Iran’s rejects Western claims that nuclear position is ‘negative’ | Nuclear Energy News

Tehran has maintained that the ball is in the US court after its response to Washington last week.

Tehran, Iran – Iran has rejected accusations from anonymous United States and European officials that its latest position on nuclear deal negotiations has been negative.

Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Monday, foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said Iran last week handed in its comments on a “final” text circulated by the European Union with a view to achieving a desirable outcome to the “marathon” of nuclear talks, which began in April 2021.

Kanani said that Iran had responded constructively to the US as part of negotiations aimed at restoring their 2015 nuclear deal, which Washington unilaterally withdrew from in 2018.

“We believe Iran’s response has been constructive, transparent and legal, and can create the grounds for a conclusion of the talks and for an agreement in a short amount of time if there is also mutual political will,” he said.

“Either way, lifting sanctions and [providing] economic benefits for the Iranian nation … are among our top goals.”

Iran and the US have been exchanging comments on the EU’s proposal for the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is formally known.

Kanani was trying to counter reports that Tehran’s latest response was negative and therefore further complicating the indirect talks.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, had called Tehran and Washington’s first comments on the bloc’s text “reasonable” last month, but has yet to comment on the latest proposals.

Russia and China, two other signatories of the JCPOA, alongside France, Germany and the United Kingdom, have supported Iran’s latest comments on the text of the potential agreement.

The US must now respond to Iran’s latest comments, after which the back and forth dialogue could continue even as the US midterms elections in November approach quickly.

Qatar and Oman have continued to mediate and relay messages between the two, with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian speaking to his counterparts in both nations to discuss the talks during the past week.

Meanwhile, Israel, the biggest opponent of the original deal and its revival, has been trying to influence the talks.

Iran’s regional arch foe sent David Barnea, the director of its spy agency Mossad, to Washington to hold meetings with senior security officials and politicians, and US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid re-emphasised a joint commitment against allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon last week.

Iran has maintained that its nuclear programme is strictly peaceful while it has ramped up its enrichment efforts.

A “safeguards” probe by the nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), into traces of man-made nuclear material found at several Iranian sites remains on the table, and has been pointed to as a current stumbling block.

Iran has said that the probe needs to be resolved for good before there can be an agreement on the nuclear deal.

Chile says emphatic no to proposed new constitution in referendum | News

DEVELOPING STORY,

Chileans reject proposed progressive constitution that would have replaced the charter dating back to the Pinochet era.

Chile has voted resoundingly to reject a proposed new constitution that President Gabriel Boric argued would have ushered in a new progressive era, in a result that far exceeded the expectations of the conservative opposition.

The new constitution would have had a greater focus on social rights, the environment, and gender equality, than the existing charter which was was adopted during the rule of military dictator Augusto Pinochet. It emerged from an agreement between legislators and protesters to end violent rallies against inequality in 2019 in which dozens of people were killed.

With 99 percent of the votes counted in Sunday’s plebiscite, the rejection camp had 61.9 percent compared with 38.1 percent in favour of the new text.

There were reports of long queues at some of the more than 3,000 voting centres across the country with some 15 million Chileans eligible to take part in the referendum. Voting is compulsory.

Polls in April predicted that more voters planned on rejecting the new constitution.

The approval camp conceded defeat, with its spokesman Vlado Mirosevic saying: “We recognise this result and we listen with humility to what the Chilean people have expressed.”

The proposed charter was the first in the world to be written by a convention split equally between male and female delegates, but critics said it was too long, lacked clarity and went too far in some of its measures, which included characterising Chile as a ‘plurinational’ state, establishing autonomous Indigenous territories, and prioritising the environment.

“The constitution that was written now leans too far to one side and does not have the vision of all Chileans,” 41-year-old  Roberto Briones told the Associated Press news agency after voting in the capital Santiago. “We all want a new constitution, but it needs to have a better structure.”

People queue up in front of a yellow wall to vote in the referendum on a new constitution for Chile
Long queues were reported at many of the 3,000 voting centres around Chile [Matias Basualdo/AP Photo]

The result is a major setback to President Gabriel Boric, who took office in March and, at 36, is Chile’s youngest-ever president. He had tied his fortunes so closely to the new document that analysts said it was likely that some voters saw the plebiscite as a referendum on his government at a time when his approval ratings have been plunging.

Boric had previously said a new constitutional process must be initiated to comply with a 2020 referendum where 80 percent of Chileans voted to draft a new constitution to replace the Pinochet-era text.

Other political factions say the current text can be amended more simply by using the quorum adjustments that have been recently approved.

Most Chileans and their politicians have agreed the constitution that dates from the dictatorship must change.

Boric has called on the heads of all political parties for a meeting on Monday to chart a path forward.