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UK anti-Iran rhetoric

Britain says it is the last chance for Iran to "sign up" to the 2015 nuclear agreement. The call comes just a day before Tehran and the P4+1 group of countries are set to resume talks in Vienna. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says the United Kingdom is determined to work with its allies to prevent Iran securing what she called nuclear weapons. Truss said it is in Iran’s interest to actively involve in the nuclear accord. This is while Iran has issued similar warnings, saying negotiations cannot go on forever and urging the other sides to make use of the open window of opportunity. Iranian Foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says the US must remove all its sanctions if it wishes to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

Leaked video row

The British prime minister has been grilled in parliament over a video in which his senior aides were found joking about holding a Christmas party at Downing Street in 2020. In a heated exchange with Boris Johnson in the House of Commons, the leader of the opposition Labor Party also said the premier had been caught red-handed. Johnson apologized over the video, but said he had been assured that no party was held at his official residence during last year’s Christmas lockdown. Johnson also vowed an internal probe into the claim, and said disciplinary action will be taken if rules are found to be broken. The video, obtained by ITV, has caused outcry among Britons, who were barred from public gatherings during the last Christmas season. 

Merkel era ends

Olaf Scholz has been sworn in as Germany’s new Chancellor, putting an end to Angela Merkel’s 16-year reign. Scholz took the oath of office after being nominated by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for chancellor. Earlier, lawmakers in the lower house of parliament endorsed his chancellorship by a clear majority. Scholz is a center-left social democrat, leading a three-party coalition with the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats. He served under Merkel as finance minister and has pledged to continue her policies to make Germany fairer and greener. Merkel is the first German chancellor to step aside of her own accord since World War II.

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