The AP Interview: UN nuke chief says view of Iran blurred
The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog has warned that the restrictions faced by his inspectors in Iran threaten to give the world only a “very blurred image” of Tehran’s program as it enriches uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels.
UN nuclear watchdog: Iran producing more uranium metal
The UN's nuclear watchdog says Iran continues to produce uranium metal, which can be used in the production of a nuclear bomb, in a move that further complicates the possibility of reviving a landmark 2015 deal with world powers on Iran's nuclear program.
EXPLAINER: Iran restricts UN atomic agency to pressure West
Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi from Argentina, speaks to the media after returning from Iran at the Vienna International Airport, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)DUBAI – Iran will begin restricting the ability of United Nations nuclear inspectors to monitor Tehran's nuclear program. Restricting IAEA inspections, a cornerstone of ensuring Iran's nuclear program is peaceful, provides Iran a way to grab the West's attention. Without success at the negotiating table, Iran could bar IAEA inspectors or withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. ___Associated Press writers Amir Vahdat and Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, and David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.
UN nuclear chief says Iran to grant 'less access' to program
(AP Photo/Ronald Zak)TEHRAN – Iran will begin to offer United Nations inspectors “less access” to its nuclear program as part of its pressure campaign on the West, though investigators will still be able to monitor Tehran's work, the U.N. atomic watchdog's chief said Sunday. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. unilaterally out of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, saying it needed to be renegotiated. AdGrossi met earlier Sunday with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's civilian nuclear program. In November, Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who founded the country's military nuclear program some two decades earlier, was killed in an attack Tehran blames on Israel. “Some of them may have security ramifications for Iran, whose peaceful nuclear sites have been attacked," Zarif said.
Biden repudiates Trump on Iran, ready for talks on nuke deal
Besides signaling Thursday a willingness to talk with Iran, the administration also reversed Trump’s determination that all U.N. sanctions against Iran had been restored. He's expected to address the U.S. stance on the 2015 multilateral Iran nuclear deal, the war in Afghanistan and the economic and national security challenges posed by Russia and China. The U.S. has not participated in a meeting of those participants since Trump withdrew from the deal and began steadily ramping up sanctions on Iran. The Trump administration had imposed the severe restrictions, which essentially confined them to their U.N. mission and the U.N. headquarters building in New York. “It is concerning the Biden Administration is already making concessions in an apparent attempt to re-enter the flawed Iran deal," he said.
US, Europeans urge Iran to keep allowing nuclear inspections
(UNTV via AP)PARIS – Top European and U.S. officials urged Iran on Thursday to allow continued United Nations nuclear inspections and stop nuclear activities that have no credible civilian use. Iran is “playing with fire,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who took part in talks Thursday in Paris with his British and French counterparts. Iran has said it will stop part of International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of its nuclear facilities next week if the West doesn’t implement its own commitments under the 2015 deal. The 2015 accord is aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The head of the IAEA is scheduled to travel to Iran this weekend to find a solution that allows the agency to continue inspections.
Iran may pursue nuclear weapon, intel minister warns West
Iran's supreme leader said the U.S. must lift all sanctions if it wants Iran to return to its commitments to the nuclear deal with Western powers. The remarks by Mahmoud Alavi mark a rare occasion that a government official says Iran could reverse its course on the nuclear program. A 1990s fatwa, or religious edict, by the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei states that nuclear weapons are forbidden. AdIsrael has long accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, and the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers put strict limits on Iranian nuclear activities to prevent it from reaching weapons capabilities. Israel, which has been suspected of killing Iranian nuclear scientists over the last decade, has repeatedly declined to comment on the attack.
Iran asks watchdog not to publish 'unnecessary' nuke details
The report quoted a statement from Iran’s nuclear department that asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to avoid publishing details on Iran’s nuclear program that may cause confusion. “Iran has no credible civilian use for uranium metal,” they said in a joint statement. “The production of uranium metal has potentially grave military implications.”On Thursday, the IAEA said Iran had informed it that it had begun installing equipment for the production of uranium metal. Iran reacted to the European statement Sunday saying Iran informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog nearly two decades ago of its plans for the “peaceful and conventional” production of uranium metal. The three European nations alongside the U.S., Russia and China signed the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that prohibited research and production of uranium metal.
Iran starts 20% uranium enrichment, seizes South Korean ship
In this photo released Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, by Tasnim News Agency, a seized South Korean-flagged tanker is escorted by Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats on the Persian Gulf. Iranian state television acknowledged that Tehran seized the oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif seemed to acknowledge Tehran's interest in leveraging the situation in a tweet about its nuclear enrichment. Meanwhile, Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard seized the MT Hankuk Chemi, with photos later released showing its vessels alongside the tanker. The South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted an anonymous company official denying the Iranian claim the ship polluted the water.
Iran builds at underground nuclear facility amid US tensions
This Dec. 11, 2020, satellite photo by Maxar Technologies shows construction at Iran's Fordo nuclear facility. Iran has begun construction on a site at its underground nuclear facility at Fordo amid tensions with the U.S. over its atomic program, satellite photos obtained Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, by The Associated Press show. Already, Iran is building at its Natanz nuclear facility after a mysterious explosion in July there that Tehran described as a sabotage attack. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran agreed to stop enriching uranium at Fordo and instead make it “a nuclear, physics and technology center.”“This location was a major sticking point in negotiations leading to the Iran nuclear deal,” Lewis said. Meanwhile, an Iranian scientist who created its military nuclear program two decades ago recently was killed in a shooting outside of Tehran.
Iran summons EU envoys for protesting reporter's hanging
TEHRAN – Iran on Sunday summoned the German and French envoys to Tehran after the European Union condemned the execution of an Iranian journalist whose work helped inspire nationwide economic protests in 2017, Iranian state media reported. IRNA said an Iranian Foreign Ministry official summoned the ambassadors because of EU statements on the exiled reporter Ruhollah Zam, 47, who was hanged on Saturday. Zam had been jailed in Iran after Iranian authorities seized him while he was traveling in neighboring Iraq last year. “This is a barbarous and unacceptable act,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement, which condemned the hanging as a “grave blow” to freedom of speech in Iran. The initial spark for the 2017 protests was a sudden jump in food prices.
Iran says US sanctions hinder access to COVID-19 vaccines
Rouhani said Wednesday that U.S. sanctions are making it difficult for Iran to purchase medicine and health supplies from abroad, including COVID-19 vaccines needed to contain the worst outbreak in the Middle East. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)TEHRAN – Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that U.S. sanctions are making it difficult for Iran to purchase medicine and health supplies from abroad, including COVID-19 vaccines needed to contain the worst outbreak in the Middle East. He said even simple transactions to purchase medicine from other countries had become extremely difficult and that it can take “weeks” to transfer funds. Rouhani said authorities are nevertheless doing what they can to buy vaccines from abroad, hoping to deliver them to high-risk individuals as soon as possible. Iran has reported more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus out of more than a million confirmed cases — the worst outbreak in the Middle East.
Iran's president opposes bill that would boost enrichment
TEHRAN – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday expressed his opposition to a bill approved by parliament the previous day to suspend U.N. inspections and boost uranium enrichment, saying it would be “harmful” to diplomatic efforts aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal and easing U.S. sanctions. Under the law, if the president refuses to sign the bill, it will be automatically singed by the parliament speaker to go into effect. Tuesday's approval by lawmakers appeared to be a show of defiance after Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a key figure in Iran's nuclear program, was killed in an attack Iranian officials have blamed on Israel. Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful. The U.S. imposed crippling sanctions on Iran after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement in 2018.
Iran closes businesses, curtails travel amid virus surge
Iran on Saturday shuttered businesses and curtailed travel between its major cities, including the capital of Tehran, as it grapples with the worst outbreak of the coronavirus in the Mideast region. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)TEHRAN – Iran on Saturday shuttered businesses and curtailed travel between its major cities, including the capital of Tehran, as it grapples with the worst outbreak of the coronavirus in the Mideast region. Top Iranian officials initially downplayed the risks posed by the virus outbreak, before recently urging the public to follow measures like wearing masks and avoiding unessential travel. The Iranian Health Ministry said on Saturday that the total number of confirmed cases has risen to above 840,000. The new lockdown measures, which include shuttering most businesses, shops, malls, and restaurants, include Iran's largest cities of Mashhad, Isfahan, and Shiraz.
Iran's allies on high alert in Trump's final weeks in office
On Friday, Nov. 20, two Iraqi officials say Iran has instructed allies in the Middle East to be on high alert and avoid provoking tensions with the U.S. that could give an outgoing Trump Administration cause to launch attacks in his final weeks in office. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)BAGHDAD – Iran has instructed allies across the Middle East to be on high alert and avoid provoking tensions with the U.S. that could give an outgoing Trump administration cause to launch attacks in the U.S. president's final weeks in office, Iraqi officials have said. Iran’s allies have collectively welcomed Trump’s election defeat. However, if there was a U.S. aggression by the Trump administration, Iran's response would “be in line with the type of strike,” one of the Iraqi politicians cited Ghaani as saying. Meanwhile, in Lebanon, the leader of the Iran-backed militant Hezbollah group, Hasan Nasrallah, warned followers and allies to be vigilant during Trump’s remaining weeks in office.
Iran's president calls on Biden to return to nuclear deal
In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. On Sunday, Rouhani called on President-elect Joe Biden to "compensate for past mistakes" and return the U.S. to Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)TEHRAN – Iran's president called on President-elect Joe Biden to “compensate for past mistakes” and return the U.S. to Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, a state-run news agency reported Sunday. Hassan Rouhani's comments mark the highest-level response from Iran to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris clinching the Nov. 3 election. In an effort to pressure Europe to find a way around the sanctions, Iran has slowly abandoned the limits of the nuclear deal.
Wary of angering public, Iran has few ways to contain virus
FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2020, file photo, people wear protective face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the Tajrish traditional bazaar in northern Tehran, Iran. In the last week, Iran shattered its single-day death toll record twice and reported daily infection highs three times. He demanded for the first time they prioritize public health over “the security and economic aspects” of the pandemic, without elaborating. Only in late March — with infections skyrocketing — did Iran impose a two-week shutdown of offices and nonessential businesses. ___Associated Press writer Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.
Months into pandemic, Iran sees worst wave of virus deaths
In this Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, photo provided by the Iranian Health Ministry, medics tend to a COVID-19 patient at the Shohadaye Tajrish Hospital in Tehran, Iran. The single-day death toll hit a record high three times this week. On state TV, gravediggers can be seen breaking new ground in vast cemeteries for virus victims, as the daily death toll shattered records Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. A top health official announced that overall hospitalizations in Tehran, the capital, were up 12% more than in even previous virus surges. “There is not an empty bed for any new patient.”Contradictory messages and measures have plagued the government’s virus response, helping propel the country's toll of 29,600 reported deaths to No.
Iran strikes defiant tone at UN under crushing US sanctions
The sanctions effectively bar Iran from selling its oil globally. “The United States can impose neither negotiations nor war on us,” Rouhani said, adding: “Life is hard under sanctions. Because Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement, few U.N. member states believe the U.S. has the legal standing to restore the sanctions. Iran has steadily broken restrictions on the amount of uranium it can enrich in order to pressure countries to do more. It was his last speech to the U.N. assembly as president of Iran.
Virtual UN meeting saps NYC of yearly hubbub, cash infusion
A general view of United Nations headquarters on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. Leaders will not be traveling to the United Nations in New York for their addresses, which will be prerecorded. As the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak this spring, New York City has lost more than 23,000 residents to confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19. “From a city perspective, we have been very grateful for that,” said Penny Abeywardena, New York City's international affairs commissioner. “We have people that we know them for years — every General Assembly, they come here.
Iran dismisses US efforts for UN sanctions as currency drops
FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2019 file photo, a man counts his banknotes and traveler checks in Tehran, Iran. On Sunday, Sept 20, 2020, Iran dismissed U.S. efforts to restore all U.N. sanctions on the country as mounting economic pressure from Washington pushed the local currency down to its lowest level ever. As the currency plummeted, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani slammed the Trump administration's declaration Saturday that all U.N. sanctions against Iran have been reimposed because Tehran is not complying with the nuclear deal. They say the U.S. lost legal standing to invoke snapback sanctions when President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and began reimposing U.S. sanctions on Iran. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the snapback sanctions have only happened in “the fantastical world” of the Trump administration.
Iran begins new school year amid virus concerns
Students and their parents wearing protective face masks to help prevent spread of the coronavirus listen to their national anthem during the opening ceremony of the Hashtroudi school in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. Iran on Saturday opened the new school year after nearly seven months of closure as many expressed concern over a possible increase in infections of the Covid-19. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)TEHRAN Iran on Saturday opened the new school year after nearly seven months of closure. The reopening of schools came as many expressed concern over a possible increase in infections, including medical professionals. Prevent physical reopening of all schools across the country.Iran has so far used distance learning via internet apps and TV programs.
Iran threatens 'dangerous future' for UAE after Israel deal
TEHRAN Irans powerful Revolutionary Guard vowed Saturday there would be dangerous consequences for the United Arab Emirates after it announced a historic deal with Israel to open up diplomatic relations. The UAE is the first Gulf Arab state to do so and only the third Arab nation to establish normalized relations with Israel, Iran's regional archenemy. The Guard warned that the deal with Israel will set back American influence in the Middle East, and bring a dangerous future" for the Emirati government. In a televised speech Saturday, he warned that the United Arab Emirates has made a huge mistake in reaching a deal toward normalizing ties with Israel. Israel has quietly cultivated ties with the UAE and other Gulf countries for several years as they have confronted a shared enemy in Iran.
Virus deaths top 600,000 as cases rise in SAfrica, Australia
China confirmed 13 new cases in the northwestern city of Urumqi on Sunday, while South Korea reported less than 40 additional cases for a second straight day. The number of confirmed infections worldwide has passed 14.2 million, out of which 3.7 million are in the United States. Local governments in India continued to reimpose focused lockdowns in several parts of the country following a surge in cases. Iran has the Middle Easts worst outbreak with more than 270,000 confirmed cases. In Bangladesh, confirmed cases surpassed 200,000 but experts say the number is much higher as the country lacks adequate labs for testing.
Breathtaking virus numbers show normal life still far away
Health workers wait to screen people for COVID-19 symptoms at a temple in Mumbai, India, Saturday, July 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)JOHANNESBURG South Africa was poised on Saturday to join the top five countries most affected by the coronavirus, while breathtaking numbers around the world were a reminder a return to normal life is still far from sight. Confirmed virus cases worldwide have topped 14 million and deaths have surpassed 600,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data, a day after the World Health Organization reported a single-day record of new infections at over 237,000. The country, however, remains the worlds most unequal, and health officials have warned that the pandemic will lay that bare. The two most populous states each reported roughly 10,000 new cases and some of their highest death counts since the pandemic began.
Iran estimates it has 25 million coronavirus infections
He estimated as many as 25 million Iranians could have been infected with the coronavirus since the outbreak's beginning, citing an Iranian Health Ministry study that has so far not been made public, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. President Hassan Rouhani cited a new Iranian Health Ministry study in offering the unprecedentedly high number of 25 million infections. Rouhani also said that he believes an additional 30 million to 35 million people could be infected in coming months, again without citing the basis for his estimate. Iran has seen the worst outbreak in the Middle East, with more than 270,000 confirmed cases and at least 13,979 deaths. Even today, Iranian death tolls remain based on those who died in coronavirus wards in hospitals.
Pompeo urges UN arms embargo on Iran's `terrorist regime'
The United States has circulated a draft Security Council resolution to extend the arms embargo indefinitely, and Pompeo said the United States overwhelming preference is to work with its 15 members to adopt it. Pompeo spoke at a virtual open meeting of the council on implementation of resolution 2231, which was adopted in 2015 to endorse the Iran nuclear deal. The arms embargo is included in the measure. Zarif told the council later that the U.S. violated all provisions of the deal by its withdrawal and insisted that the arms embargo be lifted completely on its Oct. 18 expiration date. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow opposes "blessing the U.S. maximum pressure policy through the arms embargo resolution.
Iran journalist who fueled 2017 protests sentenced to death
In this June 2, 2020 photo, journalist Ruhollah Zam speaks during his trial at the Revolutionary Court, in Tehran, Iran. The judiciary spokesman, Gholamhossein Esmaili, announced Tuesday, June 30, 2020 that Zam, a journalist whose online work helped inspire the 2017 economic protests and who returned from exile to Tehran was sentenced to death. (Ali Shirband/Mizan News Agency via AP)TEHRAN Iran sentenced a once-exiled journalist to death over his online work that helped inspire nationwide economic protests that began at the end of 2017, authorities said Tuesday. The initial spark for the 2017 protests was a sudden jump in food prices. The 2017 protests reportedly saw some 5,000 people detained and 25 killed.
Atomic watchdog: Iran's stockpiles of uranium still growing
(Office of the Iranian Presidency via AP)VIENNA – The U.N. atomic watchdog says Iran's stockpiles of low-enriched uranium are still growing in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal. In a confidential quarterly report distributed to member states, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium still exceeds the amount allowed by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. It also said Iran continues to enrich uranium up to 4.5%, above the 3.67% allowed. The agency says as of Nov. 3, Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium was 372.3 kilograms (820.78 pounds) compared to 241.6 kilograms reported on Aug. 19, and past the 202.8 kilogram limit. Since the U.S. pulled out of the Iran nuclear pact last year and imposed sanctions, Iran has been slowly violating its provisions to pressure other nations to provide more incentives.