Iran on Sunday ruled out holding an informal meeting with the United States and other major powers to discuss ways to salvage the unraveling 2015 nuclear deal, insisting Washington must first lift all its unilateral sanctions. The United States said it was disappointed but remained ready to “re-engage in meaningful diplomacy” and would consult with the other major powers to seek a way forward.
Iran and the global nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, have agreed to temporary measures to offset Iran’s decision to restrict access to inspectors. It would enable the agency to retain the “necessary degree of monitoring and verification work”, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said, without going into detail. It comes ahead of a deadline set by Iran to stop intrusive checks of sites unless US sanctions are lifted.
Iran’s supreme leader has said Tehran’s “irreversible and final” decision is to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal only if Washington lifts sanctions on the country. The comment, reported by Iranian State TV, comes as US President Joe Biden said he would lift sanctions to simply get Iran back to the negotiating table. The deal between Iran and six major powers limited Iran’s uranium enrichment activity.
New York air traffic controllers received a message threatening to avenge Iranian general Qassem Soleimani’s death. The warning was received Monday, just one day after the anniversary of the U.S. drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump that killed Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The threat comes as thousands of Iraqis, chanting anti-American slogans, gathered in Baghdad’s central square on Sunday to protest Soleimani’s killing.
Armed Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops stormed a South Korean tanker and forced the ship to change course and travel to Iran, the vessel’s owner said Tuesday, the latest maritime seizure by Tehran amid heightened tensions with the West over its nuclear program. Iran on Monday also began enriching uranium up to 20%, a small technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%, at its underground Fordo facility.
Iran is building at an underground nuclear facility, according to new satellite pictures. The images – taken on 11 December – show a structure consisting of a grid of pillars, like those used to support earthquake prone buildings. Iran has not publicly acknowledged any new construction at the Fordo site, which is near Qom, 55 miles from the capital Tehran.
A satellite-controlled machine-gun with “artificial intelligence” was used to kill Iran’s top nuclear scientist, a Revolutionary Guards commander says. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was shot dead in a convoy outside Tehran on 27 November. On Sunday, Brig-Gen Ali Fadavi told local media the weapon, mounted in a pick-up truck, had been able to fire several rounds at Fakhrizadeh without hitting his wife beside him.
Iran’s Guardian Council watchdog body approved a law on Wednesday that obliges the government to halt U.N. inspections of its nuclear sites and step up uranium enrichment beyond the limit set under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal if sanctions are not eased in two months. In retaliation for the killing last week of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Iran’s hardline-dominated parliament on Tuesday approved the bill with a strong majority that will harden Iran’s nuclear stance.
An Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated by a remote-controlled machine gun mounted on a car, the country’s semi-official Fars news agency has reported. Al Alam, Iranian state TV’s Arabic language channel, has made a similar claim stating that weapons “controlled by satellite” were used in the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on Friday. Iran’s foreign minister has blamed Israel for the attack near the capital Tehran.
Iran has released a British-Australian academic it had accused of spying in exchange for three Iranians being held abroad, according to the country’s state TV. Kylie Moore-Gilbert had gone on hunger strikes and spent long stretches in solitary confinement after being sentenced to 10 years behind bars. She had vehemently denied the charges and maintained her innocence.