France, Britain and Germany say Iran’s stance on IAEA probe jeopardizes nuclear talks

France, Britain and Germany say Iran’s stance on IAEA probe jeopardizes nuclear talks
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In this photo taken on Dec. 23, 2019, technicians are seen at work at Iran's Arak heavy water reactor's secondary circuit. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP, File)
France, Britain and Germany say Iran’s stance on IAEA probe jeopardizes nuclear talks
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A flag is waved in front of Palais Coburg where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran take place in Vienna, Austria, Aug. 4,2022. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 11 September 2022

France, Britain and Germany say Iran’s stance on IAEA probe jeopardizes nuclear talks

France, Britain and Germany say Iran’s stance on IAEA probe jeopardizes nuclear talks
  • ‘This latest demand raises serious doubts as to Iran’s intentions,’ the three countries say
  • Iran calls European statement on nuclear talks ‘unconstructive’

FRANKFURT/TEHRAN: France, Germany and Britain have urged Iran to agree to a proposed relaunch of the agreement limiting its nuclear program, saying final texts of a deal have been readied but Iran “has chosen not to seize this critical diplomatic opportunity.”
The three European governments said in a joint statement Saturday that Iran has instead raised “separate issues” and “continues to escalate its nuclear program way beyond any plausible civilian justification.”
Tehran has also reopened issues related to its legally binding obligations under the Non Proliferation Treaty that was concluded with the UN atomic energy watchdog IAEA, they added.
The statement comes amid efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which eased sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program. The United States unilaterally pulled out of the accord in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump and reimposed sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to start backing away from the deal’s terms.
Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign ministry on Saturday described as “unconstructive” and “regrettable” the joint statement issued by the trio.




(Shutterstock illustration image)

“It is surprising and regrettable that, in a situation where diplomatic interactions and exchanges of messages are continuing... to finalize the negotiations,” the three European parties would issue such an “unconstructive” statement, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said.
“The three European countries are advised to play a more active role to provide a solution to end the few remaining disagreements instead of entering the phase of destroying the diplomatic process,” Kanani added.
Kanani said it was “regrettable that the three European countries have taken a step in the path of the Zionist regime to defeat the negotiations with this ill-considered statement,” referring to Israel, the Islamic republic’s arch-foe and a staunch opponent of the deal.
“If such an approach continues, they must also accept responsibility for its results,” he said.
The UN atomic watchdog said Wednesday it believes Iran has further increased its stockpile of uranium that is highly enriched to one short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels.
Iran last week sent a written response in negotiations over a final draft of a roadmap for parties to return to the tattered nuclear deal, though the US cast doubt on Tehran’s offer. Neither side elaborated on the contents.
(With AP and AFP)


Iranian ex-president lauds anti-regime protests

Iranian ex-president lauds anti-regime protests
Updated 07 December 2022

Iranian ex-president lauds anti-regime protests

Iranian ex-president lauds anti-regime protests
  • ‘Freedom trampled under pretext of protecting security,’ says Mohammad Khatami
  • Former leader calls on regime to meet protesters’ demands ‘before it is too late’

LONDON: Iran’s former President Mohammad Khatami has praised anti-regime protests and urged authorities to meet protesters’ demands “before it is too late,” the BBC reported.

The two-term reformist president, who served between 1997 and 2005, described “woman, life, freedom” as a “beautiful slogan,” and said that it showed Iranian society was moving toward a better future.

Khatami also criticized the security forces’ crackdown and arrest of students.

“It should not be allowed that freedom and security are placed in opposition to one another, and that as a result freedom is trampled under the pretext of maintaining security, or that security is ignored in the name of freedom,” he said.

“I advise officials to appreciate this presence and instead of dealing with it unjustly, extend a helping hand to them and, with their help, recognize the wrong aspects of governance and move toward good governance before it is too late.”

Khatami’s comments came in a statement to mark Student Day on Wednesday, with students having been at the forefront of the wave of protests that are now into their fourth month.

Protests were sparked by the September murder of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s notorious morality police.

Her death ignited pent-up frustrations over falling living standards, and discrimination against women and minorities.

Protests have spread to more than 150 cities and 140 universities in all 31 of Iran’s provinces, and are now considered the most serious challenge to the regime since it took power in the 1979 revolution.

Iran’s leadership has sought to portray the protests as “riots” instigated by “foreign enemies.”

Despite the brutal crackdown by security forces, which have led to the deaths of 473 protesters and the detention of more than 18,000 people, demonstrations show little sign of abating, with Khatami describing student involvement as “perhaps unprecedented.”

Iran’s judiciary also sentenced five protesters to death on charges of “corruption of the Earth” on Tuesday, with 11 others, including three children” handed long prison sentences.

Director of Iran Human Rights Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam told AFP News: “These people are sentenced after unfair processes and without due process. The aim is to spread fear and make people stop protesting.”

A total of 11 protesters have now been sentenced to death, with the country’s judiciary chief saying on Monday that executions will be carried out “soon.”


Iran executions up more than 50% this year

Iran executions up more than 50% this year
Updated 07 December 2022

Iran executions up more than 50% this year

Iran executions up more than 50% this year
  • Over 500 people killed, says rights body
  • ‘Crackdown led by President Ebrahim Raisa’

LONDON: Iranian authorities have executed more than 500 people this year, according to data released by Iran Human Rights.

Up more than 50 percent on 2021’s figure of 333, the spike in executions marks a dramatic shift following years of decline, with numbers only likely to climb amidst the government’s brutal response to protests in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody.

Five further death sentences were handed out to protesters yesterday, for killing a member of the security forces, bringing to 11 the total number arising from the protests.

Meanwhile nine people have been charged over the killing of Iran’s nuclear weapons chief, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in November 2020. Israel’s security agency, Mossad, has been blamed for Fakhrizadeh’s death.

Newly elected president and former prosecutor, Ebrahim Raisi, played a central role in the 1980s killing spree that resulted in the execution of thousands of opposition supporters.

His election last year, combined with the surging number of death sentences, are considered reflective of the increasing dominance of hardliners over Iranian politics.


New launch date floated for UAE’s moon mission

New launch date floated for UAE’s moon mission
Updated 07 December 2022

New launch date floated for UAE’s moon mission

New launch date floated for UAE’s moon mission
  • Initial launch date was delayed several times to allow for additional pre-flight checks

DUBAI: The UAE’s moon rover is set to blast off “no earlier than Dec. 11” after a series of tests were conducted on the SpaceX rocket.

In a statement, ispace inc., the Japanese firm that built HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lander carrying the UAE’s Rashid rover, said the initial launch date was delayed several times to allow for additional pre-flight checks on the rocket.

The Emirati-made Rashid rover will launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, US, at 7:38 a.m. GMT on Dec. 11, embarking on a five-month journey to the moon in the Arab world’s first lunar mission.

 

 

“ispace’s Mission 1 lunar lander was integrated into the SpaceX Falcon 9 fairing and battery charging operations for the lander will continue,” said the firm.

“No issues with the lander itself have been identified. As of today, no major operational changes are planned, with lunar landing scheduled for the end of April 2023.”

If the rover lands successfully, the UAE will be the fourth country to reach the moon.


Somalia praises UAE for its relief efforts in the country

Somalia praises UAE for its relief efforts in the country
Updated 07 December 2022

Somalia praises UAE for its relief efforts in the country

Somalia praises UAE for its relief efforts in the country
  • Abdul Shakour’s comments were made on the sidelines of a conference held on Wednesday at the Arab League headquarters

DUBAI: Abdul Rahman Abdul Shakour, Somalia’s special envoy for the President for Humanitarian Affairs and Drought, praised the UAE on Wednesday for its relief efforts in the drought-stricken country. 
“The UAE is a pioneer in providing the necessary support to Somalia in this crisis, as it was the first country to respond to the appeal launched by the Somali government to provide urgent relief to those affected by drought,” said Abdul Shakour.
He noted that the UAE fulfilled the needs of approximately 2.5 million people after it airlifted supplies and sent a ship carrying more than 1,000 tons of food and relief items to Somalia. 
Abdul Shakour’s comments were made on the sidelines of a conference held on Wednesday at the Arab League headquarters, which was jointly sponsored by the Arab League and United Nations.
The conference included several of senior officials from Arab philanthropic organizations and UN humanitarian bodies that aim to coordinate actions plans that will help address the worsening food situation in the African nation.


UAE leaders meet Afghanistan’s acting minister of defense

UAE leaders meet Afghanistan’s acting minister of defense
Updated 07 December 2022

UAE leaders meet Afghanistan’s acting minister of defense

UAE leaders meet Afghanistan’s acting minister of defense

DUBAI: UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum met with Afghanistan’s acting minister of defense during his official visit to the country.

The leaders discussed bilateral ties and areas of potential cooperation with Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob in two separate meetings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, reported state news agency (WAM).

They also reviewed issues of mutual interest.