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Iran trying to enrich uranium metal that could help develop nuclear weapon, UN watchdog says,

Iran trying to enrich uranium metal that could help develop nuclear weapon, UN watchdog says, ABC,  7 jul 21,   Iran has begun the process of producing enriched uranium metal in a move that could help it develop a nuclear weapon, the UN atomic watchdog says.

Key points:

  • Tehran says it is trying to develop fuel for a research reactor
  • Donald Trump abandoned the US-Iran nuclear deal while US president
  • The move could torpedo talks seeking to bring both nations back into the deal

Britain, France and Germany have threatened talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in light of the news, while the United States has described it as an “unfortunate step backwards”.

Tehran said the steps, which were disclosed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday, were aimed at developing fuel for a research reactor.

US and European officials made clear that Iran’s decision would complicate, and potentially torpedo, indirect US-Iranian talks seeking to bring both nations back into compliance with the 2015 deal, which was abandoned by former US president Donald Trump.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) imposed curbs on Iran’s nuclear program to make it harder for Tehran to develop fissile material for nuclear weapons in return for the lifting of economic sanctions………………

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

U.N. chief urges U.S. to remove Iran sanctions as agreed in 2015

U.N. chief urges U.S. to remove Iran sanctions as agreed in 2015

Michelle Nichols   NEW YORK, June 30 (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed to U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to lift or waive all sanctions on Iran as agreed under a 2015 deal aimed at stopping Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council, Guterres also urged the United States to “extend the waivers with regard to the trade in oil with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and fully renew waivers for nuclear non-proliferation projects.”

The 15-member council discussed on Wednesday the secretary-general’s biannual report on the implementation of a 2015 resolution that enshrines the nuclear deal between Iran, the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China…….

Guterres’ appeal to Washington and Tehran comes amid talks to revive the deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – under which Iran accepted curbs on its nuclear program in return for a lifting of many foreign sanctions against it……….

July 1, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

US must guarantee it will not leave nuclear deal again, says Iran

US must guarantee it will not leave nuclear deal again, says Iran

Tehran’s insistence signals that issue is still a serious obstacle after three months of talks in Vienna,  Guardian,     Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor, Thu 1 Jul 2021
  The date for a seventh round has not been set. 

A US guarantee that it will never unilaterally leave the Iran nuclear deal again is vital to a successful conclusion of talks in Vienna on the terms of Washington’s return to the agreement, the Iranian ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, has said.

His comments are the clearest official signal yet that disagreements between the US and Iran on how such a guarantee might be constructed remain a serious obstacle. Donald Trump took the US out of the nuclear deal in 2018, only three years afterhis predecessor, Barack Obama, had signed it……..


July 1, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran says Nuclear Deal Salvageable But Will Not Negotiate Forever

Iran Says Nuclear Deal Salvageable But Will Not Negotiate Forever  NDTV, 27 June 21,

Iran and the US have been holding indirect talks on reviving the 2015 agreement between Tehran and six powers that imposed restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting international sanctions.


Iran said on Saturday it believes a reinstatement of its 2015 nuclear deal with major world powers is possible but warned that Tehran “will not negotiate forever”.

“Out of a steadfast commitment to salvage a deal that the US tried to torpedo, Iran has been the most active party in Vienna, proposing most drafts,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Twitter, referring to talks aimed at reviving the nuclear deal.

Iran and the United States have been holding indirect talks on reviving the 2015 agreement between Tehran and six powers that imposed restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting international sanctions. ………….

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Sabotage attempt on Iran nuclear reactor

‘Sabotage attack’ on Iranian nuclear building foiled

The attack was halted ‘before causing any damage to the building’, news agencies said.  
A sabotage attempt against a building belonging to the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization has been foiled, Iranian media reported.

An Iranian news site close to security services said authorities thwarted a “sabotage attack” on the country’s civilian nuclear programme on Wednesday, without providing further information…….

Iran’s English-Language Press TV reported “the hostile attempt occurred on early Wednesday, but did not result in any casualties or damage owing to tight security precautions adopted following similar acts of sabotage against Iranian nuclear sites and scientists”.

June 24, 2021 Posted by | Iran, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

U.S. wants nuclear deal done before Iran’s new president takes power

U.S. wants nuclear deal done before Iran’s new president takes power, Dave Lawler   Axios, 17 June 21, The Biden administration wants to finalize a deal with Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal in the six weeks remaining before a new Iranian president is inaugurated, a U.S. official tells Axios.

Key quote: The official said it would be “concerning” if talks dragged on into early August, when Iran’s transition is due to take place. “If we don’t have a deal before a new government is formed, I think that would raise serious questions about how achievable it’s going to be,” the official said.

Driving the news: Conservative judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, a close ally to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, is the clear favorite to win Friday’s presidential election in Iran. No prominent members of the reformist camp were permitted to run, meaning the more moderate President Hassan Rouhani will almost certainly hand power to a hardliner.

  • Analysts and some diplomats involved in the negotiations have long said it would be easier to reach a deal with the outgoing administration than with a newly inaugurated government, particularly one led by Raisi.
  • Six rounds of talks have been held so far in Vienna, with the U.S. not in the room but negotiating indirectly through EU intermediaries.

State of play: Iran’s top negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, said this week that while a deal wouldn’t be possible in the current round of talks, Iran had no interest in “wasting time” and the elections wouldn’t be a factor………….

June 19, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Israel’s outgoing top Mossad chief reveals that they caused recent attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear programme and murdering their scientists.

Israel spy on Iran nuclear scientists: ‘We offer them a way out’, Aljazeera

The outgoing spy agency chief reveals Israel was behind recent attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear programme and its top scientist.  
The outgoing chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service has offered the closest acknowledgement yet his country was behind recent attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear programme and a military scientist.

The comments by Yossi Cohen, speaking to Israel’s Channel 12 investigative programme Uvda in a segment aired on Thursday night, offered an extraordinary debriefing by the head of the typically secretive agency in what appears to be the final days of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule.

It also gave a clear warning to other scientists in Iran’s nuclear programme that they too could become targets for assassination even as diplomats in Vienna try to negotiate terms to try to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers. United States President Joe Biden has dispatched his diplomats to revive the landmark deal from which his predecessor, Donald Trump, walked away in 2018.

“If the scientist is willing to change career and will not hurt us anymore, then yes, sometimes we offer them” a way out, Cohen said.

Among the major attacks to target Iran, none have struck deeper than two explosions over the last year at its Natanz nuclear facility. There, centrifuges enrich uranium from an underground hall designed to protect them from air strikes.

In July 2020, a mysterious explosion tore apart Natanz’s advanced centrifuge assembly, which Iran later blamed on Israel. Then in April of this year, another blast tore apart one of its underground enrichment halls.

Discussing Natanz, the interviewer asked Cohen where he would take them if they could travel there, he said “to the cellar” where “the centrifuges used to spin”.

“It doesn’t look like it used to look,” he added.

Iran nuclear programme is peaceful

Cohen did not directly claim the attacks, but his specificity offered the closest acknowledgement yet of an Israeli hand in the attacks. The interviewer, journalist Ilan Dayan, also seemingly offered a detailed description in a voiceover of how Israel snuck the explosives into Natanz’s underground halls.

“The man who was responsible for these explosions, it becomes clear, made sure to supply to the Iranians the marble foundation on which the centrifuges are placed,” Dayan said. “As they install this foundation within the Natanz facility, they have no idea that it already includes an enormous amount of explosives.”

They also discussed the November killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian scientist who began Tehran’s military nuclear programme decades ago. The US and its regional ally Israel suspect that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. But Tehran has long maintained its programme is peaceful.

While Cohen on camera does not claim the killing, Dayan in the segment described Cohen as having “personally signed off on the entire campaign”. Dayan also described how a remotely operated machine gun fixed to a pick-up truck killed Fakhrizadeh and later self-destructed.

Cohen described an Israeli effort to dissuade Iranian scientists from taking part in the programme, which had seen some abandon their work after being warned, even indirectly, by Israel. Asked by the interviewer if the scientists understood the implications if they did not stop, Cohen said: “They see their friends.”

They also talked about Israel’s operation seizing archival documents from Iran’s military nuclear programme. Dayan said 20 agents – none Israelis – seized material from 32 safes, then scanned and transmitted a large portion of the documents. Cohen confirmed that the Mossad received most of the material before it was physically taken out of Iran………

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Iran, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

UN nuclear watchdog chides Iran over uranium enrichment

UN nuclear watchdog chides Iran over uranium enrichment
, DW, 31 May 21,

A report by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi says Tehran has failed to provide a proper explanation for the discovery of uranium particles at three sites across the country. The IAEA suspects Iran has been boosting uranium enrichment since April, dampening hopes of salvaging the JCPOA

The UN nuclear watchdog said on Monday that Iran has failed to explain traces of processed uranium found at several undeclared sites.

A quarterly report by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said Iran is continuing to breach enrichment limits set by a 2015 nuclear accord, and that Tehran has failed to provide enough information about the discovery of uranium.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi has been warning about the direction of Tehran’s compliance with the 2015 deal for weeks.

The report added that Iran has produced more than 2.4 kilograms (5.2 lbs) of nearly weapons grade uranium: a clear breach of the deal that its leadership says it wants to salvage.

The move to enrich uranium to a purity level of nearly 60% began in April, said the IAEA’s Grossi, who has for weeks been signaling that he is worried about the direction of Iran’s nuclear program.

……………….. What could happen next?

It will now be up to the three European powers to decide whether to go ahead with their plan amid fears it could undermine wider negotiations to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal at talks currently underway in Vienna.

…………. Iran started limiting inspections in a bid to put pressure on US President Joe Biden to lift crippling sanctions reimposed after then-President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran unilaterally in 2018.

According to the 2015 deal, Iran is only allowed to enrich uranium to a level of 4%, which is what is needed to fuel atomic reactors.

Nuclear weapons require uranium enriched to a level of 90%.

But once uranium has been taken to 60%, it is possible to enrich it to the higher level very quickly

June 1, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran agrees to extend IAEA nuclear monitoring deal for one month

Iran agrees to extend IAEA nuclear monitoring deal for one month.   BBC, Iran has agreed to extend by one month an agreement allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to keep surveillance cameras at nuclear sites.
25 May 21,

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told reporters that the deal would now end on 24 June.

Iran reduced its co-operation with the watchdog in February in retaliation for sanctions reinstated by the US when it abandoned a nuclear deal in 2018.

It said the extension was a gesture of “good faith” while talks on lifting the sanctions continued in Vienna.

However, it will expire soon after Iran’s presidential election on 18 June, when hard-line opponents of the outgoing Hassan Rouhani are expected to do well and the Iranian negotiators in the Austrian capital are likely to change………….

May 25, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran says IAEA access to nuclear sites images has ended

Iran says IAEA access to nuclear sites images has ended  

Iran says IAEA access to nuclear sites images has ended

Three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog expires, raising questions over talks.
3 May 2021

The speaker of Iran’s parliament said a three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog has expired and that its access to images from inside some Iranian nuclear sites would cease.

The announcement on Sunday raised further questions about the future of indirect talks under way between the United States and Iran on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“From May 22 and with the end of the three-month agreement, the (IAEA) agency will have no access to data collected by cameras inside the nuclear facilities agreed under the agreement,” state TV quoted parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf as saying.

The International Atomic Energy Agency and Tehran struck the three-month monitoring agreement in February to cushion the blow of Iran reducing its cooperation with the agency, and it allowed monitoring of some activities that would otherwise have been axed to continue.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi is in talks with Iran about extending the agreement.

European diplomats said last week that a failure to agree upon an extension would plunge the wider, indirect talks between Washington and Tehran on reviving the 2015 deal into crisis. Those talks are due to resume in Vienna this week.Play Video

The IAEA had planned for Grossi to hold a news conference on Sunday but it said he was still “consulting with Tehran” and that his news conference had been postponed until Monday morning.

An unnamed Iranian official was quoted as saying the agreement between the IAEA and Tehran could be extended “conditionally” for a month.

“If extended for a month and if during this period major powers … accept Iran’s legal demands, then the data will be handed over to the agency. Otherwise, the images will be deleted forever,” according to the member of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

Without commenting on the parliament speaker’s earlier announcement, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said on Sunday that Tehran would continue the talks in Vienna “until reaching a final agreement”.

He also repeated an earlier statement that “Washington has agreed to lift sanctions” on Iran, according to Iranian state media.

US says unclear if Iran ready to return to pact.

Iran and global powers have held several rounds of negotiations since April in Vienna, Austria, working on steps that Tehran and Washington must take, on sanctions and nuclear activities, to return to full compliance with the nuclear pact.

Iran began gradually breaching terms of the 2015 pact with world powers after former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it remains unclear whether Iran is “ready and willing” to take the necessary steps to return to compliance with the multination nuclear agreement.

European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary-General Enrique Mora and Iranian Deputy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi during a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria [File: EU Delegation in Vienna/Handout/Reuters]Speaking before a fifth round of talks in Vienna on rescuing that deal, Blinken was asked about Iranian reports that Washington had already agreed to lift some of the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

“We know what sanctions would need to be lifted if they’re inconsistent with the nuclear agreement,” he said on ABC’s This Week.

He added that more importantly, “Iran, I think, knows what it needs to do to come back into compliance on the nuclear side, and what we haven’t yet seen is whether Iran is ready and willing to make a decision.

May 24, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | 2 Comments

Iran: talks in Austria with UK, France and Germany head towards nuclear agreement

Iran nuclear deal ‘starting to take shape’ Albert Otti AAPThu, 20 May 2021  An agreement to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is beginning to take shape after six weeks of talks, European diplomats say.

“Both on the nuclear side and on the sanctions side, we are now beginning to see the contours of what the final deal could look like,” senior diplomats said after the latest round of talks.

The negotiators from the UK, France and Germany – sometimes referred to as the E3 – have been meeting in working groups in the Austrian capital since early April, aiming to revive the 2015 nuclear deal which was crafted to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The nuclear accord has been hanging by a thread since 2018 when then-US president Donald Trump pulled the US out and Iran began to increasingly violate its terms.

“However, success is not guaranteed. There are still some very difficult issues ahead. We do not underestimate the challenges that lay before us,” the diplomats said.

Negotiations are under way on which sanctions the US would be prepared to lift and what steps Iran would be willing to take in return to curb its nuclear program.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said the structure of the agreement had been achieved.

“The content is almost clear although not yet finalised,” he said………

May 20, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Fire breaks out in port city near Iranian nuclear plant

A fire at the same port in 2020 damaged seven ships, . PTI May 08, 2021 Just four weeks after a blackout hit Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, which the country attributed to Israel as an act of “nuclear terrorism”, a fire has broken out near the Bushehr Port, just 12km south of the country’s sole functioning nuclear plant.

Visuals of the blaze were shared on social media. According to local reports, it was located on a local naval base.

The fire raged overnight, following which another fire made headlines on the other side of the country, at a chemical plant in Qasvin.

World powers held the fourth round of high-level talks on Friday in Austria aimed at bringing the United States back into the nuclear deal with Iran, with both sides signalling a willingness to work out the major stumbling blocks. 

May 10, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Iran | Leave a comment

Talks ‘intensify’ on bringing US back to Iran nuclear deal

Talks ‘intensify’ on bringing US back to Iran nuclear deal

World powers have held a fourth round of high-level talks aimed at bringing the United States back into a landmark nuclear deal with Iran,abc news, DAVID RISING and PHILIPP JENNE , Associated Press, 8 May 21,

“The delegations seem to be ready to stay in Vienna as long as necessary to achieve the goal,” he wrote……..

U.S. President Joe Biden says he wants to rejoin the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, but that Iran needs to return to compliance.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Friday, Biden said he believed the Iranians were approaching the talks seriously…..

The pact is meant to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb, something the country insists it does not want to do, and the government in Tehran has said it is prepared to reverse all of its violations but that Washington must remove all sanctions imposed under Trump.

Still unresolved is what Iran’s return to compliance would look like. Delegates to the Vienna talks concede, for example, that Iranian nuclear scientists cannot unlearn the knowledge they acquired in the last three years, but it is not clear whether Iran’s new centrifuges would need to be destroyed, mothballed and locked away, or simply taken offline.

Because the U.S. is currently out of the deal, there were no American representatives at the talks. Diplomats involved are shuttling between the Iranian side and a delegation from Washington elsewhere in Vienna.

Iran’s delegate to the talks, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, told Iranian state television after the meeting that his impression was that all sides were committed to finding a solution.

“The reports that are being conveyed to us from Americans is that they are also serious about returning to JCPOA. So far, they have announced that they are ready to lift most of their sanctions, but we do not think it is enough,” Araghchi said.

“That is why the negotiations will continue until we reach all our demands in this regard,” he added. “If our demands are met, Iran will be quite serious about returning to its obligations in the full implementation of JCPOA.”

Between the high-level meetings in Vienna of the so-called Joint Commission, expert groups have been meeting to try and come up with solutions to the outstanding issues.

Alain Matton, a spokesperson for the EU delegation, which is chairing the meetings, said the expert discussions will continue in the days ahead.

“And the EU as a coordinator and facilitator of the JCPOA talks will continue with separate talks with all participants and with the U.S.,” Matton told reporters. “The participants are continuing with discussions, which are held on various levels and which have as their objective the full and effective implementation of the deal by all sides and the U.S. return to the JCPOA.”……..

May 8, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear talks in Vienna make headway, as USA shows plans for removing sanctions

Independent 3rd May 2021, For months, the United States was humming and hawing about how and on what
terms it would return to the nuclear deal with Iran, as doubts were percolating in world capitals about whether the administration of Joe Biden even wanted to revive the deal.

But during indirect talks between Iran and the US over the last couple weeks in Vienna, Washington startled just about
everyone involved when it suddenly presented plans detailing how it would remove sanctions on Iran if it were to roll back its nuclear programme for both countries to back come into compliance with the Joint Comprehensive
Plan of Action (JCPOA).

May 4, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Israel’s ‘shadow war’ and plans to scupper Iran’s nuclear deal

Israel’s ‘shadow war’ and plans to scupper Iran’s nuclear deal

Hawkish elements in Israel will continue to play a leading role moving forward on Tehran’s nuclear programme, analysts say.  Aljazeera, Thomas O Falk, 3 May 2021

US President Joe Biden is pushing to reinstate Iran’s nuclear deal and weeks of talks in Austria appear to be bearing fruit.

Israel, however, continues to see its security jeopardised by a potentially nuclear Iran and is trying to thwart negotiations any way possible.

The Mossad spy agency chief Yossi Cohen – a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – met Biden on Friday and, according to one media report, pressed the US president not to sign back on to the nuclear accord unless “improvements” were made.

An unnamed senior Israeli official is quoted as saying Biden responded that the United States “is not close” to returning to the Iran deal, Axios reported.

Israel’s opposition to the nuclear agreement seems to go beyond words, however, with Iran accusing it of assassinating its top nuclear scientist and sabotaging its main nuclear facility Natanz in a series of attacks. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement.

Benny Gantz, Israel’s defence minister, said in March his country has drawn up plans to strike Iranian targets if Tehran continues its nuclear escalation.

Simon Mabon, a professor of international politics at Lancaster University, told Al Jazeera that within Israel, and particularly in the government, hawkish elements will continue to play a leading role moving forward on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

“Those supporting Netanyahu’s view of the Iranian regime are steadfast in their view that the Islamic Republic cannot be deterred through conventional forms of deterrence and a military strike is needed,” said Mabon.

‘Considerable damage’

Yaniv Voller, senior lecturer in Middle East politics at the University of Kent, said Israel’s efforts against Iran’s nuclear programme – often described as “the shadow war” – are likely to continue given the positive events in Vienna after Tehran’s recent negotiations with world powers on the nuclear accord.

However, Voller said a hot war remains unlikely despite Israel’s best efforts.

“I do not think the shadow war will turn into a full-blown conflict between Israel and Iran. A greater risk is a local conflict between Israel and Iran’s proxies in the region, particularly Hezbollah,” Voller told Al Jazeera.

“This could be reminiscent of summer 2006, but with the potential to being even more devastating. Neither side has an interest in escalating the situation but, naturally, conflicts sometimes do spiral.”

He argued that, as the latest incidents have shown, Israel’s option to target the programme effectively is much broader than a mere preemptive attack.

“In any case, some of the actions that have been related to Israel and the US have already caused considerable damage to the Iranian nuclear programme, so a preemptive strike is not necessarily the only viable option to delay the Iranian nuclear programme.”………….

May 4, 2021 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment