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.

Israeli soldiers wounded in bus shooting in occupied West Bank | Israel-Palestine conflict News

The incident took place just days after the Israeli army killed two Palestinians during raids in the occupied West Bank.

At least five Israeli soldiers and a driver have been wounded in a shooting in a bus they were in in the occupied West Bank, military authorities and medics said on Sunday.

The incident, in which Israeli authorities said two suspected gunmen were detained as they tried to escape, took place within driving distance of Jenin and Nablus. Palestinian cities that have seen months of intensive and deadly Israeli military raids.

Witnesses said Palestinians in a car overtook the bus, spraying it with bullets and, when it came to a halt, tried to torch it. Israeli TV aired footage of a car ablaze after, it said, a fire bomb went off inside.

There was no immediate Palestinian claim of responsibility though.

A spokesman for Hamas praised the attack as “proof that all attempts by the Occupation (Israel) to stop the escalating resistance operations in the West Bank have failed”.

The road, where the incident occurred, is dotted with Israeli settlements and Palestinian villages and towns.

Israel occupies the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and has built more than 200 settlements with more than half a million settlers. Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands are considered illegal under international law. The settler expansion is also an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians, who seek the territory to be part of their future state.

Shooting spree

Matti Carmi, from the Magen David Adom emergency medical services, said “two gunshots victims” were treated outside the bus. The two were conscious and were airlifted to hospital in the Israeli coastal city of Haifa.

Three others were hit with glass fragments and subsequently transferred by road to another hospital in northern Israel, MDA said.

A photograph published by a union representing bus drivers showed the vehicle’s windscreen peppered with bullet holes.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said Israeli forces “immediately went in pursuit and got their hands on suspects in the attack”.

Sunday’s incident follows a shooting spree last month on an Israeli bus in occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and subsequently annexed, in a step never recognised by the international community.

Eight people, including several American citizens, were wounded in that pre-dawn attack near the Old City of Jerusalem.

Following an hours-long manhunt, police said a suspect had handed himself in.

The incident comes just days after the Israeli army killed two Palestinian men during two separate raids in the West Bank – one in al-Ain refugee camp in Nablus and the other in Umm al-Sharayet, a neighbourhood south of Ramallah and al-Bireh.

Dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces for allegedly attempting to carry out stabbing or car-ramming attacks. Human rights groups accuse Israeli forces of deliberately killing Palestinians even though there is no risk to their lives.

Explainer: Will capping Russian oil prices actually work? | Explainer News

For the plan to be effective, other countries will have to take part -particularly large nations – such as India and China, some of Russia’s most important clients.

Capping the price of Russian oil, an approach G7 members said they want to pursue “urgently,” would be an unprecedented move and one which some analysts say could backfire.

How would a cap work?

Russian oil would be purchased at a discount from prevailing market prices, to limit Moscow’s profits as it prosecutes its war against Ukraine. But it would keep the price above the cost of production to ensure incentive for its export.

The discounted rates, calculated separately for crude oil and refined petroleum products, could be regularly revised, according to a US Treasury official.

Are there any precedents?

There have been international systems aimed at preventing a nation from exporting oil – such as those now aimed at Iran and Venezuela – or at limiting trade, as in the UN “Oil-for-Food” programme which, from 1995 to 2003, allowed Iraq to sell oil but only to pay for food, medicine and humanitarian needs.

But there has never been an attempt to impose a differentiated price on a country.

Rafael Mariano Grossi
A Russian official shows International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi unexploded ordnance at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine [File: Yuri Kochetkov/EPA]

Will others join the G7 plan?

G7 members – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – have already limited or suspended their Russian petroleum purchases. But for the plan to be effective, other countries will have to take part – particularly big countries such as India and China, some of Russia’s most important clients.

While the G7 plan offers the prospect of lower prices, “China and India are already getting cheaper – cheap enough – oil,” said Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment.

John Kilduff of Again Capital agrees: “Russia could say: ‘Look, we’re just going to sell this oil at this price. We’re not going to sell it to Europeans.’”

“I don’t think that the Chinese or the Indians or the Turkish will go on” with the G7 plan, he said, noting those countries had not joined in Western sanctions punishing Russia for the Ukraine war.

“I think the flows to those countries from Russia will continue.”

INTERACTIVE Ukraine Refugees Day 193

How will Russia react?

For the price cap to work, Russia will have to yield to the pressure and continue exporting to the participating countries.

But Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak warned on Thursday that Moscow would not sell petroleum products to countries capping their price. Global oil prices rose on Friday.

Kilduff attributed that at least partly to the G7 announcement. He said it raised fears of a contraction in world supply and a damaging new surge in prices.

If petroleum prices have declined from their peaks shortly after the Russian invasion in February, they remain historically high and extremely volatile.

Pipes at the landfall facilities of the 'Nord Stream 1'
Pipes at the facilities of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline in Lubmin, Germany[File: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters]

Would a cap undercut European sanctions?

The European Union – with the exception of three members – is preparing not only to ban Russian petroleum imports as of December 5 but also to block European insurers from covering transport costs to non-EU destinations.

“I do think that Washington is really uncomfortable” with those insurance restrictions, said O’Grady, adding they would “really be a big deal”.

“Roughly 90 percent of maritime petroleum transport is insured by EU and British parties. I think the administration’s afraid that if that [the insurance ban] gets put into place, that Russian supplies will really fall,” O’Grady said.

The price-capping plan, initiated by the US and then endorsed by the G7, would exempt from the embargo the transport of cargo sold at reduced price – limiting its effect.

Why is Poland demanding compensation from Germany? | TV Shows

From: Inside Story

The German government says the issue of World War II reparations is ‘closed’.

Poland says it will demand $1.3 trillion from Germany for crimes committed during the second world war.

The move follows the release of a report on the cost of the Nazi occupation of Poland from 1939 to 1945.

Poland’s right-wing government says the country has not been fully compensated.

But Germany insists compensation was paid in the years that followed the war and the issue of reparations is now closed.

So, what is behind Poland’s move? Is politics involved?

Presenter: Hashem Ahelbarra

Guests: 

Michal Rachon – Anchor at TVP Info and TVP World, Polish TV News Channels

Ulrich Brueckner – Professor of Political Science at Stanford University

Maximilian Hess – Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute