Saudi Arabia calls on Iran to clarify outstanding IAEA safeguards issues

Saudi Arabia attends a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors in Vienna. (Twitter/@aksa_alsaud)
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Saudi Arabia attends a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors in Vienna. (Twitter/@aksa_alsaud)
Saudi Arabia attends a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors in Vienna. (Twitter/@aksa_alsaud)
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Saudi Arabia attends a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors in Vienna. (Twitter/@aksa_alsaud)
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Updated 09 June 2022

Saudi Arabia calls on Iran to clarify outstanding IAEA safeguards issues

Saudi Arabia attends a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors in Vienna. (Twitter/@aksa_alsaud)
  • Tehran urged to cooperate fully with UN watchdog over nuclear material found at three undeclared sites

LONDON: Saudi Arabia called on Iran to cooperate fully with the UN’s nuclear watchdog in order to clarify and resolve outstanding safeguards issues without delay, Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Sultan, the Kingdom’s ambassador to Austria, expressed his country’s support for all efforts made by the International Atomic Energy Agency to maintain the safeguards system to limit nuclear proliferation.

Prince Abdullah, who is also the Saudi permanent representative to the IAEA in Vienna, was speaking during a meeting of the agency’s board of governors in the Austrian capital, where Tehran was censured for failing to provide information over nuclear material found at three undeclared sites.

He expressed his thanks to IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi for his report on the “Non-proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement with Iran,” and highlighted the need to inform member states of the developments related to Iran’s violations of the safeguards deal.

Prince Abdullah said that this is necessary as it shows the continued lack of transparency of the Iranian side regarding the IAEA’s claim related to the fourth Marivan site more than two years ago.

Prince Abdullah said it also showed Iran is continuing to provide discredited responses to the watchdog’s “sampling results at this site, which revealed the presence of multiple anthropogenic uranium particles and the possible for storage and use of nuclear materials on which external testing of conventional explosive systems were conducted.”

Iran failed to provide any evidence to the IAEA to explain the presence of isotope modified particles in the Torkozabad site or anthropogenic uranium particles at the Faramin site, he said.

Prince Abdullah referred to a draft resolution approved in the June 2020 session, in which the board of governors called on Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA, expedite the response to its requests, and provide the director-general with opportunities to resolve the issue.

He demanded that the document be published and made available to all.


Saudi Arabia accepts amendments in 2021 IMO Convention

Saudi Arabia accepts amendments in 2021 IMO Convention
Updated 15 sec ago

Saudi Arabia accepts amendments in 2021 IMO Convention

Saudi Arabia accepts amendments in 2021 IMO Convention

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has accepted the amendments in the 2021 International Maritime Organization Convention.

The amendments to receive the green light by the Kingdom were adopted at the 32nd session of the IMO assembly, and approved by the Council of Ministers.

As a result, the number of member states of the IMO Council will increase from 40 to 52, and the term of council membership will be extended from two to four years.

Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al-Yabis, representing the Kingdom, met Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the IMO, in London to ratify the agreement and discuss future plans, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Al-Yabis said that the step was an important one and emphasized the Kingdom’s enthusiasm to contribute to achieving the goals of the IMO in line with the objectives of the national strategy for transport and logistics services, and in a way that helped achieve the ambitions of Saudi Vision 2030.

She added that the efforts were indicative of Saudi initiatives in support of the maritime sector, which were consistent with international moves toward benefiting the global economy and helping the worldwide movement of trade.

Saudi Arabia is the 14th member state of the organization, and has ratified 40 international conventions and protocols of the IMO. It has been an active supporter of the IMO since joining in 1969.

The Kingdom is engaged with IMO initiatives concerning climate, international cooperation, and support structures for seafarers.

It has provided support for maritime employees by creating initiatives for education, woman empowerment, and safety.


Saudi Arabia investing in its own future space missions

Saudi Arabia investing in its own future space missions
Updated 18 min 40 sec ago

Saudi Arabia investing in its own future space missions

Saudi Arabia investing in its own future space missions
  • Only a matter of time, says Kingdom’s US embassy spokesperson
  • Current partnership with NASA, Axiom to continue

CHICAGO: The 10-day trip of two Saudi astronauts to the International Space Station this week is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan and the goal to launch the country’s own space missions, the nation’s US Embassy spokesman Fahad Nazer said Wednesday.

Nazer, during an interview on The Ray Hanania Radio Show, said Saudis were “very proud” of the achievements of Rayyanah Barnawi, the first female Saudi astronaut, and her colleague Ali Alqarni, who are part of a growing Saudi Space Commission.

Barnawi and Alqarni were following in the footsteps of Prince Sultan bin Salman, the first Arab and Muslim to travel to outer space as a member of the weeklong Space Shuttle Discovery mission which launched on June 17, 1985.

 

“The astronauts were actually able to conduct some experiments along with 12,000 students in Saudi Arabia. So, they had a livestream with them, a webchat, and they conducted basic experiments with the students. But obviously part of the mission, part of the purpose of space exploration is that we are trying to encourage young Saudi men and women students and to pique their interests in science and technology and mathematics and physics, and we are hoping that we achieved some of these goals in addition to the goals of the mission itself,” Nazer explained.

“The Kingdom does have its own Saudi Space Commission. It has a pretty rigorous program of research but also it has a program for selecting and training astronauts. So, we believe that space exploration is very much consistent with our investments in science, technology and innovations that is a part of our Vision 2030. For the foreseeable future we will continue to partner with NASA and Axiom and other organizations. But … it is ultimately a matter of time that we will launch our own space missions.”

Barnawi and Alqarni lifted off in the Axiom 2, or AX-2, from Houston’s Axiom Space Center on May 21 for the ISS, the second private mission to the orbiting outpost, and returned in the SpaceX Capsule, Crew Dragon spacecraft Freedom, splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico near Panama City, Florida, minutes before midnight Tuesday May 30. The first all-civilian space mission was in April 2022.

 

“As you know Saudi Arabia is undergoing a remarkable transformation known as Vision 2030. The vision is a package of economic and social reforms that has a number of objectives. One of them, or some of them include improving healthcare, improving (the) education system, the transportation system and also combatting climate change among many objectives.

“So (we have) a number of these objectives. We believe that the keys to achieving them is through investing in science, technology and innovation, and certainly our interests in space exploration is very consistent with these goals. In fact our interest in space exploration goes back decades. Back in 1985 His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman was the first Arab and first Muslim to go into space when he joined the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery,” Nazer told Arab News during the radio interview.

“More recently, obviously, we had two Saudi astronauts including the first woman ever, Rayyanah Barnawi, and her colleague Ali Alqarni, who went on this 10-day mission to the International Space Station … this was part of the Axiom Space Mission. They were in space for approximately 10 days.

“They conducted 14 different research experiments in different scientific fields including cloud seeding. Six other experiments, is my understanding, (were) focused on the brain and the nervous system and four others focused on the immune system. And like you said they just came back to Earth earlier this morning. They returned to Houston Airport. So, this was a great moment for our space program and a great moment for the Kingdom. We are proud of them.”

The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying Barnawi and Alqarni parachuted down into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida, after a 12-hour return flight and blazing reentry through Earth’s atmosphere.

Nazer said Saudis around the world were excited and proud of the two astronauts and what they accomplished during the mission.

 

“People back in the Kingdom were essentially able to see almost every move that the astronauts made from the launch to the return. The astronauts like I said, did a few webchats and livestreams with the Saudi students. Much of their experience was captured on camera,” Nazer said.

“They (the astronauts) shared everything, from what they ate to their (living) quarters including some of the experiments. So, in that sense I think it was certainly very different than when his royal highness went to space back in 1985. But this was a very proud moment for us. I think it was an indication of the commitment of our leadership to science and technology and innovation. And we are certainly hoping it will encourage a lot of young Saudi men and women to go into, whether it is space exploration or other scientific fields going forward.”

According to its website, Vision 2030 was launched under the leadership of King Salman, as “a roadmap” by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “to harness the strengths God bestowed upon us — our strategic position, investment power and place at the center of (the) Arab and Islamic worlds. The full attention of the Kingdom, and our leadership, is on harnessing our potential to achieve our ambitions.”

Nazer’s comments were made during an appearance on The Ray Hanania Radio Show broadcast Wednesday May 31 live in Detroit and Washington D.C. on the US Arab Radio Network and sponsored by Arab News. 

You can listen to the radio show’s podcast by visiting ArabNews.com/rayradioshow.


Famous kabsa-loving Japanese influencer to help boost Saudi tourism

Famous kabsa-loving Japanese influencer to help boost Saudi tourism
Updated 01 June 2023

Famous kabsa-loving Japanese influencer to help boost Saudi tourism

Famous kabsa-loving Japanese influencer to help boost Saudi tourism
  • Akira Takatoriya, aka Shams Qamar, appointed May 25
  • Part of ‘Date Palm Society’ promotion group in Japan

TOKYO: Japanese influencer Akira Takatoriya, also known as Shams Qamar, or Sun Moon, has been appointed by the Saudi Tourism Authority to promote the industry in the Kingdom.

“I got selected by the Japan office of the Saudi Arabian Government Tourism Office in Tokyo, as we established a tourism promotion group ‘Date Palm Society’ to provide information to encourage more Japanese people to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for sightseeing,” Takatoriya told Arab News recently, about his appointment on May 25.

He said: “It is a great honor to be selected as a member of one of the most famous Japanese guidebooks, the ‘Globe Trotter Travel Guide.’ The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is still largely unknown, but in recent years it has (developed and) hosted not only infrastructure facilities but also various large and small events.”

“I would like everyone to know more about this country (Saudi Arabia), which has many attractions such as the overwhelming wilderness centered in the desert, and the surprisingly unknown mountainous and forested areas in the south.”

The Saudi Tourism Authority is aiming to attract 30,000 Japanese tourists yearly. Takatoriya said: “I would be happy if a direct flight between Japan and Saudi Arabia could be established soon, and the number of visitors from both countries would increase.” 


Masam project clears 3,989 mines in May

Masam project clears 3,989 mines in May
Updated 01 June 2023

Masam project clears 3,989 mines in May

Masam project clears 3,989 mines in May
  • The project also dismantled 3,239 unexploded ordnance and 674 anti-tank mines

JEDDAH: The Masam project to clear land mines in Yemen cleared 3,989 mines, unexploded ordnance and explosive devices during May as part of its humanitarian mission.
The project also dismantled 3,239 unexploded ordnance and 674 anti-tank mines.
Since its launch by Saudi Arabia in June 2018, the project has cleared 400,070 mines, unexploded ordnance and explosive devices randomly planted by Houthi militias around Yemen.
Osama Al-Gosaibi, the project director, said that these numbers highlight the success of this humanitarian work in Yemen, with the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center also working to ensure a safe life for Yemenis.


Exhibition at Hayy Jameel explores questions of work and leisure

Exhibition at Hayy Jameel explores questions of work and leisure
Updated 01 June 2023

Exhibition at Hayy Jameel explores questions of work and leisure

Exhibition at Hayy Jameel explores questions of work and leisure
  • The exhibition featured a diverse array of artists from Saudi Arabia, Singapore, India, the UAE, the Philippines, Yemen, and Canada

JEDDAH: Hayy Jameel, Jeddah’s home for the arts, is playing host to the exhibition “Silent Hands,” which features unique creations and works of global artists in the attendance of the creative community, guests and representatives of various art schools in the city.

The exhibition, which opened on Tuesday, explores questions of work and leisure.

Boasting works by Pacita Abad, Hangama Amiri, Mohammed Kazem, Maha Malluh, Khairullah Rahim, Anhar Salem, and Aarti Sunder, the exhibition engages with spaces of work, both physical and virtual, and their intersections with gender, financial independence, social mobility, and migration.

Curated by Art Jameel’s Rotana Shaker, alongside guest curators Zain Al Saie and Jean Wong, the exhibition aims to support curatorial development and is a prelude to a new annual open call for curatorial projects.

Shaker told Arab News: “The exhibition showcases a wide range of artistic disciplines, from sculpture and painting to digital and sculptural installation.

“Each artist brings a unique vision and perspective to the concept of space and place, creating a rich and varied tapestry of interpretations that speak to the complexity of our world.

“It is about how we work and where we work. So, the artists who are coming from different kinds of backgrounds are looking for ideas which focus on the capacity of space when they are working out of their office.”

Ruba Al-Sweel, communications manager at Art Jameel, said the exhibition featured a diverse array of artists from Saudi Arabia, Singapore, India, the UAE, the Philippines, Yemen, and Canada.

The exhibition includes paintings, photographs, drawings, and videos, and the selection reflects the diverse ways that artists engage space and place to explore questions of identity, memory, history, technology, and desire.

“Silent Hands” is taking place in a special gallery at Hayy Jameel until Oct. 16.