Iran and the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal have held intense discussions on the third day of talks in Vienna. Iran's delegation says it’s ready to continue negotiations with the other parties for as long as necessary. We have heard from a senior member of the Iranian negotiating team that Tehran will not rush into artificial deadlines and timetables at the expense of the legitimate rights and demands of the Iranian nation. On Wednesday Iran’s lead negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani held a meeting with the representatives of the three European parties to the deal. Before that meeting, Baqeri sat down for talks with the EU’s deputy foreign policy chief Enrique Mora. The parties have formed two working groups of experts to discuss issues concerning the removal of anti-Iran sanctions and nuclear commitments. This is the seventh round of talks on the removal of anti-Iran sanctions between Iran and the p-four-plus-one group.
Tensions over Ukraine
The United States has once again accused Russia of planning for a potential military action against neighboring Ukraine. Blinken says Washington is deeply concerned by evidence showing that Russia is stepping up plans. He warns, however, that Russia will face a range of high-impact economic measures in case of an invasion of its Western neighbor. The NATO secretary general has also warned Moscow against attacking Ukraine saying Russia will face a high price as well as serious economic and political consequences. Meanwhile Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has expressed concern about the presence of NATO troops near Russian borders.
Omicron in US
The US has detected its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the state of California. Fauci says the patient was fully vaccinated but did not have a booster shot. He also says the person in question is now experiencing mild symptoms which are improving. Accosting to the top US infectious disease expert Omicron might elude some vaccine protection. Meanwhile the UN chief has slammed restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the new strain as what he calls travel apartheid. Antonio Guterres says the bans are unfair, punitive AND ineffective. The new variant has been found in two dozen countries. The World Health Organization has designated Omicron a variant of concern.