Categories
-Top News Asia News

Iran plot to kill John Bolton uncovered

Soleimani was the commander-in-chief of the IRGC and also widely considered the most powerful figure in Iran after its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei…reports Asian Lite News

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that it had uncovered an Iranian plot to assassinate former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, and announced charges against a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

DOJ said 45-year-old Shahram Poursafi, also known as Mehdi Rezayi, attempted to arrange the murder of Bolton, “likely in retaliation for the January 2020 death of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF) commander Qasem Soleimani.”

Soleimani was the commander-in-chief of the IRGC and also widely considered the most powerful figure in Iran after its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad under the orders of then President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, the DOJ said Poursafi had offered to pay an individual in the United States $300,000 to kill Bolton.

“This is not the first time we have uncovered Iranian plots to exact revenge against individuals on US soil and we will work tirelessly to expose and disrupt every one of these efforts,” AFP quoted US Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen as saying.

According to the charges, Poursafi tried to arrange Bolton’s murder beginning in October 2021, when he contacted online an unidentified person in the United States, first saying he wanted to commission photographs of Bolton, AFP reported.

That person passed the Iranian onto another contact, who Poursafi then asked to kill Bolton.

“Poursafi added that he had an additional ‘job,’ for which he would pay $1 million,” the DOJ said.

But that second person, court documents say, was a confidential source for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, it reported.

This comes as talks on reviving Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is undergoing in Vienna.

The talks on reviving the JCPOA began in April 2021 in Vienna but were suspended in March 2022 because of political differences between Tehran and Washington.

The latest round of talks, which began on Thursday following a five-month hiatus, ended on Monday without a breakthrough.

ALSO READ: Iran nuclear talks end as EU submits ‘final text’

Categories
-Top News Europe

Iran nuclear talks end as EU submits ‘final text’

The parties have been seeking to resolve differences over the lifting of sanctions on Iran in return for placing restrictions on the country’s nuclear programme once more…reports Asian Lite News

Talks in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal have ended with diplomats from the countries involved returning to their capitals with a provisional text for a new agreement that it is hoped will prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

“You have to say yes or no,” a senior European Union representative said in Vienna, adding that there was nothing left to negotiate and describing the text as a “very good compromise for all parties”, reports dpa news agency.

The countries involved, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US, are expected to respond “in very, very few weeks”, the diplomat said.

The parties have been seeking to resolve differences over the lifting of sanctions on Iran in return for placing restrictions on the country’s nuclear programme once more.

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal, collapsed when the US withdrew unilaterally in 2018 under the presidency of Donald Trump.

Since then, Iran has proceeded with uranium enrichment leading to fears that it is close to producing a nuclear weapon.

Tehran has consistently argued that it only intends to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

During a visit to Israel, US President Joe Biden issued a joint statement with Prime Minister Yair Lapid repeating Washington’s commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

The US would use “all elements of its national power” to prevent this, the statement said.

ALSO READ: IRAN: N-Talks Resume

Categories
-Top News Asia News

IRAN: N-Talks Resume

The Iranian negotiating team, headed by Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani, held a meeting with the Russian delegation on Thursday, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

A new round of talks on the revival of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers began in Vienna on Thursday after a 150-day hiatus, according to Iran’s official news agency IRNA.

The Iranian negotiating team, headed by Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani, held a meeting with the Russian delegation led by Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna and chief negotiator to the Vienna talks.

The two sides had “a frank, pragmatic and constructive exchange of views on ways and means of overcoming the last outstanding issues,” Ulyanov tweeted after the meeting, Xinhua news agency reported.

Bagheri Kani also met with Enrique Mora, the European Union chief coordinator for the Iran nuclear talks, and Secretary General of the Austrian Foreign Ministry Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal respectively.

Iran signed the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with world powers in July 2015, agreeing to curb its nuclear program in return for the removal of sanctions on the country. However, former U.S. President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the agreement and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran, prompting the latter to drop some of its commitments under the pact.

The talks on reviving the JCPOA began in April 2021 in the Austrian capital of Vienna but were suspended in March this year because of political differences between Tehran and Washington.

‘Not going to be easy’

A European Union (EU) diplomat has expressed a degree of hope that the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran can be resurrected, while also listing several significant stumbling blocks following the resumption of talks in Vienna.

“I think there is a real possibility of an agreement, but it’s not going to be easy,” dpa news agency quoted the diplomat as saying while outlining the remaining areas where no agreement had yet been reached.

Tehran and Washington still had to agree on the technicalities for lifting certain sanctions on Iran, the diplomat said, asking not to be named.

Further outstanding issues include restrictions on the enrichment of uranium, which Iran is currently enriching to a near-weapons-grade purity of 60 per cent.

A further prerequisite for a deal is a return to the comprehensive monitoring of the Iranian nuclear programme by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Iran and Washington have decided to leave the disputed US classification of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation until a later date.

The current draft also contains guarantees for Tehran should the US withdraw from the agreement again, the diplomat said, following Washington’s unilateral exit from the deal in 2018 during the presidency of Donald Trump.

Western diplomats believe there’s only a brief window of opportunity left in which to salvage the pact, the ultimate aim of which is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of sanctions on Tehran.

However, talks between Iran and the six other parties to the agreement — China, Germany, France, the UK, Russia and the US — have been faltering for months.

A new draft of the deal currently under discussion takes into account recent nuclear advances made by Tehran, some of which would have to be walked back, dpa has learned.

On Monday, Iran’s nuclear chief Mohammed Eslami repeated the claim that Tehran was already capable of building a nuclear bomb but does not intend to.



“The Onus is on those who breached the deal & have failed to distance from ominous legacy,” the leader of the the Iranian delegation, Kani Bagheri, tweeted earlier.

“The US must seize the opportunity offered by the JCPOA partners’ generosity; ball is in their court to show maturity & act responsibly,” he added.

The US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, tweeted that Washington’s “expectations are in check, but the US welcomes EU efforts and is prepared for a good faith attempt to reach a deal. It will shortly be clear if Iran is prepared for the same”.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi had called for the lifting of all sanctions imposed on Tehran by the US following its 2018 withdrawal from the deal.

Tehran has consistently argued that it intends to use nuclear energy for purely peaceful purposes, and has repeatedly stressed that the nuclear deal is of no value to the country unless sanctions are also lifted.

The fresh talks come shortly after the IAEA warned that Iran was only weeks away from producing the materials necessary to build a nuclear bomb.

ALSO READ: Taliban-Iranian guards clash on border

Categories
-Top News USA

US global political influence shrinking: IRGC

Commenting on the US President’s recent Middle East tour, the Iranian commander said Joe Biden returned home empty-handed without any achievements…reports Asian Lite News

A top Iranian military commander has said that the reach of US global political influence is shrinking, semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

Chief Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami made the remarks in an address to a conference on Sunday attended by the IRGC’s political directors.

All US attempts to form governments in regional countries are ending in failure “in a domino fashion” as is manifest in Washington’s escape from Afghanistan and other defeats, Salami added.

“These are all the signs heralding a major event, which is the US failure,” he said.

US President Joe Biden

Commenting on the US President’s recent Middle East tour, the Iranian commander said Joe Biden returned home empty-handed without any achievements, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile,  Iran has submitted proposed ideas in “both substance and form” to the other sides of the Vienna talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, to pave the way for the “swift conclusion” of the talks, Iran’s top negotiator said.

Ali Bagheri Kani, also Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, said on Sunday through Twitter that Tehran is ready to conclude the negotiations in a short period provided that the other sides would also be prepared to do the same.

Bagheri Kani added that the nuclear talks, which started in the Austrian capital in April 2021, were aimed at “fixing the damaging complicated situation caused by the US unilateral and unlawful withdrawal” from the nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in 2018.

He gave the assurance that Iran is working closely with its JCPOA partners, in particular the European Union Foreign Policy Chief and Coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission Josep Borrell, to give the US another chance to prove its “good faith” and “act responsibly”.

Iran signed the JCPOA with world powers in July 2015, agreeing to curb its nuclear programme in return for the removal of sanctions on the country. However, former US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the agreement in May 2018 and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran, prompting the latter to drop some of its commitments under the pact, Xinhua news agency reported.

The talks on reviving the JCPOA began in April 2021 in the Austrian capital but were suspended in March this year because of political differences between Tehran and Washington.

After a three-month pause, the talks resumed in late June in Qatar’s capital Doha but failed to settle the differences.

ALSO READ: US seeks to expand ties with New Zealand amid China worries

Categories
-Top News Asia News

One killed in clashes between Taliban, Iran border forces

The clashes continued for an hour before the Iranian guards brought the situation under control, he added…reports Asian Lite News

The Iranian Border Police units and the Taliban forces exchanged fire on the eastern border of Iran, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs, Majid Mir-Ahmadi on Sunday said that Afghan border forces made fresh “provocative moves and fired some bullets” at Iranian border guards, which was reciprocated by Iran’s forces, Xinhua news agency reported.

The clashes continued for an hour before the Iranian guards brought the situation under control, he added.

Iran has repeatedly told Afghan officials that the country’s border guards are required to be well briefed about geographical boundaries and limits lest unwanted slight tensions arise along the common border, Mir-Ahmadi said.

Afghanistan’s TOLO news quoted a border commander in the province of Nimroz as saying that one Taliban soldier has died and another one has been wounded in the clash.

ALSO READ-Iran deported 5600 Afghans in past week: Taliban

Categories
-Top News Asia News

Iran deported 5600 Afghans in past week: Taliban

The Ministry has asked Iran and all other countries hosting Afghan refugees to respect their rights and address problems…reports Asian Lite News

The Taliban-led government in Kabul has said that 5,600 Afghans were forcibly deported from Iran in the past week.

“We have asked countries, especially Iran, where Afghan immigrants live to respect the rights of Afghan immigrants based on the Islamic and international law,” TOLO News quoted Mohammad Arsalah Kharoti, a deputy at the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR), as saying on Thursday.

The Ministry has asked Iran and all other countries hosting Afghan refugees to respect their rights and address problems.

Based on the MoRR’s figures, in addition to Iran, 66 families have also returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), currently there were 2,069,703 registered refugees from Afghanistan in Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan.

Pakistan and Iran make up for the majority number of refugees at 1,282,901 and 780,000, respectively.

So far this year, 1,334 Afghan refugees have returned to their home country.

ALSO READ: Afghanistan: 24.4 mn people in dire need of help

Categories
-Top News EU News

EU proposes new draft text for Iran n-deal revival

US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that Washington was reviewing the “draft understanding” Borrell shared with Iran and other parties to the 2015 deal and would respond directly to the EU…reports Asian Lite News

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has proposed a new draft text to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying there is no room left for further major compromises.

“I have now put on the table a text that addresses, in precise detail, the sanctions lifting as well as the nuclear steps needed to restore the JCPOA,” the European Union’s Josep Borrell wrote in an essay in the Financial Times.

“After 15 months of intense, constructive negotiations in Vienna and countless interactions with the JCPOA participants and the US, I have concluded that the space for additional significant compromises has been exhausted,” he added.

Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator, confirmed Borrell had put forth a new proposal, adding on Twitter, “We, too, have our own ideas, both in substance & form, to conclude the negotiations which would be shared.”

US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that Washington was reviewing the “draft understanding” Borrell shared with Iran and other parties to the 2015 deal and would respond directly to the EU.

According to Reuters, Borrell did not provide details about his proposal, but he suggested – as many Western officials have before – that time was running out to restore the deal under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.

“It is now time for swift political decisions to conclude the Vienna negotiations on the basis of my proposed text and to immediately return to a fully implemented JCPOA,” he wrote. “If the deal is rejected, we risk a dangerous nuclear crisis, set against the prospect of increased isolation for Iran and its people.”

ALSO READ-EU slams execution of Myanmar’s pro-democracy leaders

Categories
Arab News

Iran to keep IAEA cameras turned off

“Iran accepted to put curbs on its (nuclear) capacities to build trust, but despite all these, they did not remain committed to their obligations,” he added…reports Asian Lite News

The Iranian nuclear chief said his country will not turn on the surveillance cameras of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) installed within the framework of a 2015 nuclear deal until parties resume honouring their commitments under the deal.

Mohammad Eslami, President of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), made the remarks in an address to reporters on the sidelines of an exhibition in Tehran on Monday, the official news agency IRNA reported.

He added that the Islamic Republic sees no reason for the presence of these cameras at its nuclear sites as they had been recording data supposed to exonerate Tehran from certain accusations, which are still in place.

Eslami said that although in 2015, lengthy negotiations between Iran and the world powers resulted in the signing of a nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the West is still levelling accusations at Iran based on stolen documents and “baseless claims”.

“Iran accepted to put curbs on its (nuclear) capacities to build trust, but despite all these, they did not remain committed to their obligations,” he added.

Eslami said the agency itself has removed the cameras and sealed them, adding they will be kept in Iran’s nuclear facilities until the other sides return to the JCPOA, Xinhua news agency reported.

Eslami emphasised that the IAEA is currently monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities according to the safeguards agreements.

In June, the IAEA’s Board of Governors passed an anti-Iran resolution proposed by the US, Britain, France and Germany following the agency’s reports that Tehran had not provided “technically credible explanations” for uranium particles at three undeclared sites.

In the wake of the adoption of the IAEA resolution, Iran announced its decision to take a number of measures, including turning off the IAEA’s surveillance cameras at its sites.

Iran signed the nuclear deal with world powers in July 2015, agreeing to curb its nuclear programme in return for the removal of sanctions on the country.

However, former US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the agreement in May 2018 and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran, prompting the latter to drop some of its commitments under the pact.

ALSO READ-Iran says plans to send up more satellites in 2022

Categories
Arab News

Iran says plans to send up more satellites in 2022

In March, the IRGC’s Aerospace Force successfully launched the Noor-2 reconnaissance satellite at an altitude of 500 km, using the Qased carrier…reports Asian Lite News

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) plans to launch more satellites in 2022, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, has announced.

“We will put new satellites in orbit with the Qaem satellite carrier this year,” Hajizadeh was quoted by official IRNA news agency as saying.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of a gathering of the IRGC commanders in the capital Tehran.

In March, the IRGC’s Aerospace Force successfully launched the Noor-2 reconnaissance satellite at an altitude of 500 km, using the Qased carrier.

Noor-2 is Iran’s second military satellite sent into Low Earth orbit following its predecessor Noor-1, which was carried by the Qased rocket in April 2020 to an orbit of 425 km above the earth’s surface.

ALSO READ-‘Arab states seek good ties with Iran’

Categories
Arab News

‘Arab states seek good ties with Iran’

When asked about the possibility of launching an “Arab NATO,” he said the issue “is not currently under discussion,” while highlighting the necessity for an institutional Arab defence system…reports Asian Lite News

King Abdullah II of Jordan has said all Arab states would seek good relations with Iran on the principles of good neighbourliness, mutual respect for sovereignty, and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

Expressing his belief that disagreements should be resolved through dialogue, the Jordanian king said that the region needs cooperation and coordination rather than crises and conflicts, al-Rai newspaper reported.

However, he warned against what he called “regular attacks from Iran-linked militias,” noting a change in Iran’s behavior is “in the interest of everyone in the region, including Iran and its people.”

When asked about the possibility of launching an “Arab NATO,” he said the issue “is not currently under discussion,” while highlighting the necessity for an institutional Arab defence system.

“If we look at the threats facing us today, we will find they threaten all of us, and thus require Arab cooperation, especially the renewed terrorist threat and networks of organized drug and arms smuggling,” the king explained.

ALSO READ-Arab foreign ministers pledge support for Lebanon