Iran officially imposes curbs on UN nuclear inspections
(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)TEHRAN – Iran officially started restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities Tuesday, a bid to pressure European countries and President Joe Biden's administration to lift crippling economic sanctions and restore the 2015 nuclear deal. AdIn a show of defiance, Cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei outlined further developments in Iran's nuclear program on Tuesday. On Monday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also signaled Iran would refuse to capitulate to U.S. pressure over its nuclear program. Tehran has long insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, such as power generation and medical research. Before Iran implemented its new restrictions on IAEA inspections, the agency's director-general, Rafael Grossi, negotiated a temporary deal during an emergency weekend trip to Tehran.
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.
US warns Yemen's Houthi rebels after terrorism delisting
President Joe Biden is distancing himself from Saudi Arabia's rulers over their war in Yemen and rights abuses. That includes Biden announcing Feb. 4, 2021, he would make good on a campaign pledge to cut U.S. support for a five-year Saudi-led military campaign in neighboring Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Sunday warned Yemen’s Houthi rebels against ongoing attacks against civilians just 48 hours after moving to strike the group from a terrorism blacklist. It also came just three days after President Joe Biden ordered an end to U.S. support for the Saudi-led offensive military operations against the rebels. Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and other countries, entered the war alongside Yemen’s internationally recognized government in March 2015.
UN Yemen envoy makes first visit to Iran to push for peace
FILE - In this July 1, 2019 file photo, United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths speaks during his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Russia. Iranian state TV said Sunday, Feb. 7,2021, that Griffiths arrived on his first visit to Iran for talks on the grinding war in the Arab worlds poorest country. Martin Griffiths was set to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other officials during his two-day visit, his office said. The visit was planned long before Biden’s announcement, Griffiths’ spokeswoman Ismini Palla said. Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and other countries, launched a bombing campaign to expel the Houthis and restore the internationally recognized government months later.
EU says it will redouble efforts to save Iran nuclear deal
In this photo released by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, spokesman of the organization Behrouz Kamalvandi, center, briefs the media while visiting Fordo nuclear site near Qom, south of Tehran, Iran Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. Iran began enriching uranium Monday to levels unseen since its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the action was “fully reversible" if other partners in the deal fully complied too, without elaborating. Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of its plans to increase enrichment to 20% last week. Iran’s decision to begin enriching to 20% purity a decade ago nearly triggered an Israeli strike targeting its nuclear facilities, tensions that only abated with the 2015 atomic deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
UN arms embargoes on Iran expire despite US objections
The Trump administration has warned that any sales of weapons to Iran or exports from Iran will be penalized. The Islamic Republic heralded the end of the arms embargo as “a momentous day for the international community ... in defiance of the U.S. regime’s effort." China also could sell Iran arms. The U.N. arms embargoes, however, did not stop Iran from sending weapons ranging from assault rifles to ballistic missiles to Yemen's Houthi rebels. Six Gulf Arab nations that backed the extension of the arms embargoes noted arms shipments to Yemen in their objection to the resumption of any weapon sales to Iran.
UN chief: World is living in `shadow of nuclear catastrophe'
TANZANIA – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Friday that the world is living “in the shadow of nuclear catastrophe,” fueled by growing distrust and tensions between the nuclear powers. The U.N. chief told a high-level meeting to commemorate the recent International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons that progress on ridding the world of nuclear weapons “has stalled and is at risk of backsliding." And he said strains between countries that possess nuclear weapons “have increased nuclear risks.”As examples, Guterres has expressed deep concern at the escalating disputes between the Trump administration and China. And North Korea boasts about its nuclear weapons. “Maintaining nuclear weapons, is clearly, a zero-sum situation, while total abolishment of such weapons, will ensure that humanity prevails,” Marsudi said.
Trump: US demands restoration of UN sanctions against Iran
The United States intends to restore virtually all of the previously suspended United Nations sanctions on Iran, Trump said on Wednesday. None of them believes the U.S. has the standing to do it because Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal two years ago. As with the arms embargo, Russia and China bitterly oppose reimposing other U.N. sanctions on Iran. The Europeans fear that the re-imposition of sanctions may prompt Iran to quit the nuclear deal entirely and plow ahead with efforts to develop atomic weapons. This will be a fully valid enforceable Security Council resolution and we have every expectation that it will be enforced just like every other Security Council resolution that is in place, Pompeo said Wednesday.
UN crisis looms as US readies demand for Iran sanctions
The sanctions had been eased under the 2015 nuclear deal that President Donald Trump withdrew from two years ago. It allows participants to demand the restoration of all U.N. sanctions in a complicated procedure that cannot be blocked by a veto. Alone among the council's 15 members, the U.S. argues that as an original participant in the nuclear deal it retains the right to demand restoration of sanctions. But whether any other council member will respond to the U.S. move by introducing a resolution to extend sanctions relief is an open question. We dont know if any country will do that," said Richard Gowan, the U.N. director of the International Crisis Group.
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.
Family tells AP: Iran abducted California man while in Dubai
DUBAI A California-based member of an Iranian militant opposition group in exile was abducted by Iran while staying in Dubai, his family said Tuesday. His family, however, insists Sharmahd only served as a spokesman for the group and had nothing to do with any attacks in Iran. Telephone location data showed his mobile phone that day at the Premier Inn Dubai International Airport Hotel, where he had been staying. On July 30, tracking data showed the mobile phone traveled to the Omani port city of Sohar, where the signal stopped. Iran is suspected of kidnapping and later killing British-Iranian national Abbas Yazdi in Dubai in 2013, though Tehran has denied involvement.
Iranian FM visits Baghdad, ahead of Iraqi PM trip to Riyadh
Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, wears a mask to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus walks with his Iraqi counterpart, Fouad Hussein during his visit to Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)BAGHDAD Iran's foreign minister on Sunday stressed that Iran-Iraq relations would not be shaken ahead of the Iraqi prime minister's planned visit this week to regional rival Saudi Arabia. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's visit to Baghdad was the first since the American assassination of top Iranian General Qassim Soleimani outside Baghdad airport in January. Talks encompassed energy and investment, with Iraq relying heavily on Iranian gas and electricity imports to meet power demands. Hussein, the foreign minister, said the trips were to build balanced relations."
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.
Detained US Navy veteran freed by Iran as part of deal
White, a Navy veteran who's been detained in Iran for nearly two years has been released and is making his way home, with the first leg on a Swiss government aircraft. White's release was cheered by Trump, whose administration has said it considers the release of detainees and hostages a priority. Despite widespread speculation, Whites release was not related to the deportation to Iran this week of Iranian scientist Sirios Asghari, the officials said. Trump administration officials in recent months stepped up public pressure to release White. The U.S. has also urged Iran to release other Americans jailed in Iran.
5 Iran tankers sailing to Venezuela amid US pressure tactics
Given the crushing U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran, also-sanctioned Venezuela appears to be the country that would have nothing to lose from accepting the shipments. Raja said Refinitiv had no data on any Iranian gasoline shipment ever going to South America before. Iran and Venezuela are two independent nations that have had trade with each other and they will in the future. Rob Lodewick, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to comment on the Iranian vessels. ___Associated Press writers Nasser Karimi and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, and Joshua Goodman in Miami contributed to this report.