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‘Iran nuclear deal sealed yet not a time to celebrate’

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Beijing: The Tehran nuclear deal has finally been sealed, yet this is “not a time to celebrate as Iran and the international community should get ready for even tougher tasks to ensure the hard-earned agreement will not die halfway”, China’s official news agency Xinhua has said.

A commentary “Tougher work needs to be done to ensure Iran nuclear deal not half-baked” which ran on Wednesday, a day after the Iran nuclear deal took place, said: “After more than a decade of on-and-off talks, a long-anticipated Iranian nuclear deal has finally come into shape.”

“Yet this is not a time to celebrate as Iran and the international community should get ready for even tougher tasks to ensure the hard-earned agreement will not die halfway,” said the commentary by Xinhua Writer Liu Chang.

It said that Tuesday’s comprehensive deal has demonstrated a strong political will and flexibility of all negotiating parties — Iran on the one hand and the group comprising Britain, China, France, Russia, the US and Germany on the other.

“If the deal could be effectively and loyally implemented, it could go down into the human history as an exceptionally successful example of solving one of the world’s thorniest issues by peaceful and diplomatic means,” it added.

Secretary of State John Kerry after a news conference on Iran nuclear talks in Vienna.
Secretary of State John Kerry after a news conference on Iran nuclear talks in Vienna.

The commentary noted that the international community should stay “sober-minded as the road leading up to an out-and-out settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue is no less challenging than the strenuous negotiating process”.

The first test is whether US President Barack Obama can sell it to a sceptical and uncooperative Republican-controlled Congress when his presidency is already in the countdown and a new cycle of partisan politicking has been well under way.

“One of the key reasons that could motivate the US government to backtrack on the nuclear deal in the future is Washington’s closest ally in the Middle East, Israel.”

The commentary went on to say that “what is more vexatious is that Israel, which regards Iran as its arch-foe in the Middle East, does not just curse the deal all the time, but is likely to use every opportunity to sabotage it”.

“However, Israel has to understand that no deal could be perfect. It also has to know that an Iranian nuclear program that operates under verifiable international scrutiny is far better for Israel’s national interests than leaving Tehran’s nuclear activities unregulated or, like what it has suggested, simply resorting to military options to neutralize Iran’s nuclear abilities.”

Xinhua said that Iran also has a lot of “heavy-lifting and political balance to do”.

“With the economic and trade sanctions poised to be removed under the deal, President Hassan Rouhani and his government could begin to rebuild the country’s depressed economy.

“But in Tehran, hardliners are not that easy to be convinced as the Islamic Republic has deep distrust toward Western powers, especially the United States, after decades of confrontation and mutual hostility.”

The commentary said that to help make sure that Iran follows through on the deal, members of the international community, particularly the US and its Western allies, “should make immediate efforts to eliminate suspicion and mistrust toward the country, with the first priority to lay the ground for easing sanctions. Of course, Tehran should also keep its words regarding the accord”.

(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)