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Iran still committed to the nuclear accord, but will decrease its commitment if other signatories cannot help

Iran Threatens to Revert to Pre-2015 Nuclear Development Levels, By VOA News, July 15, 2019 Iran threatened Monday to revert its nuclear development program to pre-2015 levels before it agreed to restraints under an international accord if the European countries and the United States that were signatories to the deal fail to help its economy.

“If the Europeans and the Americans don’t want to carry out their duties… we will decrease our commitments and… reverse the conditions to four years ago,” the Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted atomic agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi as saying.

“These actions are not out of obstinacy,” Kamalvandi said. “It is to give diplomacy a chance so that the other side [can] come to their senses and carry out their duties.”

The international pact called for sanctions relief for Tehran as it agreed to curbs on its nuclear program. But U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from it in May 2018 and reimposed tough punitive measures against the Islamic republic that have hobbled its economy and cut its international oil exports. Tehran has contended that Europe has not done enough to help it overcome the effects of the U.S. sanctions.

In the last month, Iran has exceeded the size of the uranium stockpile and the uranium enrichment level permitted under the pact. The deal also was signed by Britain, France, Germany, the European Union, China and Russia, all of which have remained in the pact even as they have criticized Iran for deviating from its provisions.

Iran’s foreign ministry said it would stay committed to the accord at the same level as the other signatories stay committed to it.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the deal “isn’t dead yet,” and that while the opportunity to find a resolution to the current crisis surrounding the agreement is closing, it is still possible to keep it alive.

He spoke ahead of talks with other European Union foreign ministers in Brussels where they planned to discuss the Iran situation.

Iran has long said its nuclear program was solely for peaceful purposes, and it won badly needed relief from sanctions in return for limiting its nuclear activity far below what would be needed to make a weapon.

Hunt said Monday that Iran was more than a year away from having the capability to build a nuclear device.

Hunt’s comments came a day after the publication of cables from former British ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch, who was critical of Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal, saying he did it as a snub to his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.

In a May 2018 cable, Darroch wrote that the Trump administration, in abrogating the Iran deal last year, “is set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism, seemingly for ideological and personality reasons — it was Obama’s deal.”

The Mail on Sunday published Darroch’s message back to London, days after he resigned and a week after the newspaper published other leaked cables. In the earlier memos, the diplomat described the U.S. leader as “inept,” “insecure” and “incompetent” and his administration as “uniquely dysfunctional.”

Darroch resigned from his post Wednesday, saying his three-year posting in Washington had become untenable with the disclosure of his cables.

The leaked cables were meant to be seen only by senior British ministers and civil servants. British officials launched an investigation of the leaks but did not deny the accuracy of Darroch’s comments, expressing the opinion that the person likely responsible for the leak was someone inside the British government, not a foreign power……..


July 16, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran says reducing nuclear deal commitments to save it from ‘total collapse

Iran says reducing nuclear deal commitments to save it from ‘total collapse’, Press TV,  Jul 5, 2019 Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran’s decision to scale down its commitments under the JCPOA is indeed aimed at protecting the multilateral deal, not killing it.

Back on May 8, Iran notified its remaining partners in the 2015 nuclear deal that it would suspend the implementation of some of its commitments in reaction to the US’ unilateral withdrawal and Europe’s failure to live up to its commitments.

Speaking in an exclusive email interview with The New York Times published on Thursday night, Zarif said Iran made the decision as it “can indeed prevent the deal from total collapse.”

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) “was and remains the best POSSIBLE agreement on the nuclear issue,” Zarif said, adding that its total collapse “will be detrimental to the interests of all, including the US.”

He said Iran “will remain committed to the deal as long as the remaining participants (EU, France, Germany, UK, Russia and China) observe the deal.”

“Survival or collapse of the JCPOA depends on the ability and willingness of all parties to invest in this undertaking. In a nutshell, a multilateral agreement cannot be implemented unilaterally,” Zarif said.

He also said that Iran’s decision to reduce its commitments was taken in line with its legal rights under paragraphs 26 and 36 of the nuclear deal, saying, “Paragraph 36 of JCPOA is a clear example that we negotiated this deal with the full understanding that we could not trust the commitment of the West.

As part of the first phase of scaling down its commitments, Iran exceeded the 300-kilogram limit set by the JCPOA on its low-enriched uranium stockpiles……….

The JCPOA obliges the European partners to prove their commitment to the nuclear deal in action, Zarif said, adding that the Islamic Republic would commit to the agreement in exactly the same way as those countries would.

July 15, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How the Iran nuclear deal actually works

“I think in Iran, we are pretty confident that there is no undeclared plant”

How the Iran nuclear deal works, explained in 3 minutes

Iran is enriching uranium and breaking the limit set by the nuclear deal. Here’s what that means.

Uranium enrichment is a critical step in making nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. VOX, By Iran has exceeded the uranium enrichment level of 3.67 percent set in the 2015 nuclear deal it made with world powers, a spokesman for Iran’s nuclear agency said, according to reports Monday.

The deal put tight restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the loosening of some international sanctions on the country. The 3.67 percent limitation on uranium enrichment purity was one of many limits in the deal meant to keep Iran from gathering enough material to build an atom bomb in a year if it chose to (Iran has never officially said it wants a nuclear weapon).

On Sunday, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, said Iran would begin enriching uranium to 4.5 percent for its Bushehr power plant.

“This is to protect the nuclear deal, not to nullify it. … This is an opportunity for talks. And if our partners fail to use this opportunity, they should not doubt our determination to leave the deal,” Araghchi said.

The 4.5 percent enrichment is still well below the 90 percent considered weapons-grade. But the violation of the deal is a move meant “to pressure Europe to reset the terms of the nuclear agreement following a US withdrawal from the pact last year,” according to the Washington Post.

Given the extraordinary destructive power of a nuclear weapon, keeping a close eye on enrichment around the world is critical to global security. But in the decades since the Manhattan Project, the enrichment process has gone from a massive, power-hungry, brute-force operation to a sophisticated and potentially clandestine affair.

Since it’s immensely important in international diplomacy right now, it’s worthwhile to understand what goes into enriching nuclear material, how the nuclear process works, and the strategies for keeping it in check………

Given the extraordinary destructive power of a nuclear weapon, keeping a close eye on enrichment around the world is critical to global security. But in the decades since the Manhattan Project, the enrichment process has gone from a massive, power-hungry, brute-force operation to a sophisticated and potentially clandestine affair.

Since it’s immensely important in international diplomacy right now, it’s worthwhile to understand what goes into enriching nuclear material, how the nuclear process works, and the strategies for keeping it in check.

Under the NPT, countries that don’t currently possess nuclear weapons are prevented from developing or spreading nuclear weapons technologies, but they can pursue nuclear activities for peaceful purposes like research or energy.

In 2003, Iran was found to have violated nuclear activity reporting requirements in the NPT, which spurred the international effort to get Iran to suspend its enrichment work. The US has argued that Iran does not have the right to enrich uranium since it was caught violating some of the safeguards imposed by the NPT, though Iran has not violated the treaty itself.

The goal of the six countries that signed the JCPOA with Iran in 2015 was to limit what is called “breakout time.” That is, how long it would take Iran to enrich enough material for a nuclear weapon if the country suddenly decided to ditch all international agreements and aggressively ramp up enrichment.

Prior to the agreement, Iran’s breakout time was estimated at four to six weeks. The provisions of the deal (Vox’s Zack Beauchamp put together an excellent explainer on this) aimed to extend this to more than a year, which would give international observers time to detect such a shift and enact countermeasures.

In short, the agreement made Iran limit uranium enrichment to 3.67 percent and decommission about 14,000 of its centrifuges, allowing just roughly 5,000 of Iran’s first-generation units to keep spinning. These IR-1 centrifuges produce between 0.75 and 1 SWU per device, whereas the IR-8 centrifuges Iran was developing at the time of the deal could theoretically manage 24 SWU, making them much more efficient.

Iran also gave up much of its low-enriched uranium stockpile, going from 25,000 pounds to 660 pounds. Iranian officials also agreed to pour concrete into their Arak reactor, a potential source of plutonium for nuclear weapons.

In addition, the JCPOA requires round-the-clock monitoring of Iran’s enrichment facilities in Fordow and Natanz, with only the Natanz facility allowed to operate. These are likely the only places where Iran can enrich uranium for a weapon.

“I think in Iran, we are pretty confident that there is no undeclared plant,” said Alex Glaser, director of the Nuclear Futures Laboratory at Princeton University.

International observers are also monitoring Iran’s uranium mining operations.

As it stands, the agreement effectively eliminates Iran’s prospects for enriching enough uranium for a civilian nuclear program and makes it much more tedious to gather the material required for a weapon. What little enrichment Iran is allowed under the deal is effectively a face-saving measure.

But, critics argue, pausing Iran’s entire nuclear enrichment apparatus only extends the breakout time by a few months since the country could just rebuild or reinstall its centrifuges if it decided to leave the agreement. And it looks like that day may be getting closer: a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said Monday that the agency may increase the enrichment level to 20 percent or reinstall centrifuges.

July 9, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards chief says -The world knows Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapon

The world knows Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapon: Guards chief (Reuters) – The world knows that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said on Monday, according to the Tasnim news agency.

Iran threatened on Monday to restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity as its next potential big moves away from a 2015 nuclear agreement that Washington abandoned last year.

Why do they globally sanction us about the nuclear issue when the world knows that we are not pursuing a weapon? In reality they are sanctioning us because of knowledge,” he said. “Nuclear weapons have no place in Islam. Islam never approves of weapons of mass destruction.”

Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh, Editing by William Maclean


July 9, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran to breach nuclear deal limits: still far from producing a nuclear weapon

Iran Announces New Breach of Nuclear Deal Limits and Threatens Further Violations, NYT, By David D. Kirkpatrick and David E. Sanger, July 7, 2019

Iran said on Sunday that within hours it would breach the limits on uranium enrichment set four years ago in an accord with the United States and other international powers that was designed to keep Tehran from producing a nuclear weapon……….. The steps Iran has taken are all easily reversible. …..

In violating the limits on uranium enrichment, Tehran still remains far from producing a nuclear weapon. It would take a major production surge, and enrichment to far higher levels, for Iran to develop a bomb’s worth of highly enriched uranium, experts say. It would take even longer to manufacture that material into a nuclear weapon……..

The European strategy for the next few months, one senior diplomat involved in the discussions said, is to buy some time and hope to defuse the crisis. There is no immediate urgency about starting the process for “snapback” sanctions, and European officials, led by the French, hope to begin some kind of negotiation process that would make that unnecessary.

If Iran’s increase in the enrichment level is modest — say, to 5 percent, a level often used for fueling reactors — there would be no political momentum for sanctions, especially because European officials largely view President Trump as the instigator of the nuclear deal’s demise. ……

For a year after Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from what he called a “terrible” deal negotiated by his predecessor, Iran stayed within the accord’s limits. It pressed Britain, France and Germany to make good on their promises to compensate the country for oil revenues and other losses resulting from American sanctions. …….

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment

Special UN meeting to discuss Iran: Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany try to keep nuclear deal

UN nuclear watchdog to hold special meeting on Iran at request of US,  RTE, 6 July 19 The United States has called an emergency meeting of the UN atomic watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors to discuss Iran, according to the US mission to the agency.

It comes after Tehran breached its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

Any country on the board can call a meeting, and the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in a note to member states that the meeting would be held next Wednesday after the IAEA this week said Iran had exceeded the maximum stock of enriched uranium allowed under the deal……..

The IAEA is in charge of verifying the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities imposed by the deal, which also lifted international sanctions against Tehran. The IAEA has repeatedly said it is up to the parties to the deal to decide whether there has been a breach of its terms.

Iran has said it will go over the deal’s nuclear restrictions one by one in retaliation against crippling economic sanctions Washington has imposed on it since the US withdrawal. It has said that as of 7 July it will enrich uranium beyond the 3.67% purity cap imposed by the deal.

Other signatories to the 2015 deal, apart from Iran and the United States, are Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.     Those five countries are trying to keep the deal alive.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | 2 Comments

Fiery Imam suggests missile attack on Israel’s Dimona nuclear power plant

Israel’s Nuclear Reactor,   Radio Farda, 7July 19, Tehran’s Friday Prayer Imam has suggested that Iran should launch a missile attack on Israel’s Dimona nuclear power plant.

In his Friday July 5 sermon, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, better known as Movahedi, addressed the United States and Israel, saying: “If Iran decides to confront you, a missile strike on the Dimona reactor would be enough,” threatening that the attack “will plough Israel 200 times.”

Dimona is an Israeli city in the Negev region, South of Beersheba and West of the Dead Sea. The city is nicknamed mini-India for its sizeable Indian Jewish community. The Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center is located about 13 kilometers to the southeast of the city.

Movahedi warned the United States and Israel about their vulnerability: “You are living in a glass house. You’d better watch out!”

He also warned the United States against a military attack on Iran………

Last year, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei changed his mind about appointing Movahedi as an interim chairman for the Expediency Council after a few weeks, probably fearing his occasional outlandish remarks could cause havoc in Iran’s domestic or international politics.

Some of Friday Prayer Imams in other Iranian cities have also made passing remarks about tensions in the region, but none was observed to make firebrand violent remarks.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Iran, Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Israel lobby in US pushing for war against Iran: Analyst

 Press TV, Jul 5, 2019, The Israel lobby in the United States is pushing the administration of President Donald Trump to launch war against Iran because the regime in Tel Aviv does not want to fight Tehran itself, according to E Michael Jones, an American writer and former professor.

A new opinion poll shows that a vast majority of American voters oppose a military conflict with Iran and express support for US President Donald Trump’s decision last month not to launch a military strike against the Islamic Republic.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, released to The Hill newspaper on Tuesday, found that 78 percent of voters said they believed Trump’s decision to call off the strike on Iran was the right move.

The survey also found that 57 percent of respondents were against military confrontation with Iran if the US was not directly attacked by the country…….

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How Close Is Iran to a Nuclear Bomb, Really?

Experts say Tehran has the capability to build a nuclear weapon within a few years but perhaps not the intent. Foreign, BY LARA SELIGMAN, JULY 1, 2019, 

Iran confirmed on Monday that it has breached the limit on its stockpile of enriched uranium set by the 2015 nuclear deal, renewing concerns that Tehran could, within months, have enough weapons-grade uranium to build a nuclear bomb.

But experts say the violation is more of a symbolic move than a concrete step toward obtaining a nuclear weapon. Though most agree that Iran has the expertise and capability to eventually build such a device, it is not clear that Tehran has the intent or even sees the necessity of doing so.

This is not a dash to a nuclear bomb,” said Kelsey Davenport, the director of nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association. “It is a calculated move designed to gain leverage in negotiations with the Europeans, Russia, and China on sanctions relief.”

Tehran has recently ratcheted up pressure on the remaining adherents to the nuclear deal to provide some sort of relief to U.S. President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign. Iran has allegedly attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and most recently shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone, nearly provoking a U.S. missile attack that Trump aborted at the last minute. The regime is also threatening to suspend other commitments under the 2015 deal in just days unless European powers provide sanction relief.

The 2015 deal caps Iran’s levels of uranium enriched to 3.67 percent purity—called “low-enriched uranium” and suitable for producing fuel for nuclear power reactors—at 300 kilograms. But there are still a number of steps Iran would have to take in order to build a bomb, Davenport explained………..

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Iran, weapons and war | Leave a comment

No solution found to the nuclear issue, after European talks with Iran end

European Talks With Iran End, Leaving Nuclear Issue Unsettled,  NYT, By David E. Sanger, June 28, 2019   WASHINGTON — A last-minute effort by European powers to persuade Iran not to breach limits on its stockpile of nuclear fuel ended inconclusively on Friday, with the Iranians saying that Britain, France and Germany had made only modest progress in developing a system to get around tight American sanctions on trade with Tehran.

As he left the talks in Vienna, Abbas Araghchi, the Iranian deputy foreign minister, said he expected Iran would go ahead with its plan to break the ceiling on how much low-enriched uranium it was allowed to possess. That breach could come as early as this weekend, potentially setting off another confrontation with the Trump administration, after a week of recriminations and military threats following the downing of an American drone and attacks on tankers.

“It is still not enough, and it is still not meeting Iran’s expectations,” Mr. Araghchi told reporters, according to news reports from Vienna. …….

Breaking the stockpile limit would not, by itself, give Iran enough fuel to produce a nuclear weapon. But the European participants in the 2015 agreement have been urging the Iranians not to dispense with the accord, for fear that the Trump administration might react with a military or cyberstrike against the Iranians…….

The United States’ special envoy for Iran, Brian H. Hook, said this week that the sanctions have already cost Iran more than $50 billion…….

July 1, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran doesn’t want to leave the nuclear agreement, calls on Europe for trade help

No Intention to Quit JCPOA Despite Nuclear Rollbacks  Financial Tribune, 29 June 19, Europe should take further measures to ensure that the special trade channel set up to keep trade with Iran afloat satisfies Tehran’s demands, a senior diplomat said on Saturday, while stressing that the country does not intend to leave the nuclear agreement.

“I personally believe that INSTEX, in its current condition, isn’t enough. This mechanism without money is like a beautiful car without fuel,” Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, told the media in New York, IRNA reported.

In early May, a year after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, Tehran announced a decision to abandon some of its commitments under the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Iran would resume higher uranium enrichment in 60 days if the remaining signatories fail to make good on promises to shield its oil and banking sectors from the reimposed and tightened US sanctions.

On Friday, the European Union announced in a statement that the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges or INSTEX, the financial mechanism set up by France, Britain and Germany to facilitate some trade with Iran, is now operational and the first transactions are being processed. ….. (subscribers only)

July 1, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Progress in diplomatic talks with Iran, but might not save the nuclear deal

Nuclear talks progress ‘not enough’ for Iran to change course, INSTEX payment system now operational, but Iran says needs to be used for oil purchases to be useful. Aljazeera, 29 June 19

Diplomats meeting in Vienna in a bid to save a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers made progress but it was “not enough” to stop Tehran scaling back compliance with the accord, according to the Iranian deputy foreign minister.

Officials from the deal’s remaining signatories – China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Iran – as well as the European Union, held talks in the Austrian capital on Friday after Tehran warned that it would soon breach a limit on the amount of enriched uranium set out in the agreement.

“It was a step forward, but it is still not enough and not meeting Iran’s expectations,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters. “I don’t think the progress made today will be enough to stop our process but the decision will be made in Tehran.”…….

June 29, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran close to exceeding uranium stockpile limits set by the nuclear agreement

Iran Is About To Exceed Uranium Limits. Is The Nuclear Deal Dying? NPR,  26, 2019 , Heard on All Things Considered, GEOFF BRUMFIEL

Iran is on the verge of crossing a key line included in the nuclear deal it reached with the U.S. and other powers in 2015. As soon as Thursday, it’s expected to announce that its uranium stockpiles have exceeded limits set by the deal.

“I think it’s a major bridge for them to go across,” says David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, which monitors Iran’s nuclear program. Albright and other experts believe that breaching the limit could spell the beginning of the end for the nuclear agreement, which the U.S. exited in May 2018.

The nuclear deal is full of numbers and figures, but its purpose is simple: to slow down Iran’s nuclear program. Before the deal, Iran was within a few weeks of getting enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb if it chose to. The deal pushed that timeline back from weeks to about a year.

Under the multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran was forced to get rid of lots of low-enriched uranium. Low-enriched uranium is kept at levels far below the 90% level considered suitable for building nuclear weapons. But large quantities of low-enriched uranium can be refined to bomb-grade relatively quickly. So the deal capped Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched material to just 300 kilograms, or 661 lbs.

But that was then. Last year, President Trump pulled out of the deal. Without the economic benefits Iran was promised in exchange for limiting its nuclear program, it has begun going back on the agreement. In May, it announced it would begin accumulating more low-enriched uranium. ……..

European companies had hoped to do business with Iran. But in the face of U.S. sanctions, “We’ve seen those companies have to step back and say, ‘We can’t afford to lose the U.S. market,’ ” Hinderstein says.

Iran is now stepping across one line in the deal at a time, in an effort to pressure European nations to provide promised economic relief. European negotiators are racing to complete a package of humanitarian aid by early July, says Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi with Great Britain’s Royal United Services Institute.

“They are working towards that end goal, to showcase to the Iranians that they are actually working in practical terms to address some of these issues,” Tabrizi says.

If that aid — which includes things like medical supplies — can be delivered without U.S. objection, then it may open the possibility of more economic benefits flowing to Iran. But Tabrizi says it remains to be seen whether it will be enough.

“Iran has made it clear that it needs also to be able to continue to export its oil, to see the incentive of remaining a party of the nuclear deal,” she says.

For now, Hinderstein says, Iran is still about a year away from getting material together for a bomb — should it decide to do so. “We still have some time to work with,” she says.

But with each line that Iran crosses, the timeline shrinks, and the nuclear deal fades further.

June 27, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran’s foreign minister claims that Iran will never build a nuclear weapon

Iran says it will never build a nuclear weapon, Minister says Islam forbids such a move as country prepares to breach nuclear deal,  Guardian   Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor,  26 June 2019

Iran will never pursue a nuclear weapon, its foreign minister has claimed, saying Islam prevented the country from doing so.

Iran has previously said it is ideologically opposed to acquiring nuclear weapons and seeks nuclear power only for civilian purposes. But in the current unpredictable climate it is possible Donald Trump could pick up Javad Zarif’s remarks as a signal to talk.

The White House is pursuing a twin-track strategy of seeking talks while trying to throttle the Iranian economy through sanctions that block trade with Europe and oil sales, and freeze the assets of political and diplomatic leaders.

Iran has said it will breach the uranium enrichment limits set out in the 2015 nuclear deal on Thursday, but that does not imply the country is on the path to building a nuclear weapon…….

The US president again threatened Iran with “obliteration” in a Twitter tirade in which he also accused the country’s leaders of killing 2,000 Americans. …..

The angry tweets came after Iran said the US’s decision to impose sanctionson its supreme leader and other top officials was “idiotic” and had permanently closed the path to diplomacy between Tehran and Washington.

Trump imposed fresh sanctions on Monday against the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and military chiefs, in an unprecedented step designed to increase pressure on Iran after Tehran’s downing of an unmanned American drone. Khamenei is Iran’s utmost authority, who has the last say on all state matters.

Washington said it would also impose sanctions this week on Zarif, who negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal with the US and other major powers and has spearheaded Iranian diplomacy since.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, described the White House as “afflicted by a mental disability” and said the sanctions against Khamenei were “outrageous and idiotic”, especially as the 80-year-old cleric has no overseas assets and no plans to ever travel to the US.

Tehran said the US had spent weeks demanding that Iran match America’s diplomacy with its own diplomacy, rather than military responses, but was now trying to immobilise its chief diplomat.

“Imposing useless sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader and the commander of Iran’s diplomacy is the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy,” the foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet on Tuesday. “Trump’s desperate administration is destroying the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security.”……..

June 27, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

HBO TV series ” Chernobyl” causing great interest in Iran

With ‘Chernobyl,’ Iranians talk other people’s nuclear problems, for a change, Al-Monitor, Iranians, who have been under pressure from the United States over the country’s nuclear program, are enjoying discussing someone else’s nuclear problems for a change. The recently released HBO miniseries “Chernobyl,” focusing on the catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986, has proved to be wildly popular in Iran.

Despite four decades of enmity between Iran and the United States, Iranians have always been big fans of American television series. ……

June 27, 2019 Posted by | Iran, media | Leave a comment