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Iran looking Forward To Continue Nuclear Enrichment Activity

President Donald Trump withdrew United States from the 2015 nuclear accord

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A bicyclist passes the nuclear power plant just outside Bushehr, Iran, Oct. 26, 2010.
A bicyclist passes the nuclear power plant just outside Bushehr, Iran, Oct. 26, 2010, VOA

Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency it will resume testing of a new generation of nuclear centrifuges Wednesday.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s nuclear energy agency, said Tehran would remain within the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, nuclear deal reached with the five permanent members of the United Nations plus Germany. Salehi added that the accord allowed Iran to test a new generation of nuclear centrifuges and that his country’s nuclear program is intended for peaceful civilian purposes.

Salehi says Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a religious edict years ago that banned nuclear weapons.

Khamenei told a group of visitors Monday that he had issued orders for the country’s Atomic Energy Organization to increase its enrichment capacity to 190,000 centrifuges, provisionally, in accordance with the JCPOA.

President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear accord last month. Britain, France and Germany have been attempting to salvage the deal that Trump has described as “horrible” and “one-sided.”

 

Iran's head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, attends a seminar in Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 5, 2015. logo LIVE MIDDLE EAST Iran Prepares to Resume Nuclear Enrichment Activity June 06, 2018 1:16 PM Edward Yeranian FILE: A bicyclist passes the nuclear power plant just outside Bushehr, Iran, Oct. 26, 2010. FILE: A bicyclist passes the nuclear power plant just outside Bushehr, Iran, Oct. 26, 2010. Share See comments CAIRO — Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency it will resume testing of a new generation of nuclear centrifuges Wednesday. Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's nuclear energy agency, said Tehran would remain within the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, nuclear deal reached with the five permanent members of the United Nations plus Germany. Salehi added that the accord allowed Iran to test a new generation of nuclear centrifuges and that his country's nuclear program is intended for peaceful civilian purposes. Salehi says Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a religious edict years ago that banned nuclear weapons. FILE - Iran's head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, attends a seminar in Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 5, 2015. FILE - Iran's head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, attends a seminar in Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 5, 2015. Khamenei told a group of visitors Monday that he had issued orders for the country's Atomic Energy Organization to increase its enrichment capacity to 190,000 centrifuges, provisionally, in accordance with the JCPOA. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear accord last month. Britain, France and Germany have been attempting to salvage the deal that Trump has described as "horrible" and "one-sided." Former Iranian President Abolha
Iran’s head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, attends a seminar in Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 5, 2015. VOA

 

Former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani Sadr told VOA he thinks Khamenei’s decision to resume nuclear enrichment capacity is “not a well-thought out move,” and that it is having negative consequences on regional interests.

According to Bani Sadr, the decision strengthens Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s charge that Iran represents a threat to Israel and must evacuate its forces from Syria, as requested by the U.S.-Israeli-Saudi axis.

In addition, said Bani Sadr, Khamenei’s statement that Israel will be “eradicated from the face of the Earth” negatively influences public opinion against Tehran.

Khattar Abou Diab, a political science professor at the University of Paris, tells VOA that Khamenei’s decision was aimed at pressuring Europe into gaining concessions from the United States. While France’s foreign minister spoke of “red lines” that Iran must not cross, Paris, Berlin and London have asked to be exempted from new economic sanctions Trump imposed on Iran.

Also read: Israel warn Iran hints war Middle East

  • Abou Diab argues that despite Iran’s bluster, it “fears any eventual reaction or backlash from Washington.” (VOA)

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Coronavirus in Iran Leads to Economic Decline

Iranian Economy Faces Setback on Coronavirus Concerns

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Iran coronavirus
Spread of the coronavirus in Iran has pushed that country's currency to lows not seen in almost a year. Pixabay

By Edward Yeranian

Arab media are reporting that the spread of the coronavirus in Iran has pushed that country’s currency to lows not seen in almost a year. Iranian health officials say there are more than 200 confirmed cases in the country, and at least 26 deaths.

Turkey, Armenia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have all closed land and air borders with Iran in recent days, due to the coronavirus.

As the closures stop the flow of traffic to and from Iran, fears of a deepening economic slump are hitting Iran’s national currency, the riyal.

Arab media say the riyal fell to 158,500 to the dollar on the black market Wednesday, its lowest level in over a year. The riyal’s official peg is 42,000 to the dollar.

Iran coronavirus
As the closures stop the flow of traffic to and from Iran, fears of a deepening economic slump are hitting Iran’s national currency, the riyal. Pixabay

Many economists fear that both Iran’s oil and non-oil exports will be hit by a regional trade slump due to the virus. Religious tourism to Iran’s holy sites will also be affected by border closures and quarantines around public places. Sales during the normally robust pre-Nowrouz new year’s festival are falling.

Despite the downward pressure on Iran’s economy, President Hassan Rouhani told journalists Thursday that the country, until recently, had been thriving.

He said that both industry and agriculture did very well during the past several months. He added that the economy will flourish if Iranians do not let U.S. sanctions or the coronavirus have a psychological impact on their behavior.

Iran coronavirus
Women wear masks to protect themselves against the coronavirus, as they cross a street in Tehran, Iran. VOA

Despite the president’s optimism, state TV showed Iranians in the capital, Tehran, swarming a pharmacy in the pursuit of flu medication and face masks. Panic-buying was also reported at some other businesses.

Former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani Sadr told VOA that “almost everything necessary to fight the virus outbreak is missing in Iran,” and ordinary people “blame their government and U.S. sanctions for the current crisis.”

He added that the Iranian economy depends on trade with its neighbors, so one can just imagine the poverty Iranians face if trade diminishes with partners like Turkey, Iraq, Russia and elsewhere.

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An Iranian member of parliament recently blamed Tehran’s eagerness to come to the rescue of its major trading partner, China, for shortages inside his own country. Iran sent thousands of face masks to China during the initial phase of the coronavirus outbreak, and now faces a severe shortage at home.

“Iranians,” laments former President Bani Sadr, “now have no confidence in the regime or its propaganda, and even less faith that the outside world will come to their rescue.” (VOA)

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January- The Hottest Month Ever Recorded

Last Month Was Hottest January Ever, US Scientists Say

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January weather
Last month was the warmest January ever recorded, U.S. government forecasters say, with human-led climate change the leading cause. Pixabay

Last month was the warmest January ever recorded, U.S. government forecasters say, with human-led climate change the leading cause.

Global temperatures were 1.13 degrees Celsius higher than the 20th century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday — the highest in at least 141 years.

January weather
People sit on docks in the Charles River Esplanade park in Boston during unseasonably warm weather as temperatures climbed into the low 70s in January. VOA

Record-high heat was felt in parts of Latin America, Asia, Scandinavia, and over parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Parts of Russia were 5 degrees higher and sea ice around Antarctica was nearly 10% below average.

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The outlook for all of 2020 also points to a warming planet, with experts predicting the year will rank among the five hottest ever recorded.

Global warming can cause floods and more powerful storms in some parts of the world while others will suffer droughts, eventually leading to what a United National panel says will be food shortages and a widespread refugee crisis. (VOA)

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Facebook Removes Fake Accounts From Russia, Iran, Vietnam and Myanmar

Facebook purges more fake accounts from Russia, Iran

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facebook
) Facebook has removed three networks of accounts, Pages and Groups for engaging in foreign or government interference on Facebook and Instagram. Pixabay

Facebook has removed three networks of accounts, Pages and Groups for engaging in foreign or government interference on Facebook and Instagram that originated in Russia, Iran, Vietnam and Myanmar.

The first operation originated in Russia and primarily targeted Ukraine and its neighbouring countries and the second originated in Iran and focused mainly on the US.

“The third network originated in Myanmar and Vietnam and targeted audiences in Myanmar. Each of them created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Security Policy, said in a blog post late Wednesday.

Facebook removed 78 accounts, 11 Pages, 29 Groups and four Instagram accounts in Russia for violating its policy against foreign or government interference.

facebook
Facebook also removed 6 Facebook accounts and 5 Instagram accounts that were involved in foreign interference as part of a small network originating in Iran that primarily focused on the US. Pixabay

Some of these accounts represented themselves as citizen journalists and tried to contact policymakers, journalists and other public figures in the region.

“Although the people behind this network attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to Russian military intelligence services,” said Gleicher.

Facebook also removed 6 Facebook accounts and 5 Instagram accounts that were involved in foreign interference as part of a small network originating in Iran that primarily focused on the US.

They shared posts about political news and geopolitics including topics like the US elections, Christianity, US-Iran relations, US immigration policy, criticism of US policies in the Middle East and public figures.

“Finally, we removed 13 Facebook accounts and 10 Pages for violating our policy against coordinated inauthentic behaviour. This Myanmar-focused activity originated in Myanmar and Vietnam,” said the company.

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The individuals behind this network used fake accounts to manage Pages posing as independent telecom consumer news hubs. They also purported to be customers of some of the telecom providers in Myanmar posting critical commentary about those companies and their services.

The investigation found links to two telecom providers — Mytel in Myanmar and Viettel in Vietnam, and Gapit Communications, a PR firm in Vietnam. (IANS)