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Iran removes nuclear watchdog’s cameras after criticism

David GrittenBBC News  Iran has told the global nuclear watchdog it is removing 27 surveillance cameras from its nuclear facilities.

It comes after the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board censured Iran for not answering questions about uranium traces found at three undeclared sites.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said 40 cameras would remain, but that the move posed a “serious challenge”.

Unless it was reversed within three to four weeks, he warned, it would deal a “fatal blow” to the Iran nuclear deal.

Under the 2015 agreement with world powers, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities and allow continuous and robust monitoring by the IAEA’s inspectors in return for relief from economic sanctions.

However, it has been close to collapse since the US pulled out unilaterally and reinstated sanctions four years ago and Iran responded by breaching key commitments.

The US now wants to rejoin the deal if Iran returns to compliance, but indirect negotiations in Vienna have stalled since March……………………………

June 11, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Europe to Make Fresh Push to Revive Iran Nuclear Deal

Talks have hit a deadlock over Iran’s demand that Washington lift terror designation on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards,  By Laurence Norman, May. 1, 2022 European officials are preparing to make a fresh push to salvage a nuclear deal with Iran, offering to send a top European Union negotiator to Tehran in an effort to break a stalemate in talks, according to Western diplomats.

Enrique Mora, the European Union coordinator of the negotiations, has told Iranian counterparts he is ready to return to Tehran to open a pathway through the deadlock, the people said. So far, Iran hasn’t responded with an invitation, the people added……. (subscribers only)

May 2, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear negotiations at stalemate over IRGC terror listing

Iran and the United States seemingly do not want to budge over the designation of the IRGC in reviving the nuclear deal.  April 20, 2022

The talks in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal have reached a stalemate, with neither side appearing to want to budge from the final sticking point regarding the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States.

In his latest comments Monday on the state of the negotiations, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said, “Until all issues are agreed upon, nothing is agreed upon.” He said that “the remaining issues in Vienna are clear to everyone.” Meanwhile, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price, responding to a reporter’s question, said, “If Iran wants sanctions lifting that goes beyond the JCPOA, they’ll need to address concerns of ours that go beyond the JCPOA,” using the acronym for the deal’s official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Price’s comments about addressing other concerns were not welcomed by Iranian media. Javan, a newspaper linked to the IRGC, headlined their article on Price’s comments “Washington’s request again to negotiate beyond the JCPOA.” The story read, “Once again another recommendation to negotiate beyond the JCPOA was put on the table.” The article added that these negotiations would include not just the nuclear program but also Iran’s missile capabilities and regional role. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, has repeatedly said that Iran would not negotiate on other issues within the context of the nuclear deal. Previously, long before the US exit of the 2015 deal, Khamenei had once said that if the JCPOA deal comes to fruition and all sides meet their obligations, then Iran would be open to discussing other matters — though the time for that has passed now apparently.

The Trump administration’s poison pill of designating the IRGC as an FTO has brought the talks to a standstill. Iran wants all Trump-era sanctions removed before it returns its nuclear program to levels written out in the JCPOA, especially concerning the level of enrichment and advanced centrifuges in use. The United States is insisting that the designation of the IRGC is not nuclear-related. Since the US exit in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, Iran and the United States have not negotiated face to face and instead communicate via European intermediaries. ………………………………………….   The best both sides can hope for now is at least an interim agreement of some sort.

April 21, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran MPs Set Conditions for Reviving 2015 Nuclear Deal amid Stalled Talks


Iranian lawmakers have set conditions for the revival of a 2015 nuclear pact, including legal guarantees approved by the U.S. Congress that Washington would not quit it, Iranian state media reported on Sunday.

Iran and the United States have engaged in indirect talks in Vienna over the past year to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers which then-U.S. President Donald Trump left in 2018 and Iran subsequently violated by ramping up its nuclear program.

Negotiations have now stalled as Tehran and Washington blame each other for failing to take the necessary political decisions to settle remaining issues……………………….

The lawmakers also said that “sanctions lifted under the reinstated pact should not be reimposed, and Iran should not be hit by new sanctions.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Sunday U.S. President Joe Biden should issue executive orders to lift some sanctions on Iran to show his goodwill towards reviving the nuclear pact.

April 11, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran blames US for halt to nuclear talks

Iran blames US for halt to nuclear talks,  
The United States is responsible for the pause in talks between Tehran and world powers in Vienna aimed at reviving their 2015 nuclear deal, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson says.

“America is responsible for the halt of these talks … a deal is very much within reach,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told a weekly news conference on Monday…………..

April 5, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

USA promises Israel that Iran will never acquire nuclear weapons

Iran will never acquire nuclear weapons, US promises Israel  Antony Blnken seeks to reassure Israel and Gulf allies ahead of possible renewal of nuclear deal

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor, Mon 28 Mar 2022  The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has sought to reassure Israel and its Gulf allies that Iran will never acquire atomic weapons, ahead of the possible renewal of the nuclear deal with Tehran.

“When it comes to the most important element, we see eye to eye,” Blinken said at a news conference on Sunday with Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid. “We are both committed, both determined, that Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon.”

Blinken’s comments came before a meeting with four Arab foreign ministers at an extraordinary summit hosted by Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett – an event that in itself shows how the landscape of Israel’s relations with some Arab states has been transformed in the past 18 months, driven partly by fears about the imminent end of Iran’s economic isolation………………………………………

Speaking in Israel, Blinken nevertheless defended the principle of trying to revive the Iran nuclear deal, saying: “The US believes that a return to full implementation of the deal is the best way to put Iran’s nuclear programme back in the box that it was in, but has escaped from since the United States withdrew from that agreement………………….

March 28, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran’s foreign minister says nuclear deal closer ‘than ever’

Iran’s foreign minister says nuclear deal closer ‘than ever’,  DUBAI, March 23 (Reuters) – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic and world powers are closer than ever to reviving a 2015 nuclear deal………..

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; editing by Michael Georgy, Toby Chopra, William Maclean

March 24, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia still part of Iran nuclear talks, US hopes for progress, White House says

Russia still part of Iran nuclear talks, US hopes for progress, White House says,  WASHINGTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Russians continue to be part of nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the Biden administration hopes to make progress in those talks, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Why the Iran nuclear talks have stalled

Why have the nuclear negotiations with Iran stalled?  Middle East Monitor, February 16, 2022   ””    …………………………………………………………………… Optimism about the outcome of the current negotiations remains difficult, not only because of the internal pressures — US negotiators obliged to make changes to the agreement; the Iranians calling for the complete lifting of sanctions — but also because of the other Iranian demand for a pledge that a new deal will remain in effect even when the US administration changes.

The difficulty in this is that it is not related to America’s relationship with Iran, but to the nature of the US political system, which refuses to make any agreement or treaty binding on future administrations. At the moment, the Iranian negotiator does not want to understand this, and instead insists on pressing for a guarantee which the Biden administration cannot provide.

February 17, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

US Grants Sanctions Relief To Iran,Inches Closer To Nuclear Deal Renewal

US Grants Sanctions Relief To Iran,Inches Closer To Nuclear Deal Renewal, Kashmir Observer 

Agencies | February 5, 2022  Washington- The Biden administration has restored a sanctions waiver to Iran, a senior State Department official said on Friday, as indirect talks between the United States and Iran on returning to the 2015 nuclear agreement entered the final stretch.

The waiver, which was rescinded by the Trump administration in May 2020, had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out non-proliferation work at Iranian nuclear sites.

The waiver was needed to allow for technical discussions that were key to the talks about return to the deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a State Department official said…………..

February 7, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Movie on assassination of nuclear scientist Dariush Rezainejad premieres at FajrCulture

Movie on assassination of nuclear scientist Dariush Rezainejad premieres at Fajr Culture. Tehran Times, February 6, 2022 TEHRAN – “Henas”, a drama about the assassination of nuclear scientist Dariush Rezainejad, premiered at the 40th Fajr Film Festival on Saturday.

35-year-old Rezainejad was shot dead by Mossad gunmen before the eyes of his wife and little girl in front of his house in Tehran in July, 2011. The movie portrays the terrorist attack through the eyes of his wife.

We never intended to make a spy drama,” director Hossein Darabi said in a press conference after the premiere of the film.

“Due to the fact that the subject is a matter of great security sensitivity, we wanted to portray the feelings of the wife in that situation,” he added.

He noted that the story of the film has been written based on Rezainejad’s life story and has its roots in reality.

“There is no point in the film in conflict with reality,” said Rezainejad’s widow, Shoreh Pirani, who was in attendance at the screening and press conference……………………….

February 7, 2022 Posted by | Iran, media | Leave a comment

Iran says nuclear talks have made ‘significant’ headway

Iran says nuclear talks have made ‘significant’ headway, Argus  31 Jan 22, Negotiations in Vienna aimed at restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal made “significant progress” over the past three weeks, although differences remain on some key points, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said today.

The latest round of discussions resumed in December, with all the original parties to the deal working concurrently on issues relating to sanctions relief, Iran’s nuclear activities, verification and sequencing. The talks broke up late last week to allow delegates to return to their countries for consultations with their respective governments.

“The negotiations over the past three weeks have seen significant progress in four areas: sanctions lifting, nuclear commitments, verification and guarantees,” Khatibzadeh said, echoing some of the more positive assessments that have been made over the past few days.

Russia’s envoy to the talks Mikhail Ulyanov said last week that a deal between Iran and the US could be sealed as early as the end of February. The US has also been more optimistic in its appraisal of the talks, with White House Middle East adviser Brett McGurk saying last week that we are “in the ballpark of a possible deal”…………………….

February 1, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

MOST of Iran’s nuclear facilities are vulnerable to devastating drone attacks

Iran Fukushima warning: Iran’s nuclear plants could be WIPED OUT

MOST of Iran’s nuclear facilities are vulnerable to devastating drone attacks, a report has found.

By MARCO GIANNANGELI – DIPLOMATIC EDITOR11:00, Sun, Jan 30, 2022  But using unmanned vehicles (UMVs) laden with explosives could lead to a critical Fukushima-style reactor meltdown.

The revelation comes as diplomatic efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions continue to flounder, with former Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi last night warning: “The Iran nuclear deal is already on life-support and it is very possible that it might falter altogether due to Iran’s shameless violations.”

Detailed analysis of its 22 nuclear facilities by Dr Bahram Ghiassee, of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, found that all except the Fordow fuel enrichment plant, near Qom – built into a mountain – are vulnerable to drone strikes which could incapacitate them.

And burying the Fordow facility under 60 metres of rock does not protect it from attacks on air shafts and other external supply systems.

While many facilities would result in little overall impact if attacked, there are glaring exceptions, the report found.    These include the conversion plant at the Esfahan nuclear technology centre – a critical part of the nuclear fuel cycle – and the Bushehr nuclear power plant on the Persian Gulf.

The same applies to the Natanz enrichment facility now being rebuilt into a mountain after an explosion – believed to have been caused by Israel – destroyed the previous overland structure.

Though nuclear power plants are built to withstand light aerial attacks, Bushehr’s ancillary facilities “are highly vulnerable to aerial attacks, including drone strikes”, said the report, including by “commercially available as ‘Surface UMVs’ and ‘Submersible UMVs’, with an operating range of some 120 kilometres. “

However, Dr Ghiassee, a nuclear consultant,  added: “A synchronised attack on the cooling water facilities, external electricity supply and electricity distribution systems could lead to the overheating of the reactor core and the spent fuel ponds. 

“Under such circumstances, as in the Fukushima nuclear accident, the reactor core could melt down.”

Attacks against Iranian nuclear facilities are not a new phenomenon.

The Bushehr power plant was attacked by Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, though this caused minor damage.

More recently, Iran has been the recipient of incapacitating explosions, cyber strikes and UMV attacks.

Though not confirmed by Tel Aviv, these are believed to have been carried out by Israel after it openly pledged never to allow Iran – which has threatened to blow Israel off the face of the world – to possess nuclear weapons.

We have a duty to be brave and responsible for the fate of our children and grandchildren. We have used force against our enemies in the past, and we are convinced that in extreme situations, there is a need to act using military means,” said Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Alon Schuster recently.

Actions have included the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, the explosion at Natanz in 2020 – said to have been caused by the provision of faulty materials following Mossad’s infiltration of the supply chain- and the cyber strike in 2010 using the Stuxnet virus, which reportedly infected more than 200,000 commuters and destroyed a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Iran, safety | 1 Comment

Iran nuclear negotiations reaching final stage

Iran nuclear talks reaching final stage – E3 negotiators   LONDON, Jan 28, 22 (Reuters) – Nuclear talks between Iran and Western powers are reaching their final stage and now require political input, E3 negotiators said in a statement on Friday.

Iran nuclear talks reaching final stage – E3 negotiators   LONDON, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Nuclear talks between Iran and Western powers are reaching their final stage and now require political input, E3 negotiators said in a statement on Friday.

aJnuary has been the most intensive period of these talks to date,” said the statement from the so-called E3: France, Britain and Germany.

“Everyone knows we are reaching the final stage, which requires political decisions. Negotiators are therefore returning to capitals for consultation.”

January 29, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear deal unlikely unless Iran releases US prisoners: Report

Nuclear deal unlikely unless Iran releases US prisoners: Report

US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley tells the Reuters news agency agreement ‘hard to imagine’ while four ‘innocent Americans held hostage’.  Ajjazeera, The United States is unlikely to strike a deal with Iran to save the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement unless Tehran releases four US citizens Washington says it is holding hostage, the lead US nuclear negotiator told the Reuters news agency on Sunday.

US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley repeated the long-held US position that the issue of the four people held in Iran is separate from the nuclear negotiations. He moved a step closer, however, to saying that their release was a precondition for a nuclear agreement…………….

In recent years, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have arrested dozens of dual nationals and foreigners, mostly on espionage and security-related charges.

Rights groups have accused Iran of taking prisoners to gain diplomatic leverage, while Western powers have long demanded that Tehran free their citizens, who they say are political prisoners.

Tehran denies holding people for political reasons……………………

The indirect talks between Iran and the United States on bringing both countries back into full compliance with the landmark 2015 nuclear deal are in their eighth round. Iran refuses to hold meetings with US officials, meaning others shuttle between the two sides………………………

January 25, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment