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India stands to gain from historic Iran deal

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Washington: India, which has drastically reduced its oil imports from Iran under US pressure, stands to gain from the historic accord reached between Tehran and six world powers to limit its nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions.

But before India, which imports 70 percent of its oil supply, turns back on the taps of Iranian oil, President Barack Obama has to sell the deal to a hostile Republican Congress that has 60 days to review it.

Obama has vowed to veto any legislation that may scuttle what he described as “a comprehensive, long-term deal that will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon”.

Asserting that “it would be irresponsible to walk away from this deal”, Obama said he would “welcome a robust debate in Congress on the details of this deal” even as he warned that “I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.”

“Because of this deal, Iran will not be able to produce highly enriched uranium or weapons-grade plutonium, the raw materials necessary to build a bomb,” Obama said in an open letter to the American public explaining “what this deal means and how it works”.

Under this deal, Iran will reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 98 percent, remove two-thirds of its installed centrifuges — the machines necessary to produce highly enriched uranium – and store them under constant international supervision, he said.

“Under this deal, Iran will modify its nuclear reactor in Arak so it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium — and all spent fuel from the reactor will be shipped out of the country indefinitely,” Obama said.

Asserting that “This deal is not built on trust – it’s built on verification”, he said international nuclear inspectors will have access to Iran’s nuclear program – “where necessary, when necessary”.

iran-nuclear-deal-AP
Image Source: www.newindianexpress.com

“As Iran implements this deal, it will receive gradual relief from sanctions. If it violates any aspect of this deal, sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy will snap back into place,” he said.

According to the White House, the sanctions would begin lifting once the UN Security Council endorses the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as the agreement is called, “simultaneously with the IAEA-verified implementation of agreed nuclear-related measures by Iran”.

So it’s still some more time before Iranian oil starts flowing freely again to India, which has reduced its oil imports from Tehran to 10-11 million tonnes in 2014-15 from 21.20 million tonnes in 2009-10. (IANS)

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Microblogging Site Twitter Releases Tweets Linked to Russia, Iran

"We may also release incremental additions to existing datasets if we believe the additional information could materially impact research findings," Twitter said

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Twitter
Twitter releases data linked to Russian, Iranian info campaigns. Pixabay

With the goal of improving understanding of how foreign influence campings operate on Twitter, the microblogging site has now released massive datasets of accounts linked to potential influence campaigns originating in Russia and Iran.

These large datasets released this week comprise 3,841 accounts affiliated with the Internet Research Agency (IRA), originating in Russia, and 770 other accounts, potentially originating in Iran.

Totalling over 360 gigabytes – including more than 10 million Tweets and more than 2 million images, GIFs, videos, and Periscope broadcasts ?the data store provides a picture of how state-sponsored agencies have used the Twitter platform, technology news website Ars Technica reported on Friday.

IRA allegedly ran information campaigns on several social media platforms to undermine the political process in the 2016 US presidential election.

TWitter
The logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. vOA

With Twitter coming under scrutiny for its failure to stop the spread of misinformation during the election, the microblogging site, earlier this year, committed to the US Congress and the public to provide regular updates and information regarding its investigation into foreign interference in political conversations on Twitter.

Since that time, Twitter has shared examples of these types of content posted on Twitter by IRA and provided the public with a direct notice if they interacted with these accounts.

In August this year, Twitter also disclosed details of another attempted influence campaign it identified as potentially located within Iran.

The datasets released this week are aimed at enabling independent academic research and investigation into the nature of foreign influence campaigns, Twitter said.

Twitter
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“We are committed to understanding how bad-faith actors use our services. We will continue to proactively combat nefarious attempts to undermine the integrity of Twitter, while partnering with civil society, government, our industry peers, and researchers to improve our collective understanding of coordinated attempts to interfere in the public conversation,” Twitter said.

A preliminary look at the data by Ars Technica revealed that a common tactic used by the IRA was to create “local news” accounts for major US cities, seeding them with posts linking to local news outlets.

The accounts, such as “Atlanta Online,” “Baltimore Online,” “Baton Rouge Voice,” “Chicago Daily News,” and “Dallas Top News” would also include tweet-length news headlines with no link, the report said.

Also Read- Habitability Of Surrounding Planets Affected By Super Flares Of Red Dwarfs: NASA

Twitter said if it identifies additional attempted information operations on Twitter in the future, it will release similar datasets in a timely fashion after completing its investigations.

“We may also release incremental additions to existing datasets if we believe the additional information could materially impact research findings,” Twitter said. (IANS)