that are taking place in Vienna.

In the talks, Minister Amir Abdollahian explained Iran’s stance on the nuclear issue, and both sides agreed to continue close communication on this matter.

Both ministers exchanged views on regional issues including the situation in Afghanistan, and confirmed that Japan and Iran will continue to cooperate towards the realization of peace and stability in Afghanistan, Japan’s foreign ministry said.

This story originally appeared on Arab News Japan


Iran gives drafts on sanctions, issues to European nuclear deal parties

Iran gives drafts on sanctions, issues to European nuclear deal parties
Updated 02 December 2021

Iran gives drafts on sanctions, issues to European nuclear deal parties

Iran gives drafts on sanctions, issues to European nuclear deal parties
  • A European diplomat confirmed draft documents had been handed over

VIENNA: Iran has provided European powers involved in its tattered nuclear deal with drafts on sanctions removal and nuclear commitments, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator said on Thursday, as world powers and Tehran try to reinstate the pact.

The announcement came on the fourth day of indirect talks between Iran and the United States on bringing both fully back into the deal. The talks resumed after a five-month hiatus prompted by the election in June of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, an anti-Western hard-liner.

“We have delivered two proposed drafts to them ... Of course they need to check the texts that we have provided to them. If they are ready to continue the talks, we are in Vienna to continue the talks,” Ali Bagheri Kani told reporters.

A European diplomat in Vienna confirmed draft documents had been handed over.

Under the pact, Tehran limited its uranium enrichment program, a potential pathway to nuclear weapons though Iran says it seeks only civilian atomic energy, in exchange for relief from US, European Union and UN economic sanctions.

But in 2018, then-US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal, calling it too soft on Iran, and reimposed harsh US sanctions, spurring Tehran to breach nuclear limits in the pact.

Estimating that 70-80 percent of a draft agreement was completed when Iran and world powers last met in June, a senior European diplomat said on Tuesday that it remained unclear if Tehran would resume talks where they left off.

While Bagheri Kani had said everything negotiated during six rounds of talks between April and June was open for discussion, a member of Iran’s delegation said “elements in the previous unapproved draft that were in conflict with the nuclear deal were revised and gaps were filled” in Iran’s submitted drafts.

Israel, which opposed the original 2015 pact as too limited in scope and duration, urged world powers on Thursday to halt the talks immediately. It cited a UN nuclear watchdog report that Tehran has begun enriching uranium with more advanced centrifuges in its Fordow plant dug into a mountain, where any enrichment had been banned under the deal.

Iran had started the process of refining uranium to up to 20 percent purity with one cascade, or cluster, of 166 advanced IR-6 machines at Fordow.